The Worship Pastor and Character

glasses-on-book1At Southern Seminary and Boyce College we are training worship leaders for the church.   This training includes music skills, biblical and theological studies, administrative skills, and practical ministry skills.  There is so much to teach and so little time to help prepare these leaders for the church.   Despite all of this training, we must constantly remind our students (and professors) that our character is of foremost importance in our training and in our serving.

The Apostle Paul reminds Timothy that he should “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”  He instructs Timothy to “keep watch on yourself and on the teaching.  Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”  (I Timothy 4: 12, 16).  No matter how wonderful a musician one may be or how eloquent at leading worship, a person’s character is the foremost trait to seek and maintain.

In Spurgeon’s Letters to My Students he quotes Robert Murray M’Cheyne:  “It is not great talents God blesses so much as likeness to Jesus.  A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.”  Worship leaders need to seek to be conformed to the image of Christ daily.  Who we are during the day to day work of ministry and in our homes speaks volumes about how much we love Christ and reflect Him.  Our effectiveness for the Gospel as ministers is wrapped up in our character.

Spurgeon continues on this topic:  ”true and genuine piety is necessary as the first indispensible requisite; whatever “call” a man may pretend to have, if he has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to ministry. . . We are to stand equipped with the whole armor of God, ready for feats of valor not expected of others: to us self denial, self-forgetfulness, patience, perseverance, longsuffering, must be everyday virtues, and who is sufficient for these things? We had need live very near to God, if we would approve ourselves in our vocation. . .  We have need of very vigorous piety, because our danger is so much greater than that of others.”

Worship leader – how are you doing in this area of character?  This is so important to the life of the minister that it supersedes your knowledge of theological issues, your musical abilities, and other gifts the Lord has given you.  If we want to be persons that the Lord uses in ministry, our character must be foremost in our daily lives.  I challenge you as I challenge myself to strive for purity, holiness and integrity in our personal life, family life and ministry. 

(Spurgeon quotes are from Letters to My Students, Henrickson Publishing, chapter on “The Minister’s Self Watch.”  A new collection of Spurgeon’s lectures to his ministry students.  Highly recommended).

Southern Seminary’s Think: Worship Conference, June 17-19

Think Worship 2013

 Think: Worship Song List, June 2013

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Division of Biblical Worship

 

Monday Night

O Great God  (Bob Kauflin)   

http://www.sovereigngracemusic.org/Songs/O_Great_God/13

All Creatures of Our God and King (hymn)  http://www.sovereigngracemusic.org/Songs/All_Creatures_of_Our_God_and_King/36

Grace and Peace (Joel Sczebel)

http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/post/Songs-from-the-Book-of-Romans-Grace-and-Peace-Video.aspx  (new song will be on the new Romans album due out August 1, Sovereign Grace).

Jesus Paid it All (Hymn/Stanfill)

http://www.praisecharts.com/detail/arrangement/2449

All I Have is Christ (Jordan Kauflin)

http://www.sovereigngracemusic.org/Songs/All_I_Have_Is_Christ/6

 

Tuesday Morning

Our Song from Age to Age (Joel Sczebel)

http://www.sovereigngracemusic.org/Songs/Our_Song_from_Age_to_Age/33

Not in Me (TGC: Songs from the Book of Luke, Eric Schumacher & David L. Ward)

http://thegospelcoalition.bandcamp.com/track/not-in-me

There is a Fountain (Hymn)

http://www.lifewayworship.com/findAndBuy/home?findMappable=false&x=0&y=0&searchString=there+is+a+fountain+kirk+kirkland

http://www.sovereigngracemusic.org/Songs/There_is_a_Fountain_Filled_with_Blood/8

 

Tuesday Afternoon

We Are Listening (Jeremy Quillo, Sojourn)

http://www.sojournmusic.com/category/digital-hymnal/

Come Thou Fount (hymn)

http://www.lifewayworship.com/findAndBuy/displayCart

Now Why This Fear (Toplady, Plank, Sovgrace)

http://www.sovereigngracemusic.org/Songs/Now_Why_This_Fear/2

 

Tuesday Evening

10,000 Reasons (Matt Redman)

http://www.praisecharts.com/detail/arrangement/20858

Doxology

Matt Boswell arrangement:

http://www.lifewayworship.com/findAndBuy/displayCart

other arrangements:

http://www.lifewayworship.com/findAndBuy/home?findMappable=false&searchString=doxology

