26 Sep My Conference Journal: Pastor Joel
In this year’s National Prophecy Conference I was privileged to serve as the overall worship coordinator. One of my roles included representing 3:16 Church to liaise with the different bands for them to lead various praise segments of the sessions. Acting on our desire to partner closely with other churches, we managed to invite and have a total of four bands to partner us by serving on the worship-leading platform: they were from New Destiny Church, Cornerstone Community Church, Kum Yam Methodist Church as well as our own 3:16 Church praise band.
We also had the opportunity to serve with Pastor Pete Nelson from Calvary Chapel, with him leading in a couple of praise segments on the last day and I am grateful that I could personally be on stage to serve alongside him.
What a delight it was! Not just for the fact that I had learnt a great deal from the different bands that came with regards to the technical aspects (being a musician and worship leader myself) but my heart was overwhelmed by how God divinely orchestrated the whole process from start to end.
It was God who allowed us to link us up with the different worship leaders and bands and them agreeing to come alongside to serve with us at a relatively short notice.
It was God who brought in the different representatives from the various bands to gather together to pray and minister to one another on a Tuesday night one week prior to the conference.
And finally, it was also God who caused the powerful execution of respective roles during the conference right up to the very last day!
I am sure it sounded less “divine” to you as you read this than it actually was, but I am telling you as someone who was in the front row seat of witnessing how God pulled us through different challenges and uncertainties and showed Himself faithful.
One of the most significant “God-did-it” encounters was how God resolved for us the situation we had for the last day of the conference.
I went to the conference on the first day not knowing what’s the worship “plan” for the last day. We actually did not have any band that was ready to serve on the last day until second day into the conference!
Our plan was not to go around trying to seek out for bands to “fill the gap” but to let God orchestrate for us the last day and He really did.
None of us expected Pete Nelson (an extremely seasoned and anointed worship leader and musician) to show up at the conference. He arrived in Singapore only a few days prior to the conference and it was almost on that day that he arrived that we realised he would actually be at the conference and serve as a worship leader. We only managed to gather the team for a quick practice during one of the breaks of the second day yet in His grace, God used the team powerfully for the third day sessions.
Can I tell you the most amazing part? At some point when I realised that it would be good to have a full band on the last night (which was not formed up at the start of the conference), I went around looking for band members. What was placed on my heart was for a band that comprise of different churches and ministries. Within the three days, God brought in a bassist from New Destiny Church, a keyboardist from 3:16 church, and only in the morning of the very last day, a drummer from Cornerstone Community Church.
Throughout the last day of the conference, although a part of me was felt relieved and thankful that God had gathered the band members for the final session and believed God to see things through, yet I also had this uneasy feelings – uncertainty coupled with fear, not being sure of how things would turn out for the night, afraid it would turn out bad. After all, the people who are coming to serve together on the final night had no experience of working together as a band before.
This uneasiness was elevated when I realise we only had half an hour of practice before we would have to exit the stage and come back on later for the actual session.
It did not help also when I broke the guitar string of the guitar (the one which we had been using for the conference) on the last day while leading worship with it and eventually had to settle for what was previously advised by a friend (a seasoned sound engineer) “not to use”.
I wish I could tell you that we had the most fruitful half-an-hour practice as a newly-formed team but that didn’t happen. We actually faced some trouble communicating to one another on stage and we didn’t manage to practise through all the songs.
At the end of the practice in my mind I remember thinking: am I acting on some reckless faith here? God help us!
I was glad we prayed before we went up on stage. During that prayer time, I felt God filling me with confidence and God knitting our hearts as a team through His Spirit. At least one thing was made clear in my heart, we were all there to worship God with our all and believing Him to move powerfully through us or in spite of us.
So God did move. His Presence swept through the room powerfully and hearts were opened to receive more of Him. And I am not just saying this based on what I experienced but from a number of people that came to speak to me about it as well.
God showed me one thing that night – the worship team is not just the people on stage but also those off stage. The instruments used to worship God need not be just whatever that was on stage but when the Spirit is allowed to move, it comprised that of the voices of the entire congregation of believers. It was when hearts were broken and contrite before God and desiring Him earnestly, that’s what pleases Him most!
I am not sharing my experiences here with any intention to suggest that adequate planning is not required or technicalities of musicianship etc. are not important. In fact, it is quite the opposite. There was much work and effort put into this conference and personally for me, there was really much thought and effort put into certain technical aspects (which was not so emphasised here).
What I want to make loud and clear here is that this God we trust and believe in is an awesome God. He is the Faithful One who is able to do much more than we can ever imagine or conceive of on our own. He is so good that He does deserve each of our very best, the best we can offer Him.
I believe what God is after is not just excellent outward presentations (definitely not us striving for that kind of success) but completely surrendered hearts who love Him with everything.
To love Him with all our hearts, that every one of our motives is centred on Him and His desires.
To love Him with all our souls, that every emotion and consciousness to be made aware of Him.
To love Him with all our minds, that every thought that goes through our minds is set and aligned to Him.
To love Him with all our strength, that every ability that we have is used to please Him.
Let’s seek to love Him like this everyday and seek His Kingdom first together!
Pastor Joel Peh
Youth Pastor, 3:16 Church