Like many of you, I’m in the midst of reflecting on 2009 and planning for 2010. One of my goals is to make Worship Matters more effective in serving the folks who read it. That’s you.
If you’re involved in leading corporate worship in your church or ministry, I’m especially interested in knowing anything I can do that would make this blog better. Some changes I want to make include:
- more consistent posts (duh)
- more music and book reviews
- more interviews from pastors, theologians, and musicians
- more analysis of current trends or events
- blog redesign
- free resources tab
Could you take a moment to comment below and tell me what you’d like to see more or less of, what you’d like to see changed or stay the same? And if Worship Matters is currently serving you, it would be helpful to know how.
Perhaps some resources or outlet for the ‘mechanical side’ or the Co-Laborer side(s) of worship.
There tends to be much focus on the spiritual side (character, attitude, emotion, heart, etc.) which is ESSENTIAL, but, I believe that one who serves in the Kingdom of God should always be trying to maximize the investment that the Lord has made in their physical ‘talents’
Exodus 36:1 – So Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the Lord has commanded.
1 Chronicles 15:22 – Chenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing. That was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.
1 Chronicles 25:6,7 – These men were…for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God…all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord.
I believe smaller congregations have people who want to Glorify God with their gifts and talents. Often times they take the initial steps to get their ‘spiritual house in order’, but then are left wondering WHAT (with their talents) are they to do next.
I really liked the series that you had going for a while when you would answer readers’ questions. I think practical issues that answer questions like “how do I put together a good music list for a service?” or hints for keyboardists or things like that would be most helpful for me.
Thanks for all the time you put into it!
Thank you very much for your blog. It has helped me immensely in shaping my thoughts on corporate worship. As an African-American, one thing that I have lamented is that, in a large part, much of what is in the category of Gospel music is full of prosperity, name-it-claim-it, ‘God in Me’-borderline pantheistic messages. Are there any artists (not counting the much-celebrated reformation in hip-hop) that are proclaiming the gospel in urban musical contexts? How can we who long to proclaim the gospel in African-American communities do a better job in communicating the gospel in these genres?
Helping us with identifying gospel-centered artists/songwriters and with tips for gospel-centered worship in African-American churches would be a great service for us. Thank you very much.
Resources are always fun:
-Mp3’s of unique arrangements you’ve done
-Links to stuff you’ve found helpful
Because we (FT worship leaders) have the resources and time to do the grunt work, I think we should share it with amazing people who volunteer at their local church and lead worship.
Haven’t been following your blog long, so sorry if any of this is repetition.
One of the things I have started doing recently on my blog is posting each Sunday afternoon what our music set was that morning. Title/Key/Artist. I have a network of worship leaders in the area that I stay in contact with and this helps to spawn ideas of some new songs to try out.
It also helps if I have anyone in the congregation that is curious about a particular song we did that Sunday. You could do it with the scriptural basis for each song. I also schedule these posts in advance because we all know how precious Sunday afternoon naps can be.
I also like to occasionally post a short devotional post specifically about the subject of worship.
One last thing: Keep up the good work of posting on Twitter when you have a new blog post up. I know I am more likely to click over real quick and read it rather than remembering to actually go to your site. You can also schedule those tweets via “Hootsuite”.
Thanks for all you do!
One thing that could be helpful might be a series of posts with suggestions for music services on certain themes, e.g., the Trinity, the Atonement, Creation.
Yes, I came down here to say pretty much what the first two comments said. But instead of just not commenting, I’m here to second (or third) them. I’d enjoy more practical, how-to posts. The heart is the first place to start with any worship leading, but by given that we’ve visited a blog like this, most of us are already enthusiastic about serving the Lord with our talents. I’d appreciate more post on how to further develop these talents in a worship environment.
Thank you for asking. I hope you get a lot of good comments here to help. Looking forward to the coming posts.
-Marshall Jones Jr.
I love all of the Sovereign Grace original music, and I love that you provide the chords sheets for free. This has been extremely helpful for learning your Christ-exalting music.
I am continually keeping my ears open for music that sounds good and has God-centered lyrics, whether it be a revived hymn or an Na Band song.
It would be most helpful to know where you get all of your musical resources and maybe what songs you choose to play on a given Sunday.
I am 20 and lead music for a college group in California, but I don’t have a large mental data base of good hymns or songs to lead with an acoustic guitar, so it may be helpful to know what resources you pull from so that I could have an idea of where to go
for solid material.
I’ve appreciated your teaching and advice through the years. The blog entries that later became your book, “Worship Matters” helped me tremendously. I look forward to what the Lord will lead you to share! Blessings!
