Here we go again! In June of this year, I will once again be traveling to Legazpi, Philippines, to support the good work at the Bicol Center for Christian Leadership (BCCL), a bible school in the Albay Province that is one of our ministry partners. This will be my fourth trip to visit the good people of BCCL, where I offer teaching and instruction on worship and the arts.
But before I tell you about this upcoming trip, I want to briefly share with you what has transpired in the last seven years since my first trip in 2012 (more details on my trips in 2012, 2014, and 2016 in the links).
When I first went to the Philippines in 2012, there was a lack of theological or philosophical training in worship. In other words, people and churches were very passionate about worship, but they didn’t necessarily have the vocabulary to know the hows and whys. For many churches, worship was stylistic, and most of it had to do with songs being sung. Some had never had any teaching on worship at all. Moreover, there was not as much interaction between churches in the way of shared worship. Lastly, there wasn’t much in the way of formalized musical instruction, especially as it related to band/team. BCCL had never had a class on worship, so I was enlisted to be a visiting professor providing curriculum to their two-year leadership program.
Fast forward several years, and things are much different. Now, visual artists from different churches work together and are allowed to express themselves in the church. Dance is a regular part of some churches. There have been a number of very large (i.e., arena-sized) worship events involving dozens of churches participating in leading worship—and worshiping together. Mayette Bueno, who leads BCCL, emailed me recently to tell me that she is leading a weekly study of 23 worship leaders from 19 different churches, studying my book, Honest Worship. Churches are on fire for worship, and leaders are working together to change their culture. Indeed, there have been a lot of changes in worship in this corner of the world, and I am blessed to have been a small part of it all.
[Photos: (1) Our Free To Worship Concert in 2016 brought together musicians, techs, visual artists, dancers, and worship leaders from dozens of churches; (2) Over 100 people attended my four-day worship intensive in 2016; (3) Sunset on a cloudy day in Legazpi.]