After this page being dormant for so long, it is about to be active again. Christianity Today magazine contacted me about helping their readers get a sense for the worshipping heart of the Church in Ukraine. The article is 5 Ukrainian Worship Songs for War and Peace and it just posted today. If you came here as a result of that article, thank you for checking us out this far. Join us and come back to this space for more opportunity for understanding and prayer for Ukraine in the current conflict.
In preparing for the second part of my webinar on worship planning for Worship Leader magazine today, it struck me at how gracious God has been in allowing me to experience an incredible variety of worship expressions in the Body of Christ. Not just in years of church concerts all across the US and about 50 countries, but in actually serving local congregations as a worship leader, choir director, organist, soloist, worship team member, minister of music or worship service planner.
It’s easy to take for granted the “big picture” this has given me, and an appreciation for a varied number of traditions. I forget that not everyone has this in their background!
It has been wonderful getting to experience the wide variety of services I’ve attended and planned outside the local church, but even more humbling to realize that I’ve been able to serve these local churches over the course of my life and ministry.
Here’s the list…thanks to all the congregations and pastoral leadership who allowed me to grow and serve in each fellowship! (You’ll see how varied they really are! ;-> )
- St Patrick’s of Heatherdowns, Toledo, OH (Roman Catholic)
- Detroit Avenue Wesleyan Church, Toledo, OH (Wesleyan)
- Bethany Baptist Church, Thousand Oaks, CA (Baptist General Conference)
- New Hope Community, Canoga Park, CA (Reformed Church in America)
- Nyeland Community Church, Oxnard, CA (Independent Fundamental Churches of America)
- Calvary Community Church, Westlake Village, CA (Missionary Church)
- St Chad’s, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, UK (Church of England)
- New Song Christian Fellowship, Brentwood, TN (Foursquare)
- Belle Meade United Methodist, Belle Meade, TN (United Methodist)
- Belmont Church, Nashville, TN (Independent charismatic evangelical; Church of Christ roots)
Where have you served on your worship/music ministry journey? How has that shaped or influenced your perspective on worship? Post a comment and let us know…
I’ve been putting off doing this blog thing for years, but I really must dive in. I’m excited about doing my first webinar for Worship Leader magazine today, and need to get a link posted for one of my references. I’m going to finally give it a try.
I’ve spent a good portion of the last 10 years working on resources for worship planning: Scriptural references, assigning topics to songs, writing suggested spoken intros for the songs, devotionals on contemporary worship songs, creating hundreds of sample worship sets for leaders to consider, and selecting songs to be used in collections, downloadable sites, and put in current hymnals.
As a worship leader and teacher myself, I want that planning process to be easier and easier. There are so many great resources out there, so many songs that could be used, but it is very tough to keep track of them.
“Of the making of worship songs, there is no end.” Ecclesiasticals 3:12 (Heumann version)
And even when you select them, everyone has a strong opinion on them (whether they’re entitled to it, or not!). I’ve discovered, though, that as Solomon said, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Maybe you can relate to these notes…
A newsletter prepared by the Lutheran Hymnal Project of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has noted that the following item was recently included in the Texas District supplement to the Lutheran Witness:
“Please! NO more new hymns. What’s wrong with the inspiring hymns with which we grew up? When I go to church, it’s to worship God, not be distracted with learning a new hymn. Last Sunday’s was particularly unnerving. While the text was good, the tune was quite unsingable and the harmonies were quite discordant.” (This letter was written in 1890, and the hymn that elicited the complaint was “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”)
“Was it the organist’s idea or yours that our peaceful worship service was shattered by that new hymn last Sunday? The music was sacrilegious; something one would expect to hear in a den of iniquity, not a church! Don’t expect me even to attempt to sing it next time!” (I Love To Tell The Story – written in 1874)
“Pastor, I am not a music scholar, but I feel I know appropriate church music when I hear it. Last Sunday’s new hymn, if you call it that, sounded like a sentimental love ballad one might expect to hear crooned in a saloon. If you persist in exposing us to rubbish like this in God’s house, don’t be surprised if many of the faithful look for a new place to worship. The hymns we grew up with are all we need.” (Just As I Am – letter dated 1865)The Stanza, Vol. 27,No. 2, Fall 2003
We are not alone!
(PS: this quote has been attributed to Nicky Gumbel of the Alpha Course, who quoted it in a sermon, but I was able to trace the source to “The Stanza,” but have not found the publication on-line, just a quote from it.)