I like theological and ministerial issues associated with worship. Whether these come in the form of interviews or articles, an ongoing discussion of what worship is and practical issues regarding worship ministry are all helpful.
One thing that may be particularly helpful for music ministers is how to handle common spiritual issues that plague the music ministries of churches in such a way that is effective and especially glorifies God. For example, no one approaches music ministry with perfectly pure motives. Sometimes these motives rise up and can be destructive. How do you handle the egocentric soloist who the congregation loves to hear sing?
But getting into a right understanding is also important. We tend to focus on the music, but worship leaders of all people should know that it’s not about the music. The music must serve the worship, but corporate worship is much larger than congregational singing and special music. Conveying this to the congregation requires a spiritually strong worship leader and this site has a great opportunity to minister to worship leaders in this way.
Another thing I’ve noticed are the vast differences in worship styles and methods between spiritual traditions. Our worship patterns tend to evolve in isolation in our various traditions. It is instructive for worship leaders to observe or even learn about practices in other traditions, not so those traditions can be copied per se, but so that we can see areas of worship our tradition might have neglected or to stimulate ideas to keep our corporate worship fresh. So exposure (with righteous commentary) might be beneficial.
These are just some ideas for areas I would be interested in.
One thing you do that I often investigate is some of the free resources and music you mention. I have used some of these to provide special music that is fresh and richly edifies theologically. I can even take recorded music and develop my own arrangements to use so I’m always interested in groups I’m not familiar with who offer good music that can be used.
All, these are really helpful responses. Keep ’em comin’.
Thanks for the helpful thoughts. I’ve done some posts on motives, etc. Check under the Category: Devotions. Also check out this post: https://worshipmatters.com/2006/10/13/qa-fridays-when/.
Bob, you have mad skills in the arranging of songs. How ’bout sharing some tips on that? After a while, even the best songs get stale. I like to freshen ours up a bit, but sometimes don’t know where to start.
Your book and blog have served me greatly already and the new additions you are thinking about for 2010 sound great.
have a happy new year Bob!
One of the things that drew me to your blog was the practical advice you gave on leading worship, leading teams. Its one of the things I’ve missed in the more recent days of reading your blog.
Thanks for all that you do.
When I first came across this site, I spent a few hours reading through many of the articles. I now enjoy reading your blogs via the mailing list. I have found the topics to be interesting, relevant and varied. We have used some of the articles as a topic base for small group discussion. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into this ministry.
I just want to first of all say what a blessing your blog has been to me. Your ideas for next year look great. I would, however, echo everyone else who has asked for more resource updates – what songs you chose for a Sunday, etc. :) Keep up the good work, and God bless!
Bob, I think your list is better than anything I could come up with and if you manage to accomplish just a few of them we will stand in awe and be forever grateful. Maybe you could have ticketboy stop by and do some announcements or something to free you up to do the important things. ;)
Bob, you are a blessing and have already blessed Oasis a bunch!!! I was wondering if you might consider making resources available for House Churches…. ;)
I most certainly enjoy reading all your posts which help me focus in developing character rather than skills, and I truly appreciate the effort you are doing for His cause and His glory.
Without being disrespectful on the way you are doing things now and trying not to sound ungrateful I definitely agree in needing to read material about writing, arranging and producing songs for worship. I have no doubt that God puts in our minds and through the talent of a team the songs he wants His congregation to worship Him with, but sometimes and because of many reasons, we seem to be unproductive and this gets any creative team frustrated.
I would love to see more of the process you use for songwriting and arranging, more of your day to day problems that we probably think only happen to us and more of the way certain songs you have written were conceived.
On the other hand, I have a split conclusion about how-to posts. On one side, how-to posts really help in learning tips and ways other people do things. It helps us know what we have in common and helps us identify our mistakes. But on the other side I tend to feel that how-to posts are like chewing the food for somebody else to swallow… I am not trying to offend anyone so please don’t get me wrong, but I honestly believe that how-to posts are like baby food and at the end it just makes us comfortable and kind of lazy, not taking time to think for ourselves. So I encourage you to pray and find a balance between teaching us and letting us make our own conclusions… giving us material to read from but pushing us to find for ourselves how those writings relate to us and the way God wants to work with us specifically.
Also for those who have read your book, it would be wonderful to know how your conclusions and previous thoughts have developed until today… anything changed? what has become even a stronger fact for you?
God Bless you and keep it up!
Eric, you’re not being disrespectful. I asked for ideas! Thanks for suggesting some great ones.
