Tag Archives | Musicians

How I Got Here

Ben, a 28 year old worship leader, is in the midst of some career decisions. He emailed me the following to me: You seem to be actively employing several different gifts and passions. You’re sort of a hybrid preacher/producer/worshiper/blogger guy.  You are living outside the box – and that’s exciting to me. As I dream of what my life and career could look like, my most
satisfying career would look a lot like yours does now. However, I don’t
really know how to get from where I am now to where I’d like to be.  I
wonder how it is that you’ve come to the place where you are now: leading
worship, producing albums of your church’s …

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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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Preparing the Next Generation of Musicians

Where do the next generation of musicians in the church come from? What can we can do to influence, inspire, and train the young people in our church to develop and use their gifts to serve the church for the glory of God? It doesn’t matter whether we’re in a church of 50, 500, or 5000, we can begin to think about how we can pass on what we’ve learned.

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Listening to Music – Erosion or Accumulation?

The title of this post comes from Russ Bremeier’s weekly Music Connection Newsletter from Christianity Today. It’s a helpful way to keep up on what’s happening in the Christian music world. Here’s the introduction to one of his recent emails: Have you ever noticed how an impression of a song or album can change with repeated listens? Thank goodness it doesn’t happen too often for me, but there are times when I’m nagged by the feeling that I got a review wrong because my opinion of the album has since changed. Depending on that change, I call it erosion or accumulation. Erosion occurs when an album I initially love begins to wear on me—not …

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Great Training Videos for Your Band

Zach Nielsen, whom I’ve only met once but felt an immediate kinship with, hosted a Church Band Seminar a while back for church musicians. He invited three Nashville musicians (Tim Rosenau on guitar, James Gregory on bass, and Scott Williamson on drums) to talk about and demonstrate playing music for congregational worship as part of a band. While the video clips aren’t the best quality, you can hear what’s being discussed, and both the content and attitude of the players are worth checking out. They cover topics including Listening to As You Play, How to Play a Chord Chart, Leading in Rehearsal, and much more. To check out all the videos go …

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For Music

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine, Greg Gilbert, posted a blog on the 9Marks site called Against Music. The title was more an attention grabber than a statement of Greg’s attitude toward music in general. He was cautioning Christians against becoming spiritually dependent on music in their relationship with God. He wrote: The bottom line, I suppose, is that it would do every Christian well to do some honest heart-searching about what makes them feel “close to God.” Can you feel close to God just by reading or saying the words, “In Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”? Would you be able …

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Whose Glory Do We Make Music For?

This past week we recorded some of the lead vocals for our upcoming project, Come Weary Saints, due out in April. It’s a project of congregational worship songs designed to encourage faith and hope in the hearts of those who are going through trials. Each of the vocalists who came to sing was clearly there not to promote themselves, but to serve those whoever would be listening. It was evident from their preparation, the way they joyfully received comments, and their gratefulness for the opportunity to participate in the project. Grace abounded. It reminded me of a message I gave at the Sovereign Grace WorshipGod conference in 2002. I was …

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More Teachings from the Christian Musician Summit

Here are two more outlines from messages I gave at the Christian Musician Summit in Overlake, Washington. On Saturday morning, I had the privilege of speaking to the entire group on the topic of “Does God Even Like Our Music?” I figured in a conference of almost 3000 musicians, it’s important to know whether or not our music is actually pleasing to the one we’re there to worship. The answer has little to do with style, generations, or beat. It has everything to do with our hearts and life. In the second seminar I addressed the subject of “Worshiping God While Making Music.” To start things off I gave away a number of CD’s, and met a couple …

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Are We Responsible for Musical Literacy in the Church?

I’m getting questions every week now on topics related to worship and music. I wish I had time to answer each one, but I can’t get to them. But thanks so much for writing and assuming I might have an answer to your question. I received this question from Stephen: What effect do you see the “PowerPoint driven church” and American pop culture having on the musical literacy of your instrumentalists, and potentially on the future of the church? Being a worship pastor in a somewhat “emerging” church (AKA rock band and candles with historic Christianity), I am beginning to see the great need for “reproducing” musicians who are musically literate. …

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New Songs, New CD’s, and a New Website

I’m currently in the middle of moving my office from Covenant Life Church to Sovereign Grace Ministries. The two buildings are actually connected, so it’s not that big a deal. As my responsibilities at Covenant Life have been assumed by Ken Boer, it’s released me to give more time to writing, training, and overseeing music for Sovereign Grace. We’ve also needed more office space at Covenant Life, so it was the right time to make the move. Right now all my books and CD’s are boxed up in an empty office as shelves are being installed. I should be in my new office next week. There are plenty of things I’d like to be blogging about right now, but …

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Blogs for Music

How do you teach 8 year olds that God goes on forever? How do you explain the Trinity to them? How do you help children understand what it means that God is holy? Why not use music? Last year we at Sovereign Grace Ministries released our first CD for children, ages 7 and up. It was an attempt to teach children about God through song. We called it Awesome God. I’ve noticed for some time that children often sing songs that assume they have a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That’s due partly to the fact that many adult songs are simply adapted for use by children. Also, many songs written today for congregational worship tend …

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