This week, Pastor John hands
An Update from Our Elder Chair
Dear Church Family,
As John shared last week via the all-church email, the elders have been crafting a new vision for our music ministry. We have been working on this for some time; it began when we were looking for a Pastor of Worship a few years back. When we continued to have difficulty finding a person that was a good fit, we realized that we needed clarity in our philosophy of worship.
Our worship ministry, like other ministries, must continue to evolve in order to follow the leading that the Lord provides, and so we reviewed, reflected, and clarified our vision while we continued to look for the person who would lead this ministry. Small changes were put in place that made adjustments in our Sunday morning musical offerings, and when the Lord brought us Geoff Grant as Director of Worship, we continued to work through our philosophy. As we refined areas, we pressed forward with modifications in approach, presentation, instrumentation, vocal/choral arrangements and leadership duties.
Most of the changes may have been imperceptible to those outside the worship ministries area and others may have appeared sweeping. Some of you may have questions, so let me give you a brief snapshot of what the new vision entails.
In a word: it involves greater participation. Worship leaders will continue to encourage all to join in. They will arrange the morning to have congregational singing, readings and prayer that will draw our hearts toward Christ. There may be times when the congregation is listening, like during ministry updates, choral singing, and instrumentals during offerings and preaching.
This new vision includes significant changes in the direction and leadership of the choir, which would be brought under the Director of Worship, and as was mentioned in last week’s TAGD, Sarah Pate considered these changes and decided to step away from leading our choir. We celebrate the things she has accomplished and the ministry leadership she provided. She increased unity, encouraged serving one another, prayer, discipleship, ministry to our community, selecting music and framing a musical sound, working together to reach common goals and celebrating growth through disciplined practice. We are thankful for her many years of service and she will be missed.
Will we still have a choir? Will it look different? Yes to both. On some Sundays, the choir will be on the stage and will minister to us all, as they sing an anthem to God. On other Sundays, they will worship from the stage without an anthem, using the arrangement and their giftedness to blend and enhance the congregation’s adoration of God. Overall, we will sing as believers joining together to offer our voices in praise to the Lord. We have a group of very talented musicians, and by virtue of their skill, preparation, experience and joy, they will help spur on our collective engagement. As for concerts, most will be expanded to include more elements: congregational singing, prayer, ministry focuses, etc. We may think of these as “Nights of Worship.” The choir will still be involved with these nights, but not exclusively.
We value choir and the expressions of worship, majesty and rich history they bring to our ministry. It is one instrument among many that God has given His church to promote the unified exaltation of His Name. As the apostle Paul instructs in Ephesians: “Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:18b-21).
As elders, we welcome your questions. We want you to understand our philosophy and the changes it has brought and might bring. Please feel free to contact any individual elder or staff pastor. If you prefer, you can email all of us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In service to Him,
Mark Kiker – Elder Chairman