Yesterday I posted answers to two questions I asked the speakers who will be addressing us at next week’s WorshipGod08 conference. The questions were: “What do you hope will be filling people’s minds and hearts as they walk away from your message?” and “How do you hope your message will change the way they think about the Psalms and worshiping God?”
Today I wanted to share two more responses, this time from Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, and David Powlison, author and biblical counselor with the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation.
Mark Dever (Glorifying Christ with the Psalmist)
I pray that people will see how great Jesus Christ is, and how gloriously He is displayed in the Psalms.
Popularly, I think we go to the Psalms often for empathy in our own individual experience with God. We go when we’re happy & want to express joy, and we go when we’re sad and want to express sorrow. I hope that we will continue to do that, but also see the psalms more Christocentrically. I hope that we will exalt Jesus Christ because of the insight we gain from the Psalms.
David Powlison (Enduring Hardship with the Psalmist)
I hope people will be thinking, “The psalms are ABOUT what life is about. And life is always playing variations on a theme: the human predicament, the hardships of sin and suffering, the Lord our God who intervenes with mercies, who reveals Himself so that we know Him and abound in hope. That’s so for me. It’s so for every person gathering here to worship.”
One change I hope to see is that worship leaders will bring a greater “emotional range” to their leadership. It’s easy to become monochromatic, defining “worship” as one particular emotion or experience, rather than as many complementary and nuanced experiences. A related change I hope to see is that worship leaders will learn how to more effectively help worshipers to personalize what they sing. So much truth flies by so fast. It’s a challenge to rivet truth to the heart so that it becomes effective in producing honest worship.
David will also be teaching a workshop on Psalm 131: A Calm and Peaceful Heart in which he’ll provide hope for our ongoing battle against sins like pride, envy, and anxiety. He answered the same questions for his seminar:
I hope people will have already memorized the psalm! — and will have a half-dozen immediate personal applications in mind. Any time a sinner is placed in any kind of leadership position/role, it can prove to be fertile ground for mutant things to grow up inside us. Psalm 131 is sanity. Psalm 131 expresses sanity, rolling back all the insanities.
One change I hope to see is that worship leaders will slow down. This is a take-it-slow psalm, and it rewards those who are willing to poke along, who take time to think, who learn how to ponder truth carefully and fruitfully. Our culture doesn’t allow many opportunities for a “slow food meal” and thoughtful engagement with one thing at a time. Worship is a place the church can become refreshingly countercultural for people living in a fast-food, sound-bite, snap-decision, multi-tasking milieu. A related change I hope to see is that worship leaders will become more conscious and more effective in making the movement from “first person” (what’s going on inside them) to “second and third person” (what’s going on in gathered worshipers). Psalm 131, like many psalms, starts out first person, and then reaches out to draw in my brothers and sisters.
What I hope all these answers make clear is that listening to God’s Word being preached is just as much “worship” as singing is, and provides as much, if not more, opportunity for God to work in our hearts. Which I’m praying he’ll do for everyone at the conference.