Another day of Prayer and Fasting and Worship Celebration!

It's been a while since I've had a chance to properly communicate out, but I thought it important to update you on a few events coming up that I consider very important to anyone involved in worship.

I understand that it is very difficult to make it to the very many things going on at church and life in our present busy world. This makes it even more critical to decide our priorities and get along to events or meetings that reflect them.

It's my hope that those involved in areas of worship leadership (which includes band members, video and sound teams) would find events like those below important too.

DAY OF PRAYER AND FASTING - This Friday (26 Sep) @ 8pm

As you hopefully know from previous emails or notices, this week has been our Week of Prayer every evening between 8 and 10pm. Perhaps you've made it to one or two of the evenings. If you haven't (or even if you have), please consider joining us at least for the Prayer & Fasting evening tomorrow (Friday 26th Sep) from 8 to 10pm.
We are anticipating a good turnout from our church community and we'll have fasted throughout the day. When we fast together to turn out attention to what God may be saying to us personally and as a community, it is a powerful thing! Please join in this if at all possible.

WORSHIP CELEBRATION - This Sunday (28 Sep) @ 6pm
The culmination of our Week of Prayer will be the Worship Celebration on Sunday evening at 6pm. I know as someone involved in worship in some capacity that this is something you'll be drawn to and I hope you will participate in.
Please strongly consider coming out at 5pm to join myself and the team to pray and chat briefly over pizza ahead of the Worship Celebration. If there are things God has been putting on your heart or things you want to ask about or comment on, this is the place.

GREAT BIG GOD 5 ALBUM LAUNCH PARTY - Friday 3 Oct @ 6.30pm
The 5th release of childrens worship albums is going to be a lot of fun for children (and probably adults too!). We're always keen to have team to help make these kind of events happen well and offer the Riverside Vineyard welcome to our guests and to Vineyard Records. Book here for children to attend or get in touch if you'd like to help make this event great!

NATIONAL VINEYARD WORSHIP RETREAT - 17-19 Oct - The Hayes, Derbyshire
Every year worship people from Vineyard churches around the country get together to worship and hang out together. This year John & Marie Barnett are guest speakers.
If you'd like to join in at this retreat, go here for more info or to book.

Equally feel free to drop me an email anytime to chat, ask anything or see if we can grab a coffee.

Thanks very much for your involvement in worship and hope to see you soon.

Posted on September 25, 2014 .

After the day of Prayer and Fasting ...

I hope you're well. I mean it - so many people in our church community have fallen ill or had freak accidents in the past few weeks, and those are just the ones I know about! It seems more than coincidence. I think we've realised that we are constantly in a battle. No one (usually) wants to go to war, but it is difficult to remain a neutral non-engaged civilian when bombs are falling in your backyard.

I will elaborate on my thoughts a bit more below, but if you're short on time, please at least note these quick points:

  • This week, Sunday at 6pm, is the last Worship Celebration before we take a 2 month break over Summer.  I've decided to do this one a little differently, which I'm excited about. Please come along and be a part of this evening!
  • Join us at 5pm for some pizza, prayer and catch-up. I've really appreciated the opportunity to hear from you and pray together at these brief sessions. If possible, please let me know whether you can make it (helps me order the right amount of pizza :-), but come along either way.

I often like to listen to some helpful audio books or podcasts while I'm doing stuff around the house or some more routine or functional work. I came across an interesting talk by Tim Keller that you can listen to here. It seems to speak at least in part to the place we find ourselves as a church community. Listen to the first 10 minutes at least if you can.

Did you manage to take part in the church-wide fasting and prayer day about a week ago? I was so encouraged by the number of people that participated and the real sense of ownership everyone assumed within the church. The local church community is more than the staff team, more than the leaders - it's all of us... and we're all part of the greater church too! We are a branch of the Kingdom.

Having said that, our particular branch seems to be under attack from the enemy. This could be because there are so many good things going on that he feels threatened and so seeks to take us out, or it could be that we have sin in our lives that has weakened our position and made us easy targets. It's most likely both of these things. I've encouraged us, as those involved in leading our community in worship to examine ourselves and allow God to cleanse us and strengthen us, so that we can set a lead for people we are responsible for. We should also examine ourselves first before pointing the finger at others. Let's continue to do this in humility, knowing that God desires the best for us and will transform us and make us who He designed us to be.

