Archive | —Training a Team

Guiding your team in technical aspects of music and preparation for congregational worship.

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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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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The Gathering is Coming to Southern California Jan. 28

This past August we recorded The Gathering: Live from WorshipGod11. It’s a collection of 15 songs that progressively tell the story of the gospel and our response to it. From my perspective, it’s one of the best albums we’ve done to date, both in terms of song content and creative musicianship. I’m happy to announce that we’ll be doing it all over again (at least singing the songs) in Orange County, CA on Saturday, January 28. A few of my good friends from California (Ryan and Jonathan Baird, and Eric Turbedsky, pastor of Sovereign Grace Church Orange County) emailed me about putting together an event that combined teaching in the afternoon …

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Resources for Your Worship Team from WorshipGod11: Leading, Songwriting, Tech

Last August at WorshipGod11 we offered 40 seminars for pastors, musicians, leaders, vocalists, instrumentalists, and tech teams. Today and tomorrow I’m posting the descriptions of a few that might serve you and your team in the coming year. Right clicking on the title will download the MP3, and of course, right clicking on the outline will get you the…outline. Leading Putting Songs Together – Bob Kauflin (outline) Why do you choose the songs you do? What factors go into deciding whether one song is better to use than another? What’s the difference between lyrical flow and musical flow? How can we use songs to effectively care for people’s …

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Training Video for Jesus Lives

For a few years now I’ve wanted to produce training videos for Sovereign Grace songs that would break down a song into learnable sections for guitar players. They would also serve guitarists who have a hard time translating a full band album arrangement into something that can work for their small group. Matt Richley and Nathan Edwards (behind the cameras), two of three interns we’ve had this year, have been working on this project and finally finished the first one. In this video, Matt unpacks how to play the song “Jesus Lives” from our recent album, Risen. We’re already working on more videos and in the future hope to produce a few for …

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Receiving the Baton from a Previous Generation

A while back I was asked to write an article for Tabletalk magazine for their “Generation to Generation” column. My aim was to share a few words to encourage the next generation of leaders. I asked if I could repost the article and Tabletalk graciously granted me permission. You can find the original post at Ligonier’s site but if it’s too difficult to click on the link, here’s what I wrote: As I run the final laps of my race on this earth (however long the Lord allows that to be), one of my greatest joys and desires is to serve the next generation. When I was in my twenties, I assumed, somewhat arrogantly, that my friends and I had better …

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Training the Next Generation to Hope in God, Not Us

At last year’s WorshipGod conference, I gave a message on The Future of Worship, based on the opening verses to Psalm 78. I’m increasingly aware of is how important it is to pass on the right things from generation to the next, and this message was an attempt to address that topic. Here’s a 3:45 video clip from that message where I’m focusing on Ps. 78:7: “so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” I talk about how important it is to make sure those who are following us are putting their hope in God and the gospel – not us, our musical preferences, our technology, or our efforts. What …

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What Do You Want to Be Remembered For?

Here’s another clip from the message I gave at WorshipGod09 on “The Future of Worship.” (You can find two posts from the same message here and here.) In verse 8 the psalmist references a previous generation “whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.” They were remembered as NOT being faithful, and NOT being steadfast. Have you thought much about what YOU want to be remembered for? That’s the question I ask in this 2 1/2 minute clip from my message. …

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The Future of Worship: Passing the Baton

At WorshipGod09:From Generation to Generation, I gave the last message on The Future of Worship, based on Ps. 78:1-8. The previous messages had dealt mostly with the biblical values of worship we want to pass on to future generations – the nature of God, the importance of the heart, the role of leadership, the significance of the local church, and more. The question I asked in my message was: What do we need to keep in mind as we seek to transfer these and other biblical values of worship to the next generation? In preparing for the message I came across some comments from Nigel Hetherington, the Scottish National Sprints and Hurdles coach. …

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When God Comes to Church

As 2008 turned over to 2009 I was in the midst of reading When God Comes to Church by Ray Ortlund, Jr. I didn’t want the year to get too far before I shared some great quotes from this book that came out in 2000. The first half of the book describes what God does to bring revival (comes down, reinvigorates, heals, pours out his Spirit, raises up, and restores).The second half describes what we can do to prepare the way (return, seek, humble ourselves). Each chapter is an expositional treatment of a specific Old Testament passage. Ortlund begins with, “Revival is a season in the life of the church when God causes the normal ministry of …

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When Things Don’t Go As Planned

What do you do when in the middle of leading worship you have a train wreck? We had the opportunity to find out at the WorshipGod conference last August. Joseph Stigora, from Covenant Fellowship in Philadelphia, was doing a great job leading with his team. But as he started into a musical rendition of Psalm 96, things took a turn for the worse. The band was suddenly playing in two keys. At the same time. You can watch it for yourself here. While God commends the development of skill (Prov. 22:29), and laziness is no excuse for lack of preparation, there are times that even deliberate practice doesn’t keep us from messing up. But …

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Is Talent Overrated?

I just finished reading Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, by Geoff Colvin. Fascinating book. Giftedness is a topic that I’ve thought about a lot. Are we selling ourselves short by assuming that we’ll never be as good a keyboardist, vocalist, guitarist, drummer, or whatever, as the people we esteem? Colvin begins the book by examining the lives of several famous “greats,” including Tiger Woods, Mozart, Jack Welch, and Jerry Rice. He says that most people think their greatness arose either from a) hard work; or b) talent. Colvin says neither, and uses scientific and anecdotal evidence to support …

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Ten Reasons to Share Musical Opinions Humbly

I’ve been musing recently about how we express our musical opinions. Why do we feel so strongly about songs, bands, and styles? And why do we draw conclusions so quickly? Nope. Don’t like it. That stinks. I can’t stand that kind of music. You like that stuff? Is there anything wrong with raving about the music/artists we love and being swift to trash those we despise? If we’re Christians, yes. Let me suggest ten reasons why musical forbearance might be good for our souls. 1. Being a self-appointed music critic is often just a sign of pride. Using outrageous or exaggerated words to put down certain songs, styles, or artists can be a symptom …

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Developing Arrangements Quickly – Band on the Run Video

Over the years I’ve tried to streamline our rehearsals. Part of it is knowing that folks have other things they’re involved in. Like being with their family. But the other part is that sometimes we just don’t have a lot of time to rehearse. So I’m always looking for ways to maximize that time. At the WorshipGod08 conference I led a seminar called “Band on the Run” that tried to address this issue, covering topics including context, feel, instrumentation, and structure. The seminar was also designed to help churches that were less familiar with arranging songs for a band. Below is a video of the seminar that lasts about 75 minutes. You can download a …

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How Do You Teach an Inconsistent Melody?

A friend recently emailed me and expressed a dilemma he was facing when teaching new songs performed by an artist who varies the way he or she sings the melody. My friend asked: When do we go with the lead sheet, and when do we go with the CD melody?  And when do we go with what is simple and consistent and when do we go with what is sung on the CD? I’ve faced the same dilemma. While I’m grateful for many of the new congregational songs that have emerged in recent years, they’re not always sung in a way that makes it easy for a congregation to pick them up. Phrases are elongated in one verse and not the other, melodies are changed, and sometimes …

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