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But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. John 4:23

Last week we had the opportunity to participate in Mission Leader training at the Adventures in Missions training center in Gainsville Georgia. Lynn and I were able to go down a week early and spend some time with family in Tennessee, and they were generous enough to loan us a vehicle so we could do some exploring, and then make our way to Gainsville.

The Mission Leader training was a huge success! Every year training is a little different, and one of the big changes this year was no worship team. Instead of the amazing worship team we typically have, they had different mission leaders take turns leading worship. At first, this was a disappointment, because I really enjoy the worship team. I appreciate the way a band can use dynamics, rhythm, and tone to manipulate the heart and mind into an attitude of worship. But as I sat and pondered the wisdom of this change, I realized that it was the best thing that could have happened.

All too often we rely on a worship team, or worship leader, to draw us into an attitude of worship. And, if they fail to do so, we blame them for not creating a worshipful environment, or not choosing the right songs, or having a singer who wasn’t quite good enough which created a distraction. We, as a sinful people, can find any number of excuses as to why we “couldn’t” worship. But the reality is, that is our problem, not theirs. Worship is the responsibility of every believer, and if you’re relying on someone else to create a “worship experience” for you, you’re missing the point (and you’re not alone!).

The best part about this aspect of the training, was that it not only revealed something to me about myself, but it also released me from a responsibility. As a mission leader, part of my responsibility is to facilitate worship, and I always do so to the best of my ability. But this training released me from the responsibility of ensuring the team has a “worshipful experience”. I will continue to facilitate worship to the best of my ability, and allow God to do the rest in the heart of each worshiper. We also experienced other avenues of worship, which was a good reminder that worship does NOT EQUAL music. We often think that way in western protestant culture, but there are many ways to worship the Lord, and now I have a few more tools in my toolbox.

But this training wasn’t just about worship. We also looked at how our 5 objectives could be realized in different types of ministry, how to be flexible and shift focus when ministry opportunities fall through, and how to adjust our approach based on the group we are serving.  I even had the opportunity to lead a workshop on ice breakers and games. It was an amazing weekend full of good information, and great fellowship.

We closed the weekend with a time of prayer where people moved around the room and prayed for one another. This was an amazing and powerful time, and I truly felt the presence of the Lord, and could hear Him speaking to me directly, and through others. As much as this event is a training, it is also a spiritual retreat, and one that I will look forward to every year.

If you want to experience this amazing event next year, and become a mission leader for Adventures in Missions, let me know! I would love to talk with you more about what that entails, and how to get started!