Category Archives: Church Leadership
“It’s 1994, and Michael Stipe recently lost his religion. It’s before Bieber and bling, before ordering a latte required six qualifying adjectives. In coffeehouses across the country, bored teens slouch on thrift-store couches nodding along to the Cranberries’ “Zombie.” Weezer breaks into the alt-rock scene with the Blue Album; Green Day tops the charts with the first punk rock song to whine about a lousy therapist. In April, hordes of fans gather in Seattle Park to mourn the death of Kurt Cobain. A few months later, 350,000 people make the pilgrimage to Read the rest of this entry
Worship is fast becoming a topic we avoid at all costs. Much like discussing politics, discussing worship preferences and style, the should and should nots, the rights and wrongs, is not polite conversation. It can and has led to all out war. Challenge the status quo and you may have the same charges leveled against you that they leveled against Jesus: “Blasphemy…He is worthy of death!” Read the rest of this entry
If history is any indicator, then a sinful nature is not the only thing we inherited from Adam as this comic depicts.
This has been one of the mottos of our culture since the 1960’s. Now it seems that the American church has adopted a similar pragmatic motto: “If it makes people feel good, we should use it.” Today we see church leaders of every persuasion trying all kinds of new things. Even in corporate worship. If it works in drawing more people into services then it “works” and must be stamped with the very approval of God Himself. It appears that many church leaders are acting under the premise that we can worship God anyway we want to, as long as it is in spirit and truth. This is often just a code word for “Our way of worshipping God is acceptable to Him. It must be, we love it and so do all the unbelievers who come and enjoy it.” But are they right? Can we worship God anyway that WE want to? Is there any possibility, at all, that the way we worship Him could be unacceptable to HIM?
One of the things we should remind ourselves… Read the rest of this entry
“I prefer reading books written by dead men!”, an old man of God once told me. When I asked him why, he told me that books by great men of God who are no longer with us, are not influenced by our current cultural trends. Their understanding of God’s word is not colored by the same issues that affect us in our day. Many of the issues we face, were not even around back then. It is refreshing to read books by people who do not have a horse in the race, so to speak. Over the years, I have come to appreciate that perspective and have adopted it as my own.
On a recent trip to the Goodwill, I found a very old commentary on the Book of Acts, written by J.W. McGarvey in 1863. (I bought it at for .99 cents!) As I read it, I began to tear up. “Where are these men today Lord?” I asked out loud.
I did a little research on the man who wrote the commentary. One of the things I found was this very interesting article titled “Instrumental Music in Churches.” He was against it and argued from the Scriptures that instruments were not to be used in the Church era. He wrote this article in 1864, at a time when most churches Read the rest of this entry
If there was one gift I could give to every person responsible for leading corporate worship, it would be Bob Kauflin’s book “Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God” It is a very readable book, and dives deeply into the subject.
Much of what I have learned about leading worship over the years has come from trial, error and a LOT of study. How I wish that someone would have given me this book 20 years ago!
For those of you not familiar with Bob Kauflin, Read the rest of this entry
The clock on the wall says it’s 9:55. People are hurriedly making their way into the sanctuary from classrooms, conversations, the coffee bar, or the parking lot. If the service has a band, the musicians are tuning up, and everyone on the team is making sure their songs are in order. The sound team is running last-minute checks and putting a battery into the one mic that is dying, The video team is making sure everything is ready. It’s 10:00am and the time has come. It is time to worship.
What happens next? All kinds of things. It depends on your church tradition and background. It has a LOT to do with the worship leaders themselves and what they think should happen.
Let me phrase today’s discussion this way: If you are a worship leader, what is your goal when you lead the congregation in worship? Where is it you are leading the congregation? How do you know when you get there? Put another way: What is the point of corporate worship? Why have we gathered in the first place? What does God expect from us as we gather to worship Him?
I have been to many worship services and have led some myself, where there was no lofty goal guiding the service. Henry David Thoreau once said
“In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.”
