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.
I know you’ve heard complaints before about the excessive repetition, lack of depth, and over-realized eschatology that characterizes so many contemporary worship songs. I’m not writing to beat those old drums (though I could play them like Neil Peart). I want to address another topic.
Though I’m not an authority on this topic (no creature is), I do feel I am in a good position to say something about it. From my childhood I have been taught the Scriptures, which are able to make one wise on this topic. I engaged in formal graduate level study of this topic for eight years. And I have been teaching this topic to seminary students for the past thirteen years.
The topic is “Jesus.”
I recently spent some time with long-time pastor Steve Stroope, who’s been in the ministry now for forty years. We talked a lot about what he felt was critical to building a strong church. As he put it, pastors need to see themselves as the servants of the people in their ministries. We need to develop the attitude of Christ, who used his position of leadership to wash feet, not to command respect. And one of the key ways we can do this as a church, Stroope says, is to pay our volunteers.
When we thinking of getting paid, we immediately think of cash. But Stroope pointed out that we don’t have to give out money to give people something of great value.
A worship leader is like a travel guide in a way. You want to take people on a journey from A to B. Your song selection can help you execute this desired outcome. For instance, make use of certain BPM songs to take you on that journey. Imagine a bell curve. You can choose specific songs that give you that feel during your worship experience. You can start slow and move to fast and end with slow or vice versa. Think about your desired outcome and choose your songs to give you what you are looking for.
I once asked my kids, after a particularly long devotional time, if they could tell when it was the author speaking, and when it was a scripture quotation. They claimed they could. I think it’s a reasonable response, the scriptures speak with a greater authority. (Maybe there was something in my voice that would read them differently, too; I don’t know.)
This is probably true of worship songs as well.
For fans of Sufjan Stevens, John Mark McMillan. Ben Thomas is certainly a breath of fresh air for worship that is joyful, upbeat, and certainly not over-produced. You feel a real sense of community & family in his music. He seems to have found a perfect balance of progressive & pop with his Bring Forth EP’s being released in a series of three movements!