Thanks for your blog. Like most here I’ve benefited greatly from your posts, and also really like your list of ideas for improvements. I’d welcome the addition of more practical ideas, song lists, resources, etc. I’d also like to know more about the books you’re reading, and why you recommend the ones you recommend.
But I hope the practical suggestions don’t come at the expense of the more theoretical posts. The combination of solid theology and immense practicality delivered straight but with a shot of humility is what drew me your writings initially. I want to know what you’re doing, and our church has been blessed by the implementation of many practical suggestions and by the discovery of new Christ-centered songs to sing. But I need to know why you’re doing it, and to be continually challenged in my thinking about why we as members of a worship team do what we do. Our church has been most blessed by your clear focus on gospel truth as central not only to worship and music, but to all we do as worship leaders and team members.
I’m looking forward to seeing how God grows your blog and your ministry in the coming year!
Thanks for what you do, Bob. Yes, I love every interview and review you do, so more of those would be great. I would also love more theological reflections on worship and analysis of current trends.
I love Sovereign Grace, but, honestly, I could stand less posts about SG happenings. Of course, that’s a bit unfair of me to ask, since your heart is so with SG. It’d be like me asking a drummer to play quietly.
Ryan, thanks for the helpful comments. Yeah, I wonder sometimes if I overdo the Sovereign Grace promo. Like you said, I love what we do and I want to let people know about it. But i know that people read Worship Matters for more than that. I think if I was posting more commentary/analysis/review, it wouldn’t be as noticeable. I’ll see what I can do. Thanks!
Along the same lines as Juanita, I would appreciate your input on how to walk through leading corporate worship under unique church-wide circumstances, such as: deaths in the congregation, other significant trials, births, & baptisms. As well as holiday season prep (Christmas, Easter, etc.).
I am all for more consistent posts. It seems of late there have not been that many and some don’t have a lot of content from you. I have been very blessed by your writing on worship. All your ideas about your blog improvements seem good to me.
Childrens’ Choir is where I can always use more resources. Tips, techniques, devotions, etc.
Somewhat related… for those that work w/ middle schoolers & teens, I’ve always thought it would be useful to teach the youth to use a Scriptural ear with what they put on their iPod, so more in the area of reviews/unpacking of popular Christian music might be helpful & instructional.
Thanks much & good luck adding 20+ hours to the day to do all this!
At the risk of sounding cliche – I wouldn’t change a thing.
Please keep doing what you are doing!
Maybe this has been said already, but I could really benefit from a place for like-minded worship leaders/facilitators/musicians to post their Sunday set lists. I know there are other websites/blogs that have this, but I think I could gain more from those who have a similar view about the goal of corporate singing.
I have no complaints whatsoever about this blog. I am not a musician and all things music are in my “blind spot.” So, anything that you post the gives me the chance to peak behind the curtain (i.e. “when things don’t go as planned” post), it really helps me to understand a world that I am so appreciative of and long to value more.
I really don’t know what makes a good blog any more than I know what makes a good song; I just know it somehow. That’s a quote from someone somewhere referencing something completely different likely, but there it is.
Brett, it’s hard to question your conclusions when your source is so…uh…authoritative.
Your book and blog have been an incredible inspiration and the book especially is now required reading for all my worship leaders and leaders in training.
In my opinion there have been no glaring omissions in terms of the content.
I am to the place with our churches worship dept that we have set headings in terms of theologically rich content, oral exhortations, and slowly moving forward in musical excellence. Many of these things are long term directions which we have begun to see wonderful fruit in in our congregations worship. Continued encouragement in these areas tends to remind and reiterate their importance and is a helpful to ensure that these things are not assumed. So I would like to see these things continue even as new areas are explored.
I dont know if this is an option but I would like to have a tour so to speak of say Covenant Life’s Worship dept. The ins and outs as a whole. With many of the essentials of our ministry set I wouldn’t mind seeing some examples and gaining perspective on structuring our dept. I have several highly experienced worship leaders who are ready for greater responsibilities and could use examples of job descriptions and program functions that build into the over all vision.
Some examples of areas would be your children’s music programs (the violin group?) as well as Sound Tech areas, multi media, choir… I originally was referred to your stuff through the Mars Hill guys and I know they do things like “Meat and Potatoes” lists (set songs for seasons etc) and so just wondering how I can build a team of lay or paid staff and structure in order to accomplish some of these things.
I hope some of that makes sense.
Greatly appreciate you Bob.
I mentioned this in my review of your book, but some suggestions for those who lead worship in small groups would be really helpful: how to select songs (is this process different for a small group than it is for a larger congregation?), how to involve everyone when singing in a smaller group may be more awkward (coming from someone who hates singing loud enough for others to hear), etc.
