Apr 2013 18

 

One of the things I love about my church is how many people come early and are ready to engage from the moment the first note is strummed, first word is prayed, or first verse is read.  I’ve lead in multiple environments over the years where the vast majority arrived five to fifteen minutes into the service.  And while we have a strong contingent of Cornerstoner’s who are ready to worship when we begin, for every person there, there is more than one who hasn’t arrived yet.

All this came to mind recently when, responding to some road construction near our entrance, we encouraged people from on stage to arrive early and when I came across this blog post by Joe Thorn.   He writes:

“Otherwise, you should be careful to get there on time because the beginning of the worship gathering is not a throw-away of announcements (which you should pay attention to anyway). Rather, at least in our case, the beginning of our corporate worship is thoughtfully put together with the aim of directing our thoughts toward God. From the opening Scripture to the closing benediction every piece of the liturgy is a piece to a puzzle that, when assembled, gives us all a fuller picture of the gospel.”

For those of us who share in leading our gatherings we have the opportunity and responsibility to teach our people how our liturgy, whether traditional or modern, is purposefully crafted and assembled to draw people into a closer connection with God.  It can be easy for us, as we see people often trickle in five minutes into the service, to treat the opening elements of the service more casually.  To not put elements at the beginning, though they set the tone perfectly, that if missed would result in a lack of context for what follows.  Instead we should we should craft our services in the way that best leads our people while communicating often the value and philosophy behind our gatherings.

And for those that often arrive after the service has begun I would encourage you to view the beginning of the service much as you would the beginning of a movie.  We don’t miss the start of a movie because we value the worth of the movie as as whole. And in the same way we should grow to value our gatherings and all their elements as a whole, from beginning to end.

Apr 2013 09

 

I shared this quote from John Piper at our gathering on Sunday.  He puts to words what many of us feel intuitively. There is something all together exclusive about the role music in our spiritual lives.

“So music and singing are necessary to Christian faith and worship for the simple reason that the realities of God and Christ, creation and salvation, heaven and hell are so great that when they are known truly and felt duly, they demand more than discussion and analysis and description; they demand poetry and song and music. Singing is the Christian’s way of saying: God is so great that thinking will not suffice, there must be deep feeling;and talking will not suffice, there must be singing.”

– John Piper | “Singing And Making Melody To The Lord”

Apr 2013 08

ipaddetail

Ames

King of All Days

Cornerstone

Nothing But the Blood

Second Chance

You’ll Come

 

Ankeny

Rise

Second Chance

God is Able

Revelation Song

Lead me to the Cross

 

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