New Blog Post: “Reflecting on My Recent Worship Retreat”

I recently went on a worship retreat–the 2014 Calvin Symposium on Worship. I felt called to attend this worship conference, so I could reflect on the ministry of worship and take a much needed rest from pastoral ministry. Happily, both of these goals were realized–thanks be to God!
In terms of worship reflection, I attended many plenary sessions and workshops, including one by Jamie Smith. Smith helped me to realize that worship really does matter. Not only is it commanded by Scripture (think the Psalms), but we were created to worship. According to Smith, we are what we love. Again, we were made to worship. Moreover, worship forms us. The Lord uses it to make us into devoted Followers of Christ. So, he invited us as pastors and worship leaders to think carefully about our worship services. And I intend to do that. I have also started reading one of Smith’s books on worship, in order to continue this conversation.
So that’s the reflecting on worship piece. In terms of resting, iin addition to attending various workshops, I attended the symposium worship services, and rested in the presence of the Lord while I worshipped him with hundreds of other people. I can’t think of a better way to rest than that! But I also sought additional rest as I meditated on Psalm 27 in my times of solitude and silence. “One thing I ask of the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4 NIV)
All of this was worth the price of admission, as they say, but something else occurred that I didn’t expect: I sort of went on pilgrimage. Perhaps not in the true sense of the word, but since the Symposium occurred at Calvin College, I was able to visit Calvin Theological Seminary, my old school, which is on the same campus. It felt so good to return to the place where I was formed for ministry. I confess, I shed a few tears as I walked those halls and visited with a few of my professors.
So, all in all, it was a blessed worship retreat. I feel refreshed and ready to return to my local church, where I will continue to lead worship, as well as worship the Lord with His people–with my people–in my ongoing quest to make Disciples of Christ.

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