Our Churches: The Journey – Wichita, KS

Post a Comment » Written on August 7th, 2012     
Filed under: Better Together, Local Church, Our Churches, Vocation and Call
Today we’re starting a new series of posts here on the Worship Connect blog. In addition to our normal Friday posts, on occasional Tuesdays we’ll be profiling one of our Covenant churches. Our purpose is to celebrate God’s work in and through us, to demonstrate the diversity of approaches to worship in the ECC, and to prompt prayer for one another. We are better together.

Our first post comes to us from Heather Perkins, Worship Director at The Journey in Wichita, Kansas.

I serve at The Journey in Wichita, KS. The church is approximately 15 years old in its current form. The original Covenant church in the city experienced significant decline during the 1980’s and closed its doors in the early 1990’s. The sale of the original property allowed for the planting of a new church in another part of the city. I arrived in the city as the church plant was beginning. Unlike some new churches, announcing our arrival and opening our doors never resulted in people showing up en masse, but through the years the Lord has provided and His people have prevailed.

Currently, about 150 attend the church on a regular basis. We hold services in a room that was built about 3-1/2 ago. It was designed for worship yet with a strong nod to being multipurpose. We have chairs, not pews, so the room can be easily transformed. Our service style is contemporary and uses a band, yet we are not cutting edge. We try to embrace the new while honoring the past. Our worship set last Sunday morning was characteristic of what we typically do: Joyful (The One Who Saves), How Can I Keep from Singing, I Stand Amazed in the Presence, Follow You (Leeland), Blessed Be Your Name, and Hosanna (Praise Is Rising).

My official role is that of worship director. The basic charge is to orchestrate the Sunday worship experience. We operate with two teams of instrumentalists, all volunteers who attend the church, and vocalists who may sing on either team. I lead one of the two teams from the keyboard. As a full ministry, we have identified that using regular attenders on the weekly teams is a higher value than bringing more musically talented individuals onto the teams from outside the church. What is sacrificed in production value, we believe is counterbalanced by relationships and commitment to the whole life of the church.

This year, my hours have increased from 8-10 to an average of 15/week. This decision was made to compensate a little for the loss of our co-pastors, who left the church in February. Not only did I pick up worship tasks that one or both of them had previously assisted with, but my responsibilities were expanded to include oversight of home groups and pastoral care, as needed. In July, the church hired an interim pastor. This is a great help, yet a challenge. He is a life-long Presbyterian and I am a life-long Covenanter, so we have subtle differences in the way we approach worship. Thankfully we hold our faith in Christ in common, so we are able to work through our differences.

One component of our worship that may be somewhat unique is our coffee break. Approximately twice a month, we take ten minutes out of the middle of our worship service to stop and get coffee and have conversation with each other. Typically in our services, we have an opening song, welcome and announcements, and possibly a call to worship. This is followed by a block of 3-4 songs. At that point, we stop for coffee. This can seem very jarring to some, so we try to be diligent to explain each time that we view this as a continuation of worship, rather than an interruption. Building intentional relationship opportunities into our corporate life is of such strong value that specific time during worship is allotted for this activity because it is, in fact, an act of worship. While there are those who may consider it odd and out of place, I believe that the body as a whole places a high value on that time. At least once they get used to it.

Please join me in prayer for The Journey and my role as worship director. Pray for the pastoral search committee, the interim pastor and our transition. And please pray for me as I serve the church part time, work a full time job, and take seminary classes through North Park. My husband might like some attention at some point too.

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