Intro | Making an alternative worship event
The usual method is something like this:
Get together and wrestle with ideas
Get a bunch of people together. Brainstorm what you'd like the next event or service to be about. Whether it's an issue, an experiment with a liturgy, the time of year, the next saint's day, whatever. An idea to build an event round. This idea may be a big long-term project that evolves, or it may be something of immediate interest or topicality that's different every time. Or a bit of both.
In coming up with the big idea you'll have argued over whys and wherefores and aspects of it - these become the basis of what you actually do. Your task is to break the big idea down into digestible chunks that people can interact with. Interact can mean listening, doing, praying, singing, talking, making, looking, and more. It's important to allow the [rest of] the congregation to explore, just as you the team have been doing [and will continue to do]. Your job is not to present all the answers ready-made, but to leave space for others to come to their own conclusions and make their own journeys.
So now you agree an 'order of service' or similar - a list of the elements of the event, in sequence. There should be a satisfying shape, a beginning and an end and a legible journey in between. But you won't have figured out each one of these elements in detail yet. So you each take a piece of the event away to make it happen.
A different kind of structure
The elements of this kind of event are not role-centred things like music, preaching, prayer etc, but are aspects of a theme or idea. So the event won't consist of a time of music followed by a time of preaching and a time of prayer. It will consist of a time of idea X [which may be conveyed by music, preaching, prayer, all of these or entirely different things] followed by a time of idea Y [communicated likewise, or by throwing paper planes or eating cakes or both at once - whatever it takes]. Which is why alternative worship teams can't be divided up by the usual roles. Obviously some things require technical knowledge that only a few will have, but in general people just take responsibility for a section and make it happen with whatever talents and ideas they can muster.
Trust and gifts
This is where you have to trust one another. This is where personal creativity and vision find expression and are offered as gifts to God and the congregation. This is where people find gifts they didn't know they had. This is where people get to use their 'secular' abilities in church. This is where the official leaders have to let go. The ordained and trained have no monopoly on worship ideas and methods - in fact their training may make them more inhibited about what can work as church content. Of course mistakes will be made and things will go wrong. But nothing's set in stone so what doesn't work can be changed next time. The congregation may not have even noticed.
Curation and facilitation
In this process of group creation, leadership takes a different form. We often use the term 'curator', taken from the art world. The curator ensures that planning happens and that the event happens, with all of the necessary elements. The curator moulds the various contributions into a coherent whole, without being the sole source of ideas or direction. The curator does not necessarily take the central or most visible role in the actual service.
Church made this way becomes a space for personal and corporate exploration rather than a schoolroom. The team work as facilitators more than authority figures, helping people find their own way with God rather than dictating a path. Central to this process is trust, in God, and in other people's sense and maturity.
This hands-on approach to church is hard work, which is why most communities only have their 'main' service once a month. The reward for all the effort is church that is a natural part of your life. It's your own worship, you and your friends made it as a gift to God and to one another. It's what you wanted to say to God, not what someone thought you should hear. Church can be what it was meant to be - the direct expression of Christians' lives with God and one another.