Archive | December, 2006

Worship Leaders – How Do I Support My Pastor When We Disagree?

A reader wrote in to ask: How do I serve and support the role of my Senior Pastor when his approach to corporate worship may sound a little different than what I get from your conferences? Great question, and not the first time I’ve been asked. This question reveals what happens when the worship leader and musicians are getting biblical training and the pastor isn’t. It highlights the need for pastors to think about worship theologically, rather than basing their thoughts on past experiences or the culture. But what do you do if you’re in a church where the pastor is asking you to do things that you don’t think are going to serve the church …

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Worship Leaders & Pastors – I-MAGnify Who?

Every leader of congregational worship dreads those meetings when everything seems to be going wrong. Vocals are out of tune, strings break, everyone but the drummer finishes the song, you forget the words, sing the wrong verse, or play the wrong chords…the list is endless. Last August at the WorshipGod06 conference, we presented the skit I-MAGnify to encourage everyone who has encountered or someday soon will encounter that situation. We watch a struggling worship leader receive instruction from his “alter-ego” about how he can get people more involved. Ironically, the song he’s attempting to lead is “Receive the Glory,” based on Psalm 115: Not …

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Can I Learn to Love Evaluation?

Aaron left this question on a recent post: I’ve found it difficult at times to be in a mindset that is ready to accept encouragement and critique after a “big event.” I realize that a large part of this is my own pride and desire for everyone to like what happened and move on. However, I am often so drained and spent after an endeavor like a conference or a Christmas musical that I don’t even want to think about it anymore. Is this a symptom of focusing on the event more than Christ? Is there a way to get through the “big events” in church life without losing your focus on Christ and still be excited about your job after the event is over? I …

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Thoughts on Christmas

During my private worship this morning I was reading Mark Dever’s commentary on the New Testament, Promises Kept, transcribed from messages he’s given at his church. This morning I happened to be reading his sermon on 1 Timothy. Providentially, it was a message he first gave on Dec. 19, 1999, so it contains numerous references to Christmas. I wanted to share some of his comments with you, along with my thoughts. 1. Christmas isn’t about who’s been "naughty or nice." "The news we have to declare as Christians is not fundamentally about our law-keeping or our obedience. The glad tidings we bear are not for ‘good people.’ It is ‘for …

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Preparing for and Evaluating the Worship Service

I received this question a while back: Do you happen to have anything that you have given out to worship leaders as far as a check-list of items to review as they are preparing for a Sunday morning? The simple answer to this would be “no.” However, a few years ago C.J. Mahaney and I put together ten questions for evaluating corporate worship, which might serve as a memory jogger. 1. Is our Savior’s substitutionary sacrifice on the Cross clearly and repeatedly presented through song lyrics and exhortations as central to our worship and the means by which we approach God? 2. Is it evident to the church and guests that all we do is rooted …

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Movie Soundtrack Recommendations

A friend just e-mailed me to ask me about a comment he heard me make at the last New Attitude Conference. I mentioned that I frequently listen to soundtracks when I’m studying, reading, or writing, and he was wondering which ones I have. I enjoy soundtracks because they don’t have words and if I haven’t seen the movie (which is often) I can make my own associations. They also enable me to  thank God for the gift of common grace which enables unbelievers to write music that expresses in some small degree the beauty and creativity of God. As I’m in the process of writing my book, I’m listening to music a lot these days. Since Christmas …

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Should We Change Musical Settings?

This question was sent in by Juanita: As a classically trained musician and someone who has sung parts for most of my life, I am confused when I see arrangements for hymns that are completely different from what is traditionally written…Do congregations actually sing songs often enough to get tired of the musical arrangements, especially when there are other options available for freshening up a piece? It seems to me that it can actually be unsettling to a congregation, especially for the musical people in its midst, to have the music, i.e., the basic structure of the music, changing. I actually find it distracting to the words myself. As …

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The Meaning of the Nativity

Yesterday afternoon I took Julie and our two youngest daughters to see The Nativity Story. Although the movie has mostly received not-so-great reviews (too slow, not very creative, etc.) I thought it was very well done and enjoyed it. Mary and Joseph were well chosen for their parts and did a credible job capturing the differing emotions that would accompany their unique situation. Although I wondered if 21st century parent-teen relational conflict was read back into the story… I’m always affected when I see biblical characters and stories believably portrayed in movies. I understand that except for the creative license taken with certain …

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Evaluating Worship Song Lyrics

This question came from Jeff: One of the members of my worship team is struggling with the line from one of your songs, Glory Be to God. The line is “Being’s source begins to be.” She feels that it communicates that God is not eternal, that there was a time when the second Person of the Trinity did not exist and then began to be. I have tried teach her that language always has to be interpreted in context and that the line is basically highlighting the mystery of the incarnation – that Jesus was both infinite God and somehow a finite man (or baby)…Is it acceptable to change the line of the song when we sing it to “Being’s source becomes a …

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