Wednesday, June 13

Harvest Service Review:

A very kind worship pastor on vacation attended our weekend service in Elgin this past Sunday, and offered these thoughts.

A brief quote?:

As we began worship, there was a keyboard and violin duet playing a few hymns. We moved from that into a guided reflection time with the phrase “God is . . .” followed by an attribute like holy, or faithful. Then there would be a scripture passage or two. Then another attribute. Then another scripture. It was nice to slow my spirit down and enter into worship.

We then went into some upbeat music. It was a more acoustic week with no drum set, but they had a djembe and some sort of wood block drum that functioned as a bass drum. It was pretty nice. I was familiar with most of the songs. Many people around me were entering into worship. It was not anything about the style of the music or the things they were doing other than people genuinely seemed to not care what others would think of them. They were free to sing, clap, raise their hands, or not. I know that we are partly there. However, I wish there were a way that I could model this better and lead our church to a point where people could truly feel free to worship God in many, many, many different ways.

We sang, had announcements, took offertory and it all lasted about 38 minutes. I was surprised at how long it was. I had found myself entering into worship. You may not realize this, but a lot of times on Sundays at our church, I partially enter into worship. But I am also watching the clock and listening for the choir/praise team to be in tune and listening to make sure that all the instruments are together and that I am together as well and watching to see who is coming in and making sure that John has gotten into the room from changing between services or after a baptismal and trying to figure out who is coming up to do the offertory prayer, etc, etc, etc. But I found myself actually beginning to stop worrying about all that and enter into worship. It was nice.

1 comment:

Beloved said...

I know I've mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating: you all (worship team) are one of the primary reasons my wife and I connected with the Harvest family the first time we worshipped with you. Not because you're the best worship band we've ever heard (No offense! We've been to like five Passion gatherings.) ;-), but because (a) you seemed to be consumed with Christ, not yourselves, and not the rest of us, (b) you did what you did with a sense of attention to excellence, and (c) the style was not only bearable, but something that "spoke our language" and helped us speak it to God.

As a worship leader myself, I have a very difficult time "seeing God" and responding to Him in most church contexts, unfortunately-- including "contemporary" ones. The conversation obviously has to extend far beyond style, because style plays such a small role (although it does play a role) in the scheme of things. But as much as Pastor James seems to decry "relevance" as a guide to ecclesiology, he obviously has made it a high priority to foster an environment where the "language of the people" (in this case, a nonverbal language--music) is spoken.

The style and quality of a worship team/worship leader's music absolutely will not determine whether true worship happens in a gathering of the Body, but it certainly has some impact. It reflects something of the character of God as a creative Creator, as an emotional being, as One who is concerned with detail, and as One who has gone to the utmost lengths to identify Himself most intimately with the object of His affection secondary only to Himself.