I had this crazy idea to write a worship album from 1 Peter. It was going to be difficult to complete it in the timeframe, but the lofty goal was exciting to the crew. When I first mentioned the idea, they were all in and we got to work feverishly on it.
We decided that we would introduce the songs during the series along the way.
We then thought about having a live recording night where we could record all the songs so that they would be ready by the time the series completed.
Instead of doing it at North Side, we started looking for either a chapel or a barn, something to make the night feel more organic and simple – we found both.
We didn’t discover Epworth. Epworth kinda discovered us. When I pitched the idea about doing a live recording in November in an open air chapel, everyone was giddy. They loved the idea. We started figuring out how to pull it off.
Then, it was Thursday, Nov. 7th. The temperature had dropped dramatically that week. A group of volunteers who bought into this idea were bundled up to start setting up the place for our night of worship on Saturday night.
I had people who had been working all day grab a quick bite to eat and join me to clean, setup, and prepare this place for a night of worship. We were working with circuits and electricity. We were utilizing brooms and shop vacs. People were scaling ladders and working hard. I even had some people staying in a camper all weekend long to watch over the gear.
And I as I walked out to try to wrap my head around how to remedy a couple of our issues, it hit me: what if this doesn’t work? What if we can’t get the sound right? What if it is too cold for anyone to actually show up? What if the recording goes bad?
I had a vision for the event and the whole project, but all of a sudden, I wasn’t sure I believed in it anymore. I was worried that everyone was going to think the whole concept was nuts.
1 Peter was written to people who lived as strangers in a temporary land. Circumstances were rough. Conditions weren’t perfect. So let’s celebrate these biblical truths with a smaller group of people who really wanted to be there and worship outside on a cold night. Brilliant, right? I wasn’t so sure anymore.
It was at this point I realized something: sometimes you carry the vision and sometimes the vision carries you.
As a pastor, I am called to give oversight and help people really get the Scriptures (1 Tim. 3:2). Part of my job is to have the vision for such things (Prov. 29:18). But what happens when I lose that vision?
It was a beautiful thing that night. As my concern and frustration ramped up, I watched as people that I consider family work with joy and excitement. They were having the time of their lives and honored to be a part of it. The vision had been passed onto them. I had started the first push, but after months of planning, I was spent. And they finished the job by pushing the original pusher!
It helped me realize that sometimes in the Kingdom of God, you will be the one casting the vision or rallying around the vision. And sometimes you are at a place when others carry you to it or keep you on it. That’s why we need each other (Heb. 3:13; 10:24-25)!
Thursday night had plenty of issues. Friday night got plain frigid. Saturday night was glorious.
And now comes this Sunday. We get to do the entire night of worship again for both services at North Side this Sunday morning. After studying 1 Peter for 6 months, our congregation is going to recap it in a unique way. Our pastor is going to start reading through the book, we are going to worship, read some more, worship some more, and go on from there. No sermon. No videos. Just the Word read and the Word sung. And that Word is living and active (Heb. 4:12) – we don’t need anything else.
We get to release the album as a unique way to keep the Word in people’s ears and hearts (Col. 3:16). In some ways, it is my favorite project we have ever done. It is unique and complex. It is organic and heartfelt. It sounds more like a family singing than a concert.
If you don’t have a church home, we would love for you to join us at North Side either at 9:30 or 11 – or both if you just like the Word that much! If you already have commitments or are too far away, you can join us online or get a copy on iTunes on Sunday.
If you can make it in person, the CD’s will be $10 for the first one and $5 for each additional one, so get a few for some friends who need to hear a message that they can stand firm no matter how hard life gets.
And for this wonderful team that allows me to lead worship, thank you for being strong when I am weak. I strive to do the same for you. Now, we get to enjoy this special time as we truly lay down a sacrifice of praise to Jesus this Sunday (Heb. 13:15; Ps. 50:14). Let’s enjoy Him together!
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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