Week six has come and gone, and that means this School of Worship is already half way through! The highlights of this week were doing a praise walk out in the beautiful nature that surrounds Burtigny and our SOW group leading the weekly community night. Every Thursday the base hosts a night where they open up their doors to anyone wanting to come in for a message, some worship, and then a treat and some fellowship time afterwards. Community night this week consisted of us leading worship through song and a few of us sharing testimonies about what God has been teaching us through the school so far. For one of the songs we sang, we had a verse sung in French, Japanese, Chad, and English. Talk about bringing a powerful glimmer of Revelation 7:9 to life! As usual, I have included in this update the top ten points from the teaching, what I learned about leading worship, and a few pictures – this week, mainly of the wonderful SOW team!
Week 6 – A History of Worship – Tom and Linda Panci
The Key: Studying what worship has looked like throughout the ages, and how different movements throughout history shaped worship and the different denominations within Christianity.
Ten Main Points
- There is nothing new under the sun. If we do not learn from the lessons of history, we will be condemned to repeat them. We see throughout history that the different denominations of Christianity and their ways of worshipping have moved like a giant pendulum, first from one extreme, and then to the opposite extreme; back and forth and back and forth. If we want to find balance, then we need to acknowledge our own pendulum swings and be honest about what extreme we might be swinging towards and swinging away from. When something has been abused, that does not mean the whole practice is bad and that it should be completely rejected.
- The rule of heart – God is more concerned with the heart we have to worship Him. Rather than jumping to conclusions about a different worship style, we should also consider the heart.
- In just the USA alone there are over 350 denominations of Christianity!
- Truth and relevance are often points of tension. We must seek to keep truth, but also keep relevant to our day, and find the balance between the two.
- Just because something is different, it is not necessarily wrong.
- Usefulness and beauty are also often points of tension. If something is simply beautiful, that does not mean that it is useless and should be thrown away.
- If you don’t like it, do something better. If you want it to happen, do something about it.
- The spontaneity of today can become the tradition of tomorrow.
- To be a leader you must have an attitude of service – ask God, what do the people I am serving need right now?
- Borrowing things from the past and others is ok! We should also look forward to the future though – new styles of worship are coming. Will we be able to adapt?
What I Learned About Leading Worship From Tom and Linda
“It’s not wrong, it’s just different”
Tom and Linda did a great job of sharing about so many different denominations, movements, and ways of worship throughout history, and they always did it in a way that was respectful. They both have their own set of beliefs and backgrounds, and yet they did not present the history of worship in a way that clearly promoted their own beliefs and belittled the beliefs of others. They taught us that we all have a liturgy, even those of us who seem to be allergic to that word and want to push it away. Even spontaneity is a type of liturgy. Rather than despising other liturgies or other ways of worship, why not learn about them and try to appreciate them? We should integrate different styles, definitely include different nations, and in turn worship God in a deeper and richer way.
Tied in with this lesson is the rule of heart. When something looks different, our first conclusion should not be one filled with judgment. Instead, we should consider the heart. Why is a person or a group worshipping in that way? What does it mean to them? Are they trying to glorify God, love Him, and bring others together to love Him in a way that is good, right, and true, and based on God’s Holy Bible? If the answer is yes, then their style of worship is not wrong, no matter how different it may be from our own. It is just different. There is very little said in the New Testament about ‘worship’ or how we should praise God through song during our church services. And even from what is said, there are different interpretations. We need to remember that there are absolute truths within Christianity, such as believing that Christ died on the cross for our sins, but rose again and will someday return, but there are also plenty of relatives that do not take away a person’s salvation. We cannot let those relatives bring about disunity and should not disrespect those who have different relatives than us.
All the glory to God for yet another amazing opportunity to learn, grow, and serve! May He bless each one of you on each of your own journeys too! To end this post I will share the verse that we memorized this week:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” – John 14:26