Mark Pierson, a pastor in the Baptist Church of New Zealand since 1982, developed the model of worship curator more than 15 years ago. He currently works for World Vision and writes and speaks regularly on aspects of worship as art. His aim is to find fresh ways of engaging with those on the fringes of the church and beyond. Pierson is upset with Christian communities who tolerate boring traditional services that have not changed for years. He also has little patience for many of the so-called experimental worship services that use popular music, dance, and videos as gimmicks to jazz orthodox worship services. Pierson suggests another route:
"I'm beginning to understand worship and worship preparation much more as an art form than an organizational task. To see myself as a producer/preparer of worship for myself and others, as a worship curator — someone who takes the pieces provided and puts them in a particular setting and makes a particular arrangement of them, considering juxtaposition, style, light, shade, etc. A maker of context rather than a presenter of content. A provider of a frame inside of which the elements are arranged and rearranged to convey a particular message to the worshipper. This message may or may not be obvious, may or may not be similar to the message conveyed to/perceived by another worshipper.
"Worship is art. Art can be worship.
I provide worship experiences for others to participate in.
I am an artist
Pierson is convinced that there is no "one size fits all" — the modus operandi for centuries in churches around the world. He prefers "reemerging church" to the popular term "the emerging church." Best of all is his four-page discussion of the term "the curator" (of an art installation) and "the worship curator." He believes that every worship event needs to contain content forged through an aggregation/pruning process and that it reach a large cross-cut of people with more diversity than regularly repeated worship services. Pierson's bold and adventuresome curator philosophy includes in its embrace: participation, open-endedness, slow worship, integrity, failure, and questions. He also lays out a new language for worship, including silence and other spiritual practices, segues, and takeaways/takeouts. This is followed by a new language for building community through curation.
Pierson's theological, pastoral, and creative admonitions are followed by concrete examples of worship events, including community worship, transitional worship, guerilla worship, and stations of the cross. The Art of Curating Worship: Reshaping the Role of Worship Leader is far-and-away the most creative, bold, and immersive book on revising worship in the Christian community written in many a moon.