Tag Archives | leading on Sundays


Entering the Presence of God

My friend, West, left a question on another post. He was asking about comments I’ve made to the effect that it isn’t a worship leader’s responsibility to lead people into God’s presence. Only Jesus can do that. West wrote: Heb. 9 through Heb. 10:1-22 call us to enter the Most Holy Place confidently. John Frame says “The Most Holy Place was opened to us at the death of Christ, when the veil of the temple was torn in two” (In Spirit and Truth, 27). If God is enthroned on and abides in the praises of his people, and if he is wherever 2 or 3 are gathered in his name, then it seems that there is an actual, spiritual experience of “entering into” the …

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Motivating the Church to Worship God

If you read this blog regularly you know I’m coming down to the wire on my “kind of” first draft for a book I’m writing for Crossway. THANK YOU to everyone who responded to my previous post asking about the challenges you face as a worship leader. Your thoughts are helping and guiding me as I write. I had a fruitful day of writing yesterday and actually finished three chapters. I’ve been able to borrow from some of the posts I’ve written on this blog as well as some material from my first draft of the book. I very much feel the effect of people’s prayers. I’m really enjoying the process of writing, which is completely God’s grace. The book …

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How Do You Approach Planning for Easter?

Kendall sent me this question: I think most of us feel the pressure to “pull out all the stops” for Easter, whether that means a drama, special choir number, special communion service, hired orchestra, etc. What are some ways you have sought to make the celebration of the Resurrection special at your church? Does your congregation and/or pastoral team do anything different to make that Sunday a more focused evangelistic outreach? Many non-Christians are more likely to attend a Sunday meeting on “special” days like Christmas and Easter. Reasons vary. It may be persistent family members or neighbors. It might be the big production the church …

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Putting Together a Worship Song List

Last week at the Quest conference for men I had two opportunities to speak to groups of worship leaders from Sovereign Grace churches. The first was a group of about 30 guys who lead on Sunday mornings, the other a larger group of maybe 100 guys who lead in a small group context. One of the questions I addressed in both meetings was the process of choosing a group of songs for a meeting. That process can be one of the more frustrating aspects of leading congregational worship. Here’s a portion of what I shared. We pick the songs we do for various reasons. Maybe a song is in a key we like or our voice sounds good on it. Maybe everyone knows …

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Healthy Tensions in Worship

I’ve benefited from the many summaries I’ve read of the Together for the Gospel conference last week. How kind of the Lord to give so many a greater passion to serve His church, proclaim the Gospel, and preach His Word, in such a brief time. I’m still looking forward to taking some time to review and apply my notes. One remark I definitely hope to remember was made by my good friend, C.J. Mahaney: “This conference can be a means of progressive self-deception if we think hearing  these messages insures present and future growth.” By God’s grace, I don’t want that to happen. A number of guys have …

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Should We Can Canned Music in the Church?

Dr. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently posted a blog bemoaning the increasing use of pre-recorded (canned) music in church services. After I read his comments, Eric Zeller sent me this e-mail: “Often smaller churches will use pre-recorded musical tracks either to accompany soloists, choirs, or congregational singing. Do you have any thoughts on this practice and its impact on worship?” I don’t know if Eric saw Dr. Mohler’s post, but it seemed like the topic of pre-recorded music in the church was worth commenting on. New Testament Christians obviously didn’t have to face this issue, so there’s no …

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Idolatry on Sunday Mornings, Pt. 3

It’s helpful to remember that the world, the devil, and our flesh actively oppose our desire to give God the glory He alone deserves. The real worship wars aren’t about music styles, forms, and practices. They’re secretly waged in our hearts, as idols try to rob us of our passion to exalt God above everything. If we aren’t aware of those worship wars we’ll have a difficult time understanding or experiencing worship that honors God, no matter what we’re doing on the outside. Speaking of experience, here are a couple more idols that can tempt us on Sunday mornings. Experience – As I paged through a Christian magazine last year, …

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