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?

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.

Paul Wilkinson shares some thoughts and predictions on the future of Christian music:

I realize that this opinion may not sit well with Chris Tomlin fans. I’m just sayin’ that if you have a choice between guitar lessons and piano lessons for the kids and you’re a forward-looking parent, I would go with the piano. As a keyboard player who never once got to play at a campfire, I realize the instrument has some limitations, but I think the next generation is looking for something completely different than G, C, Em, D7 or its many variations.

Dave Grim explains why, how, and when you should clean your guitar (I’m terrible about this):

Like any other piece of equipment or tool, if you want your guitar(s) to perform properly, then you must take proper care of it. Now some folks seem to have some strange fascination with never cleaning their guitar, and I personally think that is deranged. ?

Not only is it a great way to grow a guitar bacteria garden, it can and will eventually interfere with the proper functioning of the instrument itself. Quite literally I have seen guitars that were left uncleaned go so long that the hardware was frozen in place, corroded, and beyond saving. Meaning you cannot make the necessary periodic adjustments to bridges, saddles, necks, etc.

Matt Tullos describes four awkward prayers that you sometimes hear in church:

Public prayer is an awkward experience in most churches. It’s really a strange set of circumstances. Someone comes up to the microphone and is speaking to God and we are praying along. Hopefully. Sometimes, if you think about it, it would sound a little weird from God’s perspective. Prayer should be the ultimate spiritual communion between God and man, but like most things we have a tendency to make the sacred things seem rather human. So I submit to you these lower forms of public prayers along with their scientific classifications.

This is why I often “forget” my guitar in situations like this:

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA—A local group of college students was reportedly ambushed at their fire-pit Sunday evening, when one of their number, Matt Jenkins, a worship leader at Sunrise Community Church, remembered he just happened to bring his guitar, converting a pretty good bonfire into an impromptu worship session.

“It was so chill, but then we were all kind of trapped…”

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.

Pamela Haddix on being still and listening to God when our souls are restless:

My heart and mind have been restless this week. Struggling to figure some things out. Conflicted to even know where to begin. Just scattered. So isn’t it just like God to take me back to these powerful verses this morning…

Kailey Collins explains why multicultural worship is so powerful:

All those different languages being sung at the same time should have sounded chaotic and discordant. As I was singing and listening I couldn’t help think how this experience was flying in the face of everything I had been taught as a musician. As a classical violinist, I was taught to appreciate order and sameness.This was anything but that! My mind was saying “This can’t work!”, but my heart was saying “This is the most BEAUTIFUL thing I have EVER heard!” Why?

Ben Grace posted some highlights from an online discussion about leading worship in different languages:

During the month of March, our FB discussion centered around the topic of singing in different languages. We had insightful discussion around two specific questions…

Here are a few insights that our community shared.

W. David O. Taylor shares a fascinating overview of Bono’s thoughts and sayings on scripture and the Psalms:

It is no secret to fans of U2 that the psalms have played a significant role in Bono’s thinking on the Christian faith and in his practice of songwriting. It is also common knowledge that over the years Bono has felt a sincere affection and admiration for Eugene Peterson, who authored, among other things, The Message, a contemporary translation of the Bible. It is also true that Eugene has felt similarly towards Bono and U2 alike. Bono’s observations on the psalms that I have included below are things that I have come across over the past couple of years. They bear witness to a serious care for the Psalter and to a fascinating line of thinking on the relation between art and Scripture.

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.

I had nothing but sympathy for Jamie Brown as I read this post because the same thing happened to me this year:

It all started last Saturday night with the tell-tale whole-body shivers. I had watched my kids battling ear-infections and strep throat earlier in Holy Week, and I had skated above their germs and fevers, while I practically lived at church with rehearsals and services most evenings. But on Saturday night, just before it was time to set the 4:30am alarm for Easter morning, I knew my body was about to be hit by something bad.

Roger O’Neel shares some thoughts on one of the most important words in a worship leader’s vocabulary:

There are many different contexts for saying “no”. Some are requests for our time, talents or money. “Can you serve on the finance committee?” “Are you available to sing Sunday?” “Would you like fries with that?” Others are for opportunities such as the one above, where we have power or control over something that others want. Others “nos” may be an exercise in self-control, of saying “no” to too much of a good thing or to avoid something bad… So, some thoughts about saying “no”.

