Category Archives: How to Start

Steadfast Believers

Steadfast Believers
by Steve Brown and Mike Westendorf

A few weeks back, Mike posted an article on FaceBook from a Pastor who was quitting the praise band for a variety of reasons. This article was ultimately met with a rebuttal from another Pastor who won’t be quitting the praise band anytime soon for a different bunch of reasons. In between these posts was a plethora of worship gold voiced by believers.

The following excerpts from the FaceBook comments show a fraction of the beautiful faith that exists within our fellowship as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit in and among us.

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“We make a big mistake when we try to limit the Holy Spirit to our way of thinking.” – PB

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

“Just because it’s contemporary doesn’t make it bad, shallow, or irreverent.” – SB

Psalm 40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.

“In reality, everything we humans bring before God in worship is a filthy rag and only made pleasing by the blood of Jesus!” – SB

Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 

“I leave those services (contemporary worship) humming many of those songs all week.” – SA

Jeremiah 15:16 When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.

“I believe the Holy Spirit worked in my heart through this (contemporary) music to strengthen my faith, it has completely changed me!” – PE

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

“If you disqualify all Christian radio, you are doing what the devil wants you to do. He wins!” – PE

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 

“In the last ten years… the way I worship Jesus has changed. I don’t just worship Him on Sunday or for ten minutes a day. I try to worship Him in everything I do. That includes the type of music I listen to and sing and play.” – DRS

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

“I believe that the Lord has given us this music (contemporary) to reach those people who may not be able to connect with traditional four part harmonies and hymns.” – DRS

“Music is a method of communication and we need to be able to speak everyone’s language. If it’s an organ for you, great, but what about an electric guitar roaring like the mighty power of God?” – SA

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law though I myself am not under the law, so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law, so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.

“I would still rather listen to a Contemporary Christian radio station singing about Jesus even it’s not perfect then a pop station that plays music about stuff that goes against everything I believe.” – DRS

“But for God, worship is a matter of the heart not a matter of form.” – SB

Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.

“We should have services that you can bring a friend to that’s never gone to church and they should feel comfortable and be able to connect with the service. Musically speaking a language that they’re familiar with helps a lot.” – SA

“It was contemporary Christian music that the Holy Spirit used to bring me to faith, and gave me the desire to go to church in the first place.” – SB

“I guess I would say… a feeling of fullness with the Holy Spirit.” – RP

Acts 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

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Steve’s Conclusions: So you might be wondering, why do these people, that place a value on contemporary Christian music; worship in a traditional, liturgical, confessional and hymn-loving setting? The answer is quite simple. We are in agreement with the doctrines and biblical interpretations of this denomination. This is where God wants us to be. We are one body and we commune with one another in unity. Our fellowship is defined by our biblical beliefs based on the absolute inerrancy of scripture. The Gospel is the glue that binds us together and we realize that musical style should not even make the list of fellowship discriminators.

In essence, these responses do show that contemporary music connects on a heart-felt level with some people in the same way that hymns do with other people and this involvement of our hearts is crucial for our worship. The big issue is that there needs to be a Christian relationship based on love that understands and accepts the need for these stylistic differences because the adherence to scripture and doctrine can be maintained, and in the end our objective is to share God’s words in whatever methods that works best.

Yes, we differ in things like musical taste in the same way as we do in our choice of clothes, but this is just part of being the diverse body of Christ that God intended us to be. In the end, we may not be steadfast Lutherans, but more importantly, our hope is to be steadfast but humble believers and followers of Christ.

Simply stated, “Christ’s Love is Our Calling!”

Mike’s Conclusions: As I read the comments of the two viewpoints from the original pastoral blog posts and the responses that we see from many people, it continues to reinforce the idea of effective “communication” and “language” within our worship settings. A simple way to define worship in our settings is that “God comes to us (word and sacrament) and His people respond to Him (praise) and one another about Him (proclamation)”. Another thought about worship is that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Regardless of what your worship preference is, “the mountaintop”, the best ever worship experiences will always include all four of these elements. Lastly is the idea that communication is much more than the words we say, but it also is the way we say them as well as what people see when words are said and what the overall “environment” says within the context of those words.

When I read these comments and the scripture passages that Steve beautifully related, it continues to reinforce the notion that people receive the communication of God’s Word and the stories of His faithfulness differently. When they respond to God, they long to have the words and melodies that allow them to praise and proclaim Christ that involves the heart, soul, mind and strength. We want to communicate back to God and back to others about our God who has been faithful to us and to me personally.

Because we are varied people, we speak different languages in worship and certain styles and environments of singing, songwriting, and yes – even listening, engage people differently in worship. If we truly desire that people hear God as He comes to us with the fullness of the Gospel message, and if we truly desire and hope that people can and joyfully respond to God through praise and proclamation, then we must realize the beauty that contemporary worship can offer, especially when it is birthed out of the biblical understanding of Jesus that we joyfully preach in the Confessional Lutheran church with songs that have a powerful effect similar to the way as traditional hymns do.

