On Gungor, Doubt & Belief

If you’re on any sort of social media, then it’s possible that this last week you saw 1 (or 20) posts, comments, links, and/or articles relating to Michael and Lisa Gungor, their band, and how they’ve denied the faith or something. This is a funny subject because it’s not strictly about worship. Most of Gungor’s songs don’t translate to the average church (you try doing Beautiful Things and see how that works out for ‘ya ūüėČ ). But I think it’s worth talking about for a few reasons.

First and foremost, I’ve been annoyed about the whole thing and it’ll be cathartic to get this off my chest. Secondly, because there’s just been a lot of silliness written about it in the last few weeks and I’d like to write something that gets past the rhetoric. Lastly, as worship leaders, we should know where our songs come from, who writes them, and how we should interact with churches who don’t line up with the style and shape of our own.

(See the article that kind of kicked every thing off HERE and Gungor’s response HERE)

NOTE: Michael Gungor (MG) really is representative of his family, band and church.¬†So there may be parts of this post¬†where I’m not just talking about him specifically, but you’ll just have to let the context tell you when that is.

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Hymnals and Looking Backwards

Should Churches Go Back To Using Hymnals?

This post from the Ponder Anew blog has been floating around the interwebs recently. It’s technically well written (good grammar choices, punctuation, etc) but it falls flat on the lack of strength in it’s own arguments.

I’m sure the author is a nice guy, good husband, and a brother to me in Jesus. But he’s also holding the flag for a past tradition. According to his argument, it’s not enough just to sing hymns. We have to sing them using traditional (old outdated) technology in church buildings with traditional (old outdated) architectural styles. Why? Because that’s the way the author likes it.

The authors post is summed up with three foundational principles:

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I’d Like To Say Hi

Hey there,

Over the next few weeks I’ll be out and about in California, Oregon, and Washington states. If you’re in the the area and read this blog I’d love to say hi.

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Can A Non-Christian Worship God?

Recently, I noticed a google search that lead someone to this blog: Can a non-christian worship God? I’m assuming that google lead them to either THIS POST about whether or not a non-Christian can be on the worship team, or THIS POST about the arguments over sacred vs secular in church music. While I hope that either of those articles was helpful to the person’s Google search, I realized that both flirted with the question, but never answered it directly: Can a non-Christian worship God? Yes or no.

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“The Problem With Worship Leaders”

I recently stumbled across a post on the Reforming Baptist blog from a couple of years back called “What Bothers Me About Worship Leaders”. I’m sure the guy who writes the blog is a super nice guy and if we were having lunch we’d probably have a good conversation. This is not me finding a blog another Christian brother wrote and ripping on him or his position on my blog. The concerns he raises are one’s I’ve heard other places and I think they’re worth addressing. The truth is that, aside from his 1st point, all of his concerns have some validity, and he’s expressed them better than most. I think they’re points worth addressing. You can read the original post HERE

1. THE POSISTION OF WORSHIP LEADER IS A MODERN INVENTION

This isn’t on his list but it is found in his opening paragraph and it’s something you hear every so¬†often from certain corners of the Church. The concept of a worship leader isn’t a new thing, no matter what anyone says. There have always been people who God has called and gifted with talents in writing and creating art and song for the purpose of delclaring the praise of God. It has looked different over the years, but the intent has generally been the same. Anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant of history or is just basing their statement on the relatively recent history of their tribe of churches. WorshipLeader has a quick run down of the “History of Worship Leading” HERE.

That being said, even if the position of Worship Leaders were a modern invention, that doesn’t mean that they are wrong or evil. A “missions pastor” is a new invention, but a church being orgainized and intetional about missions isn’t bad right? What about an “Outreach Pastor” or a church IT guy? Let’s not forget my current position of College and¬†Youth Pastor. Those are all new positions that have been created out of cultural need or an attempt to have better or more effective organization. All are new, none of them, on their own, are bad.

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The Electric: Worship Guitar Amplifier Buying Guide

In this series I try and address different aspects of the practical side of playing electric guitar in church music. This week we’ll continue the conversation about finding the best amp for worship.

 

Last week I gave some thoughts about finding the best amp to use for worship leading (HERE). ¬†This week I thought it might be helpful to write out a check list or buyers guide of sorts that you can use as a tool in your search for you amp. The goal of this tool isn’t to tell you what to buy but to help bring clarity to your decision process.

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New Worship Music: My Heart Has Spoken

Have you ever said “I’m tired of the same old thing in Worship Music?” or “I wish there was more saxophone in Worship Music?” or “I want more saxophone, but its always lame?” or “I want to get a new record for a worship band with a Latin name that doesn’t exist anymore?” Well then, the new record by Proto Evangelion called “My Heart Has Spoken” is for you!

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Sermon-Centric Planning?

Neil over at the Blue Collar Worship Blog has written a great post about the problems with planning your set list around the pastor’s sermon.

There are a lot of folks who think it’s vital to plan your message around the sermon, and a lot of good tools and software available to accomplish this. I think that no matter what you do, you need to have a good line of communication with the leadership of your church, and a clear understanding of what’s expected of you. The reverse is that the leadership needs to have an understanding that if they ask for certain things it will require other things. ¬†You can read Neil’s prespective on not planning your set list thematically to match the sermon HERE. Here’s my thoughts on why I don’t plan thematically.

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Worship In Response To The Gospel (1 Timothy 1:15-17)

In this series we will study Paul’s 1st letter to Timothy, who was pastoring the church in the city of Ephesus. We will specifically key in on applications and lessons that apply to worship ministry and worship leaders. Today we will look at responding to the Gospel in worship.

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ mightdemonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 1:15-17

KNOW THE GOSPEL

It’s a sad fact that there are far too many Christians who cannot easily and accurately articulate the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus. Here Paul has a simplified but not simplistic expression of the Gospel: Jesus came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.

In many¬†churches, after the pastor, there is not a more visible or¬†influential person than the worship leader. Whether you know it or not, you teach and preach to the church with the songs you choose and the prayers you pray. The challenge to us is to know the Bible, to make it part of our core, the fabric of our being, because it’s the very words of life. Specifically, above all else, we need to know the Gospel. Jesus is the beginning, middle and the end of the Bible. He is the whole point of the story, and we should be able to clearly, and simply articulate Jesus’ gospel message to others. Everything else I’m going to write will not matter if this 1st point isn’t true for us.

How can we know the gospel in the way I’ve describe?

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Spring Q&A: Tongues, Tempo, and Phil Wickham’s Guitar

Every so often I like to look over the Google searches that bring people to this blog. It’s interesting what people look for, and what brings them my way. There are a few great questions, and a few ridiculous questions. What questions are people who stumble upon this blog asking? Let’s find out.

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