Category Archives: worship concepts

discontiguous continuity

Nancy and I spent three hours today at a funeral.  I had only seen Mrs. Smith (her real name) once, and we hadn’t talked at all. If you are a regular reader here, however, you know that I did pray for her and put a spot of oil on her forehead.

She died a couple days after that, which really was no surprise. After 92 years and 9 children and innumerable grands and great-grands and great-great-grands (one of whom sat on my lap for part of the service), she had built a great cathedral of praise and it was time for her to stop all the working and just get to the praising part.

I cried during the service, which really was no surprise. What was a nice surprise was the realization that I was having almost exactly the same feeling of wonder, of awe, of being in the presence of something more than me as I had almost exactly a week before.

You may remember that last Saturday at about 1:00 pm, I was at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in NYC.  At that time, I walked in and was in awe. And in tears.

So think for a bit with me. It is 660 miles between True Love Baptist Church and Saint Patrick’s. It is much further in worship styles, in apparent theology, in average amount of melanin, in square footage, in almost every dimension you can identify. Stained glass to no windows, low ceiling to high church… forget it. I could keep making these cutsy verbal twists for hours. And get no where.

What is so compelling is that I, having little in common with either place, was overwhelmingly aware of being in the presence of holiness, of being in the presence of lives poured into God.

Mrs. Smith built a family. She was the kind of grandmother who you loved and feared and loved again. Family members told stories of her discipline (when they decided to get mouthy or stay in bed) and her prayer (when there was no food on the table) and her persistence belief that God was working. Three grandsons and a great gave us marvelous offering of gospel-tinged jazz, playing a couple of her favorite hymns. And then, in true jazz style, they embraced after they played, knowing that it had never been like that before, was only that way because it was for her.

And the preaching. Powerful, clear, confrontive. “You say she taught you to pray. But do you pray?” “You say she showed you Jesus. But do you know Him?”

Nancy and I sat near the back, just absorbing. It was, for us, completely outside our usual spiritual family, but we were completely at home.

Saint Patrick’s. True Love. Mrs. Smith.

Three different ways of saying the same thing: God grabs hearts and does amazing work.


Call to worship

we always think that a call to worship is a musical piece, saying, in essence, "Hey you all, come and worship."

What if the invitation were more gentle? What if we started the service with a testimony, talking about what God has done in an individual's life in a major way. This is not a destiny piece, but a piece that specifically praises God for His work. Then, as we are all in awe, clapping about God's healing or comfort or peace…then we can have a musical response or a psalmic response to God's work.

Rather than saying "you ought to be responding" we can invite response by reviewing God's work. Kind of a fun thing.

Moffat and Fort Wayne

"I have sometimes seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been." Robert Moffat

more links and connections

I know I should have context or disclaimers or something. But I don't.

Resources and connections

Blackhawk ministries is doing a worship and evangelism conference with Tommy Walker in May. Here's the scoop:

Indelible Grace is reworking tunes for very old lyrics. Here's the scoop:
Willow Creek has an annual art conference. Here's the scoop:

lessons learned

It's Easter evening, there were several projects that were completed, and it's time to make some notes.

-It is possible to just decide that a project is done.

One video for this morning was a background for a song being performed live. I spent a bunch of time on it, and had some ideas on how to push it even further, which would have taken, um, I'm not sure how long since I'm not sure exactly what to do to create a veil to be torn. But then I realized that it was background. So I finished in the next 12 minutes. Sometimes done is best.

-One second clips of a key sign or image can cover a multitude of cuts.

-Live performance has tremendous power; so does video. However, they have different power and need different scripting and approaches to time. And you can cut 1:28 from a video and still keep the story going. And you can use black screen with time on it to represent the passing of time. And the dialogue can start under the dark slide to keep the audio content going.

-Spend the time on photoshop backgrounds.

-Test the rough cut on the equipment that you are going to use for projecting the actual project or you will be surprised by the sound or the projection or both.

-Adrenaline works, but don't live on it.

Another worship book

"Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down: A Theology of Worship for This Urgent Time" by Marva Dawn quotes the Brueggeman book