What is worship? Over the years there have been countless books and blog posts written on the subject, most of which would provide you with more than enough information, so I won’t take up a lot of time here focusing on that question. One of my favourite definitions of worship is from Webster’s dictionary, which says ‘Worship is to honour with extravagant love and extreme submission’. Essentially, worship is about putting God and his plans for us above anything else in our lives, making him our top priority in all we do! David writes in Psalm 96:4 ‘great is the Lord and most worthy of praise’.

Worship is obviously a key part of all that we do; we seek to make worship a priority in every area of church ministry. One of the joys of worship is how it can be expressed in many different ways, and this is reflected in our different ministries. We have front led sung worship in our Sunday mornings and in prayer meetings, where we collectively lift our voices and praise his name, while our toddlers and kids groups use dance, actions, instruments and flags to celebrate the truth of who God is and how he impacts their lives. These are just a couple of ways in which we express our worship as a people of God, and we are working this year to increase the number of ways in which our members can worship. You may be someone who struggles to worship with singing. Psalm 100 encourages us to ‘Make a joyful noise unto the Lord’; the psalmist however does not specify the vocal range or tuning of the noise! God’s desire is simply that we raise our voices in praise. He has created you to be individual and unique, and he loves to see you worshipping in whatever way you feel comfortable! Ephesians 3:12 says ‘In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom in confidence.’ This is true however you choose to worship!

This year as a core worship team, the decision was made to invest in a member of staff here at JCC to help us enhance our expression of worship. We have had and continue to have a fantastic group of volunteers at this church who make up our worship team, but it was decided that in order to continue to build on our worship and ensure every church member has a fantastic experience of worship at JCC, it was necessary to hire an individual who could devote more time than it was possible for any one individual to volunteer. This is where I come in! As ‘Worship Intern’ here at JCC I am under the leadership of Pete Cowley, who is part of the eldership team and the leader of the worship team at JCC. My job is varied and sees me involved in many different ministries at JCC, mostly with a focus on how we can develop the way that we encourage people to worship within those ministries. I also play a role in our one off events, such as the Christmas production and choir events, and making sure we continue to use our musical resources here at JCC to best serve outside hirers and other churches which use the building. My focus this year is to cultivate an environment in which every member of God’s church family enjoys freedom in worship here at JCC! If at any point you want any information on what I’m up to, what might be coming up in terms of worship at JCC, or you want to give feedback about something we are already doing, feel free to let me know! My email is toby@jcceg.co.uk, or you can grab me any time you see me around at JCC during the week or on a Sunday morning.

I thought I would finish off by letting you know what we have in the pipeline for worship here at JCC! We are constantly looking at ways in which we can expand our ways of worshipping Jesus; you may have recently attended one of our new half nights of worship, where we devote four hours on a Friday evening to praising God and welcoming his Holy Spirit amongst us. These have been fantastic evenings where God has moved powerfully, and I would encourage you all to attend some part of the next one of these events! In addition to the continued development of these events and others like them, we are aiming to expand the creative arts side of our worship, so if you have ever been inspired to dance, paint or write as an act of worship in response to God’s love for you, get excited! We plan to take actions to make this easier to do as part of our Sunday mornings in the near future! Finally, this worship blog is likely to be updated regularly with a range of posts including interviews with members of the worship team, information about what new steps we’re taking as a team, and practical tips for worship in a small group setting. Our vision is to provide a resource which increases the worship tool kit of every member of JCC.

I hope that with this blog I’ve given you a glimpse to what worship looks like at JCC, and how you can get involved in what it looks like in the future! I look forward to worshipping with you all soon!