Recently, the worship music leaders have been reading a fantastic book about, what else, worship music leading, called Worship Matters, by Bob Kauflin (director of worship development for Sovereign Grace and songwriter of many great worship songs). This excellent, theologically strong, well-written, practical guide always spurs a lot of thoughts in our email discussions that follow.
Here are some thoughts from the team:
I really like how transparent and honest the author is about his struggles as a worship leader and hope that I too would just be able to follow in his example. What I liked most about chapter 2 was how he talked about our greatest challenge as worship leaders which is "what we bring to the platform each and every Sunday. Your heart". I think this is so important to realize as so many times I find myself worrying so much about the songs, or how it will sound, or what to say that my focus starts becoming all about me and not about God. Even though the worship set may run smoothly or things may not go as planned, if our heart is not in the right place and is serving something else other than God, than our worship is meaningless. --Melissa
The Bible tells us to worship God in truth, and we need to know who God is in order to do that. The book says that "When we're dodgy about our theology, we're really saying we want our own Jesus. But our worship isn't based on people's personal opinions, ideas, or best guesses about Jesus. Nor should we base our understanding of him on anyone's individual experiences. He has a name, a particular history, and a specifically revealed body of teaching. God has theology; will we sharpen our own biblical understanding to find out what it is? Will we worship the Son of God, the Redeemer, the second person of the Trinity, the Alpha and Omega, our High Priest, sanctifier, and intercessor and seek to understand what all this means?" I totally agree. I'm glad IGC doesn't only sing hecka shallow songs which only say that we love Jesus and he's awesome. Of course those two things are true, but when we sing songs which go deeper into who God is and why he's awesome, and what Jesus has done, then I feel that it helps people connect the dots as to why we are lifting up praise. --Marsh
I'm gonna reach back to chapter five and point out something that stuck out to me - "individuals on worship teams wear clothes that are too tight and revealing." This is something I need to change because I know that lots of people are distracted by my muscles and lean, tall body when I am standing in front of the congregation. --Wade
One thing that I remember and stood out was that we no longer need to worship in the temple anymore because Jesus is our new temple. Pretty profound stuff. I love how he keeps going back to the Christ centered-ness of our worship and our lyrics. I think it's pretty cool that our church tries to follow this model and we do our best incorporating that into our worship. --Sammy
For me, the main take away from both these chapters was that we need to magnify God IN CHRIST during our times of worship singing. Our worship singing has to be all about how God has revealed himself, his nature and his works in the work of Christ on the cross. As Kauflin said, it should not only be Christ-centered, but cross-centered. Meaning, we need to be specific, concrete and very explicit about what Christ did and how he did it on the cross. And I love when Kauflin challenged us to think about whether non-Christians would enjoy our worship music. Would Muslims, Buddhists, secular pluralists enjoy singing our songs? I remember in college there was a Hindu girl who loved singing worship songs at a Christian club I visited. Those songs were all vague and unclear about what Christ did - it was just general language about God loving us, forever and ever and ever, etc. Kauflin's own example, about how the song Amazing Grace is quite vague and never mentions the cross was really insightful - no wonder non-Christians like that song so much. --Christina
Please pray for us as we continue to strive to glorify God in Christ through musical excellence and personal hearts of devotion to Him. If you’d like to read this fantastic book with us, contact Christina and she will send you a book and add you to the list.