Worship Leader as Chief Curator?

Title: Worship Leader, Chief Musician, President Curator

Joshua Busman, a PhD student in musicology at UNC posted an article he wrote last week called “God’s Great Dance Floor,” Or, Why You Don’t Need Ecstasy to Have an Ecstatic Good Time.”  One of the remarks he makes in the article (and there is a LOT here – cf. Zac Hicks on thoughts about Worship Music and EDM culture) is about how worship leaders function more as curators than performers in modern worship.

“In settings like Passion—as well as the recorded sounds which result from them—worship leaders, like EDM deejays, are entrusted with the experiences of a gathered community and while technical proficiency is obviously important, the standard of quality is ultimately curatorial rather than performative. Like the deejay, worship leaders are judged on their ability to enact a meaningful encounter for the gathered community rather than their ability to correctly realize a pre-determined musical product. This curatorial focus in “praise and worship” music means that what is most often being appropriated from mainstream musical culture is not a particular style or genre, but rather an embodied and culturally situated set of experiences. On “God’s Great Dance Floor,” it would seem, the embodied exhilaration of EDM and the ecstatic devotion of Christian worship are not only one and the same, they are mutually co-dependent.”

This is a reflection informed by how DJ’s often function in rave/EDM events.  It’s an important insight. Josh’s description of CWM and EDM could be applied to any context in terms of how music functions to “shape the ways that believers come to know themselves as religious subjects in worship.”

This kind of music has its most thick participants in teens and twentysomethings.  A population longing for a strong embodied element in their faith…in a culture where opportunities for positive ’embodied’ activities are getting thinner and thinner.  I’m actually excited to see how this musical movement will impact the broader church.  I spent the summer diving into Ableton live so we can explore it in Hope worship gatherings!

Check out some artists we commissioned on our latest compilation to mashup some old hymn texts with electronic styles.


9 Observations on Singing New Songs

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 6.20.59 PM

I’ve had a couple of people mention to me Jamie Brown’s recent set of blog posts reflecting on his time at the National Worship Leaders Conference (DC). In particular they were questioning his thoughts on introducing new songs in church.  This is a topic I’ve wrestled with a lot in the various churches I’ve worked for so I thought I’d share my gathered wisdom.

1. A New Song is his Name…but don’t wear it out.

When the Psalms (in particular) speak of ‘singing a new song’ they are specifically foreshadowing the incarnation event.  The early chapters of the gospel of Luke show us in spectacular form that Christ is the cause, inspiration, and embodiment of the ‘new song’ of salvation.  Our ‘new songs’ are simply reflections of that One eternal never-ending, never- sick-of ‘new song.’  In that vein i. Try and write your new songs reflecting on the new songs of Luke (both deeply rooted in OT but also future looking). ii. So maybe don’t quote Psalm 96 quite so much as your biblical justification to introduce and write new songs ad nauseum. Or at least remind people that the exciting thing isn’t your new song, but the reality that Jesus is singing our names before the Father!

2. The Inverse Relationships of Your Church’s New Song Diet.

The general rule that I have sussed out is that there are a number of inverse relationships that guide the introduction of new songs in a congregation. They are (and can be sketched on an x/y axis).

  • i. If have you have a highly stable and consistent Sunday morning congregation than you should be able to introduce more new songs than if you have a highly inconsistent and transitory population on Sundays.
  • ii. If you have a congregation that is homogenous in age (and under 35 years of age?) than it should be easier to introduce new music more frequently than if you have an intergenerational congregation where a lot more factors are involved in introducing new songs.
  • iii. It is easier to introduce new songs if they are either songs that carry a wider ‘public’ exposure (radio, etc) or are songs that are a specific offering of your contextual, local church body.
  • iv. New songs will have a greater chance of succeeding in your church if they either a) fill a particular need where there is a current lack of songs in your repertoire (Say songs for communion, or songs about the Holy Spirit, or lament) or sound and feel like the current core of your repertoire.

3. New Songs have historically had a place outside of corporate worship for learning and practice.

While songwriters and the CWM industry continues to generate new songs at a blistering pace the church hasn’t kept pace in their practices to teach them.  One of the big problems I’ve seen is that many of the songs enter into our lives FIRST in the midst of our personal lives (the car, the iphone, the computer) which is a different experience than learning a song for the FIRST time corporately! This has not been historically the case.  Calvin taught his new genevan gigs to school children who would then pass them along to their families for church. Sunday Schools were a huge place for learning new songs in the 19th century. Singing Schools and itinerant music teachers used to be one of the main ways that churches learned new song and basic theory. There are a lot of ways that a community can be creative here.  Encourage small groups to sing more, provide CD’s or digital media in advance for members to listen too (although not totally ideal). Commit to have 1 or 2 events in your church every year reserved for teaching and learning new music.

