This past weekend we concluded a four-week series at The Orchard entitled, “The Gospel: From a Garden to The City”. This turned out to be a tremendous series that I think God used to impact our community in significant ways.
Rather than being a series focused strictly on the doctrinal aspects of the gospel, our goal was to give sort of a 30,000 ft view of the overarching narrative of the gospel: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration. I appreciate Tim Keller's thoughts on the fact that while there is only
one gospel, there are clearly different forms in which the gospel
can be expressed. This series was just one of those expressions.
My hope and prayer going in to the series was that it would help accomplish three things in our community: expand our view of the gospel, find and embrace our place in the story, and of course...be led into a greater discovery of the beautiful hope we have in the Cross and Resurrection.
The above logos are all original paintings that were beautifully created by our friend, Sherri Ohler. Each weekend was represented by one of these paintings that each followed the narrative.
Here are a few photos from throughout the series. (Also, special thanks to artists: Maureen Gasek, Julie Vogt, and Lisa Price.)
It’s not uncommon for us at The Orchard to have various artists participating in our weekend gatherings during our worship and/or teaching time. But this past weekend, I watched God do something that has really stuck with me these past couple of days.
It was the beginning of a new series entitled,“The Gospel: From a Garden to The City”. This first week’s theme was “Creation”, so Mike Jones and his amazing team of musicians and vocalists led our community through several songs that highlighted the beauty and majesty of our Creator. At the same time our weekend artist, Julie, was painting a beautiful depiction of God reaching down from the heavens to humanity.
And man.....the mix of songs, art, visuals, lighting, and the theme of this week’s teaching all flowed powerfully together in a way that undoubtedly impacted many, many hearts.
But one of the things that stood out to me the most was the beautiful and profound way in which God used Julie and her talent as an artist. See, Julie was not just a “supplemental” artist off to the side "doing her thing”. She was a worship leader. A choir conductor! An integral part of the team God was using to accomplish something powerful in people's hearts.
Perhaps we need to rethink how we're using the title "worship leader". If anything, I think it needs to be expanded! While it was evident that Mike and his team were doing an incredible job leading us in worship, it was even more evident that they were simply a part of many worship leaders God was using as well.
Julie was leading us through her passion and painting. Our visual team was leading us through the use of imagery and light. Our audio team was leading us through the mix and balance of sound. But perhaps the most beautiful part of it all was the way in which we, as a community, were leading each other as we lifted our voices in unison and declared the goodness and beauty of our Creator.
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”
Two "essentials" that I think are hugely important in the lives of those who lead worship at The Orchard:
AUTHENTICITY & DEPTH.
Authenticity. Being real and willing to lead out of their own, personal journey. Not afraid to be honest and transparent about their struggles, pain, and brokenness. The same on stage as they are in every day life and conversation (have you ever heard a worship leader who stands up and talks to an audience in a totally different voice than they normally talk in?) Someone who others can look to and say to themselves, "I get that person...they're not all that different from me."
Depth. If the worship leader has an empty soul.....then the only thing they'll really have to offer is authenticity and talent....and neither of those are enough as far as I'm concerned. I want worship leaders who have taken the time to LISTEN...and get quiet. Who make it a priority to wrestle through the scriptures and songs they'll be leading people through. Leaders whose hearts are freshly inspired by the beauty and goodness of God....and who understand that a huge part of what they do in leading worship is sharing that beauty and goodness with others.
I suppose those are pretty important essentials for all of us as followers of Jesus. But they're especially important to me when it comes to those who are standing on stage leading our community into worship each weekend.
Worship Leaders & Pastors - I'd love to hear from you. What "essentials" are at the top of your list?