Keep up the great work!
Bob, I think, by far, the strength of this blog, is your biblical analysis and application of the way music is to be used in corporate worship. You have a great way of thinking through elements and seemingly minute details that is much needed in church life. At this blog, more than any other, I find myself saying “I never considered that!” or “I need to rethink _____”.
I strive to do the same thing at my blog but usually find you doing it much better here! :-)
Hey Bob, thanks for the blog that you’ve been writing, been a great source of teaching and instruction for me, which is hard to get leading worship at such a tiny church (English ministry membership of about 15-20). However, I’d like to see some product reviews…
I understand that this may or may not necessarily be your field, but perhaps you can put a tab or something somewhere where guys from your tech team and worship team and come and post reviews of products they use/have used. So I guess a more tech, gear, and hardware geared area. While we can definitely view and find product reviews online, sometimes the products and items we use are slightly different when the aspect/element of corporate worship is involved slightly.
Our church simply cannot afford to buy things except out of necessity, for English Ministry we’re forced to use a Shure SM58 that’s been severely banged up so that it only picks up about half the sound it should…. Or perhaps the differences/preferences between the BOSS TU-2 pedal or the KORG Pitchblack. A product review and such that you have at your church with various band members and yourself would be great.
Also, while i imagine this would only be one article or so, perhaps an article about the use of Capo? Feelings? Tips? How to transition smoothly from song-to-song while moving/adding/removing a guitar capo, and you dont have a back-up instrument to fill a melodic line, like no piano or anything, just an acoustic guitar being the only item available.
Thanks so much again, God Bless!
David, thanks for your encouraging words and helpful thoughts. I can include some of the things you mention in future posts.
The Worship Matters blog is defaulted as my Firefox home page, and for good reason. It is my first source for music ministry training and education and biblical insight into the whole area of music ministry.
As a leader in a small, rural Church group, I too would encourage posts that directly address some of the issue uniquely related to the rural groups. Although most of what happens here is easily applied to the SRC.
Bob, I just want to say that you have mentored me through this site and your book Worship Matters. Harold Best is another of my mentors.
I am in the process of developing a music ministry leader’s summit for rural MM leaders here in Eastern Oregon. The summit will be based on this site and your book. I hope to hold the first summit in the spring or summer 2010.
Thanks so much for your servants heart.
Suggestions on arranging songs would be great! Specifically, how to take a regular hymn 4-part arrangement and write something different for piano. I have two piano players who are wed to sheet music so I can’t just give them a chord chart and say “Improvise.” And I am not a trained musician so I feel really stretched when I try to write an arrangement.
Also, since WG09 I’ve been sporadically working on categorizing the songs in my database by themes, and it’s kind of overwhelming. At the moment I have 57 categories/themes and have only included about a third of our songs. I wonder if I’m getting too specific? Like, should I differentiate between the Blood of Christ, the Cross of Christ, and the Crucifixion? How do you do this? Any suggestions would be helpful.
Another thing I really miss from the first year or so of your blog is the Monday Devotions. Every week might be too much, but how about once a month???
Thanks for all you do!
First, I must echo what many others have said that reading your blog and your book have been tremendously helpful. Often at the end of a tiring or frustrating day of ministry, I’ll recieve my WorshipMatters email and be reminded of the joy of worshipping with and leading for God’s church.
One thing that might be helpful is a series on specific physical expressions of worship and what they biblically represent. Answering the question, “How is the ____ expression used in the Bible?” Coming from a community where physical expression is very foreign, I’ve been working to study these things myself and work through them with our worship ministry so we feel more freedom to express ourselves as the Bible has called us. I’ve appreciated your thoughts on physical expression in general, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the specifics of individual expressions.
Thanks for all you do!
One more idea that I remembered after I hit “submit” (that always happens!)… Could you do a post on generational matters when it comes to young worship leaders leading an older generation in musical worship that is different in style than what they are used to? I’ve heard you comment some about how the older generation can help/ lead the younger generation, but how can a young worship leader best help our older brothers and sisters in Christ worship through a style they might not like/understand?
