This past weekend, December 29, 2012 we decided to get our church New Year’s experience in a few days early by attending a free service conducted by Inner Visions. Inner Visions was founded by Iyanla Vanzant – yes, that Iyanla who fixes lives and appears on Oprah.
As we walked in and approached the visitors desk, a nice women greeted us and then handed us what appeared to be a fancy tea bag and proceeded to ask us to clean ourselves. As I tried to hide the dumbfounded look on my face I asked “Clean Ourselves?” The women said “Yes, take the bags and move them around you in a circular motion, this will clean your aura.” Our aura. What had Brooke gotten us into?
After taking this symbolic bath making sure we got all in between our nooks and crannies we preceded into the venue. I’d say there were a few hundred people there, 90% of them being black women. Now I had no expectation that Iyanla would be at the event but surprisingly enough she was in attendance.
The event itself was no ordinary church service but it did have what appeared to be some foundational concepts derived out of the black church experience. There was a worship leader who guided us through each aspect of the service, there was a prayer that resembled a pastoral prayer or an invocation and there Christian music was played throughout the experience. Finally there were also 2 sermon like messages, one given by Iyanla Vanzant herself.
Here is where some traditional Christians would have been lost. First there was no choir. That’s right, a black experience with no choir. Strange, right? The minister of music was a DJ and her selection of songs had the place bumping. At some points in the service the congregants strictly worshipped as music was played and at other points the congregation danced. ~Sidebar, if I ever have a church we will have a DJ mainly because I’m so Hip Hop, but I digress. We also were led in 3 separate meditations throughout the service which resembled something from Hinduism.
This unusual service was exactly what I needed. In the structured services that I had become all too familiar with it had become hard for me to find a place where I could worship or concentrate on God. You know the type of service I’m talking about. Stand, sit, read, sing, pray, give, sing, stand, sit, listen in some shape or form over and over again the same way each and every week. This formatted structure helped to produce a Sunday staleness for me, but because I was willing to try something new, different or odd I reached a place I haven’t been able to get to in quite some time, a zone. A zone where I two stepped as Beyonce’s Love on Top echoed throughout the venue. Yes, Iyanla creatively inserted the song Love on Top in her message by stating “Since God is Love in 2013 we need to put God on top.” This creative worship refreshed me going into 2013.
So the question I have for you is why doesn’t the church step outside the box and experience things outside of their traditional style of worship?