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Bob Kauflin

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Bob Kauflin is the Director of Worship Development for Sovereign Grace Ministries, a family of 80+ churches led by C.J. Mahaney. His responsibilities include equipping pastors and musicians in the theology and practice of congregational worship, and contributing to Sovereign Grace CDs. He was a writer and arranger for the group GLAD from 1976-2006, and is one of the worship leaders at Covenant Life Church, in Gaithersburg, MD, led by Josh Harris. His first book, Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God was released by Crossway in April, 2008. He writes a blog at www.worshipmatters.com and hosts the bi-annual WorshipGod conference (www.worshipgodconference.com). He and his wife, Julie, have six children and ever growing number of grandchildren.

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Planning Sunday's Songs-Plan Contextually

Bob Kauflin | January 18, 2011 | Categories: Blogs | Tags: , , ,

The context for choosing your songs includes background details such as the sermons that have been preached, your congregation's demographic mix andlevel of spiritual maturity, plus weekly variables such as special occasions or events. More

Focus on Projecting Lyrics

Bob Kauflin | January 12, 2011 | Categories: Blogs | Tags: , , , ,

If your church doesn't use hymnals or songbooks, the person handling the projection of lyrics plays a crucial role in enabling people to engage with truth about God. If they're frequently late in putting up lyrics, show the wrong verse, leave a blank screen, or project misspelled words, that can counteract whatever good leadership you might be exercising. That's why I want that person to be humble, trained, and faithful. It also helps when they More

Music Should Display Variety

Bob Kauflin | January 11, 2011 | Categories: Blogs | Tags: , , ,

What did Paul mean when he encouraged us to sing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19)? No one's completely sure.Most scholars agree he seems to be encouraging diversity in the songs we use to praise God. “Psalms” might be referring to the Psalter, “hymns” to songs that praise Christ, and “spiritual songs” to more spontaneous expressions. If that's the case, Paul is encouraging us to sing all our More

Hearing Familiar Words in a Fresh Way

Bob Kauflin | January 10, 2011 | Categories: Blogs | Tags: , , , ,

Musical variety enables us to hear the same words with different effect. “Amazing Grace” has a different emotional impact when it's accompanied by a black gospel choir, a large orchestra, a sustained synthesizer chord, or a lone acoustic guitar. Hymns are especially suited for innovative treatments that help us hearthe words from a new perspective. Moving beyond traditional tunes and arrangements shouldn't bother us too much since most hymns were More

Planning Sunday's Songs-Plan Selectively

Bob Kauflin | January 8, 2011 | Categories: Blogs | Tags: , , , , ,

We have more songs available to sing than anyone in church history. That means we don't have to settle for those that “kind of” say what we want, orsongs that are boring, or songs whose music is more memorable than their lyrics. And we certainly don't have to use songs just because they're popular. Great songs come from a variety of sources. We've used hymnals,worship web sites, independent band CDs, nationally known worship artists,quarterly More

Planning Sunday's Songs

Bob Kauflin | January 8, 2011 | Categories: Blogs | Tags: , , , ,

Every worship leader knows the feeling, the pain, the anxiety, the utter discouragement. Your song list for next Sunday is due in thirty minutes,and you have no idea what to do. Or maybe next Sunday is tomorrow morning. It's late. You're tired. You're staring at a blank computer screen surrounded by stacks of CDs, three hymnals, your worship songbook, and a list of what you've sung for the past five months. Nothing's helping. You pray. And you start More

Selecting Sunday's Songs-Plan Creatively

Bob Kauflin | January 7, 2011 | Categories: Blogs | Tags: , , , , ,

Effective leadership involves more than coming up with a song list. For one, we can vary the way songs are sung. A soloist can sing one verse or a whole song, we can use a choir, or the church can sing responsively with the leader or in groups. Singing congregationally isn't the only way of fulfilling God's command to address “one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19). We can also change arrangements, tempos, and song More

Planning Sunday's Songs-Plan Progressively

Bob Kauflin | January 6, 2011 | Categories: Blogs | Tags: , , , ,

  First misconception: Playing a song faster will make people worship God more passionately. Not necessarily. Usually it just means they'll have a harder time thinking about the words. Try recording your version of an up-tempo songand comparing it with the recorded version. You'll see what I mean. Speed doesn't equal spiritual impact. If you're not playing to a click track, take your time setting the tempo. Thewrong tempo can hinder a song's effectiveness. More

