Thoughtful Responses to All the Modern Worship Bashing

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought1 Comment

In various spheres of the online worship conversation, a few posts (like this one and this one) have been circulating and dominating many of our social media feeds. They offer a strong (and not completely unwarranted) critique of “contemporary worship” and “megachurch worship.” Their sharply critical posture, along with their provocative titles, is certainly what has attracted so many people to click, read, interact, and share. Several people have asked what I think about it all. The short answer is … Read More

The Case for the Emotional Worship Leader

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought6 Comments

My Facebook feed blew up this morning with this intense and quite moving footage from a New Zealand wedding. They’re engaging in a sincere and powerful Haka ritual, and though I don’t understand a word of it, I think I get it…and I think you do, too. Our Love-Hate Relationship with Emotions Let’s face it. We evangelicals have a checkered past when it comes to emotions and worship. The Second Great Awakening–that early nineteenth century movement of westward-sweeping revivals–polarized the … Read More

Worship as Jesus Renewing His Wedding Vows

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought1 Comment

Metaphors are powerful, but this one’s more than a metaphor… Pastors from time to time are asked by older couples to join with them in what is most often a quaint yet meaningful ceremony. After decades of marriage together, committed husbands and wives sometimes desire to renew their wedding vows with one another. It’s a time for each to remember and recount what they’ve committed to, and to declare their intentions to remain faithful for the next set of years … Read More

Come Take a Week-Long Worship Class With Me – March 2016

Zac HicksWorship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Theology & Thought1 Comment

Knox Seminary | AT704 | Worship Join me March 7-11 at Knox Seminary in Fort Lauderdale! This is an open invitation to worship leaders and pastors wanting to deepen their understanding of worship, liturgy, and pastoring. It’s tailor-made for people on the go who can’t commit to a semester’s worth of class but might be able to do some good reading ahead of time and then break away for a week. My hope is that pastors would see the value … Read More

The Difference Between Worshiping God and Worshiping Worship

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought2 Comments

(a reworked post from 2011) “Idolatry happens when we take good things and make them ultimate things.”  ~Tim Keller  The following comparisons are meant to be provocative and evocative. Even if stark statements like these generalize and absolutize a bit too much, one thing I have learned from reading the reformers is that the discipline of “dialectic,” as they called it (roughly, the practice of pitting ideas and statements against each other for the sake of disputation and dialogue), yields a … Read More

The Gift of the Early Era of CCM

Zac HicksWorship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

CCM’s Story is My Story For me, historical reflection on Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is always autobiographical. My life is intertwined with its development, because its songs are the songs of my upbringing. Isn’t it always the case that the songs present during our most formative and developmental years of faith stick in us perhaps more deeply than any others? Perhaps it’s the power of nostalgia, or perhaps it’s something deeper. CCM is certainly disparaged by a lot of folks … Read More

Why the Reformational Insight is So Important for Worship

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought2 Comments

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be taking a doctoral course at Knox Seminary on the theology of Martin Luther. Needless to say, I’ve been neck-deep in the writings of this Reformational bulldog. Right now, I’m reading through J. I. Packer’s translation of Luther’s The Bondage of the Will. The book’s back cover reads, “The Bondage of the Will is fundamental to an understanding of the primary doctrines of the Reformation. In these pages, Luther gives extensive treatment to what … Read More

Why the Reformed Need to Look to Our Own Roots for the Seeds of Anti-Liturgical Worship

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought3 Comments

The history of the Reformed tradition of Christianity is beautiful and bizarre. When I was an outsider looking in (I didn’t grow up in the Reformed tradition), I thought the tradition’s historical map was a lot more straight-lined than it was. I did not realize that within a generation or two after John Calvin, Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger, and Thomas Cranmer (I consider all these names, in varying ways, influencers in the Reformed reformation), there would be such a divergence … Read More

Spontaneity, Planning, and the Holy Spirit in Worship

Zac HicksChurch & Ecclesiology, Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Pastoring, Worship Theology & Thought1 Comment

In the Cracks For many of us who have been knowingly or unknowingly schooled by a certain influential slice of evangelical worship, our view of the Holy Spirit’s role in worship is pretty straightforward. The Spirit comes in the “cracks”–the surprising moments, the in-between times, the unplanned invasions. And, to God’s glory, Scripture describes the Spirit’s work in this way. We witness Jesus, for instance, sparring with a well-educated theologian with this little jab about the way salvation works: “The … Read More

In Search of the Emotionally Persuasive Liturgy

Zac HicksConvergence of Old and New in Worship, History of Worship and Church Music, Worship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

Over at Reformed Worship, I wouldn’t want you to miss an important post of mine that posits some very current questions I am asking. Once again, my investigation of Thomas Cranmer has proven a helpful launchpad into current worship issues and reflections.  The questions I’m seeking Cranmer’s help in answering actually have a lot to do with yesterday’s post on my journey in listening better to the charismatic tradition. Maybe to encourage you to go check out the post, here … Read More