Archive | Music Teams

Posts directly related to those worshiping in the various positions of a music team.

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Songs and Thoughts from Together for the Gospel

The Together for the Gospel conference, held Apr. 12-14 in Louisville, KY, is an every-other-year feast of insightful Bible teaching, passionate singing, and rich fellowship. It’s the fruit of a friendship between Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler, and my good friend and senior pastor, C.J. Mahaney. That fruit has blossomed to encourage thousands of pastors faithfully serving their local churches. I had the joy of leading the music again this year. It’s a unique experience. A guy at a piano joined by ten thousand voices singing theologically rich, gospel-centered hymns, old and new. We’ve produced two albums from previous T4G conferences …

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What’s Ahead for Sovereign Grace Music in 2016

I know it’s already February, but people frequently ask me what’s coming up for Sovereign Grace Music in 2016. As always, Sovereign Grace Music will be providing Christ-exalting music and training for local churches from local churches. Here are some of the ways we’ll be doing that this year. Recording Projects We’re currently writing songs for a live album based on the Lord’s Prayer. The working title is Prayers of the Saints, but that could change. It’s exciting to see these songs of praise and petition take shape. We’ll be recording the album some time in early July, with an anticipated release date of October/November. We’re …

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What’s So Special About Singing on Sundays?

People sing. Everywhere. In their cars. In the shower. In choirs. At football games. At birthdays. At weddings and funerals. At rock concerts. In musicals and operas. When there’s sunshine. When it rains. When it’s stormy. In the morning, afternoon, and night. But when the church gathers on Sunday morning (or Saturday night, etc.), our earthly voices join the choirs of heaven and the singing is like no other. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been moved as I added my voice to the beautiful, engaging, powerful, awe-inspiring, robust singing of a congregation. But sometimes our sound is halting and weak. Out of tune and out of …

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How Exciting Should Our Sunday Meetings Be?

Not too long ago a friend who leads the music in his church mentioned to me that his pastor wanted their meetings to be more exciting. Webster’s says exciting means “causing great enthusiasm and eagerness.” Certainly, nothing should cause greater enthusiasm and eagerness than meeting with the church to recount what God has done to save us from his wrath through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. All our sins are forgiven! We have been adopted into God’s family! Jesus has triumphed over sin, death, and hell! We are new creations! We are part of God’s  unstoppable, unchangeable, unrelenting plan to have a people on earth who …

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Who Turned the Lights Out?

A while back Brad sent me this question: We seem to be developing a debate at our church in regards to turning down the house lights to “set the mood” for better worship. What is your take on that? Later I received this from Jeremy: I was wondering if you could offer any commentary regarding the use of lights at any of the WorshipGod conferences. I have memories going back to the “Psalms” conference [in 2008]. In each of the conference settings, it has struck me that the lights in the house are left active during the music-worship time of gatherings. Is that intentional? Is that unintentional? Is it because no one is available to run a lights …

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The Gathering: Coming to New Orleans Next Weekend

In 2011, Sovereign Grace Music recorded The Gathering, a collection of 15 songs that walk through the flow of the gospel and our response to it. Among others, the album included Greater Than We Can Imagine, Shine Into Our Night, Show Us Christ, and All I Have is Christ. The idea for the project had its origins in Bryan Chapell’s excellent book, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice. Chapell makes the case from Scripture, history, and our personal need that, “Corporate worship is nothing more, and nothing less, than a re-presentation of the gospel in the presence of God and his people for his glory and their good.” While …

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Do I Lead To Impress or To Serve?

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about moving to Louisville two years ago and helping to plant Sovereign Grace Church is the opportunity to train interns from Southern Seminary and Boyce College. I meet weekly with a group from each school to talk theology, focus on heart issues, and work on music and leadership skills. They also serve on Sundays and help out with Sovereign Grace Music. Young musicians and leaders are often overly self-conscious and nervous. While confidence comes with experience, we don’t want to overcome self by becoming more assured in ourselves. So one of  my goals for the interns is that they get to the place where …

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On God, Glory, Grace, and Grammys

As a professional musician for almost 40 years, I’m at least mildly interested in the Grammys each year. Who are the young artists that will be tomorrow’s legends? Where is music headed, if anywhere? What old artists are continuing to produce great music or making a comeback? Since this past Sunday, there’s been a disproportionate amount of online buzz about the show. I watched a part of it and was freshly grateful for a DVR with fast forward capabilities. In case you missed it, this year’s event included an overtly sensual duet between Beyoncé and Jay Z, a satanically influenced segment by Katy Perry, and a mass wedding for 30+ heterosexual …

