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Some are instructing churches to turn down the music volume during their Sunday morning gathering. We cannot dismiss these arguments as complaints from old curmudgeons within the church, such as the argument that a lower volume of music emphasizes corporate singing. However, I’m not sold that the best way to encourage corporate singing is turning down instruments’ volume.
The goal of leading corporate song is to facilitate the joyful singing of God's people. Anything you do should tend toward their participation and full engagement. This means that your leading of the singing should be simple and predictable enough so that the congregation can jump on board, and also compelling enough that they want to jump on board.
In A Home and a Hunger: Songs of Kingdom Hope, singer/songwriter Caroline Cobb invites listeners to sing the story of God’s kingdom. Cobb has emerged as a unique and needed voice as she attempts to make biblical theology accessible for old and young, new believers and longtime Christians, for those who know their need and for those who think they’re doing OK.
The joy of the good news of Jesus outshines all other joys, making it seem like we must be dreaming, filling our mouths with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy. So our worship services should feel joyful, right? On the whole, yes, of course, they should. But that is far from the whole story.
Congregational songs must be singable enough that unmusical people can participate and theologically understandable enough for new believers to benefit from their truth. But the biggest struggle I see when songwriters show me new congregational worship songs isn’t musical or theological. The greatest struggle in writing good congregational worship songs is structural.
Every once in a while you stumble across a historical figure whose voice speaks—no, shouts—with all kinds of contemporary relevance. For me, that figure is Thomas Cranmer, and the more I get to know him, the more I am inspired by this theologian, pastor, artist, and worship leader. If Cranmer is remembered at all, he is often caricatured as a wishy-washy politician, flitting to and fro in the winds of the whims of the mad King Henry VIII....Read More ➔
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 ➔
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 ➔
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 ➔
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 ➔