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Every Christ-follower has heard the call to pray. We hear it from Jesus himself (Matt 6:9, Luke 11:2). Our worship gatherings feature regular opportunities to pray. Other Christians invite us to pray. And there’s an ever-increasing list of books, sermons, and other resources encouraging prayer. At least at a cognitive level, we know we should pray.
We want everyone not only to understand our core priorities when it comes to music, but to become equipped to bolster the singing here. After all, the singing ministry of a church primarily belongs to the whole congregation, not just the musicians or trained vocalists.
We should approach our task with an intensity of focus that produces a solid outcome. This is counterintuitive for some churches, where worship leadership is handed to a young man whose primary qualification is that he can play an instrument or sing. It counters worship leaders who do only what is needed to get through Sunday so the focus is solely on the preaching of the Word.
Some songs quote passages without their context, leaving the exegetical work to the listener--which isn’t inherently wrong but also isn’t helpful. Other songs distorts the true intent of the text by putting verses a new context, which does a tremendous disservice to the church and dishonor to God. I hope this article will challenge songwriters to write, pastors to select, and Christians to champion songs that treat passages in their original context with a renewed commitment to clarifying the biblical author’s intended meaning of a passage.
You may only have to pick four songs every week to keep your boss satisfied and your congregation singing, but there’s so much more you actually can, should, and need to do to maintain your integrity as someone who has been called to sing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to the people God has called to worship Him in grace and truth.
Easter is not the "Super Bowl of the church." Easter is not the day we suit up, march onto the field and win the game for Jesus. Easter is the day we fix our eyes on the resurrected Christ. Easter is the day we gather together to remind one another that Jesus has already won for us....Read More ➔
For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship by Daniel I. Block. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014, vii + 410 pp., $34.99, hardcover. Daniel I. Block, Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, writes from the conviction that “true worship involves reverential human acts of submission and homage before the divine Sovereign in response to his gracious revelation of himself and in accord with his will” (23). Block seeks to elucidate thi...Read More ➔
New church, new worship team, first rehearsal. Awkwardness and nerves. I start slowly with a familiar tune. We reach the end, notes still trailing off and fading. My mind computing through a rapid succession of silent assessments. The drummer only played three fills, the bass player stuck to the root and even though the guitar player had seventeen more pedals than I thought necessary, the playing was tasteful and appropriate. I look up to gage the teams reaction, and the...Read More ➔
We must continue to preach the Gospel through song to those who already know it and rest in it. So what are some practical ways we can accomplish this as worship leaders so that our weekly planning is not mundane but done with intentionality and excellence?...Read More ➔
For the last twenty years, I have been trying to bend the English language around for the glory of God and write melodies to encourage the hearts of his people. I know the difficulty and the reward of this labor and, more than ever, I feel the need to sing to the Lord a new song....Read More ➔
Do you want to become a more effective worship leader? This new offering from Austin Stone Worship will help you learn from leaders like Aaron Ivey, Matt Carter, Charlie Hall, Robbie Seay, Tony Merida & many others! In this free 3-video training (plus free PDF download) you will learn: 5 rhythms of healthy worship leaders that you can incorporate into your own life to help you become more effective. The roadblocks to becoming a more effective worship leade...Read More ➔
Do all churches practice gospel-shaped worship? So what can churches do to ensure their services are centered around the gospel? At the 2015 Gospel Coalition Conference, I sat down with Jared Wilson (director of content strategy at Midwestern Seminary and managing editor of For the Church) and Shane Barnard (one half of the musical duo Shane & Shane) to have a discussion about how to deliberately make corporate worship gospel-shaped. For more on this sub...Read More ➔
Whether painting a canvas, “becoming” a character in a film or shaping a sculpture, every artist has a creative process that aids in achieving the best possible end result. I have been a musician and singer/songwriter for most of my life and have written, composed and arranged many songs. Setting the Psalms to music presented new challenges that I hadn’t encountered before and I thought it might be interesting to share a few elements of my process with ...Read More ➔