This transformation so often happens within the context of worship, even though we don't worship to make God do anything or so that He will, but rather, as we worship Him because of who He is and as a response to what He has done for us in making a way to restore us to Himself, a natural by-product is that we are healed, transformed, restored, delivered.

As I mentioned above, this Worship Celebration on Sunday evening will be the last one for a couple of months. Even as we started out on the journey to explore this worship space, I'd thought that I don't want us to get into a routine where we lose the passion and energy for what we do in these times. The Summer seems a natural break to re-assess and plan the next step in our collective corporate worship. I welcome your thoughts and opinions, so please let me know! I have to take a lead in these things because that's what has been given to me to do, but I can't make anything happen by myself and I value the contribution you have to make - so let me know!!

I've mentioned that I want to do something a little differently for the Celebration on Sunday evening - this is going to involve setting up the auditorium slightly differently, so I'm looking for a few volunteers to help make this happen - I know your main area of service is in playing or singing or doing sound or video etc, but that doesn't mean that setting up the venue is less valuable a role, please let me know if you can help. It probably involves arriving at around 4pm, so that it's set up by our gathering at 5pm.

Thanks for reading and being a part of all this!

Posted on June 20, 2014 .

Another Worship Celebration...

I hope you're well. It's another Worship Celebration coming up and I want to encourage you to come along and support the event.

I feel we are in a season of pressing in to worship again and perhaps in a new way. We need to develop a culture of worship in our church community and this is something I can't do alone - if at all by myself. I've been so grateful for everyone that has joined us as we've explored this new space for worship.

Part of our role as worship leaders (which is everyone involved in worship in any way- from video to sound to drums to team leader), is to encourage and support worship wherever we can - that could be in turning up to an event, serving in some practical capacity or being part of the band.
We also can't hope to lead people where we haven't gone ourselves and I think we'll need to lead our people through a season of confession and repentance (this is a normal part of our spiritual walk, which we often neglect), so I encourage you to explore what that means for yourself as we begin down this road.

I'm sure you'll agree that we have a bit of way to go to really develop more of a community amongst those of us who serve in leading worship. One of the connecting points I'm hoping can help is that we get together at around 5pm on Worship Celebration nights to catch up together and pray ahead of the 6pm start. It would be great to have you join us - we'll rustle up a bit of pizza to sweeten the deal ;-).

Thank you so much for being a part of our journey and for serving - I appreciate the quality of people I have the privilege of serving alongside.

Hope to see you there at 5pm for a brief catch-up or at least from 6pm for the actual celebration.

Posted on April 26, 2014 .

Worship Celebration & some thoughts...

We've had a fantastic third Worship Celebration at the end of March and I hope you were able to be a part of that. It was especially good to have so many of you from the Riverside Vineyard worship community join us before to chat and pray. If you come along early (around 5pm) to the next one, you may even get a slice of pizza ;-).

One of the things we chatted around at that pre-Worship Celebration gathering, was the sense that we are heading into battle and that like in biblical times, the worshippers and musicians would be at the front of the army. It sounds like a privileged position and it is! It is also a tough place to find oneself - at the front of the battle, we will come across challenges first, we need to deal with our issues first and help lead people into and through these things. 

It does seem that God is increasingly working something in our church and community and that is exciting and we welcome it. History shows that most of the large moves of the Spirit have been preceded by times of confession and repentance.

In line with this, could I encourage you to ask the Lord to show you anything that needs to be dealt with in your life. It could be something small, or it may be a few big things, but freedom and forgiveness is there for us - but we do need to act and partner with God as he transforms us.

No-one (usually) wants to head into battle, but as someone used to say to me a few years ago: "It's hard to be a civilian when bombs are falling in your backyard", and there are plenty of biblical analogies affirming that we are in a battle - (check out this list of biblical references for a good snapshot).

