Pastoring Through Song at the Shepherd’s Conference

In yesterday’s post, I shared some thoughts on planning and leading songs at a conference.

In this post, I describe what that actually looked like at the recent Shepherd’s Conference. I’ve included the Scriptures I used (except for ones I didn’t write down), and why I chose each song and passage. The numbers are from the Hymns of Grace hymnal.

This post might seem a little tedious, but planning and leading songs is often about the details. If you end up leading songs at a conference in the future, I pray my thoughts will help you maximize that time for the good of God’s people and the glory of Christ.


Session 1: John MacArthur • The Purity of the Church: Sanctification (Gal. 4:19)
Session 2: H.B. Charles Jr. • The Life of the Church: Regeneration (Jn. 13:1-17)

[I wanted these songs to focus not on HB’s message, which we hadn’t heard yet, but on our personal sanctification, one of the themes of John’s message.]
Ps. 148:1-6 – This is the passage the first song is based on.
Praise the Lord! Ye Heavens Adore Him #3
Has the lines “sin and death shall not prevail,” and “So on earth Thy will be done.”
Not in Me #405
A song acknowledging the sin of self-righteousness, which pastors can tend to battle.
James 1:2-4 – The God who justified us is committed to sanctifying us, so we can count the process of sanctification as joy.
I Asked the Lord that I Might Grow #63
Acknowledgment that God often answers our prayers for sanctification through inward trials.
Grace Greater Than All Our Sin #78
Grace abounds in the process of sanctification, both to justify and to transform.
A Christian’s Daily Prayer
A new song asking God for strength to glorify him. “May every effort of my life display the matchless worth of Christ.”

Session 3: Austin Duncan • The Unity of the Church (Psalm 133)

[HB’s message focused on how God gets all the glory for our regeneration.]
Come Praise and Glorify  #44
A summary of Eph. 1:3-11
And Can It Be? #180
This song recounts the glorious reality and process of our conversion.
His Robes for Mine #181
A beautiful unpacking of substitutionary atonement.

Session 4: Al Mohler • The Conviction and Courage of the Church and the Threats to the Church


Session 5: Phil Johnson • Marks of a True Church (Rev 2:1-7)

[In response to Dr. Mohler’s message, these songs and Scriptures directed us to confidence in God when facing opposition in trials]
Ps. 46:10-11 – This is the passage “A Mighty Fortress” is based on. God will be exalted, and He will be with us.
A Mighty Fortress is Our God #53
“The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure. One little Word shall fell him.”
Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor #406
2 Tim. 4:16-18 – Contains the promise that “the Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.”
O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer
A new song containing various lines that enable us to express our trust in Christ during opposition.
Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken #394
A 6 verse meditation on finding loss to be gain because of the joy of knowing Christ. 
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name #143
I wanted to the last song to reemphasize the triumph of Christ over all opposition.

Session 6: Art Azurdia • The Influence of the Church (John 17:17-18)

[The previous message focused on the importance of not losing our first love]
Ps. 25:17-18 – I chose this Scripture because even though the psalmist has “distresses,” he is more conscious of his need for forgiveness.
I Lay My Sins on Jesus #269
This song helped us acknowledge our failure to love as we ought to love, and the provision God has made for us in Christ’s sacrifice. 
Rev. 5:12-13 – This passage was meant to focus us on the worthiness of Jesus to be loved and his ultimate triumph. 
Reformation Song
This is a new song I wanted to introduce to reinforce that the foundation of our faith is God’s Word alone, by grace alone, through faith in Christ alone, for the glory of God alone.
Be Thou My Vision #177
A prayer that God would always be our first love. 

Session 7: Ligon Duncan • The Power of the Church: The Ministry of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:13-26)


Session 8: Tom Pennington • The Mission of the Church: Evangelism & Global Missions (Matthew 28:16-20)

[In the previous message Ligon reminded us the Holy Spirit empowers our sanctification so we can enjoy the Abarahamic blessings and responsibilities.]
Is. 59:21 – In this passage, God promises that the Spirit he has put in us shall not depart from our offspring. 
All Praise to Him
A new song that addresses Father, Son, and Spirit, and contains the line, “All praise to Him whose pow’r imparts the love of God within our hearts.”
Eph. 3:14-19 – Paul’s prayer that by the Spirit we would come to know the unknowable love of Christ.
Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery #184
A rehearsal of the gospel.
Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God #318
A prayer for God’s Spirit to work in our hearts, attitudes, and actions.
O Great God #35
A song with the line, “Then your Spirit gave me life, opened up Your Word to me,” and is also a prayer that we might live for the glory of God alone. 

Session 9: Mark Dever • The Leadership of the Church (1 Timothy)

[Tom’s message focused us on the Great Commission.]
Ps. 96:1-3 – “Tell of his salvation from day to day.”
Ye Servants of God #358
New words (for me anyway) sung to a familiar tune: “Ye servants of God your Master proclaim, and publish abroad His wonderful name!”
O Church Arise #353
A call for the church to fulfill Christ’s desire in the power of the Spirit to have “an inheritance of nations.”
1 Tim. 1:15-17 – This Scripture reminds us that proclaiming the gospel doesn’t make us better than others. We’re all beggars telling people where the feast is. 
How Sweet and Aweful is the Place #350
“Each one of cries with thankful tongue, ‘Lord, why was I a guest?” and “Pity the nations, O, our God, constrain the earth to come.”
All I Have is Christ #389
“And if you had not loved me first, I would refuse You still.”

Session 10: Steven Lawson • The Head of the Church (Col 1:15-23)

[I chose these final songs in response to the message on leadership to reflect our needs as leaders of the church.]
Come Thou Almighty King #326
A prayer to the Triune God to empower us. “Come and Thy people bless, and give thy Word success.”
O Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer
A new song I repeated so people would have the opportunity to learn it and because it reflects the triumph and sufficiency of Christ in every situation.
All Glory be To Christ #133
The most appropriate response to all we had learned at the conference.

In the near future you’ll be able to access all the message here.


2 Responses to Pastoring Through Song at the Shepherd’s Conference

  1. Brian C March 26, 2018 at 12:01 AM #

    Hi Bob, when you were leading did you use a lead sheet or played straight out of the hymnal? If using a lead sheet, where did you get them? Thanks!

    • Bob Kauflin March 26, 2018 at 8:04 AM #

      Hey, Brian. I use enlarged copies of the hymnal pages. That lets me know what parts people might be singing and I try to build my accompaniment around those parts. Although I don’t always follow that rule…

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