If You’re Trying to Think More Pastorally About Worship…

Zac HicksSongwriting, Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

If you’re trying to think more pastorally about worship, then you should read this interview.  It is both a model of what pastoral thinking looks like and a display of some application of thinking pastorally in the local church context.  Bobby Gilles, over at My Song in the Night has a great set of Q & A with Bruce Benedict of Cardiphonia.  My favorite two parts of this interview: Bobby Gilles: What do you say to a pastor or worship leader … Read More

Eleven Reasons Why Singing Is Important

Zac HicksWorship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Theology & Thought2 Comments

As a worship leader who tries to engage people pastorally, I not infrequently encounter men and women who don’t care one bit about the singing portion of a worship service.  It’s pulling teeth for them.  There are a host of reasons.  Often times, it’s personal–they don’t feel they have a good voice, or the emotion tied to singing is uncomfortable and foreign for them.  Sometimes it’s philosophical–they believe that the only important part of a worship service is the sermon and so they just want to “get on with it.”

The Importance of Mentoring the Next Generation of Worship Leaders

Zac HicksPersonal Stories & Testimonies, Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Leading Tips1 Comment

In the last few years, God has brought on a strong urge think about mentoring those younger than myself.  In fact, I’ve got five working relationships with young men at various ages and stages of interest.  I’m teaching guitar lessons to a 10-year-old and an 12-year-old.  I’ve been incorporating another young man, about 14, into our worship band.  I just had lunch the other day with an 18-year-old, encouraging him to pursue the high calling of pastoring people through worship, and I’ve brought in another 18-year-old on board to expand the ministry of modern worship to our students and children.  I’ve begun a long-distance relationship with a 20-something on the west coast with semi-regular phone calls and prayer.  For each of them, there’s no magic formula.  There’s not even a game plan.  In fact, I’ve adopted a methodology I largely call “absorption mentoring.” 

Suffering: The Elephant in the Sanctuary

Zac HicksCulture, Personal Stories & Testimonies, Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Theology & Thought2 Comments

What does slap-happy, pump-you-up worship do?  (1) It makes you feel great for a moment.  (2) It marginalizes those who are suffering. 

If all we’re interested in as worship leaders is planning a worship service that has the spiritual effect of being a “holy pep talk,” we’ve done a great disservice to the body of Christ.  But, oh, is it tempting.  There have been several times in my past where I’ve sold out to what I knew would give me positive feedback.  I had planned a set of fast, happy, and at least partially superficial songs.  It sure makes you feel great as a worship leader when everyone is engaged and comes away energized and excited. 

How to lead worship for people old enough to be your grandparents.

Zac HicksPersonal Stories & Testimonies, Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Leading Tips, Worship Theology & Thought1 Comment

I turned 30 a few months ago, so I’m actually at the beginning point of stepping out of this problem.  But it still happens to me.  People wonder what “that sixteen-year-old” is doing up front leading music or liturgy, or preaching a sermon.  I’ve received so many comments over the years on how young I look that I’ve become inoculated to them.  I’ve developed 100% immunity to being embarrassed or offended when people tell me I look like I just got my driver’s license.  It’s even become a fun joke around church, such that when I became an ordained minister, they put my picture up among those of the other elders…only it wasn’t me; it was a doctored picture of Doogie Howser (no pun intended)!

When Calvinism Goes Awry: David Bazan’s Falling Out

Zac HicksCulture, Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Theology & Thought7 Comments

I’m a little behind in my indie-rock listening.  In the late 90s and early 2000s, I was a big fan of indie band, Pedro the Lion.  My indie/emo-dude roommate in college took me to a show in a little club in LA (called Chain Reaction at the time) where I witnessed the mesmerizing performance that cut against the grain of any other rock show I’d ever been to.  David Bazan, the front man, was (and is) a prophet.  His lazy, … Read More

Worship Leaders & Pastors: No Whining During Holy Week

Zac HicksPersonal Stories & Testimonies, Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Leading Tips4 Comments

Last night, after our Maundy Thursday Family Service, when almost everyone was gone, I noticed that the light in our Senior Pastor’s office was on.  Don Sweeting will be leaving us in a few short weeks for a new call as President of Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, and I dearly love the man, so it was a peaceful opportunity to let him know how much I appreciate him and will miss him.  Of course, Don and I have never been prone to brief conversations because we’re always rabbit trailing into discussions on theology, worship, and philosophy of ministry.  Don mentioned something that resonated with me.  He said something to the effect of, “Pastors that complain about the extra work load during Holy Week and Easter don’t realize what a blessing we have.”