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Posted on Mar 31, 2014 in Worship Ministry | 0 comments

Are You Rushing Your Church’s Response?

Are You Rushing Your Church’s Response?

The preacher closes his notes, says a prayer and walks off the stage. Then what? God’s Word has been read and your church has just been challenged–hopefully!–with how it applies to their life. So what happens then? I can tell you what used to happen at our church and what happens in many churches like ours: We sang a song and went home! No time to waste. Everything pointed to the sermon and when that was over, everything was over. And then I read the ol’ book written by Jim Cymbala titled “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire“.  Quotes like this one started some wheels turning in my head: “…the writer to the Hebrews nails down the most central activity of all for Christians: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:16).  It doesn’t say, “Let us come to the sermon.” We in America have made the sermon the centerpiece of the church, something God never...

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Posted on Mar 17, 2014 in Resources, Worship Ministry | 2 comments

A New Template for Planning Worship Services

A New Template for Planning Worship Services

Is there any rhyme or reason to your planning? Or is every song set a new adventure with no real way of assuring consistent balance and depth?  I fear it is all too easy for worship planners to fall into a pattern of either oversimplifying (by simply picking a few songs with little thought to why) or overcomplicating (by becoming obsessed with theming). As I’ve mentioned before, I became disillusioned with planning my services exclusively around sermon topics. But I’ve long desired to write a follow-up post to offer a balanced alternative. In reading through Worship by the Book by Hughes, Keller, Ashton, and Carson, I had several brainstorms that led to this new worship planning model I’ve tried out over the past 6 months or so. It’s really more like a template and perhaps you can take ideas from it to use in your own planning process: PRAISE A song or reading that expresses praise to God for who He is and what He has done in our lives....

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Posted on Mar 10, 2014 in Featured Slider, Worship Ministry | 5 comments

The Surmountable Challenge Facing Churches Using Hymnals

The Surmountable Challenge Facing Churches Using Hymnals

Let’s face it. Our society has changed drastically in a few ways over recent decades. I suppose technology is the most obvious and dramatic change. I mean, who would’ve dreamed in the 90’s that cell phones would become what they now are? Another change that may only seem obvious and dramatic to those of us living in the blue collar worship ministry world is the shift in musical know-how. The art & science of music was once widely taught in our culture: in schools, in homes, and in churches. From an early age, a person could be expected to understand at least the rudimentary concepts of notes and singing. Today, the only folks who know anything about sight-reading are those who volunteered to take electives in middle & high school like choir, orchestra, or band. Everyone else learns to sing in their car or with their big, shiny headphones on. In other words, listening for a melody and singing it out is the most we can hope for from the younger...

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Posted on Feb 27, 2014 in Leadership, Resources, Tools, Worship Ministry | 1 comment

End It.

End It.

Welcome to next week’s post because today is February 27th, 2014–also known as “Shine a Light on Slavery Day” for those who are in it to End It. Tonight, I’ll turn on my sound system in my cozy church building and make beautiful (hopefully!) music to God with my team. Meanwhile, there will be people who are experiencing their own living hell in that moment. To worship God comfortably but continuously avoid, ignore, and show apathy toward justice and mercy and faithfulness is worse than wrong. And it would certainly earn us a strong rebuke from Jesus. Not that you or I have to individually engage boldly in every fight out there. There’s a lot of injustice in this world, a lot of mercy needed. That being said, ignorance is NOT bliss. And with an issue this well documented, ignorance is irresponsible at best. The good news: It doesn’t take much time to get informed and pass it on. And that IS doing something! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7yFuLxoldU And it doesn’t take much...

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Posted on Feb 24, 2014 in Tools, Worship Ministry | 7 comments

Why You Should Stop Avoiding Your Sound Booth!

Why You Should Stop Avoiding Your Sound Booth!

Look, I get it. I really do. Some of you love making music but couldn’t care less about the technical ins and outs of a sound system. Words like Gain, Phantom Power, EQ, Gate, Compression or even Reverb make your eyes glaze over and roll. The mere sight of all those knobs and faders on the sound board is enough to give anyone a headache, right?! I have to admit, I was in your shoes for many years. I love playing guitar. I love singing. I love leading a band and a church in song. But I would’ve just as soon “wrassled” a wild boar as tangled with feedback! Or any of that other sound tech stuff, for that matter. But over the years I’ve come to recognize that I truly need to be engaged in the sound ministry of our church. And, even though it’s still not my comfort zone or my favorite thing in the world, I’ve tried to learn and grow in this area. There are...

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Posted on Feb 10, 2014 in Leadership, Worship Ministry | 2 comments

Know Enough about Everyone’s Job to Get Yourself in Trouble

Know Enough about Everyone’s Job to Get Yourself in Trouble

I recently read a good resource article by Wisdom Moon where he spoke to the importance of dynamics and, at one point, he said: “I don’t know how to play every instrument on stage, but I understand enough about each to give some verbal direction.”  I immediately thought, “Wow, that would make an article all by itself!” So here it is. Perhaps you’re familiar with the expression: “I know just enough about _______________ to get me in trouble.”  As a worship leader, you are probably a band leader. And as a band leader, you should know just enough about each instrument in your band to get you in trouble! (Really, I suppose these principles will apply across leadership contexts.) For instance, I can’t play drums.  While I’ve learned to keep two limbs in rhythm, four has proven more than I can ask of my uncoordinated self! But over the years, I’ve gleaned as much information about drummers and drum sets as I can because I believe they make or break...

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