One of my favorite passages in all of the Scriptures is the story of how the prophet Isaiah heard his calling. It's found in the 6th Chapter of the Old Testament book that bears his name and it takes place in the context of temple worship. There, in the middle of an annual worship event, much like our seasonal "cantatas," Isaiah's eyes and ears are suddenly open to the power and grandeur of God. And after he has seen and heard and felt that mysterious awesomeness, he realizes just how small and sinful he is compared to God.
It's only after "coming to himself" and yielding to the cleansing fire of the Holy Spirit that Isaiah hears the voice of God calling him to take his place in God's mission in the world. We all know that God's mission of salvation through the stuff of human history does not get worked out in a nice and neat package. In fact, there are decades and generations of dramatic twists and turns in the narrative. But in Chapter 7 we are told that the sign of God's ultimate salvation will be marked by the birth of Immanuel - God WITH US.
Have you ever wondered if Isaiah would have ever played a role in God's purpose for the world if he hadn't experienced that powerful worship in the temple? Have you ever wondered how many people have missed the voice of God, have missed the presence of God, have missed the love of God simply because worship was poorly envisioned and poorly planned?
In the coming year, Robert McMichael and I will be hosting networking meetings in every district with worship leaders, choir directors, media teams and pastors who have primary responsibility for visioning, planning and leading worship on a weekly basis. Our hope is to connect worship leaders with other worship leaders in hopes of "iron sharpening iron."
So, pastors, please be on the lookout for communication from your District Superintendent about a networking event in your district and encourage your worship leaders, choir directors, media leaders - anyone who plays a role in planning weekly worship - to come and connect.
Our first two network meetings are already set: