Every so often I turn to the readers of WorshipMatters to help me with ideas. Right now I’m planning our next worship conference, WorshipGod08, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2, 2008, here at Covenant Life Church. The theme will be “Rediscovering the Psalms.” We’ll be looking at how the Psalms inform, direct, and inspire our worship, specifically addressing how we can benefit more from the example of the Psalmists’ relationship with God.
Some of the main speakers are confirmed, but I’m still working on the final list. Also, I’m waiting to hear back from Matt Redman. He almost came in 2006 but was unable to make it work.
I’m in the middle of planning seminars and would love to hear any ideas you have for what we could/should cover. Any and all ideas are welcome. If it helps, these are the seminars we offered in 2006. Many of them are available as free MP3 downloads and pdf’s here .
Why Skill Really Does Matter
Band on the Run
Improving Your Vocal Technique (MEN)
Improving Your Vocal Technique (WOMEN)
Singing the Scriptures
Improving Your Vocal Technique, Part 2
Sound Teams 101
Becoming a Better Songwriter
What Song Will You Write Next? (Developing Songwriters?)
Song Evaluation 1&2
Training Children to Worship God
Developing a Youth Choir Program
Worshipping the Triune God
Igniting Your Passion for God
Eagerly Desiring Spiritual Gifts
Meeting God in the Psalms
New Song Seminar
Auditioning and Developing Musicians
Congregational Worship as Pastoral Care
Healthy Tensions in Corporate Worship
What Do I Do This Sunday?
Creativity in Corporate Worship
I have three suggestions:
1. Biblical Manhood and Womanhood applied in leading worship.
2. A seminar for Pastors who aren’t worship leaders on how to support and encourage their worship leaders
3. What does it mean to be “led by the Spirit” in leading worship?
These are some things that I personally would be interested in. Hope this helps.
Sorry, no ideas from me, Bob. I would be interested in some of the 06 workshops, though. Are any available as mp3’s or pdf’s?
Actually, I do have one idea. Mark Dever had a session from a weekender or some other CHBC meeting in which he described the process they go through in planning a service–how they decide on themes, particular songs, etc. I think many worship leaders give very little thought to planning a cohesive service that continually points people to meditate on a particular biblical theme (via Scripture reading, congregational songs, prepared songs, focused prayer times, etc.). Songs are chosen haphazardly. Scripture readings are chosen randomly (if at all). Announcements of church potlucks are made immediately after songs of Christ’s suffering for sinners. We just don’t think. The “how’s” and “why’s” and “who’s” of planning a worship service is a worthwhile topic, I think.
What a blessing these conferences are. It is a joy to think of worship leaders coming from so many completely different contexts (from emerging to fundamentalist to charismatic backgrounds and more) and all being helped and blessed. I thank God for what He is allowing you and the other faithful brothers and sisters in SGM to do.
I would really love to see a seminar geared toward seeing the Psalms as God’s manual for worship. By that I mean helping worship leaders think through the implications of this glorious truth: “God has told us the kind of worship HE ‘likes'” If worship leaders could really lay hold of this think of the ongoing implications: “What sort of theology should inform the worship God chooses?” The Psalms tell us (gospel-centered, theologically driven etc.) “What sort of physical expressions should accompany the kind of worship God chooses?” The Psalms tell us! (postures of the body, raising of hands, dancing, shouting etc) “What sort of themes does God want us to consider in corporate worship?” The Psalms tell us! (suffering, waiting, exulting……)
You get the picture. I am sorry to be so wordy. I just think a high percentage of people who are “working through” corporate worship have no “North Star” or biblical rudder to guide them. They bounce from trend to trend and often (as in my case) get bogged down in extremes and reactions. In my own life seeing the Psalms as the ultimate “source material” was both faith building and protecting.
Wow. What a long-winded post.
Love you brother!
Thanks for your thoughts and encouragement. You’ve described the content that we’re planning for the main sessions.
Wow! Gotta get there!
If this one basic premise were intelligently grasped I believe the church would be helped greatly. I will be praying God guides as you prepare for this event!
I believe this is what you are looking for: Worship God 06 Conference Messages.
I preached a sermon a couple weeks that really seemed to resonate with people who are struggling. I called it “Worshipping When You Don’t Want To.”
We had the band start the service with Trading My Sorrows. When they got to the “yes, Lord, yes, Lord” part we had someone in the congregation miked and she said, “No, no, no, Lord.” The music leader stopped the song while she lamented about her life. Then, each band member complained about something in his/her life and walked off the stage. I then got up and preached from Habakkuk (with references to many of the psalms).
I attended the Pastor’s Conference at Moody in May and am a regular reader of your blog.
Here are some thoughts:
1) I’d love to get some of my praise team singers to a seminar about how to sing good harmony without written music.
2) A rerun, or variation, of Band on the Run would be terrific.
3) Maintaining a successful choir ministry in a modern/contemporary context.
Thanks for the opportunity to share ideas. I’m going to do everything I can to get to this conference.
Great idea. I come from a denomination that sings the psalms. One thing would be to educate people how to see Christ in all of scripture (in this case the Psalms).
I was introcuding Psalm 109 the other day, one of teh imprecatory Psalms, and I asked the people “How can a Christian sing this?” my answer, “With tears. It is a request that God’s unhindered wrath would fall on an individual, in short it is to ask that someone go to hell. And every Christian here has asked some to go to Hell. We’ve asked Jesus to take our hell. In a sense as we sing this psalm we are asking that God would do it to Christ and not to me, for it is what I deserve.”
It changed the way I sang the psalm.
It transforms every psalm he consider how it speaks to us about Christ. It often moves me to tears to sing Ps 118, realising that this is what he sang just before going out to die.
The comments so far have been very good! I would add these ideas to your brain-storming sessions:
1) Using a choir in worship leading.
2) How a worship leader may effectively work with the leadership of your local church regarding the worship ministry. (Things like communication with pastor and elders, budgeting pitfalls and advice, the team-work approach to leadership…”there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors”, etc.) Basically, it would be directed at worship leaders/worship pastors/music ministers who desire a healthy and biblical integration with the wider direction and leadership relationships in the church.
3) Keep the sound/tech training seminars! Questions: Does the sound technician “engage” in the worship songs while he is mixing (i.e. sing along, close his eyes in worship), or does he stay alert and focussed on the practical task of making things sound right? (Same question with Powerpoint operator type people). What are the expectations of integrity, attitude, age, and maturity for the sound technicians? What are the qualifications of the audio/visual roles? What are some ways to make them feel like a part of the “team that leads worship” and develop the attitude of a worship leader in their role? Continue the discussion of creativity/more elaborate visual displays (video, moving backgrounds) when trying to maintain God-centeredness, focus on content, and eliminate distractions.
My team and I will see you there, Lord willing. We can’t wait!!! Anyone contemplating whether they should go, just do it!
how about a class on making a worship cd with your church’s band? costs, time, purpose, copyright laws, production, cd duplication, studio vs. live, vinyl vs. cd? :)
Thank you Kerrin!
Bob, the assistant pastor at our church has written a number of Psalms in poetic form and set them to the tunes of well-known hymns. Though more should do this, that’s not particularly a new thing. However, what has been particularly refreshing and edifying is this: he writes a concluding verse for each of the songs that uses the Psalm to point people to Christ. For example, he concluded an excellent treatment of Psalm 19 by showing that just as God has communicated to us through creation and His written word, He has in these last days communicated to us perfectly through the Living Word (Heb. 1:1-3, et al). Anyway, the suggestion for a seminar would be that you show how the Psalms relate to Christ and the Gospel, and thus can be sung from a distinctly Christian perspective.
When I came to be the worship pastor at my church, there was no choir, so it seemed that singing on the “praise team” was a free for all. Starting a choir 3 years ago gave singers who are not necassarily “praise team” singers material a place to get involved.
Still, I’d like to develop the team of people that we do have on praise team. I don’t have time myself with rehearsing choir, orchestra and the band. So, I would love to see a seminar geared towards teaching volunteers how to lead and develop praise team singers.
Also, I’d love a seminar about teaching theology during the music portion of services to a church that has lacked theological teaching for a while.
These ideas are excellent. Keep ’em coming.
I know you’ve already done this in Orlando but I think worshipping as a mom was an excellent idea for a seminar and most of the ladies on my worship team are mothers so I think it would be beneficial. I am speaking though about worshipping at home. Maybe also a seminar about daily devotions and incorporating worship to our spiritual disciplines. Thanks Bob!
FYI- (this may be more for Kerrin) http://worshipmatters.blogs.com/bobkauflin/ no longer redirects us to http://www.worshipmatters.com. I know this because I haven’t updated my links! An error appears- one of those 404 things. Just thought you’d want to know if you don’t already.
Thanks for the way you serve us so effectively through this blog, the WorshipGod conferences, and most of all your humble example. I’m sure I speak for countless pastors and music leaders who frequent this site when I say that God has shown much kindness to us through your ministry. Thank you, brother!
Here are a few more ideas to add to the pool:
1) A seminar that interacts with the theology and practice of exclusive Psalmody
2) A teaching that spells out the covenantal nature of corporate worship (perhaps something along the lines of what R.J. Gore sets out to do in his book “Covenantal Worship: Reconsidering the Puritan Regulative Principle” — except not geared so exclusively toward a Presbyterian context)
3) Something dealing in theological and music theoretical depth with the use of music in corporate worship. As “last millenium” as the worship-war issue may be, it’s still something I encounter fairly frequently in pastoral ministry, and I think I could benefit from some more thorough instruction from a non- “exclusive hymnody” perspective
4) Piggybacking on that, a seminar on hymnody proper would be a treat, as well. =) It might address questions like, “What is a hymn?” “How is it like/unlike other forms of congregational song?” and “How do I write one?”
Counting down the months till WorshipGod 08!
Thanks for the thoughts. Regarding how music works in worship, you may want to check out this message I did in 2002 called, “Worship Music or Music Worship.”
Thanks for your work and service for the good of God’s people.
1. What is important in thinking, preaching, worshiping through the Psalms is placing them in their New Covenant context. Hence, there is a necessary hermeneutical approach. God’s people need to be taught to understand that we don’t come to the OT forgetting the NT. (See Goldy’s book on preaching, as well as his chapter on the psalms in his book on prayer.)
2. What about reading, preaching, worshiping through the Psalms narratively? For idea’s see Wilcock’s, BST on the Psalms and for a short pointed overview Fee’s, How to read the Bible book by book. Taking this narrative approach could give a service direction from lament to praise within a New Covenant frame work.
Both idea’s are hard work, but if done well very rewarding and honoring to the King.
Not sure if you guys have heard much Sons of Korah over there (http://www.sonsofkorah.com/) – great Australian band who almost exclusively sing the psalms.
The thing that has bothered me about their gigs is that without some form of deliberate help, the psalms are not explicitly connected to Christ. Last time I saw Sons of Korah they moved from some psalms through to the last 4 chapters of Revelation, which was amazing. I had a good talk to Matthew (the band leader) about it, because for me it was a beginning of grounding the psalms in the gospel more concretely and I hope he keeps going down that track.
The way the NT writers view the psalms is what I would call non-intuitive, and I think that their use in Christian worship needs some interpretive guidance – but not sure how that is best done?
I think that will be a good idea to talk about how to practice individually.
Most church musicians who don’t have a formal training, often find practicing boring or not productive at all. Because of this some teams lack consistancy.
My point is that if we don’t know our instruments, scales, chords, etc. we will not flow as we should. We need a pure heart and be skillful in our instruments.
God bless you!
How about a seminar on leading worship “unplugged”? We are truly blessed to have a multitude of technology available to the contemporary Christian church; however, there are times when the power goes out due to a simple winter storm or even a tragic event. This topic would also benefit those leading worship in a missionary context.
Grace & Peace,
Thanks for the heads up on Sons of Korah. No, I hadn’t heard of them, but listened to a few clips. Nice stuff. But I agree with you. We need to understand how the Psalms display the glories of Christ. Just started a book on that by Richard Belcher called The Messiah and the Psalms. We’ll also be having a main session at the conference on the topic, which hopefully will help answer your question!
I have a couple of thoughts based on my own situation.
First, I’m at a very small church (about 35 on a Sunday morning). So I could use some instruction in how to scale down arrangements, instrumentation, etc. Most everything I listen to has violins, all sorts of percussion, multiple guitars and voices…I have two guitars and one little hand drum. And I am the voice. So I have to try to simplify, simplify, simplify but still have the arrangements be effective (not affective). Our room is small and not acoustically friendly. Our sound equipment is ancient. You get the idea? Seminars on dealing with six to eight-piece bands and vocal teams and technical aspects are intellectually stimulating (and overwhelming) but not very practically helpful. So something geared to the small church without a lot of resources would be great.
Secondly, about 30 percent of my congregation is over 65. It can be hard for them to connect with songs that use more contemporary rhythms. I’ve been a little frustrated with trying to introduce new songs, or find new songs that are singable by congregations that are more … not really traditional, but at least find it easier to sing more traditional rhythms (like quarter notes and half notes, sung on the beat instead of holding across bar lines and singing on the “and” of a beat. Sorry, don’t know how to explain it properly, I’m not a trained musician!). Anyway, some instruction on dealing with older congregations would also be helpful.
And, kind of related to point two, I’ve been inspired by Sovereign Grace’s updating of old hymns, primarily with lyrics as opposed to writing new music. I attended a couple of seminars in 06 about writing songs, and I thought maybe something specifically about updating lyrics would be helpful.
And speaking of writing songs, I just don’t have any talent for melodies but am better at lyrics. Could there be something sort of like a workshop for either lyric writing or melody writing or both?
I can hardly wait for WorshipGod08! I know whatever seminars you offer, they will be great and God-glorifying. I came by myself to the 06 conference and am hoping to bring three or four others with me next year. Thank you so much for all your work which benefits the Body of Christ in so many ways.
I think it would be good to have a seminar on contextualization as it would apply to the worship leader. We tend to focus so much on the preacher with this subject, and it is needed, but I think it would be helpful to have a time focused solely upon the worship leader.
Also, I have been to churches that sing the majority of songs prior to the preaching, and to others that sing little prior to the preaching and a lot after the preaching. Maybe this would relate well with the prior issue, but I think it would be good to consider in a seminar why we would practice either way of going about the timing of the majority of the singing.
I’ve attended the past 2 conferences and found 2 things extremely helpful.
1.At the 2004 conference you demonstrated what a weekly group self evaluation looked like. I Loved that and it went far with me to teach me practically how evaluation of Sunday morning music would look. I would love to see this done again.
2. at the 2006 conference you did a session called “Band on the Run” where you invited volunteers up from all different churches and created a band on the spot. You then walked them through some basics on how to make things sound attractive and distinct even with very little practice. That session has really affected myself and the musicians that I have worked with in the past year and a half. If you could do something like that again—where you show us exactly what you’re talking about in principle—-it would benefit that many more people.
Thank you for offering these conferences and for being so open to other musicians.
1. Contextualization was a good recommendation. Our pastors played Curtis Allen’s Hip-hop flavored, “Is It Sunday Yet?” before every sermon in a sermon series on the church. They gave us a copy of the lyrics and explained why that is a useful song on the church. It is certainly a familiar sound to Miamians. It served us well, but it was different. The ethnicity of our demographic is one million Cubans, five hundred thousand other Latinos, and five hundred thousand of the rest of us. Our worship team leader was commissioned by our pastors to write a song on the church during this series, which he wrote and taught us. It is this driving Salsa/Latin thing that the gringos (me) have a hard time clapping to. Our church roars when we sing it, which confirms my understanding that God prescribed music as a medium of expression for worshipers, and this roaring happens by reason of the perfect match of this song to this congregation. It is a familiar medium for our largely Latin church to express their worship to God through. Though “Is it Sunday Yet” also worked in our context of young, urbanite families (though we listened to it and did not sing… rap it), I doubt that it would serve those in Lindele’s elderly congregation. The music is the servant of the worshiper, not vice versa. A method for determining the propriety of style would be helpful. As I understand it, true worship is inevitably evangelistic, but not intentionally evangelistic. That is, the “unlearned” in our services should be able to “say the, ‘Amen’ and “God is truly among them” in a well ordered service where people truly worship. But we don’t need to ask what is on the iPod of the worlding so that we can include those styles in our services so as to reach them. The music serves the worshiper not necessarily the lost attendee. A method for thinking through this would be helpful.
2. Guidelines for establishing songwriting partnerships. “Two are better that one,” said Solomon, and this applies to most things, songwriting included. But handing my baby over to another person takes faith and wisdom. I think that we as a group could produce more and better songs if we had the humility and courage to partner with others, and some biblical guidelines could engender these.
3. As far as the Psalms go, you will have to deal with the imprecatory element to convince some people of their usefulness. This is not an insuperable hurdle to their corporate use in either Testament. I am certainly not of C.S. Lewis’ opinion that parts are “diabolical”. When I sing Psalm 137, I wonder how Joshua conveyed to his army that “kill everything that breathes” meant just that, which included babies, pregnant women, cripples, the elderly, etc. The genocide of the Canaanites was Jehovah’s command, and blessed would have been the man that didn’t waffle. I have no desire to bash Babylonian babies against a rock when I sing this Psalm, but it reminds me that I should have been bashed and yet I found mercy (a thing never to forget), and that I do want to bash my sins, and I vindicate God for digging the pit called “Hell,” which for me brings me cinematically and breathlessly to view the cross and the bleeding Sacrifice on it. I think this element of the Psalms and of the Scriptures as a whole takes the mush out of the love of God. He is not sentimentally fond of sinners. He does not like the world that He has chosen to love. He is still “angry with the wicked everyday.” It would be good for us to be reminded of this on Sunday mornings. It will certainly be an oddity in the “everything happy” worship houses. All of our songs on the cross and the gospel point to a gruesome, violent reality, which is plainly in view if we think through it. This empowers joy and humility, and loudly warns the lost, which are good things to do in church. What Lewis may have doubted to be inspired, I think serves to help us to understand and to appreciate mercy. The gospel is sanctioned by a righteousness that did not spare the Son of God when He pleaded for another way. This must never be lost or we will no longer be able to understand grace. You will be serving the church if you can help us find that middle ground between the Sons of Thunder who would call fire down out of heaven on the unregenerate, and on the other hand, those who cannot look upon or deny the “severity of God.” In Revelation 19, the inhabitants of heaven sing “Hallelujah” as the smoke of a destroyed Babylon “goes up forever and ever.” (people lived there) Their joy is in her destruction, but this does not in anyway sanction personal vengeance or a vindictive life. The sentiment is obviously not “diabolical” but the “vengeance belongs to God.”
Another thing about the Psalms: a question that you asked in a previous post was how do we sing songs reflecting our struggles and doubting times (forgot the word you used… “dirge”?) The Psalmists did this often. Many Psalms are not uppity, triumphant anthems, but rather are the groanings of hurting and troubled believers. I think this serves the church. I think we love the Psalms partly because these groaning sound so much like ourselves. We can identify with the Psalmists. They are real and transparent. We ought to always rejoice in regard to the gospel, but it is not the only thought we can think on our journey through the Valley of Tears. I do think that we have an over-realized eschatology at times. It would be helpful to teach us how to sing slower, more contemplative, reflective songs in corporate worship, songs that admit our doubts and fears, but also, as nearly all Psalms do, conclude with strong, clear, resolutions of faith. The OT is not the sole domain of such songs. I cannot imagine the Apostle requiring the persecuted Hebrews that he wrote to suck it up and go, and sing the festive Salsa with us. There is a time and a season for all things. Wisdom again is needed. James didn’t say, “Is there anyone suffering among you? Let him repent of his sadness and sing.” No, he said that the cheerful should sing and the troubled should pray. What happens if you unfortunately show up “troubled” at church during the singing hour? Songs (like many Psalms) that better serve the sufferers among us, coming along side them, weeping with those who weep, and helping them to recover their joy and to resolve to trust God in their difficulties, would be both merciful and realistic.
I’m certain there will be plenty of great sessions to choose from next year. One particular area that I’ve never seen addressed, but had to deal with is the role of a worship pastor when someone in the church dies. How can we best minister to the family? How do we help them grieve while still emphasizing the eternal hope we have in Christ? How do you plan for a funeral? What type of music do you use?
Mate! That sounds like a great conference. Unfortunately I doubt I’ll be able to make all the way from England. But I did come to Worship God conference previously and just loved it.
One simple thought – I remember listening to a dvd from Paul Baloche (?spl) and he advised learning some of the small exhortation extracts from the Psalms, so that one can readily recall them from memory when leading worship… and speak them out as ‘the spirit leads’.
Perhaps this is a good example of how Paul suggest that we should worship with our minds and the spirit. We spend time learning God’s Word, committing it to memory (mind) so that the spirit can lead and recall it to our memory at appropriate, God given times.
Bob, unsurprisingly, you are a humble man to ask for the opinion of others in designing the conferences that have served so many so well. Some struggles/questions/concerns that we continue to kick around as a pastoral team/worship team:
1. Pursuing authentic experience while we also pursue theological precision. It has seemed easier to be “essentially Reformed” than “significantly charismatic.” As we become more strategic in our worship planning, it seems like the drift for us is toward less rather than more authentic encounters with God marked by 1 Cor 12, 14 charismata.
