Because we are a religious country, getting people together on religious grounds, even getting people together in a Bible study, is very difficult. Getting them together under one preacher is impossible. Even getting them together to pray sometimes is difficult. But worship has this fantastic unifying effect. People want to come to worship. And, you know wherever unity is God commands a blessing, so that is our heart.

We got a letter from a Presbyterian minister after the event, because it was, for us 7,000 people was just astonishing. We never expected it. We had no idea. We knew our break-even point was about 2,500, and so that was our hope. So, 7,000 was like wow! So he wrote a letter, and he said look, churches and groups go through seasons in God’s favor not because they’re good or bad but because He’s just placed a mantle on you to do some stuff. He said, ‘It’s your season, and you have to do this stuff. You know it won’t last forever, you have to put on the events …to help bring about the unity of the body.’ And that’s where we feel we’re at. Not because we feel we’re in any way special, but because we’ve got to the point where God’s favor has just been placed on us for a season, and we really need to take advantage of that.

S4W.com: So, would you say that the unifying power of worship is one of the most profound lessons you’ve learned about worship over the last few years?

Mark: Yeah. It really is. I used to do seminars, and I would say the whole purpose of worship is pure sacrifice. Do not expect God to do anything in worship. He will, but don’t expect it. Don’t be coming together to worship God in a certain way so that he would do something. That’s not a sacrifice. The sacrifice of praise and worship is that you just give up. You lay it down and that’s it. You’re not seeking anything. And the thing is, of course, God heals in the midst of worship and touches lives and saves people.

We did a concert once and eight or nine people became Christians. Nobody gave a call but in the midst of worship people encountered God. And so, I never cease to be amazed. But the one radical thing for us, in the country that we come from, it’s that here’s something God is using to draw his people together. And it’s His thing. I think that says everything about the heart of God. Worship is the only thing that we can do, really, where we’re totally giving. Even in prayer, you know, you pray a bit for some other people and bless God then oh, by the way, can I have a new car. That’s just the way it is. In Bible study, you do it to learn and to build yourself up. So it’s just something about the heart of God. It takes worship, which is His thing. Our sacrifice to Him. And He turns it on its head and blesses us in it, which is fantastic. That is one of the most profound things that I’ve learned.

S4W: com: What do you think is the most common misunderstanding about worship in your church?

Mark: I suppose like every church it’s the idea that worship is about a certain style or approach. In other words, some people get there on Sunday morning, fold their arms and say ‘right, come on.’ Or leaving the church saying that the worship wasn’t very good this morning. And it’s a very common problem. And it’s one that churches all over the world cope with. But that’s probably the biggest thing. But overall, ours is a pretty good church actually, and there’s a lot of grace there, and they’ve been gracious to me and gracious to the other worship leaders that have come up. And I think that a lot of people have come to our church because of the worship and because of the teaching, and they’ve moved from other churches. So there is a fairly high level of knowledge that what worship is about.