Tag Archives | worship leading

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The Winners of Psalm Songs, Vol. 1

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on my last post about Psalm Songs, Vol. 1. It was so encouraging to read how God has used various Psalms in people’s lives. It reminded me how God gave us the Psalms to help us not only pray and sing to him but to know him better. There really is no emotion or circumstance we go through that isn’t addressed in some way in the Psalms. These are the five comments I picked for their impact and creativity: In the darkest night of my soul, I challenged God to prove His existence. “Though the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” suddenly resounded in my mind. It brought me to Psalm 46. Verse 10 …

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What We Did Last Sunday – Feb. 7, 2016

People have asked me for a while to occasionally post the order of a Sunday service at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, my home church. There’s no perfect liturgy, but it can be helpful to hear how others are seeking to lead meetings that are theologically informed, gospel-rich, and spiritually transforming. So here’s what we did in our gathering this past Sunday. The italicized words are transitional comments. CALL TO WORSHIP We typically play instrumental music for 1-2 minutes to draw people in, and then one of the pastors gives the call to worship.  This past Sunday I read from 1 Chronicles 29:11: “Yours, O Lord, is …

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What’s So Special About Singing on Sundays?

People sing. Everywhere. In their cars. In the shower. In choirs. At football games. At birthdays. At weddings and funerals. At rock concerts. In musicals and operas. When there’s sunshine. When it rains. When it’s stormy. In the morning, afternoon, and night. But when the church gathers on Sunday morning (or Saturday night, etc.), our earthly voices join the choirs of heaven and the singing is like no other. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been moved as I added my voice to the beautiful, engaging, powerful, awe-inspiring, robust singing of a congregation. But sometimes our sound is halting and weak. Out of tune and out of …

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Seven Myths of Contextualization

A wise missionary knows that preaching the gospel to a different culture requires contextualizing your message. The words we use don’t automatically translate to a new culture that lacks the associations and experiences we’re familiar with. We need to find new ways of communicating the old, old story, ways that can be understood, ways that “speak the language” of those we’re ministering to. But even on a local scale, we have to deal with contextualization. That’s because music and liturgy are a language. They can mean different things to different people. In the past few years, much has been written, advocated, and modeled to help us understand …

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A Call for Musically Gifted Pastors

In 2008, I suggested in Worship Matters that the title of “worship leader” needed to be defined to be helpful. So I defined it this way: A faithful worship leader magnifies the greatness of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit by skillfully combining God’s Word with music, thereby motivating the gathered church to proclaim the gospel, to cherish God’s presence, and to live for God’s glory. I still like that definition, but I’m less sure the term “worship leader” is serving us. It’s taken on a life of its own and continues to be associated with stardom, predominance, the spotlight, good looks, hipster-ness, and in some cases, …

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WorshipGod 2015: TRIUNE Registration Now Open!

In July 2014 we held our first WorshipGod conference on the Trinity in Santa Ana, CA. It was such a rich time we decided to repeat that theme for WorshipGod 2015: TRIUNE. The dates are July 29-Aug 1, and we’re excited to be coming back to Highview Baptist East in Louisville, KY. Christians can sometimes think of the Trinity like an appendix. We know it’s there but we’re not quite sure what its purpose is. And if it was removed, it wouldn’t change much. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Trinity is at the heart of our faith and at the heart of our worship. But how much do you know about the Trinity? More importantly, how well …

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Michael Morrow Reflects on WorshipGod UK

I first met Michael Morrow in Australia. I had heard his song We Belong to the Day and was impressed with his desire to write songs that communicated rich theology in contemporary musical settings. Shortly after we met, Michael moved to the UK, where he’s been ever since. I’m grateful that he’s going to be sharing some of his songs at WorshipGod UK, where we’ll be learning from Michael Reeves, Kevin DeYoung, Tim Chester, Jeff Purswell, and others about Gathering Around the Gospel. Michael took some time to answer a few questions about himself and the conference. What is your history of leading in the church, musically or pastorally? I …

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Be Equipped to Gather Around the Gospel at WorshipGodUK

We’re about three months out from WorshipGod UK and can’t wait.  We’re really looking forward to spending three days with people who are serious about serving their local churches with the gospel through the Word and song. The gospel is a word we can use frequently without reflecting on its meaning, power, and relevance. That’s why when we gather on Sunday mornings, there’s nothing more important we can do than remind people that Jesus has come to save us from sin, death, and hell through his substitutionary death and triumphant resurrection, and that that affects every aspect of our lives. I’m thrilled that our speakers this year …

