How to Play Together

How to Play Together

As a worship band, sensing each other’s parts–listening–is of prime importance. Paul Baloche, a gifted singer, songwriter, worship leader has a video that greatly illustrates and teaches the principles of a worship band playing well together. I want to share that with you so that your team might benefit as well.

I would love to know what you think, what works for your team, and what doesn’t. How about taking a few minutes to share your experiences with the rest of us in the comment section.

ENGAGE: Commitment to the Ministry

ENGAGE: Commitment to the Ministry

“Now these are the singers, heads of fathers’ households of the Levites, who lived in the chambers of the temple free from other service; for they were engaged in their work day and night.” — 1 Chronicles 9:33

The singers, members of the Levites, were engaged in the worship ministry 24/7. Because of their commitment, they were released from all other duties. This really is a great indication of the importance of their role in kingdom work. So it is with the choir in the church today. Often, many other activities clamor for our attention. Many of these things are really good things too. One must remember to follow the Lord to the best things–that is, paying attention to the things that God has called us to and being faithful in those things.

Proverbs 37:3-5 states,

“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.”

Trust, Delight, and Commit. That’s what these verses tell us. Trust in the Lord, and mimic His faithfulness. Delight yourself in Him. Stay in close fellowship with Him through the Spirit and the Word. Commit your way to Him. Follow and obey Him and He will do it! What a promise. But just what does that look like in Worship Ministry? How do I apply this?

Here are some helpful guidelines for committing yourself to the Worship Ministry:

1. Commit to be regular in rehearsal attendance.

Attendance is important. We cannot skillfully sing without rehearsing together to learn the songs and to interpret them together. Being regular in attendance means not only showing up, but showing up on time and ready to rehearse. Being alert in rehearsal is part of regular attendance. That means marking your music, singing–Engaging in and not being spectator to rehearsal.

2. Commit to Home Worship.

What happens publicly on Sunday should be the overflow of what has happened privately during the week. Are you spending time with God during the week? At FBC Mableton, we have provided an incredible resource to all our worship team. Planning Center Online is a great tool to not only look at the worship plan but to listen to the audio files of songs and view the charts to practice. Using those songs in your quiet time is essential to worship growth and leadership in the church.

3. Commit to Being Present in Worship.

Part of the Worship Team’s ministry is visual. Before a word is spoken or a note sung, the atmosphere of the worship service will be set by the fullness of choir, worship team, band, and the demeanor of each member as they step on the platform to minister. A half-empty choir loft tells the congregation, some of us skipped out today because this service isn’t important today.

Conversely, a full choir loft, all band in place, and vocalists in place translates –Wow! God is about to do something here! Everybody is here, so they must know what’s about to happen. They’re excited about this!!


Here’s a little review for you. Think about your service over the past year. Take some time to scrutinize your commitment to the Worship Ministry. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How much help were you to the choir?
  • When did you put a little extra time in to help the director prepare for a major event?
  • How regular were you with your attendance, both rehearsal and worship?
  • How often were you prompt?
  • How often did you support the choir with your sincere prayers?
  • What an awesome privilege God has given to those who serve in Worship Ministry! Will you commit yourself and ENGAGE in ministry?
Jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be
the will of God.”

ENGAGE Through Singing

(NOTE: I’m very grateful to Bob Kauflin for a wonderful article in a recent Worship Leader Magazine. Many of the thoughts here come from Kauflin’s article.)

Singing…you don’t find group singing just anywhere. But no matter your denomination, no matter your worship style, you almost always find group singing in Christian worship. Over 50 times in Scripture we are commanded to sing. Psalm 47:6 says, “Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King! Sing praises!”

Bob Kauflin says, “God evidently wants us to do more than simply declare His praise. He wants us to sing it. And because God is infinitely wise and loving, His commands are always for our benefit. As Psalm 147 puts it, ‘It is good to sing praises to our God.'”

There are four ways that singing affects our relationship to God and with others.

Singing Enables Us to REMEMBER God’s Word

Colossians 3:16 reminds us to “let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” as we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Have you ever noticed that some songs get stuck in your mind (By the way, to clear that song out, simply start singing “Kung Fu Fighting.” Works every time for me!). How about that college fight song (“Rocky Top, you’ll always be…”) OK, you get the idea. We remember what we sing. God designed music that way for our benefit. Check out Deuteronomy 31:21. Allowing the Word of Christ to dwell in you richly is the purpose of our singing. Sometimes a fresh new arrangement or a new melody to those familiar words we sing will give birth to a fresh expression and will recall the texts of the songs anew. What a great experience in worship!

