Worship Leadership Series (part four): 5 Criteria for Choosing a Worship Leader

When I was in college, I can’t count the number of worship leading gigs I was asked to do. There were at least several dozen different opportunities to lead worship in different venues from churches to college ministries to youth camps to bar mitzvahs. I did it all. But I wasn’t qualified for much other than to play Guitar Hero. No one asked me about my character or theology (except for Campus Crusade, for whom I am deeply grateful). Before Passion came around, the only contemporary songs to choose from were the I-love-Jesus-like-I-love-my-girlfriend variety. I didn’t care what the song said, as long as it had a cool sound and interesting melody. I should have been fired. Most churches just want a guitar guy, not a worship leader, because that’s what the polls and magazines tell them they have to have to survive as a church these days. The problem…

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Worship Leadership Series (part three): Moses the Rock Star

In my last post in this series, I argued that Paul urges in Ephesians to use singing as an instrument of instruction in the church. But this started way before in the days of Moses. The book of Deuteronomy is a covenant between God and Israel. It was written by Moses as the children of God were about to enter Canaan to possess the land He had given them. The covenant stipulates that if they obey God and the terms of the covenant in the land they were about to possess, he would bless them abundantly. If they did not obey, they would suffer divine wrath. Pretty straightforward, isn’t it? The problem, however, was that every generation would need new motivation to obey the law. Sure, mom and dad may obey just fine. Getting their teenage kids to follow God is a totally different animal. As the generations pass, how…

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Worship Leadership Series (part two): Singing is Commanded in Scripture

In many contemporary worship settings, the focus of the music appears to be primarily self-expression of one’s relationship with God. While there’s nothing wrong with this, I do believe that it is a misplaced priority. I aim to show in this post that worship music in the church is to be primarily for instruction in the truths of scripture and not for self-expression. Ephesians 5:18ff says this: And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5 is a great example of the purpose that God assigns to singing in his church. The positive…

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Worship Leadership Series (part one): Surveying the Extremes

Albert Mohler quotes Paul S. Jones, who surveys the contemporary church landscape. It is a hedonistic, narcissistic, relativistic, ‘me-focused’ age, though, is hardly one that should inform and define our approach to God. And yet, it does. We measure our success by numbers, our relevance by how technologically integrated and up-to-date we are, and our worship by how good it makes us feel. In the minds of contemporary saints, hymns clash with the spontaneity, simplicity, and style that have come to rule in the modern evangelical church. I agree with this sentiment. Here’s a sampling from a recent Passion CD (Our Love is Loud) featuring Charlie Hall: Suddenly I feel you holding me Suddenly I feel you holding me Suddenly I feel you holding me. Suddenly I feel you holding me. Sweep me away. Sweep me away. Sweep me away. Sweep me away. Suddenly I feel your hand in mine.…

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The Evil Worship Empire

Greg Gilbert at 9Marks has posted recently Against Music used for worship in church. He began with this nifty quip: “I think the entire evangelical world ought to put a moratorium on any kind of instrumental music, and just chant psalms in their worship services—for the next ten years.*” He’s joking, of course. But then again, maybe not. He concludes with this: “*I’m being facetious with the title of this post and the call for a moratorium on music, of course. The Bible tells us to sing. God gave us music precisely because it affects our hearts and emotion, and that is a good thing. But every good thing can be and will be misused by sinful humans. My sense is that “excellent music” has become something of an idol. No, we don’t worship it. But alot [sic] of people need it to worship, and that may be just as…

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The Value of Creeds

When someone thinks of God, that is, to use the word “God,” any number of ideas may come into their minds that may or may not reflect who God really is. If you asked Oprah who God is, you’ll likely get a very different answer from orthodox Christianity the longer she speaks. Unfortunately, people like Oprah exert a great deal of influence on what people think about God. The God of modern America is a Santa Clause who doesn’t want me to experience much pain but does want me to be happy. Thus, the right thing to do in most situations is to follow the path that seems, on the surface at least, to make me most happy. This sort of God values equality the most, accepts people along similar lines of an Equal Opportunity Employer who doesn’t discriminate based on sex, race, gender identity, and so on. This is…

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Thoughts on family worship

As expected, the lecture on family worship was one of the very best of the semester and I set my mind immediately to implement what was taught. Several aspects of the lecture I found particularly helpful. The first was the simplicity of the task. I have known of families who have practiced this but the idea had always been somewhat intimidating. It seemed something relegated to the super-spiritual club and I had resisted it, in part, due to my own shame and failure, and also because I did not want to do it simply because all the Christians-who-are-really-good-Christians do it. So it was with great anticipation that I looked forward to this lecture because I knew, in my heart, that it was the right thing to do and I wanted some guidance now, especially since I have two small children that I want to train for godliness. And so, back…

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