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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 and hosts the bi-annual WorshipGod conference ( 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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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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Resources and Reflections from WorshipGod UK: Called to be Faithful

It’s been over a month ago now that we finished up our first WorshipGod UK conference, Called to Be Faithful. This has been one of my favorite themes for a WorshipGod conference because it speaks so directly to how we should approach ministering the gospel in song. We aren’t called to be amazing, or popular, or cool, or technologically savvy, or better than the church down the street. We’re called to be faithful. God has revealed the mystery of the gospel to us and he now calls us to faithfully steward the unsearchable riches of Christ. You can download the main sessions by clicking the titles below. Session 1 - Faithful To Receive (Craig Cabannis) Session 2 - Faithful To Proclaim (Jeff Purswell) Session 3 - Faithful to Engage (Bob Kauflin) Session 4 - Faithful to Serve (Nathan Smith) Session 5 - Faithful to Grow (Bob Kauflin) Session 6 - Faithful to Prepare (Mike Reeves) Hosting a conference in another country is definitely different from hosting one in the States. It’s odd and humbling when you’re not completely familiar with customs, phrases, and locations of the city you’re in but you’re the one who’s supposed to be in the know. It gave me a better feel for what people from outside the United States feel when they come to a conference in the States. We can’t think too much about how our traditions, cultural practices, and inside jokes appear to those who are unfamiliar with them. One of the highlights of the conference for me was having three Brits (Matt Searles,  Simon Brading, Matt Giles) lead 1-2 songs from an acoustic guitar. People appreciated seeing songs led by a single instrument and not a band, as that’s where many congregations are at. It also introduced the attendees to some great new songs, listed below. Most of all, I was grateful God is raising up so many to promote gospel-rich, theologically informed congregational songs and leadership. I was also thankful for the opportunity to see or hang out with folks like Mike Reeves, Tim Chester, Philip Percival, Stuart Townend, and Nathan and Lou Fellingham. Mike served us well in the last main session and also on a panel. I’ve thrilled he’ll be joining us for WorshipGod: TRIUNE in the states this coming July. I had scores of great conversations at the conference. I learned that we had over 100 churches represented, which was fantastic. I also realized we still have trouble distinguishing between worship and music. The fact that the conference was called “WorshipGod” led more than a few pastors to think it was only for musicians. While we did have seminars geared towards musicians, a significant part of the conference was geared towards the “why” of what we do in our public gatherings. So we talked about the Trinity, the gospel, the heart, prayer, the presence of God, and more. Our hope is that pastors and musicians will work more as a team in planning and preparing for the public gatherings of the church. So next year we’ve decided to host another conference. We’ve booked the Bath Forum again for May 7-9, 2015. Thanks to the helpful evaluation forms people filled out this year we’ll be making number of improvements to the schedule, layout, and program. For one, the conference will start Thursday night and go through Saturday at 5, so people will only have to miss one day of work. We also plan on hosting a pastors’ conference during the day on Thursday. More details to come. In the mean time, here’s a list of the songs we sang and a video overview of the conference. Wednesday PM Bob Kauflin and Band All Creatures of Our God and King Come Praise and Glorify Shine Into Our Night Grace and Peace Grace Unmeasured It Is Well All I Have is Christ Thursday AM Devon Kauflin and Norton Hall Holy, Holy, Holy Greater Than We Can Imagine Our Only Hope is You Jesus Paid it […]

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And the Winners of “30″ Are…

Yesterday people had an opportunity to win a pre-release copy of 30: Three Decades of Songs for the Church by leaving a comment describing their favorite Sovereign Grace Music song. When we’re writing songs and putting albums together we always pray God would use our music to magnify the glory of Christ and the gospel to strengthen the church. As I read through the comments I was moved to hear how God has been doing just that in specific ways. It was difficult, but I picked 5 winners based on content and then chose 5 at random. Here are the 5 stories I picked, with a few thoughts on why I chose them. Caleb Mathews – All I Have is Christ I so enjoy singing this song corporately. The chorus is so simple, truthful, and powerful. So many times, I honestly feel like my heart is saying, “Ugh… all I have is Christ…” But by God’s grace, He is teaching me to count everything as loss compared to knowing the Savior. I’m also thankful for the way the song is written. The verse lyrics speak gospel truths, like “all I know is grace,” that lead to the ability to honestly declare the challenging and comforting words of the chorus. Caleb’s comments show how God can use songs to change our hearts and give us appropriate ways to respond to his grace. They can strengthen our understanding of and confidence in the gospel. Matt Hoage - 
When You Move When You Move has been a theme song that’s been in my head for months. In seeking God to move in our church and in our community—that he would break us, humble us, and we would be willing vessels and reflectors of His glory.

     Matt’s comment shows how songs can be a form of prayer that we return to again and again. Caleb - Show Us Christ I have three reason. 1) A theological reason. This song is packed with beautifully articulated truth. If all the scriptures testify about Christ, then should that not also be our prayer as we hear the word of God preached? 2) A liturgical reason. I find it so helpful to have sings like this in a church’s repertoire. To be able to sing this right before the preaching event is so helpful to everyone involved. It sets our hearts together a song/prayer that we would be able to see our Savior. 3) An emotional reason. I was married a year and a half ago and we played this song at the very beginning of the ceremony. We could think of no better to begin our wedding than with those words, “Show us Christ.” God can use songs to fulfill multiple purposes. They can teach us theologically (Col. 3:16), fill out certain aspects of a liturgy, and form associations that remind us not only of content but spiritually significant contexts. Will Gerrald - It Is Not Death to Die 
I was introduced to Sovereign Grace Music by my professor, Chip Stam. I was privileged to have participated in his memorial service at SBTS where the song “It Is Not Death to Die” was beautifully delivered. That song was my first real introduction to your ministry. Our sovereign God used Chip, his teaching and his death, to mold my priorities in worship for His purposes. You see, even before I accepted my first full time position, Chip was teaching me how to face death in a way that honors God and trusts in his Word. In the short time since my ministry has been riddled with tragic death. “It Is Not Death to Die” has been a comforting reminder of the goodness of God not only to me, but to those in my congregation that have been shaken by loss. I had the heart-wrenching privilege of helping a family in our church plan the funeral for their 11 year old son. I presented them with several songs (including “It Is […]

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Win a Pre-Release Download of “30″

We’re pretty excited about our new album, 30, available for pre-order tomorrow for only $7. It’s a collection of 14 more well known Sovereign Grace songs that some of our friends have recorded for us, including Paul Baloche, Kristyn Getty, Austin Stone Worship, Aaron Keyes, Matt Papa, Matt Boswell, and more. You can find more details here. The official release is next Tuesday, April 8, at the Together for the Gospel conference. CDs will be available from the Sovereign Grace Online store starting Tuesday, April 15. But you can enter to win a free download today and hear it before anyone else! All you have to do is: 1. Leave a comment below telling us what your favorite Sovereign Grace song is. 2. In 100 words or less tell us why it’s meaningful to you. 3. You can enter up to 3 times, using a different song each time. Comments will close will close some time after midnight tonight EST and we’ll pick 5 entries based on content and 5 at random. I’ll announce the winners tomorrow morning and we’ll contact you by email. And to add to the fun, we’re running a similar contest today on our Sovereign Grace Music Facebook site.      

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