God paints in beautiful colors, I love it when our worship includes the languages, environments and communication styles of traditional, blended, contemporary and modern worship settings married to our understanding of the true Gospel message.

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1 Corinthians 12:15-20 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

Sing to the Lord a New Song in 2014/2015

Sing to the Lord a New Song in 2014/2015

It was popular last year, so I am doing it again. Here are my “new song” recommendations for each of your Lectionary-based worship services in the upcoming church year. On many of the Sundays I have included a choice of songs.

Email me at sjbrown58 “at” yahoo “dot” com if you would like a copy of this file.

Contemporary Song Choices for 2014/2015 based on the Lectionary Readings
Date Song Title Writer Scripture Ref
Nov 30 Advent 1 Since the World Began Mac Powell Isa 64:1-9
Dec 7 Advent 2 A Baby Will Come Bill Wolf Isa 40:3-5
Jesus, Son of God Chris Tomlin Mark 1:1
Dec 14 Advent 3 Our God Saves Paul Baloche Isa 61:3
How Can I Keep from Singing? Chris Tomlin 1Thess 5:18
The Way Jeremy Camp Jn 1:5-7
Dec 21 Advent 4 Born That We May Have Life Chris Tomlin Luke 1:26-38
Dec 24 Christmas Eve We Have a Savior Reuben Morgan Isa 9:6
Emmanuel (Hallowed manger Ground) Chris Tomlin Lk 2:6-7
Dec 25 Christmas Day Glorious Day Mark Hall Jn 1:1-2
Dec 28 Christmas 1 Name Above All Names Tim Hughes Isa 45:22-24
God of Justice Tim Hughes Col3:12
Build Your Kingdom Here Rend Collective Col 3:14-16
Jan 4 Christmas 2 I Will Sing of My Redeemer Chad Cates Eph 1:1-7
Sing and Shout Matt Redman Eph 1:1-8
Let Our God be Praised Michael Farren Eph 1:3
You Alone Can Rescue Matt Redman Eph 1:4
Salvation’s Song Stuart Townend Eph 1:13
It is You Peter Furler Eph 1:7-8
Jan 6 Epiphany Mighty to Save Reuben Morgan Isa 60:1-3
Children of God Mac Powell Eph 3:6
One Small Child David Mecce Mt 2:1-12
Jan 11 The Baptism of our Lord Like a Lion David Bashta Acts 16:25-26
Jesus, Son of God Chris Tomlin Mk 1:1
Jan 18 Epiphany 2 Word of God Speak Bart Millard 1 Sam 3:9
They’ll Know We are Christians by Our Love Peter Scholtes 1 Cor 6:17
Jan 25 Epiphany 3 Go Fish Micahel Schmid Mk 1:17-18
Feb 1 Epiphany 4 You are Able Christy Nockles Dan 3:17
Lord I Need You Matt Maher 1 Cor 1:30
Redemption Song Marc Byrd 1 Cor 1:30
Feb 8 Epiphany 5 10,000 Reasons Matt Redman Ps 103:1-5
Feb 15 Transfiguration Farewell to Alleluia To the tune of “Ode to Joy”
Open the Eyes of My Heart Paul Baloche
Feb 18 Ash Wed The Scandal of Grace Hillsong United 2 Cor 5:20-21
Jesus Messiah Chris Tomlin 2 Cor 5:21
Feb 22 Lent 1 Counting on Your Name Tim Hughes Rom 8:31-39
Across the Lands Getty & Townend Rom 8:34
Jesus, Son of God Chris Tomlin Rom 8:35-39
Whom Shall I Fear Chris Tomlin Rom 8:38
Mar 1 Lent 2 Awesome in This Place Dave Billington Gen 28:17
Amazing Love (You Are My King) Billy Foote Rom 5:8
Grace Like Rain Todd Agnew Rom 5:8
Sweetly Broken Jeremy Riddle Rom 5:8-11
White Flag Chris Tomlin Mk 8:34
Give Me Jesus
  1. Ortega & Jeremy Camp
Mk 8:36-37
Mar 8 Lent 3 The Scandal of Grace Hillsong United 1 Cor 1:23
Mar 15 Lent 4 All Because of Jesus Steve Fee Eph 2:4-5
And Can it Be? Bob Kauflin Eph 2:4-7
