I have been on vacation the past two Sundays which provided me the opportunity to gather with the people of God in contexts other than my own community of faith. It was refreshing to worship in two completely different settings and I found my soul refreshed and renewed. As well, my learning strength kicked in and while my main intention for gathering was the worship of our great God, I must admit I took in as much as I could, taking careful notice of the kinds of environments dynamics that help (or hinder) the people encounter the living God in corporate worship.
Last Sunday I gathered with the people of Low Country Community Church – Hilton Head campus. This is an exciting time for this four year old faith community as they will be formally launched on September 11 as the Hilton Head Island Community Church. I became familiar with this church through The Worship Community where Worship Arts Director Cynthia Cullen has contributed to the TWC weekly posts. On this particular Sunday, Cynthia and her husband Todd (lead pastor at the new HHI Church) happened to be providing leadership at the Bluffton campus and while I was sad to have missed meeting them, it provided the opportunity to meet Eric Abney, their new worship guy for the Bluffton campus. Eric, his wife Kayla and team were leading at the HHI campus (along with Lead Pastor Jeff Cranston who was teaching – tons of teamwork and partnering between these campuses) and the music set included:
- Not to Us (Chris Tomlin)
- Forever (Chris Tomlin)
- Mighty to Save (Hillsong)
- How Great Is Our God (John Mark McMillan)
- Indescribable (Laura Story)
After worship I had a great conversation about worship and technology with Eric. He walked me through their setup and showed me their Ableton loop set-up an demonstrated how they are using it to enhance their music. Intriguing!
Today I gathered with the people of God at North Way Christian Community’s Oakland campus where my friend Doug Melder is the campus pastor. True confession – I am not a fan of the video venue aprroach to worship (fodder for another post soon). That said, North Way has done a tremendous job in thinking through the realities of being one church in multiple locations (fodder for another post soon). I have a ton of respect for Doug and grateful for the leadership and vision he is providing not only to the Oakland campus but to the overall North Way community. Doug did a fantastic job of connecting the elements of worship together and even conducted a baby dedication using his iPad – technologically and pastorally impressive!
Worship Director Kassi Hemerka and the music team created a worshipful environment and lead us through a well chosen set of songs. I couldn’t see a drummer on the platform and surmised that they were using some loops to provide the rhythm for the set. I have to admit I missed the energy and dynamism that a solid drummer brings to the table. Their music set included:
- Lord Almighty (Kristian Stanfill)
- Our God (Chris Tomlin)
- Hallelujah (Hillsong)
- We Fall Down (Chris Tomlin)
- From the Inside Out (Hillsong)
A question for worship leaders: when is the last time you worshiped with God’s People apart from your worship ministry leadership context and setting?
And BTW – I am really fired up to return to my community of faith next Sunday!
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced in worship this weekend at The Worship Community.