A Significant Achievement in Bridging the Hymns Movement and Mainstream Modern Worship

Zac HicksUncategorized3 Comments

Last Friday, the worshiptogether.com blog gave away a beautiful re-tuning of the famous Wesley hymn, “And Can it Be.”  Worshiptogether is the unifying umbrella-brand under which almost all the major heavy-hitters in mainstream modern worship reside.  Besides the fact that this version of “And Can it Be” is very tasteful and inspiring (I’ve heard some that don’t quite hit the mark), there is a bigger story behind this track.  It is a part of an entire album called Love Divine, … Read More

Sorry to Burst Your Bubble: Liturgy Doesn’t Mean “Work of the People”

Zac HicksUncategorized4 Comments

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that “liturgy” means, “the work of the people.”  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said it myself.  I, for one, won’t ever be saying it again.  The reason for this is a test case in why linguistics, history, and etymology are important disciplines. Here’s what Nicholas Wolterstorff1 has taught me: As almost every book on liturgy points out, the English word “liturgy” is simply the transliteration of the Greek … Read More

Contemporary Worship Threw the Baby Out when it Critiqued Traditionalism but Abandoned Tradition

Zac HicksUncategorizedLeave a Comment

 The latest edition of Neue Magazine contains a great little article* by Chuck DeGroat, pastor at City Church San Francisco.  I’d like to quote extensively from it: Several decades ago, the Western church integrated new experiments in musical expression, aesthetics, communication and more. Responding to the stagnancy of churches caught in endless intellectual debates between fundamentalism and liberalism, some chose to put the past behind them, creating the contemporary American church. The Church needed renewal, and it needed to engage … Read More

The Antidote to Bad Theology is Good Worship

Zac HicksUncategorized8 Comments

There’s a lot of hubbub out there in Evangelicaland about Rob Bell’s new book, Love Wins.  I have not read the book.  The accusations are that Rob Bell is a (Christo-centric) universalist—i.e. in the end everyone gets saved.  I hear these accusations from folks I trust.  Nevertheless, Bell says he’s not (see this fascinating MSNBC interview), so I’ll take his word that he’s not intending to convey the universalism it appears he does. While I don’t side with Bell, I … Read More

Review of Here For You, by Passion

Zac HicksUncategorized1 Comment

Passion, Here For You (sixsteps/Sparrow)Released: March 8, 2011 I remember when I heard my first Passion record—Passion 98—in high school.  It was fresh and different.  Little did I know at the time that I was listening to a mile-marker in the short history of contemporary worship.  Passion and Delirious are the pivot-point on which “contemporary worship” swung to “modern worship.”  Thirteen years later, much has changed, and much has stayed the same.  Many of the same faces and voices that … Read More

Review of Here Among Us, by Jaron and Katherine Kamin, plus Interview

Zac HicksUncategorized1 Comment

Contrary to what one might think I believe, the hymns movement is not THE answer for modern worship.  The reform that is needed and the reform that is happening in today’s evangelical congregational music needs much more than a revival of hymnody and historical connectivity.  That said, the hymns movement is still an important piece in this reform…which is why I want to continue to herald its growth and expansion.  Jaron and Katherine Kamin are a welcome addition to the … Read More

Not Just a Worship Warm-Up: Singing is Where Teaching, Formation, and Growth Happens

Zac HicksUncategorized3 Comments

Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” “Word of Christ,” in context, is the good news, the gospel, of His headship (2:10), of our union with Him (2:12; 3:1), of our being made alive in Him (2:13), and of His triumph over the powers and authorities (2:15). Most often, we evangelicals tend to think that this word of Christ dwells in us by means of Bible study.  Certainly this … Read More

How to Talk to Your Kids About the Sermon

Zac HicksUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Joe Holland offers some excellent thoughts.  Here’s a summary of his 8 points, but definitely read his explanation in full here. 1. Remember the outline. 2. Know the one, main point. 3. How is Jesus the hero? 4. Engage your kids with open-ended questions. 5. Make sure the gospel is clear. 6. Be the first to pray and confess. 7. Chase rabbit trails. 8. Remember the two rules: (a) they retain more than you think they do; (b) they understand … Read More

Review of The Mercy Seat / The War by Jamie Barnes and Brooks Ritter

Zac HicksUncategorized3 Comments

Jamie Barnes, The Mercy SeatBrooks Ritter, The War (split EP)Released: February 22, 2011 There is something very special going on in Louisville, and my writing a review about this “happening” is kind of like the woman who was straining just to get a finger on the hem of Jesus’ robe—just a touch is all I ask.  God has gathered a whole lot of young talent and put it under one ecclesiastical roof.  This is the best summary I can give … Read More

Review of Aftermath by Hillsong United

Zac HicksUncategorized2 Comments

Hillsong United, Aftermath (Sparrow)Released: February 15, 2011 Within the “imprints” of the Hillsong brand (Hillsong, United, Live, and Kids), it is United which propels their style and artistry forward.  In the case of Aftermath, their movement is a retro-progression (different from a retrogression) into 80s sounds and styles.  This album is atypical of what has come before in that it feels much less like a “worship album.”  The backing choir, congregational sound, and crowd noise are absent—it’s only solo voices … Read More