Worship Made New

By Melissa Hahn
In Formed
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What’s your favorite way to worship God? Is it through scripture? Singing? Nature? Going to church? For students – they love the peak experience of camp worship. There are always new songs, movements, intimate depths of the words repeated over and over. These songs usually lead into our worship experience at church in the fall. But unfortunately, they don’t get that experience this year.

I reference students specifically because I just completed my two-year internship working with the students at IBC. And during this pandemic season, bringing church virtually to students has been hard. They miss worship. They miss our monthly service projects. They miss the prayer experience of camp where we set aside time for them to get intimate with God. We grieve with our students the loss of camp, but we continue to push them to new ways of interaction and being a disciple of God formed in the way of Jesus.

For us and the students, we are finding pockets of interaction. We are bringing their understanding of worship and church to a new era. For some, church has always been a building or a place you go. For others it has been just something you do. The students are learning the church is something you are. Specifically, one student has started a worship night with friends, another is doing online Bible studies with classmates, and even more are digging into the Bible on their own or with their families. They are understanding 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” They are meeting God in nature, in scripture and in private worship at home in their rooms. They are becoming bold leaders amongst their peers. This time has been incredibly hard for us as adults and we see its toll on students. However, their faith continues to astound me. They ask the hard questions and learn what it really is to trust in God during an unknown season.

This week I took time to specifically talk with one of our students about how she has experienced God. She flat out told me she didn’t think she could experience Jesus differently outside of church. That was gut wrenching. Jesus has always been inside the walls of the church for her. Her experience had been in a box. Then she continued, “I now experience Jesus in nature and feel his peace. Every day when I look up at the sky and when I go outside, I see how much God loves us and how much care he took to make all things unique.” This moved me to tears. The experience of God being all around us was hitting her literal home! She has a greater understanding of what faith is. She admitted it’s hard to see God sometimes and to see that he is in control when the world is spinning out, but that she knows God in control because of what she sees in nature. Y’all, this is what our students are learning! The pandemic and not being at church can seem dreadful, but there is church happening!! Students are gaining acknowledgement of who God is OUTSIDE of the church. Are you? Are you taking time to experience Jesus in new ways?

Don’t get me wrong – we still have students who are struggling – but that’s where their faith is being tested and formed. We read and pray James 1:2-4 over them, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” They are facing this trial and deciding if God is in it, if he is real, if he is listening. And y’all – they are finding he is. They are being brought to a point of worship, they show up on Zoom, they find ways to serve those around them and most importantly they are praying. Some of the most beautiful prayers I have heard this season are from Middle School believers. They are deep, real, faithful prayers to a mighty God. They are praying for health, for friends, for families, for our church! If you need inspiration, check us out on a Zoom night and hear these sweet voices.

Before I ended the conversation with our student, I asked her what she thought people need to remember during this time. And boy did she preach! She said we must trust in God, acknowledge each other’s value, and pray for each other and our world.

So how are you really doing? Are you trusting God? Are you avoiding worship? Does your relationship with Jesus look different? I encourage you to be like our students – open your heart and mind to find what ways you worship God and dig deep during this season.

Read something new. Take worshipful walks. Worship online. Trust God.

FORMED

God is calling us, the people of Irving Bible Church, to become a multi-ethnic movement of missionary disciples, formed in the way of Jesus for the sake of the world.

We want to be a transformed people who experience vibrant spiritual growth together. We want the Spirit of God to shape us more and more into the likeness of Jesus as we follow him.

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