 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

http://www.praisecharts.com/detail/arrangement/2001

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul (Ann Steele, Kevin Twit)

http://www.igracemusic.com/hymnbook/hymns/d02.html

Song: Solid Rock

http://www.lifewayworship.com/findAndBuy/displayCart
Song: Absent From Flesh (Jamie Barnes, Sojourn)

http://www.sojournmusic.com/category/digital-hymnal/

 

Wednesday Morning

Holy, Holy, Holy (hymn)

 I Have a Shelter (Steve and Vikki Cook, Bob Kauflin)

http://www.sovereigngracemusic.org/Songs/I_Have_A_Shelter/10

Before the Throne of God Above  (Bancroft/Cook)

http://www.sovereigngracemusic.org/Songs/Before_the_Throne_of_God_Above/8

http://www.lifewayworship.com/findAndBuy/displayCart

Grace and Peace (Joel Sczebel)

http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/blogs/sgm/post/Songs-from-the-Book-of-Romans-Grace-and-Peace-Video.aspx  (new song will be on the Romans album due out August 1, Sovereign Grace).

Shine Into Our Night (Joel Sczebel, sovgrace)

http://www.sovereigngracemusic.org/Songs/Shine_into_Our_Night/2 

Thank You for Saving Me (Delirious)

http://www.praisecharts.com/detail/arrangement/2187

 Additional Resources:

Lifeway Worship Resources has full downloadable hymns and worship songs.  Traditional and Contemporary arrangements.  Full orchestrations or instrument parts individually.  www.lifewayresources.com

 Some of our speakers will be: 

Harold Best  – author of Music Through the Eyes of Faith and Unceasing Worship

Matt Boswell – songwriter and worship pastor, Providence Church, Frisco, TX

Michael Card – singer, songwriter and author, Nashville

Mike Cosper – worship pastor, Sojourn Community Church and author of Rhythms of Grace

Mike Harland  – director of LifeWay Worship, Nashville

Bob Kaulfin – author of Worship Matters, director of worship for Sovereign Grace Ministries

Don Whitney – Professor at Southern Seminary

Musical GuestsNorton Hall Band from Southern Seminary

 

Norton Hall Band – Renown Conference, March 2013

 

Nortan Hall Band, 2013

Norton Hall: Devon Kauflin, Jacob Bozarth, Jared Hoffman, Jonaton Barahona

 

Norton Hall, our seminary worship band recently led worship for the Renown Conference on the Southern Seminary campus. Below you will see a list of worship songs used during the conference.  Norton Hall is availabe to lead worship in churches, college events and conferences.  Contact Dr. Joe Crider at SBTS for information and scheduling:  jrcrider@sbts.edu

Renown Conference Worship Songs

Friday 7:00PM  (General Session #1 – Jimmy Scroggins

All Creatures of Our God and King (St. Francis of Assisi/Jonathan Baird/Ryan Baird)

Made Alive (Zach Bolen/Brian Eichelberger)

Jesus Paid it All (Elvina Hall/Kristian Stanfill)

Response:

All I Have is Christ (Jordan Kauflin)

 

Friday 8:30PM  (General Session #2 – R. Albert Mohler Jr.)

Glorious Day (J. Wilbur Chapman/Michael Bleeker)

It is Finished (Matt Papa/Jennie Lee Riddle)

Now Why This Fear (Augustus Toplady/Doug Plank)

 

Saturday 9:00AM (General Session #3 – Greg Gilbert)

Made Alive (Zach Bolen/Brian Eichelberger)

You Have Been Raised (Mark Altrogge/Bob Kauflin/Ken Boer)

In Christ Alone (Stuart Townend/Keith Getty)

Response:

Before the Throne of God Above (Charitie Bancroft/Vicki Cook)

 

Saturday 1:45PM (General Session #4 – Dan DeWitt)

It is Finished (Matt Papa/Jennie Lee Riddle)

Now Why This Fear (Augustus Toplady/Doug Plank)

There is a Fountain Filled with Blood (William Cowper)Behold Our God (Jonathan Baird/Meghan Baird/Ryan Baird/Stephen Altrogge)

Response:

All I Have is Christ (Jordan Kauflin)

Before the Throne of God Above (Charitie Bancroft/Vicki Cook)

In Christ Alone (Stuart Townend/Keith Getty)

 

Nortan Hall Band1, 2013

Norton Hall Band, Southern Seminary, Spring 2013

 

 

John Wesley’s Directions for Congregational Singing, 1761

John and Charles Wesley

John and Charles Wesley had an immense impact on the church of the late eighteenth century.  Their emphasis on evangelism and discipleship caused great growth in the church.  They also strongly influenced church music in a wonderful way through their efforts to improve the congregational singing of the church.  Both John and Charles focused on bringing new congregational songs to believers.   It was Charles who penned over 6500 hymn texts over his lifetime.  We still sing a number of his hymn texts today:  And Can It Be, Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing, Jesus Lover of My Soul.