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Exposing Perfectionism

This semester I met with a group of interns on Friday afternoons (when I was around). Along with developing some musical skills we read selected chapters from Unceasing Worship by Harold Best. If you haven’t read it and you’re a Christian involved in congregational worship or the arts, I’d strongly encourage you to get a copy. At our last meeting someone referenced this quote from chapter 11: “Authentic worship is not perfect worship. It stands in continual need of examination, repentance, increased depth and humility as well as outpouring meekness and humility.” That led to an extended conversation on the topic of perfectionism. Most Christian …

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What’s a Young Worship Leader to Do?

Recently, I had the privilege of leading the music at the Conviction to Lead conference, put on by Cornerstone Church of Knoxville. It was a regional men’s conference for the Sovereign Grace Churches in the mid-South. It was a great time of encouragement, equipping, fellowship, and laughter. Topics included The Leader and Conviction, Learning, Vocation, Planning, Parenting, the Home, the Word, and the Church. Messages can be downloaded here. On Friday afternoon I met with about 40 guys for lunch followed by Q&A on topics related to music and worship. One question had to do with what my counsel would be to a worship leader who was just starting …

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From the Archives: Should Worship be Fun?

More than once I’ve heard Christians insist that worship should be fun, or act like they had a responsibility to prove that Christians knew how to “party” in church. I’ve always been uncomfortable with that connection, so I started thinking about the place of “fun” in worship, if one even exists. I’m going to address this question by answering it as I posed it, and then considering two other ways it might be phrased. Should worship be fun? If we take the exhaustive testimony of Scripture, the answer would have to be a resounding NO. “Fun” wouldn’t characterize any of the scenes in the Bible where people encounter God together, at least …

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Adding a Pre-Conference Drum Class at WorshipGod East

Out at WorshipGod West I was talking to David Zimmer, drummer for Enfield, about our next conference, WorshipGod East, taking place Aug. 1-3 in Louisville, KY. I mentioned that we were offering three pre-conference intensives on July 31, 2:00-5:30 PM, for guitarists, sound personnel, and pianists. In the midst of the conversation he offered to teach one for drummers. He and Ryan Foglesong are already teaching two workshops on The Bass/Drum Connection as part of the conference, but David thought there was plenty more to say to drummers alone. So I said let’s do it. In this three hour pre-conference session, The Modern Drummer, David will …

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Interview with Darius Fong

WorshipGod West 2013: Called to be Faithful is only a few weeks away, and on-line registration ends June 14. I’m excited about the opportunity to bring the conference to the West for the first time. One of the seminar speakers will be Darius Fong, a Grammy-award winning audio engineer whose passion is the Church. He wrote Debtcibel and also founded Audio Must Preach, an independent consultation company that helps churches focus on ministry and stewardship by removing audio related obstacles. In his seminar he’ll be addressing questions to ask before you spend money on sound equipment. Darius graciously took the time to answer a few questions …

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Interview with Patrick Anderson, Guitarist Extraordinaire

Patrick Anderson will be teaching guitar workshops at both WorshipGod West (June 27-29) and WorshipGod East (July 31-Aug. 3). I’ve known Patrick for a number of years now and have always been encouraged by his humble heart, love for the church, and superb musical skills, all stemming from his love for the Savior. He played on The Gathering and was a member of Enfield until he moved away from California. He shares a little about his life and the workshops he’ll be teaching below. 1. Briefly share your testimony of conversion with us. I came from a loving, though broken, home. Church involvement was minimal in an ELCA Lutheran church and …

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Interview with Doug Gould

Doug Gould will be presenting seminars dealing with sound and tech topics at both West and East WorshipGod conferences this year. Doug has been a veteran of the Pro Audio and Music Technology Industry for almost 30 years, serving in management roles at Shure, Tascam and E-Mu Systems. He has also been a worship leader, musician and tech at various churches for almost as long. At WorshipGod conferences this year Doug will be covering sound basics, lowering stage volume, mixing, and more. His clear, personal, and knowledgeable workshops have served many WorshipGod attendees in the past. I expect this year will be the same. Doug graciously …

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