Worship leaders from many denominations and many contexts gathered not only to learn the latest songs from Northern Irish singer-songwriters Keith and Kristyn Getty, but also to take in the Getty’s compelling approach to worship ministry.
The April leadership event, hosted by EduDeo Ministries and sponsored by Redeemer, was centred around a talk by Keith Getty, who has penned many modern hymns, the most well-known of which is “In Christ Alone”. Keith shared his advice on composing songs and Sunday setlists and his thoughts on how congregational worship can lead us into missions.
“If we aren’t singing about missions,” Keith said, “we aren’t thinking about missions and we certainly aren’t going to be acting missionally.” By engaging with theologically rich songs and by being able to fully participate in worship, we are able to live as people attuned to God.
Worship isn’t about the song line-up’s “coolness factor” or about the impressive production we might expect from a concert. If we reduce worship to buzzworthy performances, Keith warned, we lose out on the theological richness and the depth of expression and experience available to us as a congregation. “We may draw people in the doors, particularly our youth groups, but we lose them between 18 and 40,” he continued, “when these energetic songs seem like simplistic answers to the difficult problems and questions they grow up to face.”
“If we aren’t singing about missions, we aren’t thinking about missions and we certainly aren’t going to be acting missionally.”
Instead, the songs we sing must teach us about the character of God and the nature of our own experience. In worship, we learn to live as deep Christians for this generation, as our ancestors and the heroes of our faith were for their own generation. “What we sing,” Keith reflected, “so profoundly affects what we think, how we feel, the decisions we make and, in turn, the legacy we leave.”
Redeemer, too, is shaping this legacy, not only by training ministry leaders with Getty Music’s workshop, but also by training the next generation through our renewed Ministry program. The new Urban and Intercultural Ministry program places theology, discipleship and worship at the centre of Christ’s call to love our neighbours as ourselves. The program prepares students to serve and steward the ministry settings of tomorrow, just as the Getty’s leadership events continue to equip leaders for today’s ministry contexts.