Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kainos Movement 2015 Conference | Lab Session: Transcultural and Multi-Ethnic Worship in Song with Dr. Stephen Newby

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities

Kainos Movement 2015 Conference Gospel Songs for Transcultural and Multi-Ethnic Congregations

 Last week, I had the privilege to go to Memphis, Tennessee for the Kainos Movement's 2015 Conference. The purpose of the conference was to gather leaders who either seek to start multi-ethnic ministries or churches, or who aspire to transition their current homogenous ministries into a multi-ethnic trajectory. My prayer, hope, and striving is that Emmaus City will be a transcultural and multi-ethnic church in Worcester, of Worcester, and for Worcester. I know only God can do this. So being among many wise leaders and churches who have accomplished this in their cities across the U.S., particularly those in Memphis, was both humbling and exciting.

While I will provide many posts in the next few days featuring my notes from the strong collection of Kainos 2015 pastors, nonprofit leaders, and sociologists who prophetically spoke into our segregated American culture, in this post I wanted to feature some of the new songs shared with us by the Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Church worship teams that deeply impacted me. Singing these spiritual anthems with fellow African American, Latin American, and Asian American brothers and sisters among others was a thrilling preview of the Kingdom of God. While songs like Hillsong's "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)," The People's Church's "Your Great Name," and Planetshaker's "The Anthem," and hymns like "How Great Thou Art" were sung as well, in this post I want to focus on the songs that were new to me. I liked how Pastor Derwin Gray of Transformation Church said that the way they aim to choose songs related to the message are ones "white people can get familiar with and minorities can feel." 

Before listing out the songs, here is a brief look at Dr. Stephen Newby's thoughts on how to begin to integrate a more multicultural approach to the liturgy when you don't have the diversity, musicianship, or that many singers, from his session on transcultural worship. Out of the six hours worth of sessions he provided, I was only able to participate in one hour, so there is much I missed. However, I plan to gain more by reading his book, Worship Outside the Music Box: Theology of Worship & Music and Multi-Ethnic Ministry, with Emmaus City's associate director of liturgy arts soon.

Kainos 2015 Lab Session: Transcultural and Multi-Ethnic Worship

Emmaus City Church Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Transcultural Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities


Dr. Stephen Newby

Director of Center for Worship
Director of SPU Gospel Choir
Director of Worship Arts Ensemble
 Composer, conductor, gospel/jazz vocalist, pianist 
 Doctorate in Musical Arts in Composition, University of Michigan

What do we want to experience in the congregation singing praises to God? 

(1) Service to God
(2) Mirror of heaven in look, feel, and tone
(3) Affirmation of God's grace
(4) Communication of God's promises
(5) Proclamation of God's gospel
(6) Atmosphere of transcendence where God's presence is welcomed and felt
(7) Urgency of people needing to be reconciled to God 

In our hearts, God is concerned with Hosea 6:6: "I desire (goodness, loyalty, mercy, love) more than sacrifice, knowledge of God more than offerings." 

We must be more innovative in welcoming different cultures and styles into our approach to using the Word of God and music in our liturgy. The Word is alive and wants to come alive in the hearts of the people among the people in the gathering. Whatever is happening in the text should come alive in the liturgy. People want "encounters" with the living God.

For example, if you don't have enough singers for a singing choir, put together a speech choir to read the Scripture readings together.

"While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 'Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?' And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days." – Acts 10:44-48

Narrative passages: All read
Holy Spirit: women read and "breathe out" the name "Holy Spirit"
Peter's quote: Have one person read it

Make the passage come to life.

Our ministers in music should be reading and meditating on the Scripture (30 minutes per day) more than practicing their music skill (2-3 hours per week, some of the time individually and some of the time with the group) so that they are listening to the Word and the Spirit before and during the time they bring the Word to life in song for the congregation. We need to put on compassion, mercy, meekness, patience … (Colossians 3) with the people God has called us to serve.

"We need to learn the true Story of the Scriptures "by heart" at a gut level, and let it seep in our background in order to then shape our perception of the world."  James K.A. Smith, Imagining the Kingdom

We need transformational leadership that imagines differently, perceives differently, and acts differently.

Four problems that often hinder a creative and imaginative approach to worship in the liturgy:

(1) Too much pastor
(2) Congregation is only an audience
(3) A prescribed "free" approach to worship where people from different cultural backgrounds are not really free to worship
(4) The mystery is gone and the service is sterile

I hope God will give us the privilege to infuse some of these powerful new hymns and songs below into Emmaus City's repertoire of praise so people throughout our city can come together to learn, know, and feel the incredible grace of God that He would plan from the beginning to get His family from every tribe, tongue, and nation back.

Glory to Glory to Glory song lyrics by Fred Hammond 

 2007 A.D.

Glory to glory to glory to glory
to glory to glory to God! 

(Repeat chorus

To the only God my Savior
Be majesty dominion and power!
Forever and ever and ever,
Forever be glorified! (x2)

Let the people praise Him, rejoice in all His goodness
And be thankful for all He has done!
Tell the generations, from the mountains to the valley
By His Spirit the victory is won! (x2)

For the Lord is worthy to be praised,
His hand of salvation redeems us this hour.
Oh Lord, beyond the balance of our days,
Be glory and honor, dominion and power! 

