TOP 10 Takeaways and Questions from weTunes
10. Does Pastor Owen hate Life.Church? :) Actually no, not at all. At times during this series, I've mentioned Life.Church, Victory Family, and Journey Church because these are the "elephants in the room" when it comes to musical worship in our area of the world and I didn't want to be passive-aggressive toward them. I have friends who work at Life.Church, I know people involved in the amazing momentum at Victory Family, and Journey Church has been an important part of this area for years. We have much to learn from these churches, and I value their desire to preach the Gospel and reach people. I disagree with some aspects of how they approach things (for that matter, I probably disagree with how I approach some things), but I want to speak well of other churches and think carefully about how we operate as the Body of Christ. Emmaus won't be Life.Church…and that's good both for Life.Church and for us. We need partners in the Gospel (Philippians 1:5-6); mostly we need be faithful to who God is calling us to be.
9. The Sunday Gathering isn't a Concert…So, what now?- Since the Sunday worship gathering isn't a concert or camp—but many people understandably love concert/camp style music—how can we provide that type of musical worship more often? This is a question I've thought about a lot lately. I hope we can provide opportunities for people to experience music more than Sunday mornings. We'll work on some options and see how they progress.
8a. Will we change our music style? Yes, we'll make changes to our music style…it's virtually impossible not to do so. I doubt they'll be overnight changes or rapid shifts, and we won't lose sight of the solid music/hymns from our past. We need old songs and new songs, with an eye focused on the next generation and those not part of our "church culture."
8b. Will we have multiple worship gatherings? After many years in multiple services, Emmaus built a larger building in order to gather together and worship in unity. The motive here was wonderful! Many people who have been part of churches with multiple services value the opportunity to gather in one place, at one time, with their church family. However, we have found that meeting in one place at one time: (1) doesn't guarantee unity, (2) it certainly doesn't guarantee you'll know or be connected to more people, and (3) it can take away opportunities for people to serve/engage. In addition, the overwhelming trend in worship gatherings, especially among the younger generation, is toward smaller gatherings because of the intimacy and energy involved. We don't want to do something because it's trendy, but the question merits serious consideration. If we move to multiple gatherings (and that's a big if), it would only be because such a move would allow us to engage UP with more focus, IN with more love and service, and OUT with more opportunities to engage people with the Gospel.
8c. If multiple gatherings, will they have different music styles? If we offer multiple services, we don't want to do so as a way to pacify preferences among church attenders. Instead, we would consider different music styles only because it would give people with different musical gifts a way to serve and it would be a way to make the worship gathering more understandable to people outside our church culture. I'm still not convinced music style is a "language," but it's an interesting argument that deserves consideration.
7. We need each other- This series has reminded me how much we need each other. I've shared before that my natural reaction is to be by myself and avoid groups. There is a time and place for that! At the same time, I've seen in God's Word (Hebrews 10:24-25; Ephesians 5:15-21) how much we need one another. Whether you gather at Emmaus or somewhere else, don't cut yourself off from local gatherings of the Church. Sing TO and WITH one another.
6. Word and Spirit- Remember that God's Word and God's Spirit are not in competition. Some people lean toward "Word;" others lean toward "Spirit" (it's the same with "faith" and "wisdom"). However, we need both. Let's sing songs with good theology; and let's sing these songs in the power of God's Spirit.
5. New Covenant, Same God- We don't reject the Old Testament, but we operate as followers of Jesus Christ under the New Covenant. This transforms where, when, and how we think about worship.
4. Words Matter- "Worship" is more than music; and our building at 16001 S. Western isn't "God's House," the "Sanctuary," or the "Church." Probably the best term for what happens on Sunday morning is "Gathering" (though if you're like me, it will be hard not to call it a "service"). We don't want to be legalistic about these terms, but it's helpful to think carefully about these things.
3. Worship Wholeheartedly- How we sing and interact when gathered at Emmaus reveals a lot about our belief in God and His place in our lives. Worship is about participation, not observing. There are going to be times we are tired and discouraged. I'm not asking us to fake it. But it is important that we engage our hearts, minds, and bodies fully in worship—whether gathered at Emmaus, going to work/school, or spending time with family.
2. Envy will steal our joy- Let's not be driven by envy, but by love of God and others. Saved people sing. Saved people sing to and with one another. Saved people sing in a way that is open and understandable to their friends. These friends are convicted, turn to God in salvation, and then begin to sing in worship to God! There's no room for envy in this cycle…only joy!!
1. Thanks!- Thanks for being a church family that engages in worship when we GATHER and engages in worship as we GO throughout our lives. Thanks for letting me be your pastor; I care for you more than you could know. May we continue to encourage and love one another!
-Dr. Owen Nease