National Association of the Church of God, 2020

West Middlesex, Pennsylvania
2020

Project Director: Dr. Leslie Parker Barnes

To use worship arts rituals as a tool to cultivate spiritual transformation in the lives of young people.

 Provide a brief summary of the purpose and goal of your grant.

The purpose of this project was to enable our youth and young adults to utilize worship arts as spiritual formation tools to pursue Christ-likeness in every facet of life. The major goal was to bring about evident transformation and deepened spiritual formation in the lives of the young people who attend one of the four YEPAW chapters (Akron, OH, Cleveland, OH, Flint, MI and Milwaukee, WI). 

 What are two questions that have generated reflection on worship and helped shape your project?

  1. How does my mental health affect my worship? 
  2. How does my worship affect my mental health? 

In these turbulent times it was a wonderful, challenging blessing to encourage our young people to embrace the power of worship outside of the sanctuary, especially when all alone. It was empowering to come to a greater understanding of worship through identified time alone with God and His word. It was calming to know that the Lord is aware of who we are and how we feel behind our masks. Isaiah 26:3 

 What impact has your project had on the worship life and habits of the congregation? 

We learned to use technology to stay engaged with each other. It wasn't easy meeting by zoom and presenting ministry through YouTube. But God still proved himself faithful. We have learned that it is worth it to be willing to prayerfully try new things and to be creative so that the Lord is invited into every facet of our lives, making worship our lifestyle. We long to re-enter our sanctuaries with a renewed appreciation for worship. 

 What have been your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)?

Our youth have lost so much during the pandemic. We are working diligently to regain their trust. Not being able to meet with them face to face has been our greatest challenge. So, realizing our young people live on online, we redesigned our project to share the gospel via every kind of social media imaginable. It allowed us to implement vital worship arts ministries in four different chapters in four different cities. The social distancing challenge turned into an amazing opportunity. 

 What would you like to share with other Project Directors?

Challenges come with the territory. Keep in mind that the Vital Worship team is available to help whenever needed. Never let the challenges over shadow the vision.