It’s hard to believe it’s already July. June flew by so quickly. I stayed really busy at church this past month, and had the opportunity to learn a lot of great stuff. My last Sunday here will be July 22nd, so I’ve only got a few weeks left!
A lot has happened in the past two weeks. Pastor Derek has been on vacation with his family, so we haven’t been having our weekly meetings. He got back a few days ago, so we’ll resume our meetings this week and begin to talk about all the changes that have happened while he was away!
In the past week, some big changes have taken place within the youth group staff. Essentially, new leadership for the MYC worship team has been put into place. With these new leaders, I have been relieved of my commitment to work with the MYC band. However, the new leaders have also given me an opportunity to step into a supervising position with the 678 worship team.
So for 678, I will be leading the worship team until I leave later this month. Since I’m only a temporary leader, I’m not going to be making any big changes. I don’t think that’s wise. For the most part, I’ll be leaving the same structure that Brannon left the team with. However, I will be making some changes to help equip the students to rise up as leaders once I’m gone.
Today was our first practice, and I talked with them about how to pick a set of songs and some other logistics. They already have a song bank, which is great. So now they will just need to become comfortable with picking three songs per week that will fit well with the sermon and act as good vehicles for worship. I’m excited for the leadership roles they’ll be taking on when I’m gone! There are some very capable students here who will succeed greatly if they stick with it.
Months ago, plans had been set in place to have a Remnant program for the youth worship team. (For more info about Remnant, see my last post.) However, with all the changes happening in the past week, Worship Remnant was canceled. Some of the students had really been looking forward to it, so I offered to help lead the program if there was still a need for it.
I had a few meetings with the youth pastor, Jacob, and we talked about the possibility of creating somewhat of a Remnant program despite the staffing changes and short notice. We decided it could really work! After a few late nights of planning (I’m still not done), I feel confident that this will be a really great time for the students that attend. I would have loved to participate in something like this when I was in youth group!
Worship Remnant will be a program that takes place on Monday afternoons (starting tomorrow) from 1pm to 5pm. We’re planning everything in 1-hour chunks of time, just to create some flow and movement and hopefully prevent boredom.
We will begin with a worship service in which everyone participates equally. Just a really chill, acoustic time of reflection and worship. The purpose of that will be to take the band members’ minds off of playing, singing, and “performing” in the way they are so used to. There will be no audience. Rather, we’ll all just be singing to God together. There will be no stage. There will be no sound system. Caleb, one of the volunteer worship leaders for the youth group, will facilitate this session as he plays acoustic guitar. He and I will sing. Everyone else will be invited to sing and play with us, but the songs will be very simple so that they focus is truly on worship and not the music itself. While this is not a totally infallible plan for any youth group, I feel that it will be extremely beneficial for these particular students.
Next, I will be leading a group discussion/lecture on the theology of worship. This is the part of the program I’m most excited about! For the first session, we won’t talk about music at all. Only worship. We’ll talk about the nature of worship, idolatry, and corporate Christian worship. We’ll work on defining those three terms and then discussing how those definitions shape the way in which we worship. We’ll talk about the way of the world (selfishness) versus the way of the worshiping Christian (living life as a response to God). We’ll be looking at a lot of Pauline texts since the Apostle Paul has quite a bit to say about worshipful living. About halfway through the course, we will begin to talk about music, and about how/why it makes a great vehicle for corporate worship. I’m waiting until halfway through to talk about music because I really, really want these students to grasp the concept that worship is not music, nor does it have anything to do with music. Worship is so much more. We need to start seeing ourselves as worshipful artists rather than merely people who “perform worship music.”
The third part of Worship Remnant will be a songwriting seminar of sorts. While I’m no expert songwriter, I’ve had a few awesome privileges to listen to great songwriters share their passion. I’m very against songwriting being any kind of “science,” so I’m going to start the session with a guiding introduction and then leave students to work creatively. We’ll be focusing on rewriting the Psalms. This practice can be so valuable because it acts as both a “devotional time” and a creative outlet. Finding personal and unique ways to express the orthodoxy we find in the Psalms is a fail-proof way to practice worshipful artistry. I’m excited to share this with the students.
I’ve only got about three weeks left, so keep me in your prayers as I finish up my time here in St. Joseph. Like I keep saying, I’m so blessed to have had this opportunity and I want to continue to make the most of it and complete every task to the best of my ability!
Also, pray for my boyfriend John as he travels to South Africa one week from today (July 8th) for a 14-day mission trip. He’s traveling with a group from our church, Living Hope Fellowship, that travels there every other year. I’m praying that God will do amazing things not only through him and the group, but in them. Join me in believing for that. I’m excited to hear about what happens!
I’ll be sure to keep all of you posted in these coming weeks. Thank you all for your support so far this summer! I appreciate it so much.
Until next time,