All posts in "Leadership"

Divine Shelter Schools and John Waller!


Cross International has had the privilege of partnering with well-known Christian Recording Artist, John Waller (Fireproof Movie Soundtrack) to help raise support and awareness for the Divine Shelter Schools in Haiti. The schools provide educations and nutritious meals to devastatingly poor children. Check out some of the pictures from the trip! For more information on the Divine Shelter Schools, visit Cross International


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Spiritual Worship


“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” Rom. 12:1 Chances are as Christians, we’ve come across this verse at one time or another. And for me, being a musician and worship leader, it can be easy to see the word “worship” and automatically think music. I mean, in church “worship” time is the first 20 minutes when the band is on stage playing, and ends right along with the last chorus of Mighty to Save. But Romans 12:1 doesn’t have anything to do with music; it has everything to do with service. It speaks to offering our bodies to God, so he can accomplish his will through us. Having this kingdom mindset where you know your body is not your own; that is the worship this verse is speaking to. And that’s all well and good, but how can we keep that in our minds constantly? Because for me, I forget things very quickly. It’s like that moment in your car when you’re singing sweetly along to your favorite worship song, and someone cuts you off. It sounds something like “Light of the world, you came down into – jerk! Learns to drive! – open my eyes let me…wait.” Its moments like that that can show so clearly what’s really in our hearts. The point is, this idea of spiritual worship is something we need to keep in mind on a daily basis. As we begin to strengthen our relationship and connection with God, we will be able to see this worship played out daily in our lives. This song is pretty old school, but singing it last Sunday at church reminded me how true the words are. Enjoy. – Briana B.


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Two types of thinkers: which are you?


Good post from Mike Hyatt in which he splits how we approach things into “abundance” and “scarcity” thinkers: According to Hyatt, abundance thinkers: They believe there is always more where that came from. They are happy to share their knowledge, contacts, and compassion with others. They default to trust and build rapport easily. They welcome competition, believing it makes the pie bigger and them better. They ask themselves, How can I give more than is expected? They are optimistic about the future, believing the best is yet to come. They think big, embracing risk. They are thankful and confident. Scarcity thinkers: They believe there will never be enough. They are stingy with their knowledge, contacts, and compassion. They default to suspicion and find it difficult to build rapport. They resent competition, believing it makes the pie smaller and them weaker. They ask themselves, How can I get by with less than is expected? They are pessimistic about the future, believing that tough times are ahead. They think small, avoiding risk. They are entitled and fearful. I know which I prefer to be, but this helps me to think through the issue a bit. How do you think others perceive you?  Generous or stingy?


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How to tell if your worship is asleep


Sometimes those who plan our worship are sleepy. The prayers are self centered. Song texts are all focused on personal concerns. The preaching avoids the issues that concerned the prophets. Our services are safe and predictable. The only time we get aroused is over small stuff, such as music styles or carpet color, not the bug stuff, like justice, mercy, and the weightiness of God. When a church is asleep it enters worship with a forgetfulness about the lostness of the lost and the brokenness of the broken. It loses touch with the fact that we live in 911 world. Even today, the world is in a state of emergency racked with tremendous suffering and pain. As we gather today, one-sixth of the world lives in absolute poverty. Each year nearly 1 million children are sold or forced into the sex traffic trade. This house thousands will die from starvation. Hundreds from malaria, malnutrition, genocide, and HIV/AIDS. Some time ago I read that in the last hour 2,738 people died from starvation, 342 people died from malaria, 76 mothers died from childbirth issues, 9,582 babies died from induced abortion, 8,898 infants and children were abandoned, and 20 Christians were martyred. Worship should wake us up to the reality of a just and holy God who will judge the world in righteousness. Yet he is also the God who hears the cries of the needy. Don Sweeting, excerpted from Waking Up:  Worship and Justice in a Messed-Up World, The Gospel Coalition blog.


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Is Christian worship for non-believers?


Yes, it can be, says Tim Keller, citing Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 as evidence: 1. Nonbelievers are expected to be present in Christian worship. In Acts 2 it happens by word-of-mouth excitement. In 1 Corinthians 14 it is probably the result of personal invitation by Christian friends. But Paul in14:23 expects both unbelievers and the unlearned (literally a seeker—“someone who does not understand”)to be present in worship. 2. Nonbelievers must find the praise of Christians to be comprehensible. In Acts 2 it happens by miraculousdivine intervention. In 1 Corinthians 14 it happens by human design and effort. But it cannot be missed thatPaul directly tells a local congregation to adapt its worship because of the presence of unbelievers. It is afalse dichotomy to insist that if we are seeking to please God we must not ask what the unchurched feel orthink about our worship. 3. Nonbelievers can fall under conviction and be converted through comprehensible worship. In 1 Corinthians14 it happens during the service, but in Acts 2 it is supplemented by after meetings and follow-up evangelism.God wants the world to overhear us worshiping him. God directs his people not simply to worship,but to sing his praises before the nations. We are not simply to communicate the gospel to them, but celebratethe gospel before them. Tim Keller, Evangelistic Worship, RedeemerCitytoCity.org Click to download:  Evangelistic_Worship TKeller