We only hit what we aim at. Isn’t that the truth! As worship leaders, we should be aiming very high when we stand before God’s people to lead them in worshipping Him. So, my worship leading friend, what are you aiming at when you lead the congregation? Allow me to share what I believe the scriptures teach us we SHOULD be aiming at when we lead worship. To understand this, we will briefly look at the three common terms used to describe worship in the Bible. We will wrap up with a definition.
The most memorable line from this song for me has always been the line: ‘How can you be so dead, when you’ve been so well fed?” As I listened to this song again yesterday, I had two thoughts. The first was how utterly convicted I was about how I have been living my life! The second was that the church is no longer well fed. In Keith’s day, the pastor still preached God’s word. If you were part of a evangelical church, you were most likely very well-fed. How sad it is in our day, that believers are forced to attend churches that offer only cotton candy. We are starving of mal-nutrition!
Here is a video of Keith Green passionately singing his song “Asleep In the Light.” He was obviously fighting to hold back tears as he sang the song… Read the rest of this entry
Happy New Year to all our readers! Today we are excited to announce a new feature to the blog. It is called “Worship Leader Makeover.” One of my passions in life is the corporate worship meeting of the church. Whether it was as a senior pastor (10 LONG years) or a worship leader, I have been responsible for leading every aspect of the Sunday morning meeting. I have also studied worship in the church extensively. All that to say, I think I have earned the right to comment on the current state of “worship” and to encourage those who lead “it”.
Our “Worship Leader Makeover” will feature a regular post for worship leaders. It will not focus on any technical issues. Rather, I will be sharing foundational things I have learned over the years. My hope is that one by one, I can encourage other worship leaders, and that true Christ honoring worship would be restored in His church. It won’t matter if your congregation uses instruments or not, as the things I share will have nothing to do with that.
Disclosure: I am a full-time musician. A guitar player (what can I say, God loves me!) I run my own teaching studio and have traveled… Read the rest of this entry
We are brothers in Christ united in one great cause – to stand together for the Gospel. We are convinced that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been misrepresented, misunderstood, and marginalized in many churches and among many who claim the name of Christ. Compromise of the Gospel has led to the preaching of false gospels, the seduction of many minds and movements, and the weakening of the church’s Gospel witness.
As in previous moments of theological and spiritual crisis in the church, we believe that the answer to this confusion and compromise lies in a comprehensive recovery and reaffirmation of the Gospel – and in Christians banding together in Gospel churches that display God’s glory in this fallen world… Read the rest of this entry
The memory is forever etched in my mind. It was a typical Sunday, the service was over. There was a line of people who wanted to talk to me. One of them was our sound guy, who said “Worship was great today pastor! Your guitar solo was AWESOME!” I remember this comment for two reasons. It was the first time in my ministry where I realized that people were equating songs with worship. What he meant was that he liked the songs we played. Even then, I knew that worship was much more than singing or listening to a song. The other troubling part for me was that I did not have any guitar solos, and the guy who thought I did was the soundman! (He had taken too many drugs as a young man, and apparently heard things that were not there. Not good if you are a sound guy. I guess I should be happy he did not imagine a really bad solo, but I digress.) Read the rest of this entry
Staying On Message 2 Timothy 4:1-8
An exposition of the Apostle Paul’s passionate final message to Timothy. The church must continue to proclaim the message of The Cross even when people will not listen to it. Given in October 2010 at a fellowship in Denver Colorado. Speaker: Jim Greer
Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the serious issues that exist within the American Evangelical church. It is a place for like minded people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Our opinion is that the church in America is in serious trouble and has lost its way. If you believe that, then this will be an excellent forum for you. Our goal is not to bash the church. Rather, the goal is to bring people together to encourage one another and talk about solutions… Read the rest of this entry
“If it feels good, do it!”
This has been one of the mottos of our culture since the 1960’s. Now it seems that the American church has adopted a similar pragmatic motto: “If it makes people feel good, we should use it.” Today we see church leaders of every persuasion trying all kinds of new things. If it works in drawing more people into services then it “works” and it must be good, right, and stamped with the very approval of God Himself. But is it?
One of the things we should remind ourselves… Read the rest of this entry