Sunday, August 13, 2006

Thoughts on Worship God 06

I am in the process of reviewing all that God taught me over the last few days at “Worship God 06.” Carrie and I both learned so much and enjoyed meeting with God in such a powerful way throughout the many worship sessions at the conference. The people within the Sovereign Grace Ministry Network worship God with great zeal and passion. I have never seen such “charismatic” worship combined with such a visible passion for doctrinal truth. The songs of Sovereign Grace Ministries and Keith and Kristyn Getty contain lyrics that tell deep and poetic stories about redemption and grace. We felt like we were being washed over again and again by the waves of the Word of God.

Every teaching session I attended left me challenged and longing to grow in faith and leadership. In one of the sessions I was challenged to take more seriously the immense responsibility I have to steward the corporate worship experience that I oversee on a weekly basis. In this session Bob Kauflin mentioned how many people will often forget the points in a preached message but will recall and remember the songs we sing. They may sing them in the car on the way to work, after seeing God provide in some powerful way, or in the depths of their sorrow and suffering. What do we want those songs to tell them in these moments of human experience?

In one of the main sessions Jeff Purswell reminded us that the presence of God is made available through the redeeming work of Christ. Our response should not only be gratitude, but also a deep awareness that our craft alone is not capable of drawing people into the presence of God. Worship leaders, singers, and musicians can all breath a sigh of relief. God’s presence in worship is not dependant upon a perfectly packaged program or a cool lighting design! Of course, this is not an excuse to be lazy or unprepared in our artistic offerings, but we should be conscious of the fact that the drawing of people into the presence of the living God does not result from human perfection. It is the work of the Spirit through Christ. What should be our response to this truth? We should eliminate errant thoughts that promote the idea that we are the ones responsible for ushering people in the presence of God. We must also do all we can to put lyrical content in front of people that tell the deeper stories the cross, redemption, atonement, satisfied wrath, mercy, grace, character of God, etc… A simple love song or songs that focus upon our response to God have a place in worship, but must be balanced by songs that display the glories of God in Christ. To not do this is to invite people to admire the Grand Canyon in a picture rather than taking them to the very edge, stepping to the side, and saying, “taste and see that the Lord is good!”

These reflections only skim the surface of what was presented over the last four days at “Worship God 06.” I pray my extensive notes will hold me accountable in the continued process of transforming these ideas into practice. Thanks to Parkview Church for the opportunity to share this encouraging time with my wife over these last days. I also deeply appreciate Carrie’s parents who cared for our five kids, those of you at Parkview who held down the fort in my absence, and the many of you who prayed on our behalf. God was faithful to work in wonderful ways through this opportunity! To Him be the glory!

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