Jim Elliff explains how an overemphasis on sports can become a worship problem for many families:

Now comes the part you won’t like:

“Behold, I say unto you, you have made sports the household god.”

Too strong? OK, not all of you. But the deification of sports is happening to many.

How does ball become Baal?

Regi Stone shares six tips for adding more diversity to your church’s worship music:

QUESTION: We have a somewhat diverse congregation and live in an economically diverse community. Even though we are a contemporary young church with lots of millennials, our long-time members have a hard time singing when we incorporate other genres. Any advice on how to add more musical diversity to our worship services?

REGI: Great question! There are several steps that I’ve found helpful when introducing new music or incorporating a new style of music into a service…

Musicademy featured a guest post by CCLI explaining why it costs churches money to sing worship songs in our services:

We always find that articles we publish on licensing generate lots of interest so we have asked CCLI to write a series of guest posts for us on commonly asked questions about licensing. Here is question number 1.

One of the questions CCLI is asked most often is:

“Why should churches pay to use songs and hymns in their times of 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.

Ed Stetzer on church music, generations, and unprecedented change:

The church has not been immune. Isaac Watts, writer of some of Christianity’s most revered hymns was criticized. John and Charles Wesley were criticized. Luther was criticized, as was Calvin. The tunes of the Jesus Movement were criticized as Larry Norman complained that the devil had all the good music.

Every generation tends to dislike the music of the next generation. But the current shift is unprecedented historically. So what can the larger church learn from the churches that are growing?

Darlene Abbott explains where worship starts and how we teach it to our kids:

As we work with young children, people usually ask when we should begin to teach worship? Or when do I think worship begins in young children? I do want to answer those questions, but I want to do that by looking first at where worship started in the Bible. Let’s begin by going all the way back to Genesis…

Tim Lucas ponders whether high school students should lead adults in worship:

Great question, and one that high school students who are interested in worship leading should be asking.

Likewise, worship ministries should establish a plan to train up young leaders.

I absolutely think high school students should be leading worship in youth ministry and when appropriate, in the adult service.

However, there should be a progression to how this happens…

More tragic worship-related news from the Babylon Bee:

According to eyewitnesses at Tides Church, worship leader Wes Kimball was tragically caught in an infinite loop between the bridge and chorus of Chris Tomlin’s hit worship song How Great Is Our God.

“It’s a real tragedy. It’s scary, honestly,” keyboardist Jessica Randall told reporters as she choked back tears after the service Sunday. “This is our third worship leader who’s been sucked into a PCBV (Perpetual Chorus-Bridge Vortex) in the past year.”

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.

Stephen Altrogge shares the details of a church planning meeting that you probably shouldn’t try to emulate:

Alright everyone, let’s take our seats. We’ve got a lot to cover in today’s meeting. It’s only a couple weeks until Super Bowl Sunday – a.k.a. Easter. We need to make sure everything is on track. Heaven and Hell literally hang in the balance. Ben, where are we with the fog machines?

Magoo Del Mundo lists five great online resources for worship leaders (and there’s one you certainly know about already – thanks for link, Magoo!):

Today, all you need is a data connection and a device you can surf the net on. And that’s basically your mobile phone, tablet or computer. But with thousands upon thousands of sites that present itself as a resource, how do you filter? How do you choose?

Personally, I only frequent a very few websites when I look for new songs or read up on best practices in praise and worship or ethno-doxology. Let me share with you my list of best worship resources online. And here they are in no particular order…

Matt Brady teaches you three steps to throwing your first worship team fellowship night:

I think it’s important for worship teams to have a chance to hang out and fellowship when they are not focused on setting up equipment, rehearsing guitar parts, or when there are other things going on, like church!

No matter the size of your worship team, it is never too early to host your first team night.

If you want to keep it simple, try these three steps to get started.

Stephen Bedard shares five reasons that many churches don’t minister to those with special needs and disabilities:

Is your church ready to minister to families with disabilities? Perhaps you want to but have some fears about how that would look like. The following are some observations from someone who is both a pastor and a father of children with disabilities.