Planning Sundays Songs-Plan Thematically

Bob Kauflin | January 4, 2011 | Categories: Blogs | Tags: , , , ,

Our unchanging theme every week is the grand story of deliverance that God accomplished for his people through the life, death, and resurrection of JesusChrist. We want to remember this, rehearse it, celebrate it, and respond to it. More

Adjust Your Musical Arrangements and Volume

Bob Kauflin | December 13, 2010 | Categories: Blogs | Tags: , , ,

Most play-by-ear musicians think that being up front means you should alwaysbe playing. Wrong. Varying when we play, how loudly we play, and what we play affects how people hear the words. More

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The Leader

Bob Kauflin | December 31, 2008 | Categories: Blogs, Videos | Tags: ,

Truth and Music

Bob Kauflin | September 9, 2008 | Categories: Videos | Tags: ,

Motivating Congregations to Worship

Bob Kauflin, Sovereign Grace Music | July 1, 2008 | Categories: Videos | Tags:

Right Relationships

Bob Kauflin | June 26, 2008 | Categories: Videos | Tags:

The Leader

Bob Kauflin | June 21, 2008 | Categories: Videos | Tags: ,

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Thoughts on a Call to Worship

For most of the thirty three years I’ve been involved with Sovereign Grace churches we’ve had a fairly free and simple liturgy. Singing, welcome/announcements/offering, sermon, ministry time. While simple liturgies have some advantages, there are good reasons to consider including liturgical elements that have been used in church gatherings for centuries. One of those is the call to worship. I remember being less inclined to use a call to worship after reading Harold Best’s thoughts years ago in his insightful book, Music Through the Eyes of Faith: There can only be one call to worship, and this comes at conversion, when in complete repentance we admit to worshiping falsely, trapped by the inversion and enslaved to false gods before whom we have been dying sacrifices. This call to true worship comes but once, not every Sunday, in spite of the repeated calls to worship that begin most liturgies and orders of worship. These should not be labeled calls to worship but calls to continuation of worship. We do not go to church to worship, but, already at worship, we join our brothers and sisters in continuing those actions that should have been going on – privately, familially, or even corporately – all week long. (p. 147) Yes, there is only one call to worship. But since we planted Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville nearly two years ago, we’ve begun each meeting with a call to worship. Why? Here’s the way we’ve thought through it as a pastoral team. Every Beginning Says Something There are different ways of letting people know the meeting is starting. Some churches run a countdown video. Others have the band kick in to the first song (our practice for decades). Some churches find it effective to have some kind of warm up song before the meeting actually starts. They may or may not invite the congregation to sing along. Some churches begin with a friendly welcome by a leader, and other churches open with announcements. But every beginning communicates meaning, sets an atmosphere and leads people to expect something. The church is the ekklesia, the “called out ones.” When we gather as God’s people we are being called away from other pursuits to worship God together in a specific place and time. We can worship God indirectly as we play soccer through good sportsmanship and serving others. But we worship him more directly on Sunday mornings as we gather to sing, pray, hear God’s Word preached, and share the Lord’s supper. A call to worship tells us the meeting has begun, but it communicates much more than that. It emphasizes the primacy of God’s Word, who has called us together, and what we’ve come to do. The call to worship God can only come from God himself. Few things make that clearer than starting our meeting with Scripture. While we can certainly read it from our phone or iPad, it communicates something more focused and lasting when we read from a physical Bible we hold in our hands. A call to worship reminds us that coming together isn’t our initiative. We didn’t think this up. God is the one who has called us out of the world to rehearse the gospel in his presence for his glory and our good through the power of his Spirit. That should encourage us to engage fully with God because we come by invitation, not presumption, through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. Finally, we come together for a specific purpose. After a week when we’ve been tempted to worship money, relationships, control, sensuality, and ourselves, a call to worship God wakes us up to the fact that we are sojourners and exiles in this world (1 Peter 2:11), that there is one true God, that he deserves to be exalted in our minds, hearts and wills, that he calls us together so that we might build each other up, and […]

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Prepare Him Room – A Video Preview

