Theology Serving the Church

It does not happen often, but occasionally I have lots to say and nothing to write. Everything continues to shift around in my head as I continue to grapple with Church life, especially her worship (leitourgia, or liturgy). I wrestle to understand her worship history, theology, and what it means to be people of rhythms. I struggle to understand the relationship between her worship and culture.

But I do this with purpose.Read More »

Music Tells the Story: Rachmaninoff’s “Vespers”

Yesterday my wife and I had the opportunity to listen to the Wichita Chamber Chorale perform Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vespers at St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas. The cathedral filled out very well and one could sense the anticipation from the audience.

The performance easily ranks as one of the best concerts I have ever been to. Combined with the spectacular acoustics in the cathedral, the chorale soothed our ears and filled our souls.Read More »

Provision in Worship

My wife and I recently returned from our Spring Break trip. We traveled over 2,300 miles and crossed 9 states. The driving was excellent and each stop went well. Our car, however, did not enjoy the first 1,000 miles of our trip. Not long after we got out of our home state, she started making sounds. Every stop I would call my Dad to talk through what was going on and look under the hood and check the basics (what little I know, anyway). Nothing came up.Read More »

You Can Learn to Lead Worship

Today, I am going to make the case that worship leading is a practice. This interdisciplinary skill can be learned. Certainly some in the Body may be gifted in worship leading, some maybe for just a season of life. However, since worshiping is humanity’s primary purpose and the Church’s primary act, the act of worship leading can be learned at a basic level.Read More »

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 »

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 »

Praxis, Worship, Theology: Being Intentional

If you want your church’s worship to develop and your worship leading to grow, being intentional about your worship is the very first step that you should take. Today, we are going to look at two disciplines that will help us be more intentional about our worship, but first, I want to talk about what it means to “be intentional” about or worship.Read More »