Monday, September 10, 2007

Worship and Arts Vision

This evening I was asked, with the Pastors over every ministry in the church, to give a 10-minute summary of how our new vision statement will impact our ministry area. I took advantage of the time to share a number of things that have been on my heart and mind likely. In retrospect I realize I over intellectualized things a bit, but hopefully it is to some benefit. Here is the first half of my talk narrowed in specifically on the “movement of the Gospel” language within our vision. The question I was trying to answer was how the indicatives of the Gospel should be reflected in the Worship and Arts ministry. Please comment with any constructive feedback you may have. I appreciate the input.

- - - -

Parkview’s Vision is…

Parkview strives to be a movement of the Gospel through the University of Iowa, Iowa City area, and the world by developing servant leaders through personal conversion, community formation, and cultural transformation.

To start I would like to consider the statement “movement of the Gospel” and how this vision distinctive is reflected within the Worship and Arts ministry at Parkview. The statement “movement of the Gospel” is the indicative statement of our vision. Theologically speaking, a Biblical indicative is defined as a statement about…

a. Who God is
b. What He has done in Christ
c. Who we are in Christ

It is in these indicatives of the Gospel that much of what we do in the Worship and Arts ministry resides. In this regard, let’s take a moment to consider the songs we sing, the art we create, the ordinances we observe, and the community we experience.

(Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16)

Let’s first consider the songs we sing… From “Crown Him with Many Crowns”, to “In Christ Alone”, to “Before the Throne of God Above”, to “Everlasting God”, to “Uncreated One” it is our commitment to sing songs that center on the indicatives of the Gospel. Now and in the future our music, art, use of technology, and service programming must be unwaveringly committed to upholding a Gospel-centered, Christ-centered, Cross-centered focus in all we do. Though our forms and styles must change and continually adapt to the culture, we must never back down from the central focus of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

(Romans 1:20, Exodus 35-37)

Now, let’s consider the art we create. Good art displays the nature of God both in His creative power and in His character. From the Old Testament narrative to passages like Romans 1:20, we see how God’s creation of nature, the arts, and music can be a testimony of who He is and of His creative nature woven in and expressed by the hearts of men and women. This is why those of us in the Worship and Arts ministry try to excellently express worship through a diversity of different Arts forms such as music, dance, drama, technology, and visual art. The diversity and excellence of our art both reflects the essence of our creator while also making our artistic expressions relevant to the culture we are trying to reach.

(Mark 14:22-25, Matthew 3:13)

Let’s consider for a moment the ordinances that we observe in obedience to Christ’s teachings. These ordinances represent the indicatives of the Gospel, what God has done in Christ and who we are as a result. These ordinances are the Lord’s Table and baptism. Over the last couple of years, those of us in the Worship and Arts ministry have worked with Pastor Jeff to increase the emphasis on the ordinances within our worship services.

With the Lord’s Table we have tried to use creativity regarding how communion is performed within the service, our goal being to make communion a memorable event within each service it is observed. We have also started making our baptism celebration a part of the main worship service by using pre-recorded video testimonies followed by live baptisms in the chapel which are simulcast to the worship center.

We see both baptism and the celebration of the Lord’s Table as immensely valuable, encouraging, and unifying activities commanded by Christ to take place within the community gathering of believers.

(1 John 3:1, Colossians 3:12-17)

As we consider the indicatives of the Gospel in regard to who we are in Christ, we realize that the gathered church in our community worship service is nothing less than a family and that the community we experience flows from this family identity. In response to this, we are working to prioritize community participation in all aspects of the service from our singing, to the reading of scripture, to the times we greet one another, to every aspect in the service where participation and community can and should be experienced.

No comments: