On November 3, 2009, Oswego First held their first Worship Team meeting. We previously had a Worship Committee that met about once a year but was never really involved in the actual planning of worship services. That responsibility was firmly delegated to the Pastor and the Director of Music.
In 2009, we created a Team: the pastor, the director of music, three members of the choir, and chair of Altar Guild. We have a spiritual leader and a music leader, both of whom are experienced and knowledgeable in connecting scripture with music to enhance the meaning of our worship services. Our meetings were held on a somewhat regular basis every couple of months and we reported our activities to Administrative Council.
Oswego First has always had a worship service that engages the congregation and tries to appeal in some way to all members. Our service is considered a traditional service in that it has a formal worship liturgy that follows Methodist liturgy. Music is a mixture of traditional hymns and contemporary hymns and anthems. We support visitors and guests through the use of a cantor and a liturgist along with our pastor. There is opportunity for lay involvement as cantor and liturgist as well as through the children’s moment, communion servers, and other special moments. And of course, all are welcome to join the choir and the bell choir.
In 2011, a second worship service was added – a fully contemporary service led by our own praise band. The liturgy is much less formal and the music is very much contemporary. It was our hope that with two services, our church would appeal to a broader spectrum of our community, including the college population.
In July 2012, with the arrival of our new pastor, we became even more intentional with our worship planning and established a regular meeting schedule: the fourth Thursday of the month, 7:00 pm, at the church. It is a combined group from both services. The Team does not have a formal charge; we discuss and make decisions, with the pastor, on questions that are directly related to worship.
All members of the congregation who are interested in participating more actively in worship, or are just curious about our worship service, are welcome at our meetings. We do want to involve as many people in the worship experience as possible.
Robert Schnase, author of Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, tells us, …”worship connects people to God and to one another”. We want to create a worship experience that is genuine, alive, creative and understandable to all – where we can experience the life changing presence of God in the presence of others. Worship can draw people to Christ, deepen understanding and relationship with Christ, and transform lives as disciples grow in the image of Christ. (paraphrased from Mr. Schnase in Five Practices – Passionate Worship, page 9).
Team Leader, Worship Team