Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Music and Mission and Awesomeness

Last Sunday, we gathered together after church to consider possible new directions for the church.  It was a long but fruitful meeting, and the scenarios were each compelling and inspiring.  The church spoke with a clear voice.  We feel God calling us into mission in our community and beyond, selecting the second scenario: Decatur First Missional.
This should not be surprising.  Our church has always prioritized mission, and our long-standing efforts in that regard have done much to shape us.  Decades of continuous trips to ASP, expanding a few years ago to include an adult trip.  Our Honduras mission trip each year and indeed Honduras Outreach International.  Support of local efforts like Decatur Emergency Assistance Ministry.
It was precisely that bent to missional involvement that led me to establish and expand Music in Mission shortly after I began my work here.  After all, music offers a unique and powerful witness that resonates deep in the heart.  Music connects us as we sing, and it connects us with those who listen to our songs.  Why wouldn’t we use the powerful of music to share the love of Christ in our world?
Last Sunday, the Missional writing team described groups of people bound together by common interests and passions going into our community and our world bearing the love of Christ.  Yesterday when I learned the results of the meeting I began considering the ways music ministry will need to adapt to support a future story formed in that image (yes, even before the story is presented!).  After all, music ministry is here to serve the vision of the church.
The team talked about getting involved in the local festivals.  Perhaps we could offer a concert as part of one of those festivals.  The team talked about the CAYA band offering music in the community.  Perhaps we could take our music outside into our local community—on the square or perhaps in some of our local retirement homes.  Great news!  We’re ahead of the game!  Both of those are already planned for this season.  We have put a Y’all Come Christmas Caroling event on the calendar for December (responding to some who suggested we offer a Music Mission for Christmas) and also will be a part of the Decatur Arts Festival next Memorial Day weekend when the Chancel Choir sings its annual concert with the Callanwolde Concert Band. Ringers in our bell choirs have expressed an interest in taking our choirs outside the church.  Our children, youth, and senior choirs will continue offering local and regional Music Missions aimed at fostering relationships with God, each other, and the world.  In short, the music ministry of Decatur First more than ready to embrace a new direction because in many ways it will not be a new direction for us.
That’s not to say we will not make changes and adjustments.  As we live into this new story, we might change or eliminate some offerings while doubling down on others.  We will be charged to have an eye on our community at all times, considering how our music and programs affect and interact with it—both drawing people into the church and taking our music out of the church to them.
Across the years, the music ministry has led our church forward.  Now, as we enter this exciting, bold new phase of existence—as we seek to follow in the new way God is leading us—the music ministry will continue to be at the cutting edge, inspiring and supporting the God’s vision for our church.  Buckle up, gang.  It’s about to get real.
-John


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