This year, we introduced the theme of “Connecting Like Jesus” as a vehicle for becoming a conference of only growing and multiplying churches. Our first-ever virtual camp meeting and ministries convention (June 29 – July 3, 2021) successfully conveyed that, to fulfill the gospel commission, we must first connect with God, then with others, like Jesus did. We’re continuing this theme with our “Worship That Connects” worship summit on Friday, Dec. 10 (evening), and Sabbath, Dec. 11 (all day) on our Adventist Ontario YouTube channel and website.
The summit’s main objective will be to inspire a worship renewal. Attendees will be blessed by different elements of worship, including prayer, scripture reflections, special presentations with guest speakers and breakout sessions.i
The program will be comprised of three segments.
- Segment 1 will clear misconceptions around worship.
- Segment 2 will allow members to reflect on their worship honestly.
- Segment 3 will help members transition from being spectators, consumers or observers to actual worshippers.
Ontario Conference President Mansfield Edwards shared his motivation as this Ellen White quote:
“We do not obtain a hundredth part of the blessings we should obtain from assembling together to worship God.” Lift Him Up, p. 303.
Edwards noted, “We do not spend enough time discussing worship as a church, especially from a qualitative perspective.” We typically debate the merits of different worship styles. However, worship has to be at the forefront of our minds because “it is something we claim we’ll be doing throughout eternity in the visible presence of Christ, alongside angels.”
Also, as in the example of Cain and Abel, “we have to be careful that what we bring God under the guise of worship is what He deserves and will accept.” God is our audience, and He is looking for worship from the heart—“worship that reflects on who God is, as well as what He has done for us as individuals; worship that is focused on the invisible presence of God.”
He further broke down the need to re-examine worship in our Conference into three points:
- “We must ensure that our worship is more than ritual and form, or performance. The fact that we show up for church doesn’t mean that we have worship, even if we’re there before Sabbath School and stay after the benediction.”
- “True worship is edifying, helping people understand God, so that they can put all their life’s experiences and challenges in the appropriate perspective.” In Psalm 73: 16, 17, Asaph, the temple’s music leader, was troubled by the fact that he was ill while the wicked remained healthy. Then God revealed all to him in worship. “When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me—until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end” (NKJV).
- “Our worship impacts our evangelism. We have settled into a mould where we refer to our worship as service. But the service should flow out of our worship. The God we encounter in our worship experience is the one we take out in our service to the community. Thus, people can come to know the God we encounter.”
Edwards concluded, “By maintaining tradition, going through rituals, we miss the blessings God has for us. A renewal in worship has powerful, positive promises for us to receive the blessings that God brings for us when He shows up.”
i: Look for program updates in future editions of the Ontario Conference News.