photo by Glen Allsop

[WM] Can you describe your “original” vision for worship at the Mosaic church?

[Erwin McManus] First of all our name is actually just MOSAIC not Mosaic Church. This matters, because it connects to our original vision for worship. We wanted everything we did at Mosaic to be authentic to our culture and relevant to our city. We use language that connects both to the person who believes and the person who is searching. We wanted our worship to be both timely and transcendent. No churchy language. No clichés. No jargon.

[WM] Has this changed over the years, and if so, how?

[Erwin] Our expression of worship keeps changing because we keep changing, the culture keeps changing, music keeps changing. Worship is informed by so many variables. So much of contemporary Christian music is stuck in the 1980’s. A great deal of Christian worship is either primarily influenced by country music coming out of Nashville or British Rock music out of Atlanta. Of course, Hillsong and Bethel have been so influential to Christian music for years.

Most of these streams are dominantly Caucasian influences rarely influenced by other cultures. Black Gospel, Latin Music, and Afro Caribbean genres stand apart and have separate expressions of worship as do Rap, Hip Hop, R&B, and Soul.

Mosaic is a global culture and our worship is influenced by many of these forms and streams of music. MSC is international as a band and that creates the opportunity for a new feel and approach towards worship.

Mariah McManus Goss is as informed by R&B as she is by Scandinavian Electronica. Her musical influences span from Bjork to Beyoncé. This is why MSC offers a new and fresh expression of worship.

[WM] How did you communicate your vision for worship with your leaders and the congregation?

[Erwin] My conviction has always been that the pastor is the worship leader.
Worship may be the most powerful force for creating the culture of the church.
The style of music you choose will determine who you relate to and who you reach. Music defines who you are and where in history you are anchored.

That’s why we create. Our worship is anchored in the future. I genuinely do not have to communicate my vision for worship anymore because Mariah and our team incarnate who we are and what we are about. We do this as a community.

[WM] How closely do you like to work with the worship pastor?

[Erwin] So closely you would think she was my daughter.

[WM] What types of things do you tend to weigh in on the most?

[Erwin] Who leads. This is the best way to manage. Choose great people and get out of their way.

The things that matter the most to me about the music are twofold:
1). The lyrics express truth and are both clear and poetic; we do not use clichés.
2). The music moves our congregation into worship; we are not performers.

[WM] Can you name some of the specific ways you’ve prepared your leaders to hand over the reins to the next generation when the time comes?

[Erwin] When the time comes? The time has come so many times already.

Our Worship Pastor just turned 26. She has been leading for over 5 years since she was barely 20 years old. Her team is feeling old because some of them are almost out of their 20’s. There have been at least four generations of leadership at Mosaic since I began the church 20 years ago. Mariah is already developing and mentoring the next generation of worship leaders.

You can spot the future leaders being prepared to lead on our worship teams because they are bringing coffee to the team and serving backstage in anonymity.

At Mosaic, if you don’t have the heart to serve, you don’t have the heart to lead in worship. Worship is life. To serve is the greatest act of worship. Every member of MSC is a servant. That’s why they have been entrusted to lead.

I have already passed on the reigns. I’m just trying to serve them as they lead.

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