Singing Enables Us to RESPOND to God’s Grace

Colossians 3:16 tells us that as we sing, we do so with thankful hearts.

John Piper states, “The reason we sing is because there are depths and heights and intensities and kinds of emotions that will not be satisfactorily expressed by mere prosaic forms, or even poetic readings. There are realities that demand to break out of prose into poetry and some demand that poetry be stretched into song.”

Emotion is one third of who we are (mind, will, emotion). Music affects our emotion. It is meant to move us. Think of how “your song” affects you and your spouse/lover. It always conjures a special feeling to which we respond. Because of God’s great grace, music is the God-created medium to offer expressions of thanks to God. Kauflin says that singing allows us to connect:

  • doctrine and devotion
  • intellect and emotion
  • truth and response

Singing Enables Us to REFLECT God’s Glory

Look at the examples of God Himself.

Zeph. 3:17 – God the Father sings over us

Heb. 2:12 – God the Son sings the praise of the Father

Eph. 2:18-19 – Being filled with the Spirit leads to “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.”

When we sing together, the Holy Spirit is here with us inspiring our songs. That’s why you often hear people report at how they could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in a worship service. “In the Presence of Jehovah” (Geron Davis)

Romans 15:5-6

Singing Offers a Glimpse of Heaven

Read Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4. These are perfect pictures of perfect worship. The worship of heaven is described in both. Our worship–this side of heaven–will never be perfect. But with the example from Scripture, we can certainly strive for that perfect activity. We will be made complete, and our heavenly worship will be perfect–offered eternally to a perfect God.

So, when you go to your church this weekend, remember what God has created through music. Remember the command to sing to Him. Remember the benefits of obedience to Him through singing His praise. I can’t wait to join you as we sing His glory and magnify His name.

UNSTOPPABLE

I’m always excited when our Worship Ministry presents a new musical or worship event. My excitement has grown with the evening we have been preparing for Sunday night, August 29. I first heard this music as First Baptist Woodstock, GA premiered it in late April/early May. The songs so moved me as I sat and worshipped, that I was speechless and often tear-filled. The lyrics so moved me to remind me (1) how much He loves me, (2) how powerful He is in my life, (3) how He completely forgives, (4) how He demands my all, (5) and what a fortress He is in my life.

Psalm 27 states,

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,
My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me,
My heart will not fear;
Though war arise against me,
In spite of this I shall be confident.
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice,
And be gracious to me and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me,
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not abandon me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
But the Lord will take me up.
Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a level path
Because of my foes.
Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries,
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.

Cliff Duren has written a wonderful song based on this Psalm, and the Celebration Choir does a magnificent job of singing it as they worship. Along with this, there are 12 other songs of equal magnitude and encouragement.

Last night at our final dress rehearsal, I asked the choir to share what song had ministered the most to them, and I received answers that included almost every song. What a great time of testimony, worship, and prayer we had. I know the same will be true for you if you join us Sunday night, August 29, at 6:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church, Mableton, GA. Trust me, any schedule conflict and any driving distance will be worth it to you when God speaks to you to show you the love, power, and encouragement He has for you. I hope you’ll come, and know that for many weeks now, I have been praying that God would attract many to be here for His glory. Is He calling you?

Find more information here

The Dove Awards

Every once in a while, great opportunities come around. This week is one of those times for me. As you read this, I am en route to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House to attend the 41st Annual Dove Awards.

It’s such a cool thing to not only spend your life in music, but to be around some of the great creators of wonderful expressions of praise to God and about God is just amazing. Then, on top of all that, to get to know some of these great people is another blessing.

I look forward to hearing such artists as Casting Crowns; Toby Mac; BeBe and CeCe; Natalie Grant; Jordin Sparks; Mercy Me; Ricky Skaggs; Jason Crabb; Francesca Battistelli; Kari Jobe with Phillips, Craig, and Dean; The Blackwood Brothers; Legacy 5; the Crabb Family; and more.

My good friend, Cliff Duren, is nominated for a Dove this year for his Christmas musical. I look forward to seeing some good friends and meeting some new ones too.

You be sure to watch the Dove Awards as it is broadcast on Sunday, April 25 at 8/7c on GMC (The Gospel Music Channel).

Thank you, Lord, for such a great opportunity!