4. New Songs should help your Congregation sing the whole counsel of God more fully.

New songs should have a pastoral intentionality where they seek to expand your congregations ability to sing the heights and depths of the Gospel.  Spend some time and look at your song repertoire from the past couple of years and do a theological, affective, pastoral audit.  Do you need more laments, more songs of praise, more psalms? Do we have songs that celebrate God’s past, present, AND future?! Does our congregation sing to the Father, Son AND Holy Spirit? Are you singing songs that reflect both the insider AND the stranger?

5. A Worship Conference is not the ideal place to evaluate new songs for your congregation.

I understand, and largely agree, with the comments Jamie Brown made recently about the attending the NWLC in DC. A worship conference is SO unlike every aspect of your pastoral work in corporate worship that if you are thinking anything else but “wow, this music is really loud but I hope heaven is something like this” than we need to talk! A conference has a lot of cross purposes (promoting, advertising, experiential demands, disconnection from a local body) that it can be a very confusing situation in which to evaluate a songs suitability for singing in Your congregation.

6. Have a plan for how you introduce new songs.

Don’t just let new songs happen to you, but intentionally seek and pursue a strategy for how you will incorporate them into the worshipping life of your church.  Where are the soft places in your worship service to introduce new songs?  For me its been weekly communion – where the congregation can hear it and sing along but corporately singing isn’t the main focus of the time.  Maybe for you it’s in a prelude time?

  • However you do it when you introduce a song make sure you can sing it for at least 3-4 Sundays in a row. Unless they are hearing this song every day in their car or at their computer it will take a while to embody it.
  • Reflect on the differences between introducing a new song that you will potentially sing all year round with a new song that you might only sing for a short liturgical season or sermon series.
  • Remind yourself that your congregation takes both longer to learn a song and longer to get sick of it than for you!!

7. New songs can be powerful markers of new seasons, or new movements of the Spirit in your church.

Whether it’s changing up songs for a liturgical season or writing/finding songs because of a gospel breakthrough in your church the songs we sing help mark significant movements. They are ebenezers to mark the work of God in your congregations. They do this through helping to create, sustain, or change the ‘feel’ of our churches worship.  This is a pastoral stewardship issue for worship leaders and music directors.  When we move from the fall into advent, or lent into Easter there should be a palpable change in how the music feels. from inner reflection to outer joy, from corporate introspection to sending in mission.  From minor to major, from banjos’ to brass!

8. Every new song has a different level of difficulty for both the band and the congregation.

This is incredibly contextual but it’s good to at least reflect on what it means to strike a balance in the difficulty level of new songs your introducing.  Maybe make a mental note on a scale from 1-10.  It’s going to be exhausting (and maybe disheartening) to the congregation if you are introducing a lot of difficult songs…and this difficulty can be on a range for the musicians vs. the congregation.  Make sure you balance new songs between easy and more difficult ones.  This principle also carries over into whether your congregation is a hymnal or a projection church.  If you have a church that is adept at reading music than you can probably introduce more songs, more frequently than if the church relies on only hearing it during church to learn it.

9. What to do when your band is sick of a song right about the time it’s hitting the sweet spot for your congregation.

This is a classic one.  Your congregation is JUST starting to get some of those tricky bits in the verses of “10,000 Reasons” but you can tell they love singing it.  Your drummer then decides that he’s going to start doing super random fills cuz he’s bored with the song, the keyboard player is now playing alternate harmonizations, and the bass player has decided that he’s going to consistently forget to sit out vs 3.  argg. These are actually brilliant moments to remind your musicians that they have a pastoral role to fill in providing a consistent and nurturing musical backdrop for CONGREGATIONAL singing.

Did miss anything?

More Thoughts from:

Resources on grief and worship

{image} Georges Rouault, “Miserere #2

I’ve been thankful for the postings over at “My Song in the Night” on grief, lament and worship.  My wife and I lost our first child a few years ago and we have found so few sojourners willing to sit with us in the “valley of the shadow of death.”

If you know of other great resources let me know.

