6 Fundamentals for Worship Leading

Zac HicksWorship Leading Tips, Worship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

Bruce Benedict of Cardiphonia (a great site on worship, liturgy, and the synthesis of the traditional and the modern) offers a full description of these 6 fundamentals that I find right on target…and convicting.  Here’s a summary: 1. Worship Leaders must cultivate a life of faith.2. Worship Leaders are called to be shepherds and guardians.3. Worship Leaders are called to be great musicians.4. Worship Leaders are called to be administrators.5. Worship Leaders are called to be liturgists.6. Worship Leaders are … Read More

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. 

Bobby McFerrin, the Pentatonic Scale, Aesthetic Objectivism, and Worship Wars

Zac HicksCulture, Worship Theology & Thought1 Comment

My friend Erick pointed me to this interesting video of Bobby McFerrin at a science forum: Bobby McFerrin Pentatonic Scale from houbero on Vimeo. I have not peered into the discussion that follows McFerrin’s presentation, but my hunch, based on the closing comments, is that they would explore the implications of the fact that, cross-culturally, the pentatonic scale is universally recognized and apprehended.  This is a fascinating observation, which flies in the face of postmodern cultural relativism.  I don’t think … Read More

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)!

Robbie Seay Band Dabbles in the Hymns Movement

Zac HicksConvergence of Old and New in Worship, Hymns Movement News & Reviews, Worship Style, Worship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

By recommendation of my friend John Gooch,  I picked up Robbie Seay Band’s album, Miracle, released this past March.  John knew I’d bite hook, line, and sinker when he texts me with descriptive words like “theologically rich” and “hymns.”  It is a great album.  Miracle is further evidence of what I have tried to explain to traditional worship advocates who continually criticize the theological shallowness of modern worship.  I have noticed an evolution in the mainstream artists (e.g. Chris Tomlin, … Read More

Confession Isn’t Only About Sin (Liturgical Lessons from Isaiah 53)

Zac HicksPersonal Stories & Testimonies, Worship Theology & Thought8 Comments

I have the privilege of being part of a pretty dynamic pastoral team.  We maintain a shared leadership model, and there really is a sense of mutuality among us, despite the pastoral prefixes of “Senior” and “Associate.” Our shared leadership now extends to a more shared preaching model (a newer innovation), and with that comes shared exegetical (Bible study) and homiletical (sermon) preparation.  A recent thought-provoking concept emerged from my colleague Marty Martin out of one of these think-tank sessions.  … Read More

Leading Worship with iPhone Virtual Instruments

Zac HicksCulture, Worship Theology & Thought4 Comments

Someone in my worship network email list sent me this link.  This is fascinating, not simply because it’s “cool” but because of the cultural and philosophical analysis associated with it.  My own classical sensibilities fight stuff like this because it is “inauthentic.”  Anything not acoustic, not naturally amplified, plugged-in, or digitally processed somehow compromises the creative artistry of music-making, so those sensibilities say. However, if you notice, they’re playing on fretboards, not simply pressing “on.”  They’re strumming and providing rhythm … Read More

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

A Great Worship Song on the Holy Spirit

Zac HicksConvergence of Old and New in Worship, Hymns Movement News & Reviews, Worship Theology & ThoughtLeave a Comment

We’re heading toward the season of Pentecost.  I’ve been on the prowl for a good worship song on the Holy Spirit.  Surprisingly, though evangelical modern worship is most influenced by Pentecostalism, there are few songs of quality which deal with the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  My friend in North Carolina, Bruce Benedict of Cardiphonia (a robust site with all kinds of resources and reflections on worship and liturgy), has set an old Charles Wesley hymn, “Come, Thou Everlasting … Read More