A few years ago when I was attending a church leadership conference in Tulsa, OK, I got caught up in a worship experience. The song being played was from Hillsong, and it was called ‘Stronger’. The words of the bridge kept repeating, “Let Your Name, Be lifted higher, Be lifted higher, Be lifted higher.” At first, I was a little annoyed with yet another worship song that kept repeating the same words over and over, but as we kept singing and repeating those words I found the hardness of my heart begin to melt away. My soul began to dig deeper into the (once) simple words.
Let Your Name
Be Lifted Higher
Be Lifted Higher!
Be Lifted Higher!!
It wasn’t long before I realized that God wanted me to repeat those words. The Lord wanted me to keep singing those words. It was as if I had forgotten the meaning of those words. I had forgotten about the power of His Name. I had elevated so many other things above His Name, and now the words of this worship song were helping me put my priorities in the right order. The Holy Spirit was filling my heart with a reminder that I needed to elevate the Name of the Lord above all other gods in my life. Suddenly I was brought to tears because of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the room, and I was overwhelmed with reverence and humility for Him. God was glorified in that moment.
That’s what worship is all about, directing attention and bringing Glory to the Lord. It can be done through song, through our talents, through our job, through our families, and through our lifestyle. Worship is not just a song we sing on Sunday morning. Worship is an every moment of your day, thing. And when we lock-in to those worship “moments,” it’s life-changing.
The Birth of a Dream
Upon returning from the conference in Oklahoma, I began to feel a real sense that God wanted to use the worship of New Hope in a larger way. I couldn’t shake the way I felt during that time of worship, and in my heart, I wished that more people could experience the presence of God, through worship, the way I had been led by the conference worship leaders. I gave thanks for the “new” song I heard that weekend and how it had brought a change in my heart. (By the way, that was the same conference where I heard ‘No Longer Slaves’ for the first time, which also floored me!)
For the past ten years these new songs of worship have been coming from Hillsong Church (Australia), Gateway (Texas), Bethel (California), and Elevation Church (North Carolina), to name a few. But now I was feeling like God was leading New Hope to become a church that creates and #REACHes out to others through new songs that the Lord has given us. I also began to feel this sense of urgency to begin raising and training up young, creative artists in all forms of art. Songwriting, drama, dance, and musicianship could all be taught to the next generation of worship leaders. Some of you may remember the first time we started talking about a New Hope School of Worship and Arts.
It was a dream, but the timing was not right…
The Time Has Now Come
The Lord has now equipped New Hope with a team of staff and volunteers that can make this worship dream a reality. At the beginning of New Hope’s budget year, I set some money aside for the creation of an original worship project. After all, if New Hope is to be a church that trains up worship leaders and artists, it would be best to show that God has put creativity in the heart of this church.
But instead of paying an outside production studio to record one worship project for us, Pastor Mark, Pete, and I began to draw up plans for a production studio under our own roof that could produce limitless projects, all within budget. And I’m telling you, God has shown up!
In the past few months, God has brought us the leaders, designers, songwriters, engineers, musicians, and vocalists to create all we would need under our own roof! The Lord is laying the groundwork for a School of Worship and Arts, and it will begin with a two-room production studio that will be located in the main hallway of the church.
Once completed, the studio will be used to produce music that will help #REACH (a part of our vision) the community that God has placed us in. And with the Lord’s blessing, the music that comes from New Hope will have the ability to reach the world. In the years to come, other churches, individuals, believers, and non-believers will be singing music that has come from New Hope.
And who knows, the Lord may use one of these “new” New Hope songs to ignite a dream in another individual, just like He did with me in Oklahoma.
In the meanwhile, when you see work taking place in two of the rooms down the main hallway, that is what’s happening…and it’s exciting!
#REACH #CONNECT #GO #GROW