Bobby Gilles – Recovering the Lost Practice of Lament
Kristen Gilles – 
Strength to Worship in Every SeasonHow to bear with loss and the waiting
John Patton – How to Mourn with the Parents of Stillborn and Miscarried Children
Nancy Guthrie – Grieving a loss
(Pj and I spent a weekend with Nancy, her husband David, and 10 other couples who had lost children.  You can find out more about their “Respite Retreat” here.)

Michael Card and Calvin Seerveld – Bringing Our Pain to God: Michael Card and Calvin Seerveld on biblical lament in worship

Dan Allender – The Hidden Hope in Lament


To God I Made My Sorrows Known (Isaac Watts – Psalm 142)
mp3 | leadsheet (Southern Harmony – Poland)


Here is a priceless list of suggestions on caring for those who grieve from the John Patton article above:

Comforting Those Who Wait for the Resurrection

Death, that most hateful of things, awaits every one of us, yet its sting is unique when it takes a helpless babe.  While we believe Jesus conquered death at the cross, we wait for the resurrection to fully realize the death of death. Until then we must bear the burdens of and mourn with those around us.

The comfort and hope of the resurrection give us great resources for responding to those in your community who have suffered the pains of miscarriage. Here are six thought to keep in mind as you comfort and console.

  1. Be content simply to “mourn with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15). Know that your words of comfort will not be much consolation in the short run, even if you have experienced miscarriage yourself. As with most other kinds of loss, each person’s experience is profoundly different.
  2. Don’t try to be the hero. Your may desire to utter just the right words that will bring healing and resolution to mom and dad’s pain. But that desire may arise more from your own struggle to reconcile the reality of death with the hope of Christ than from the need of those suffering to hear your words.
  3. Remember mom. Her pain will linger after most people have ceased asking about it. Don’t be afraid to broach the subject and encourage her six, nine, or even twelve months after the fact.
  4. Remember dad. A miscarriage is not a set of circumstances in which mom suffers the pain and dad gives support. It’s tempting to think that mom bears all the pain, but a father feels helpless in his own way. He needs much love and encouragement.
  5. Be patient.  My wife and I have struggled over and over again to choose worship and dependence rather than despair or indifference. Sometimes we have failed. Be patient with those who seem not to be “getting over” their loss. Pray for the truth of God’s goodness to break through. Love, love, love on your friends who have lost.
  6. Read them the Psalms. Just pick them up and start reading. They give lyrical shape to the confusion, anger, pain, relief, hope, and every other possible emotion the suffering feel. Reading the Psalms helps us to live emotionally with a doxological mindset. Psalm 34 has been a key text for me.

(Illustration by Wes Bausmith / Los Angeles Times)

Here’s a great article on the “Ring Theory of Kvetching” from the LA Times that a friend sent me.  Total Gold!

“Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, “Life is unfair” and “Why me?” That’s the one payoff for being in the center ring.

Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.”

Stuart Townend – Role of Songs in Worship

Found this recent blog post from the Garage Hymnal with some notes from a songwriting workshop with Stuart Townend (author of In Christ Alone, How Deep the Father’s Love for us). Reposting it here…

Role of songs
When selecting or writing songs, it is helpful to bear in mind the role of songs in church:
  • Serving the local church (not about self-expression). Think about what your local church needs. Church songs have a life outside of the writer. Have to be accessible to ordinary church-goers. Whether song works is determined by whether people can sing it easily, and not be confused by the lyrics.
  • Teaching. People often remember more theology from songs than from sermons. Songs put words in people’s mouths – a huge responsibility for songwriters and those selecting songs. What sort of a picture of God are we painting through our songs? (eg. Currently we’re not talking much about his justice or his compassion.)
  • Bringing together the objective and subjective. Objective songs make statements about God and his character. Subjective songs are our response to God. Some songs do both – eg. ‘Here I Am to Worship’ (verse makes objective statements, chorus is a subjective response). But in the last 20 years we may have erred too far towards the subjective. We need songs that explore who God is.
  • Reminding and remembering. Songs are a great way of us taking truth with us into daily life. Not just about our experience on Sundays. Songs need to help us to live during the week.
  • Understanding Scripture. Most worship songs are consistent with Scripture, but many of the lyrics can be vaguely biblical (sloppy and don’t really say anything). We need to work hard to explore all aspects of God’s character. Some Scriptural lines are so familiar to us they have lost meaning – we can use our poetic creativity to rephrase these truths (still remaining biblical). Our songs should be helping people to understand the Bible.
  • Perspective. Part of us gathering together in church is seeking God’s perspective on the lives we live. If we look at the Psalms (the hymn book of the Old Testament), they have a breadth of perspectives on life. We need greater breadth in our songs – perhaps more ‘angry’ songs (eg ‘God, why aren’t you intervening here? But I know God that you are faithful.’).
  • Artistic expression. God is so far beyond our descriptions of him. Sometimes poetry and the arts can speak to us at an extraordinary level, beyond what we can understand. We need to trust God that he is speaking to us on levels that we can’t understand.

