Archive for February, 2009


This Week at the Community of JOY

This was certainly an interesting weekend for us. We got to practice Saturday morning only to find that there was almost no one there, and that we were going to be short several people including our drummer, who broke her arm and will be out of commission for about a month or so.

Next is the part I’m a little fuzzy on, but somehow in the midst of setting up, I ended behind the drums (which happen to be that Yamaha set that everyone looks at because they’re cheap and they think ‘hey, wouldn’t an electric kit be nice?’ but quickly decide against when they actually sit down to try them), but still with a mic in front of me. Now The last time I played drums in front of a group was at camp when I was still a teenager – I had NO idea what I was doing then, and since then I’ve only played for fun privately, when I had access to a kit and wasn’t leading a practice/service.

Anyway, apparently things went pretty well (it was certainly a unique experience for me), and we got through practice with our small group, and went for lunch. We went for Kalguksu, which was delicious (and even spicier than I remember), and then home, where I spent a good part of the rest of the day (in the midst of some pretty serious housecleaning) praying that God would work things out for the music the next day.

Well, Sunday morning came, and wouldn’t you know it, but Shannon was horrendously sick and had to stay home – thus the nervousness began. I get to church by myself, and two of the missing singers from Saturday were back, but our sound man was away at a wedding. And, to top it off, I could barely seem to keep a beat and kept missing drums during the early practice – I was getting pretty scared that I was going to flub up the whole service. But as we went to prayer, Romans 8.28 (God works all things together for the good of those who love Him) firmly planted itself in my mind, and the nervousness abated just a little. I remembered that we were there to worship, and it’s Christ that makes our worship pleasing to God, not whether our music is perfect. So I sat down behind the drums and played and sang and made a joyful noise, and God worked it out – I only dropped one stick during the whole service (I had to play with one stick for the rest of that song, because it would be way obvious that something was wrong if I leaned away from the mic to find it).

The really awesome thing was that the theme of the sermon this week was dealing with our sinful nature, and one of the key points was that we need to remember that we can’t overcome sin on our own power – only Christ can help us deal with our constant need to be in control of everything.

The order of service went a little something like this:
Opening music:
He Knows My Name
Open the Eyes of My Heart
Everyday
Through it All
There is None Like You
Prayer time
Announcements & Greeting
Song:
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Scripture/message
Offering:
Above All
Closing song:
Lord I Lift Your Name On High

Also, our worship team now has a name – we’re called Inside Out, in keeping with I Samuel 16.7b: The Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. As worshipers, we want people to look past our imperfect exteriors and see Christ in us, remaking us and giving us new life and purpose. Through our lives as well as our music, we want people to see God’s love in us as we seek to live lives of worship every day.

To find out about other worship services around the world, check out Sunday Setlists, and feel free to contribute your own worship confessional to this awesome blog carnival.

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I never expected that Twitter and blogging would ever get anyone’s attention beyond my own friends and family; but, since I’ve gotten involved in the worship team at the Community of JOY, I’ve been tracked down by the founder of a blog called Sunday Setlists, which is a community for worship leaders, pastors, and really anyone who wants, to share their perspectives and experiences on their worship services. This is particularly exciting, because I’m quite interested in how different churches do worship (particularly the music), and this way I can see at a glance how many different churches around the world are doing their services.

My contribution for this week is thus:

For those of you following along, you already know the Community of JOY is the English ministry of the Chun Sung Methodist church in Daejeon, South Korea. It’s a small community of 60-70 people, most of whom are English-speaking Koreans, but with a few foreigners too (like myself and my lovely wife). The whole community is incredibly welcoming and friendly, and everyone wants to get to know everyone else (I love churches like this!)

Shan and I are fortunate enough to have been able to join the worship team (on which we are the only foreigners), and we’re loving every bit of it. The leader, David Yang, speaks almost no English, but has such an incredible heart for God that you can see it in him even when you don’t know what he’s saying (I’m hoping to rectify that by learning more Korean as time goes on).

The focus for the service this week was on Courageous Faith, looking at Matthew 14, and the story of Jesus walking on water. Pastor Joseph is a very passionate speaker and he has the ability to connect with everyone in the building through his sermons, and even more so in just talking to him before and after the service.

The service itself has a few of the older liturgical elements, but they all fit well with the way that the community bonds together, and you can sense that there is a real heart of worship among the congregation during every aspect of the worship time.

Lastly, we come to the music. Our worship team has anywhere from 5-8 people singing on a given Sunday, plus piano, drums, bass and me on guitar. When we first came to the church, I thought to myself that that was a LOT of singers, but it all works together quite well, and the many voices mixed together actually seems to make it easier for the congregation to join in and really set their hearts on God during the singing times. Most of the songs are a bit dated (at least as far as contemporary worship music goes), but the passion with which they are sung is phenominal. This week during the singing of ‘The River is Here’ and ‘Rock of Ages’ (not the hymn), the whole building was bouncing as everyone poured out their hearts to God in praise.

It’s definitely a little weird for me not being the guy in charge of the worship team. At the same time, it feels almost a little relieving that for the first time in years, all I have to do is show up and participate. As time goes on (and as I learn more Korean) I hope to be able to lend a little more support to David as he leads, but for now I’m just glad that God can use me to be a part of this ministry.

I’ll begin posting things like orders of service at a later date, but I wanted to give a little background on the ministry through my eyes this time around so that future posts will have some context.

For those of you reading at home, please feel free to jump on over to Sunday Setlists for opportunities to share about your weekly worship experience.