AOG Worship

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DON'T GET DISTRACTED

DON’T GET DISTRACTED by Simon Harper, AoG Worship 


We can have all the glitz and glam of church and make worship ‘cool’ but we’ve missed the point if we don’t have the presence of God. After all it’s the presence of God that changes lives and transforms us

I find myself writing this in the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool. I’m sat in one of the side chapels surrounded by such beautiful architecture, design and craftsmanship. There is such simplicity, yet the attention to detail is amazing. What I love though is that everything surrounding me does not distract me from what its intended purpose is. It’s a space which draws me into the presence of God.

Why do I share this? How is this relevant to us today? For me it’s simple, but something that even I sometimes get distracted from all too quickly, and it’s this… sometimes we focus so much of our time and energy into how things look in our church. In our worship times we have the lights, the smoke machine and maybe we’re even tempted to get a giant LED screen for the back of the stage. We want our singers to jump up and down, the band to at least sing along to the songs they are playing. All these are great and I love them and at times these things are really important, but the danger is that they can become our focus. Our job as worship teams is to create a space where people can come into the presence of God, not create a space that replaces the Presence of God. Everything we do and bring, the surroundings we create and design should always have a purpose in helping to point people to Jesus.

Psalm 22:3 tells us; ‘But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel’. I love this verse as it reminds me that God’s presence dwells in us when we worship him. But our worship must come from a place of authenticity and not dressed up with bells and whistles!!! We can have all the glitz and glam of church and make worship ‘cool’ but we’ve missed the point if we don’t have the presence of God. After all it’s the presence of God that changes lives and transforms us.

As church leaders, worship pastors, worship leaders, creative freaks, let’s not get so caught up in how things look in the experience of worship that we forget the one true thing we should experience in our worship. The presence of Jesus. There is no substitute for that.

 I’m not against all the lights and technology, in fact it’s something I love, embrace and encourage my team to work hard at – but it has to have a purpose. As worship teams, our services are an opportunity for us to worship God and just as importantly help lead and encourage others to worship Him. Let’s lead from a place of authenticity without creating a distraction, keeping the main thing the main thing. Let’s create an environment which helps point people to Jesus.


Simon is the Worship Pastor at Life Church Wirral and part of the AoG Worship Team. He is married to Becky and they have four children Ollie, Izzy, Evie and Tilly. 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Practical Tips for Involving Less Commonly Used Instruments in Worship

Emily Rowlands Bio Photo
Photo by Alice Dryden

Psalm 150 (MSG)

 Hallelujah!
Praise God in his holy house of worship,
praise him under the open skies;
Praise him for his acts of power,
praise him for his magnificent greatness;
Praise with a blast on the trumpet,
praise by strumming soft strings;
Praise him with castanets and dance,
praise him with banjo and flute;
Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum,
praise him with fiddles and mandolin.
Let every living, breathing creature praise God!
Hallelujah!

Musical instruments change over time, as do musical fashions, tastes, styles and expressions. Various different translations of Psalm 150 demonstrate this. But it isn’t the instruments listed in this Psalm that matter. They’re not an exclusive list of instructions to follow and a ‘must have’ for our worship teams (though that might be fun!). The essence of this Psalm expresses the freedom we have to use different instruments for the purpose of praising God. That’s what matters. Whatever instrument we learn to play, we can use it for praising God. We are instruments of praise ourselves, after all.

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Building a “Family” Atmosphere Amongst Your Team

Lyndsey Rollo Bio Photo

I was blessed to be brought up in home where family hangouts were a regular part of my everyday life – whether it was morning devotions around the table, summer evening cycles along the canal or weekend trips in a 9 seater van…..we hung out, A LOT! When I moved to college and lived with housemates, it became apparent that I inherited my mother’s genes when it came to gathering the girls together for cups of tea & chats in the evening. Building ‘family’ and a sense of ‘community’ is something I am quite passionate about. I believe that as human beings we were made for community and created to do life with others; we weren’t created to be alone. So how do we create a sense of team amongst a random group of talented individuals? Here;s 9 tips I’ve learned that have helped to build team along the way…

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Work / Life balance as a volunteer

In the 2000 movie, Castaway, Tom Hanks is marooned on a desert island with nothing but the clothes he’s wearing. After a few years he’s able to build a raft and heads out to the open sea with Wilson, a volleyball he found which has become his best friend. Whilst at sea, he falls asleep and wakes up to find Wilson floating away. He’s caught in a dilemma, does he leave his raft and risk losing it, or does he say goodbye to his best friend?

As a volunteer leader, we often see ministry / life balance as an either/or thing. You can’t have the raft and Wilson. It’s hard, I know. I too am a volunteer leader, with a family and a full time job. I haven’t found a perfect system for balancing these factors, but I’ve found some principles which may help.

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