Strength in diversity

In encouraging fellow worship leaders to sign up and start commenting on the Facebook discussion page, “Better Together”, I don’t think any of us anticipated the breadth or depth of topics that might be covered. Today there are 135 of us from various churches across the Covenant, and the diversity of topics and perspective is amazing. During this week alone, posts ranged from practical issues to deep theology and philosophy.

Examples of the practical side would include:

– what type of instrument and equipment the guitarists use,

– our preference and the acoustic effect of stage platform coverings (more reflected sound from a wooden stage is better for a choir, but for a rhythm section it’s best to use carpeting) and

– the disposition and timing of going to two services, with or without simultaneous Sunday School classes.Throughout these topics, we’re reminded that this forum is populated with skilled musicians and artists who make technical and pragmatic decisions every day, encouraging and enabling ministry through the arts and leading by example.

Interspersed among the ‘down to earth’ issues, more theoretical and theological questions spring up; having to remove someone from the worship team as a disciplinary issue, encouraging original music and song while building a balanced repertoire from material published elsewhere, and a really challenging conversation (inspired by the writings of Madeleine l”Engle) about creating the innocence of ‘true space’ for creativity and whether this is compromised when we consider an ‘audience’.

As the forum is by invitation only, some details can be shared and a level of confidentiality proves helpful. At the conclusion of the ‘disciplinary’ discussion, the member who first posted wrote: “Thank you for your encouragement and prayer. I wrestle with what confrontation of sin should look like. You don’t want to burn someone at the stake – at the same time, you don’t want them to think you accept their behavior. I have been very honest with my feelings, graceful and consistent with the truth of scripture, and perpetually hopeful that God is the great restorer, and from ashes he raises amazing works of beauty and power. I’m deeply mindful of my own sin, and draw on the love that I have received in discipline and correction to guide my conversations…”

There were more than twelve distinct topics discussed this week, including our favorite inclusions for Memorial Day services, what music we’re planning for Pentecost and some special events for the summer schedule (occasional services using Taize music, Retreats for busy people).If you’re involved in planning or leading worship with a Covenant congregation, we encourage you to join the forum. Simply comment here, and we’ll be in touch.

We fear that we might lose our core identity and focus. However, we can all take heart

For the whole church, I sense that some of us (maybe only subconsciously or privately) question the rapid growth and diversification of styles and approaches we see in the ECC. We fear that we might lose our core identity and focus. However, we can all take heart from this most diverse and engaging forum; there is great health and strength in the variety and breadth of perspective in the voices that speak here, and the churches it represents. At this season of Pentecost, we remember and celebrate the Holy Spirit, the bringer of unity.

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