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Dancing Wildly - Reflections from Worship Central Live

By Ed Rotheram on April 04, 2011

Last week I had the privilege to be in the congregation for the recording of the Worship Central movement’s first live album. Featuring household names such as Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon and speaker Mike Pilavachi, the evening promised to be a good one. Here are my reflections on the event....

Worship Central’s vision is to “encounter God, equip the worshipper, and empower the local church”. If you take these principles and apply them to Thursday night’s event, the aims were met, exceeded, and positively blown away.

1 Corinthians 14:24-25 describes an atmosphere where an unbeliever comes into a worshipping congregation, encounters the Glory of God through His undeniable presence, the secrets of their heart are laid bare and really the only option is to bow down, crying “God is really among you”! There were times during this event where you could almost touch the thickness of the Lord’s presence.

There is something quite amazing about 2000 worshippers gathering together to experience God’s presence. Everyone turns up with expectancy, and the Lord shows up every time. Mike Pilavachi described worship, during his talk on the night, as being akin to the atmosphere at a Jewish wedding - singing, dancing, celebration - an event where you’re either dancing, or standing on the sides watching.

If the dancing is that infectious, your guard drops and you find yourself caught up in it, whether you had planned it that way or not. This is quite a good summation of the event as a whole, though I went to the event with friends and family, from start to finish my attentions were focused purely upon the Lord, His voice, and His presence. He was in charge of the evening, the night was His.

From a musical perspective, the set contained much of Tim’s new Love Shines Through album, with songs such as ‘Counting On Your Name’, ‘All Glory’ and ‘At Your Name’ going down particularly well. Many of the arrangements of songs were very similar to the album tracks, although there were some slightly more experimental sections, notably the re-working of Ben’s ‘Not Ashamed’ into a more electronic offering, with rapped verses and an anthemic chorus.

Vocally, songs were led with gusto, both Tim and Ben have excellent ranges, great control, and clear projection. There were no shortage of instrumental gifting on the stage either - at one time I counted 3 acoustic guitarists, 3 electric guitarists, a bass, 2 keyboards, drums, percussion and around 5 vocalists, contributing to a full, rousing sound mix.

It is in equipping the church where Worship Central’s greatest calling lies, in my opinion. This was demonstrated within their very setup on the night, with experienced worship leaders encouraging the, perhaps less well-known (though no less effective or gifted), up and coming worship leaders.

Coming from a Vineyard church, where the ethos is very much laid out upon giving away the gifts we have been given by the Lord, I find this very encouraging as a model. Expect to hear much more from Al Gordon, Luke Hellebronth and Nikki Fletcher in the coming years, as these passionate, anointed worship leaders and songwriters have a great deal to offer the church as a whole.

As a final reflection, you’ll remember that in 2 Samuel 6, David’s worship becomes ‘undignified’ - dancing wildly in the presence of the Lord. Not wanting to leave these acts consigned merely to text, Tim Hughes decided to recreate this manner of worship on the night:


reflections by Ed Rotheram

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