I know I shouldn’t laugh at this, but I just can’t help it:

Computers containing song slides, lead sheets, and orders of worship for Passion Church were seized this week by agents from Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI). Worship leader Zackhery Smyth has been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into his song choices for the church’s Sunday services…

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.

Thom Rainer explains why your parking lot ministry is more important than you might think:

I walked toward the car. The driver rolled down his window and called to me by name: “Hey, Thom, where do you park around here?”

The man was a coach in the baseball league where I coached with one of my sons. I didn’t really know much about him, but I was glad to see him at church. I led him to one of the few available parking spots. He thanked me: “Thanks, Thom, I was about to give up and go home.”

A few months later…

Kenny Klinglesmith describes a frustrating situation that I’m sure every worship leader has encountered:

The set list was made up of songs I had seen these students sing out with fervor and passion. My call to worship was gospel-centered, infused with humor and truth. I reminded the students that the fact we are able to declare praises of Jesus’s victory over sin and death is not only a miracle in itself, but a risen Savior is worth singing about. My band was doing an excellent job on all ends. Still, the students responded with nothing but blank stares. What was my response to this?

Anger. Frustration. Bewilderment. I was genuinely dismayed.

Why in the world were these students not worshipping

Mike Cosper on the science and secrets of perfect pitch:

If you ever wondered what theater geeks and music nerds did on a Friday night during their high school years, this is a fair glimpse. I confess to being present and being impressed, though I should also admit that this was not my scene. I was there because of a girl. But I was a musician and I’d heard of “perfect pitch.” But I’d never seen anyone exercise it before.

When someone says “So-and-so has perfect pitch,” they could mean one of several things.

Nathan Mark on Legos and life lessons:

God often uses the experiences I have with my kids to paint a picture of how He feels about me and my relationship with Him. I had the privilege of preaching the week after Christmas, and as I was doing my sermon prep I couldn’t help but think about my time building Legos with my son. As I prepared my sermon, God and I had a sweet time together. I would ask Him questions and He would answer. Sometimes I would hear Him speak to my heart, other times he would direct me to a particular passage. I felt like, in the same way that I had built a Lego set with my son, my sermon was kind of like a Lego set I was building with my Father in Heaven, only I didn’t know what the final product would look like. God gently coached me through the instructions and helped me get to the end. When it was done, I felt total security in my sermon because, even if nobody liked it, it didn’t matter — it was something I built with my Father.

Jed Smith shares how making tough decisions in church can be a lot like Star Wars:

The character Rey has to make a hard decision. Does she go back to her home planet of Jakku where everything is familiar, or does she leave to begin an adventure into the unknown?

As spectators in a movie theater, that’s an easy choice. We know Disney has to make an Episode 8 and 9 so, of course, Rey’s decision is to embark on an adventure.

But when we are in the moment, those kinds of decisions are hard; the consequences are real and the pressure is on.

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.

Tom Buck explains why sometimes you just need to do a funeral for a dog (this is a great story):

After 22 years of serving as a pastor, I did something I never could have imagined. But there I was: standing in our church’s worship center, filled with civilians and law enforcement officers, prepared to preach a sermon at a memorial service—for a dog. Those who know me—a conservative Southern Baptist pastor—were probably more shocked than I was.

How on earth had I found myself in this situation?

Mark MacDonald wrote an interesting post about church logo design:

“Put a cross in it please”, said the pastor who recently asked for our studio to design a new logo for his church. I believe he’s wrong, so I challenged the notion. He said he wasn’t sure but the committee he reports to requested it.

Great logos are rarely designed by a committee.

I may be late to the game here, but this Facebook group is hilarious:

WE exist to create memes, for Worship Leaders, by Worship Leaders.

Here’s another funny Facebook group for worship folks:

Providing comical worship team dilemma memes.

I’ll assume that you haven’t all heard about this worship-related tragedy yet:

Describing the experience as “tragic,” local worship leader Axl Johnson found his congregation totally unable to worship as the church’s primary fog machine malfunctioned right in the middle of the Sunday morning set. “We barely got through our new song. It was a real train-wreck,” a visibly shaken Johnson told us while sipping a latte macchiato in the church cafe after service.