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us Getty & Townend Eph 2:4-9
Grace Alone Scott Wesley Brown Eph 2:5-9
Wonderful Maker Chris Tomlin John 3:16
This is Amazing Grace Phil Wickham Jn 3:16
Jesus Saves Jeremy Camp Jn 3:16-17
Light has Come Matt Maher Jn 3:19
Mar 22 Lent 5 Be Glorified Chris Tomlin Jn 12:23
Be Lifted High Chris Tomlin Jn 12:32-36
Mar 29 Palm Sunday Jesus Messiah Chris Tomlin Php 2:1-11
Like an Avalanche Joel Houston Php 2:1-16
Lamb of God Twila Paris Php 2:6-11
Hosanna Brooke Fraser Mk 11:9
Hosanna (Praise is Rising) Paul Baloche Mk 11:9-10
Apr 2 Maundy Thursday Make Us One Twila Paris 1 Cor 10:16,17
Apr 3 Good Friday Lead Me to the Cross Brooke Fraser Heb 4:15
Lord, I Need You Matt Maher Heb 4:16
Nothing but the Blood Matt Redman Heb 4:16
Your Grace Finds Me Matt Redman Heb 4:16
Apr 5 Easter (Dawn) First Song of Isaiah Jack Nobel White Isa 12:2-6
In Christ Alone Getty & Townend 1 Cor 15:51-57
Across the Lands Getty & Townend 1 Cor 15:54-55
Mighty to Save Reuben Morgan 1 Cor 15:54-55
Christ is Risen Matt Maher 1 Cor 15:55 & Jn 20
Let God Arise Chris Tomlin 1 Cor 15:55
Resurrection Hymn Getty & Townend 1 Cor 15:57
Apr 5 Easter This is Amazing Grace Phil Wickham 1 Cor 15:20-23
All Because of Jesus Steve Fee 1 Cor 15:22
Apr 12 Easter 2 Arise Paul Baloche Acts 3:19
Like a Lion Michael Bashta 1 Jn 5:4-5
Apr 19 Easter 3 In Christ Alone Getty & Townend Acts 4:11-12
Your Name Paul Baloche Acts 4:12
Nothing but the Blood Matt Redman 1 Jn 1:7 & 2:1
Apr 26 Easter 4 You Are so Good to Me Ben Pasley Acts 4:31
Because of Your Love Paul Baloche 1 Jn 3:1
Lost in Wonder Martin Layzell 1 Jn 3:1
Children of God Mac Powell 1 Jn 3:1-2
How Great is the Love? Paul Baloche 1 Jn 3:1-5
May 3 Easter 5 I Need You More Marc James Jn 15:5
May 10 Easter 6 The Highest and Greatest Tim Hughes 1 Jn 4:4
Jesus, Son of God Chris Tomlin 1 Jn 4:10
May 14 Ascension Jesus Saves Tim Hughes Acts 1:8
Jesus Saves Jeremy Camp Acts 1:8
Glorious Paul Baloche Acts 1:10
Glorious Day Mark Hall Acts 1:11
The Scandal of Grace Hillsong United Eph 1:18
Open the Eye of My Heart Lord Paul Baloche Eph 1:18-21
Overcome Jon Egan Eph 1:20
May 17 Easter 7 Alive and Running Kristian Stanfill 1 Jn 4:14
My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness Getty & Townend 1 Jn 4:18
You Never Let Go Matt Redman 1 Jn 4:18
Jesus, Son of God Chris Tomlin 1 Jn 4:19
The Power of Your Name Paul Baloche Jn 17:11
The Name of Jesus Chris Tomlin Jn 17:11
May 24 Pentecost Awake My Soul Chris Tomlin Ez 37:4-10, Acts 2:1-3
Holy Spirit Rain Down Russell Fragar John 14:26
May 31 Holy Trinity I See the Lord Chris Falson Isa 6:1-3
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty Matt Maher Isa 6:1-8
Our Great God Fernando Ortega Isa 6:2-6
Wonderful, Merciful, Savior Dawn Rodgers Rom 8:14-16
June 7 Pentecost 2 The Way Jeremy Camp 2 Cor 4:6
June 14 Pentecost 3 Overflow Matt Maher 2 Cor 4:15
June 21 Pentecost 4 By Faith Keith Getty 2 Cor 5:7
June 28 Pentecost 5 Cannons Phil Wickham Job 38:4-7
The Scandal of Grace Hillsong United 2 Cor 5:15, 20-21
Jesus Messiah Chris Tomlin 2 Cor 5:21
East to West Mark Hall 2 Cor 5:21
Holding Nothing Back Tim Hughes 2 Cor 5:17
July 5 Pentecost 6 Whole World in His Hands Tim Hughes Lam 3:21-24
I Lift My Hands Chris Tomlin Lam 3:21-24
