The importance of not getting above ourselves

Last Sunday I had a fun experience. Bill plays guitar with our church in Walford, but he also plays tambourine on occasions with a band called “The Zimmermen” – a Bob Dylan tribute band. They play now and again at a pub called “The Horns” in Watford. I discovered they were performing last Sunday afternoon. Danny and I went along to support Bill as he played his tambourine with great vigour accompanying, of course, “Mr Tambourine Man”.

The band were excellent. Energetic, tight, musically competent. Everything you could want. Yet there was something extra that made the event special. It was the atmosphere. An atmosphere of intimacy, closeness, connectedness and a lack of pretension. The pub was full of people. Quite a variety. Younger and older, tattoos, clean-skinned, porkpie hats, smart and casual, different cultural backgrounds, some sitting silently, others singing along lustily, some dancing (yes, I now know that it is possible to dance to Bob Dylan).

At one point the band took a break. But they didn’t retire to a green room in splendid isolation. No, they mingled with the crowd, chatting and sharing a few laughs. The bassist invited younger people on stage to try his bass and drums. He even gave impromptu drumming and bass lessons. All that during his break. I was hugely impressed.

It reminds me of the value of small church – as we have it in Watford. In the pub the band had only a low stage. It kept them connected with their audience. In small church it’s so important that we don’t have barriers between us and one another. Our setup does not include a stage, but we need to constantly monitor whether the way that we are seated is helping to facilitate connection or weaken connection. The band were competent but not pretentious. In small church you can’t get away with being pretentious.

What’s the setup like where you are? Is it maximising connectedness?  I’d be interested to know your experiences of what helps and hinders that connectedness between not just those who are speaking or leading singing, but all of us in our collective worship settings.

I offer my recordings this week in the hope that they will keep connected with Jesus and effective at proclaiming his love and truth.

The podcast summary contains a reminder of what’s been posted on my site this week. I.e. the usual TTT, SS & QTC. To watch/listen to any posts, just head over the the website.

Prayer request

I have two dates which need to be fixed fairly soon. One is for the Watford teaching day on the “Sermon on the Mount”. Could be mid-March.

The other is a date for the first group spiritual retreat I’ll be leading which is likely to be the end of March.  Please pray I pick the dates which work best for God’s glory.

Thank you for reading this far, and encouraging me in my endeavours to support our times of quiet with God, our corporate worship experiences, and the effectiveness of our preaching and teaching.

If you know anyone who might enjoy these materials, please send them a link to my website and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter.

God bless, Malcolm