(Repeat chorus)

Holy Spirit song lyrics by Jesus Culture

 2012 A.D.

There's nothing worth more that would ever come close,
No thing can compare, You're our living Hope,
Your presence, Lord.

I've tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves,
When my heart becomes free and my shame is undone,
Your presence, Lord. 

Holy Spirit You are welcome here,
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.
Your glory God is what our hearts long for,
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord.


So Good to Me song lyrics by Matt Gillman and Cory Asbury

 2008 A.D.


I waited patiently upon the Lord 
And He inclined and heard my cry. 
He pulled me up out of the miry clay, 
He set my feet upon the Rock. 
He gave me beauty for ashes 
And joy for my mourning, 
And praise for heaviness! 
He put a new song in my mouth, 
And a crown upon my head, 
He gave me life forevermore!

He’s been so good, 
So, so good to me; 
So good, so, so good to me 
So good, so, so good to me, Jesus! (x2)

 'Cause He picked me up and He turned me around, 
And He placed my feet on the solid ground! 
Hallelujah, hallelujah! (x4)
I’ve got love, joy, peace and righteousness in the Holy Spirit! (x8)

Give Him Praise lyrics by Kathy Taylor

 2014 A.D.

I will praise Him with my whole heart! (x2)
He's done great things!
 He's done marvelous things!
He's done glorious things!
For this I'll give Him praise!

 He redeemed me from the hand of the enemy! (x2)
He's done great things!
 He's done marvelous things!
He's done glorious things!
  For this I'll give Him praise!

 He picked me up and He turned me around!
He placed my feet on solid ground! 
He's done great things!
 He's done marvelous things!
He's done glorious things!
  For this I'll give Him praise! 

I will be glad! And I will rejoice! 
I will sing praises to the most high God!
He's done great things!
 He's done marvelous things!
He's done glorious things! 
For this I'll give Him praise!
 Hallelujah! (x3)
 You're worthy of praise!
 Thank You, Jesus (x3)
 You're worthy of praise!

You are worthy!
Nobody but, nobody but,
You are worthy!

Bless the Lord (Son of Man) lyrics by Tye Tribbett

 2008 A.D.

Son Of Man, Son of Righteousness
King of the earth for sinners slain.
I was lost, in darkness bound,
Ransomed my heart and I will sing! (x2)

My Strength! (You are!)
My Deliverer! (You are!)
The One who rescued me! (You are!)
My Hope! (You are!)
My Redeemer! (You are!)
Your love has set me free! 

Bless the Lord, oh my soul! (x8) 

In the splendor of Your majesty
From deep within my spirit sings,
 "Holy, Holy!" (x8)

Big lyrics by Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship

2013 A.D.

My God is big, so strong, so mighty!
My God's plan for me goes beyond my wildest dreams!
My God is big, so strong, so mighty!
My God's plan for me goes beyond my wildest dreams! (x2)

My God is good, so good, to me, yeah!
Say again, yeah, yeah, so good, so good to me!
When I think about all you do, yeah,
So good to me!

He's my God and He is my refuge!
He's the Rock from which I stand!
He's my fortress, God, He is my life!
He holds the oceans in His hand! (x2)

There's nothing my God cannot do! (x8)

If you know He's a big God let me here you say now, ooh yeah!
And He can still make ways, lift your praise, ooh yeah!
What a mighty, mighty, mighty God we serve!
Come on, everybody lift your voice and make this declaration!

My God is big, so strong, so mighty!
My God's plan for me goes beyond my wildest dreams!

Awesome lyrics by Charles Jenkins

2013 A.D.


My God is awesome, He can move the mountains, 
Keep me in the valley, hide me from the rain.
 My God is awesome, heals me when I'm broken,
Strength where I've been weakened, forever He will reign! 

 My God is awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome!

  My God is awesome, Savior of the whole world,
Giver of salvation, by His stripes I am healed.
My God is awesome, today I am forgiven,
His grace is why I'm living, praise His holy name!

 (Repeat chorus)

He's mighty, He's mighty, He's mighty, He's mighty! Awesome, awesome! 
 He's holy, He's holy, He's holy, He's holy! Awesome, awesome! 
He's great, He's great, He's great, He's great! Awesome, awesome!
He's mighty, He's mighty, He's mighty, He's mighty! Awesome, awesome! 
Deliverer, Deliverer, Deliverer, Deliverer! Awesome, awesome! 
He's holy, He's holy, He's holy, He's holy! Awesome, awesome!
Provider, Provider, Provider, Provider! Awesome, awesome!
Protector, Protector, Protector, Protector! Awesome, awesome!

I Give Myself Away lyrics by William McDowell

2009 A.D.


I give myself away,
I give myself away,
So You can use me.

Here I am,
Here I stand,
Lord, my life is in Your hands.
Lord, I'm longing to see
Your desires revealed in me.

(Repeat chorus)

Take my heart,
Take my life,
As a living sacrifice.
All my dreams all my plans,
Lord, I place them in Your hands.

(Repeat chorus)

My life is not my own,
To You I belong.
I give myself, I give myself to You.  

 – Sully

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