Do You Agree With This? Robert Webber On The New Gnosticism In Contemporary Worship

Like many of my fellow worship leaders, my mentors are quite diverse. From John Wimber, to Robert Webber, to N.T. Wright, to Jeremy Begbie, to many of today’s worship leaders, all have encouraged me to both celebrate, and examine, the finer details of worship leadership. It was Socrates who said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I believe, with many of my peers, that “unexamined worship is not worth leading.” Scary quotes, like the one below from Robert Webber, makes me want to pull out a magnifying glass and do some hard analysis.

Gnosticism Robert Webber

In this quote below, Robert Webber, famed ancient-future worship influencer, makes a bold statement about contemporary worship. If it’s still true, we have some intentional work to do.

Make No Mistakes: 3 Ways To Move From Sloppy To Solid In Your Musicianship

Many continue to ask me about this post, below, so this week I’m reposting it. Forward it to your bandmates if it it helps. For me, the principles here continue to be validated by my ongoing experience observing great musicians at work.

Make No Mistakes

The night was seamless. On the stage were 4 of Nashville’s most respected songwriters, and an acoustic house band made up of musicians in their 20s or 30s.

They were doing an intimate concert for television. From the first note played it was clear – all musicians on the stage were fantastic in their own right. It was also clear that not one audible mistake was going to occur over the course of 15-20 songs. I was in awe, watching their hands, their eyes, their gestures.

They barely looked at their chord charts – and you couldn’t even tell they were working hard. But it was what I learned next that astounded me more.

Sweet Flower: An Armenian Woman Who Understood The Power Of Forgiveness

SPECIAL EDITION POST: Today commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocides that took place under the Ottoman Turks at the turn of the last century. My father-in-law is Armenian, and my wife and children are of Armenian descent. In our home, today is a day we remember someone who deeply impacted all of our lives – a woman who was one of the last living survivors of this great tragedy, and a hero to us all.

Sweet Flower

My wife’s Grandmother, Siranouche Husnian, was one of the last living survivors of the Armenian Death Marches through the Syrian Desert. She died at the age of 95, and was a great friend and mentor to me. At her graveside funeral, I recounted her sitting with me and teaching me powerful lessons about family, life, and hope.

Once, when her eyes were failing, she held my face close in her hands, and nose-to-nose told me how much she loved me. Etched in my memory, like her tender voice and her soft accent, is what she taught me about forgiveness.

Here, in brief, is her story.

5 Reasons Lament And Praise Must Stand Together In Worship

I lead worship every week for my community, and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – as well as disease, unemployment, divorce, and many other struggles – are always in the room with us.

5 Reasons Lament

If a theology of resurrection (the empty tomb, renewal, personal transformation, healing, miracles) does not stand together in worship with a theology of suffering (the full cross, intercession, trouble, sorrow, struggle), then I contend our worship is out of accord with both the Scriptures and the daily news.

Worship That Is Both “Now” And “Not Yet”

The Kingdom of God is both “now” (among us), and “not yet” (to come in its fullness one day in the future). Our worship life should reflect this tension, or I contend we misrepresent Jesus’ teaching on the Kingdom.

Yes, post-resurrection all things are being made new. Yes, we are a people of praise, thanks, and joy. Yes, Joy is the major theme. But also, yes, suffering is the minor theme, and is everywhere – from the masses being slaughtered by radical groups today, to the struggles you and I will have with relationships, jobs, and emotional and physical health. Jesus said we will have trouble.

We must be present to this as leaders, and it must shape our language. This is the “now” and the “not yet” of the Kingdom of God, and we live in the tension – the radical middle.

The following article is precious to me, and is written by my brother-in-law, Ed Gentry. I hope it impacts you as much as it has impacted me.

8 Ways A Worship Leader Can Be A Good Host At Rehearsal

A worship rehearsal is about to happen. Band members begin to roll in, to get set up for downbeat time. As they come in the door, the worship leader is there, already set up and prepared, ready to help them bring in gear. Sounds crazy? Maybe.

The 1-2

Simple phrases like “Thanks for coming,” “How was the zoo you call an office today?” and “Here are your (correct) charts… oh, and a bottle of water” are heard. The stage is generally cleaned up, and lights and sound are live. After a brief prayer, the rehearsal starts, and moves quickly with laughter and friendship. That’s the first scenario. Maybe that sounds like overkill to you. Or maybe you relate more to the second (like I often do).