2. A theology of instruments from the Psalms. It seems that many traditions strong in their use of the Psalms are also weak in their understanding of the abiding role of instruments–i.e., you can love John Calvin AND electric guitars. The fact that we say with the Psalmist, “praise him with sounding cymbals” (150:5) does not at all mean that we continue the ceremonial practices associated with the temple. Clarity is always inspiring and edifying.
3. Seasons of a church’s life. How does growth affect worship? When you are 100 people on Sunday vs. 500 people vs. 1500 people on Sunday, what changes can you expect?
4. How can we prepare worship leaders for Sunday morning leadership? I.e., the jump from home group leadership to Sunday mornings is so huge, what kind of median steps can get a guy ready for that kind of responsibility?
Thanks for your integrity and leadership, Bob. Look forward to the conference!
I have one suggestion: honesty in songwriting. I feel that songwriting in worship music is one place where it is very easy to avoid writing lyrics from where we really are spiritually for the sake of trying to write something that everyone can relate to. Sometimes, if everyone is able to easily relate to it, it is a shallow sentiment, and lacks the emotional honesty that makes a truly good song.
Hey Bob! People have approached me to start leading the worship at our youth group. We are around 10 kids, and the dynamic is that the people are very shy and very expressif. I would like to culture the expressiveness of the youth so that it can effect the Church. How can one lead a small group to have an influence throughout the whole Church?
Oh and by the way the weekend we had a youth retreat from teens from all over Québec. We were 170, and we sang Jesus, Thank You, and people were so moved and touch by the song and there were some worship leaders who really enjoyed the song and want to teach them to there choice. I am really thankful to God to see what’s happening in the hearts of the Québecois people. And I also learned that someone paid the copyright fees for my translation in French, It’s amazing!!!
There’s always so much great teaching at Sovereign Grace worship conferences, I’m hesitant to make any suggestions, but since you asked…
In no particular order:
1. Your first year as leader – where to begin when you are called upon to lead an existing team (warts and all!)
2. Equipping future generations to be worship leaders. I have heard you say that you are giving your remaining years to this. What does it look like in practice? How should/can each of us be intentional about this in a way that will be characteristic of our whole ministry and not just an “activity” on the to-do list.
3. Exploring the depth of God’s character, i.e. ideas for helping people to begin to see the bigness of God, particularly those of His perfections which we tend to hear/sing less about.
4. Introducing and incorporating different musical styles when everyone (on stage and off) has become comfortable with only a few styles. (I like Harold Best’s description of “two kinds of vanilla” – Unceasing Worship, p138)
5. Bringing freshness and creativity to planning without it becoming an idolatrous end in itself.
6. Spiritual warfare on Saturday night. This is when I am most often overcome with a sense of my own sinfulness and can fall quickly fall into a sense of condemnation unless my immediate response is to flee to the cross.
7. The worship leader’s marriage and family life. One particular challenge we have faced is helping my wife to be a vital part of the ministry although she is not musically gifted and serves in other areas of the church.
8. Taking what we do outside of the four walls of the church. Should the worship ministry have a role in corporate local outreach and mercy ministries?
I’m looking forward to being there regardless of what the seminars are! Thanks for serving so many of us with your thoughtful, humble, sin-aware, grace-filled writings.
We’re not all charasmatics here. :)
One of the issues we face are praise team singers who don’t necassarily look joyful and excited to be leading in worship even though they are on the inside.
How do I develop these things besides the casual reminders of smiling while singing, etc.?
I’ve been thinking about the Psalms a lot and one of the things that I think might be a refreshing message would be “The Gospel in the Psalms”, basically highlighting all of the wonderful moments in the Psalms when the gospel explodes into view and we see a glimpse of Christ from a unique vantage point. These are most exciting to me because they so clearly emphasize the continuity of the covenant of Grace throughout the bible.
Another thought would be themes of God’s attributes in the Psalms. As I’ve read through the Psalms different themes have emerged that carry through the whole book, such as the Fear of the Lord, the steadfast love of the Lord, the Lord as refuge, as strength or stronghold, the Lord as Saviour, as King, and many more. It has been exciting for me to trace these themes through as I read the book of Psalms, and I thought it might be helpful to highlight some of these in a seminarbor message.
Hope all is well with you!
Thanks for stopping by. You must be prophetic. Two of the main sessions are going to focus on the topics you suggest.