Faithful Chris Tomlin Lam 3:23
The Lord Our God Kristian Stanfill Lam 3:23
In Christ Alone Getty & Townend Lam 3:23-25
July 12 Pentecost 7 Your Grace is Enough Matt Maher 2 Cor 12:9
Your Grace Finds Me Matt Redman 2 Cor 12:9
His Strength is Perfect Steven Curtis Chapman 2 Cor 12:9-10
July 19 Pentecost 8 I Will Sing of My Redeemer Chad Cates Eph 1:1-7
Sing and Shout Matt Redman Eph 1:1-8
Let Our God be Praised Michael Farren Eph 1:3
You Alone Can Rescue Matt Redman Eph 1:4
Salvation’s Song Stuart Townend Eph 1:13
It is You Peter Furler Eph 1:7-8
July 26 Pentecost 9 Through the Cross Ben Cantelon Eph 2:15-17
Aug 2 Pentecost 10 They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love Peter Scholtes Eph 4:2-4
May the Words of My Mouth Tim Hughes Eph 4:15
Oceans – Where Feet May Fail Joel Houston Eph 4:14-16
Aug 9 Pentecost 11 Take My Life Scott Underwood Eph 4:23-25
Breathe Marie Barnett John 6:35
Aug 16 Pentecost 12 People Need the Lord Greg Nelson Eph 4:35
Savior of the World Ben Cantelon Eph 4:39-42
Miracle Maker Martin Smith Eph 5:1-15
Come Just as You Are Joseph Sabolick Jn 6:47
Aug 23 Pentecost 13 Holy Spirit Keith Getty Eph 5:18
Aug 30 Pentecost 14 Rescue Jared Andersen Jn 6:68
Rescuer Jn 6:68
Son of God Ed Cash Jn 6:69
Sept 6 Pentecost 15 O Church Arise Getty & Townend Eph 6:10-18
Sept 13 Pentecost 16 O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing David Crowder Isa 35:4-6
Everything, God in My Living Tim Hughes James 1:17
Everything Chris Tomlin James 1:17
Overflow Matt Maher James 1:17
Friend of God Michael Gungor James 2:23
Sept 20 Pentecost 17 Word of God Speak Bart Millard Isa 50:4
White Flag Chris Tomlin Mk 8:34
Sept 27 Pentecost 18 Yesterday, Today and Forever Viccky Beeching James 3:17
The Servant Song Richard Gillard Mk 9:35
Let the Children Come Michael Card Mk 9:37
Oct 4 Pentecost 19 Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer Keith Getty James 4:8
Oct 11 Pentecost 20 Come and See Lenny LeBlanc Heb 2:9
Worthy is the Lamb Jeff Nelson Heb 2:9
Let the Children Come Michael Card Mk 10:13-16
Oct 18 Pentecost 21 I Stand for You Jon Ellis Mk 10:21
By Faith Keith Getty Mk 10:27
Oct 25 Pentecost 22 In Christ Alone Getty & Townend Isa 53:10-11
Purify My Heart Jeff Nelson Isa 53:11-12
Once Again Matt Redman Isa 53:11-12
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us Getty & Townend Isa 53:12
Our Great God Fernando Ortega Isa 53:12
Thy Word Amy Grant Heb 4:12
Before the Throne of God Vikki Cook Heb 4:14016
Jesus Messiah Chris Tomlin Mk 10:45
Nov 1 Reformation Salt and Light Jon L’Ecuyer Jer 18:6
O Church Arise Getty & Townend
Nov 8 Last Judgment Here’s My Heart Chris Tomlin Mal 4:2
The Wonder of the Cross Vicky Beeching Heb 9:28
Glorious Day Mark Hall Heb 9:28
Nov 15 Saint’s Triumphant How Can I Keep from Singing? Chris Tomlin
Nov 22 Christ the King O Worship the King Chris Tomlin Dan 7:9-22
And Can it Be? Bob Kauflin Rev 1:4-6
Amazing Love (You are My King) Billy Foote Rev 1:5
The Scandal of Grace Hillsong United Rev 1:5
Behold the Lamb Keith Getty Rev 1:5
Glory to God Forever Steve Fee Rev 1:6
Nov 26 Thanksgiving My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness Keith Getty
Enough Chris Tomlin Php 4:19
All We Need Charlie Hall Php 4:19

