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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Worship God UK 2015, The Forum, Bath, UK

Reflections and Resources from WorshipGod UK: Gathering Around the Gospel

Before we get too far away from WorshipGod UK, I wanted to share a few thoughts on our time together in Bath. About 300 folks came from 15 nations and 135 churches for 2 1/2 days of fellowship, singing, prayer, teaching, seminars, laughter, starting and renewing friendships, and having our eyes opened wider to the glories of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There were a number of things about our time together that made me very grateful. 1. I’m grateful that Sovereign Grace Music partners with local churches to serve local churches. The driving force behind WorshipGod is Nathan Smith and the church he pastors, Grace Church …

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A Call for Musically Gifted Pastors

In 2008, I suggested in Worship Matters that the title of “worship leader” needed to be defined to be helpful. So I defined it this way: A faithful worship leader magnifies the greatness of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit by skillfully combining God’s Word with music, thereby motivating the gathered church to proclaim the gospel, to cherish God’s presence, and to live for God’s glory. I still like that definition, but I’m less sure the term “worship leader” is serving us. It’s taken on a life of its own and continues to be associated with stardom, predominance, the spotlight, good looks, hipster-ness, and in some cases, …

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Dave Gobbett on Sovereign Grace Music & WorshipGod UK

I first met Dave Gobbett in 2000 when he was in the states. His love for the Savior and the church were almost palpable. He was bursting with enthusiasm for God’s gospel, God’s people, and God’s work. He also had an appreciation for Sovereign Grace Music that he shared freely once he got back to the UK (as you’ll see below). He played a key role in my leading the music at Word Alive in 2011. Dave now serves as the Lead Minister at Highfields Church, Cardiff, and is a trustee of Word Alive. I’m grateful that Dave will be teaching a seminar at WorshipGod UK this year called “Secure in Christ.” Recently, he answered a few questions …

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How Michael Reeves Helped Me Love God More

Through the years I’ve been grateful for the many books God has used outside of Scripture to expand and deepen my relationship with him. In the late 70s my wife, Julie, gave me Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Studies in the Sermon on the Mount for my birthday. As I read through it, my eyes were opened to the necessity of humility in the Christian life and the profound effect of expository preaching. In the mid-90s I read Desiring God by John Piper for the first time. It rocked my world. In fact, as a recovering legalist, the book didn’t make sense to me. I thought that my actions only pleased God as they were displeasing to me. I couldn’t …

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Interview with Ben Slee

Last year at WorshipGod UK, a number of guys came from Christ Church Mayfair in London. I’ve had contact with them during the year, and they suggested that Ben Slee be included this year in the conference. So he’ll be sharing  a couple songs at WorshipGod UK. In the meantime, he was gracious enough to answer a few questions. 1. What is your history of leading in the church, musically or pastorally? Before coming to Christ Church Mayfair as Music Director this year, I was a church apprentice in South-East London for two years where I was trained in music leading through the youth group and in Sunday gatherings. 2. What encourages you about …

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Interview with Rob Spink from The Crowded House

I’ve never met Rob Spink, but my good friend Tim Chester recommended that I contact him to share some songs at WorshipGod UK this coming May.  Rob was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. Among other things, I appreciate his comment that the local church is a place where we can create culture rather than just consume it. 1. What is your history of leading in the church, musically or pastorally? I’ve been a member of The Crowded House since 2002. I’ve served as an Elder since 2007 and as well as being Community Pastor, have been Music Director since July 2013. So as well as leading in our gathered worship, we’ve been …

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Simon Brading Reflects on WorshipGod UK

I’ve known Simon Brading for a number of years now and been encouraged by his thoughtfulness, his passion for the gospel, and his heart to see music used in the church for the glory of Jesus Christ. Last year at WorshipGod UK he sang a couple songs  and I was struck by his desire to pastor the people he was leading. At this year’s conference, I’ve asked him to lead the music for a main session and participate in a seminar called Planning for Sundays. Simon kindly took some time to answer a few questions about himself and WorshipGod UK, coming to Bath 7th-9th May. 1. What is your history of leading in the church, musically and …

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The Gathering: Coming to Knoxville this 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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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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WorshipGod 2015: TRIUNE Registration Now Open!

In July 2014 we held our first WorshipGod conference on the Trinity in Santa Ana, CA. It was such a rich time we decided to repeat that theme for WorshipGod 2015: TRIUNE. The dates are July 29-Aug 1, and we’re excited to be coming back to Highview Baptist East in Louisville, KY. Christians can sometimes think of the Trinity like an appendix. We know it’s there but we’re not quite sure what its purpose is. And if it was removed, it wouldn’t change much. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Trinity is at the heart of our faith and at the heart of our worship. But how much do you know about the Trinity? More importantly, how well …

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Michael Morrow Reflects on WorshipGod UK

I first met Michael Morrow in Australia. I had heard his song We Belong to the Day and was impressed with his desire to write songs that communicated rich theology in contemporary musical settings. Shortly after we met, Michael moved to the UK, where he’s been ever since. I’m grateful that he’s going to be sharing some of his songs at WorshipGod UK, where we’ll be learning from Michael Reeves, Kevin DeYoung, Tim Chester, Jeff Purswell, and others about Gathering Around the Gospel. Michael took some time to answer a few questions about himself and the conference. What is your history of leading in the church, musically or pastorally? I …

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Be Equipped to Gather Around the Gospel at WorshipGodUK

We’re about three months out from WorshipGod UK and can’t wait.  We’re really looking forward to spending three days with people who are serious about serving their local churches with the gospel through the Word and song. The gospel is a word we can use frequently without reflecting on its meaning, power, and relevance. That’s why when we gather on Sunday mornings, there’s nothing more important we can do than remind people that Jesus has come to save us from sin, death, and hell through his substitutionary death and triumphant resurrection, and that that affects every aspect of our lives. I’m thrilled that our speakers this year …

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New Song from Keith & Kristyn Getty (& Graham Kendrick)

Not too long ago I was in Nashville with Julie and we stopped by to see our friends, Keith and Kristyn Getty. While we were there Keith asked me if I wanted to hear a song they had been working on with Graham Kendrick. Of course, I said. He played “My Worth is Not in What I Own.” I immediately thought, I want to sing this song and I want other people to sing this song. Now we can. But you can hear it for yourself. Col. 3:16 says that songs are meant to teach and admonish us while enabling the word of Christ to dwell in us richly. This song definitely accomplishes both goals. Here are the words: My worth is not in what I own; …

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Reflections on Turning 60

I’ve had more than one conversation with a 20 or 30 something worship leader who was concerned about growing old. Will I have a job? Will people still want me to lead? Will I be out of touch? Last month I turned 60. I guess that puts me in the “old” category, although in my mind I still think I’m 28. I thought it might encourage a younger leader if I shared some of the things I’ve learned in 30 years of ministry that have shaped me, changed me, and given me faith for the future. Consider this a follow-up to the post I wrote five years ago on being a 55 year old worship leader. Five lessons learned 1. Direct your desires. God tells …

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