Written by Luke Taylor
We recently had our Heart of Hope month and each week we leaned into a different value here at HopeUC.
You remember these right?
1. The Word is our Foundation
2. Worship is our Honour
3. Community is our Heartbeat
4. His Presence is our Passion
I thought it would great to write a little more in depth on our fourth value, expressing how this value plays out amongst our team.
I love the passage in Exodus where Moses implores the LORD to have His Presence go with the Israelites. He says, “If Your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now!” (Ex 33:15-17 MSG) What a great statement of our need for God’s presence. He is our point of Difference.
Without the Presence of Almighty God, things can very quickly begin to look just like any other club, gathering, or support group. BUT we are not just a ‘group’ we are the PEOPLE OF GOD! He defines us, fulfils us, sustains us, and consumes us.
Ephesians 1:23 also talks into this vein of thinking and states, “and the Church is His Body, it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things.”
So what does a Worship team, full of people passionate about the presence of God, look like?
1. Every moment counts.
We don’t have warm up services and we are expectant.
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘just one moment in His presence,’ used to explain how in one instant God spoke, moved or changed someones life. Maybe you’ve experienced this first hand, where a word from God has changed the trajectory of your life and given you confidence in the midst of a testing time.
These kinds of ‘moments’ are occurring for people across our congregation in every second as we gather in His presence. We don’t need the 8:30 service to warm up for the 10:30 service, or have 12hr long worship sets to reach moments like this… How come? because His presence is ALWAYS with us. Every moment counts.
As a worship team, we honour His Presence by bringing our expectation. We believe that one note, one melody, one word, one moment will bring about the ‘God Moment’ His Church needs.
2. Worship doesn’t start and stop.
Surely we’re past the point of believing that worship is the 3 songs at the start of a service, right? Everything we do is worship unto God. Everything we do is found in the midst of His Presence.
This means from Wednesday rehearsals, through to coffee in the team room, serving across the breadth of church, meeting with people in foyers, praying together & sitting under the word being preached, that we, the people of God are being led by His Presence!
I was so blessed to watch as both the Peninsula and Gosford rehearsals started last week with prayer. The team rallied around those who were in need of a breakthrough in their life. This is a beautiful example of a team being led by the presence of God. They weren’t waiting for a ‘pastor’ to arrive and they weren’t jumping in and out of ‘Holy’ Moments. They understood that God’s presence doesn’t have an ‘on’ and ‘off’ switch. He is always ON!
Likewise, even in the way we construct the songs on a Sunday with our transitions, we don’t start one song, end it, and start the next song. There should be a natural flow from moment to moment. This includes the way we transition to prayer and preach etc.
3. We follow the cloud.
I’ve heard this phrased use to incite some kind of super spirituality at different times, but think about how practical the cloud (manifestation of the Presence of God) was to the Israelites as they traveled the length & breadth of the wilderness?
“Whenever the Cloud lifted from The Dwelling, the People of Israel set out on their travels, but if the Cloud did not lift, they wouldn’t set out until it did lift. The Cloud of GOD was over The Dwelling during the day and the fire was in it at night, visible to all the Israelites in all their travels.” ( Exodus 40:36-38 MSG)
This passage is so simple, and practical.
The surroundings didn’t matter, the climate didn’t effect it, the time or location wasn’t of concern. Right in the midst of a dry wilderness, there was the sweetness of His presence… and it made all things RIGHT.
The other thing to note was EVERYONE in Israel could identify where the cloud was moving! This wasn’t just left up to Moses to decipher and then proclaim. The moment the cloud moved ALL the people were able to see and move with it.
I believe this heightens the need for everyone on our team to participate by following and seeking the Presence of God personally. It’s no good if just the rostered ‘worship leader’ goes and ‘seeks’ the Lord, returning to the team with the 4 point plan of what God wants to do this weekend. We’re ALL looking to the cloud, the movements of God and then as a unified team following His direction.
I’m passionate about the Presence of God, and I hope this passion continues to grow and to be stoked in your life as we walkout this value here at HopeUC.
Would you join me in pursuit of His presence?
Would you allow this pursuit to consume you?
And what about lifting your expectation of the good things God will do amongst us as we gather with His body, the Church!
His Presence is our Passion!