It was a sunny weekend in March 2014 and off I went to Bournemouth to spend some time with the worship team at Lansdowne Baptist Church for a weekend of worship training and worship leading!
I'd got to know a few folk at Lansdowne during my time working for UCCF and was asked down to do some worship team training by Duncan (who leads the team there). I wanted to share on this blog some of the things we did over the weekend and some of the things I experienced.
On Saturday afternoon I had 3 sessions with the Lansdowne worship team and a few members of the PA/ visual team and a couple of meeting hosts. In the first session we looked at the theology of worship. I taught about the flow of worship throughout the Bible and used Psalm 100 as a basis for our corporate worship. I taught about how worship is our giving, our purpose and our delight. I then went through the vision for our Church worship team in Canterbury (will blog on this soon) and how there are so many key ingredients for Biblical, Jesus centred worship.
We then thought about how to prepare in the week leading up to serving in the worship team or leading worship. I got Tom James (3rd picture down) to share his experiences of preparing to play in the team on Sunday mornings. He spoke about the importance of practice and prayer. Tom blows me away with his maturity and approach to music- he's a lot younger than me but there's so much I can learn from him! Laurence and Jonny (who I brought down with me from Canterbury) also shared some tips about how they prepare for Sundays looking at the heart and energy levels! I then shared about leading a time of worship and all that the worship leader has to be thinking about and considering (how the congregation are responding, where the song is going, what the band are doing, how God is working etc)
In our time of worship together at the end of the first session I got people to pray out one simple thing they got out of the afternoon. I was so encouraged as I heard so many people praying out things that I'd taught them/ reminded them of BUT they articulated the truths 100 times better than I had earlier on! Amazing!
In this session I looked at the theology of music and we did a quick glance through the Bible at where music was used. We decided that music is definitely a good thing (!!) and is given to us by God to bring worship to Him. We then looked at creativity (I've written a blog about that here) and I got to play some of the sounds and tracks we've been using in Canterbury in our worship times.
The final session of the day was much more hands on. I got Jonny, Laurence and James on their instruments and we were joined by Adam (a great guys who plays keys in Bournemouth). We modelled how you can reinvent a hymn musically but without loosing the melody or lyrics of the hymn. We used "Here is Love" as an example and spoke about what each instrument was doing in particular parts. We then played some of our own songs "Fathers Love" and "Fountain of Goodness" explaining why we play what we play in the songs.
We finished with a time of Q&A and some really interesting questions came up about genres of music in worship, unity in worship teams and bringing about change in a Church. I was really reminded over the course of the afternoon that it's great to have passion for how you think corporate worship should be done in Church life BUT it's essential to love and pastor people through any change and change should be brought in gently.
After a Chinese meal out on Saturday evening and a sleep at Michael Ots' flat we arrived to lead worship on the Sunday morning. When we were rehearsing before the meeting it was noticeable that we were louder than the normal worship teams there. After a couple of conversations with some of the congregation we made the call to play a little quieter and Jonny on drums did amazingly well to still play with energy but with his nemesis (hot rods) instead of sticks. I was really proud of the team- they didn't let this affect them and we carried on quieter! I think it was important to model worship leading like we would normally do it BUT be sensitive to how the congregation were responding to us. We were there to serve them, not put on a rock concert! Lansdowne video their services- you can watch it back on the video beneath (the service starts at 14:10)
We led with these songs
- Here is Love (our own version)
- Fountain of Goodness (our song that Lansdowne learnt last year)
- This is our God
- My Jesus My Saviour
We responded with
- Before the Throne
It was nice to be interviewed by Miles (the meeting host) and to share about family life, music and my passion to see worship that's gospel centred and creative! Peter Baker (the Pastor there) spoke from 1 Peter about the Church being family together and Jesus being the one who's redeemed us.
After the service a couple in their 80's came up to me and said "we just want to talk to you about the music" (I quickly thought- ok- they probably thought we were too loud) but instead they said "we loved it, such energy and life. We love contemporary worship music. The louder, the better for us!" It turns out they'd even been to the Phatfish farewell gig the night before. I want to be like that in my 80's! We felt very encouraged as a team after the service. So many people came up to us and thanked us for serving.
We really enjoyed our weekend down in Bournemouth with the Church. We are praying that the Lord brings lasting fruit to what we taught and modelled. I'm convinced that this two day worship training weekend is a great model for the future and I'm excited to see where God directs us next!
You can read a review of the weekend by a worship team member at Lansdowne here.