In an effort to bolster congregational singing in his church, John Wesley penned these words to encourage his congregations.  These directions first appeared in Select Hymns with Tunes Annext, 1761.

 

“That this part of Divine Worship may be more acceptable to God, as well as the more profitable to yourself and others, be careful to observe the following directions:

1.  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 the congregation as frequently as you can.  Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you.  If it is a cross to you, take it up and you will find 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, than when you sang 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 melodious sound.

6.  Sing in time – whatever time is sung, be sure to keep with it.  Do not run before and do not stay behind it; but attend closely 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 among us and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.

7.  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 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 when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.”

 

Although today many churches do not use hymnals, these principles for congregational singing can still embolden our corporate singing.  Our largest choir in the church is the congregation.  Worship leaders must constantly be encouraging their congregations in all of the ways Wesley listed many years ago.

 
 

Less is More?

worship bandI had a conversation with a young worship leader a while back. We were discussing approaches to involving singers and instrumentalists in the Sunday morning worship service. I was advocating for involving as many people as possible in the worship ministry and he thought that we should only use a few people. He expressed that once a worship leader has found several good instrumentalists and singers then he should only work with that group week in and week out. Although this is probably the easier route to guarantee a cohesive group week to week, I actually think this is not a biblical approach.

As ministers we are called to “equip the saints” (Ephesians 4: 11-16). A worship leader can equip in several ways:

1. Modeling Christ in our words, actions and attitudes,

2. Selecting songs for the congregation that will help them to mature in their faith,

3. Ministering to singers and instrumentalists who work with us each week preparing worship music,

4. Training others to participate on a worship team, and

5. Training new worship leaders.

I believe that a large part of a worship leader’s work is to be training others to do ministry. Our influence in the congregation grows proportionately to the number of people involved in our worship ministry. If we only use the same 7 people every week in worship leadership, we are equipping 7 people for ministry. (That is if we are actually taking the time to teach and mentor this team of worship leaders). What if we had rotating teams of instrumentalists and singers who were involved in our worship ministry? Instead of having 7 people involved, we would have the potential of many more people involved.

I heard a worship leader of a growing church here in Louisville share that they have auditions several times a year for instrumentalists and singers who would like to be involved in their worship ministry. They have a large pool of church members who regularly participate in the weekly worship services. This church is constantly adding to their worship ministry.

Worship leader if you are not doing this, how are you equipping your church in the area of worship leadership? What about the next generations of worship leaders in your church? Do you have a plan to equip the children and teens of your church spiritually and musically to assist in worship leadership? Equipping others is a calling that ministers of the Gospel must take seriously. What happens in your worship ministry in 5 years or 10 years or 20 years will depend on your training efforts today.

In God’s Kingdom less is not more. More is more. We want to influence as many people for the Gospel as possible and equip them to be effective worship leaders. Involving more people in your ministry is more complicated than using the same worship team each week. It requires forethought, good communication, pastoral care and sensitivity. Let me encourage you to adopt a plan to be on an equipping journey in your church. Don’t do the ministry for the people, equip them to do the ministry.

New Worship Labs at Southern Seminary

Southern Seminary Guitar Lab

Division of Biblical Worship Guitar Lab

In the Division of Biblical Worship at Southern Seminary we have added several new worship band labs.  These labs provide training for our students in the areas of acoustic and electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums and recording.  At Southern Seminary we have not left the traditional training of music theory, aural skills, vocal technique, hymnology, and other courses.  All of our students need a good foundation of musical training. We are supplementing our curriculum with some much needed training for our students in the area of the worship band.  This fall we introduced our new Guitar Lab which features Taylor acoustic guitars and Fender electric guitars.  In the spring semester we will have our Drum Lab and Bass Guitar Lab set up.

