Archive | —Leading a Team

Pastoring and guiding your team in spiritual understanding and growth.

Listening to Music for God’s Glory

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking to the parents and youth of my home church on the topic of listening to music for the glory of God. The parent/youth ministry is currently discussing the book, Wordliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World. My message was something of an adaptation of a chapter I wrote for the book, called “God, My Heart, and Music.” I started out by saying God gave us music as a gift to direct our attention to him. In the Bible, music is connected with worship, weddings, funerals, work, play, and war. The basic elements of rhythm, melody, and harmony aren’t inherently evil or sinful. Non-Christians can …

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Worship Matters Video Vignettes

A while back I recorded four brief videos (3-4 minutes each) that serve as an introduction to the four sections of my book, Worship Matters, but can also be used as stand-alones. They deal with four areas: The Leader (what do I love the most?) The Task (what exactly is a worship leader trying to do?) Healthy Tensions (what false dichotomies do we create in corporate worship?) Right Relationships (how can I worship God in my relationships with my team, church, and pastor?) I recently was surprised to find out that the October issue of Worship Leader magazine mentioned them as a resource for worship leaders, pastors, and ministry teams. …

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Thoughts on the Desiring God National Conference

I had the privilege of speaking at the Desiring God National Conference last Saturday morning. It was a whirlwind trip that I made with my daughter (and assistant) Chelsea. We got there for dinner on Friday and caught a 7 PM flight out on Saturday. It came at the end of our two week beach vacation, and I decided not to try that again. Too distracting. Chuck Steddom, a good friend from John Piper’s church, led the singing along with a team from his church. It was encouraging to hear them introduce “Praise the Lord,” a song from our recent Psalms CD. Sinclair Ferguson gave a message the first night called “The Tongue, the Bridle, and the …

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WorshipGod08 Seminars Now Available

Over at the Sovereign Grace website, we’ve finally posted 29 WorshipGod08 seminars for you to listen to or download for free. . . . Here’s the list: Band on the Run (Bob Kauflin) Building Bridges: Pastors and Worship Leaders (Bob Kauflin) Caring for Your Sound System (Darryl Wenger) Copyright Law and Church Music: The Eight Keys (Paul Herman) Drumming for Worshipers (Jordan Kauflin) Electric Guitar Workshop (Dave Campbell) Foundations for Bass Players (Don Nalle) Foundations for Keyboardists (Jon Payne) Growing Your Team for the Glory of God (Jon Payne) In-Ear Monitors (Doug Gould) Leading and Caring for …

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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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When Feet Want to Be Hands

Two Sundays ago I had the privilege of preaching at my home church, Covenant Life. We’re in the middle of a series on 1 Corinthians and I spoke from 1 Cor. 12:12-31. Paul has been answering the Corinthians’ questions about who is “really” spiritual. They were under the mistaken assumption that certain gifts, like tongues, were a sign of true spirituality. Their attitude was dividing the church – the exact opposite of the unity the Spirit wants to bring. Paul presses his point home by using the analogy of the human body. In preparing for the message, I did a little research on the body and learned some amazing facts. Our liver performs …

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When the Soloist is Out of Tune

I received this question from a leader who recently had a young girl sing a very off-key solo in his church. He had worked with her to improve her pitch, but it was to no avail. Her parents didn’t recognize how poorly she sang, so he wrote: How do you deal with a scenario like this? Singing is evidently not a gift that this girl possesses, yet her parents encourage her. I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone in this family, but should I continue to allow her to sing in services? If not, how would you recommend dealing with this issue should it arise again? I have no problem being “confrontational,” but I certainly don’t want to dash hopes or discourage …

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Managing Multiple Musicians

Not too long ago I received an e-mail from someone whose music team has grown, resulting in less-gifted musicians still on the team. He asks: Do you set thresholds for talent/ability that must be met in order for people to participate in the leading worship?  What about ‘good people’ who don’t meet your thresholds? As a corollary, how do you manage multiple musicians who ‘pass muster’ wanting to play the same part?  In other words, do you have 4 guitarists every Sunday, or do you rotate your players? Every growing church will eventually face the issue of too many instrumentalists and/or vocalists. Here are a few suggestions and ways we’ve …

