What was the purpose of gathering?
Gen Salaam was an eight-week, summer-long gathering that started at Grace Church in Snellville for some food, dancing, prayer, devotional, and singing. Proskuneo came in different teams each week to lead worship. After that, small groups (ranging from kids in 7th grade to local college-age students) loaded up into large school buses and drove to different apartment complexes located in Clarkston, GA. Their purpose was to hang out with local kids and share Jesus stories.
Throughout the eight weeks I loved how the gathering was not just people getting together to feed themselves spiritually, but just as importantly to be an overflow that carried out into the community.
What was your intention as a worship leader?
Each week I was in charge of putting teams together to come and help lead a time of multicultural worship. My intention going in was simply to create a broader exposure of the Kingdom of God, which celebrates all the nations and also helps us see/know the God of all the nations more clearly (His triune image, in distinct, complex, and beautiful community).
What did you try? What worked?
We tried a few different things each week. Some weeks I would ask people on our team to share parts of their story and their calling toward Jesus-centered multicultural worshipping communities. Sometimes we would read scriptures together from the Bible and discuss how those play into the Kingdom of all nations that God is bringing about here on earth. As far as songs go, there would be a variety of a couple languages each week. We started slow and only introduced simple songs that have proved to be memorable and easy to learn. We would also make medleys with familiar songs that they were used to singing on any given Wednesday night.
Halfway through the summer I introduced singing different languages on top of each other in rounds. That then gave us opportunity to talk about beauty vs. chaos, cultural perspectives, and a whole new realm of Kingdom music. A few times we incorporated dance and ASL (American Sign Language) into the songs we introduced. That seemed to connect on a very high level with all the ages in the room. Another thing that we did about every other week was teach greetings from different places around the world. We then had everyone in the room practice greeting each other in that new way. For many it was a stretching experience.
What did you learn in the process?
Through these eight weeks I saw very willing kids and young adults dive deeper into unknowns with courage and faith. I saw many trying things they had never done before, in conviction that God was further in those places. The fear of the unknown was not something that stopped anyone in the room. The mark that Grace Church left on me that summer was a sense of constantly leaning in deeper and deeper into what God has, and never letting fear rob you or others of that.
One of the things I personally learned as a leader is the importance of doing things together. If it was just me who showed up every Wednesday night to lead worship, it would not have been the full picture of Jesus-centered multicultural worshipping communities.
We are not just better together—we can’t see God’s image clearly and more fully without being together. As Ephesians 3:17-19 states, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”