Our Recording Lab is used by our recording classes and others to produce simple worship song recordings.  Recently the worship team from Ninth and O Baptist Church in Louisville used the the seminary recording lab to prepare three worship songs for their Christmas Advent CD which was given out to church members in December.  Dr. Barry Joslin is the Worship Pastor at Ninth and O.  The recordings feature several worship team members from the church who are also worship students at Southern Seminary and Boyce College.  Gordon McComb, Master of Divinity in Worship Leadership student at Southern and worship associate at Ninth and O did the recording engineering on these songs.  Here is a link to these recordings:

Advent Songs from Worship Team of Ninth and O Baptist Church

Division of Biblical Worship Recording Lab

Division of Biblical Worship Recording Lab

Keeping Christ in our Christmas Songs

candle11Years ago I served with a dear pastor who enjoyed the Christmas season, but was quite ready for it to be over after a couple of weeks.  He thought that people are so distracted by the trappings of the holiday season that they are not spiritually focused and not moving forward in their Christian walk.  In our worship planning we would agree to only use Christmas music on certain Sundays which usually ended up being the first 3 Sundays of December – not before or after.  He believed that much of the Christmas music used in worship only led to sentimental reflections of Christmas seasons gone by with little real focus on Christ.

We must admit much of what happens at Christmas often has little to do with the real reason for the celebration – Jesus.  How can a worship leader select music for worship during this season that helps to keep the proper perspective on Christmas?  Here are some suggestions:

1. Avoid songs that over sentimentalize the season such as songs that focus on the “most wonderful time of the year.”  Are we in love with the season or with Christ?

2. Avoid songs that are strictly secular in their association.  Some churches choose to do several of these type songs at the beginning of their musicals at Christmas to either “entertain” or “attract non-believers.”  I believe these type songs have no place in a worship service especially when it is intended to be evangelistic.  What's evangelistic about singing secular songs?  I think sometimes we can be so entertainment focused that we are in danger of entertaining them to hell.  Point your people to Christ.

3.  Choose songs that correctly describe the Christmas story according to Scripture.  Many of our songs really do not portray the story very well.  Look for songs that are clear in communicating the story.

4.  Choose songs that tell the whole Gospel Story- Jesus birth, his ministry, his death on a cross and his resurrection.  The problem with many Christmas songs is that they leave Jesus in the manger.  Christians and non-Christians need to hear the whole Gospel at Christmas.  Look for songs that go beyond the manger.  He came to be our Savior. 

5.  Choose Christmas songs that your congregation can sing.  Many songs of this season (old and new) are difficult to sing in a congregational setting.  Consider the key of the song and the rhythmic structure.

Do all Christmas songs have to fit every criteria listed above? No, but a good group of your songs should.  Let's help our people keep Christ in their Christmas season by using great songs that lead us to the Messiah – Our Savior and Lord. 

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir to God.

Galatians 4:4-7 (ESV)

Are you a Team Player?

heart-of-the-artistIn our worship ministries it is important that members of our bands and choirs be team players.  This concept drives right to the heart of serving the ministry and serving the church.  Those in leadership know how difficult it can be at times working with a group of Christian artists who are part of our ministries.  Rory Noland in his book, The Heart of the Artist (Zondervan, ISBN 0-310-22471-3), describes what it means to be a team player:

1.  A team player is committed to the cause of the team – putting the church’s mission above our agenda. 

2.  A team player is committed to resolving relational conflict – seeking to promote the unity of the group is a core value of being a team player. We are to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  (Ephesians 4:3)

3.  A team player encourages and supports his or her teammates.  Noland says we should cultivate an environment that is encouraging, life-giving, and supportive.

4.  A team player holds on to his or her gifts loosely.  We should offer our God-given talents to be used in a way the best serves the church.

5.  A team player tries to bring a healthy self to the team.  We should show up rested and physically healthy to serve on our ministry teams.  Your life outside of minstry has a direct bearing on how well you serve with your team.

6.  A team player doesn’t care who get the credit or the glory.  “It’s amazing how much gets accomplished when no cares who gets the credit.”

7.  A team player brings all of his or her spiritual gifts to the team.  God has gifted all Christians with gifts to be used in his church.

8.  A team player sees his or her role as valuable, no matter how small. 

9.  A team player submits to authority.  Noland states that “stubborness is not a virtue.”  Unless your leader is asking you to do something unscriptural then we should be strive to follow his leadership.

10.  A team player doesn’t lose his or her autonony or artistic identity.  When we lose autonomy we stop taking responsibility for ourselves. 

Noland has given us some great points about being a team player.  How do we match up to these?  How are our worship teams working together?  Leaders, are we spending time discipling our teams so that they learn to work and serve together with joy and to the glory of God?  I recommend you pick up this book and read more indepth concerning this concept of team ministry.  This is a good book for any worship minister wanting to be a better leader for your teams.

Expositor’s Summit 2012 Worship Song List

southern_seminary_15Southern Seminary recently hosted an Expositor’s Summit on campus.  Norton Hall, our seminary traveling worship band, provided worship music throughout the week for the conference.   Thanks to Devon Kauflin, band leader for compiling this list!

