shutterstock_415472536 (1)_Fotor

To Use or Lose the Music Stands: Is That the Question?

In the past few years, a number of voices have emerged encouraging church musicians to lose their music stands.  I don’t think anyone is saying it’s a matter “of first importance” to put the music stands away. But people have said if you really want to serve your church, you won’t use them. Reasons to Strike the Stands Here are some of the most common reasons people give for losing the stands. In many churches, a separation already exists due to a stage. Removing the stands removes the visible barrier. Musicians and vocalists tend to stare at their stands. When you remove them, musicians look up, look out, and are more engaged. …

Continue Reading 16
pots-album-Cover_Fotor

Prayers of the Saints (Live) – Our New Album

Sovereign Grace Music released our last band album, Sooner Count the Stars, two years ago. I’m happy to announce that after reviewing 170 songs, we finally have another: Prayers of the Saints (Live). It took a while, but I think it was more than worth the wait. Worship albums are as common these days as a new mattress store (come to Louisville and you’ll know what I mean). I receive an email informing me of a new album almost once a week. That’s about 50 albums, each with at least 12 songs, which adds up to 600 new songs a year. And that’s just scratching the surface of the albums being recorded.  So why produce another one? First, …

Continue Reading 6
pexels-photo-164899_Fotor

Worshiping a Limitless God with Limited Resources

Last month, prior to having the joy of participating in the Getty Sing! conference in Nashville, I chatted with Sol Fenne at a lunch sponsored by 20Schemes. Sol is a church planter, musician, and songwriter who has a passion to see the gospel transform lives in the poorest housing projects of Scotland. One of Sol’s passions is to discover how the gospel enthusiasm and musical excellence from the Sing! Conference could be applied in the contexts of Scotland’s poorest schemes, or housing projects. So he sent me a follow-up email asking if I’d be willing to write a blog post addressing this question: How we can encourage our 8-chord guitarists …

Continue Reading 10
IMG_5009_Fotor

Another New Reformation Song

Back in February, I posted a song that Chris Anderson and I wrote for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. We called it “Reformation Hymn.” I wrote about it in this post and Chris tells the backstory of how the song was written here. Around the same time, Tim Chester, a friend from the UK, asked me if I’d be interested in putting music to some lyrics he was working on, also based on the 5 Solas of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura: Scripture alone Solus Christus: Christ alone Sola Fide: faith alone Sola Gratia: grace alone Soli Deo Gloria: glory to God alone I enjoyed writing Come Praise and Glorify with Tim a few years ago and …

Continue Reading 21
IMG_0041_Fotor

Worship Matters Is Now a Video Series

When I wrote Worship Matters in 2008, I wanted to pass on to younger leaders some of what I had learned from my mentors, study, and experiences of leading for three decades. My goal was to connect Scriptural commands and principles with what we actually do in our Sunday meetings. Through the years, musicians, pastors, teachers, and others have found my book helpful. But I’ve wondered if I could do anything to make the material more accessible. 32 chapters can take a while to plow through. I mean, we’re talking about musicians. That’s why I’m excited about the Worship Matters Video Intensive, made possible in large part with the help of …

Continue Reading 9
Songwriting

Is it Humility to Leave My Name Off a Song I Wrote?

Recently someone wrote me and asked: A young woman in our church has written a few songs that we have taught but she doesn’t want to let anyone know she wrote them. I think she feels she is being humble but I also see how it can encourage our church to know one of our young adults is doing this. Your thoughts? I appreciated the question. I also appreciated a songwriter is even thinking this way. Social media tempts us to believe it’s our duty to broadcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or our blog that basically, we’re doing a bunch of cool stuff, saying some awesome things, or eating some incredible food. How refreshing for …

Continue Reading 10
IMG_6408_Fotor

Reflections from WorshipGod17: Human and Holy

It’s been over a week, but I’m still enjoying the rich time we had at WorshipGod17 MidWest. The conference was called Human and Holy: Exploring Healthy Tensions in Our Gathered Worship. We looked at the inherent tensions that surface when the human encounters the Holy: orthodox and on fire, rootedness and relevance, structure and spontaneity, event and every day, already and not yet. There are always a few things that stand out to me after a conference. Here’s this year’s list. Life, Not Production Because this year’s conference fell in the midst of a few other events (live recording, a trip to Mexico, our daughter’s wedding), it felt less …

Continue Reading 9
96f1e569-52be-4691-9667-e6d7b94bf9b4_Fotor

Prayer of the Saints Live Recording!