Songs for the darker side of Christmas


A few years ago as part of an advent devotional I wrote about the darker side of christmas.  The scandal of Christ’s lineage, the disbelief of Zechariah,  Joseph’s thoughts of divorce, and the massacre of the innocents. Along with the devotional I wanted to include some song lyrics that reflect on this dark side of Christmas.  For Christians especially,  the Light of Christ in this season can make the darkness that much more harrowing. Come Lord Jesus!

Some Other Great Posts that meaningfully Reflect on Christmas
Singing Christmas Songs After Christmas (Cardiphonia)
–  Sentimentalizing, Sanitizing, and Spiritualizing Christmas (Kauflin)
–  Consider Skipping ‘Christmas Season’ This Year (Sojourn)

Veiled in Darkness Judah Lies
Bifrost Arts – mp3 | chart
High Street Hymns – mp3 | chart

“Still the earth in darkness lies. 
Up from death’s dark vale arise 
Voices of a world in grief, 
Prayers of those who seek relief: 
Now our darkness pierce again, 
“Peace on earth, good will to men.” 
“Peace on earth, good will to men.”

O Holy Child
mp3 | chart

“Oh holy wrath, oh holy blood 
Bethlehem’s cries and Rachel’s breath 
Running from His righteous wounds 
He came for the peace, of ancient Israel 
He came for the peace, for favored men.”

Song of Simeon (Nunc Dimittis)
mp3 | chart

Behold this child will pierce your heart 
His Word will be a sword 
A sign opposed to hearts concealed 
And grace for heaven’s adored

What Child is This
mp3 | chart

Why lies he in such mean estate 
where ox and ass are feeding? 
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here 
the silent Word is pleading. 
Nails, spear shall pierce him through,
the cross be borne for me, for you;
hail, hail the Word made flesh,
the babe, the son of Mary.

They Came Bearing Gifts (Benedict arr.)
mp3 | leadsheet

O troubled city of David’s birth,
Your infant tears are heard.
The little joy of Israel
will soon return unfurled.

The Coventry Carol
Sufjan – mp3 | lyrics
Evan Mazunik – mp3 |  info

Herod, the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

When Herod in Jerusalem

5. For unto him was told that born
There was a greater King,
Whose matchless power it should him
Into subjection bring.
Wherefore he sent incontinent
His armed bands in rage,
For to destroy each mother’s joy
Under two years of age.

Holy Innocents
by Christina Rossetti @ The Poor Hymnal

HERE is a whole collection of texts from church history that strive to work out in poetry the events of Matthew 2 surrounding Herod and the murder of the infants.

The Darker Side of Christmas #4 – Herod and the Infants of Bethlehem

The story of Herod and the infants of Bethlehem is a horrific episode in the birth narrative that is almost universally absent from Sunday school accounts of the story. Yet it is fundamental to understanding the hope that is present in Jesus’ birth. Here is one who will finally lead his people from slavery and persecution to the Promised Land. God wants to show that this infant born in a manger is uniting himself to the history of God’s struggling people.

The story, in itself, casts shadows of Pharaoh’s slaughter of the Israelite children in Egypt (Exodus 1:22), and Matthew helps us remember the children of Rachel who were killed by the Babylonians when they plundered Israel into exile (Jer 31:15-17). Yet even in Rachel’s inconsolable grief, God promises future hope for his child Israel in his son Jesus.

Matthew 2:16-18

16Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.

17Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

18“A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted,
because they are no more.

Shedding some light…

In Herod we see an evil king whose rule and power is threatened by one who is divinely appointed to rule. Jesus is the king who will bring a new relationship between God and man and will lead his people to true salvation and victory. In the face of insurmountable evil and sorrow, we see God working his purposes to heal, restore, and renew hope, a hope that will be ultimately secured and anchored in the cross and resurrection. As you feel the sorrow present in evil and suffering, grieve. But grieve with hope, for a new day has dawned.

Children’s Prayer

Great God, as we think about things we don’t understand, help us remember that one day you will bring an end to sickness, sorrow, pain, death, and evil.