This is the third video we put together in anticipation of our upcoming Christmas album, Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus in Song, due out Sept. 29. It’s the title track, Prepare Him Room, and was written by Rebecca Elliott and Dave Fournier. They started it at our songwriter retreat back in January and after a number of revisions came up with the current version. The lyrics are loosely based on Luke 2:25-35, where Simeon meets the newborn Christ. The last line added to the song was this one in vs. 3: “Through the cradle, cross, and grave see the love of God displayed.” I love the way it succinctly brings together the significance of Jesus’ birth. Jesus was born, died, and rose again to display the Father’s heart of love. Amazing grace. In the video it’s performed by Neil DeGraide on electric, Jonny Barahona on keys (courtesy of our friends at Sojourn Church), Devon Kauflin on acoustic, Kate DeGraide on vocals, and Rebecca on lead. Lyrics are below. If you missed them, I posted two other preview videos, Who Would Have Dreamed and He Who is Mighty. O behold, the mystery now unfolds See the star shine on the virgin foretold Angels sing and light up the sky Hope rings out in a newborn’s cry Swing wide, you ancient gates For Christ is born today! Prepare Him room Prepare Him room Let the King of glory enter in God with us, the promise has come to be This, the one the prophets were longing to see In the darkness a blazing light To the hungry the words of life His kingdom now is near For those with ears to hear Oh, our hearts, as busy as Bethlehem Hear Him knock, don’t say there’s no room in the inn Through the cradle, cross, and grave See the love of God displayed Now He’s risen and He reigns Praise the Name above all names! © 2014 Sovereign Grace Praise

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Do I Lead To Impress or To Serve?

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about moving to Louisville two years ago and helping to plant Sovereign Grace Church is the opportunity to train interns from Southern Seminary and Boyce College. I meet weekly with a group from each school to talk theology, focus on heart issues, and work on music and leadership skills. They also serve on Sundays and help out with Sovereign Grace Music. Young musicians and leaders are often overly self-conscious and nervous. While confidence comes with experience, we don’t want to overcome self by becoming more assured in ourselves. So one of  my goals for the interns is that they get to the place where they can comfortably and joyfully get up in front of people spontaneously and lead us in a song that helps us exalt Christ. To that end, a couple weeks ago when I met with the Boyce interns, we talked about 2 Corinthians 4:5: For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. Paul wanted the Corinthians to know that he and his co-laborers weren’t in ministry to draw attention to themselves, but to Jesus. And it was a specific Jesus they were drawing attention to – the Jesus who is Lord. The result was that rather than promoting themselves they humbled themselves and became servants to the Corinthians. They did all this “for Jesus’ sake” because they wanted the Corinthians to join them in treasuring and following Christ. This verse helps clarify the choice we have to make when leading people in song on Sunday mornings. Are we going to proclaim ourselves or Jesus? Are we going to seek to impress or to serve? Leading to Impress Seeking to impress, or promoting ourselves, is revealed in a variety of ways. I’ve experienced all of them. Sometimes we’re afraid we aren’t going to impress people. Our rehearsals and preparation are tense and demanding. We struggle with clammy hands and sweat-producing anxiety. We obsess over whether or not people will like our leading, playing, or singing. We battle discouragement when we do poorly. We fight condemnation when no one notices our contribution or when we receive negative feedback, however slight. We’re offended when a leader doesn’t give us sufficient time to prepare so that we can look our best. We’re trying to promote ourselves and are afraid we’re not doing a very good job. Other times, we’re confident we do impress people. We frequently reference our contribution. Our monitor mix gives little to no indication that we’re leading with other musicians. We’re shocked when someone else gets scheduled more than we do. We view the church as a platform for our ministry. We don’t have time for pastors that want to get to know us before they let us lead. We don’t understand why everyone else isn’t as enamored as we are with our voice, playing, leading, or songwriting. We’re promoting ourselves and want everyone else to join in. Leading to Serve In contrast to that attitude, God wants us to view leading worship in song as an opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters for Jesus’ sake. You might notice that in both scenarios above, Jesus doesn’t even make it into the picture. What does it look like when musicians seek to serve others for Jesus’ sake? We take time to pray when we prepare because we want to know God’s heart for the people we’re leading. We receive encouragement or criticism gladly because the first assures us God’s Spirit is working through us and the second helps us grow. Our joy doesn’t depend on whether or not we did particularly well that morning, but on whether people encountered God and grew in their love for Christ. We listen to other people in the band. We practice because we don’t want to do anything that will distract people from focusing on […]