 

Homegrown

We meet no ordinary people in our lives. – CS Lewis

I am a worship leader and I grew up in my church! Most worship leaders (musicians in today’s vernacular) do come from within the church. Unlike pastors, staff ministers and youth pastors, many worship leaders have attended their church for years, sometimes decades, before serving on the staff.

For me, this is good because:

1. I know my congregation and they know me. They are comfortable with me. They often volunteer to help sing or play an instrument with the band. They are the very people who have helped me to get to where I am in life. They have provided me with opportunity, strength, stability, friendship and endurance.

2. They know me from attending worship, bible class and fellowship events. They know my track record of faithfulness.

3. I know the history and personality of the church. I know it’s vision. I know the people. I know the culture. I know the community. I know their strengths and weaknesses. I know the church’s doctrines.

4. I know what musical styles the congregation is comfortable with.

God had a hand in placing me with these people and joining us into a friendship and fellowship of believers.

Four things a man must learn to do If he would make his life more true:
To think without confusion clearly,
To love his fellow-man sincerely,
To act from honest motives purely,
To trust in God and Heaven securely
– Henry Van Dyke

Introducing Contemporary Music

Introducing Contemporary Music

Is your congregation ready for contemporary music in worship?

Not all are. Just look around and note the ages of the people seated in the pews. And let’s just get this out on the table – some church leaders are dead set against it. This is sad but it’s not your battle to fight.  Pray for your Pastor and your leaders.

A few more thoughts….

1. Have a plan before you start.  Answer these questions in your own mind first:

  • Why is this newer music needed?

For more information:

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/contemporary-christian-music-as-outreach-2/

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/styles/

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/i-do-not-like-this-newer-music/

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/new-to-contemporary-music/

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/what-god-likes-to-hear-in-our-music/

  • How will the congregation benefit?

For more information:

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/sing-a-new-song-this-sunday/

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/try-a-little-variety/

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/musical-style-should-not-split-a-church/

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/worship-styles/

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/wels-worship-poll-results/

  • How will the worship life of the church be affected?

For more information:

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/fellowship-with-musical-diversity/

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/the-practical-implications-of-differing-musical-styles/

2. Pray for help, blessings and guidance.

3. Share the vision for the new music with the congregation as well as its biblical basis.

For more information:

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/responding-with-scripture/

4. Focus on an ADDITION to the current worship versus elimination.

5. Train members how to sing contemporary music. Consider involving the teen and youth groups if possible. Start off with simple tunes.  Start by having the band offer the songs as pre-service selections and during the offering for several months before asking the congregation to sing.

For more information:

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/a-scoring-system-to-determine-if-a-new-song-is-congregational-friendly/

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2009/04/17/thinking-about-either-starting-or-joining-a-contemporary-praise-band/

6. Ease into the change slowly; perhaps with one service per month, or even one song per month.

For more information:

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/blended-worship-planning-101/

https://sjbrown58.wordpress.com/2009/02/21/how-to-start-a-blended-worship-service-program-at-your-church/

7. Learn from the introduction. Ask your worship team these questions:

What worked well?

What could have been done better?

Where there any issues?

8. Ask for congregational feedback.

Sing to The Lord a New Song in 2014

Sing to the Lord a New Song in 2014

Resolve in 2014 to sing a New Song to The Lord! Why not empower an energetic teen or young adult in your congregation who plays the piano, keyboards, or guitar to lead a worship team in offering one new song for each day of worship in 2014? You can do this for as little as $500/year, which should be enough to purchase three or four arrangements per week (piano, guitar and lead sheet) from a digital download site such as lifewayworship.com. With God’s blessings, you should easily find a donor to fund such an activity within your church – especially when you mention that the teens will be enthusiastically involved. If not, reduce the commitment to one Sunday per month – in which case your costs will be under $100 for the entire year.

I have searched for appropriate songs and prayed for guidance but your Pastor should still review and approve each piece in the list below. Here are my recommendations for one song in each of your worship services in 2014.

