For the past seven years, I have had the privilege of attending the Calvin Symposium on Worship with members of the Chapel Leadership Team here at OCHS. This year, Melanie Kraut and I took eight students to this event, which was hosted by Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. This is an event for worship planners, worship leaders, and pastors and includes people from almost every Christian denomination. It also includes people from countries on every continent around the world.
One of the first worship services we attended set the tone for the three days of the conference. The focus verse of the message in that service was 2 Corinthians 4:7:
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
I was reminded that “jars of clay” were typically used for transporting water. Also, these jars are extremely fragile and utterly replaceable. Not the biggest boost to a worship planner/worship leader’s ego.
However, the second part of that verse is so important. We are fragile and replaceable so that whatever power, goodness, talent, etc. exists in us is obviously from God. Our self-worth, goodness, talent, etc. come from another source. What a freeing thought! How good is God’s grace. He is our strength, our goodness, the source of all life and light. While this may not be an “ego boost”, it put me in exactly the right Spiritual place to draw from the deep well that God provides each year at the Worship Symposium.
For me, one of the major “takeaways” from this year at Symposium is how we make worship services accessible for those who are “different.” Specifically, at Symposium, we were considering how to make worship more accessible for our friends with special needs. Could a person with Downs Syndrome, Autism, or another cognitive condition come into a worship service, understand what was happening, and feel welcomed? Or, and perhaps more relevant for the worship setting at Ontario Christian, could a person with no context for Christian worship come to one of our services, understand, and feel welcomed? In other words, what are some ways to show the love and hospitality of Christ in our worship? This is one question I’ve been wrestling with for awhile, but I was renewed and equipped to give some answers during Symposium this year.
A few “snapshots” from the trip:
A workshop for song writers and worship leaders that explored writing singable songs that are also deep in Biblical theology.
A seminar with Graham Kendrick that taught people to sing through a Psalm during a worship service.
Participating in worship services with people from different denominations all over the world.
Traveling, eating, worshiping, learning, and hanging out with eight incredible high school students.
Over the course of the next days and weeks, we plan to release a number of blog posts from the students who attended this event. We hope to give a glimpse into our experiences. We also hope to encourage you with how this class (Chapel Leadership) and this event are shaping the next generation of worship planners and worship leaders. Read here: http://ochschapel.blogspot.com/