The Worship Pastor Audiobook is Here!

Zac HicksUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Since the release date, I’ve talked to many worship leaders out there who tell me they’ve wanted to check out The Worship Pastor but that they do most of their “reading” through audiobooks. Makes sense to me! We’ve all got different learning styles and modes of comprehension. A few years ago, I asked my publisher if we could make The Worship Pastor into an audiobook, and their kind reply was basically, “Hey, great idea. Let’s see how the book does before we take that … Read More

The Big Idea of Lent: Jesus Did What I Couldn’t Do (Repost)

Zac HicksUncategorizedLeave a Comment

The call to fasting and repentance is as ancient as the prophets. Just read Joel 2. There’s nothing like a good fast to, like a defibrillator, shock the unbeating heart of our spirit out of its flatline. However, of monumental, make-or-break importance is to recognize that the season of Lent is far more about Jesus and far less about us. If we fast, we fast to remember the fasting of Jesus in the wilderness, in order to, in a tangible way, … Read More

Abandoning “Surrender” Language in Worship Songs

Zac HicksUncategorizedLeave a Comment

*NOTE: This post was written in 2014, but it no longer appears on the site to which it was originally published, so I’ve republished it here. Second Great Awakening Spirituality The idea of “surrender” is prominent in evangelical spirituality. Especially after the Second Great Awakening, it became a leading metaphor to summarize the conversion experience. Preachers would urge the unconverted to “give up and surrender to Jesus.” One of the songs that continues to get airplay as an “old hymn” … Read More

One Reason to Add a Chorus to a Hymn

Zac HicksSongwriting, Worship Pastoring, Worship Theology & Thought1 Comment

The Bee Does it Again I saw the Bee’s wonderful post today, “Federal Judge Orders Chris Tomlin to Stop Adding Choruses to Perfectly Good Hymns.” Always funny; always satirically insightful. I sympathize greatly. Though not a hymn purist (as you will see below), I am sympathetic to the hymn purists’ arguments. Sometimes, when choruses are added to perfectly good hymns, they are added in a careless manner, insensitive to the hymn text, theology, poetry, and authorial intent. Sometimes, it feels … Read More

What I’m Up To These Days

Zac HicksPersonal Stories & TestimoniesLeave a Comment

The Vita Passiva I’ve been quite silent in the blogosphere lately, for several reasons. First, honestly, I’ve sensed the Lord telling me to “cool it” for a while, to not stress over it, to not be enslaved to it. Second, since I started my blog over six years ago, the worship conversation has changed, and there are more voices out there writing on things I really care about. I feel less burdened to write because I find that there are … Read More

Jamming with Jenson: Thoughts from an Under-Appreciated Theologian

Zac HicksUncategorized, Worship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

At least in my worship circles, I don’t hear a lot of people talking about Robert Jenson, senior Lutheran theologian with a particular talent for writing which is both concise and evocative. But too many of my friends keep bringing him up to me, and I could no longer avoid setting his work aside for other books in my queue. And so I have come across a marvelous chapter on worship in a forgotten yet prescient book of his from … Read More

The Lineup at this Year’s National Worship Leader Conferences

Zac HicksUncategorizedLeave a Comment

So I’m pretty thrilled to see this year’s lineup at the NWLC regional conferences happening this year in Virginia (coming up fast!) and Kansas City. For instance, Lester Ruth, who (along with Swee Hong Lim) just published a NECESSARY brief history of contemporary worship will be speaking. Lester is a scholar with a pastor’s heart and a churchman’s spirit. I trust and believe in this guy. And, though I don’t know her personally, I would especially want to hear what … Read More

The Big Idea of Lent: Jesus Did What I Couldn’t Do

Zac HicksUncategorizedLeave a Comment

The call to fasting and repentance is as ancient as the prophets. Just read Joel 2. There’s nothing like a good fast to, like a defibrillator, shock the unbeating heart of our spirit out of its flatline. However, of monumental, make-or-break importance is to recognize that the season of Lent is far more about Jesus and far less about us. If we fast, we fast to remember the fasting of Jesus in the wilderness, to, in a tangible way, “be … Read More

On Worship’s Boundaries

Zac HicksHistory of Worship and Church Music, Uncategorized, Worship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

Just yesterday, Reformed Worship put up a post of mine on worship’s boundaries. Next year is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the pastors, thinkers, and theologians who ministered in the wake of Luther’s posting of the 95 theses. One real “aha” moment of my reading of Luther for doctoral work came in the idea that Luther’s articulation of simul iustus et peccator (simultaneously justified and sinful) isn’t merely a statement about the … Read More

A Brief Theology of Volume Levels in Worship

Zac HicksWorship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

Regardless of your tradition, volume may be one of the top three perennial “unsolvable” problems in worship planning and leading. No matter which way you go, someone is unhappy. Too loud? People feel discouraged from singing because they can’t hear themselves. Too soft? People feel discouraged from singing because they can hear themselves! And this isn’t merely a problem for churches with million-dollar sound systems and rock aesthetics. It’s a problem I’ve heard articulated by folks who feel the organ … Read More