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He Who is Mighty – Video Preview

I know it’s a little early to be talking about Christmas songs, but the last few weeks I’ve been listening to the tracks of our upcoming album, Prepare Him Room. I am so excited for you to hear these songs. We’ll be releasing the digital album on Sept 29 (not Sept 1 as I previously wrote) and the physical CD at the same time. As I explained in an earlier post, this album came about through the request of my good friend, Marty Machowski. He had written an Advent curriculum and devotional, Prepare Him Room, and wondered if we wanted to record an album to accompany it. We were more than happy to do so. In anticipation of the full release we’ve put together a few acoustic videos of the songs. I posted our first video, Who Would Have Dreamed, last month. We recently posted He Who is Mighty, written by Kate DeGraide and Rebecca Elliott. It’s based on Is. 9:6-7, but also references the Magnificat: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV) “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:46-55 ESV) Enjoy!    

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Songs from WorshipGod14: TRIUNE

We just wrapped up the last session of WorshipGod14: TRIUNE, where we spent 3 days exploring the depths, joys, and significance of worship the God who has revealed himself to us as Father, Son, and Spirit. I’m so grateful for the folks who made it all possible as well as the people who made sacrifices to attend. We all know God better than we did three days ago. I’ll be posting a summary of the conference in the coming weeks, but here’s the list of the songs we sang. Not surprisingly, a lot of them specifically reference the Trinity in some way. Click on the title to access charts and/or original sources. Wednesday PM – Bob Kauflin and Band Praise God There is One Reason Our Only Hope is You Man of Sorrows My Redeemer’s Love Here is Love    Mike Reeves – Why the Trinity is So Delightful Behold Our God Thursday AM – Devon Kauflin and Band There Is One Reason    Congregational Reading: The Nicene Creed Come Praise and Glorify Shine into Our Night Not in Me Grace Alone Jesus Paid it All Mike Reeves – The Trinity and the Cross You Made Us Your Own Before the Throne of God Above Thursday PM – Enfield How Great You Are No Other Savior O My Soul, Arise There Is A Fountain Grace and Peace My Redeemer’s Love    Bruce Ware – Worshiping God as Father How Deep the Father’s Love Friday AM- Matt Boswell and Band The Solid Rock Come Thou Fount O God of Our Salvation There is a Fountain Filled with Blood Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery All I Have is Christ    Jon Payne – The Unique Role of the Holy Spirit O Great God Friday PM- Devon Kauflin and Band and Conference Choir Holy, Holy, Holy All Creatures of Our God and King Come Praise and Glorify Now Why This Fear Here is Love O Great God Be Thou My Vision    Bob Kauflin – Singing and Praying to the Triune God You Made Us Your Own Saturday AM- Bob Kauflin and Band All Creatures of Our God and King The Father’s Love Shine into Our Night Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery Grace and Peace    Rick Gamache – Living in Light of the Trinity Grace Alone

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Who Would Have Dreamed – Christmas Album Preview

We released our first Christmas album, Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man, in 2006. A few years ago I started thinking we should do another one. After all, we can never have too many songs that help us reflect on and celebrate the wonder of Jesus becoming Emmanuel, God with us. So I was intrigued last fall when my good friend, Marty Machowski, asked if Sovereign Grace Music would be interested in producing a Christmas album to accompany an Advent curriculum he had written. After a few conversations with Marty and his publisher, New Growth Press, we decided it would be a great opportunity. The result was our next album, Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus in Song, due out Sept. 29. While the album will stand on its own, thirteen of the fourteen songs on it correspond with lessons from Marty’s devotional. Writing songs to specific passages of Scripture in each lesson caused us to explore some new territory for Christmas songs. While not all of the songs ended up being congregational, I’m pretty excited about what we ended up with. Below is a preview version of a song I co-wrote with Jason Hansen, a pastor in the Sovereign Grace Church in Gilbert, AZ. We started it at a songwriter retreat in January and finished it over many long distance sessions using FaceTime and Google Docs. The song is called “Who Would Have Dreamed” and is based on Micah 5:1-2. Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek. But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. We tried to capture the wonder that God would choose unlikely Bethlehem as the birthplace for the Messiah, and the greater wonder that the Son of God himself would be born as an infant. Here are the lyrics: On a starlit hillside, shepherds watched their sheep Slowly, David’s city drifted off to sleep But to this little town of no great renown The Lord had a promise to keep Prophets had foretold it, a mighty King would come Long-awaited Ruler, God’s anointed one But the Sovereign of all looked helpless and small As God gave the world His own Son And who would have dreamed or ever foreseen That we could hold God in our hands? The Giver of Life is born in the night Revealing God’s glorious plan To save the world Wondrous gift of heaven: the Father sends the Son Planned from time eternal, moved by holy love He will carry our curse and death He’ll reverse So we can be daughters and sons And here’s the preview. I’m delighted that it’s being sung by my youngest daughter, McKenzie.  

