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Finding the Grace Gates


Marshall Shelley and Eric Reed, “Finding the Grace Gates: An interview with Pastor Joseph Garlington” Leadership (Spring 1999), pages 22-28.

Pastor Garlington is the pastor of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a frequent speaker and worship leader at Promise Keeper events nationwide. “Finding the Grace Gates” focuses on the role of pastors as the “lead worshiper” of their congregations. Pastor Garlington relates many personal stories and experiences in explaining how to help people recognize holy moments (what Garlington calls “God moments”) in worship. He expounds on the term repristination, a word borrowed from the writings of Garry Wills, as he explains how worship must be renewed for every generation for them to properly understand its meaning. The role of the lead worshiper, he says, is “to lead by example”, and to “…not get in the way.” The key is leading people into an awareness of God’s presence and then teaching them to linger in it. Garlington stresses the importance of teaching people to find “grace gates”. “When I am most conscious of my inadequacy, my dependence upon God, and upon His sufficiency, that’s when I have a ‘grace gate’—the inrush of the grace of God for me for a particular reason, a particular season in my life… . My responsibility as lead worshiper is to help my congregation find the gate. You get a thousand people in a room and there’s somebody out there who has broken the law. And there’s somebody else who’s had the best week ever, and there’s everything in between. I have to get these people to understand that they all have access to the presence of God.”

Finding the Grace Gates provides many keen insights for anyone who leads worship or is interested in deepening their knowledge of Scriptural worship methods.

Reviewed by Joseph Joslin

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Category: Fall 1999, Ministry

About the Author: Joe Joslin is a Christ follower, husband, father of twins, MRI Imaging Applications Coordinator, entrepreneur, and avid traveler. Joe has been a contributing editor to since its inception. Facebook LinkedIn Twitter: @JoeJoejos

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