Welcome to the first JCC Worship Blog of the new term, in this blog we will be focusing on home-grown worship, what it is and what it looks like here at JCC.

What is home-grown worship?
When we talk about home-grown worship, we are referring to features of our corporate worship which are created by members of JCC. This would include worship songs, spoken words or choreographed movement pieces, all of which have been part of our corporate worship at JCC in the past, and we are looking forward to seeing more of in the future.

Why use home-grown worship?
Here at JCC we are blessed to have incredibly gifted creative individuals within our congregation, and we fully believe that God loves it when we use the gifting he has given us to help point people’s eyes to him (Matthew 5:14-16; 1 Peter 4:10-11). We want to create an environment on a Sunday morning, and in times of corporate worship in our other ministries (0-18s, prayer meetings, etc.), that encourages creative individuals to explore the potential of their gifting.

How are we encouraging home-grown worship?
One way in which we are encouraging home-grown worship is by using songs written by members of the wider worship team in our corporate worship times! Free Indeed, which we have used a couple of times already, is the first of those, and we hope this term to introduce more songs like it! It was also a privilege last term to be present as Libani Tides, a band made up of members of our youth group, supported Lou Fellingham and led a time of worship which featured 5 songs, all of which they had written themselves!

Another step in supporting home-grown worship is the introduction of the new Wider Worship and Creative Arts group, a group of creative individuals which includes musicians, sound technicians, artists, dancers, songwriters and more that are passionate about worshipping and using their gifting to help others engage in worship. This group will be meeting monthly to engage in songwriting sessions, teaching on worship, times of prayer and worship together, the aim of which will be to develop gifting and encourage individuals to step out in what God might be calling them into creatively.

We are also trying to do more to encourage creative individuals in our 0-18s ministries, you will notice we have recently started putting out percussion instruments on a Sunday morning, to encourage young children to worship with instruments and give opportunity to explore their musical gifting at a young age. We are also looking at how we worship within our Blaze kids ministry on a Sunday morning, and how we encourage our kids to be creative in worship. Our glo youth ministry continues to provide great opportunities for teenagers to step out in their gifting, as we are seeing fantastic spirit filled worship times led by our young people. We are also increasingly being blessed by young people stepping out and bringing contributions from the front in both our Friday night youth meetings and our Sunday morning corporate worship times.

How can you get involved in home-grown worship?
I hope that after reading this blog you are excited about the way in which God is moving amongst our creative individuals! You may even be someone who feels like God has blessed you with a level of creative gifting in which you would like to be bold and step out. I would encourage you to get in touch with me at toby@jcceg.co.uk with regards to joining our Wider Worship and Creative Arts team, and also to be bold and step out in the situations where it is already possible, such as your community group, or even on a Sunday morning! If you are a poet, be bold and share something you’ve written from the front; if you’re an artist, you might want to share some of your work with the members of your community group.

Quite simply, the best way to get involved in home-grown worship here at JCC is to get creative! Dive full on into the creative gifting that God has given you, and get excited about how he might use you to bless others!