Tag Archives | worship-leaders

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Join Us at WorshipGod UK 2015!

Last year we were thrilled to have our first WorshipGod UK conference in Bath, Called to be Faithful, hosted by Nathan Smith and Grace Church Bristol. It was a joy to link arms with other UK churches and ministries that are pursuing theologically informed, gospel-driven, Spirit-empowered singing in local congregations. Attendees came from more than 10 different countries and over 100 churches to learn, fellowship, sing, pray, and encourage one another. In response to many requests, WorshipGod UK is coming back to the Bath Forum, 7th-9th May, 2015. The theme will be Gathering Around the Gospel. When the church meets, there are a hundred …

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Resources and Reflections from WorshipGod UK: Called to be Faithful

It’s been over a month ago now that we finished up our first WorshipGod UK conference, Called to Be Faithful. This has been one of my favorite themes for a WorshipGod conference because it speaks so directly to how we should approach ministering the gospel in song. We aren’t called to be amazing, or popular, or cool, or technologically savvy, or better than the church down the street. We’re called to be faithful. God has revealed the mystery of the gospel to us and he now calls us to faithfully steward the unsearchable riches of Christ. You can download the main sessions by clicking the titles below. Session 1 – Faithful To Receive (Craig …

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Why Should You Come to WorshipGod UK?

I’m looking forward to a number of WorshipGod events in 2014 that include the Dominican Republic (July 3-6 at La IBI), and Orange County, CA (July 16-19). But in about 6 weeks (5-8th March), we’ll be at the Forum in Bath, UK, for not only the first WorshipGod event in 2014, but our very first conference in the UK, with the theme, “Called to be Faithful.” I’m excited to be joined by some good friends from the UK including Stuart Townend, Mike Reeves, Nathan and Lou Fellingham, Philip Percival of EMU Music, and others. I’m also looking forward to bringing some friends from the States, including Jeff Purswell and Craig Cabaniss, two of my favorite …

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Music vs. Truth Experiences – A Testimony

A few months ago I was talking with Jonathan Jackson, a member of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville who has also led worship in song on a few Sundays this past year. He was telling me how he was noticing a difference in how he approached leading and that the songs we sang were a large part of that. I asked him to write up a few thoughts about what he had been experiencing. He wrote: As a church culture I believe we have strayed away from singing songs that we deem “wordy” or “too deep” and have settled for songs that have one or two basic ideas about who God is or what He has done for us. We go for an experience that is much closer …

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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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Reflections on WorshipGod West: Called to Be Faithful

This past week, almost 900 people gathered for our first ever WorshipGod West conference, held June 27-29 at Calvary Church of Santa Ana, CA. They came from as far away as Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Ireland, Canada, and Mexico. Some drove 18 hours to be there, others simply drove down the street. Although this was a new location for a WorshipGod conference, we enjoyed many of the evidences of God’s grace we’ve seen in previous years. Ultimately, that was due to God’s kindness and the prayers of his people. Humanly speaking, it was due in large part to Sheri Goodrich and the generous staff of Calvary Church, the members of …

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Worship Without Words

Recently I posted on Twitter: The fact that Psalms doesn’t include a soundtrack or notation clues us in to what God values most in our worship songs. I find it fascinating that God gave us a “songbook” with numerous musical references, but no actual music. It’s not that music is unimportant. Badly played or written music can make great theology sound obscure or unappealing. Great music can make shallow lyrics sound profound and incredibly moving. Which is why when we’re deciding what to sing congregationally, we want to give the greatest attention to the lyrics we’re singing. In response to my tweet someone asked: @bkauflin Is it …

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Bruce Springsteen on Meaning and Purpose

Bruce Springsteen is on tour again. I’ve never been a Springsteen fan, but his music has affected millions. Recently, Scott Pelley interviewed Springsteen for the TV show 60 Minutes. His concert was described as “part circus, dance party, political rally, and big tent revival.” Here’s a portion of the interview, street language unedited. “You have got to be, wild guess, worth somewhere north of 100 million dollars. Why are you still touring? You don’t have to do this,” Pelley remarks. “What else would I do? You got any clues?” Springsteen asks. “Got any suggestions? I mean, am I going to garden? Why would you stop? I mean, you play the music …

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Motivating the Church to Worship God

If you read this blog regularly you know I’m coming down to the wire on my “kind of” first draft for a book I’m writing for Crossway. THANK YOU to everyone who responded to my previous post asking about the challenges you face as a worship leader. Your thoughts are helping and guiding me as I write. I had a fruitful day of writing yesterday and actually finished three chapters. I’ve been able to borrow from some of the posts I’ve written on this blog as well as some material from my first draft of the book. I very much feel the effect of people’s prayers. I’m really enjoying the process of writing, which is completely God’s grace. The book …

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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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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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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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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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Worship Leaders & Pastors – The Trap of Comparison

Throughout my life, one of my greatest temptations has been to compare myself to others. I hardly have to work at it. It just comes naturally. I see someone else leading a congregation in worship and one of two things happens. Either I start to criticize his singing, playing, leading, song selection, content, or looks (if I’m really desperate); or I feel sorry for myself because he’s doing something better than I would or could. The only worship that’s taking place in my heart at those moments is directed towards me. Today and tomorrow I have the privilege of speaking at the Seminars4Worship event in Pittsburgh, PA. Paul Baloche, whose …

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Worship Leaders & Pastors – Song Recommendations for Youth Groups

Jay, who is serving as a youth intern, wrote in to ask: I have been searching and searching for songs which have theological depth and substance but it has been quite the challenge in looking through the modern worship scene. I have found Sovereign Grace Music and the songs of Townend and Getty to be a huge help. But what I am asking is, what would you suggest for the next 10 or so songs that we could add to our youth group worship service? I’ll start by making a few general recommendations, then suggest specific songs. It’s worth picking up any CD by Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, Indelible Grace, and the new Matthew Smith CD. Paul Baloche’s latest, …

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