With every new year comes a since of excitement, but this year I am especially excited. I am excited because I am really starting to see a glimpse of the change happening in the Worship Culture at ECC. At one time preparing for our Sunday Worship gatherings consisted of trying to make sure all of the details were worked out and trying to find the “next big thing” when it came to songs, service elements, visuals, etc. While these things can enhance our experience, it can also become what we think of as “Worship”. I have heard it said that “what you win people with is what you win them to“. This can be especially true when talking about a church service. If we focus more on the presentation of the gospel, rather than God’s revelation and power of it, then the presentation can become the reason for the gathering. If there is no room for the Holy Spirit to move on the people because of all the plans we have made, then the whole thing is in vain.
We now start our planning by asking God how He wants to use these elements to get His message in the hands of the people. Since this decision, God has truly honored our efforts. There has been an obvious change in the way we Worship on Sundays. People show up expecting God to speak to them (but not for the first time that week, but in community with other believers) Every week is no longer about getting people to “participate” in congregational singing, reading of the word, and prayer, but rather simply creating environments where the Holy Spirit can move among us.
Obviously the Worship Culture is a direct reflection of the spiritual depth of the people. We (the leadership) spent the last year going through discipleship training (which focused more on the spiritual health/growth of the individual rather than the group) with Chad Hambrick. This proved to be the best thing for our corporate gatherings. More people are “self-feeders,” as my good friend Brad Rutledge would say. They own their faith daily, and are constantly multiplying the same lifestyle into other believers. You could never imagine how much this has already changed the Worship climate at ECC!
While we still have a long way to go in our understanding of true Worship, our expectancy of God’s weekly revelation, and dependency on the Holy Spirit, I am so excited about the direction we are going in re-defining the Worship Culture at ECC. The Worship Arts team is getting together this weekend to talk about where we are in this process and where He will take us as a team in 2011. I can not wait see where He takes us in this next year as we continue to focus on Him, His plans, and His spirit to guide and direct us on a daily basis!