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Idolatry on Sunday Mornings, Pt. 8

This is my final post in this series. It’s a little longer than the others, but it’s actually much shorter than it could be…The last idol I want to speak to is the idol of RELEVANCE. Churches can become irrelevant for any number of reasons. Spiritual pride can keep us from considering that non-Christian guests may not understand our highly developed “Christian-speak.” Administrative incompetence might make it difficult for people to find us, or to enjoy being with us once they do (possibly due to crowded conditions, erratic temperature control, musty smells, etc.). A faulty understanding of what it means to be “in the world but not of …

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Idolatry on Sunday Mornings, Pt. 7

I’m in the middle of a discussion on idols that can tempt us when we gather to worship God on Sunday mornings. Today, I’d like to talk about the idol of REPUTATION, especially as it’s revealed in the lives of leaders. God commends a good reputation in Proverbs: A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. Prov. 22:1 That means God wants our lives characterized by virtues such as godliness, integrity, and faithfulness. However, I’m never to seek my good name at the expense of God’s name. I must never be more concerned about my reputation than God’s. The idol of reputation is subtle. It’s masquerades …

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Idolatry on Sunday Mornings, Pt. 6

I thought I’d finish this series before the year ends. With three days to go and three more topics to cover, it seems like a good fit. In case you missed the earlier entries, I’ve collected the other posts under the heading of Idolatry on Sunday Mornings. These last three areas are primarily directed to leaders, although they could apply to anyone. Today I want to focus on the idol of RESULTS. I’m referring to the mindset that views worshipping God as a means to attain a more desirable end, like increased attendance, evangelism, mutual ministry, or individual experiences. “Results-worship” might underlie comments like these: “We stay away …

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The Right Kind of Imitation

One leader who wrote me lives near a large internationally known church. Many of the musicians on the team want to imitate that church’s sound and music style. “How do I teach the music team to seek and recognize God’s heart for us? How do I encourage them to pursue God’s specific plan for us and help them see that this may not look like what we expect?” Here’s what I’d want to say to this leader’s group of musicians: God’s specific plan for every church is that we proclaim with our lives and our lips the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Pet. 2:9) At times that means we’ll imitate …

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Idolatry on Sunday Mornings, Pt. 5

We can’t help but notice the number of times God addresses idolatry in his Word. He hates it when we pursue, serve, or are emotionally drawn to other gods, which are not really gods at all. Idols enslave us (Ps. 106:36), put us to shame (Is. 45:16), and ultimately conform us to their image (Ps. 115:8). But God’s intention is that we be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). Like the Psalmist, we should hate them and those who pay regard to them. (Ps. 31:6). Too often, though, we find ourselves to be the idolaters. Today, I want to share another idol that looms large when we worship God corporately. It particularly applies to musicians. The …

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Idolatry on Sunday Mornings, Pt. 4

I’d like to continue addressing a topic I began a couple weeks ago, that is, identifying the idols we may serve in our hearts even as we gather to worship God with His people. In previous posts we looked at music, tradition, creativity, experience, and liturgy. Here’s one more (well really, two). Biblical Knowledge I hesitate to include “biblical knowledge” as a potential idol. The reason I do is that we can wrongly pursue a knowledge of doctrine that is distinct from a knowledge of God Himself. We have to acknowledge this possibility or we easily fall into the error of the Pharisees, who took more pride in their “rightness” than …

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Idolatry on Sunday Mornings, Pt. 3

It’s helpful to remember that the world, the devil, and our flesh actively oppose our desire to give God the glory He alone deserves. The real worship wars aren’t about music styles, forms, and practices. They’re secretly waged in our hearts, as idols try to rob us of our passion to exalt God above everything. If we aren’t aware of those worship wars we’ll have a difficult time understanding or experiencing worship that honors God, no matter what we’re doing on the outside. Speaking of experience, here are a couple more idols that can tempt us on Sunday mornings. Experience – As I paged through a Christian magazine last year, …

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