Dan Hebden, Worship Assistant (left) and Ben Lees, Worship Intern (right), took a team to Spring Harvest conference in April to serve as part of the worship team for 11-14's.
Tell us what you did...
Dan: At the start of April I took a team, with Ben, to lead worship at Spring Harvest Minehead, on the Distinctive team who lead the 11-14’s venue at the conference. The team included 4 of us from St G’s and 1 from Audacious Church in Manchester.
One of the best things was being part of a team that had come from a real mix of different churches around the UK; not just being on the worship team. It was great to experience different times of worship, engaging kids in dancing and inviting the spirit to move in times of ministry.
"I think sometimes we put boundaries on God, dictating when he can move and speak, giving time slots in services for example. The spirit will move when He wants to."
Where was God at work?
Ben: As well as leading worship we also had the opportunity to lead small group sessions alongside the wider Distinctive team. Although these times were often cut short, and there were a quite a lot of young people in one group to encourage any meaningful discussion, or get to know each other very well. I was really encouraged one time when we were talking about the Holy Spirit; the kids didn’t really know who He was, so while being rushed to end the session I just prayed, ‘God we welcome your spirit’ and asked God to show us his spirit with words and pictures. Straight away 3 young people said they felt the Holy Spirit and one shared a picture with the rest of the group, but as none of us really knew what it meant, I prayed again for an interpretation. 10 seconds later, one person had an interpretation, which completely spoke into the situation of some of those young people right there. They were really encouraged by this and left the meeting filled with joy having met with God.
I think sometimes we put boundaries on God, dictating when he can move and speak, giving time slots in services for example. The spirit will move when He wants to; it was just as easy as saying quickly, ‘God, come and minister to these young people’, and He spoke to them.
"...we really felt commissioned to be there with the backing and prayer support of our church family, which allowed us to serve with confidence."
Why is it important to send leaders out?
Dan: We really appreciate being sent out by St G’s to serve at Spring Harvest; we really felt commissioned to be there with the backing and prayer support of our church family, which allowed us to serve with confidence.
A leader going out into a different context has lots of benefits. They can use their experiences in a local church context to benefit the new context. The leader can also learn to be adaptable and is less likely to get stuck in a mould or routine.
What can the rest of St G’s learn from your experience?
Ben: 11-14s don’t seem to engage with what we often portray as the ‘deep and meaningful’ stuff; they don’t understand what’s expected of them and need clear guidance. I found that if you take away the reserve we quite often get in church before it’s developed, this can enable them worship freely. So in response to this we did a lot of songs about Jesus being alive in us, inviting people to jump about and be joyful. I want to bring this kind of attitude to worship back to Roots and encourage our young people to be free in worship.
"I think we need more freedom to be joyful in our worship."
Dan: The bible talks about having a childlike faith. Kids’ worship is so joyful stating simple truths about who God is. In some sense that’s all you need and at times I think we can over complicate worship. I think we need more freedom to be joyful in our worship, and now I have learned about this at the conference, I would be more confident to lead at St George’s in that way.
"...dance undignified for Him..."
Ben: We went to a seminar where Pete James was discussing the new songs Spring Harvest were introducing; one he was talking about was one of his own which included a lyric ‘dance undignified for Him’. Someone raised the issue that their church ‘doesn’t like to let go and just dance’, so could they change the lyric to ‘dance dignified for Him’? Pete replied, no, ‘dance undignified’ was written because this is exactly what David in the bible did, and this should teach us to be free. So instead of trying to control our worship depending on what our congregation is like, we should be showing them how to be free with our bodies in worship.
Find out more about the worship ministry at St George's here.