January 23, 2008
I am challenging my worship ministries teams to mainly one area of growth this year. Of course there are other needs for growth, but they our dwarfed by our need for this, and they will all be served best by this:
to focus individual and team time praying for our church as a worshiping community, mainly that fruit would result from our times of corporate worship together.
It would help to read a previous blog, My Desire for Fruitful Ministry, posted on November 7, 2007. Rather than repeating myself here, I will instead jump into Trinity’s first affirmation statement of our Philosophy of Ministry. There are seven of them.
It is from my time gathered with Trinity’s pastoral staff discussing our philosophy of ministry that I have sensed God’s leading toward this increased focus on prayer. The first affirmation is as follows:
- Our ruling principle is the glory of God, honoring him in all that we do.
- We have deep seated commitment to:
- The supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ
- The centrality and authority of the Bible as God’s Word
- Recognition of the empowering of the Holy Spirit as indispensable
- Because of these commitments
- We will honor God through gatherings that are God-centered, biblical, engaging and directed to the growth of Christ-followers, while being sensitive to and accessible to non-believers
- We will pursue biblical instruction that is faithful to God’s revelation and relevant to the lives of people today
- We will declare our dependence by undergirding our church life and our ministries with a mobilized prayer base
- We have deep seated commitment to:
Since my area of influence and responsibility at Trinity is in our worship gatherings, I will speak directly to how this ruling principle determines how we function in worship ministries. It is very important to me that my ministry teams, namely Worship Planning Team leaders and their teams (Art, Drama, Dance, Media, Lighting, Sound, Stage Managing & Music), and my Worship Leadership Team (worship leaders) join me in uniting around and pursuing these 7 affirmations.
First and foremost is that our worship declares the supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the central subject of our worship gatherings – who he is (the God of the Universe) and what he has done (the wonderful gospel) will be proclaimed and celebrated without reserve. Our story is part of the glory of God’s saving work through the gospel and our worship times and programming will spotlight this work among us. However, we are unashamedly defined by Christ and he is the one in the spotlight. Our songs and programming will reflect that.
Second is that the Bible is acknowledged and given authority as God’s Word and is a central authority to our worship gatherings and worship programming. In addition to the teaching of God’s Word, emphasis is given to centrality of Scripture so that all of our music and art is not only true to the Word, but also must be deeply rooted in the truths of Scripture.
Third is that the Holy Spirit is the one who leads us during our worship times and in the planning of our worship times – he is the one that guides us into all truth and the one who produces fruit that will overflow from our individual lives and corporate life at Trinity. That fruit is what gives God great glory and bears testimony to the world that we are his disciples.
It needs to be mentioned here that the purposes of our worship gatherings are to engage those who follow Christ in worshiping him. Those who plan and lead our worship gatherings must make it our first priority to lead those who are seeking God in a corporate experience of meeting with him. It should work itself out this way:
- Our first priority is to lead those who are gathered in worship. In other words, we are not leading a targeted group that is absent, we are leading those who God has sovereignly brought together at that moment. We consider our people first and plan accordingly to make sure we lead them to God. In other words, our musical tastes or artistic creativity, our specific desires and agendas, and even our targeted audience must yield precedence to making sure all of our gathered congregation enters into worship. [Certainly all will not, nevertheless, that should be our aim.]
- Should we lean slightly toward a targeted group, (and we should) we must declare this to our congregation and invite them to join in reaching this group. In that way, we are still seeking to lead those who are gathered, but enlisting them in a specific mission that God is calling us to.
- We assume that all people in our worship gathering are there to meet with God – no matter if they are Christ-followers or not. If they are there, they are seeking him, furthermore, we believe that God has sovereignly brought us together – He is seeking us. In this sense, everything we do, beginning with prayer, is for the purpose of connecting those who are gathered to Jesus Christ.
- Overflowing from our worship gatherings will be the fruit of new life in Christ. We will always look for opportunities to declare the works that God is producing in and through us for the purpose of his glory and the growth of his church.
In conclusion, the last point of this Philosophy of Ministry statement is that our church life and worship ministries must be undergirded by prayer. This is where it begins, carries through and ends. Through prayer we declare our dependence on God’s work, not our own, and we look expectantly for fruit (answers to prayer) to overflow out of our worship times together. I am committing myself to prayer and calling Worship Ministry teams to be the “mobilized prayer base” for our worship gatherings. And then we will look together for the fruit that he is producing in us and joyfully declare it as part of our worship to God. All eyes are on you, God! All eyes are on you.
“Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf! … come, let us rejoice in him.” (Psa. 66:5-6, NIV)