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Serving by singing


Serving by singing

“The sight and sound of God’s people singing is a powerful, stirring exhortation for struggling hearts to believe the truths they hear sung around them.”

I was incredibly encouraged by many things at the recent Doxology and Theology conference.  Over the next few weeks I'll try and blog some highlights and reflections, and you can watch some quick summaries here on my Facebook page.

But probably more than anything, I was deeply encouraged and moved through the message about Christ dwelling richly among us as we sang together (Col 3:16).  Those leading us from the front did an amazing job - because it wasn't so much their contributions that impacted me...but hearts and voices of the people around me.  

We can often be so focused on our own personal experience and engagement with God as we sing that we can loose sight of the gift our singing is meant to be for those around us.  For those of us who 'lead' the church in singing - we need to prayerfully and skilfully facilitate, exhort and spur our churches on to serve one another like this.  But having said that, every one of us needs to remember that we're on the 'music ministry team'! 

This blog from Matt Damico puts it so well, that I'll let him do the rest of the talking!  Read more...


Doxology and Theology - Friday workshop notes


Doxology and Theology - Friday workshop notes

The first breakout I sat in on was with Aaron Ivey from Austin Stone Community Church, on Shepherding Worship Leaders.  Here’s some key points and reflections…

If we are given the privilege and responsibility of leadership, one of those responsibilities is to shepherd and pastor those we are leading on our teams.  So we need to be…

  • Equipping and building those in our teams up to maturity - even with the small windows of opportunity we have with them (Eph 4:11-16)

  • Guard and protect them - especially from false teaching (Acts 20:28-30)

  • Humbly and gladly seeking to serve and share our lives with them (1 Peter 5:1-7)

  • Remember that we serve under the true and perfect Good Shepherd (1 Peter 2:25)

Three things (among many) that have the potential to derail this focus - borrowed from Henri Nouwen

  • A desire to be relevant.  Our teams need us to be in stark contrast to the culture that is so often crushing them.

  • A desire to be spectacular.  Reality check…Jesus is the one who is spectacular - lets not attempt to steal His glory!

  • A desire to be powerful.  Remember Jesus’ model of leadership - laying down power for the sake of His sheep.  Are we constantly laying down power for our team’s sake?

And a bunch of other random thoughts…

  • We need to intentionally make time to be with people - not just to get a job done, but to get to know each other better.

  • Related to the above - creative people thrive in community.  Are we intentionally making opportunities for and encouraging community?

  • Teams are built on foundations…what are ours?

  • We need to be vulnerable question askers.  How can I serve you better?  How have I failed you?  What are you dreaming about?

  • We need to create cultures of feedback.

  • We need to be leaders worth following.


Doxology and Theology - Friday Morning Highlights


Doxology and Theology - Friday Morning Highlights

I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be here in beautiful (and freezing!) Kentucky at the Southern Baptist Seminary for the Doxology and Theology Conference.  Here's a Friday morning summary... 

Session 1 - Mike Cosper (if you haven't checked out his book Rhythms of really should!) pointed out that the current cultural milieu (the 'water that we swim in') of immanence and "disenchantment" is in so many ways contrary to the transcendent and "enchanted" reality of God's Kingdom.  It seems that transcendence is off somewhere above the ceiling, and history and depth and rootedness is under the floor, so we find ourselves stuck in a room of immanence - where what matters is the now, the observable, the programs and solutions and metrics.  These are the values and ideals and realities that not only shape the cultures around us, but that also impact the way we engage with God and with each other.  But in the same way that stories and habits have shaped present this culture, we need to be telling stories and learning habits that show us the Kingdom of God, where things are more than they seem - where two copper coins are more than great riches, where to gain your life you need to lose it, where defeat is really victory.

Session 2 was three mini(ish) talks...

Mike Bleecker reminded us of the amazing gift and privilege of having God's Word, and encouraged us to fill and surround everything we do with the Word of God - both figuratively and literally - his lyric slides often have related verses at the bottom or between verses.

Keith Getty shared 3 goals for their hymn writing

  • That God's people would learn their lived faith (not just doctrine) through what they sing
  • That they would inspire the holy act of congregational singing to be just that - congregational singing!  That they would write songs that would blow you away, not just have 'singable melodies'.
  • That they would be hymns that we might carry with us throughout our lives

Third up was Harold Best.  I'd like to share with you what Harold shared...but there's no way I could do him justice!  I'll post it up when it comes available, and then you'll see what I mean.

More coming soon...#

Read the highlights from Thursday night...


Some thoughts from Dox&Theo Thurs night


Some thoughts from Dox&Theo Thurs night

So right now I'm in Kentucky at the Doxology and Theology conference.  I'm going to try and keep giving quick updates as we go - but you can always stream in as well at

Last night we heard from Don Carson on John 4, and Paul Tripp from Col 3.  I'll need to go back over my notes from Don's talk, but here's a few quick thoughts and challenges from Paul...

The danger of idolatry is never more present than in moments of the supposed worship of God

  • We're all hardwired to seek, but it is also that we have life in its fulness already in God (Col 3:3-4)
  • Therefore it is an act of Gospel amnesia for a believer to seek life - identity, affirmation, validation - anywhere else
  • Our leadership of corporate worship will either affirm the fullness of life we have in Christ, or reveal we are  gospel amnesiacs.  What does my heart seek in the midst of serving in worship ministry?

Some 'things above' that we are to seek.

  • Gods glory - there is NO glory for us in this.  To take glory is to be a glory thief.
  • Grace - we need the rescuing grace of Christ as much today as ever.
  • Redemption - everything we do is as ambassadors of the redeemer
  • Kingdom - we are building a kingdom...but who's?!