Contemporary Song Choices for 2014 based on the Lectionary Readings

Date Song Title Writer Scripture Ref
Jan. 5 Christmas 2 Lord I Lift Your Name on High* Rick Founds Jn 1:14
Jan 12 The Baptism of our Lord One Small Child* David Mecce Isa 42:1
Jan 19 Epiphany 2 Jesus, Son of God Chris Tomlin Jn 1:29
Jan 26 Epiphany 3 Follow You Leeland Mooring Mt 4:19
Feb 2 Epiphany 4 Speak O Lord* Keith Getty Mic 6:8
Feb 9 Epiphany 5 Offering (Christmas Version)* Paul Baloche Heb 12:1 & 13:15
Feb 16 Epiphany 6 Beautiful One Tim Hughes 1Cor 2:8-10
Feb 23 Epiphany 7 Living Stones* Michael Schmid 1Cor 3:10-14
Mar 2 Transfiguration We Fall Down Chris Tomlin (with Steven Curtis Chapman)
Mar 5 Ash Wed The Scandal of Grace Hillsongs 2Cor 15:20-21
Mar 9 Lent 1 The Power of the Cross* Getty & Townend
Mar 16 Lent 2 Jesus Messiah Chris Tomlin Jn 4:25
Mar 23 Lent 3 The Heart of Worship* Matt Redman Eph 5:8-10
Mar 30 Lent 4 Come Let Us Return Brenton Brown Hos 6:1
Apr 6 Lent 5 Days of Elijah* Robin Mark Eze 37:1-14
Apr 13 Palm Sunday Hosanna (Praise is Rising) Baloche & Brown Mt 21:9
Apr 17 Maundy Thursday Broken and Poured Out Kevin Bueltmann 1 Cor 11:23-29
Apr 18 Good Friday How Deep the Father’s Love for Us* Getty & Townend
Apr 20 Easter Christ is Risen Matt Maher Jn 20:1-18
Apr 27 Easter 2 Come People of the Risen King* Getty & Townend Acts 2:26
May 4 Easter 3 Beautiful the Blood Steve Fee 1 Pe 1:18-19
May 11 Easter 4 You Never Let Go Matt Redman Ps 23:4
May 18 Easter 5 Living Stones* Michael Schmid 1Pe 2:4-10
May 25 Easter 6 Jesus Saves Tim Hughes 1 Pe 3:21
May 29 Ascension Glorious Day Mark Hall Lk 24:51
June 1 Easter 7 Your Name Paul Baloche Jn 17:1-11
June 8 Pentecost Awakening Tomlin & Morgan Acts 2:1-21
June 15 Holy Trinity Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty* Matt Maher
June 22 Pentecost 2 Your Grace is Enough Matt Maher Rom 3:23-25
June 29 Pentecost 3 The Same Love Paul Baloche Mt 9:13
July 6 Pentecost 4 Amazing Love (You are My King) Billy Foote Rom 5:8
July 13 Pentecost 5 Jesus Died, My Soul to Save Matt Boswell Rom 5:15
July 20 Pentecost 6 The Wonderful Cross* Chris Tomlin Rom 6:6-11
July 27 Pentecost 7 At the Foot of the Cross Kathryn Scott Mt 11:28-30
Aug 3 Pentecost 8 The Way Jeremy Camp Rom 8:19-22
Aug 10 Pentecost 9 In Christ Alone* Getty and Townend
Aug 17 Pentecost 10 Sovereign Over Us Aaron Keys Rom 8:28-30
Aug 24 Pentecost 11 Jesus, Son of God Chris Tomlin Rom 8:35-39
Aug 31 Pentecost 12 Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) Joel Houston Mt 14:25-32
Sept 7 Pentecost 13 In Christ Alone (with chorus)* Getty, Townend & Stanfill
Sept 14 Pentecost 14 We Cry Out Jeremy Camp Ps 34:17
Sept 21 Pentecost 15 White Flag Chris Tomlin Rom 12:1-5
Sept 28 Pentecost 16 Who is Like You? Mac Powell Gal 2:20
Oct 5 Pentecost 17 Amazing Love (You are My King) Billy Foote Rom 14:9
Oct 12 Pentecost 18 Overflow Matt Maher Php 1:26
Oct 19 Pentecost 19 Jesus Messiah Chris Tomlin Php 2:1-11
Oct 26 Pentecost 20 O Church Arise Getty & Townend Php 3:13-15
Nov 2 Reformation Mighty Fortress Shust & Baloche Ps 46
Nov 9 Last Judgment O Worship the King Chris Tomlin Da 7:9-10
Nov 16 Saint’s Triumphant Glorious Day Mark Hall 1 Th 4:16-17
Nov 23 Christ the King Jesus, Son of God Chris Tomlin Mt 27:29
Nov 27 Thanksgiving My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness Keith Getty
Nov 30 Advent 1 All to Us Chris Tomlin
Dec 7 Advent 2 Behold the Lamb of God Shaun Starbuck
Dec 14 Advent 3 Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground) Chris Tomlin
Dec 21 Advent 4 Waiting Here for You Chris Tomlin
Dec 24 Christmas Eve Glory in the Highest Chris Tomlin Lk 2:13-14
Dec 25 Christmas Day Born in Bethlehem Mac Powell Lk 2:10-11
Dec 28 Epiphany Offering (Christmas Version)* Paul Baloche Heb 12:1 & 13:15

* Easy enough for the congregation to sing along

For WELS and ELS members only – I am available to help should you have any questions – inasmuch as I can do based on my location. Contact me by replying to this feed or by email (sjbrown58 “at” yahoo “dot” com).

I pray that you witness passion in worship that is wonderfully contagious.

Practice Time

Practice Time

How much time does your musical team get together to practice? Our band currently has four members (two guitars, one keyboard, and one who plays light percussion and adds harmony background vocals), we all like to sing, and we lead the music on a monthly basis (one Sunday per month). In preparation for this monthly service, we try to get together about three times a month (taking one week off) for about one hour each week. This equates to about three hours of group practice for one hour of leading musical worship. To me this seems just about right because you can hear the songs really coming together by the end of the second or the third practice depending on the complexity.

Our band is made up of all seasoned musicians with a combined 100+ years of musical experience at our respective instruments so one might think that we don’t need much practice. But the thing is, each month we have new songs to learn so it’s important to get together to divide up who will be singing which parts, who will be driving the arrangement, what key signatures to use, how we will introduce the song, who will take solos and where (if at all), and most importantly to get the feel of the overall groove of the music.

When a band practices together to hone their craft, the result is a coherent musical offering that invites congregational participation and helps in the overall flow of the worship service. Group practice allows time for the bass guitarist and drummer to work together to build the groove of the song and for the guitars and keyboards to provide the body and melody of the music.

In addition to this week night practice time, we each practice solo at home and we listen to our monthly songs performed by the original recording artists on our individual MP3 players and email youtube versions of each song to one another. Finally, we meet together about a half hour before the worship service to check our balances and to run through that difficult part once more.

