When Your Congregation Is In The Valley

For as much as I stress planning and intentionally when leading worship, sometimes last-minute adjustments need to be executed. Sometimes, they are made in the moment. I had taken the Doxology (Old Hundredth) and added some jazz chords and progressions. With the swing and a tempo that kept the melody moving, the arrangement brought out the exclamatory dynamic of the classic praise hymn. The worship service had gone according to plan, but took a drastic turn right before the closing song, the Doxology.

Since we were still a small church, we still invited those who had gathered together to share their prayer and praises publically. Person after person shared occasions for prayer and tragedy. The tone of worship shifted greatly. The jazz arrangement was no longer appropriate. Instead, I called an audible, into the microphone no less, announcing unbeknownst to the music team, that we were going to close by singing the Doxology acapella.Read More »

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Super Bowl Sunday, or Super Bowl and Sunday?

On Sunday I watched Super Bowl 50 like millions of others in our nation and across the world. A defensively charged game, many found the Championship Game a little more dull than normal. Our nation prefers long homers over pitching duels and hat tricks over sound saves. For some reason we ascribe exciting to offense and points, not to defense.

As always, the Super Bowl dominated social media the days before, the day of, and the days after the most-watched game in all of sports. And for another year, I witnessed at least one picture or meme, pictured above, seeking to set the same standards on the Super Bowl onto Christian Sunday worship. Today my goal is to set these two events side and by side and see whether we can place the Super Bowl and the Church’s Gathering together and compare them to one another.Read More »

Planning the Next Series

Every church follows a rhythm in time. Major decisions often center on the pattern that we create. For many evangelical churches, our church follows the time of sermon series. Often 4-6 weeks in length, these series are often topical and strive to offer practical advice for living the Christian life.

The question for worship leaders who serve at these churches is this: how do I plan for these monthly series? A couple of weeks ago we looked at what planning each week may look like for an evangelical worship leader. This week we are going to look at a slightly larger picture, how to plan for the next sermon series.Read More »

Journeys in Worship: Seasons of Faith, Pt. 2

The Bishop's Corner

Last week we looked at the first part of the Church calendar.  This week I’d like to finish that thought and consider potential “next steps.”

As mentioned last week, Robert Webber divides the Church calendar into two sections: the “cycle of light” and the “cycle of life.” (See Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time)  The cycle of light contains the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany – all of which have some aspect of revelation, or “light shining in the darkness,” (John 1:5) aspect to them.  The cycle of life is the result of the cycle of light; you could say it is the manifestation of the revelation.  Webber notes,Read More »