As many of my blog readers know, my wife is my Spiritual Director in one key area of my formation as a Christian and as a human being. It is through her role modeling, and daily coaching, that I am learning the raw power of expressing thankfulness in all circumstances. This brief guest post, written by her, should become a must-read for any human being wanting thanksgiving to become their new normal. Please share it with friends. I commend her unique voice to you.
How God’s Love Changes What We See
By Anita Wilt
Recently I replaced the frame of a piece of art that’s been hanging in our home since we were married.
The old frame was ‘tired’ and made the art seem likewise. The new frame was a great improvement.
Reframing that art got me thinking. What was inside the frame did not change, but with a different frame around it, the artwork took on a new look; the actual art was not altered, but its appearance was.
Thanks to the new frame, the art had taken on new life.
On October 19, 2015, Patheos.com published the post 8 Reasons The Worship Industry Is Killing Worship by Jonathan Aigner. By all accounts the post has gone viral among those who care about the topic of worship. This is both encouraging, and disturbing. First, there is much in the post’s content that is helpful, insightful, and accurate. However, in my humble opinion, the post lacks nuance and generosity in some of the conclusions made. This moves me to strongly disagree with a number of the statements in the article.
My time is limited for writing this response, which will reveal itself in a lack of editing and a few typos. Apologies. I may/will also be accused of leaving out particular ideas intentionally. That is not my intent, but I see the suggestion coming so I mention this at the beginning of my response. Please be gracious with me.
As well, when I sound pointed in my remarks, please read them as if the author and I are having a coffee and the conversation is passionate yet playful.
The songs are joyful. The songs are beautiful. But for a solid 30 minutes the worship leader’s face seems intense with concentration. Wait. So does the background vocalist’s face as she stares at her music stand. Why do I feel disengaged from those on the stage right now – and even from worship?
I’m scanning the stage for one smile, one engaging glance, over 30 minutes… there! I see one! The keyboard player looks up, and smiles! The room lights up.
For that moment, I feel like I am a participant in a community rather than a spectator in an audience.
One of my favorite worship leader and team trainers is good friend, Mike O’Brien. This guest post from him is fun, helpful, and typical of his practical and detailed style of helping worship teams upgrade. Check out this excerpt, and the full article at his blog.
5 Worship Ministry Hacks You Can Do Now
“After 18 years of leading worship for the same church (14 of those in the same building), I’ve had the privilege of over time adding some helpful tools to our setup that serve the congregation and band in simple ways. Check out these 5 simple Worship Ministry HACKS that you can do now to help your team and church engage with the Living God.
1. Provide Earplugs at the entrance to the sanctuary
As I’ve already covered in Winning the Volume War, most of a church’s volume issues can be handled before sound gets the loudspeakers and ears of the congregants. With that in mind, it’s nice gesture to supply earplugs at the entrance for anyone that might prefer a attenuated experience. I have found that even when the sound is appropriate by any standard of measurement, there are still a small percentage of congregants that would benefit from a set of free ear plugs. We refill this bin only once or twice a year and that’s taking into account that some kids think it’s candy.
2. Buy a Backstage Tea Kettle For Your Singers
Christianity is a SINGING FAITH! Adding a affordable electric hot water kettle a great way to bless the singers of your worship team and encourage good vocal health! As I mention in the $200 Voice Lesson (free if you register to my newsletter), hydrating our bodies with room temperature and lukewarm fluids is crucial for a great vocal.”
In working with artists and worship leaders, I am often drawn to Genesis for insights that help us to understand God, ourselves, and the raw power of “making” in the world. A recent study in Genesis unearthed the following nuggets from poet and Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann in Genesis: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Here are a few selections that moved me in the first section of the book.
God And Creation Bound Together
“God and God’s creation are bound together in a distinctive and delicate way. This is the presupposition for everything that follows in the Bible. It is the deepest premise from which good news is possible. God and His creation are bound together by the powerful, gracious movement of God towards that creation.