Tag Archives | worship-leaders

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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Do Men and Women Worship Differently?

Patrick referred me to this article from the Biola University website. It’s entitled, “The Feminization of the Church: Why Its Music, Messages and Ministries Are Driving Men Away.” The article includes references to Why Men Hate Going to Church, by David Murrow, and The Church Impotent, by Leon Podles. Both are sitting on my shelf, as yet unread. Both authors claim that Christianity has become increasingly feminine in its appeal and membership. Podles traces the roots back to the 13th century, when he says women mystics popularized the personal use of “bridal imagery.” In response to the article, Patrick had this question: Do you have …

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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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Entering the “Draw Me Close” Conversation

In the latest issue of Christianity Today, Chuck Colson has an article entitled “Soothing Ourselves to Death.” He begins with this paragraph: When church music directors lead congregations in singing contemporary Christian music, I often listen stoically with teeth clenched. But one Sunday morning, I cracked. We’d been led through endless repetitions of a meaningless ditty called “Draw Me Close to You,” which has zero theological content and could just as easily be sung in any nightclub. When I thought it was finally and mercifully over, the music leader beamed. “Let’s sing that again, shall we?” he asked. “No!” I shouted, loudly enough …

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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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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 14

Yesterday I talked about the issue of motivating the church to worship God. Judging from the comments yesterday, I’d guess that this is an issue for more than a few leaders. Kevin asked, “If you’re leading worship and the people don’t seem motivated to respond in worship, is that your fault?” The simple answer is no. It is every individual’s privilege and responsibility to give glory to God regardless of what they’re going through or who is leading them. But leaders can do things to hinder people praising God or refrain from doing things that could encourage them. But first, we want to be careful how we define a “successful” …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 11

Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. (Rev. 4:11) One of the problems we have in worshipping God is forgetting why He is so WORTHY to be worshipped. When we do, our minds tend to shift into neutral and we end up mouthing words that we’re barely thinking about. Part of magnifying God’s worth is recounting the reasons it’s appropriate to worship Him. One way is to recount what Wayne Grudem calls God’s “summary attributes.” Those include God’s perfection, blessedness, beauty, and glory. We can also speak to each other about …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 10

When someone stands (or sits) in front of a congregation to lead them in worshipping God, what’s their goal? I believe it is this: To magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. David invites us in Psalm 34:3: “Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” When people walk into church service, they might be magnifying all sorts of things, from the superficial to the serious – deadlines, unpaid bills, an unkind comment from a friend, a lab test for cancer that came back positive, a “thump-thump” sound the car is making, the championship game this afternoon, a rebellious child, some besetting …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 9

I want to finish up thoughts today on why God wants us to use music at times to praise Him. I’ve mentioned that music, especially singing, helps us to remember and meditate on God’s word, and also enables us to proclaim truth with heartfelt passion. Finally, We sing to reflect God’s glory. How does singing reflect God’s glory? I can think of at least three ways. First, singing glorifies God by expressing the unity Christ died to bring us. Of course, gathering in the same room at one time expresses unity, as does reciting a creed together. Music both intensifies and demonstrates our appreciation of that unity. I’ve been told on …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 8

I’m in the middle of series on the role of a congregational worship leader, and I’ve been camping out on how music works in worshipping God. Yesterday I addressed how one of the primary functions of music is to help us remember God’s Word. Today, I’d like to share another way music serves us in worshipping God. We sing to respond to God’s grace. Colossians 3:16 tells us that we’re to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in our hearts to God. God is not interested in mere lip service. It dishonors him. But he’s not looking for raw emotionalism either, that is, seeking emotion for its own sake. We sing to express …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 7

If someone wants to lead God’s people effectively in corporate worship, they have to know why God wants us to use music, especially singing. Here’s the first reason I suggested yesterday: We sing to remember God’s Word. It would be natural to assume that we sing because music affects our emotions. But in congregational worship, music is a servant to words. From the time Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit, God’s Word has always been central to the worship of God. God’s Ten Words were placed in the center of Israel’s worship. (1 Kings 8:9) The longest book in the Bible is a collection of words set to music. Revivals …

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