Tuesday 1:30PM  (General Session #1 – R. Albert Mohler Jr.)

Holy, Holy, Holy (Reginald Heber)

Our Song from Age to Age (Joel Sczebel)

 

Tuesday 3:00PM  (General Session #2 – Ray Ortlund)

Come Praise and Glorify (Tim Chester/Bob Kauflin)

How Firm a Foundation (Traditional)

In the Shadow of the Glorious Cross (Brooks Ritter/Rebecca Bales)

Now Why This Fear (Augustus Toplady/Doug Plank)Response:

Our Song from Age to Age (Joel Sczebel)

Jesus Paid it All (Elvina Hall/Kristian Stanfill)

 

Tuesday 7:00PM (General Session #3 – Alistair Begg)

Nothing but the Blood (Robert Lowry)

Refuge (Isaac Watts/Neil Robbins)

Grace Greater Than Our Sin (Julia Johnston)

In Christ Alone (Stuart Townend/Keith Getty)

Response:

All I Have is Christ (Jordan Kauflin)

 

Wednesday 9:30AM (General Session #4 – Panel Discussion)

A Mighty Fortress (Martin Luther)

How Great is Your Faithfulness (Matt Redman)

Before the Throne of God Above (Charitie Bancroft/Vicki Cook)

Response:

Grace Greater Than Our Sin (Julia Johnston)

 

Wednesday 3:30PM (General Session #5 – Ray Ortlund)

Refuge (Isaac Watts/Neil Robbins)

How Firm a Foundation (Traditional)

Now Why This Fear (Augustus Toplady/Doug Plank)

Response:

Jesus Paid it All (Elvina Hall/Kristian Stanfill)

 

Wednesday 7:00PM (General Session #6 – R. Albert Mohler Jr.)

My Hope is Built (Edward Mote)

In the Shadow of the Glorious Cross (Brooks Ritter/Rebecca Bales)

All I Have is Christ (Jordan Kauflin)

Response:

Holy, Holy, Holy (Reginald Heber)

Our Song from Age to Age (Joel Sczebel)

 

Thursday 10:00AM (Chapel – Alistair Begg)

Come Praise and Glorify (Tim Chester/Bob Kauflin)

Nothing but the Blood (Robert Lowry)

Jesus Paid it All (Elvina Hall/Kristian Stanfill)

Response:

O Great God (Bob Kauflin)

The Worship Leader and Character

bo-warren-chapel-spring-20113At Southern Seminary and Boyce College we are training worship leaders for the church.   This training includes music skills, biblical and theological studies, administrative skills, and practical ministry skills.  There is so much to teach and so little time to help prepare these leaders for the church.   Despite all of this training, we must constantly remind our students that our character is of foremost importance in our training and in our serving.

The Apostle Paul reminds Timothy that he should “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”  He instructs Timothy to “keep watch on yourself and on the teaching.  Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”  (I Timothy 4: 12, 16).  No matter how wonderful a musician one may be or how eloquent at leading worship, a person’s character is the foremost trait to seek and maintain.

In Spurgeon’s Letters to My Students he quotes Robert Murray M’Cheyne:  “It is not great talents God blesses so much as likeness to Jesus.  A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.”  Worship leaders need to seek to be conformed to the image of Christ daily.  Who we are during the day to day work of ministry and in our homes speaks volumes about how much we love Christ and reflect Him.  Our effectiveness for the Gospel as ministers is wrapped up in our character.

Spurgeon continues on this topic:  ”true and genuine piety is necessary as the first indispensible requisite; whatever “call” a man may pretend to have, if he has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to ministry. . . We are to stand equipped with the whole armor of God, ready for feats of valor not expected of others: to us self denial, self-forgetfulness, patience, perseverance, longsuffering, must be everyday virtues, and who is sufficient for these things? We had need live very near to God, if we would approve ourselves in our vocation. . .  We have need of very vigorous piety, because our danger is so much greater than that of others.”

Worship leader – how are you doing in this area of character?  This is so important to the life of the minister that it supersedes your knowledge of theological issues, your musical abilities, and other gifts the Lord has given you.  If we want to be persons that the Lord uses in ministry, our character must be foremost in our daily lives.  I challenge you as I challenge myself to strive for purity, holiness and integrity in our personal life, family life and ministry. 

(Spurgeon quotes are from Letters to My Students, Henrickson Publishing, chapter on “The Minister’s Self Watch.”  A new collection of Spurgeon’s lectures to his ministry students.  Highly recommended).