Archive for March, 2009


Since I’ve been a little delayed at getting my posts up, I’m going to do two posts in one today, and hopefully draw some connections between the two.

First, I wanted to give some more of my impressions of the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul. For a brief overview of the church, check out the wiki link and my previous post on the Nevers’ Adventures. Here, I want to get into some more details about what the service was like, and what I’ve gathered about the church as a whole.

First, I must say that there are a lot of things that impress me about huge churches like this. Organizing a Sunday service for a large congregation is no small feat, but organizing seven Sunday Services for congregations of 26,000 people takes a ridiculous amount of organizational skill and planning. From my standpoint as a worship leader, the quality of the musical portion of the service was absolutely exceptional. There was a clear distinction between the house band and the orchestra (yes, they have both), and when the two were mixed it was for a clear musical purpose, and it sounded lovely. Also, the HUGE choir wasn’t involved in leading the singing; rather, they were there for other musical aspects of the service (which is impressive considering the size of the choir and the fact that they only performed two songs through the whole service).

Many people I’ve talked to in the past tend to criticize mega-churches for the ‘showy-ness’ of their services, saying that they are too ‘performance-oriented’, but I personally don’t see this as negative. I’ve always believed that it shows a level of dedication on the part of those preparing for the service that they want to use their very best people and put their very best effort into creating a service in which congregants can worship freely and unhindered. My bigger concern is (and will always be) with the hearts of those who are involved in the service. I would personally rather see a sub-par performance from someone with a heart for worship than a brilliant performance from someone whose only concern is said performance. But the key is that a worshipful heart and a solid performance are not and should not be mutually exclusive. The heart definitely needs to be right, but that does not mean that one should give a sub-par performance. In fact, a worshipful heart should desire to give the best performance possible as their offering to God, and that’s what will lead others to a place where they can worship wholeheartedly, too (I’m speaking in musical terms here, but this principle applies to EVERY aspect of a worship service, and even our day-to-day lives).

I realize that I just got off on a little bit of a rant there, so I’ll get back on topic now.

I mentioned previously about the amazement I felt at hearing the songs (which I’ll add were mostly hymns, although I couldn’t tell you what they all were) sung in so many different languages simultaneously, but what I did appreciate was the fact that it was left to the congregation to sing in their own languages, while the whole of the service was led in Korean. Granted, we had the advantage of simultaneous translation for the whole of the service, but from a worship leader’s perspective, I’ve never really seen the benefit of leading songs in different languages (especially if you’re in a congregation that doesn’t speak the language that you’re leading the song in). This model, I feel, is much more conducive to uninterrupted worship than the leaders randomly switching languages halfway through a song.

All in all, I found the service to be quite enlightening, since it was my first real mega-church experience. I appreciated the message (although I did notice a little bit of the ‘health and wealth’ leanings throughout the different parts of the service), and I’ve got to give them credit for having their own news network as a way to keep all 830,000+ members up-to-date on the goings-on in the church. A little bit of digging led me to find out that the congregation began its tremedous growth through a system of cell-groups which continue to be the driving force for its growth in Korea. While I don’t think I’d ever be comfortable in a church so large, I can definitely appreciate that this church is so large because of a model that is built on creating a community atmosphere among its members.

This week, we were back at the Community of JOY, and were saddened to hear that Pastor Joseph was going to be leaving, and a new pastor starting up next week. This of course was cause for a little sadness among the congregation. That, combined with the fact that we’re moving next weekend, has made for quite a number of changes in our lives that we’re going to need to adapt to. The service itself went quite well, considering, as even in the midst of the sadness, we were all still able to turn our hearts to God and seek Him first in this service.

The order of service went about like this:

Opening songs:
As the Deer (D)
Blessed (Hillsong) (D)
Come, Now is the Time to Worship (D)
I Will Run to You (F)
I Love You Lord (F)

Prayer
Announcements

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (F)

Message: “God’s Greatest Love”

Offertory:
Eagle’s Wings (G)

Closing:
Give Thanks (F)

Also, I should make note of my error a couple weeks ago in getting Reuben Morgan and Robin Mark Mixed up. I tend to make that mistake quite commonly, even though they’re from opposite sides of the world.

Please feel free to share your own worship experience at FredMcKinnon.com and join the Sunday Setlists community.

Advertisements

You know it’s funny how things work. In the course of my day to day runnings, I think of things I want to blog about, but when I actually sit down to write, all those ideas just fly right out of my head – hence why I haven’t been writing a lot on this blog lately.

