Observations on Theology, Culture and the Hosier family

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

WORSHIP WITHOUT A NET

Last Sunday I decided Gateway Church should fly without a safety net, and worship without a band. This came at the end of a five week preaching series on the Holy Spirit, during which I have been emphasizing how the people of God are to experience the presence of God and allow his gifts to flow amongst us.

It felt a bit of a risk. With a driving band up front worship can be pushed along, and even if the people are not very engaged the band can fill the gaps. Going without a band throws the responsibility back to the congregation, and means it is much easier to crash.

We didn’t go completely unplugged – I had a worship leader and another vocalist to give a lead, and a keyboard to help get the pitch right, and provide some flow. But at least half of the time we sang without any instrumental accompaniment at all.

And it was fabulous!

I got some very encouraging feedback from members of the congregation on the Communications Cards we give out every week:

“Amazing explosion in my heart this morning, like I’m waking up – praise God!”

“Fantastic awesome morning in God’s presence – absolutely beautiful – my heart is pounding with having been before my saviour. Wow!”

“Hallelujah! Lives will change following that message and worship… More, more!!!”

“Wonderful reminder and experience of what church ‘worship’ is about.”

“Thankyou, thankyou Lord”

So we’ll be doing that again!

What would interest me though is to see how it would work worshipping without a band in a big church or conference. There would be less potential for individual members of the congregation to bring contributions than there is in my smaller church, but my guess is that it would still be terrific. There is just something incredibly powerful about the sound of unaccompanied voices crying out in praise to God.

I’d like to see it tried at the Brighton conference next week. Dare I say, it might make us charismatics more charismatic!

2 comments:

Al Shaw said...

Doing exactly this exercise regularly in the church in Bristol was one of the factors that lead me to explore the dynamic of small churches more closely.

In the end, I concluded that this highly participatory style of meeting was (a) what I wanted to be involved in (b) difficult to discover in a large church.

Well done for stepping out.

Anita said...

It was an amazing experience to witness the presence of the Holy Spirit during that service. What a risk. I so enjoyed being able to hear those around me join in worship and my heart began to overflow with praise to Jesus. I thought we would raise the roof with 'It is Well'. Proof that we shouldn't shy away from the hymns. A balance is important and I hope we can do that again.