Worship leaders, pastors, and everyone serving this weekend: know that I’m praying for you! I pray that God will bless you and stretch you and use you to grow His kingdom and expand His family.
As usual, I found lots of great links this week that I wanted to share with you but that didn’t quite fit into a post. When you get a few minutes this weekend, check them out and be encouraged and challenged. Maybe even learn something. 🙂
Remember, these are just excerpts, but I strongly encourage you to click through and read each post in its entirety.
Did you hear the latest research about the attitudes of Millennials? Me neither. I’m being sarcastic, but kind of serious. It’s good to study the trends and behaviors of the next generation so we can adapt our ministry methods for gospel advance and the edification of those we are called to serve. Still, my experience tells me that that the kind of ministry that best builds up the body of Christ is one filled with incarnational, intergenerational, gift-giving relationships.
To begin with, I think it would be helpful to at least take a look at the historical reasons why most evangelicals use grape juice instead of wine. These historical reasons are all intertwined with the theological and philosophical views that we have already been discussing. Frankly, we could spend a great amount of time exploring this. We could get pretty deep into the history, the Spirit of the Age, the philosophy, the science, the hermeneutics, and on and on, but I really want to stay on topic. My hope is that this summary will suffice to give a picture of what has happened.
I often contemplate what it means to be ‘successful’ (check out some of my previous blogs on the topic). I am becoming more convinced that a Christian perspective of success is very different to our cultures idea of what it means. Success is not about making it to the top. This sets up 99% of people for failure as there is not enough space for everyone at the top.
The pastor outlined some ground rules and some points of how the church gently police people should the spiritual response be considered fleshly or slightly left field. Of course he was talking about ensuring that people did not see the service as a ‘free for all’ in terms of expressing or exercising the power of God’s spirit to the detriment of other worshippers present. In a group gathering, it is not unreasonable to ensure distractions and odd behaviours are challenged. I understand that order is part of the process but it did get me thinking about how identifying and labelling reasons for certain responses from individuals within a spiritual environment is not a straight forward process.
Since quitting my career as a worship pastor about a year and a half ago, all my musical endeavors have been outside of worship music, and all my worship service leading has been in a home setting. It’s been super nice to keep musicianship and giving God praise separate for the time being. My mindset for all worship leading in a home or small context has been, “How can we worship in the simplest, least distracting and least selfish way possible?” Which has led to the worship taking precedence, and the music’s only purpose being to support the melody so that we can sing together. Oddly enough, as is often the case, that simplicity has actually taken more musical skill than any guitar solo I’ve ever played. It’s just that the skill is mental and comes prior to the actual worship leading.
So now that we’ve had a few weeks to come to terms with the music and implication of the records surprise marketing/distribution method maybe we can look for some takeaways? Instead of debating the finer points of U2’s latest offering, I would like to look at the response it has drawn. I feel like looking at Songs Of Innocence’s reception will shed light on issues that affect us as worship leaders and church musicians.