Tag Archives | worship-leader

What a Savior Free MP3 and Chart

I’ve received a number of e-mails asking for the new version of the hymn “Hallelujah, What a Savior,” that we taught at the New Attitude conference, music and chorus written by my son, Devon. I promised a while back that I’d post them, so here you go. The original version was by Phillip Bliss, an American hymn writer who died at the age of 37 in a train accident. Devon’s version is called “What a Savior.” It keeps the reflective sense of the verses, but adds a celebrative chorus that expands on Christ’s work and expresses our desire to offer our lives to proclaim how great our Savior is. We’ve sung it on Sunday mornings at Covenant Life, and …

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What About “Me” Songs?

Matt wrote in to ask: What do you think about singing songs that have a lot of me/we/I content. Is it wrong to sing a lot of songs that talk about us? A couple come to mind right now: “We stand and lift up our hands…” “I love you Lord…” etc…I think there’s value in having some songs with personal language as we sing/speak to God, but is there a balance that we should seek in using songs that speak of we, me, or us? Great question. Lyrics in worship songs can be generally categorized as objective, subjective, or reflective. Objective lyrics tell us something true about God that helps us know him better. Most, but not all, hymns …

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The Everlasting God and the Gospel

Ken Boer, who serves as music director at my church, encouraged me to share some of the thoughts I have as I plan songs for a Sunday meeting. This past Sunday morning as Josh Harris and I were talking about songs for Sunday, he asked if we could introduce the song, Everlasting God, by Brenton and Ken Riley. It’s taken from the CD of the same name. Here are the lyrics: Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, We will wait upon the Lord We will wait upon the Lord (repeat) Our God You reign forever Our hope our strong deliv’rer You are the everlasting God The everlasting God You do not faint You won’t grow weary You’re the defender …

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Worship Leaders – How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways

This morning the Washington Post business section ran a column called, “To Me, With Love: Retailers Embrace Valentine’s Day as an Excuse for Singles to Celebrate Themselves.” Among other interesting facts, the article reports that Piperlime, an online shoe store owned by Gap, has a “Be your own Valentine” category. Sales are strong for Valentine’s Day gifts you can give to the person you love the most – yourself. You may not have the nerve to give a Valentine’s gift to yourself, but you’re probably no stranger to self-love. There is an appropriate way to humbly acknowledge that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14). However that …

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Should Worship Be Fun?

More than once I’ve heard Christians claim that worship should be fun, or act like they had a responsibility to prove that Christians knew how to “party” in church. I’ve always been uncomfortable with that connection, so I started thinking about the place of “fun” in worship, if one even exists. I’d like to address this question by answering it as I posed it, and then considering two other ways it might be phrased. Should worship be fun? If we take the exhaustive testimony of Scripture, the answer would have to be a resounding NO. “Fun” doesn’t seem to characterize many of the scenes where people encounter God in the Bible. We’re told to worship …

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Worship Team or Songleader?

I received this question from Dennis: What would you say are the benefits of a “worship team” (several singers leading at the front) as opposed to one “songleader”? From what I can see, at least one major benefit is, to have many voices projecting the volume of a song *AT* the congregation, to help them catch on to it. This has been especially helpful when learning new songs. Are there other benefits of a worship team, in your opinion? No church ever needs to feel as though their corporate worship is less biblical, authentic, effective, or genuine because they don’t have a “worship team.” God doesn’t give us specific direction in Scripture …

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art-of-worship

Book Review – The Art of Worship

Last week I had the privilege of speaking and leading worship at the Calvin Worship Symposium in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Why I chose to go to Michigan in January is a question I still haven’t answered. On Thursday, I taught an all-day seminar called Musical Arranging for God’s Glory. I shared thoughts not only on ways we can arrange music, but suggested three biblical reasons behind the choices we make: to serve the word of Christ, to serve the context, and to serve the congregation. Hosting me that day was a gentleman named Greg Scheer, whose book, The Art of Worship: A Musician’s Guide to Leading Modern Worship has recently been published …

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Worship Leaders – How Do I Support My Pastor When We Disagree?

