A recent post by a respected church leader described several trends in the church that give him hope. One of these was the settling down of the “worship wars”, the clash within churches over worship styles. As he says, “We have wasted far too much time and resources insisting on our preferences rather than engaging in true worship”.
While I hope this is true on a larger scale, I still see many churches in worship lockdown. Either the battle hasn’t been fought yet, or it is just beginning.
One of the biggest issues is knowing what to do when a worship leader teaches a new song to the congregation. When you hear your music or worship leader leader say the words, “We have a new song for you today,” let these Seven Tips help you on the path of discovery.
Continue reading “Seven Tips for When Your Worship Leader Teaches a New Song”
One of my favorite parts of church is the singing. My life was always filled with music. We learned how to play the recorder in Grade 3. In Grade 5 we were given the chance to sign up for the school band. When I went home and told my parents I needed a trumpet, they were quite surprised. All through my school years I was part of the choir, which is where I learned music theory. Later I took that knowledge and taught myself to play the piano and the guitar.
Songs can stick with us for years. It will be a long time before people stop hearing the music of Disney’s Frozen every time they hear the phrase, “Let it go.” The songs we sing in church have the same power. We may not be able to remember them in their entirety, but parts of those songs can sink deep into our memories. They help us remember powerful truths about God and life. And no matter our situation, we can pull those songs out of our hearts, any time and any place.
Scripture describes what we do with our songs using many powerful words. One of these tells us to take the words we sing and use them to take God from the back burner of our minds and put Him front and center.
Continue reading “Magnify the Lord: Making God Bigger in Our Lives”
In a previous post I began writing a response to a popular article floating around the internet. In one of the weekly e-newsletters I received today, another article just posted as another chain in the dialogue this topic has created. Though many churches maintain a high caliber of musician and vocalist for the churches, there continues to be a percentage of our congregations that are not participating in this very biblical portion of our services.
The first post talked about some practical ways to create an environment that invites as many as are willing to join in worship. That is just one side of the coin when it comes to this concern. Quite often, this is the only side that is addressed in these internet articles. Change the key; stop singing “girly” love songs; make church “manly” again. Some of those ideas are great ideas. But addressing the practical issues of singing in our churches is only half the battle.
Worship is a spiritual act, after all. While it involves physical rules like musical scales, keys and chords, it is a spiritual offering from a spiritual individual to the only true God. Therefore we have to examine whether there are any spiritual reasons for the lack of participation in worship.
Continue reading “The Spiritual Side of Singing in the Church”
This week I was asked to comment on an article that has found its way around the internet again. The article itself is a few years old, but like all hot-button topics on the web, it comes and goes in cycles. Having seen it pop up again recently on Facebook, it was already on my radar. It is one of many that question some of the practices and mindsets regarding contemporary worship in our churches, and seeking to explain why many aren’t joining in congregational singing.
Normally I stay away from discussions like this. I don’t jump in and make a lot of noise where others are already having too much fun doing it. But I don’t see anyone making the same observations I am. As a pastor and worship leader my perspective is different from the pew.
Not that the writer of the article is out to harm anyone. On the contrary, I have seen and listened to him teach in person. He genuinely wants to help Christians, specifically men, find and assume their Scriptural place as part of the Body of Christ. Still, there is always more to any situation than just one of us can see. So I’d like to offer some “real” reasons people are not joining in when the music starts at church.
To help us out I’d like to break these reasons into two categories. We will look at one in this post, and the other in a follow-up.
Continue reading “The Practical Side of Singing in the Church”
Today’s post was written by Sam Hohman. When I was in Bible College he was part of the staff and one of his more obvious roles was worship leading. I greatly respect Sam and believe that we share a similar heart for worship. He wrote this post for his Facebook account. When I asked if I could repost it here he was gracious enough to allow me. Sam currently serves as Worship Pastor for Faith Memorial Church in Sandusky, Ohio.
I am reading today out of Leviticus 22:17 and on… and the online verses sent to me from www.biblegateway.com entitle this section: “Unacceptable Sacrifices”. It describes specifically what kind of animal must be brought as a sacrifice (a “freewill offering” or to fulfill a vow) – one without any defect, and a male (and it describes the possible defects).
Those of you who, like me, grew up in a church that was Assemblies of God or similar, probably remember the song way back in the 80’s, “We bring the sacrifice of praise, into the house, of the Lord; we bring the sacrifice of praise, into the house, of the Lord! And we offer up to You, the sacrifices of thanksgiving; and we offer up to You, the sacrifices of joy!” Admit it. You just sang that in your head. And you also did the motions in your head. Come on, you know you did… you may have even continued in your mind to “This Is the Day” or “What a Mighty God We Serve”. If so, man, were you an A/G person! You can stop grinning now, ‘cause you are the one I’m talking about, you know who you are.
I know that in Leviticus, the instructions given by God were not referring to worship and praise, especially not as we practice it today, with music, usually at the beginning of our church services. But the word “sacrifice” got me thinking, and, more specifically, “unacceptable” got me really thinking. Continue reading “Guest Post: “Unacceptable” Worship”