Kathryn Scott looks at how times of sung worship reflect different seasons in our churches.
As worship leaders and writers our primary function is to honour Jesus and serve His Bride. The songs we choose and write are the poetry and prose the Church uses to sing her devotion to her King. They are the words and melodies of lives lived and spilled out on the front lines. Our songs undergird our theology and root our experience. They remind and inform. They restore and inspire. And the sets we choose make up the unique conversation in that moment between our hearts and His; each community and congregation having their own voice, singing to the Father in the moment they find themselves in. We are ‘giving voice’ to our community, so that we can spill what is in our hearts to God, and receive what is on His heart for us.
In any given set we get to reset the focus back on Jesus, recognise where we are at in the moment we are in, and press into the ‘more’ that the Lord has for us.
As worship leaders we have the joy of recognising what God is doing specifically with our community in any given season and sing into that. That might look like choosing songs that express the missional mandate we’ve been given, or that recognise an increased outpouring of the presence of God. They might be songs around a theme, following a particular thread of thought that is being preached. They are songs based around whatever it is that the Holy Spirit is heightening and highlighting at that time.
As we choose our sets, we are also taking the opportunity to recognise the season we are in and sing out of that. I think this particularly helps our community ‘sing their hearts out’ to Jesus; connecting our hearts with His. They might be songs that express gratitude, or joy, or steadfastness in the middle of adversity, or grief, or whatever it is that our church needs to sing in that moment.
And then prophetically, our sets give us the opportunity to scan the horizon as it were, and find out what the Lord is leading us into next. For example, we might as a leadership team sense that the Lord is leading into a time of reaching for the impossible in terms of seeing healing more than we have before. In that case, we would get to choose songs that release faith, or remind us that God is healer, that we are partners with Him in this mission field. Our songs can be a signpost for where we want to head.
Thus, songs that reflect the season of a church and help us lean into the ‘what’s next Papa’ of Romans 8 are a wonderfully vital part of what we sing and write. They are part of our mandate to pastor and serve the people with whom we do life, and whom we have the joy of helping to lead into the “life in it’s fulness” that Jesus came to give.