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Giving non-musicians a voice in worship


Nancy Beach of Willow Creek surmises some questions from those who attend our worship services and are not musically inclinded. Her gentle reminders include: 1. Please choose singable songs. Most people don’t sing much in public, other than at sporting events where they routinely massacre the national anthem. Songs that captivate musicians should be carefully screened to determine whether average people can pick up the melody. When worship planners ignore this, we risk leaving out many in the pews who can’t express themselves through difficult music. 2. Must we repeat so much? While some repetition is strategic—to learn a song and to enter into the richness of the lyrics—the non-musician loses patience sooner than others if songs repeat. Too rarely in our churches do we leave people wanting more! 3. May I please sit down? Some parts of the musical worship almost demand that we stand together, others are opportunities for sitting down. Tell me when I can sit. (Not only the elderly will thank you.) Whatever posture we adopt, standing is not the only way to express reverence before God. More here. Do you survey your congregation for input? If yes, how do you do it? If no, why not? Please comment or contact me.


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Looking for worship songs that help prepare for an encounter with death


Mike Cosper of Sojourn Community Church in Louisville has a good post over at the Gospel Coalition on the importance of lament and mourning in worship. It includes this story: Kevin Twit, founder of Indelible Grace Music and a pastor with Reformed University Fellowship, once told me about a forum he attended. A collection of publishers from Christian contemporary music were on a panel, including Kevin, and each was asked to share what they looked for in a song. The answers were largely what you often hear in songwriting forums—“melodies that stick with you,” “good hooks,” and “catchy choruses.” But Kevin’s answer was different. “I look for songs that help my students prepare for their encounter with death.” He closes with this: The news streams with tragedy, and it will continue to do so. As our congregation gathers on Sunday, they come from tragedy. They hear a bad prognosis, or receive terrible late night phone calls. Places at the dinner table or bedroom are suddenly unoccupied, and the hardship of daily life is now a little colder, darker, and weightier. What are we asking them to sing? What words are we putting in their mouths? How do they pray in a dry and weary land, where there seems to be no water?


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The mediation of Christ in worship


If you are feeling tired?  Perhaps exhausted? Please stop what you are planning to do for the next 20 minutes and read this. It is, IMHO, one of the best practical and theological articles on Christ’s role and our’s in worship than I have read in some time, including this gem: The mediation of Christ in worship powerfully reminds us that worship begins with God, not us.  God initiates, and we respond.  ‘The desire to pray,’ wrote A.W. Tozer more than 60 years ago, ‘begins with God’s previous desire to have us talk with him.’ This changes our roles as worship leaders significantly from ‘producers of the sacred’ who have to create moments of worship from scratch, to worship guides who help the congregation connect with the ongoing worship of Jesus. Try putting a PowerPoint slide with these words on the screen when the countdown clock reaches 0:00:  “We now join the worship of Jesus our High Priest which is already in progress.” Much more.  Good stuff. Please read.  You won’t regret it.


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Help for pooped (worship) pastors


Have you ever felt like this? If so, you should know Steve Brown. Although you probably wouldn’t guess it, he’s a former Presbyterian pastor, writes helpful material, and hosts a couple of radio shows that are both informative and entertaining (no small feat).  In fact, he’s quite funny. His website – www.poopedpastors.com – is a resource you should know about.  Although he’s targeting pastors, much of what is there is helpful for music directors or anyone involved in a ministry leadership capacity. From the site: I’m no longer a pastor but I haven’t been away from it for so long that I’ve forgotten… The discouragement, The battles that I sometimes won and sometimes lost, The hypocrisy I often felt in thinking that my being a pastor was insane, The times when I didn’t know what I was doing and pretended that I did, The criticism that often came from those who I thought were friends, The 24/7 schedule with work that was never done, The people who left my church because they “weren’t being fed,” The blank page late Saturday night and my reminding God about the sermon, The incredible guilt over my family and my ministry, The loneliness, The fear of discovery, The neurotics who hated me, The congregational meetings when I was sure it was coming apart, The hard road of authenticity when everything I did worked against it, The efforts at humility when people thought more of me than was justified, The questions about whether I and what I did even mattered… Well, you know. It goes on and on. If you touch base with Steve, please tell him I said hello.


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