Yesterday I was part of a team from East Taieri that travelled down the Presidential Highway to Gore for the Inspire 2010 worship conference at Calvin Church. We were informed, encouraged and inspired by keynote speaker David Lyle Morris. As a preacher listening to a musician/worship leader I appreciated again the partnership that can occur in worship services with music and the other creative arts and preaching working together to communicate effectively and prompt God's people in worship.
You can discover more about David Lyle Morris and his music here. I chatted with David, who you might remember sang and spoke at ET in Oct 09. He is keen to come again so we have pencilled in Sept 2011. We have a big combined ET service with all the congregations in together at the Hyslop Hall at Taieri College on 5 Sep 2010. Assuming that all goes well, we could have David lead another combined ET service in Sept 2011.
Some of my reflections:
David and the Inspire team were very encouraging and positive. That encouraging, affirming attitude was refreshing, healing and inspiring in itself.
What a wonderful facility Calvin Church now has! They used the modern auditorium very well. The space was ideal for the responsive/interactive stations they had set up for the Saturday morning. We had plenty of time and room to move around for praying at a cross, painting, writing on stones, viewing a beautiful powerpoint, sharing communion... For ET people, it was the same style as "The Well" which Night Church have set up a couple of times now. The quality of worship space was enough to inspire me about a new auditorium for ET!
I appreciated the blend of songs about God and songs that allowed us to express our response to God. Sadly our repetoire these days is often dominated by songs of response that are actually about what we are doing in our worship, more than they are about God. I think we are improving in this at ET but still have a way to go. Inspire began well with a focus on God and yet also allowed for our responses.
The workshops were simple, yet allowed for people to ask questions and engage at a more advanced level. I learned more about sound (hopefully understand more for times when I need to help music teams with the sound desk in their practices). I also attended a multimedia workshop and appreciated chatting with one of the younger members of the ET team walking back from that one. There is so much potential for involving a wide group of people in using their creative arts to build our worship of God.
So good to be there as a team - talking over issues, encouraging, debating, visioning... Reassuring to know that we are creating worship services together.
On Saturday evening they used a multimedia clip that reminded us that worship is ultimately not all about us and how we feel, but about God! Sometimes I think we are worshipping the feelings and experiences of worship, more than we are actually worshipping God. Look at the words of the songs we sing in those "waiting on God" moments in worship together.
Encouraging to see such a range of people (ages, abilities, gifts,...) all contributing to worship. I was moved to see a young woman with downs syndrome contributing to a painting, and later worshipping God in dance.
Hope this encourages you to be a part of Inspire 2011! I'm certainly fired up to press on with involving our creative folks, as well as building our music, sound and lighting.