Posted by Craig Borlase on 10 December 2014

A few weeks back WeAreWorship got to spend the whole weekend in the company of a mass of Worship Leaders at the annual Mission Worship conference. Here’s what we were left thinking about...

1. We're not as mono-coloured as we used to be. Despite the fact that for many years we've been singing each other's songs, for too long we have stuck in our own tribes when it comes to conferences. That appears to have been changing over recent years, and this year’s Mission Worship was an encouraging mash of races and backgrounds, where urban and rural, Pentecostal and traditional all mixed together.

2. Some of those other old divisions aren't quite so important either. Kids worship has long been relegated to the sidelines, but there was a noticeable bump in its profile this year. Are we finally waking up to the value of making church services truly family-friendly?

3. For years we’ve known that the role of the worship leader does not stop at song selection and delivery. With that truth finally accepted, the challenge ahead of us is what kind of impact we are going to make. Those early bird seminars pretty much said it all: the search for a clearer link between mission and worship, new songs from urban churches, the importance of prophecy and the vital links between worship and justice.

4. The truth about worship leaders is better than the rumour. The old stereotype of the worship leader as a frustrated Bono-clone might still have some truth in a few places, but one look around Mission Worship and it is clear that a lot of that old baggage is gone. We could see no preening and no strutting from anyone at the event, just a whole load of people giving up their time to learn how they can better serve their church family.

5. It seems like everyone with a web site - from supermarkets to bloggers, travel companies to sports teams - is hoping to create among its customers, followers and supporters a sense that they are part of a community. Writing in ‘Life Together’, (decades before either the internet or the modern worship movement) Dietrich Bonhoeffer suggested that:

"The Christian community has not been given to us by God for us to be continually taking its temperature. The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more assuredly and consistently will community increase and grow from day to day as God pleases.”

We don’t create the communities we are a part of - whether they are web sites, conferences or congregations. We simply participate in them, give thanks and continue to try and serve as best we can. On the strength of this year’s Mission Worship, there’s a lot to be thankful for.

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