“Led worship virtually in pajama pants.”
“Droopy music stand problems.”
“Led outdoor worship services in less than 0 degrees Celsius.”
Worship leaders in Christian Reformed congregations now have a way to talk about these kinds of shared experiences and to learn from each other in community. This year, Worship Ministries began hosting videoconference gatherings for worship leaders in each classis (a regional group of churches).
While pastors have opportunities to meet each other and connect in classis meetings several times a year, worship leaders do not. Many have never met each other, and many feel isolated in their own contexts without a good support system available.
As we emerge from yet another wave of COVID-19 and pandemic isolation, Worship Ministries’ goal is to lay the groundwork for organic relationships and community for worship leaders—paid and volunteer alike. What might it look like if worship leaders connected with one another in such a way that they decided to regularly gather, either virtually or in person? How could resources and ideas be shared in a way that fosters unity and collaboration within each classis? What work needs to be done to ensure a local network of support for those who pour themselves into the worship life of the church week after week? These are a few of the questions that prompted Worship Ministries to facilitate these gatherings.
Worship leaders from classes Alberta North and Alberta South/Saskatchewan held the first two meetings, and already Worship Ministries is marveling at the ways God is working through faithful congregations in both of these classes. Each meeting began with a round of “Worship Leader Bingo”—an opportunity to laugh, shake our heads a bit, and commiserate about the many behind-the-scenes ways worship leaders have had to adapt in the last two years. There is something comforting about being in a room—even a virtual room—with others who have shared the same struggles and found some of the same solutions. Bingo created space for introductions, for sharing joys and challenges in each congregation, and for fresh ideas.
Worship leaders talked about important topics like the theological and pastoral implications of continuing or discontinuing livestream worship, why many have decided not to return to in-person worship yet, and how our corporate worship will forever be changed as a result of the experiences of the past two years. There are so many conversations to be had, and engaging in this kind of dialogue will only benefit the church and its leaders.
As Worship Ministries builds on its #ThisIsCRCWorship campaign, these regional gatherings of worship leaders are one way of getting a glimpse of the marvelous diversity of worship in our denomination and allowing that to be a way to unite us moving forward. Worship looks different from congregation to congregation, but we are united in our worship as “one body and one Spirit, just as we are called to one hope, … one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:4-5).