In the end, we know each other very well. We can interpret looks from one another during worship. We know each others signals when something isn’t quite right; maybe the tempo needs to be adjusted based on the congregation’s singing, or maybe one of us is singing off-pitch (usually me). We are not only a band – we are friends who support one another and pray for each other.

The bottom line is that bands need to spend time together because the worship life of the church improves when this happens.

Third Sunday After Pentecost – Contemporary Worship

Third Sunday After Pentecost – Contemporary Worship

“Worship must be a priority and must not be approached lightly, haphazardly, or without passion.”

On June 17, we will be blessed by having the Branches Band accompany our worship service. Over the past several weeks I have been working with the Branches Band via email to plan and prepare for the service. After discussing the idea with our Pastor, it was decided to follow our typical contemporary worship format. This is a worship service meant to be accompanied by a keyboard/guitar style of music. The entire worship bulletin is included below. I have inserted a view videos of the Branches music where appropriate.

Worship is not from tradition but from the heart.  The following is contemporary worship.

Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church
Member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
300 Buckland Road, P.O. Box 1156, South Windsor, CT 06074

Pastor Timothy J. Ehlers Church Office: (860) 644-2110

Third Sunday after Pentecost June 17, 2012

THEME FOR WORSHIP
Our faith is based on Jesus our risen Lord

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PRE-SERVICE: “I Rejoiced” ……………………………………………………………………………………….Branches Band
“Fill Me Up”
“O Holy Spirit, Enter In” (arranged by the Branches Band)

OPENING SONG: CW234 “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” arranged by the Branches Band

M: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.
C: And also with you.

CONFESSION OF SINS AND ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS

M: Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?
C: He who has clean hands and a pure heart, he will receive blessing from God his Savior
(Psalm 24:3-5)

M: What does God say about each of us in his holy Word?
C: He says that I am a sinner and deserve only his punishment.

M: What should each of us do if we are not aware of our personal sins or are not troubled by them?
C: I should examine myself according to the Ten Commandments and ask how well I have carried out my responsibilities as a husband or wife or single person, as a parent or child, an employer or employee, a teacher or student. Have I loved God with all my heart, gladly heard his Word, and patiently endured affliction? Have I been disobedient, proud, or unforgiving? Have I been selfish, lazy, envious, or quarrelsome? Have I lied or deceived, taken something not mine, or given anyone a bad name? Have I abused my body or permitted indecent thoughts to linger in my mind? Have I failed to do what is right and good?

Silence for personal reflection

M: When each of us realize that we have sinned against God and deserve his punishment, what should each of us do?
C: I will confess before God all my sins, those which I remember as well as those of which I am unaware. I will pray to God for his mercy and forgiveness.

M: Dear friends, let us approach God with a true heart and confess our sins, asking him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to forgive us.
C: Lord of life, I confess that I am by nature dead in sin. For faithless worrying and selfish pride, for sins of habit and sins of choice, for the evil I have done and the good I have failed to do, you should cast me away from your presence forever. O Lord, I am sorry for my sins. Forgive me, for Jesus sake.

M: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. In his great mercy, God made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in our sins. Hear the word of Christ through his called servant:

I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
C: Amen.
M: In the peace of forgiveness, let us sing praise to our Lord.

YOU ARE GOD WE PRAISE YOU (Te Deum by Marty Haugen)

PRAYER OF THE DAY

M: Let us pray.
O God, the strength of all who trust in you, mercifully hear our prayers. Be gracious to us in our weakness
and give us strength to keep your commandments in all we say and do; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our
Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

THE WORD

THE FIRST LESSON: Genesis 3:8-15

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? ”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all the livestock
and all the wild animals!

You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

PSALM OF THE DAY: “The Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman song #209 in Songbook
(Responsive Reading of Psalm 51 with music)

M: Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
C: according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions.

M: Wash away all my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
C: For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

M: Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
C: Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

Congregation Sings: Verse 1 & Chorus

M: Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
C: Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

M: Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
C: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

M: O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
C: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Congregation Sings: Verse 2 & Chorus

THE SECOND LESSON: 2 Corinthians 4:13-18
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead
will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

VERSE OF THE DAY

C: Alleluia. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Alleluia.

THE GOSPEL LESSON: Mark 3:20-35

20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub ! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

23 So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables:“How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. 28 I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”

30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an evil spirit.”

31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

CHILDREN’S TALK (All children are invited to the front of church.)

HYMN OF THE DAY: 387 “Drawn to the Cross” arranged by the Branches Band

SERMON: TBD

THANKSGIVING

OFFERING
Offertory Music – “Hearts of Stone” by the Branches Band

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH FOR PENTECOST

M: O Lord, our God, you are wise and powerful, good and gracious. Your mercies are new every morning.
Each day you open your hand and provide for the needs of your children on earth.
C: We praise you for every grace and blessing.

M: Strengthen your Church in all the world. Let your comforting message of salvation in Christ Jesus be
proclaimed to troubled souls everywhere.
C: Use our ministries and offerings to extend your healing and your hope.