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Reflections on Turning 60

I’ve had more than one conversation with a 20 or 30 something worship leader who was concerned about growing old. Will I have a job? Will people still want me to lead? Will I be out of touch? Last month I turned 60. I guess that puts me in the “old” category, although in my mind I still think I’m 28. I thought it might encourage a younger leader if I shared some of the things I’ve learned in 30 years of ministry that have shaped me, changed me, and given me faith for the future. Consider this a follow-up to the post I wrote five years ago on being a 55 year old worship leader. Five lessons learned 1. Direct your desires. God tells …

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Ten Reasons Why You Should Come to WorshipGod: TRIUNE

Last year we held our first WorshipGod conference in California, Called to Be Faithful, co-hosted with Eric Turbedsky and Sovereign Grace Church of Orange. Lots of learning, lots of giveaways, lots of fellowship, lots of laughter, lots of equipping, and lots of time to encounter God together. Due to the number of requests to come back we’ll be hosting WorshipGod: TRIUNE, July 16-19, again at Calvary Church in Santa Ana, CA. Here’s a video recap of last year’s conference. Because there are so many conferences you could attend, I wanted to give you 10 reasons why you should consider joining us for WorshipGod:TRIUNE this year. 1. …

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Day and Session Passes Now Available for WorshipGod UK

We’ll be hosting our first WorshipGod conference, Called to be Faithful, in Bath, UK, 5-8th March. That’s a little less than a month away! Have you been wanting to come to the conference but aren’t able to join us for the whole time? Well, I’ve got good news. Day passes and individual main session tickets are now available! You can register for a day pass for Thursday or Friday (or both) for £45 per day. For that you get entry into the morning and evening main sessions, plus your choice of two of the seminars offered that day. Alternatively, you could decide to register for any of the six individual main sessions for just £15 per …

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On God, Glory, Grace, and Grammys

As a professional musician for almost 40 years, I’m at least mildly interested in the Grammys each year. Who are the young artists that will be tomorrow’s legends? Where is music headed, if anywhere? What old artists are continuing to produce great music or making a comeback? Since this past Sunday, there’s been a disproportionate amount of online buzz about the show. I watched a part of it and was freshly grateful for a DVR with fast forward capabilities. In case you missed it, this year’s event included an overtly sensual duet between Beyoncé and Jay Z, a satanically influenced segment by Katy Perry, and a mass wedding for 30+ heterosexual …

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Oh, Oh, Ooh, Ooh, La, La, Whoa

  I’ve been thinking about the use of generic syllables in congregational singing for a while now. It’s not a new phenomenon. I remember singing, “Lai lai lai lai lai, lai lai lai lai lai lai,” as the last verse of the song in the 70s that was called “Then shall the virgin break forth into dance.” I think it was supposed to be the dance section. We sing, “Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la, la la la la” and don’t think twice about it. And the Beatles did just fine with “ob-la-di, ob-la-da” and the epic ending to Hey Jude (Na Na Na Na na na Naaaaaaa). But recently an increasing number of modern worship songs feature …

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Why Should You Come to WorshipGod UK?

I’m looking forward to a number of WorshipGod events in 2014 that include the Dominican Republic (July 3-6 at La IBI), and Orange County, CA (July 16-19). But in about 6 weeks (5-8th March), we’ll be at the Forum in Bath, UK, for not only the first WorshipGod event in 2014, but our very first conference in the UK, with the theme, “Called to be Faithful.” I’m excited to be joined by some good friends from the UK including Stuart Townend, Mike Reeves, Nathan and Lou Fellingham, Philip Percival of EMU Music, and others. I’m also looking forward to bringing some friends from the States, including Jeff Purswell and Craig Cabaniss, two of my favorite …

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Seven Reasons I’m Looking Forward to WorshipGod UK, 5-8 March

WorshipGod UK is two months away and I can’t wait. The conference will be held at the Bath Forum in Bath, UK, 5-8 March. We’ll start Wednesday evening and go through Saturday noon. In a previous post, I highlighted how the conference came to be, largely as a result of conversations with my good friend, Nathan Smith, pastor of Grace Church Bristol. Here are reasons why I’m personally looking forward to the conference. 1. Encouraging and spending extended time with those serving in corporate worship in the UK. I’ve had many opportunities to chat with folks in the UK about how music in the church is going. As in many countries, there are highs …

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