SPRING HILL — Following the belief that worship should be a cooperative effort, New Song Worship Center has invited several local churches to participate in a praise and worship concert on March 19.
Seven churches, and individual artists, will combine traditional and contemporary music to perform at "Worship Experience," a free outdoor concert that is open to the public. It will begin at 11 a.m. and run until 4 p.m. on the grounds of New Song, on Deltona Boulevard.
"We want to unite the body of Christ as one body," said Pastor Dan Cole, speaking about the purpose of the event. "We're inviting all different denominations, because while we may have different doctrines and beliefs, we all serve and worship the same God."
Those scheduled to perform at the event include recording artist and gospel singer Crystal Wilson of Mount Carmel United Methodist Church, the Sisters of Praise dance group of Bethlehem Progressive Baptist Church, Messianic singer and poet Penny McPherson, soloist Randolph Bradley, the Christ Rising youth band of Christian Life Assembly, soloist Angela Dittmas, gospel singer Don Binkley of Highland Baptist Church, the Crosspoint Worship Team of Crosspoint Church and performers from Dayspring Presbyterian Church.
The New Song Worship Team, from the host church, will lead off, then other groups will take turns with two performances each.
The New Song Worship Team includes the pastor as worship leader, singer and guitarist; Jim Butler, singing and playing guitar and flute; songwriter Chuck Houck, on bass guitar, and Tim and Regina Obney, with Tim on drums and Regina on flute and singing. Chris Bloomer will also perform.
There will be food for guests, including chili dogs, popcorn and nachos, along with bottled water. Those attending should bring a lawn chair or blanket.
"We're reaching out to the local community," Cole said. "My hopes are that it will have a powerful impact. Anybody and everybody that wants to should come looking for a worship experience. Come to praise the Lord."
Cole said he hopes the event will be a demonstration of unity.
"We're talking about tearing down the walls of religion and just worshiping God," he said. "It's a demonstration to the community that we're united through Christ. We're not a bunch of cliques, not a bunch of separate groups. We're all united. We're all together in this."
Cole said he wants the emphasis to be on lifting up the name of Jesus Christ and showing the importance of worship.
"We want to bring an awakening to the Spring Hill area about worship and the importance of it," he said.
Cole explained that worship isn't just singing. "It's honoring and glorifying the name of the Lord Jesus Christ," he said. "It can be through dancing. It can be a mime. There are a lot of different avenues of outward expression."
Worship can be through prayer as well, he said. "Just demonstrating that our faith in our Lord and our Christianity is exciting and important to us is what we want to do," Cole said.
Cole said worship is a main focus at his church as well. Called the Church at Spring Hill under his father's leadership, Cole changed the name to New Song Worship Center after he assumed the pastorate when his father died two years ago.
"It's a growing new work, a new adventure," he said. "It's come-as-you-are casual."
The church has services at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays at 6001 Deltona Blvd. There is a children's church during the sermon. The church also offers a coffeehouse at 7 p.m. the last Friday of each month.
"It's an open mike night," Cole said, "and it's open to anyone in the area that wants to sing songs that glorify and edify the Lord."