Today, online church services have a tendency to look and feel isolated. However, even when the congregation is remote, is there a way to see and hear their reaction? Are there techniques to use in order to create a more immersive experience? Yes, there are some tools we can use to restore the two-way communication between the servers and those we serve and thus thrive, not just survive, today’s challenges.
How does our perception of the “them” influence our own understanding, not only as Christians but also as humans? Worth, dignity, rights, responsibilities, and what it means to be human are matters that undoubtedly should be at the center of our conversations and prayers within the church. Our perception of “the other” must be beyond the object of our evangelistic endeavors, or charity; forgetting this is mostly neglecting our identity as the people of God.
In the psalms of joy, praise arises out of contexts of suffering and it does not ignore that suffering. It declares itself in hope, not in a denial of reality. This is why, as the psalms see it, joy always makes space for sorrow, while happiness, as it is usually understood in our society, cannot. This is why our acts of praise often involve a sacrifice of praise, with our eyes set on the fulfillment of praise.
So the critical question is, what is God asking of us as Christians, creatives, and worship leaders at this very moment? How we answer this question will assist us in discerning the right posture with which we enter worship. It will determine how we as leaders guide other Christians through these times, pastor them through the emotions they may feel, and use the spaces available to us in any given moment. It’s critical that we judge this rightly.
How can we attend to the heart-longings of those who come seeking rest for their weary souls? Are we offering people more of the same, or something from a different world…a world centered on God's heartbeat? What does it mean for us to be counter-cultural?
The Church needs to lead the public discourse on unity. This is our story. This is the Gospel: for God so loved the world. I believe it's important for the Church to celebrate diversity, but in this day and age, I believe it's more important to focus on unity.
To worship is to ascribe to the Lord the value He deserves and the honor His Name is worthy to receive, and to express our hearts toward Him. Amazingly, He invites us to engage with Him in both solemn ritual and in joyful celebration and communion.
Christian worship is about rightly-ordering power through the love, mercy, and justice of God in Jesus Christ so God’s people live as faithful worshipers, bearing light in dark places and spreading salt in dying places. We show God glory by reflecting His character in action, not just by saying or singing the Word.
The only way to create an alternative to isomorphic sameness, shallow lyrics, and bad theology is to be led by the Spirit, embody Christ, worship God, and cling to the Text at the heart of our communities: the Bible.