Taking A Break

My friends, this is going to be the last post on Worship Links for a while.

When I first started this site in 2012, my life was very different. In the past three and a half years, I’ve been hired as a part time worship leader (I was a volunteer before), I’ve been given some management responsibilities at my day job, and my band has started to gain some traction locally. These are all good things for which I’m extremely thankful!

But that means that my life has less margin than it used to, and I need to readjust my priorities right now.

I’m hoping to restart this site later this year with a more collaborative style. If that’s something you’re interested in, please be in touch!

In the meantime, please continue to make use of the resources you’ll find here. And since some people have asked, if you’d like me to write a guest post for your site or be a guest on your podcast, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thank you all for your support and friendship. See you soon.

All for His glory!

When Worship Seems Too Hard

Chuck Lawless shares what to do in those times when your heart just isn’t into worshipping:

It happens. Even believers struggle sometimes with worshiping. Life gets hard. Problems get in the way. We go to church, but leave our heart at home. What should you do if you expect to find worship hard this weekend?

The struggle to worship hits worship leaders just as hard as everyone – maybe even harder sometimes. Chuck lists ten things you can do to get past yourself and focus on worshipping God. Check it out here.

What Really Matters

Great post by Kelly Sundsvold about what really matters during corporate worship:

“Wow, she just killed that solo on Sunday!” or “His voice is amazing, he really brought it!”

He brought what? His Bible? The Holy Spirit?

And what was “killed”? The guitar? Was there a tragedy on the stage?

Have you heard these phrases thrown around in the worship community? They may be just phrases said to encourage the person leading the song, but where do they point people’s attention: to God or to people?

Our songs can’t bring Jesus, He’s already present, are you?

Click here to read the whole thing. It’s a powerful reminder that our hearts need to be right before we lead worship.

Weekend Links

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.

Jonathan Merritt on Charles Shulz, spirituality, God, and Snoopy:

But Schulz also revolutionized his industry by using his strip to subtly raise religious questions about the Bible, prayer, the nature of God, and the end of the world. Schulz was a devoted Christian; unshell the Peanuts and you’ll find the fingerprints of his faith. By mixing Snoopy with spirituality, he made his readers laugh while inviting them into a depth of conversation uncommon to the funny pages.

For those who minister in obscurity, Tim Abraham shares six reasons to keep going:

A majority of those worshipping this Sunday are—through no fault of their own—unaware of this man and the countless faithful servants like him. The men, women, and students who are leading and serving in obscurity. The nursery and children’s ministry workers. Student ministry group leaders. The audio-visual team. Facilities workers. Preparers of meals for those grieving. These are but a limited few of the out-of-the-spotlight, behind-the-scenes volunteers. But don’t let their obscurity obscure their importance. Leading and serving in obscurity is vitally important to ministry…

Trevin Wax explains why going to church isn’t a chore or an obligation, but a privilege:

One of the dads in my small group said that he corrects his kids if they ever ask about having to go to church on a weekend. “We never have to,” he says, “we get to go.” I like that. He’s policing the language of the house because he knows that the way he talks about church will send a signal to the rest of the family about how to view Sundays – as chore or as privilege.

Here are three ways we should see gathering with God’s people as privilege…

Thom Rainer shares ten things that church leaders dread hearing:

Let me take you behind the scenes again in the life of a pastor.

For sure, your pastor is not likely to let you know the pain these brief sentences cause.

But, for most pastors, they hurt. They really hurt.

Here are ten of the most common painful sentences uttered to pastors by church members…

Nathan Busenitz explains why the Bible as we know it has the books it has:

Have you ever looked at your Bible and wondered, “How do we know that these 66 books, and no others, comprise the inspired Word of God?”

That is a critically important question, since there are many today who would deny that these 66 books truly make up the complete canon of Scripture…

So, how do we know that “all Scripture” consists of these 66 books? How do we know that the Bible we hold in our hands is the complete Word of God?

