Word of Grace Network
Penn Yan, New York
Worship at The River
Worship at Abbotsford Vineyard
I had a wonderful time visiting my friends in Hong Kong last month. Lots of good times of worship, crafting songs together, and eating great food!
I was working and hanging out with 12 songwriters from eight congregations in Hong Kong connected with St. Stephen’s ministry. We were a diverse group – indigenous Hong Kong folks, and full time Honk Kong residents originally from England. Our task in the songwriting workshop was to review, critique and re-write their partially finished worship songs. With God’s help, we were successful in taking the seeds of inspiration from God and developing them into a songs that fit congregational worship.
In their regular day-to-day life, these folks do a wonderful work of teaching and caring for the lost, the poor, and recovering addicts. They run programs for babies and toddlers and young mothers, and teenagers coming out of difficult family situations.
It’s only the grace of God that qualifies us to write worship songs. Given that truth, I strongly felt that these people were well qualified to write congregational worship songs because they are consistently devoting time in caring for needy people. They’re doing the gospel: loving God and loving their neighbors as themselves. The heart that gives away God’s compassion is well positioned to receive songs from the Holy Spirit.
Their openness to receiving critique was a huge help in moving forward. It’s one thing to write songs in your bedroom that express your heart to God; it’s another thing to fashion a song that is accessible for a congregation, is poetically beautifully, melodically fresh and lyrically unique. With God’s help, they are writing songs for the Cantonese and English speaking people in their sphere of influence.