In the midst of serving my family (two leading ladies), work (gracious employer) and church family (at Howick Baptist), I’m also excited to be planning the worship music for the upcoming Stand for the Gospel conference that our church is hosting. I’ve had the opportunity to do this for the past two years (2010 and 2011) and though life is a bit more hectic with a larger family this year, hope to do the same this year with help from other servant-hearted leaders and musicians.
In addition, during this year’s conference, for the first time I’ll be facilitating a workshop related to gathered worship. Those of us involved in planning worship services often struggle with many different questions, such as: “What songs should we do first?” “Why do we have a call to worship?” “Where should announcements go?” “Why does our liturgy do this first?” “Should we sing more before or after the message?”
The aim of the workshop is to summarise (in 45 minutes!) the main thesis from Bryan Chappell’s book, “Christ-Centered Worship” – that we should aim to let the gospel of Jesus Christ shape our worship practices.
My hope is by doing this, we can actually develop a framework for structuring and planning our Sunday services that’s more helpful than relying too greatly on our common reasons, such as arbitrary rule (e.g. “I’ve decided…”), personal taste (e.g. “What I like is…”), church tradition (“What we have always done is…”) or cultural preference (e.g. “What the people will accept, find attractive…”)
I’ll also be drawing on thoughts on what we can learn about gospel-shaped gatherings from 1 Cor 15, various passages related to gathered church, and other worship-related books by DA Carson, Bob Kauflin, and David Peterson.
I anticipate this discussion would be helpful for myself (firstly!), but also pastors, worship/service leaders, musicians and others involved or invested in the planning and leadership of worship meetings.
If the topic interests you, I’d encourage you to sign up for the conference (it’s free until 1 Oct) on the website.
Update (30-Jan-2013): here’s what I presented at STAND 2012. Let me know if it’s helpful to you!