I recently attended a Worship Leaders training event at the Caraway Conference Center in Sophia, NC, led by Kenny Lamm of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. I learned many things that I pray will be helpful to everyone in our congregation as we pursue a lifestyle of worship that gives glory to Almighty God, communicates the Gospel of Christ clearly to those who need to know Him as Savior, and builds up fellow believers in their faith.
One of the key concepts shared during the conference is called UNIFIED WORSHIP. To quote the conference leader, Kenny Lamm, “This is achieved when people of different generations, ethnicities and/or cultures, who possess differing personal preferences, come together to worship God in unity as they lay aside their preferences to achieve a oneness that can be found through the transformational power of the Gospel. In doing so, genuine worship takes place.”
What does this mean, exactly? For one thing, it means each individual attending Coggins Church would seek to celebrate the worship that is taking place in the life of everyone in attendance at a particular service or church gathering, even if some of the songs that are sung are not as familiar or on a list of personal favorites. To be honest, I think all of us, regardless of age or life experience, may need to admit that we are sometimes invited to sing songs that we don’t particularly like. Pursuing Unified Worship, however, means that we make a genuine effort to appreciate the likes or personal song preferences of other people who are sitting in the same room with us, perhaps even on the same pew. Another way to think about this is self-sacrifice, which is one of the primary requirements of a disciple of Jesus. As He said in Mt. 16:24, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Kenny Lamm also shared at this conference that worship is not one-dimensional. He pointed out that while Jesus told us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, He also commanded us to love one another as He has loved us. As we sing the songs of the Christian faith, our thoughts are directed primarily to God as an expression of worship to Him, but we also need to realize that we are singing to one another as we express our love for the Lord and our faith in Him as our Savior. This dimension of loving one another in Christ’s name is what makes unified worship possible and demonstrates the power of God at work in human hearts and minds.
In the coming days, as we worship our Lord together and as we spend time with each other outside of scheduled services, let us continually look for ways to build each other up in the faith and to pursue a lifestyle of worship that is willing to set aside personal preferences for the sake of unity in the body of Christ.
Article for Coggins Courier Newsletter – 07/23/22
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