It’s already been four months since I started serving as the Worship Arts Pastor at Cochrane Alliance. It has been thoroughly enjoyable! Some of the highlights for me have been our Worship Nights, Easter Sunday and watching our worship grow in expression and passion. I believe the Holy Spirit is moving us to worship Jesus more authentically. Since worship is the overflow of knowing, communing with, and seeing Jesus, the more that we love Jesus, the more authentic our worship will be.
A Heart for Jesus and Unreserved Worship
We want Jesus to be enthroned upon our praises. We want our heart for Jesus to be enlarged so that the things of this world grow dim and Jesus is seen more clearly. My prayer is that the experience of our founder A.B. Simpson would be our experience:
I have seen Jesus, and my heart is dead to all beside.
I have seen Jesus, and my wants are all supplied.
I have seen Jesus, and my heart is satisfied,
Satisfied with Jesus.
As we strive for a environment that enables us to express our worship more unreservedly, we have made a number of adjustments.
Our goal with volume and mix levels is to enable as many people as possible to engage in the singing.
As one who has led worship in many different auditoriums, it seems to me that our sanctuary is a very “live” room. This creates an incredible challenge for our Worship Teams and Sound Techs to create an environment where it isn’t too loud and the mix is just right. We are looking into some different options regarding sound dampening (i.e. sound baffles, theatre curtains). Unfortunately, these options are not cheap and current budget restrictions may prevent us from moving ahead as quickly as we would like. We are also looking at moving the screens off the stage in order to open up our stage. This will help with stage decor and aesthetics.
We have made a minor adjustment with the lighting in our sanctuary by making it dimmer. We have noticed when the room is a little darker, individuals are less distracted and feel more comfortable to express themselves. This was something that came to our attention in the worship survey taken in Fall 2017. Our goal is not to draw attention to the people on the stage but rather to limit distractions that keep the congregation from engaging in worship. Since we want you to engage with the scriptures during sermons, we will ensure there is enough light for Bible-reading and note-taking.
We want our music to be theologically accurate, telling the truth about who God is and what he does. Our songs should be focused more on him and less on us. Nonetheless, worship music should enable us to express our love for God in personal, intimate terms. Our God is an intimate, relational God! In Psalm 42:1-2, the Psalmist says:
As a deer pants for flowing streams,so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God.
As a church family we want to be bold, expressing the deep truths of God’s character and singing songs that express our desire for intimacy with him. Here is the paradigm we as worship leaders use to select our songs each week:
- What is the Scripture focus for the Sunday?
- How is God speaking to us as a church?
- What is God doing right now in our community?
- What are we asking God to do among us in the future?
- Is there music currently speaking to the church in other parts of the world that might also speak to us?
We are an active congregation with many ministries taking place outside of Sunday mornings. People need to know what’s going on! At the same time, we've noticed that extended times of announcements tend to distract us from the purpose of worship gatherings: worshiping God and hearing the word! So, we have streamlined our announcement period relying more-heavily on slides so that our communication is effective and efficient. Please note that you can always find lots of information about our ministries on our website.
It is a privilege to serve this family as worship leader, and lead-worshipper. I am excited to see where God is going to take us as a church. If you’d like to know more or talk about how we as a church family can give glory to Jesus more unreservedly, I’d love to connect with you! Please feel free to call me or email me.