The Unity and Diversity of the Body of Christ in Worship
This picture is outside of Metropolitan AME Church in East Austin, TX from June 24, 2015 after a united gathering of Christians from around Austin from different backgrounds after the racially motivated shootings at Mother Emanuel AME, Charleston, SC.
There’s something happening all across our nation that is touching our city. This August, some student leaders and I gathered together at Dell Diamond in Round Rock for “Unlocking the Sound of Texas.” It was a beautiful time of worship to kickoff the school year. Some of what was special about this time is the emphasis on each person releasing their worship unto the Lord from their various backgrounds, ethnically, culturally and beyond the denominations. So we had various bands from the area, different parts of the city and state who led us in worship in different styles and from different denominational backgrounds. We saw God work as we broke up and prayed for people’s needs and interceded for God to work on the campus and city this year.
It ended up being a ‘family’ type gathering in one section of the stadium and people commented on how they connected with people across the area they wouldn’t have known about before and some relationships began to birth from that.
For so long, I’ve known that there are sounds and expressions of worship in the communities our city that God desires to come forth, to be unlocked and this was a time to do that and to be that.
Pics from Unlocking the Sound of Texas
As this opportunity came before us months ago, I harkened back to some encouraging and I believe prophetic words that were spoken to me by several individuals in our area 5 + years ago, really affirming God’s calling in my life in working through me to bring people together from different backgrounds, particularly in the context of worship. One even saw me leading an event in a stadium very much like this. I’ve just been walking out life with God and I didn’t try to make it happen apart from God’s wisdom. I didn’t know how something like that would come together. But it was amazing to see God’s faithfulness in bringing this together years later when at the time I thought something like that seemed very much bigger than me and beyond what I thought I could do in my strength or resources.
Just north of our city known for its live music we joined in the proclamation that this wouldn’t just be a Live Music Capital but a Live Worship Capital.
Two Scriptures that really resonate with me and tied into this are John 4:23-24 when Jesus says “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Also, in Revelation 7:9 we see a picture before the throne of God of all types of people groups: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;”
This is a picture from the 818 The Sign Gathering held by Will & Dehavilland Ford in Dallas, TX the weekend of 8/18/2018.
In this event this year “Unlocking the Sound of Texas,” I knew that this was to be tied into something happening across the nation called Tent America, an initiative of the Awaken the Dawn movement. Basically for the first time ever, this September thousands will gather all across the nation in every state capital city and dozens of campuses simultaneously for 50 hours of worship and prayer with outreach, in tents, all gathered around the magnificence of Jesus/ This coincides with the timing of the Feast of Tabernacles that we see listed in Scripture. This movement is all about each state releasing their worship unto the Lord and the presence of God among the people much like David took the Ark of the Covenant and put it in the midst of the people where all could come before His presence.
My heart came alive last year as I witnessed thousands gathered on the National Mall with 58 tents as each state brought their unique, unhindered worship before the Lord and as people were impacted through the gospel. It was kind of like Woodstock, but about Jesus. I’d been to many gatherings and many large gatherings but there was something so sweet and simple about this experience centered around worship that I’d never experienced before.
From Awaken the Dawn 2017 in Washington, DC
For many years I’ve joined in with others praying for spiritual awakening in our nation and our time. And this multi-day gathering made me ask “Is this what awakening looks like?” It was outside. It was a little taste of heaven. It was multi-generational with the younger and the older together. It was multi-ethnic, it was multi-cultural and it was about Jesus. It was each state. And it was also tied into seeing missions movements explode across the globe. It was a multi-faceted expression of the body of Christ as different streams came together.
This September here in Austin there will be a gathering at the State Capitol for the State to gather. Then there will a State tent set up at El Shaddai church, and a campus tent set up at University of Texas – Austin as we join in with the other 49 states, Puerto Rico, District of Columbia and various campuses in lifting up a unified sound to Jesus through Tent America. We are taking what happened there on the National Mall back to our cities. I’m excited about what the Lord will do as we simply gather under the name of Jesus, lift up Him and proclaim His good news. I invite you to join in what God is doing this September here in Austin and around the nation.
Father is looking for those who will worship him in spirit and truth from every language, people group, tribe and nation. May He receive the worship of the nations from our city and to the ends of the earth!
Clinton Scroggins is a native of Austin, TX. He is the current director of Campus Renewal Ministries and Campus House of Prayer at University of Texas-Austin, which unites the body of Christ in prayer, worship and mission for transformation of the campus and serves as the State Campus Coordinator for Texas for Awaken the Dawn/Tent America, mobilizing campuses across the state for united prayer, worship and outreach.
More info on Campus Renewal UT is at Austin.campusrenewal.org.