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building a community to reach a community

Worshiping with the Peruvian Church

One of the things I love about our church, is that we have an outward focus in reaching a community for Christ. Part of this vision includes resourcing our partner church in Lima, Peru in various ways. We not only sponsor a large number of children through Compassion International, but we also work closely with the church leadership and members who host the Compassion center. I had the opportunity in June to minister specifically to the worship team at our partner church.


My time began with both participating in and observing their corporate worship service on Sunday night. In fact, I delivered the message that evening, which was focused on worship that pleases the Lord. While their worship style is similar in some ways, it is very different in others. The constant, though, is a sincere heart for the Lord and joyful hearts singing praise.

Once their worship team and I had some time together, we exchanged some of our favorite worship songs. They sang for me, and I for them. Several times, we sang the same song but in different languages. Soon after, we dove straight into the Bible and examined what Biblical worship really is and how to lead a congregation in it. For 3 hours straight, we examined passages like Romans 12, which tells us that testing and discerning the will of the Lord, and then using our bodies as living sacrifices to do His will is, in fact, a spiritual act of worship. Much of their worship team was composed of teenagers, so their natural draw to worship was the music. Just as I had the same draw at that age, I identified with their love of music but sought to help expand their thinking beyond just playing music into living worship!

Once we explored the breadth of worship, we then came back to music. Historically, music has been an indelibly important and often primary means of worshiping corporately, because it was designed to unite people in both spirit and truth. We use lyrics to affirm truth and sing them to express what merely speaking them cannot. We spent much of our time developing the craft of their music, and to my surprise, most were very talented at their instrument! Even though they had not had any lessons, they didn’t need a lot of instrument instruction. Rather, we explored ways to connect songs musically, create space within a song for reflection, highlight key elements of songs through stories or scripture and choose songs for a service that carry a similar theme.

As I left, I know I was encouraged perhaps more than I encouraged them. This church has a unique and sincere heart for the Lord. I’m also continually encouraged to know that each week, both of our congregations sing praise to God.

Stephen Mann

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