So my choice of topic for today relates more to something in the forefront of my mind today, and that’s our impending trip to Seoul. I’m on my way back from picking up our train tickets right now – a dual-purpose trip. First, I wanted to pick up our tickets, and second, I wanted to know exactly how long it would take us to get from our apartment to the train station. Of course we’re planning to be there plenty early, but I wanted to be sure of just HOW early we wanted to be.

One thing that I’m particularly excited about is that we’re planning to check out one of the mega-churches in Seoul. Now Seoul has some of the biggest churches in the world, and in fact, one of them is THE biggest in the world. Many of you know that I have rather strong opinions about mega-churches (not all bad…just…strong), but alas, I’ve never actually attended one. Thus my excitement for the chance to actually go to one (even if it IS in Korean and I won’t understand much of what’s going on).

As I did mention over on our other blog, I’m hoping to get at least a small chance to embrace my geekdom while I’m in Seoul. I’d LOVE to check out the electronics market, but I’d also LOVE to check out the Camera market (yes, there are two separate markets for these supposedly similar product subsections, and yes, they’re in very different parts of town). Come to think of it, I’d also LOVE to check out the musical instrument arcade, too, but that can wait for a later trip (and the musician in me cringes at saying that willingly). The reality of life is that I LOVE photographic, musical, and generally all electronic toys, but I really don’t NEED many of them at this point in my life (nor do I want to have to lug copious amounts of said gizmos and gadgets around Seoul with me all weekend).

I’m a little sad that we won’t be able to do the worship team thing this weekend, but I’m really looking forward to being able to spend the weekend with friends, and finally get to see what all the fuss is about with Seoul. After all, 14 million people can’t be THAT wrong, can they?

So at this point, I don’t remember a whole lot about what went on this Sunday, as I was sick with the flu and not fully aware of my surroundings. As a result, my recap for Sunday Setlists will be little more than the song list for the day (because I have that much written down in front of me).

So here goes:

Opening music:
-Still (Reuben Morgan)
-King of Majesty (Marty Sampson)
-With You (Reuben Morgan)
-The Power of Your Love (Geoff Bullock)
-There is None Like You (Lenny LeBlanc)

Before the Sermon:
-Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
(For those of you keeping track, we do this song every week as a call to worship before the sermon)

Offertory:
-What the Lord Has Done in Me (Reuben Morgan)

Closing:
-To be Pleasing You (Teresa Muller)

One thing I’ve definitely noticed since getting involved in the worship team at the Community of JOY is that, in much the same way that Chris Tomlin’s music has a special place in my heart, Reuben Morgan’s music seems to be incredibly popular here (as evidenced by this week’s set list). I don’t know if this phenomenon is widespread in Korea, or if it’s just this church, but I did think it interesting. It also goes to show that Reuben Morgan does have other songs besides ‘Days of Elijah’, and many of them are wonderful songs that really encourage heartfelt worship.

That’s all I’ve got for this week’s recap, but feel free to check out Sunday Setlists, where you can read recaps from other worshipers around the world and even submit your own.

This week marked the fifth anniversary for the Community of JOY here in Daejeon, and it was a great morning of worship and celebration, with a wonderful pot luck afterward (which included Korean and Western food from everybody who came).

Our theme for the morning was becoming a church that reflected the incident at Bethesda in John 5. We ought to be a community of compassion, of healing, of renewal, and of life-changing experience. My brain has been working overtime since the service, working through the personal implications of this part of Jesus’ ministry. I don’t yet have anything concrete written down, but one thing keeps ringing in my head: Bethesda literally means ‘House of Hesed’. Hesed is a word that is hard to describe well in English…it’s often described as ‘lovingkindness’, ‘faithful love’ or similar, but the definition that I’m most fond of is ‘covenant faithfulness’. So my mind has been trying to figure out what a church of ‘covenant faithfulness’ looks like.

*I’ll plan to write more on this as I’m able, but I’m a horrible blogger and may not actually get to it. Please feel free to leave any suggestions or ideas in the comments, though.*

For those visiting from Sunday Setlists, here’s our list for this week:

Opening songs:
Refiner’s Fire
King of Majesty
Everyday
In His Time
Still

Before the Sermon:
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Offertory:
Power of Your Love

Closing:
To Be Pleasing You

Please feel free to blog about your own worship service and share it on Sunday Setlists. Check out the instructions for participation, and spread the word. It’s a great way to see what’s happening at other churches around the world.