Three Ways To Be A Bad Communicator

Communicating well with your worship team is essential. Laura Blankenship explains that poor communication can kill your worship team’s culture:

I’ve come to realize that part of my job description should read, “Defender of Culture”. Because in all reality, creating and keeping a positive culture on our teams only happens with intention. It’s when we get a bit lazy that culture killers can sneak in and start to poke holes in the fabric of our God-centered, positive, encouraging, and honest culture.

Let’s talk about a culture killer that runs rampant through the church world: Poor Communication.

It’s really tough as a leader to hear a volunteer say, “No one told me” or, “It seems like you don’t really need me right now so I’m taking next month off”. And sometimes, we even find ourselves disappointed in the performance of a volunteer, wondering how it went so wrong.

How does this happen?

Laura lists three ways that worship leaders (and other ministry leaders) often fail at communicating with their teams. Read the whole thing here.

Where To Find New Music

Matt Brady shares a few places you can find new songs for your worship catalog:

Of the many tasks placed on the shoulders of a worship leader, one of the most exciting (and stressful!) tasks is finding new worship songs to introduce into the local church. We each have our favorite sources for finding new worship songs, but there may be other options out there that you have not considered.

The list below is in no particular order, and is certainly not exhaustive. These are some of the places that I have personally used, and a few that I am going to be using more in the future. I hope this list helps you find your church some favorite new worship songs!

I love that Matt includes hymnals on this list. Where do you go to find new music for your church? Read Matt’s list here.

Flexibility On The Worship Team

Worship ministry is no stranger to last minute changes – that’s why flexibility is a critical part of being on the team. Craig Stott says that worship team members can take some lessons from yoga:

I think we as worship team members can learn a lot from people who do yoga. Primarily, the main thing I think we can learn is becoming “flexible”. When I think about some of the times I’ve led worship, music directed, or simply played my instrument, there were moments I wish I were more “flexible”, meaning I was ready to bend a different direction than I had planned. On the other hand, there have been plenty of moments where I have felt I was ready to bend and move wherever the Spirit of God was ready to take us as a team. Turning to scripture, one of my most favorite men in the entire Bible is King David. Let’s look at how God used David’s flexibility for His purposes.

Craig shares three keys to becoming a flexible worship team member. Check it out here.

Creativity For The Creator

Great post by Kelly Wolfe about the need to have private times of worship outside of the church service:

Once we have positioned our hearts in that place with the help of the Spirit, humility and dependence should define our posture. When we humble ourselves before God, we humble ourselves to the point of being freed up. In humility, there is nothing to prove and no one to impress. We are just free to be who we are before God. In recognizing and confessing our dependence, we exercise trust before God – that he will see and know, and still delight in us. Intimacy with God is organically created within our “quiet times” when we come in quietness, humility, and dependence.

Perhaps this sounds great, but you aren’t sure what it looks like practically. For example, I love to write. When the right sentence makes itself known, I worship. When I am able to bring order to chaos by creating, I am imaging God and it causes my heart to worship. I also love to sing. Definitely in corporate worship with my local church, but I also try to intentionally and regularly make space to spontaneously worship God, the words flowing out of my heart from the Scripture I just read or prayers I have been repeating.

Kelly lists some concrete examples of using our creativity to worship God. Check it out here.

Three Moments

Alex Robinson writes that there are three specific moments that every worship service needs. He calls them the Awe, the Aha, and the Haha:

Awe moments are those moments when we begin to realize who God is and who we are in light of this. These are very experiential moments… Aha moments are those moments when we “get it.” When we finally grasp something in a way we can live it… Haha moments add “personality” to worship services. They add a relational element. Have fun. Be real. Connect with people.

He goes into much more depth in the full post. Check it out here.

The Artist And The Shepherd

Mike Harland on the church’s need for those who create and those who lead:

Recently, in one of my classes, a discussion broke out about the differences between Artists and Shepherds. The context of the discussion was around church ministry and which role best described the Worship Pastor. Here are a few of the thoughts from the dialogue that day…

Mike shares the differences between artists and shepherds – and how the church needs both. Read the whole thing here.