Hey buddy! You have gotten many great suggestions, so you probably do not need mine!
Nevertheless, as our church has grown and has moved into a large building with lots of technical capabilities, we have been thinking through many new questions with worship; such as stage design that is creative and helpful, and lighting that is creative, helpful, and not distracting.
So, I would love to hear a seminar on lighting on a Sunday morning. One that could answer questions like – what is appropriate house lighting? should every person be “lit” up? should we avoid spotlights completely? should we use spotlights on vocalists and a wash or a shadow on everyone else?
Also, I would love to hear a seminar on building a worship team (as the church grows larger) – do you utilize your more gifted players/singers most often – either 2/3s or 3/4s of the time? do you have an A team and a B team? in these scenarios, how do you continue to cultivate talented musicians? is there a greater responsibility with a larger church to be more effective and more excellent each week?
Also, I would love to hear a seminar on prophetic song and have a workshop where we are encouraged/coerced to step out….though your seminars online have been very helpful in this area!
Also, as always, I would love to hear a seminar on preparing exhortations for Sunday morning worship. This always seems to be something I need help in.
Finally, thanks Bob for all you do to serve us! You are a gift from God to Sovereign Grace and I thank God for you. I look forward to the worship conference this August!
First, I’ll help in any way you need (I can even help set up folding chairs when my broken hand heals…only 7 more weeks of isolation…ha!)
Two…some mention of the lament or what Phillip Yancey calls “gritching” in the Psalms and the correlation to honesty in worship as tied to experience. (Reference is in Yancey’s new prayer book in the first 4 chapters).
Of course, help on the monday-friday leadership stuff ALWAYS seems to be neglected at conferences and was a prime reason for us starting the trench.
Seriously, I’ll help in any way possible.
I have had the privilege of coming to the last two worship conferences, and I have been immensely blessed from both of them! Thank you for all the hard work and prepartion you put into these conferences. I do have a thought or two about seminars for the vocalists. I participated primarily in the vocalist track at the last conference and although the instructors were very kind and knowledgable, I found that I learned very little new information. Much of it was the same from previous years. So I was wondering if there could be something for the vocalists to “take us to the next level” so to speak. I’m not entirely sure what that would look like – perhaps specific instructions on working together/improving as a vocalist team, or instructions on ad libbing, preparing the team to lead in worship, going to the next level with vocal technique etc.
Thanks again for your ministry. You are a great encouragement.
My first post on this site…
The conference topic grabbed my attention, as the Psalms have been the focus of my personal study over the past several months.
Taking a cue from the breadth of emotions and tone in the Psalms, how do we incorporate a broader range of emotions, tone, “state of being,” etc. — in other words, it doesn’t have to be “happy, happy, happy” all the time. I know when I’m looking at scripture passages for congregational reading or as inspiration for songs, I’m drawn to Psalms like Psalm 8, Psalm 66, etc. that give a clear declarative message of praise, thanksgiving, and remembrance of God’s redemption.
But how about the Psalms that take a little more thought to digest, like Psalm 10, Psalm 79, or Psalm 88, for example? How do we incorporate passages that deal with doubt, fear, anger, confession, and so forth? What are ways to communicate the message of these Psalms as part of our “regular” church life and times of corporate worship?
This issue isn’t limited to just the Psalms. There are many scripture passages or whole books that we tend to avoid in corporate worship and teaching because the message is too complicated or threatening for us to deal with, but the Psalms give us the full breadth of sorrow, joy, contrition, peace, etc. in a concentrated “package.”
Thanks for seeking our input.
Your blogs are a blessing to me. I was at Worship God ’06 and was truly blessed. It was far more than I had expected. I’m already excited about ’08.
Recently I was reading The Deliberate Church, by Dever, and he talks about planning ahead in worship ministry. I have to admit that I really struggle with planning ahead, and I know that it hinders our creativity in corporate worship. I would benefit from hearing what you and other seasoned worship pastors do in this area.
Thanks, again. Blessings.
I’m a Asian American worship pastor and learning so much from here and praying that I can attend your conference next year. I have a passion to share ‘inseparable worship and mission’ through corporate worship believing that’Worship and goal and fuel for mission'(from John Piper’s book Let the Nations be Glad’). My passion is raising and equipping GLOCAL(global+local) worship leaders who will embrace God’s vision of Global worship at where they are. So topic that I will suggest will be ‘How to be a GLOCAL worship leader: embracing and living out God’s global vision in your local church’
Book I want to suggest is ‘Glocalization’ by Bob Roberts Jr.
