~ Worship in 3D ~
Welcome to the second in a series of guest posts from inspirational people who are committed to investing in the worship life of the Church. This time we have Mark Carey, a brilliant man and leader who is passionate about mission being integral to our corporate worship.
“When Christians are to be found really worshipping God, loving him, excited with him, and when their worship makes them into a caring community of love, then questions will be certainly asked, leading to excellent opportunities for sharing the good news of Christ” - David Watson.
I can’t remember when I came across these words from David Watson but they have stayed with me and have shaped my thinking on worship significantly. David Watson was a great evangelist – I made a commitment to Christ in my early teens responding to a call to faith made by him. He was a man genuinely in love with Jesus, open to the Spirit, committed to the body of Christ and passionate about salvation. David’s statement about the effect of passionate worship is also 3 dimensional – he talks of worship (UP), community (IN) and sharing the good news (OUT).
The church I lead seeks to live, grow and develop in a three dimensional way: UP, IN & OUT.
We are a charismatic, evangelical, Anglican fresh expression network of missional communities (!) that seeks to live in the tension between gathering to worship and scattering for mission.
As senior leader I want to see worship that is genuinely 3 dimensional at our Kairos central gatherings, worship that informs and shapes our community life to such an extent that it releases the sharing of the good news of Christ in the communities we scatter into.
We have to work hard at this as we only gather centrally twice a month so clear leadership, good building of relationship between myself and key worship leaders, plus New Wine worship retreats help a great deal. We don’t expect the worship ‘set’ to be the only means by which we are 3 dimensional as a community we prioritise faith-sharing, community praying & listening, preaching and copious quantities of coffee and cake.
The words of David Watson draw attention to the dynamic and transforming effect of true worship. I have seen people spontaneously released in gifts of the Spirit, people returning to God as the church worships Jesus and I’ve seen people grow in love for each other as they learn to worship together. I have witnessed people, as a result of “really worshipping God” receiving fresh missional vision and being released to it.
But in order to get there we have to purposefully undermine the tendency we have to make worship all about ‘me’ and my experience of God. Worship isn’t about me; it’s for Jesus, for the body and for the world.
We have to work against the consumerist tendencies we all have and allow time for faith-sharing, for listening, to be completely open to the work of the Spirit who will always be breathed on us by Jesus who says “as the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21-22). Sometimes myself or our senior worship leaders will call people to worship, restating what we are about and why we are here….. not for us, but for Jesus.
As a result of my reflections I have a number of questions that provoke me and hopefully will provoke you;
- Do I approach a time of worship as an opportunity to be ‘sent’?
- Do I genuinely expect that the encounter with Jesus in worship will make me love and care more for others?
- Is the worship I lead or am involved in genuinely 3 dimensional? (have a look at your last ‘set list’)
- Do we have enough songs that express ‘IN’ and ‘OUT’?
Mark is married to Penny and they have 3 children Joe (15), Dan (13) and Grace (11). He leads Kairos Network Church based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire a church with a vision to release communities of followers in the mission of Jesus. He is also on the leadership team of New Wine North and East with a worship oversight role. As well as that he is a permanent member of the Order of Mission, an Arsenal FC fan and loves reading, listening to music (especially Athlete) and watching TV mini-series box sets (current favourite Game of Thrones). Follow him on twitter – @kairoscarey