encouraging a unified worship experience


What a great time we had in Brazil! We traveled over 1500 miles in six days through this beautiful country. During our time there, we were able to worship and share with other believers. It is amazing to see the work God is doing through His faithful people in this country.

One thing I was warned of prior to our departure is that Brazil is not America. For example, if the service is supposed to start at 7:00, it may begin by 7:30. If we are supposed to have a meeting at 2:30, we may arrive by 3:00. And, if we are in a worship service one of the leaders may ask you to sing and lead in worship at any time!

Now, those who know me also know how particular I am about the worship services I lead. Weekly, I time each element of the service as I am planning. On Sunday, we have no less than 4 iPads,2 Mac computers and multiple smartphones following a live feed of the service outline. Everyone involved knows where we should be in the service and what time the next element should begin. So for me, this was difficult to say the least!

One of the gentlemen from our church was thoroughly enjoying watching me squirm as we awaited the beginning of a service that was already 20 minutes late starting. He would say things like "TIB," which meant, "this is Brazil".  He would smile as one of the leaders would invite me up to sing, even though I had no idea what the next song was (thanks to John Philip for whispering the song name to me as I walked on stage)! Basically he was relishing in my agony!

After the second or third day, I began to see what God was doing through this group. I also began to see how things were more laid back than in America. We would stop by homes and spend time chatting on the porch. People would wait around after the services to chat and to fellowship. As we would go into homes, people would go to the kitchen and bring food  for us as we shared together. It reminded me of my childhood growing up in a small town in Alabama, where we used to sit on the front porch after supper and simply talk to each other. It also reminded me of how we need to slow down more and enjoy life.

Patience is a virtue,  but many times we get so caught up in the race of day to day life that we miss this fruit of the Spirit. We run home to run out, to run back home to hurry to bed, to get up and run to work. While this cycle is necessary, we still need to take time to pause and chat with our neighbor.

By no means have I now become a patient person! But hopefully I am a little more patient than I was prior to this trip. I still plan each worship service down to the minute, but I am also more flexible should we get off the schedule. And while I still run from day to day, there is always that little reminder in the back of my mind that beckons me to slow down and not miss the beauty around me.