Even though Psalm is filled with personal expressions, also we can find God’s vision to reach all nations to gather worshipers around the world (Psalm 67, Psalm 97, etc.)
Please do a session for Praise Teams like the Band on the Run session. It could show how/when/where to use unison, 2-parts, ad lib solos, etc without putting the focus on any one individual or trying to make it sound just like a recording. As a vocalist, I really enjoyed what was done with the Band on the Run and think this could be done with the Praise team too.
Also, maybe have some vocal instruction on healthy “mix-belting” to help our vocalist not strain and sing in an unhealthy manner with the contemporary styles of music today.
I always love coming to the Worship conference. I’m able to apply so much to my personal worhsip and to teach it at our church and to students at the Christian university where I teach. I’m looking forward to this year topic.
if you have any conferances in 2008 please let me know
We’re hosting the WorshipGod conference July 30-Aug 2, 2008. You can learn about it here.
The Lord has used this website to clarify many things for me. I have read some of your blog entries through tears because it seems that someone has finally articulated the very thoughts of my heart.
Specifically, as a woman, I have been questioning the context in which I should be using the gifts I’ve been given. Your blog on “Is it Biblical for a Woman to Lead Worship?” was so insightful, and biblically informed, and shared in a tone that was not condescending, offensive or defensive, but rather compassionately confident of what scripture has to say to us on the subject. It helped me to pore over scriptures that in the past have been used to support women leading in a congregational context with eyes not glazed over with assumption. In so-doing I was able to embrace the idea that God may have a different context for my gifts: leading other women in worship.
Might you consider offering a workshop in this vein? I think it would be so helpful for women who have gifts in areas of leadership/music to work out how they might express those gifts, and explore what it might look like in the context of the church.
Here are some brainstormed—translated “incomplete” :)—ideas… Maybe it could be called something like “Modelling Miriam”— women leading women in worship; complementing what is happening in the larger assembly; living lives as fragrant offerings to the Lord as we affirm & encourage our men/families… (this is the picture I got when I read the passage on Miriam with the lens of assumption taken off :))
I think that in women’s gatherings/Bible studies, etc. we tend to talk about marriage and motherhood, walk through various books of the Bible, but very rarely do we really look at these topics through the lens of worship, knowing our God, expressing our heart to Him. At least, that has been my personal experience. The “worship” segment of a gathering has often been just “singing songs”. How powerful would it be to see that time become an opportunity express our hearts toward God, and to open ourselves up to hear from Him.
I’m not sure if you might even have thoughts on this subject that might become another topic to blog about?
btw you’ve also inspired me to return to a desire I had, once upon a time: to become an intentional student of worship. The resources offered here (book recommendations, video clips, links, blogs, etc.) have been wonderful. I have tried to find such resources in the past and always dead-ended, or my search turned up disappointing discourses from a purely experiential viewpoint. But perhaps there was a reason even in the delay. Maybe the Lord knew I was not yet ready. :)I’m just about to dig into Allen P. Ross’s book, “Recalling the Hope of Glory”.
Proverbs 10:19: “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”
I have felt convicted about what I said in a previous post. In a forum such as this, there is a certain amount of anonymity and I have been tempted to stay silent, but feel prompted to not leave it. I find the above proverb to be all too relevant to me.
I believe I misrepresented what happens in women’s ministry gatherings. I cringe at the tone of spiritual pride I “hear” in my tone as I expressed those thoughts. Especially since I have in fact been part of several life-changing studies that have deepened my walk with God—and thereby it extends into helping me grow in worship. When I spoke of “just singing” during worship time, that really points to my own heart. Though the leader can encourage, prompt, etc., it is still up to me, the worshipper, to make sure my offering is “more than a song”.
My deepest apologies to any who may have taken offense at my critiquing tone, but I’m most sorry to the Lord for devaluing His work in women’s gatherings. While looking at the potential we have in women’s ministry, and ways we can grow in the study of worship, I need not dismiss the good that is accomplished– the good I have personally benefitted from. I see the Lord still has a lot of work to do in my own heart.
I’m not sure that this “public confession” matters to any of you out there, but still felt convicted to say something.
In His service,
Thanks for stopping by and for modeling humility.
– Worship before Sunday morning.
– The essential of Worship.