One of our musical items for our ‘Full of Hope’ Service: Blessed Assurance
Highlight: One of the big things I got to work on in the months of September and October was our church-wide ‘Full of Hope’ service. Each year, our church would look forward to a combined service of the year. Over 500 of our English, Chinese, and Persian congregations would gather together outside to hear God’s word, sing the praises of our Lord Jesus, and to celebrate the baptisms and confirmations of our brothers and sisters. Due to COVID, we haven’t been able to hold a combined service since 2019. So this year, our church decided to hold simultaneous live streams with English, Mandarin, and Farsi subtitles. My particular role was to get our musicians together to record two songs for the stream. Once song (10,000 Reasons) was even recorded with all three languages! Given the prevailing restrictions at the time, our musicians recorded separately from our homes, and I set up a small studio at church for our musicians that lacked recording equipment. One of the great joys of this period was serving alongside my brothers and sisters in the Chinese and Persian congregations. So often our ministries are separated by language groups, but through this service we were able to find common ground in our faith in Christ. We could be united in singing the same truths of our great God in our native tongues. It was a great reminder to me of the reality to come:
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
Preparing some of the music for this service wasn’t always easy. A lot of these past two months did not feel like a lot of ‘word’ ministry to me, especially when I was tweaking vocal EQs and editing video footage. But having watched the full service afterwards, I saw how all the elements of the service came together to proclaim to every viewer the love of Christ that compels us to great hope in a time of great disappointment. You can find the full service here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9H2qF4OSz4&t=2090s
Here few pictures that summed up what a large part of September and October looked like!
Reflections: These past couple of months, I have continued to grapple with the challenge of good friendship in ministry. A lot of my closest friends (who are also probably also reading this) are also the same people I serve at church. This has complicated the times we gather in friendship, because there are certain matters of confidence that I am unable to share with them, and personally I am still figuring out how I am to act around them. Do I gently challenge them as someone who must give an account to God and watches over their souls, or do I silently empathise with their struggles and just ‘do what friends do’? As with many other things, it is never quite black and white; a minister can certainly empathise, and a true friend is unafraid to rebuke when necessary! I would really appreciate prayer for wisdom and courage to work out these expectations those have I a responsibility whether in service or friendship.
- Praise God for the St John’s ‘Full of Hope’ combined service. Please give thanks for the skills and friendships gained through preparing for this service.
- Please pray for wisdom and courage as I navigate the differences and similarities of friendship and formal ministry