A reader wrote in to ask: How do I serve and support the role of my Senior Pastor when his approach to corporate worship may sound a little different than what I get from your conferences? Great question, and not the first time I’ve been asked. This question reveals what happens when the worship leader and musicians are getting biblical training and the pastor isn’t. It highlights the need for pastors to think about worship theologically, rather than basing their thoughts on past experiences or the culture. But what do you do if you’re in a church where the pastor is asking you to do things that you don’t think are going to serve the church …

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Can I Learn to Love Evaluation?

Aaron left this question on a recent post: I’ve found it difficult at times to be in a mindset that is ready to accept encouragement and critique after a “big event.” I realize that a large part of this is my own pride and desire for everyone to like what happened and move on. However, I am often so drained and spent after an endeavor like a conference or a Christmas musical that I don’t even want to think about it anymore. Is this a symptom of focusing on the event more than Christ? Is there a way to get through the “big events” in church life without losing your focus on Christ and still be excited about your job after the event is over? I …

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Preparing for and Evaluating the Worship Service

I received this question a while back: Do you happen to have anything that you have given out to worship leaders as far as a check-list of items to review as they are preparing for a Sunday morning? The simple answer to this would be “no.” However, a few years ago C.J. Mahaney and I put together ten questions for evaluating corporate worship, which might serve as a memory jogger. 1. Is our Savior’s substitutionary sacrifice on the Cross clearly and repeatedly presented through song lyrics and exhortations as central to our worship and the means by which we approach God? 2. Is it evident to the church and guests that all we do is rooted …

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Choosing a Hymnal for a Worship Service

One person recently wrote in to ask: 1. What criteria would you use in selecting a new hymnal? 2. What particular hymnals would you recommend checking into? Although we don’t use a hymnal in our Sunday meetings, if I were to choose one, I’d look for one that contains the best of Christian hymnody prior to the early 20th century. These are the songs for congregational worship that have been established, tried, tested, and proven to be beneficial to the Church. Since a hymnal should serve primarily as a tool to teach and reinforce the doctrines of the Christian faith, I’d look for many songs by Watts, Wesley, Newton, Toplady, Cowper, Hart, …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? In Closing…

I was going to entitle this post “Final Thoughts,” but that’s probably not going to happen. One of the reasons I started this blog was to explore this role in an ongoing way. But this does mark the end of the series on the role of the corporate worship leader. Really. If you’re a musician who is responsible to lead others in praising God, I pray you’ve been served by this series. I’m grateful for those of you who have taken the time to post an encouraging comment, expand upon my thoughts, or ask questions. We need to continually ask ourselves if what we’re doing is lining up with Scripture. On most Wednesday mornings I have the joy …

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What Does a Worship Leader Do? Pt. 16

One more time, this is the definition for a congregational worship leader I’ve proposed: An effective corporate worship leader, aided and led by the Holy Spirit, skillfully combines biblical truth with music to magnify the worth of God and the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, thereby motivating the gathered church to join him in proclaiming and cherishing the truth about God and seeking to live all of life for the glory of God. Today, I’m going to share a few thoughts on that last line. Worship doesn’t begin when the singing starts, nor end when the music stops. We don’t “do worship” in a meeting, nor compartmentalize …

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Hymnals or Screens?

A while ago, Richard wrote in to ask: “Do you think there is an advantage one way or the other for a congregation to sing from a hymnal and songbook/sheet (so that they are all looking down), or singing from the words on a large screen in the front of the room (where they are all looking up and facing the same direction)?” First, I think that people can sing from hymnals and still be “facing the same direction,” and that you can sing from a hymnal and still be looking up. However, I’m not making a case for using hymnals. Or not using them. Actually, I’m surprised at how strongly people defend one position or the other in dealing with this …

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Idolatry on Sunday Mornings, Pt. 8

This is my final post in this series. It’s a little longer than the others, but it’s actually much shorter than it could be…The last idol I want to speak to is the idol of RELEVANCE. Churches can become irrelevant for any number of reasons. Spiritual pride can keep us from considering that non-Christian guests may not understand our highly developed “Christian-speak.” Administrative incompetence might make it difficult for people to find us, or to enjoy being with us once they do (possibly due to crowded conditions, erratic temperature control, musty smells, etc.). A faulty understanding of what it means to be “in the world but not of …

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