As you know, we worship God because He is worthy and as a response to His love for us. Some of the significant benefits from our times of worship are that He blesses us, giving us good things, He transforms us, He forgives us, He empowers us and commissions us (sends us out). 

Our times of worship are significant for us today not because it's just fun to do, or because we get blessed, but because one of the side-effects is that we end up reaching out to our community and sharing the connection and relationship we have with others.

Let's remember that each time of worship - personal and when we're together - is part of a continuing story unfolding in our lives and the lives around us...

Posted on April 7, 2014 .

Vineyard London Area Worship Day Retreat - 24 May

Just a quick post, but wanted to put it out there that the London Area's first Vineyard Day Retreat will be hosted at Riverside Vineyard on 24 May 2014. Full details to follow, but sign up here in the meantime.

It is a well-observed phenomenon that people in larger churches feel less of a need to connect with other churches because in reality they have a lot they can connect with in their local setting. This is valid and true in our setting too.

I believe we can contribute a lot to the broader London Area Vineyard, however, and we could even learn some things that may be helpful to us.

Could I encourage you to sign up for the event and to be there. This is another connection point for us as a worship community at Riverside.

Posted on March 13, 2014 .

Why this blog? & thoughts around Worship Celebrations


I have been leading worship and the teams at Riverside for a while now. I find myself in the unique position amongst churches in that we have no shortage of passionate worshippers who are also skilled musicians and vocalists. The challenge facing me is trying to make space for everyone to get a chance to serve. It's a fantastic challenge to have!

So why this blog? I realise that many people aren't really bothered by what I may be thinking, but in a recent discussion with a wise friend, I realised again that for many people within the worship community at Riverside Vineyard, it would be very helpful to know what is going on inside my head.

This blog space is my way of trying to give a glimpse into some of the thoughts I have about the direction of worship at Riverside Vineyard - what I feel the Lord may be saying to us and some of my own ideas. My thoughts will include many of your thoughts and suggestions that you may have submitted or passed on to me too, so please don't feel that I'm trying to claim credit for your ideas - I'm so glad that we can journey together and appreciate that I'm able to draw from and internalise some of the wisdom from within our community.

Worship Celebrations

Perhaps I should start off with some of my thoughts around the recent launch of our Monthly Worship Celebrations.

Andy, our Senior Pastor, and I have been chatting for over two years now about how we can create space within the life of our church for extended times of worship.

We have intentionally limited the time we engage in worship on Sundays - in our context and for the things we feel God has called our church to, it is helpful that we make worship accessible to as many people as possible and that includes newcomers and those perhaps not completely comfortable yet with worshipping for a much longer time.

We also have intentionally put time pressure on ourselves by positioning our two morning services close to each other, so that all of us have the sense that we are part of a bigger church and to give opportunity to bump into and chat with people from the earlier or later service depending on which we've elected to attend.

So, after bouncing around many ideas over the last few years, the opportunity presented itself for us to create an extended space of worship one Sunday evening a month.
Lulu, who planted Riverside Vineyard with Rick, had once presented us with a helpful explanation of why we sometimes linger in worship. She said it was like standing in the rain and the longer you stand in the rain, the wetter you get! I know - this is obvious! The Worship Celebrations are the space we have made to stand in the rain longer.

We have the unique opportunity here to help shape this service. 

I realise that probably all of us involved in the area of musical worship would love to be a part of the teams serving for these events. It's impossible to have everyone on stage at the same time, but please know that the intention is absolutely to share the responsibility across our team members, so hopefully we'll all get a chance.
I'd really love to see these events led by those of us already involved in leading worship in the life of our church and to develop community through our involvement. Could I suggest that we all gather at 5pm on the Worship Celebrations to pray for and support the team that will be leading on the evening and to also just hang out together ahead of the Celebration. I'd love to see you there.

Contact me

I know it can appear difficult to contact me - this is not intentional, so I'd like to help. Just use the form on the right to drop me an email. I get feedback and input all the time and I may not be able to use all of it directly, but I do draw on all of the thoughts, comments and suggestions passed my way. What I'm saying is, please get in touch :-)

Posted on February 19, 2014 and filed under Worship.