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Transitional Worship Update

November 12, 2010

I do not consider myself to be a foremost authority on the subject of worship.  I do consider myself to be a worshipper.  As my family has been in this time of transition between two church communities, I have been forced to spend some significant time examining what I do, why I do it, and what are the most important things.  I am having to look at the worship department that I have had the privilege of leading over the past four years and prepare it for a successor.  It has been a difficult but powerful exercise.

In combing through the years worth of papers, teachings, songs, and such there are a few things I’d like to list for you all.


  • His name is Jesus
  • Authenticity is the issue.  Excellence without it is empty. Liturgy without it is empty. Expression without it is empty.  God looks at the heart.
  • Public worship should only be an overflow of your private
  • Worship should be costly
  • We don’t sing enough songs about God, we sing a lot of songs about what we want
  • Worship is about giving
  • Jesus is our example of what a true worshipper looks like
  • The most important thing in storms is not about walking on the water or seeing the storms calmed, it is being in the boat with Jesus
  • Taking up your cross daily and following Jesus is a two part process.  You don’t get to determine the destination.  You have to follow Jesus as well as take up your cross.
  • Anointing flows out of the relationships we keep
  • We prefer people over programs
  • Moralizing church size is wrong


  • The Bible
  • “Worship Matters”  by Bob Kauflin
  • “Unquenchable Worshipper” and “Face Down” by Matt Redman
  • “Facing the Wall” by Don Potter
  • “Exploring Worship” by Bob Sorge
  • “Prodigal God” by Timothy Keller
  • “Primal” by Mark Batterson
  • “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan
  • “Leading on Empty” by Wayne Coerdero
  • “It” by Craig Groechel
  • “Choosing to Cheat” by Andy Stanley
  • “The Normal Christian Life” by Watchman Nee
  • “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers

Worship Music

  • Klaus Kuehn
  • Rita Springer
  • Jonathan David Helser
  • 6:22 and Matthew Lilley
  • John Mark McMillan
  • Keith Green
  • Rich Mullins
  • Jason Upton

I’m sure there will be more, but I just wanted to post some of the resources that have been powerful over the last four years for me.

  1. “We don’t sing enough songs about God, we sing a lot of songs about what we want.”

    That really resonates with me. It is very true. Is it just me or does it seem like this is getting worse?


    • I have really been in a season in my life and ministry where I have been tremendously convicted about perspective. I said to someone recently, “We have been selling people a Jesus who will make your life better.” The problem is that is a false starting point. Jesus is God. His purpose is not to serve us to make our lives better for this brief existence. For us, we need to make all of this existence about Him, even our suffering. That’s where we discover His glory!

      Timothy Keller said, “Is the Bible basically about you and what you must do, or is it essentially about Jesus and what He has done?” We need to make it about Him.

      Thanks for the comment! What are some of your thoughts about the growing trends in worship and Christian community?

  2. Hi Scott,

    I must admit that I am very concerned with the course we are on. I have spent the last two years visiting numerous congregation in the Evangelical world. One of the things that I have seen is the self-centered songs that almost all the churches are singing. We seem to be the subject or the object of our songs. I don’t know about you, but I think about myself way too much. When I gather with other believers, I certianly do not want to sing about myself! Since Jesus is the authour and perfector of our faith, I think our songs should be about Him and directed to Him.

    Beyond that, I have witnessed a noticable drop in the quality of the lyrics. It appears the songwriters have very little clue about the theological foundation upon which our faith stands. Today’s worship leaders, seem to be more interested in songs with a great groove. May the Savior’s wounds sway us us more than any song! (I have led worship for 20+ years, and have been just as guilty of this as other.)

    Ligon Duncan said “worship in its content, motivation, and aim is to be determined by God alone. He teaches us how to think about him and how to approach him. The further we get away from his directions the less we actually worship.”

    I think we are getting further and further away from his directions. I don’t know how to bring us back. This discussion you and I are having is the very reason I started the “Not For Itching Ears” blog. Hopefully we can spur one another on as we try to lead the church back to where God wants us to be.

    Following Him together,


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