Today we welcome the Adelaide West Men’s choir who are leading our service this morning. It promises to be a very different service of worship today and I think that’s a good thing. Over the coming months we will be looking at different styles of worship so that our services are life giving, challenging and inspiring. We want to encourage a deep connection with God and a way of accomplishing this is through meaningful, relevant and engaging worship. If our worship becomes formulaic it can become dull and thus does not engage us with God. If we are not experiencing a deep connection with God through worship then aren’t we missing something vital?

But the choir is also performing for us at our fundraising concert this afternoon. The purpose of this is to raise funds for our mission to expand our ministries into the southern suburbs and to maintain a healthy and vibrant Uniting Church presence in the south. We have been gifted a clear vision of what we want our church to be. We want to be feeding more people, we want to be helping more people and we want to be a genuine provider of God’s love for humanity in the south. This highlights a tension faced by every church. It is critical that we worship God, both giving witness to God at refreshing ourselves for service. It is also critical that we are fully engaged in God’s mission to the world here in our community.

There are some churches that only focus on worship, spending all their resources to create the “perfect” worship service. As a result, they do not engage in any mission at all. They exist only for themselves. There are some churches that only engage in mission and as a result never worship God. Without this contact with God they lose sight of why they are engaged in mission and this can adversely affect their mission. In short, it is vital that we worship and engage in mission well. To do this is a mark of a healthy church. We should be fully engaged in mission throughout the week and fully engaged in worship to refresh ourselves for another week of service; to remind ourselves of why we serve in mission. May today encourage us to pursue vibrant worship and vibrant ministry with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.