Covenanters Help Lead Worship During AIDS Conference

Post a Comment » Written on December 11th, 2007     
Filed under: News
LAKE FOREST, CA (December 11, 2007) – Representatives of Evangelical Covenant churches and North Park University led two of the worship services during the recent Global AIDS Conference that attracted thousands of people from around the world to Saddleback Church.

Leading two of the worship services held during the three-day conference November 28-30 were Matt Lundgren, who also has led the CHIC band and music at the Covenant Midwinter Pastors Conferences; Alisha Thomas, worship leader at Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota; North Park student Sharon Irving; Brian Wu, former university arts and worship coordinator; Stephen Kelly, current university arts and worship coordinator; and Tom Engler, drummer for the CHIC band.

They were enlisted to help after Lundgren, who is the director of worship for all of the Willow Creek Church campuses, had been talking with his counterpart at Saddleback. Both thought it would be good to team up for the conference.

Many of the people attending the conference had no formal faith commitment, Lundgren says, so he was surprised when he heard them repeatedly say that the church is the only organization in the world that can dramatically make a difference in fighting the AIDS pandemic. “It’s one thing to hear it from church leaders, but it’s another to hear from people outside the church,” Lundgren observes.

Lundgren adds that hearing those words “challenged me more than I wanted to be challenged. You feel the weight of responsibility.”

The passion and framework for action laid out by Saddleback pastor Rick Warren inspired Kelly, strengthening his belief that worship involves more than music. “It’s getting involved and reaching out,” he explains.

The worship team was among a select group of people who had all-access passes to the event, which can falsely elevate a person’s sense of their own importance, Lundgren says. The Secret Service detail in charge of protecting Sen. Hillary Clinton when she spoke was the great equalizer. The agents entered the room where the band kept its equipment and told everyone to leave the room while they did their inspections. “Suddenly you become very unimportant,” Lundgren says, laughing.

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