Stimulating conversation in which I am a part but where I don’t agree sets my brain to whirling in a good way.  I’ve never been a part of a debate team but I think I would really thrive under that type of experience. 

There is a problem with my debating skills, however.  I’m not able to control to emotions that slip into my voice.   I sound extremely angry, when I feel the excitement of debating.   There is no measured meter to my tones but quivery, shrill underpinnings that shout, “Don’t you dare disagree with ME!”

Therefore, I was excited today to be discussing the concept of worship within the mentally challenged community and what should we strive to include in a worship setting.  What makes an appropriate worship service for our members?  Our conversation whirled around praise and worship in song.  Because the folks debating have worked together for several decades, we understand each other quite well.  Therefore, during much of the conversation, we spoke mostly in shorthand, as good friends often do.

There were, however, several items that we touched on.  First, do the members of Special Gathering need some form of affirmation of faith?  If so, what would this look like?  What principles of the faith should be understood by every Christian?  How can these be translated into a simplified form so that people with developmental disabilities can easily understand?

Second, we discussed the appropriate types of music that will most effectively minister Life to our members.  Are hymns (songs that teach about or minister to HIM) the best?  Do gospel (testimony) songs actually teach our members more effectively than hymns that instill theological principles about the personhood of God? While contemporary scripture choruses may be wonderfully singable, do our members actually understand such songs as “I Exalt Thee.” 

What about you?  What do you believe an appropriate worship service for the mentally challenged community would include?  We’d love for you to join in the conversation. And, as an added bonus, with the wonder of the Internet, you won’t even have to listen to my shakey, shrill voice, when I become excited.