Praying Over People As They Sing

Zac HicksPersonal Stories & Testimonies, Worship and Pastoral Ministry4 Comments

Liturgical Art (folded cranes), Prayers for AIDS Victims, by Nancy ChinnObsessing Over Details is Part of Our Job If you’re a worship leader in the weekly grind like me (whether you’re on staff, part of the team/ensemble of musicians, a choir member, or someone who leads spoken elements in a worship service), you know how regularly your mind flies from this to that during a worship service.  In fact, I’ve often taught young worship leaders just starting out that part … Read More

How the Gospel Fills Worship with Passion

Zac HicksWorship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Theology & Thought2 Comments

Dead Worship, Anyone? Every new worship leader goes through that painful transition period where the rose-colored glasses come off and you realize that not everyone is as “into” worship as you are.  Part of the reason you took on this role is that you simply love to worship God with the people of God, and your fervor is spilling over.  But, when you’re doing it week in and week out, and when you’re looking out upon the countenances, posture, and … Read More

Doxology & Theology – FREE Book Giveaway!

Zac HicksArt and Worship, Worship & Mission, Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Resources, Worship Theology & Thought3 Comments

Doxology & Theology Released May 1, 2013 I’m pleased to announce the release of Doxology & Theology: How the Gospel Forms the Worship Leader, edited by Matt Boswell and authored by some of my favorite worship leaders in the US.  I had the privilege of contributing a chapter on how the Worship Leader is shaped by the Trinity, synthesizing important theological reflections on what it means to be truly Trinitarian in our worship.  This book is by worship leaders, for worship … Read More

Rhythms of Grace – A Book Every Worship Leader Should Read

Zac HicksSound and Audio, Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Resources, Worship Style, Worship Technology, Worship Theology & Thought1 Comment

A few weeks ago, I picked up Mike Cosper’s Rhythms of Grace (Crossway, March 2013) and quickly devoured it.  Mike is Pastor of Worship & Arts at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY.  That I knew I would love and highly recommend the book is a no-brainer, because Mike and I have tracked along the thought-patterns of many of the same theologians, philosophers, thinkers, writers, and practitioners in the field of Christian worship today.  I want to point out a few … Read More

How Certain Worship Decisions Are Relative

Zac HicksWorship and Pastoral Ministry3 Comments

This post isn’t from or for the ivory tower.  It’s from and for worship pastors who have their boots on the ground.  In a message given by Tim Keller at the Advance the Church Conference, he pointed out that one of the results of the gospel taking root in a person’s life was “a general unpredictability of thought.”   I believe this is also what is at play for us worship pastors who have to make certain calls about our worship … Read More

The Worship Leader as Sculptor of the Imagination

Zac HicksWorship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Theology & Thought1 Comment

Wing detail from an antler-carving by Denver artist, Jake Weidmann(I love coming up with epic titles like this one.) I believe in total depravity.  I believe that when our first parents fell, they crashed hard, scattering genetic carnage everywhere.  I believe that, though humanity is not as fully corrupted as we could possibly be, there is no part of the human person left untouched, unmarred by the scorch of sin.  It’s easy to ponder the effects of total depravity on, … Read More

The Worship Leader as Emotional Shepherd

Zac HicksWorship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Leading Tips, Worship Style6 Comments

Music is intensely emotional, and worship leaders know it.  I’ve read plenty of articles and books that outline how worship leading takes people on an “emotional journey.”  At best, these writers are encouraging worship leaders to understand how the worship service is, in a sense, a story, and that our job is to help guide people into experiencing that story with every aspect of who we are, including our emotions.  At worst, however, they are (sometimes unabashedly and explicitly) outlining … Read More

Why Worship Leaders Should Have a Philosophy of Preaching

Zac HicksWorship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Resources, Worship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

“John Chrysostom Preaching in Constantinople,” by Ambrose DudleyWhether or not a worship leader is a recognized and “formal” pastor in their local context, worship leaders, by virtue of what they do, perform and fulfill a pastoral function.  In other words, planning and leading worship is intrinsically pastoral.  Whether you like it or not, if you are a worship leader, people are spiritually formed (for good or ill) by the content and form of the worship services you craft and lead.  … Read More

Cardiphonia’s Songs for Liturgy and Our Contributions

Zac HicksHistory of Worship and Church Music, Hymns Movement News & Reviews, Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Style1 Comment

As I grow deeper in kinship with Bruce Benedict of Cardiphonia, one of the preeminent gifts I recognize in him is hospitality.  Over a year ago, I enjoyed room and board in his home and an inordinate amount of time out of a busy week in the life of a worship pastor in a growing young church.  His hospitality extends to the way he administrates Cardiphonia, an outfit dedicated resourcing the Church’s hymn revitalization and liturgical renewal. Benedict draws artists, … Read More

Does Liturgy Work with the Poor, Illiterate, or Uneducated?

Zac HicksWorship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Theology & Thought9 Comments

I was recently in a friendly yet passionate dialogue with a pastor-friend of mine, for whom I have a lot of respect. We were wrestling through whether a more overt liturgy (one with readings, congregational responses and prayers, etc.) worked with more “simple” folk–people who think simply, need things simplified, and aren’t attracted to high-level theological abstraction.  My friend contended that his context was one where high liturgy would not thrive because people weren’t interested in heavy theology, antiquated language, … Read More