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What I’ve Been Up To

Not writing this blog, obviously. At some point I hope to start posting regularly again, but right now I wanted to share what’s been going on in the world of Sovereign Grace Music. The Dominican Republic and a New Spanish Album I got back last night from the Dominican Republic where I had the joy of speaking twice this past weekend at the Por Su Causa (For His Cause) conference, “Worship: The Purpose of Redemption.” The conference was sponsored by International Baptist Church (IBI) and a ministry called Integridad y Sabiduría (Integrity and Wisdom), both led by my good friend, Miguel Núñez. Jeff Purswell and Donald Whitney also participated as speakers. One of the highlights was recording our second live Spanish album on Saturday night. Our first live Spanish album, El Dios Que Adoramus, came out two years ago and I was thrilled that we could do another. This new one has nine Sovereign Grace songs that have been translated into Spanish, and seven originals. It was a joy to work with Luis Núñez, Jonathan and Sarah Jerez, and the band. They all did a brilliant job and even let me play piano on a few songs. Sovereign Grace has had Spanish churches in Juárez for decades that we’ve wanted to serve more effectively, especially Gracia Soberana led by Carlos Conteras. We’re grateful for the opportunity that we’ve been given to do that with our friends in the Dominican Republic. Prepare Him Room, Our New Christmas Album We’ve also been hard at work on our next album Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus in Song. This album came about as a result of my friend, Marty Machoswki (author of  The Gospel Story Bible), asking me if I was interested in producing an album to accompany an Advent curriculum he had written for New Growth Press. The album has 14 songs that include 8 originals, 4 carols with some new lyrics, and 2 traditional carols. To say I’m excited about this project would be a significant understatement. Steve Cook, Devon (my son), and Neil DeGraide have been overseeing the production. Can’t wait for you to hear it when it comes out in early September. True Worshipers, My New Book My first book, Worship Mattters, was originally meant to be a book for members of a congregation. Instead I ended up writing one directed to leaders. True Worshipers, is the book I was supposed to write the first time. It’s half as long as Worship Matters, and due out in September of 2015, published by Crossway.  I sent in the manuscript about two months ago and am looking forward to seeing how God might use it to encourage God-glorifying, Christ-exalting, Spirit-empowered worship in the lives of his people. WorshipGod14:TRIUNE Next week I’ll be heading out to Santa Ana, CA for our second WorshipGod West event, WorhipGod14:TRIUNE. I’m grateful to that we’ll be joined by Michael Reeves from the UK, Matt Boswell, Enfield, Bruce Ware, Donald Whitney, Craig Cabaniss, Jon Payne, Doug & Sheri Gould, and more. I’ll be teaching a pre-conference seminar called, “Lessons Learned from Thirty Years of Leading,” and Sheri Gould will be teaching “The Contemporary Choir.” Pre-registration is over, but you can still sign up at the event location, Calvary Church. Also, check out the songwriting camp led by Steve and Vikki Cook, happening next Sunday through Tuesday. Australia At the beginning of August I’ll be in Australia serving the Sovereign Grace Church of Sydney and participating in the Oxygen conference. It will be my second time in Australia and I’m eagerly looking forward to what the Lord is going to do there. Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville I’ve also had a blast serving at Sovereign Grace Church each week. I get to submit the plan for the service each week, mentor other leaders, and enjoy being part of a small church again. Forty years ago I made the decision to leave a Christian band I loved to devote myself full time to the building of the local church. It’s been […]

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Songwriting Camp with Steve and Vikki Cook (and me)

