Below is a copy of my notes for the closing address I gave at the worship ministries workshop on Saturday, 9.13.08. This was a great day together and something that we will repeat again next year. It was wonderful to see people from the various Trinity ministries devoting themselves to bettering their practice of worship. I am so thankful for those who lead, plan and facilitate the worship of God at Trinity Church. I am also thankful for the church family that gathers to worship throughout the week at Trinity Church. These are good times! September 11, 2008 9:33 PM Here is my revised plan for my 15 minute charge to Trinity’s worship leaders, planners and facilitators at the end of the Worship Ministries Workshop.
Opening: Thanks to our workshop presenters, to our hospitality team (Jen Derksen and Kim Palermo) and to Sheri Blakey for organizing this whole thing. You all have spent some time working on your artistic or technical skill. A commitment to excellence in your artistic or technical area is most honoring to the One who gave you your talent in the first place. Additionally, you’ve heard a lot today about cultivating your heart of worship. In your service to this church family, that is perhaps your greatest contribution – leading and
serving from a heart that is growing more and more in love with Jesus. I’d like to end our time this morning thinking about our greatest responsibility and privilege as leaders, planners and facilitators of worship at Trinity Church. That is the fact that we are inviting and leading people to worship God together. We are in charge of the corporate worship of the body of Christ. This raises the question: What does corporate worship accomplish that individual worship cannot? Once we discover these things, let’s focus our attention on doing them well, for this is something people do not experience unless we do. I have discovered 3 essentials of corporate worship that I would like to be our focus for the year.
1. Together we celebrate the essence of who God is, what he has done (the gospel), and what he is doing among us (changing us). [sing Everlasting God chorus, into Grace Like Rain last chorus] Take a moment to think about what you just experienced . . . can you describe it? . . . You don’t experience that alone. There is
nothing in this world that matches the unity that comes from many voices declaring the same thing. But I’ll tell you something that comes very close and that is what happened at the Lake at Forest Home last Sunday. We witnessed over 20 stories of God actively moving in people’s lives, drawing them to repentance and faith, imparting salvation and new life, bringing them into this new family, and then we saw these people be baptized as an act of obedience. This was a worship service better than anything you or I could plan. None of you should miss a baptism service. The joy of being a part of a worship gathering
is not only declaring the same thing about God together, but also experiencing God together.
2. Together we look to God – there is unity as we all look in the same direction, at the same Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. [sing Lift High verse 1 and chorus and then Show Us Who You Are chorus] There’s something about seeing God together that builds our faith and encourages our hearts to more fully surrender to God’s will and follow his ways. Once again, the joy of being a part of a church family is experiencing God together. This is why it’s so important for those who are on the worship teams to be always present in the life of the church – worship services, baptisms, and corporate prayer times should be a priority in each one of your lives so that we who lead especially have this shared experience. Once we get the first part right, we come to the icing on the cake, something I have only recently discovered as a once missing element of our worship service. The corporate nature of this element is what makes it so powerful.
3. Together we rally around the mission that God has called us to. God calls us to pick up our cross and follow him daily. This is the hardest and greatest thing we will ever do in our lives. The joy and endurance come from the knowledge that we are not alone. We are a part of a kingdom, a family of like-minded people essentially walking the same narrow road that leads to life. An intense focus on our mission is what unites us in our purpose as God’s people. Our worship services must include a reminder of this call, for
it is the call of our Savior. We are the leaders of an army of worshipers moving forward into the battle, but our battle is quite different. Our weapon is our body, hands, feet, and mouths. Our ammunition is love. Our battle cry is worship. Our mission is one of bringing life where there was once death, hope where there was despair, and light where there was darkness. Our mission will not be accomplished until all people worship Jesus Christ. [sing Let the Church Rise v2 and chorus] In conclusion, notice that each of these three essentials of corporate worship are uniquely something we do together. Each of the three results in a powerful unity and a focus that is stronger than any other thing that might cause disunity. I find it amazing that the emphasis of Jesus’ prayer before he went to the cross was the unity of those who followed him. Listen to Jesus’ prayer for his disciples and for us: “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23, NIV) Let’s pray. God we cannot do this well without you. I pray that you would take the things that we have learned today and help us to apply those things. Among all of the things that you accomplish in us as we worship together, I pray that we would be one and that it would be a powerful testimony to the world that you love them. I pray that our art would be excellent, as beautiful as we possibly can make it look and sound, because we carry the greatest message on earth – the message of the gospel, that is, the good news of Jesus Christ. But more than beautiful art, I pray for the hearts of each one on these teams. May we be deeply connected to you, growing and bearing fruit for your kingdom. God I pray that you would change our rebellious hearts to hearts that want to please you more than anything else. Most of all, please fill us with your Holy Spirit. May Trinity Church be a church that overflows with the presence and work of the Holy Spirit. [sing Consuming Fire chorus] In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.