Adult’s Prayer

Dear Father, we have all wept in the stark reality of evil and suffering in this world. We open our eyes daily to see a world still so broken from sin. Continue to give us joy and hope rooted in a savior who shared in the world’s tragedy and humanity. Soften our hard hearts with the songs of the angels and the outpouring of God’s Spirit. And continue to bring the blessings of your kingdom throughout the whole world.

800px-William_Holman_Hunt_-_The_Triumph_of_the_Innocents_-_Google_Art_ProjectThe Triumph of the Innocents (William Holman Hunt)

Sufjan quotes John Wesley on Singing

sufjan_stevens_2012_credit-denny_renshaw-e1349795903311A few weeks back my wife and I caught the Sufjan Xmas show extravaganza or as Sufjan dubbed it “The Sirfjam Stephanapolous Christmas Sing-A-Long Seasonal Affective Disorder Spectacular Music Pageant Variety Show Disaster” at the Haw River Ballroom in NC.

When we arrived the greeters handed us a little songbook for the evening and included on the front was a great quote from John Wesley (founder of Methodism and brother to the famous hymnodist Charles Wesley).


Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, then when you sung the songs of Satan.”

Since I’ve been seeing people quote this on the twittersphere I thought I would include some links to exploring John’s thoughts on singing more fully.  The note above is actually #4 of a list of 7 suggestions from John Wesley for Directions for Singing in Worship’ published in his “Select Hymns, 1761″…and often reprinted in methodist hymnals today.  While the 1761 collection is not included, this website at Duke is a fabulous resources for exploring the curation work of John and the hymn writing of Charles.

From John Wesley’s Select Hymns, 1761

I. Learn these tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.

2. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.

3. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a single degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.

4. Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, then when you sung the songs of Satan.

5. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.

6. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend close to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can; and take care not to sing too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.

7. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.

If you want to geek out here is a longer paper exploring this list in Methodist history and practice of congregational singing. – PDF

John Wesley’s, “Directions for Singing”: Methodist Hymnody as an expression of Methodist Beliefs in Thought and Practice. by Martin V. Clarke

How to Disciple Your Worship Ministry

I recently had a worship leader ask me how I disciple my worship ministry.   It’s a great question and one to which I’ve floundered quite successfully over the years.  There are a surprising number of ways that we can gently and consistently disciple our worship ministries over a period of time (here I mean all of the volunteers that serve, not necessarily the congregation which is a different question).

Here is a list of intentional actions I have used over the years.

1. Meet first thing to pray on Sunday mornings before set up or rehearsal.
– Read a psalm, pray through the service.
– Some churches have a pastor or elder serve communion to the musicians if that is a
difficulty during the service.

2. Help your musicians understand how music serves the whole liturgy/gospel story.
Dedicate some time each week whether at rehearsal or on Sunday to explain the gospel flow of your churches liturgy.  Help them to understand how music fits into the larger story that is happening.  The details and demands of playing and performing can often distract us from the biblical narrative that is unfolding week by week.

3. Have monthly/quarterly music gatherings where you intentionally shepherd. 
Every three months I have a potluck for all of the musicians where we meet for a time of fellowship, teaching, prep for the next sermon series/ season, and learn new songs.

4. Meet regularly with sound techs
I take my sound techs out to lunch every month or so. Sound techs are your most important volunteers and often the least positively attended to.  They work incredibly hard to support all of the staff work that goes into church servies and they should feel loved.  Their work on Sunday supports every level at which we want the gospel to be clearly proclaimed (music before and after services, preaching, prayers, scripture, music, etc). Make sure they know the spiritual impact of their technical work.

5. Consistent time with leaders
I plan to spend one-on-one time with my band leaders every three months and general musicians every 6 mo’s. This is time to check in with them and see how they are doing spiritually, with their service in the music ministry, etc.  I also hold a yearly retreat in August for the whole worship ministry to talk over the year, teach, fellowship, etc.

6. Rehearsal time that is more than just music time
It’s amazing how difficult it is to commit to spending a portion of rehearsal time to teaching and prayer.  We all want to get to the music as quick as possible.  Often If I can get a good prayer off myself for the group time then it is an accomplishment.  During better seasons I will read from worship books, creeds, hymns, etc.  The key here is to mix it up and keep it varied.  Brainstorm a list of easy devotional resources that you can use to focus your rehearsal time on Jesus and the gospel.

