Last week, I was blessed to have a packed classroom full of thoughtful, engaged students. My aim with this week-long intensive Worship course at Knox Seminary was not to solve all the problems but to place these present and future worship leaders and pastors on some healthy trajectories. We spent a LOT of time in the Scriptures, but we also needed to ask important questions about how we read the Scriptures, because ones understanding of interpretation (hermeneutics)–especially that of the … Read More
Thoughts on Missional Worship
Occasionally, I guest post over at the Reformed Worship blog. Most recently, they published some practical reflections of mine on the relationship between worship and mission in a post entitled, “The Biology of Missional Worship.” I highlight an important recent book on the subject and the great metaphors contained therein. And then, based on one of my favorite worship theologians, Jean-Jacques von Allmen, I offer an additional metaphor. Usually, worship and mission are discussed in separate spheres, such that when they are … Read More
How Church Planting is Changing the Face of Evangelical Worship
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
Doxology & Theology – FREE Book Giveaway!
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
9 Things That Christian Worship Should Be
Summarized from the Prologue to The Worship Sourcebook:*
1. Christian worship should be biblical.
- worship includes prominent readings of Scripture
- worship presents & depicts God’s being, character, & actions consistent with how Scripture does
- worship obeys explicit biblical commands about worship
- worship heeds scriptural warnings about false/improper worship
- worship focuses primary attention where the Bible does–on Jesus
2. Christian worship should be dialogic.
- God speaks through the Spirit, and we respond in a variety of ways
- worship is initiated by God
- worship balances attentive listening and honest speech
Why We Gather for Worship
“Constituting and Fulfilling the Church”…Yikes Bloggers can easily tell when a post resonates with a large amount of people because of the way their hits spike over a given 48 hours. A recent post on Why We Need the Call to Worship did that. My hunch as to what resonated was how all those various short blurbs on the Call to Worship pointed to the gravity and depth of what corporate worship truly is. Some of the best advice … Read More
In Worship, We Not Only Encounter God But Encounter the Church
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. (Hebrews 12:22-23, NIV) Experiencing the Church Many distill the essence of corporate worship as “encounter with God.” That’s a great summary. When we gather, God chooses to reveal Himself in special ways and through special means, many of which He reserves ordinarily only for that … Read More
Why We Need the Call to Worship
In our weekly printed bulletins, we have a sidebar column that acts as a commentary and explanation for what we do in our services. This “Worship Notes” section contains short paragraphs on the significance of various elements of our worship. We explain everything from the meaning and origin of the Doxology, to why we preach sermons, to the significance of the Lord’s Supper, to backgrounds on the songs we sing. Here are four worship notes on the Call to Worship–the beginning of the service where we hear God’s summons to gather and praise His name.
How a High View of Worship Challenges and Affirms Missional Thinking
The missional movement is now firmly established and influencing all kinds of churches, including mine, to the glory and praise of God. I love this re-energized focus of the church toward abandoning purely “attractional” models of evangelism and embracing the missionary-hood-of-all-believers paradigm. I’m enthralled by the resurgence of interest in the doctrine of Christ’s incarnation and its accompanying emphasis on the humanity of Christ as just as important as His divinity. I’m encouraged by the resulting discussions about contextualization, cultural exegesis, and externally-focused living. And I’m cheering on and supporting the uprising of new church plants, especially in all the major urban centers of the United States.