This coming Tuesday, July 25, Sovereign Grace Music will be recording our first live album in 6 years: “Prayers of the Saints.” If you happen to be in or near Louisville, we’d love to have you join us from 6-10pm that night! The event will take place at the Fegenbush campus of Highview Baptist Church. If you’d like to come, you need to reserve your spot, and you can do that here. “Prayers of the Saints” has been almost two years in the making. We took the title from a phrase in Revelation 8:3-4: And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the …

Continue Reading 0
photo-883286_1920_Fotor

The Paradox of the Worship Selfie

Some time last year a friend who leads the music in his church texted me to express a concern. Social media has been on my mind lately. It seems it’s a great tool and a great danger. It can quickly become the “street corner” in Matthew 6. I wonder if the constant postings of ourselves, with great lighting and stuff may end up being more about us. Some people say “everyone does it,” but I’m wrestling with it as I see young guys in our church family doing it a lot. I want to make sure my motives are pure if I feel led to have an honest discussion with them. My friend’s humility in approaching this issue was commendable. Social media …

Continue Reading 8
IMG_4217_Fotor

Music is Great. Jesus is Greater.

This past May, our youngest child, McKenzie, graduated from Boyce College with a degree in biblical studies, focusing on music and worship. After 4 1/2 years of study, persistence, practice, and dependence on God’s grace, she finally joined the ranks of those who have a college degree. In her final semester, she had to give a senior recital. Thanks to the excellent instruction from her voice teacher, Chandi Plummer, McKenzie has expanded her vocal range significantly, grown in knowing how to care for her voice, and become much more effective at communicating emotion and dynamics when she sings. All those aspects were on full display …

Continue Reading 9
WGE-636_Fotor

Human and Holy: Healthy Tensions of our Gathered Worship

In just under two months (July 27-29) we’ll be gathering in Louisville, KY for our second regional WorshipGod conference! The first was held in Pennsylvania this past March. We’re calling the Louisville conference: Human and Holy: Healthy Tensions of our Gathered Worship. If you’ve ever planned the music or meetings at your church, you’re probably familiar with the category of “healthy tensions.” Or at least, tension. Conversations about worship can be polarizing. We choose sides and attack each other rather than seeking out biblical solutions and priorities. Should our meetings be reverent or celebratory? Do we want our musicians …

Continue Reading 0
Shepherd's Conference_Fotor

Reflections on the 2017 Shepherds’ Conference

Last April a friend of mine at Grace Community Church texted me to say John MacArthur was going to invite me to lead the music for some of the main sessions at the 2017 Shepherds’ Conference. I thought he was kidding. There are a few reasons why this particular invite was unexpected. For one, I’m a pastor with Sovereign Grace Churches. John has at various times made clear in his preaching that we have a few theological differences. Also, the music at Grace Community Church, where John has served as the pastor for more than four decades, is primarily hymns led by highly skilled choirs, orchestras, and an organ. On a typical Sunday morning …

Continue Reading 15
ben-white-165039_Fotor

A New Song – Reformation Hymn

As you’re probably aware, 2017 marks the 500 year anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of a church building in Wittenberg, Germany. While not seeking to separate from the Roman Catholic church, he called for substantive and specific changes in her practices and theology. Luther was joined by many other Reformers whose teachings were eventually summarized in what we call the Five Solas, “sola” being a Latin word meaning “alone” or “only.” Sola Scriptura: Scripture alone Solus Christus: Christ alone Sola Fide: faith alone Sola Gratia: grace alone Soli Deo Gloria: glory to God alone These phrases carry …

Continue Reading 85
WGNE17_Fotor

WorshipGod Northeast Coming Soon

Since 1999, I’ve been leading conferences to serve anyone involved in planning or leading congregational worship. In 2006, we started calling them “WorshipGod” conferences to communicate that it matters who or what we’re worshiping. A”worship conference” can refer to any kind of worship. It’s worshiping GOD that distinguishes what Christians do from all other kinds of worship. Only Christian worship is initiated by God the Father, enabled by God the Son, and empowered by God the Spirit. In 2017 we’ve taking a break from a single national conference and planning different regional conferences. The first is WorshipGod Northeast and it …

Continue Reading 10
img_9444_fotor

Upcoming Worship Matters Intensives

This past summer I led the first Sovereign Grace Music Worship Matters Intensive in Louisville. I spent 5 days with 18 guys working through the contents of my book, Worship Matters. Not surprisingly, we got into lively discussion and interaction on a number of levels and topics. In addition every guy got to run lyric projection and experience “Lead and Review,” which is just what the name implies. It was a fantastic time. While the first Intensive focused on Sovereign Grace worship leaders, we’ve received a number of requests to open it up. So that’s what we’re doing. I have two more Intensives coming up, both in Louisville. The dates …

Continue Reading 0

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes