Summer is coming and we’re looking forward to a great season of music and worship at Cornerstone Church. Summer is always difficult to arrange, so we’re gong to thank you in advance for your participation and flexibility. We did our best to work with everyone’s schedule, so let me know if you have anything else you would prefer. Other than that the opportunity to download the music schedule here: (Summer Music Schedule, May-August.pdf), and then take an opportunity to read how my time in Haiti challenged my approach to worship.
So I just recently had my first chance to go to Haiti. It was actually my first mission trip ever, and as much as you hear the stories and see the pictures, you still don’t quite understand until you put your feet on the ground and see it with your own eyes. The fact is, when I arrived in Haiti, it felt like I’d stepped into a totally different world. Of course that is a bit of an odd saying, because I haven’t really left the planet. What really happened was the experience of something different than what I am familiar with. I became aware of the amazing diversity with which God’s creative energy spoke the world into place. There are different people, cultures, plants, and animals. And God said his creation was good. As unfamiliar as Haiti may seem from my perspective, I have to admit it was a beautiful place.
As I read in Genesis 1 it’s interesting to read about the details in which God created the world. We see details of order and of purpose. Plants and animals are created in such a way that God envisions this natural ongoing rhythm in the continuance of each species. Genesis 1:11-13 says “Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.” That as He put plants, trees, fish, birds and animals into the world they would continue to reproduce and fill the earth with more of the same. The same is true with human beings. God said to man in verse 28 to, “be fruitful and increase in number”.
This begs the question, what kind of fruit are we producing? It is inspiring to be in Haiti to worship with our Christian brothers and sisters there. They are very expressive in their worship. Hands are raised, songs are sung loudly, there is clapping and movement. Haitian worship is exciting and engaging in ways that are different from ours. I’m certainly not going to say its better, especially after understanding from scripture that God’s creative diversity expressive itself in different ways. Maybe we are just different. But what I was struck by was the fact that the whole community is engaged, and thus modeling and passing on the passion of worship in very tangible ways to the next generation. They achieve expressive passionate worship because they are constantly being shown how to do it. The adults teach the children by their actions.
Our worship culture is a bit more subdued, but we also need to be aware of what we will produce. Our challenge as worship teams is to help lead and model appropriate responses while we worship our God. I recently read the book Revolve: A New Way to See Worship. In this book Pastor Nelson Searcy says that, “If you serve on the worship team, remember that congregation members will take their cues from you. In fact I’ve found that they will give me back about 10 percent of what you give them.” What he’s saying is that we actually have to work a lot harder than our brothers and sister in Haiti in order the help teach and model biblical patterns of worship in response to our great God. It might feel like an exaggeration at times, but we are serving God, and we need to understand that our comfort is less important than our ability to lead and bear fruit in our ministry.
So as we go into the summer, let’s think about the fruit of our worship ministry, and of what we are producing. If we are lifeless and passionless in our worship, then we will be raising up a generation behind that will be just like us. Instead let us take up the challenge to love our God deeply, and to lead others to know and honour Him in their lives. The Cornerstone Church worship ministry should be full of men and women that are models of faith that worship in Spirit and Truth and like Paul can have the boldness to say: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9). Let us continue to challenge each other and look forward to bearing the fruit of the next generation of worshipers.
Associate Pastor of Music & Arts