Sam & Becki Cox currently serve as worship pastors at Monument Church, Washington D.C. In addition to their responsibilities at Monument, they have served the wider church for years through song writing and are well known in the British Worship music community. For the last 2 years they have traveled extensively, leading worship around the world at Advance gatherings. We caught up with them to get their perspective on our movement and the trajectory of our worship ministry.
Having visited and lead worship at a number of Advance gatherings around the world in the last year, you guys have a unique perspective on our partnership.
Advance continues to be an amazing expression of both local and global: authentic communities complete with all of their local idiosyncrasies, who simultaneously carry this collective heart with churches from very different contexts in different parts of the world. That’s not automatic, and I think it’s clear that God is really breathing on that in our movement. To be at a conference and pray about churches in central London or Southern USA, and then turn to pray for the needs of churches in India and Nepal; it’s thrilling!
…[Advance is made up of] authentic communities complete with all of their local idiosyncrasies, who simultaneously carry this collective heart with churches from very different contexts in different parts of the world – Sam
We’ve really seen that local-global dynamic in close range in the past 18 months as we’ve traveled to lead worship in Advance churches in different parts of the world. A 200-year-old traditional Welsh chapel feels like a very different place to a contemporary building in Orange County, CA; and yet we have experienced the same heart for mission and the same passion to worship Jesus in word and spirit in both places.
To get a sense of the big picture has been really special. It’s exciting, growing, thriving and maturing and feels like such a wonderful thing to be part of. There’s clearly a culture of kingdom-flexibility. Leaders who are malleable, alert and ready to move wherever God is leading, and often at whatever cost.
After a couple of years in the US, you recently spent time back in the UK at their 2019 conference – what is your read on your home country and its churches today?
The time we spent at the UK conference was a huge treat. UK churches will always feel so dear to us and to see these emerging and unified hubs being built, the excitement of growth and new life was amazing. I love the intentionality that’s developing around broader social issues like fostering and adoption, drug rehabilitation and care for previously under-reached parts of society. These seem like a foretaste of where God will continue to lead us in the years ahead.
I love the intentionality that’s developing around broader social issues – Becki
We’ve lived in the US for three years now, so being back in the UK for the Advance conference was just a total joy. I think what’s striking is how authentic the UK church has become in this generation. The increasingly ‘Post-Christian’ landscape in the UK is forging authentic Christian communities.
We were so encouraged to see what God is doing especially in the Welsh Valleys, where I am originally from. Young church leaders, who have been ruined for the gospel, are pioneering some of the most authentic and grounded churches that I’ve seen; and people with no prior knowledge of the gospel are coming to know Jesus and have their lives turned upside down by Him!
Sam & Becki leading our UK conference helped take us to new heights of worship as they drew us toward Jesus. It was also terrific having them with us at Gateway Church where they helped lift our eyes to a bigger picture of who God isMatthew Hosier, Gateway Church
There are a great group of worship leaders within our churches that are already enjoying the fruit of partnership through collaboration – what is the team focusing on in this season?
We are quickly becoming more intentional and strategic about how to strengthen and resource each other as Advance worship leaders. Getting to know worship leaders and their teams around the world, building relationships, gathering whenever and wherever we can, training and finding that ‘shared heartbeat’ as we march forward into the years ahead. That support network of “iron sharpening iron” is something we have all seen church leaders do, but feel like God is calling us as worship leaders to start linking arms together in much the same way.
We’ve started gathering as worship leaders at every chance we get, conferences, skypes and visits. To facilitate introductions between leaders who are perhaps in neighboring counties and see them realize just how close their nearest support is – seems like a significant first step. We’ll keep having these gatherings and making the most of those times; they provide such a helpful context to keep us all together on the same page.
We’ve also felt clearly that just as we sing all the well-known songs and hymns in our churches, we must also cultivate those songs that are being born in our Advance ‘tribe’. To that end, we have started writing songs as well as identifying songwriters and songs from within the movement, and would love to resource the movement with these new songs in the years ahead. There are songs emerging – the challenge will be how to capture all the unique sounds of each region and attempt to represent such an array of cultures! Stay tuned!