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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.
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 ➔
About Hymns of Grace Hymns of Grace is a project of Grace Community Church & The Master's Seminary.This collection of approximately 355 titles features current standard hymns (some rearranged musically), old hymns that have fallen out of use, many wonderful new hymns, and more than 90 responsive Scripture readings (ESV). 2015 Shepherds' Conference Summit from Grace Community Church on Vimeo. John MacArthur says, "Hymns are wonderful didactic tools, filled with S...Read More ➔
Note: This is the second of a two-part series, delivered by Harold Best at the 2014 Doxology & Theology Conference. A few more thoughts about labor. There is a difference between labor and what labor produces; it varies from person to person, talent to talent, parish to parish. Pastor Luke can saw a piece of worship wood to length just once and it always seems to fit just right; Pastor Jack saws his piece three times and it’s still too short. In both cases t...Read More ➔
Jesus is worthy of the worship of all the peoples of the world: every tribe, tongue, and nation; every man, woman, and child. Jesus is worthy of their worship. But there are three billion people on our planet today who do not worship Jesus. Three billion people have never been told the story of the rescuing God. As worship leaders, our lives and leadership must reflect the gravity of unreached peoples. John Piper says, “Missions exists because worship doesn&rsqu...Read More ➔
We must prepare for the music on Sunday morning. It must be excellent, but does our pursuit of musical perfection get in the way of our ability to really care for the souls of those that God has placed on our teams? Have you considered how you will pastor the people on your team? More often than I care to admit, I have been more concerned about the quality of music that has been produced by those I have lead. A few years ago I knew something needed t...Read More ➔