Album Roundup: Songs from the Book of Ephesians, The Journey Collective

Zac HicksAlbum Reviews, Art and Worship, Church & Ecclesiology1 Comment

I’m very, very excited about this collaborative project from the folks at The Journey Church in St. Louis.  First off, I’m excited to see more projects like this–whole albums centered around books of the Bible. We saw this with the Gospel Coalition’s wonderful Luke album and with Sovereign Grace’s killer Romans album. And now we’ve got some Ephesians-based material! Beauty! Musicality/Production The production on this album is polished and inspiring. To my ear, many of the songs are not only … Read More

Album Roundup Week: We Will Proclaim, Live Worship with The Falls Church Anglican

Zac HicksAlbum Reviews, Church & Ecclesiology, Worship ResourcesLeave a Comment

This week I’ll be highlighting a few albums that have come my way over the last few weeks and months. First up is We Will Proclaim: Live Worship with The Falls Church Anglican, a project overseen by my friend and fellow worship leader-blogger, Jamie Brown.  This album is a true “church album”–ecclesiastical and communal from top to bottom. It runs like one, beautiful worship service. It is highly collaborative at every level. Lots of musicians and minds contributed to it, … Read More

How Church Planting is Changing the Face of Evangelical Worship

Zac HicksChurch & Ecclesiology, History of Worship and Church Music, Worship & Mission, Worship Theology & Thought2 Comments

After a series of short hops as an intern, interim, or “seasonal” music leader in various churches in Hawaii and California, I landed my first more permanent role in an ecclesiastical school of hard knocks, otherwise known as a church plant. My first Sunday in Denver, Abby and I walked into the doors of the elementary school cafeteria where the small community of Rocky Mountain Presbyterian Church had been meeting for a little over a year. And we knew we … Read More

What the Church is Informs what Worship Looks Like

Zac HicksChurch & Ecclesiology, Worship Theology & Thought1 Comment

Pragmatists by Birthright We evangelicals have pragmatism encoded in our DNA. To “do what works” is so instinctual it sometimes feels as though we’ve come up with a sixth sola—solus whateverworkus. We think this way because it’s part and parcel to the Western American psyche and because, well, “doing whatever works” works.  The proof is in the pudding. The statistics don’t lie. Pragmatism is not inherently evil.  In fact, pragmatism is a sub-set of something very good and very biblical—wisdom.  … Read More

What Modern Edgy Worship Leaders Can Learn From Modern Edgy Painters

Zac HicksArt and Worship, Church & Ecclesiology, Convergence of Old and New in Worship, History of Worship and Church Music, Songwriting1 Comment

Frank Stella, Untitled (1967), from Black Series IIMy new colleague at Coral Ridge, Daniel Siedell (author and curator of Liberate), has a terrific series of posts over at Patheos on “The Poetics of Painting.”  In the final installment, Siedell examines modern painter, Frank Stella, and his minimalist paintings from the 1970s, rehearsing questions about how a modern minimalist, who painted simple, repeated stripes on a canvas, could have been so enamored, enthralled, and informed by the tradition of painting that had come … Read More

Can Kids be Formed by Worship Even if They Can’t Understand It?

Zac HicksChurch & Ecclesiology, Worship Theology & Thought11 Comments

The local assembly that I’ve had the privilege of serving alongside for the last nearly six years tries to cut against the grain by not catering to any one demographic but intentionally seeking to be intergenerational in our approach to community, discipleship, and worship.  With regards to kids, this means that we don’t view worship as an “adult activity” and then shove off our kids to do crafts in the basement. In the last twenty years or so, developmental theory … Read More

The Missing Piece in Debates about Physical Expression in Worship

Zac HicksChurch & Ecclesiology2 Comments

Lunette with Orante. From early Christian fresco, second half of the third century. Catacomb of Priscilla, Rome, Italy. Photo credit: Scala/Art Resource, NY. Yesterday in worship, I encouraged our congregation to respond to the preaching of the Word of God by engaging in a physical act on the final verse of our closing hymn, “Jesus, with Thy Church Abide.”  I reminded them that early Christian art (shown here) depicts at least some Christian worshipers praying in nearly the opposite physical manner that we do—eyes open, body standing, heads lifted, and hands raised.  (I found the above depiction on the cover of the outstanding work, Walking Where Jesus Walked: Worship in Fourth Century Jerusalem, by Lester Ruth, Carrie Steenwyk, and John Witvliet.) So, on the final verse, we all raised our hands together, 300-strong, and sang:

May she holy triumphs win
Overflow the hosts of sin
Gather all the nations in
We beseech Thee, hear us

One Simple Reason Why the Ascension is Important

Zac HicksChurch & Ecclesiology, Worship Theology & Thought3 Comments

Ascension, Stained Glass Panel (Gothic), Germany, 14th c.Today is what more “liturgically”-oriented Christians in the Western tradition call “The Ascension of our Lord.”  Why do we give a special day to that event that seems nothing more than Jesus’ travel plans between earth and heaven.  Earth is important.  Heaven is important.  But the flight in between?

More Communion, More Roots: David Crowder’s Final Album and the Trajectory of Modern Worship

Zac HicksChurch & Ecclesiology, Convergence of Old and New in Worship3 Comments

Worship Leader Magazine recently published an interview of David Crowder shortly after the release of their final album, Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]).  (Even the title carries with it our modern generation’s characteristic mixture of reverence and irreverence, being a requiem with a not-so-subtle reference to Spinal Tap…I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it sure is mine.)

Review of White Flag, by Passion

Zac HicksAlbum Reviews, Church & Ecclesiology2 Comments

Passion, White Flag (sixsteps/Sparrow)Released: March 13, 2012 Passion’s latest project continues in their strong legacy of fervent live worship albums.  One can never question on these records that this movement continues to be deeply committed to the core of what Christian worship is all about–encountering the presence of God with the people of God.  At the same time, White Flag continues to reveal the theological growth and maturation of Passion’s main songwriters and artists–Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Kristian Stanfill, Christy … Read More