In 2011, Sovereign Grace Music recorded The Gathering, a collection of 15 songs that walk through the flow of the gospel and our response to it. Among others, the album included Greater Than We Can Imagine, Shine Into Our Night, Show Us Christ, and All I Have is Christ. The idea for the project had its origins in Bryan Chapell’s excellent book, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice.
Chapell makes the case from Scripture, history, and our personal need that, “Corporate worship is nothing more, and nothing less, than a re-presentation of the gospel in the presence of God and his people for his glory and their good.” While the gospel can be “re-presented” in different ways, rehearsing and reveling in God’s salvation each time we meet. For Christians, that means we focus on the gospel and its implications. Our songs, sermons, symbols, and structures should all reflect the fact that the holy God has reconciled a people to himself through the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross, and that our lives are meant to be a Spirit-empowered grateful response to that reality.
Since we recorded the album, we’ve had a number of opportunities to lead similar evenings in Orange County, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Sydney, and the Philippines. Next weekend, we’ll be in New Orleans for a Gathering event co-sponsored by Lakeview Christian Center and First Baptist Church of Kenner. Erik Schmaltz and Ron Laitano have been doing the lion’s share of work to pull the weekend together.
The event begins Friday night at 7 PM with Gathering Around the Gospel. I’ll share a brief message on why the gospel is meant to be at the heart of our gatherings, followed by 90 minutes of singing, praying, and Scripture that propel us deeper into the joys, realities, and implications of the gospel. Our goal will be to understand better how the gospel is central to our gatherings and how we can insure people leave our times together with a greater love for God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
Saturday will run from 9am-5pm and will include teachings on The Quest for Humility and Why Do We Sing? We’ll also have a session of band evaluation and a Q&A panel. Throughout the weekend, I’ll be joined by Devon, my son, and musicians from the sponsoring churches.
This will be a great event for pastors, leaders, and teams to attend together. Of course, you can come by yourself, too. The cost is only $20 and you can register online or at the door on Friday night or Saturday morning.
If you’re from East Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, or the Florida panhandle I’d love for you to come and join us for 24 hours of glorying in the Savior who is the best news the world has ever heard.
And if you’re around Sunday morning, Devon will be leading the music and I’ll be preaching at the 10 AM service of Lakeview Christian Center.
(New Orleans image coutersy of Shutterstock)