This post is part of the MennoCon23 #BeTransformed series. MennoCon23 will be held in Kansas City, Missouri, July 3-6.
Becky Degan serves as the associate pastor of worship and Christian education at Forest Hills Mennonite Church in Leola, Pennsylvania. In her free time, she accompanies a community choir and directs middle and high school plays. Before beginning her current position at Forest Hills in 2006, she worked for 10 years as a music therapist for children with special needs. Becky holds a bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Elizabethtown (Pennsylvania) College and is currently working toward a Master of Arts in Christian leadership from Eastern Mennonite Seminary, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She is serving on the MennoCon23 worship planning committee as the worship coordinator.
When I told my husband and teenage son that the theme for MennoCon23 worship is “Transformed by the Spirit,” they broke out with the Transformers’ theme song, “More than meets the eye.” Later, when I was asked what excites me about this year’s convention, that song went through my head, and I realized that’s what I’m excited about — catching glimpses of the Holy Spirit at work beyond what we can understand or imagine. (In case you’re worried, MennoCon23 worship will steer clear of Transformers references.)
There is often “more than meets the eye” in the planning process — watching people come together to offer their giftedness in ways that stretch themselves, complement the gifts of others and glorify God; watching the Holy Spirit transform our random thoughts and wild ideas into meaningful worship experiences; watching relationships form among people who have been brought together by a love of Jesus and their openness to his calling.
As people of diverse cultures and generations gather in Kansas City, Missouri, to worship God together, I believe the Holy Spirit will show up in powerful and unexpected ways.
Have you ever thought about how miraculous that is? Each person in that room will have made some sort of sacrifice to be there — sacrifices of time, financial sacrifices, sacrifices of sleep (especially for youth advisors), along with many more sacrifices. This group of worshipers could perhaps find more differences than commonalities among themselves, yet we acknowledge that God is bigger than all of us. The Holy Spirit steps in and transforms the mundane into the miraculous. Individuals become one voice, and we witness God’s transforming power in worship, fellowship, conversation and our shared experiences at convention.
A musician at my church loves to say, “Worship is God’s playground.” I’ve been thinking about that, as the weather turns warmer and I see kids congregating on our church playground. I love the image of everyone gathered joyfully together, each expressing their unique identity as a child of God and responding to God’s extravagant love for us. As worship coordinator for MennoCon23, that’s what I’m excited about — gathering with all of you, after all our months of planning and preparations to experience the working and transformation of the Holy Spirit.
As summer approaches and the school year comes to an end, there will continue to be many people working, praying and planning for MennoCon23, and I am excited to see how the Holy Spirit will work through their gifts to build a worship playground filled with many diverse expressions of worship. Until then, I will savor the anticipation and look forward to gathering together in Kansas City. I’ll see you at the playground!
The views and opinions expressed in this blog belong to the author and are not intended to represent the views of the MC USA Executive Board or staff.
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