Ministry Highlight: The Worship, Prayer and Spirituality Ministry at Hope Church

Cindi Veldheer DeYoung

Therefore, we praise you:
As we step into the Hope Church sanctuary, or take a seat in the Hope Church Commons, or dash through the church doors on any particular Sunday morning, we join in worship. We come from Sunday dinner preparation or from sleeping in, from paging through the newspaper or gobbling breakfast. We’ve stepped here from a week of work, a week of engaging in the thick of life…

Therefore, we praise you:
As the liturgy for communion funnels our thoughts from all the stuff of life to a work of praise to the Creator. The liturgy takes who we are, where we’ve been and what we hope to be, and directs us toward the God who fills our lives with meaning, purpose, and vibrancy.

Therefore, we praise you, joining our voices with angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven. The sanctuary or commons area becomes our threshold to heaven, a place we symbolically enter the glories of the presence of God. We praise the God who has been with us through the details and yuckiness of life. We turn our faces to the God who hears our voices through the week and in this place, who turns our efforts to be thankful to full-blown adoration, who becomes incredibly present with us in bread and cup, whose Spirit penetrates us in scary and refreshing movements. We praise and worship, bless, thank, and invite this God to become ever more real to us as we become more aware of God’s movement in us, within us, and around us.

There’s a whole lot that can precede the “therefore.” A lot of life, and even a lot of preparation before worship, to allow the worship to be the “therefore, we praise you.” Those details about worship are the particulars that the Worship, Prayer, and Spirituality Ministry attend to, with a lot of help from our friends. It is vital–essential–that we not get lost in the details, but that we remember the “therefore…”

Because we so want our worship to be a holy and fitting expression from us to God, the Worship, Prayer, and Spirituality ministry coordinates many of the small and large parts of worship services. We coordinate many things, because we rely on many members to help us!

The Sacristy Guild has watched over things like paraments and linens, communion preparation, and art work. The elders oversee all of worship, of course, but are particularly responsible for the administration of sacraments. The musicians look to the themes of worship, and pay attention to the flow of worship. These last few years, we’ve tried to embrace more of the variety of “world” music, which is a way for us to bring more of who we are to worship.

The Prayer and Spirituality group nudges us to remember to take time to breathe. Prayer and Spirituality folks invite us to Quiet Days and assist with teaching us about spiritual practices.

Because we want our worship both to “fit” us by being appropriate to who we are and how we approach God, and we want the elements of worship to help us reach beyond who we are, the Worship, Prayer, and Spirituality Ministry regularly reviews our own and others’ responses to worship. If you listened in on our meetings, you’d hear laughter, disagreement, explanations, ideas, introductions of new songs or prayers, and a strong tone of respect for each other. A Worship, Prayer, and Spirituality Ministry meeting is a combination of brainstorming and planning, details and lofty dreams.

Therefore, we continue to offer opportunities for the worshiping community to help us gauge how we’re doing and what is happening in worship. For all the many aspects of worship, we do need to know if our plans and meetings, our details and dreams, assist you with “therefore we praise you.”

Anyone interested in supporting this ministry is encouraged to contact any of the Worship, Prayer and Spirituality Ministry members: Cindi Veldheer DeYoung (chair), David Van Heest, Judith Boogaart, Rachelle Oppenhuizen, Brian Carder, Kari Miller Fennwood, Kyle Vohlken; and Pastors, Jill Russell and Gordon Wiersma.