Writing songs for congregational worship is a craft. While God has been known to use mediocre songs to accomplish his purposes, he doesn’t want mediocrity to be our goal. He intends that writers work hard to produce congregational songs that enable the word of Christ to dwell in people richly (Col. 3:16). That’s why I’m excited to be participating with Steve and Vikki Cook in a 2½ day songwriting camp, July 13-15, in Santa Ana, CA. It’s sponsored by Eric Turbedsky of  Sovereign Grace Church of Orange County, and will be held at Calvary Church, Santa Ana, CA. The camp will consist of classroom instruction, workshops, group exercises, and song reviews. If you’ve been to songwriting retreats where you have a hard time getting anyone to listen to your song, this will be different. Space is limited, so we can give maximum attention to everyone who attends. The cost is $100 and the schedule will be: July 13, Sunday 6:00pm-9:00pm July 14, Monday 9:00am-5:00pm July 15, Tuesday 9:00am-5:00pm Steve and Vikki will be handling the majority of the camp, and I’ll be participating in the last portion. The Cooks have been some of my favorite songwriters for a few decades now. Their songs include Before the Throne of God Above, I Will Glory in My Redeemer, The Glories of Calvary, I Come by the Blood, When You Move, and a host of other songs that are characterized by biblical truth, singable melodies, and gospel richness. I’ve happily been able to co-write a few songs with them, including I Have a Shelter.  Not only do Steve & Vikki write great songs, they teach the principles and practicals of songwriting in a way that anyone can understand. Steve has consumed volumes of books on the topic of songwriting and Vikki is exceptionally gifted in identifying melodic weaknesses. I’ve been helped innumerable times in my own songwriting by their thoughtful and creative suggestions. The songwriter camp will take place immediately before WorshipGod14: TRIUNE, also to be held at Calvary Church, July 16-19 . If you can join us for the conference, that would be even better! For more info on the camp and to register, go here.  

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Ten Reasons Why You Should Come to WorshipGod: TRIUNE

Last year we held our first WorshipGod conference in California, Called to Be Faithful, co-hosted with Eric Turbedsky and Sovereign Grace Church of Orange. Lots of learning, lots of giveaways, lots of fellowship, lots of laughter, lots of equipping, and lots of time to encounter God together. Due to the number of requests to come back we’ll be hosting WorshipGod: TRIUNE, July 16-19, again at Calvary Church in Santa Ana, CA. Here’s a video recap of last year’s conference. Because there are so many conferences you could attend, I wanted to give you 10 reasons why you should consider joining us for WorshipGod:TRIUNE this year. 1. Michael Reeves Michael is head of Wales Evangelical School of Theology and fast becoming one of my favorite preachers and people. His superb book, Delighting in the Trinity, shows why the triune God of Christianity is not only necessary, but superior to any other god, and eminently more beautiful and desirable. Mike will be addressing us in the first two main sessions and I can’t wait for you to hear him. 2. Bruce Ware Dr. Ware is a professor at Southern Seminary and author of the book Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, and Relevance (as well as a few others). His exuberant passion for the glory of God is contagious. He’ll be teaching a main session on knowing God as Father, as well as a seminar called Getting a Grip on God’s Glory. 3. Jon Payne Jon pastors Redemption Hill Church in Austin, TX. He has been a dear friend for years and inspired us last year with his message, Faithful to Serve, from John 13. Jon will be teaching a main session this year on the Holy Spirit and a seminar on The Faith-Filled Leader. I have no doubt we’ll be inspired again. 4. Rick Gamache Rick serves as the senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Bloomington, MN. If you haven’t heard him preach, you’re in for a treat. Rick is passionate, biblical, and pastoral as he proclaims God’s Word. He’ll be speaking on how knowing God as Trinity affects our daily lives. 5. Enfield John Martin and enfieldband were part of last year’s WorshipGod West conference and have played on a number of Sovereign Grace albums. They combine phenomenal musicianship with humble hearts and a passion to see Jesus glorified. They’ll be leading us Thursday night and will also be helping out with drum (David Zimmer), bass (Ryan Foglesong), and keyboard (John Martin) seminars. 6. Matt Boswell Matt is a pastor at Providence Church in Frisco, TX. His passion to see the church singing theologically rich, gospel aware songs has led to him writing modern hymns that are beginning to get more attention. He’ll be leading us on Friday morning and participating in seminars on planning Sundays and songwriting. 7. Doug and Sheri Gould It’s been a privilege to have Doug and Sheri participate in WorshipGod conferences since 2008. Sheri gets rave reviews as a vocal coach and Doug has an unceasing desire to serve those who work with sound in local churches. Sheri will be not only be teaching vocal seminars, but you can also sign up for “The Contemporary Choir” as a pre-conference workshop. The choir will sing in the Friday evening session. 8. Practical and Theological Training We’ve added a boatload of new seminars this year, designed to serve you where you’re at. Craig Cabaniss on fear of man, legalism, and revival. I’ll be speaking on God’s presence and putting songs together. Jon Payne on faith-filled leadership. Don Whitney on praying through Scripture and Scripture meditation. Patrick Anderson on guitars and loops. Brock Shinen on copyrights. Steve & Vikki Cook on taking your song from good to great. A panel on planning Sundays. And plenty more. On Wednesday I’ll be teaching a three hour session called “Lessons Learned from Thirty Years of Leading.” We’ll be covering your role, relationships, pastoring through song, and a Q&A. 9. You One of the best parts of WorshipGod conferences is the people who come. Your joyful participation, evident humility, consistent gratefulness, passionate engagement, and faithful servanthood turn a conference into a life-transforming event. I’m always encouraged […]

