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.
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.
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 :-)