7. Make sure your musicians have access to and participate in all the Sunday Liturgy
At CTK each musician has a booklet for rehearsal and Sunday that includes not only the music but also all of the liturgy and prayers.  I want the musicians to be able to participate in as much of the service as possible.  I do this by running 81/2 x 11 sheets through my copier and creating 11×17 books.  It is important for the church to see your musicians engaging in all aspects of the service…not just the music.  Nothing is a greater disconnect for communicating the gospel than to see (for e.g.) a drummer wailing through a song and then not participating (and looking bored!) during a liturgical reading (call to worship, confession of sin, etc). This kills me every time.  Your musicians HAVE TO be so careful to communicate that every aspect of the service that is corporate is just as important as the songs. 

8. Provide worship resources for the greater church
A various points throughout the year I provide blog links, printed bulletins, and other resources for our church to grow in their daily worship habits. Have your musicians help create these, contribute to, etc.  Give them intentional places to serve the church outside of just playing music on Sunday.

9. Have a thoughtful and consistent audition process
Some churches have a highly structured process for welcoming musicians into their ministries with regularly set yearly audition times. At other churches its more laid back.  When someone expresses interest, or I pursue them to be a part of our worship ministry – it involves a lunch, a time to hear them musically one-on-one and sitting in on at least two rehearsals.  I also expect them to be regular attenders for at least three months before letting them join one of our worship teams.

10. Encourage (require?) your musicians to be involved in other areas of the church.
At CTK every regularly involved musician has to be a part of a small group.  Some churches require their musicians to be members.  On the flipside if you have any musicians who lead small groups then take care that they don’t burn out!

Here’s some more great resources on Discipleship from The Resurgence.

Let me know what I’ve missed?  How do you disciple your worship ministry?

Resources for Exploring James KA Smith

James KA Smith is a philosophy professor at Calvin College, a prolific author, and an engaging twitterer.  We came to love him (but not inordinately) through his recent writings on faith formation through worship.  Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation) is just the first in a series that will explore the idea of Christian formation and education through Worship.  The second title (Imaging the Kingdom: How Worship Works) will be out later this year and you can get a preview of it by listening to his lectures at New College (see below).  If you’ve read the first one then you know it is a commitment – but well worth it!  But for those of you who can’t get to the book I’ve posted a bunch of video and audio resources for exploring his writings.

And make sure to mark your calendar for next years Laity Lodge ‘retreat for ministers to artists’ hosted by David Taylor.  Jamie Smith will be speaking and Isaac Wardell (Bifrost arts) will be leading music.

Here are a few links to talks that Jamie has given around.  Many of them are fairly similar and a helpful distillation of the thesis of Desiring the Kingdom.  Redeemer Knoxville is a whole weekend retreat and is definitely worth listening through.

Audio Talks

Symposium 2012 – Tune My Heart to Sing Your Praise and blog
Redeemer Knoxville – Weekend Seminar
New College,  Australia – Imagining the Kingdom: On Christian Discipleship and Action

Video Talks

Calvin College – 6o minute  overview of Desiring the Kingdom
Redeemer NYC – Gospel and Culture Lectures

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Oct 2013)


James KA Smith Blog – “Fors Clavigera

An Open Letter to Praise Bands” and ‘Postscript,’ from Blog (February 2012)
Redeeming Ritual,” The Banner  (February 2012).
Redemption,” in Comment magazine (Spring 2010).
Santification for Ordinary Life,” Reformed Worship (March 2012)
Why the Form of Worship Matters: A Conversation with James K. A. Smith,” Gospel Coalition (March 2013)

Liturgical Resources for 2012

Great post today by Zac Hicks reviewing the new liturgical resource site www.liturgies.com.  Check it out.

Every month or so I spend some time reading through the liturgies/orders of service of churches and worship leaders I respect. Here are a few links to accessing their liturgies.

Karl Digerness – City Church San, Fran
Nathan Partain – Redeemer Pres, INdy
Paul Vander Bijl – Cov Pres, Chicago
Matt Brown – Park Slope Pres, Brooklyn
Matt Grimsley – Redeemer Pres, Knoxville
Jess Alldredge – Grace Seattle Pres

Sojourn Church (Louisville, KY) also does a great job of posting their liturgies online each week. You can read and search through them HERE.

This fall I am working with our leaders to improve our worship leading at Christ the King.  We are focusing on our welcome script, our general opening prayer, and our Prayers of Intercession after Communion.  Here are three resources we are using as guides.

Prayers of the People – Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Worship Leader Manual – Redeemer Pres NYC
Leading in Prayer – Hughes Oliphant Old

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