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Will the Sunday After Easter be a Letdown?

Many pastors, music leaders, and production personnel are breathing a deep sigh of relief after this past weekend. After all the planning, strategizing, prayer, preparation, and practice, the Easter weekend service(s) finally happened. Everything (for the most part) came together and people were well served. The music was moving, the preaching powerful, and the effect exhilarating. And throughout the world, thousands of people were baptized and saved for the glory of God. But you may be starting to wonder what you’re going to do next Sunday. Maybe you’re even asking yourself, “How do I keep this coming Sunday from being a major letdown?” The anxiety is already setting in. Here’s how I processed that question yesterday along with some of my interns from Southern Seminary. First, we thought about some of the things that could be different next Sunday: No doubt your church was like most in that you saw an increased number of unbelieving guests, visitors, and family members who think that Easter and Christmas are the only appropriate times to fulfill their religious obligation. You probably don’t have as much in the budget for this coming Sunday as you did for Easter. That means you and others might not to put as much effort or thought into it. The people in your church probably received daily reminders last week that Easter was coming. This coming Sunday will probably sneak up on them like it does every week. They might not prepare as much nor look forward to it so eagerly. After the hyper-preparation leading up to Easter maybe you’re really looking forward to the opportunity to get back to normal. Some leaders won’t think as carefully nor intentionally about the cross and resurrection and will pick songs that people just enjoy. You might be less focused on planning the service as a whole, and consequently, less focused on how everything fits together. All those factors and more contribute to the nagging sensation that this coming Sunday might not be your best effort. That is, until you start to consider all the things that will be the same: This coming Sunday Jesus will be just as alive as he was this past Sunday! In fact, one of reasons we gather every Sunday is because Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. In that sense every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection. Jesus’ substitutionary death and glorious resurrection will continue to be relevant to our lives and the best news we have to offer people. Nothing we do on any Sunday – Easter, Christmas, or otherwise – will make Jesus look better than he really is. All we can hope to do is point to it more faithfully and clearly. And we can seek to do that every week. God through his Spirit will still be with his people as we gather. What is most eternally impacting on any given Sunday is not the size of our production but the details of what Jesus actually accomplished for those who trust in him. He lived the life of obedience we never could. He took the wrath of God in our place on the cross. God vindicated his atoning work by raising him from the dead. He now lives in us by his Spirit and is changing us into his likeness (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:23-26; Rom. 10:9; Rom. 8:11; 2 Cor. 3:18). Most likely unbelievers will still be coming to your gathering this coming Sunday. We can sing songs about the resurrection any Sunday! That includes every song we sang at my church this past week – Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery, His Be the Victor’s Name, Man of Sorrows, Before the Throne of God Above, Crown Him with Many Crowns, and The Power of the Cross. Not to mention songs like In Christ Alone, Glorious, Behold our God, and a host of others. And if that’s not encouraging enough, here are some things that will actually be better this coming Sunday. We might have fewer distractions in terms of preparing charts, administrating people, and organizing tech details. That means we can give more time to the content we’re […]

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