I spent last weekend in New Hampshire with Randall Bayne, Billy Petty and the Toby Walters Band promoting the National Praise and Worship Institute and had the chance to meet worship leaders from the area.
I’ve always heard the New England area is religiously dead. Much like Olde England across the pond, New England has grand but empty historic churches. One person told me of a beautiful Congregational Church with only five members – the building is maintained by a sizeable historic endowment. I also heard that only 2-5% of the population attends church.
The last time I visited London a few years ago I was surprised to see thousands of people attending the Hillsong Church meeting at the Dominion Theatre. And similarly in New England contemporary churches are popping up and drawing crowds.
One such church is Manchester Christian Church in Manchester, NH. They’re running about 2800 between 3 campuses – an amazing size for that area. The church is built on the typical megachurch format of relevant messages and contemporary music.
Worship Pastor Dan King was in the corporate world and felt the call to ministry a few years ago. Over fifty worship ministry volunteers attended a Friday night dinner and fellowship time where Billy Petty and I discussed worship trends, Randall Bayne spoke about the Institute and Dan introduced a few new songs the team would be learning in upcoming weeks. (By the way, a quarterly fellowship gathering for your worship team is a great idea to build community and let your team worship together.)
Dan gets the WorshipIdeas Official Praise Set Stamp of Approval – his sets contain a little bit of everything to engage all ages – new songs I’d never heard, hymns and older praise songs familiar to anyone who has attended church over the past ten years. Here are the songs I heard Sunday morning:
How Great Thou Art
How Great Is Our God (Tomlin)
Jesus Lord of Wonder (Wickham)
To the Cross (Baloche)
Dan sang this alone with piano – a great Communion song.
You Alone Can Rescue (Redman)
How interesting (and sad) that the cradle of American Christianity has ended up being a bastion of liberalism and apathy – let’s cheer on those churches who are bringing revival to New England.
Take a virtual tour of Manchester Christian Church: