One of my favorite parts of working in our church is experiencing the diversity within our membership. In a given week, I can meet with a family to talk about baptizing an infant, parents beginning a new stage of life, while I can also meet with a family making plans for a funeral. I love experiencing the presence of God in all these situations and more. These situations are diverse and challenge me in a variety of ways. The church, our church especially, offers us the opportunity to work alongside people from all walks of life.
The same is true on Sunday morning in our worship services. Before we moved to Fort Dodge, I was excited that this church had both a traditional worship service and a contemporary worship service. I have profound memories of growing up in the church, singing classic hymns of the faith, watching my mother and older brothers sing in the choir every week while my dad ran the sound board (where in the service was I during all this?). To this day, there’s nothing more powerful than coming to a worship service with my whole family, listening to them sing the harmony parts of songs I’ve known my entire life.
I also have profound memories of the first times I was privileged to lead others in worship. The first songs I learned on the guitar as an awkward 7th grader were “Lord I Lift Your Name on High,” “You Are My All in All,” and “In the Secret.” It was through contemporary worship environments that I began to discover my gifts for worship leadership. Those guitar-led songs sustained me while living in a dorm in college, serving as a missionary in Ensenada, Mexico, or struggling through seminary in Princeton.
In the month of July, as we have one Sunday morning service at 10am, we will worship in ways that will not always resonate with you. There may be some songs that you have not heard before. There may be some prayers that you are not used to praying. We might include instruments or sounds that we normally don’t hear.
I thank you in advance for your willingness to experiment with our Sunday morning worship services. This truly will be a great time to not only foster deeper connections with one another, but it will also be an opportunity to learn how others worship God in the body of Christ.
My prayer is that you would make it a priority to come to worship in the month of July. I know we travel, and many of us are pulled in different directions. Please covenant with me to worship God in a new way for this coming month. Regardless of our preference of worship service, let us heed the words of the Psalmist: “Sing to the Lord a new song… and shout for joy.”
I can’t wait to join you all in worship this July at 10am in the Sanctuary.
Austin D. Hill