This year was really the first year I followed your blog with any regularity, and it has served me in many ways. Thank you so much for your increased commitment in 2009 to invest in the next generation of worship leaders. I felt it this year by reading your book, attending WorshipGod over my birthday (I couldn’t imagine spending it anywhere else ;D), by the songwriters contest which helped me tremendously (and has fostered a desire that is now being used to serve my local church), and just your leadership of the other regional worship “lackeys”, one of whom, Joe Stigora, is now discipling younger people, myself included in 2010 through going through your book, which I know will serve me technically and spiritually. My outlook on worship of God is forever changed, and continuing to evolve by His Word and your influence. I told you much of this in person in August, but I wanted to make a written record of this… :)
Well, as far as posts go, I feel vastly inadequate to give an experienced blogger such as yourself advice. However, I wouldn’t mind you sacrificing length and depth for the sake of consistency. Perhaps like C.J.’s blog, perhaps you could spend 3 or 4 days expounding on one topic, instead of trying to cram it all on one day.
Also, and I know that you do this, but I would really enjoy you reaching out beyond Sovereign Grace to other Christian artists. I would really like it if you spent a day like Friday by sharing the name of one song from outside SG that is God-glorifying, Gospel centered, creative, and aesthetically pleasing. I am looking for a little more diversity in the “Worship” section on my iPod… please don’t blame me! :)
So in short, a little more consistency and predictability would do the blog good, in my opinion. If I knew that Mon-Wed could be spent on a topic of your choice… and the end of the week could be for announcements or your choice. Just humble stabs in the dark. Thank you again for your heart to serve, lead, and point us all to Christ.
Thanks for your kind words of encouragement! Great ideas, too! Gives me joy just to know that what we’re doing is serving guys like you.
I am just blessed that my pastor told me about this blog. I have truly benefited from the spiritual content that you are so careful to share with us. I understand that it would be difficult to blog every day, but it is so beneficial to me. I come from Southern Baptist life, so I have particulary enjoyed the songs from Sovereign Grace, (are you sure you’re not part of the convention?!) Thank you for your faithfulness to serve those of us who are also leading worship, you truly do point us to Christ.
I don’t think i can give any more ideas but one thing that i am reminded of is just that subject of being discipled and releasing that before your gift or anything in that matter that you are a son and a daughter of God. God is very much more interesseted in you as a person.
Well then my idea: Leadership and discipleship.
I echo Eric (# 19) in that I’d love to see more nuts and bolts for songwriting. Especially more of your thoughts/advice/stories etc and others about songwriting. The good the bad and the ugly. You have mentioned your Songwriting retreats and I think it would be highly beneficial if you could give an outline of the hows and whys in regards to conducting a songwriting retreat or how to lead a group of songwriters in your congregation, etc.
Thanks! Love your blog and your book!
I apologize in advance if this has already been mentioned, but having a page on this blog website that allows for all of us worship leaders to share our music and songs that we and our teams have written. I think it would be a great resource! It could be a place where we could upload a song with its chart and all the songs could be put in different categories according to what the song’s message is. I know that this is a lot of work technically, but could be such a cool way to share our music beyond our own congregation to hopefully bless other congregations. Bob thanks for everything! You have been so helpful to me! I thank God for you all the time:)
I like the idea (above somewhere) about posting your list and the thoughts that went into it. Perhaps you could give us some fresh insights/reminders on how to do an effective “review” of the corporate worship time. That can slide into “It was a good time, I think people were affected … now, onto the sermon” pretty easily. I’d love to see a list of the new songs you’ve added to CLC repertoire in a given year or quarter. (On ‘exhortations’), do you have a list of things you want to make sure the congregation hears with some regularity over a particular period of time? Lastly, I love when you post videos from Sunday a.m. or conferences and seize a teaching moment. Those have had some of the most lasting effects on my thinking and approach. Thanks again for all the work you do. I don’t know how you do it all but I pray God continues to strengthen you as you serve!
I totally agree with Ronjour comments and I hope we could do something about that!;)
You’re a connector and I think it would be great if there were an online community for more interaction with like minded people. I remember someone else mentioning a similar idea. You could keep what you have going, and create a Ning site where we all could interact to get songs, ideas, problem solve, etc.
Worship leaders are always looking for new songs/artists. Bringing awareness of “underground/undiscovered” worship leaders with shared values would be great.
An online worship matters community could potentially solve some of those problems without you having to be the main source. You would function more as a gatherer.
I love your blog already Bob!
However, since you are asking, one thing you could do to serve us more effectively is include more album reviews. I benefit—as do members of our church—from this concise, helpful reviews.
Walt, great idea. Feel free to suggest albums that I could potentially review.
Well, I am learning to play the guitar in order to lead worship with my wife and daughter. I have had a difficult time finding resources online that give instructional help on modernized hymns/Soverign Grace style songs.
When chords change
Help in these areas would be wonderful.
Many guys in my church are looking and needing help, but we are an RCUS church and nobody grew up knowing what a guitar was. We know alot about organs though.
translate the book in splanish please….may God bless you.