A New Vision, A New Voice ~ The North Texas Conference
Rev. DeAndre Johnson Leads Toolbox Session at Annual Conference: June 5, 2017
Worship and music leader discusses innovative worship in Toolbox Session.
By SHERON C. PATTERSON
North Texas Connection Editor
Rev. DeAndre Johnson, minister of music at Westbury UMC, led a Toolbox session at the North Texas Annual Conference on the afternoon of Monday, June 5, 2017, as did keynoters Dr. Greg Jones, Rev. Matt Miofsky and other NTC leaders. As the Worship and Music leader of the 2017 Annual Conference, Rev. Johnson led the lay and clergy members in numerous uplifting services and led the way toward innovation in worship.
The Toolbox Sessions were designed to provide the members with hands-on training in various areas. Rev. Johnson started his session with a song from the African nation of Cameroon that engaged the voice and body to build a feeling of community in the room. The chamber was quickly filled with song and moving bodies.
Rev. Johnson is passionate about “facilitating meaningful worship experiences that are intentionally cross-cultural, calling the church into a deeper commitment to reconciliation.”
Rev. Johnson detailed how music helped as the Westbury congregation changed from an Anglo, middle class church to the multi-cultural worship center that it is today. Music from various nationalities was the key.
During a question-and-answer period Rev. Johnson addressed common issues:
Why is this (multi-cultural worship) important or necessary?
“Worship must be contextual. It needs to address what is going on right now. It must be counter-cultural and do the crazy things that Jesus did, as we are being formed into the people God is calling us to be. Worship must be cross-cultural as we gather the whole people of God together.”
What if my congregation is resistant?
“Be patient. Worship is a means of spiritual formation, requiring individual and corporate sacrifice. Start slow and simple, but do not chicken out.”
How do I start?
“What is the scriptural/thematic focus for the service? State this in a single, concise phrase and build from there.”