Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Worship Workshop At New Hope
Churches have challenges. All of them do. They might be related to the facilities, the staff, the unity within the congregation, their discipleship strategy, their finances - or whatever. Many times the leadership decides that there's nothing that can be done about an issue and they either ignore it or cover it up, like wallpaper over bad paneling. But everyone who comes in from outside can spot it.
One of ours is worship.
Since our last worship leader left to accept another job closer to his home (we miss you Jim!), we've looked off and on for a leader while trying to fill that role by "committee." We have used a group of people called "a praise team" in place of a single leader. It's not working. People seem to need to focus on someone to at least begin each song. Plus we just don't have the level of musicianship (vocals and instruments) that we need to really help lead the congregation into worship.
So we called for help.
God answered in the form of Melanie Winter from Destiny Worship Center. Melanie is a pastor's kid who grew up playing piano and singing with the choirs and praise teams in the churches her father pastored. For the last few years she's been serving at Destiny Worship Center in Destin and has recently been placed in leadership of the praise team at their new Crestview campus. What she knows about how to do modern praise and worship is only overshadowed by her genuine love for and devotion to God. She is a true worshipper, and she's infectious. Our whole team seemed to catch her heart's desire for more of God.
She laid a foundation from Scripture on what worship is, what the role of the worshipper is, and then helped the team prepare for and begin to learn a new song. Then she went through our Sunday set with us and suggested several changes in our approach, our placement on stage, and our vocal and instrumental dynamics. When we all heard the difference we were amazed. The picture above was prior to the changes so what you'll see on Sundays is not what you see there. But as we were working through the new song, you could feel the Holy Spirit filling people's hearts and the voices lifted in praise...
Worship came. The Holy Spirit smiled. We were so, so, blessed.
We're on our way. Not there yet - got some more changes to make and some things to learn, but stay tuned. New Hope is going to become one of those "thin places" the ancient Irish Christians talked about - where one could easily step into the presence of Almighty God.