Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Bit Down-trodden...

OK. So I've been feeling a bit down-trodden lately. I have been reminded that being in ministry can be challenging. Worship, ministry, and life itself is a series of tensions that we must work through.

Emotionally, I want to please everyone - I want everyone to be happy, especially with worship. But wisdom and experience speak to the fact that this is not possible. Specifically speaking, some what more hymns, some want less, some like things the way they are. Some want things louder, some want it quieter, some like it the way it is. For some, change is too fast. For others, it is too slow. Where do we seek the balance?

My conclusion, although it does not make things easier, is that there IS no balance. Making people happy, although it seems to make MY life easier on the outside, is not the solution (even if that solution could be sought). I am more convinced than ever that we must look more inward to the life God has put inside of us (Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit). Too often we look on our outward desires and justify them based on our preferences, history, or experiences - when the only justification or solution we should be looking for is from Christ.

So please pray for me that I might be able to be attentive to, hear and respond to, the guidance I might receive from God over the many other voices...

Inside-Out Worship

Being at Hannaford for a year now, we've been evaluating the ministry here. Recently, we've begun a new challenge to continue moving forward. I believe this "forward motion" is necessary for all believers and ministries because we live in an ever-changing and ever-evolving world. While God Himself and His precepts never change, the vehicles in which He is presented must change.

The same living water must be poured into new wine skins for each generation. To quote my good friend Kevin Bowers, "to maintain is to die." For more reading on this thinking, I suggest Len Sweet's Aqua Church and Erwin McManus' An Unstoppable Force.

I present this as food for thought...

As a team in the last year, the Praise Team has been able to produce a change in the atmosphere of worship here at Hannaford - the Holy Spirit has enabled, even anointed us to bring an attitude of celebration and joy to our worship gatherings. What has lacked, however, is a deep passion for God evidenced through our worship on Sundays and throughout the week. (It's not that there isn't a deep passion for God in some, it is just that that passion isn't connecting with our worship). We seem to be fixated on the externals with our worship on the outside - What we are doing and what others are doing..

God has led me to the conclusion that our focus, our vision if you will, must result in inside-out worship. One that develops from Godly passion & purpose, and intimate relationship with Him; a worship that is born from revelation and personal experience; a devotion that flows from a changed life.

Our new vision is to be "a team of servant-leaders who seek passion and purpose through inside-out worship.

God granted this vision as I read through a little book complied by Matt Redman, Inside-Out Worship. As I read through the short readings in the book, I was struck over and over about how the topics addressed the missing elements of our worship (and our understanding of worship). So, yes. I took the phrases "passion and purpose" and "inside-out worship" for my own - Under the circumstances, I don't think Matt would mind.