Tag Archives | Theology of Worship

Interview with Tim Smith of Mars Hill

No, this isn’t me interviewing Tim Smith. It’s Tim interviewing me, which he did this past March when I was out for the Text and Context conference at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Tim is a good friend, and someone who thinks carefully about what biblical worship is and should be. Although our church situations are different, we share the conviction that our job as worship leaders is to help people exalt Jesus Christ in their minds, hearts, and wills. We were able to spend some time together while he was here for WorshipGod08. The interview lasted over an hour, but was cut up into smaller sections. Tim just posted the shorter videos on his Doxologist …

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Does God Sing?

At the end of September I’ll be speaking at the Desiring God National Conference, The Power of Words and the Wonder of God. To help promote the conference, they videotaped interviews with all the main speakers, which include Sinclair Ferguson, Paul Tripp, and Mark Driscoll. Scott Anderson spent about 90 minutes asking me various questions related to singing, the theme of my message at the conference. In this clip I talk briefly about how singing praise to God is partly motivated by knowing that God himself sings. Considering the cost the Savior paid to enable us to hear the triune God singing over us in eternity is a thought that never fails …

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How Does Music “Work” in Worship?

This is the third clip from a longer video in which Tim Smith, worship pastor from Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA, asked me various questions related to worship. In this portion, Tim asked me about the relationship between music and worship. In it I talk about some of the factors that have made music such a volatile issue in the church today, and different ways that Christians view music. Just scratching the surface here…If you want to dig deeper, I’d highly recommend you read Harold Best’s Music Through the Eyes of Faith. I read it in the mid-90’s and haven’t found anything as insightful, helpful, and biblically faithful. …

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Worship Experiences and the Presence of God

Last November I was in Seattle at the Acts 29 Resurgence conference and had the opportunity to spend some time with the Mars Hill Worship Pastor, Tim Smith. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Tim and talking to him about topics including the Psalms, Jonathan Edwards, physical expressiveness in worship, and how to organize music teams in the church. I found Tim to be thoughtful, humble, and committed to searching the Scriptures to better understand what it means to worship God. While I was there, Tim took the opportunity to interview me on video for about two hours. Acts 29 posted a video on their site, but it’s over an hour long. I plan to …

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Non-Christians on the Worship Team?

Recently a discussion developed over at the New City Church blog about a paragraph in my book. Here’s the paragraph in question: Even though musicians aren’t necessarily “elders” or “teachers” their presence in front of the congregation week after week implies that their life is worthy of emulation—not flawless, but demonstrating the fruit of the gospel. When that’s not true, the church gets the message that worship is more about music than the way we live. Likewise, when non-Christian musicians are used, we’re implying that the art of worship is more important than the heart. (p. 230) The comments focused around the topic of …

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Why Worship Matters

Last week I asked people to answer the question, “Why does worship matter?” in 100 words or less. I said I’d pick the top 20 answers and send them a copy of Worship Matters, so that they could post a review on their blog. I received some great answers from as far away as Australia. Of course, if you live in Australia, you don’t think that’s far at all. Here are some of my favorite responses. Ryan James said worship matters because everyone worships. Worship matters because it is the inescapable activity of all people everywhere regardless of whether they are a Christian or even “religious.” All people have some sort of “god” that they orient …

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More Teachings from the Christian Musician Summit

Here are two more outlines from messages I gave at the Christian Musician Summit in Overlake, Washington. On Saturday morning, I had the privilege of speaking to the entire group on the topic of “Does God Even Like Our Music?” I figured in a conference of almost 3000 musicians, it’s important to know whether or not our music is actually pleasing to the one we’re there to worship. The answer has little to do with style, generations, or beat. It has everything to do with our hearts and life. In the second seminar I addressed the subject of “Worshiping God While Making Music.” To start things off I gave away a number of CD’s, and met a couple …

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Teachings from Christian Musician Summit

I had the privilege of teaching two seminars at the Christian Musician Summit today. The first was on Healthy Tensions, the second on A Worship Leader Job Description. The folks I addressed were both great groups – attentive and encouraging. That was really commendable because my voice hasn’t quite recovered from my cold earlier this week. Some people didn’t get a handout, so I told them that I would post the outlines here. I described both seminars in an earlier post. Healthy Tensions in Corporate Worship A Worship Leader Job Description By the way, expanded content from both of these seminars will be included as a part of my book …

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Worshiping the Triune God

Recently a Roman Catholic bishop suggested that Christians could pray to Allah. Al Mohler posted a response on his blog. He wrote: From its very starting point Islam denies what Christianity takes as its central truth claim — the fact that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of the Father. If Allah has no Son by definition, Allah is not the God who revealed himself in the Son. How then can the use of Allah by Christians lead to anything but confusion . . .and worse? While I doubt that anyone who normally reads Worship Matters is thinking about worshiping Allah, it did remind me how important it is to identify the God we worship when we meet …

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Al Mohler on Worship

Typically, I answer a question on the blog on Fridays. It ain’t happening today. Along with preparing for the conference next week, I’m attending my nephew’s wedding this weekend. But I have a great resource to recommend. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, has posted three helpful articles on worship. You may think, "What does the president of a Southern Baptist seminary have to say about worship?" Plenty. Dr. Mohler is a brilliant thinker, a lover of God’s Word, an insightful commentator on our culture, and a man who desires to see Jesus Christ exalted in His Church. I’ve had …

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Entering the “Draw Me Close” Conversation

In the latest issue of Christianity Today, Chuck Colson has an article entitled “Soothing Ourselves to Death.” He begins with this paragraph: When church music directors lead congregations in singing contemporary Christian music, I often listen stoically with teeth clenched. But one Sunday morning, I cracked. We’d been led through endless repetitions of a meaningless ditty called “Draw Me Close to You,” which has zero theological content and could just as easily be sung in any nightclub. When I thought it was finally and mercifully over, the music leader beamed. “Let’s sing that again, shall we?” he asked. “No!” I shouted, loudly enough …

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