Tag Archives | worship-pastor

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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Worshipping God as a Worship Leader & Pastor at 52

The number 52 took on new meaning for me a few days ago. I was aware there are 52 cards in a deck and 52 weeks in a year. As of this past Sunday, there are 52 years in my life. I’m getting old. Growing older has its drawbacks. We’ve seen them first hand as our parents have confronted things like Alzheimer’s, injuries, and debilitating diseases. But I’m certain that God intends us to think of getting older in a positive way. Or else why would he say things like this: “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life” (Prov. 16:31). “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray …

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Worship Leaders & Pastors – I-MAGnify Who?

Every leader of congregational worship dreads those meetings when everything seems to be going wrong. Vocals are out of tune, strings break, everyone but the drummer finishes the song, you forget the words, sing the wrong verse, or play the wrong chords…the list is endless. Last August at the WorshipGod06 conference, we presented the skit I-MAGnify to encourage everyone who has encountered or someday soon will encounter that situation. We watch a struggling worship leader receive instruction from his “alter-ego” about how he can get people more involved. Ironically, the song he’s attempting to lead is “Receive the Glory,” based on Psalm 115: Not …

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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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Choosing a Hymnal for a Worship Service

One person recently wrote in to ask: 1. What criteria would you use in selecting a new hymnal? 2. What particular hymnals would you recommend checking into? Although we don’t use a hymnal in our Sunday meetings, if I were to choose one, I’d look for one that contains the best of Christian hymnody prior to the early 20th century. These are the songs for congregational worship that have been established, tried, tested, and proven to be beneficial to the Church. Since a hymnal should serve primarily as a tool to teach and reinforce the doctrines of the Christian faith, I’d look for many songs by Watts, Wesley, Newton, Toplady, Cowper, Hart, …

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Physical Expressiveness in Worship, Pt. 5

In response to the series I did on physical expressiveness in corporate worship, I received a follow-up question from the gentleman who originally asked the question. It was pretty extensive, but this was his closing query: Bottom, Bottom, Lowest of Bottom Lines: Am I exegetically, theologically, homiletically accurate when I say, “God COMMANDS us to CLAP our hands!”? Or should it be softened to “God ENCOURAGES us to express our love and worship to Him using our bodies?” And then let people do what they’re comfortable with. Great question. And I want to commend him for seeking to pinpoint as clearly as possible what God tells us in His Word …

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How Do We Grow in Physical Expressiveness in Worship? Pt. 4

This is my last post (for now) on the topic of bodily expression in corporate worship. Let me say again that in issues regarding our faith, physical expressiveness in corporate worship is an important but secondary issue. I have no problem worshiping God with a church that may be more enthusiastic or reserved than I’m used to, as long as they are proclaiming the same Gospel and glorying in the same Savior. However, our culture tends to separate head and heart, doctrine and devotion. Some congregations sing profoundly biblical lyrics with no visible effect (which doesn’t always mean they aren’t affected). Other churches are enthusiastically …

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How Do We Grow in Physical Expressiveness in Worship? Pt. 3

I’ve been talking about how to help a church grow in physical expression that draws attention to the greatness of God’s glory in Christ. After teaching on the appropriateness of that expression in worshipping God and the importance of the heart, I’d move on to: 3. Address the different reasons people might be reserved in their expression and teach on preferring others. Some Christians are simply unaware of what the Bible teaches about physical responses to God. They don’t know that Scripture is filled with examples of exuberant, passionate worship (Psalm 150; Neh. 8:6; Rev. 5:11-14). Perhaps they’ve grown up in a church environment …

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How Do We Grow in Physical Expressiveness in Worship? Pt. 1

After the Together for the Gospel conference, I received a lengthy e-mail from a worship pastor in attendance who shared a current dilemma his pastoral team is facing. They have been “wrestling with how to best be obedient to Scripture in our corporate worship through song.” His church contains people who are “naturally NOT very expressive AT ALL” during that time. So he asks: “Exactly how, and how much should we encourage our people to follow the numerous commands throughout Scripture of bodily expression (as a natural outpouring of the heart)? First, I want to thank this pastor and his team for their humility in seeking to wrestle …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 15

If you’re just joining us, I’m currently describing what I think is the biblical role of someone who leads the church in congregational worship. We’ve covered this in the first 14 posts: An effective corporate worship leader, aided and led by the Holy Spirit, skillfully combines biblical truth with music to magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, thereby motivating the gathered church… Today, I’m going to unpack the next phrase: To join him in proclaiming and cherishing the truth about God. As I mentioned last week, an effective corporate worship leader invites others to join him in what he is already …

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