M: We bring you our requests for the various structures of our society. Bless our nation, state, and local
governments.
C: Grant us civil servants who are worthy of honor and respect.

M: Grant prosperity to our businesses and industries. Give employers a sense of fairness toward their
workers, and employees a feeling of joy and pride in their workmanship.
C: Help us find satisfaction in all work well done.

M: Invigorate the schools of our land. Give success to every effort that helps students read, think, and
communicate in ways that will promote an informed and responsible citizenry. Arouse curious minds to
discover the wonders of your created order.
C: Give us teachers and students who pursue excellence.

M: Strengthen the families of our country. Give fathers and mothers a renewed commitment to be good
parents. Give children and young people the wisdom to regard their parents as your representatives.
C: Lead us to love one another as you have loved us.

M: Hear us, Lord, as we bring you our private petitions.

Silent prayer.

M: Gracious Father, we pray boldly as Jesus taught, with the confidence that you will hear and with the faith
that you will respond for our welfare.
C: Amen.

LORD’S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

BLESSING

CLOSING SONG: 745 “May the Peace of God” by Keith & Kristin Getty see insert

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Welcome to Worship

We’re so glad to have you with us today! We consider it a privilege to gather together to worship our Lord and hear from Him as he speaks to us from the Bible, His Word. If you are here with us for the first time, please introduce yourself to us and, when you have the opportunity, please sign our guest register, located in the back of the worship area. If you are in need of any assistance at all, please speak with one of our ushers who would be very happy to assist you. May God bless our worship together today!

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Prayer Upon Entering Church

O Lord – our Maker, Redeemer, and Comforter – we are assembled in your presence to hear your holy Word. We pray that you would open our hearts by your Holy Spirit that through the preaching of your Word we may repent of our sins, believe in Jesus, and grow day by day in grace and holiness. Hear us for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Children’s Prayer Before Church

Lord Jesus, bless the pastor’s word, Upon my heart, I pray;

That after all is said and heard, I gladly may obey. Amen.

A Personal Confession of Sin

Father, I have sinned against you and am no longer worthy to be called your child. Especially am I sorry for ___________. Yet in mercy you sacrificed your only Son to purge away my guilt. For his sake, O God, be merciful to me, a sinner, and in the joy of your Holy Spirit let me serve you all my days. Amen.

For Obedience to God’s Will

Lord God, give me strength and willingness to say with your Son, “Not my will but your will be done.” Make me cheerful and trusting to bear whatever you let happen to me. From your hand I am willing to take the good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow. Keep me from sin, gracious Father, and comfort me with your kind Word. Amen.

Pastor vs Worship Leader

Pastor vs Worship Leader 

In my circles, the term “worship leader” is still a relatively new thing, and actually not even used in the majority of our churches unless you are referring to the Pastor. But there are a growing number of churches in our Synod that are starting to use some blended styles of music which is very exciting, and as a result, a league of young musicians are finding themselves in leadership roles. Here’s my take on the role of the worship leader compared to the Pastor in our Synodical setting. 

Pastor Worship Leader
Is trained and educated in theology Is trained in music
Is responsible for the flock Is a member of the flockResponsible for the band (musically)
Prepares and preaches the sermons Listens intently to the sermon
Chooses the hymns Sings the hymns with gusto
Approves the contemporary song choices and sings the contemporary music with gusto Chooses the contemporary music
Prays for his worship leader Prays for their Pastor
Is the worship leader’s friend Is the Pastor’s friend
Respects and trusts the worship leader Respects and trusts the Pastor
Brings people into membership by teaching God’s word (Holy Spirit brings them to faith) Auditions members for the band
Practices his sermon for hours on end Practices their music for hours on end
Reads the bible and musty old theology books Reads the bible, devotional books, song lyrics and instrumental instructional books
Uses Logos or BibleWorks software Uses Pro Tools, Sibelius, Noteflight, GarageBand, ForScore, and other musically related software
Can actually use these terms in a sentence: sacristy, narthex, unction, adiaophron, flagon, pericope and exegesis Can actually use these terms in a sentence: trill, modulate, gliss, timbre, resonance, palm-muting and capo
Teaches bible class Attends bible class
Knows Isaac Watt’s music pretty well Knows Chris Tomlin’s music pretty well
Knows his scripture Knows their scripture
Teaches God’s word to the flock Teaches young musicians the tools of the trade, tips, tricks and secrets
Administers the sacraments Is a grateful recipient of the sacraments
Writes papers Writes lyrics
Is physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted after worship on Sunday Ditto
Would like to meet Jesus, Paul the Apostle, and/or Martin Luther Would like to meet Jesus, King David and/or their favorite contemporary artist
Is the worship leader’s Facebook friend Is the Pastor’s Facebook friend
Know’s the original languages (Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic) Know’s all the key signatures
Packer’s fan (because most of our Pastors come from WI) Local sports fan to wherever the church is located