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.

Phil Bowdle explains why it’s time to stop doing church announcements:

I’m gonna go ahead and put this out there… I hate announcements.

The very mention of the word brings back memories of being stuck in a pew, listening to someone read from a bulletin for 15 minutes about everything on the church calendar that week.

Growing up in the church, I can’t remember a time where I’ve heard someone say, “Wow, those announcements were powerful today.”

That presents a challenge for us as the church.

I enjoyed reading Ellie Holcomb’s brief meditation on “How Great Thou Art”:

“How Great Thou Art” always has a way of undoing me. Something happens to me each time I sing this old hymn, whether singing along with hundreds of other voices or alone in my car. The atmosphere seems to shift, and I’m left wondering what it is specifically about this hymn that causes such a stir within me.

Pamela Haddix says that a more robust worship life is one reason (of many) to start journaling:

I mentioned this briefly in reason #3, but it’s definitely worth it’s own point. (And this is a worship blog, after all.) When I take the time to write out what God is showing me about Himself from His word, it lights a fire under my desire to worship Him. Besides that, making worship part of my regular journaling process helps take a humble responsibility and turn it into a passionate habit of my soul. I don’t always write out every single word of my worship time. I enjoy letting go of earthly ties as much as possible and surrendering to His presence. But it most often starts with what God has just revealed of Himself through His word – that’s made it’s way through the pen onto my page.

Tim Challies lists five simple ways to make worship a daily lifestyle by giving to God:

The heart of productivity is glorifying God by serving others. It is carefully and deliberately considering the things God calls us to do, and deploying all that we’ve got for his glory and the good of people made in his image. It is giving back to him what he has entrusted to each one of us

To that end, here are five things you can give to God every day.

Michael Kelley tells you why you should stay at your uncool church:

Now let’s be clear – I’m not talking about legitimate reasons to leave a church. Those are real. There are doctrinal issues that are worthy of dividing fellowship over. I’m not talking an issue of the integrity of the gospel; I’m talking about the nonsensical issues of preference that make us church shop whenever we feel a little restless. In this post, I’d like to argue for three reasons to do the very counter-cultural thing of actually staying in the church that’s simply not cool enough…

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.

Jed Smith has some advice for taking your musicians to the next level:

In order to talk to you about this, I need to let you in on a little secret. I love chord charts more than most people, but the chord chart of a song tells you the chord progression of a song. It doesn’t tell you what to play.

Think about how your band is plays a worship song. If your worship team is playing the chords that are on the chart, then it’s time to graduate to the next level.

Here’s what I mean by “next level.”

Chris Surratt explains why singing in your small group is maybe not such an awesome idea:

When my wife and I started our first small group, there was an expectation at our church for groups to have an element of singing together for worship. I was a musician and a worship leader at that time, so each week I would pick out two or three songs and lead them with an acoustic guitar. I would also print out the lyrics so everyone could have something to stare at instead of the person across from them in the circle. If you think men aren’t singing during your Sunday morning worship, try forcing them to sing in a small group of twelve people…

Paul Wilkinson wonders why people so often make ministry work such a low priority:

It was 1989. The big city Christian bookstore closed at 6:00 PM on Saturday nights. At 5:30 he walked in and we got into a conversation where he let it be known that his reason for shopping was that he needed to buy an accompaniment tape as he was booked to be the “special music” at church the following morning. He wanted to listen to a few songs and “get some ideas.”

This wasn’t a small country church. This was a church that would have about 1,500 people in each of two services. The next day.

He had left it to the very last minute.

I was reminded of this on Thursday when something similar happened…

Check out this short post by Mark Martin about worshiping without vocals:

Just wanted to plant a little thought in your mind for this Sunday, for you pianists.

The piano is an awesome instrument from which to worship God without words.

I think you’ll enjoy this profile of Brendan Prout – worship leader, songwriter, stormtrooper:

Prout’s known for his rock-and-roll chapel services at Comic-Con. “I’ve been performing there every Sunday morning for the past ten years,” he says. “Last year, I performed with Kyle Hildebrand from Walking Water, and for many years have performed with Sam Hornedo from Winterhawk.”