International (MNN) — The American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” This is especially true for worship in the Church.
The Body of Christ spans across borders. Even when we can’t speak one another’s language, worshipping the Lord together demonstrates our unity. That’s why Global Disciples is placing a new emphasis on worship in their discipleship training.
Tim Singer*, Global Disciples’ new worship specialist says, “Our goal is to raise up regional worship leaders, give them more training, and help them discover how they can train others within their own unique cultural context.
“So in other words, we’re not going to bring the songs we sing here in America with us. Instead, [we] teach them to write their own songs, use their own cultural resources, use the instruments that they have, and encourage them to have their own unique expression of worship. That’s where the beauty is.”
But most of all, Singer says they are encouraging worship leaders “to find that sincerity, that authentic expression that leads us into the presence of God.”
Global Disciples has helped plant thousands of churches around the world over the years. They noticed the need for a worship focus after hearing many of these new churches struggling in the area of worship.
Collaborating in cross-cultural worship, however, can be a daunting task. Even across denominations or across the street, congregations and church leaders have very different approaches to worshipful expression.
It may not be an easy endeavor, but it is worthwhile to proclaim the name of Jesus through worship to a lost and hurting world.
As Global Disciples comes alongside these international churches, Singer plans to listen to and learn from the other worship leaders as well.
“When I meet with someone who’s a musician, hearing their music and pointing out what is really beautiful about what they do, that’s unique. I worked a lot in different cultural contexts in Europe and throughout Eastern Europe and some parts of Asia already, and I saw that take place. We just started doing music together and then encouraging and saying, ‘Wow, that is really beautiful. That’s really special. How could you go further in that area?’… They’re so thrilled when their local culture is lifted up.”
This recently played out when Singer collaborated on worship recordings for a Global Disciples training with leaders from Africa, Asia, North America, and South America.
“I wasn’t given much notice, but I was able to quickly find two people from Kenya and we took one of their Swahili songs and I transcribed it…and then also I wrote a singable translation for it. We sang it in Swahili and sang it in English. It was simply one of the most powerful worship songs I’ve encountered in a long time.”
As Global Disciples launches worship training and experiences, they are looking to connect with more worship leaders from around the world. Click here to contact Global Disciples and ask about their worship initiatives!
Global Disciples is also searching for new worship resources and other creative contributions. Singer says, “One part that I’m glad we were able to include in my job description is to celebrate creativity, to help local churches understand their creative artists (who are so often misunderstood) and how their gifts are crucial in the body of Christ. Sometimes, our artists are modern-day prophets. They have ways of saying things that can’t be expressed in words. How do we utilize those gifts in the Church?
“We’re also looking for partnerships with churches in the US,” Singer says. “We want to do some international, collaborative worship experiences that bring people together across languages and cultures and get that flow of resources going in each direction.”
*Last name changed for security purposes.