Making Plans

Today’s post is written by Geoff Twigg, Adjunct Professor at North Park University in Chicago. Geoff is a pastor, singer/songwriter, worship leader and ministry consultant, and serves the ECC as a member of the denomination’s Commission on Worship.

The ECC’s Worship Commission met for a couple of days in late July. The Commission considers all aspects of the worship life of the Covenant Church, and seeks to encourage best practice and provide resources for all involved in worship ministry. The Commission is chaired by Katie Martinez, Associate Pastor at Crossroads Church, Loveland CO, and meets under the banner of the Department of Christian Formation. As always, we are immensely grateful for the ministry of Doreen Olson (Executive Minister of the Department of Christian formation) and her vital support of worship ministries throughout the Covenant. Such meetings are always characterized by lively discussion, and the recent get-together was no exception. To begin this discussion we met at JPUSA, and took the time to visit their newly renovated ‘Wilson Abbey’ facility, just three or four miles north of the Loop in Chicago. The building now boasts a 500-seat auditorium, several meeting rooms and classrooms as well as being the new home for the legendary ToneZone recording studio. JPUSA is the home of several musical teams plus dramatic and visual artists, and the community now has a facility that can host worship gatherings, workshops, rehearsals and installations. We would love to host a worship arts event there one day.

In recent months, as the Covenant Church has been implementing a reorganization, it has become obvious that the commission should modify its organizational structure. Such a change should enable the commission to provide more training, develop a wide variety of resources and provide more opportunities for conversation and collaboration. This will help the commissioners to be responsive to the needs of a multicultural and diverse church community that is continually growing and developing. In response to this need to change, the commissioners have divided their work into four strategic areas and appointed one member to act as the designated leader in that field. In the short term, a team will be built around each leader, with some decisions taken by that strategic team or its leader, and other decisions referred back to the commission.

The four areas addressed at this latest meeting were Covenant events, training, resources and opportunities for connecting people.

Josef Rasheed, church-planter and senior pastor of CrossRoads Covenant in DeSoto TX, who is a familiar face to those attending Midwinter and Annual Meetings, will oversee the area of Covenant Events. Josef has been on the denomination’s events planning and leadership teams for several years.

Andrew Thompson, also a senior pastor and church-planter, will lead in the area of training. Andrew is well known as a songwriter; he pastors Columbia Grove Covenant Church in Wenatchee, WA.

The development of resources will be led by Randall Wilkens, the Associate Pastor of Worship and the Arts at Bethany Covenant Church, Mount Vernon, Washington – and probably best known as the Organist at recent major Covenant events.

Matt Nightingale, who does such a great job coordinating the “Better Together” Facebook group of 344 members, will continue to lead in the area of connecting worship practitioners, encouraging conversation and developing discussion. Matt is the new Pastor of Worship at Redwood Covenant in Santa Rosa, CA.

The Commission meeting also discussed how we should explore and express our unique identity, tradition and values, and how to encourage churches in the distinctive characteristics of Acts of Worship in the Covenant.

As these leaders focus on their tasks and begin to form teams to work in each area, we want to invite you to comment on the ordering of priorities; which areas of need in our worship life do you see as most important or urgent?

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3 comments “Making Plans”

One thing I’ve been thinking about is lay-training. It would be nice to have a central database or hub or something for mini-videos, books, resources, articles, etc. that could be used for on-the-go training for volunteers and pastors alike.

A conference – or at least, a stream at a conference – for worship arts would be awesome. I know y’all started this at the last midwinter, and I’m mostly jealous because I’m still in orientation and didn’t get to go 😉

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I miss the Worship Connection event that used to happen during MidWinter!! I would love to see something like this again, that would help me connect with others in the Covenant denomination and share ideas, learn what others are doing, and simply experience the encouragement and camaraderie of others who do what I do. Any chance of bringing it back?

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Include more women in the discussion.  These four men are all highly qualified, and I know they will do a great job leading their respective teams. I also know that the ECC strives to be inclusive, and there are many highly qualified women whose names do not appear here.  

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