thoughts on worship, art, leadership, and life



Don’t Be A Gospel Graduate

Processed with VSCOcam with m2 presetThis past year, our worship leader collective read through the book True Worship by Vaughan Roberts. If you haven’t gotten the opportunity to read it, it’s a book I highly recommend. Here is one quote that challenged me in life and ministry. I hope it does the same for you.

“Some Christians delight in the early years of their Christian lives to hear of Christ and his death for them on the cross. But then, as time passes, they feel it is time to graduate from that message on to something else. They feel they need something more sophisticated. It is a dangerous mentality. Of course we need to be stretched in our thinking and seek to learn the whole counsel of God from the Scriptures. But we can never leave the basics behind. The message of God’s mercy to us is not just for non-Christians and young believers. It is for all of us.”

Roberts, Vaughan (2013-12-01). True Worship (Kindle Locations 311-315). Authentic Media. Kindle Edition.

In ministry

If our church services include more obscure biblical truths than the Gospel, our people will be deprived of living in the freedom it provides. If we revolve around self-help instead of the extravagance of God’s grace, legalism may slowly take over. The Gospel and all that God has done for us must remain right at the center of our services. Continue reading “Don’t Be A Gospel Graduate”


Why We Shouldn’t Give Up Meeting Together


Just ask most church goers across America how many times they attend church in a given month and the answer may shock you. Then again, it may not, as I am sure that most of you have noticed a changing cultural trend. I have had many such conversations over the past few years with people who consider their church attendance “regular” and are only attending 1-2 times a month. They site reasons that range from children’s sporting events to work but the reality is that we live in a world that has devalued church attendance in exchange for increasing busyness and activity.  On top of this, with the advent of social media, people have tricked themselves into believing that they are connected in real relationships with others.

Is this all just a facade? Continue reading “Why We Shouldn’t Give Up Meeting Together”

Are We Choosing The Right Songs?

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When we gather as a church community for worship, we are participating in the most dynamic story ever told. It is a rich story that starts with a creating and sovereign God. This God is three persons, each distinct, yet mysteriously one. The narrative is riddled with the failure and brokeness of humanity, and it ends with God’s salvation and the restoration of His people. Lastly, the very words of this story have the power to turn death to life. Why would we ever want to deprive our people of participating in it?

I seriously doubt that any of us would say that our goal is to keep our people away from God’s gospel, but are we subtly doing just that by what we’re omitting? Continue reading “Are We Choosing The Right Songs?”

The Creative Process Pt. 2

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A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them. – Liberty Hyde Bailey

In my previous post I talked about developing a personal process to channel your creativity. The same principles apply to church creative processes. When working in a church creative team, whether that’s just you or a whole bunch of folks, it’s necessary to plan for creativity. Putting parameters and deadlines together is much like cultivating a garden. You have to set up boundaries, watering schedules, prune, fertilize, rinse and repeat. Eventually, with a little sunshine, you get some great produce! Over the past couple of years we have worked hard to refine our church creative process. Though it felt a little unnatural at first, we grew to embrace it as it has helped us create some amazing things.

Our church’s creative planning process is as follows: Continue reading “The Creative Process Pt. 2”

Are Auditions Necessary?

Stage Guitar

I still remember waiting outside in the hallway, the sound of a slightly out of tune piano playing and a girl singing her heart out on the other side of the wall. My mind was racing. What if I didn’t make it? What would that say about me? I’ve been singing my whole life and making this choir meant a lot to me. So much was on the line.

This was my experience auditioning for the choir at Concordia University River Forest. If this is the kind of experience that people go through when they audition for something, it begs the question, do auditions really have a place in the church? Continue reading “Are Auditions Necessary?”

The Guest Experience

Successful organizations care about what their guests experience. Simply walk into your nearest Starbucks and upon checking out you may be asked if you would be willing to fill out a survey. Why do they do this? Is it because they want to interrupt your day with a monotonous survey? No. By doing so, they hope to gather honest responses to gauge whether or not their attempts to serve you and connect with you were successful and if not how they can improve.

A little over a year ago we began to ask some of the same questions at our church. We realized that the first step in being able to evaluate whether or not we were succeeding was to clearly define our “win” for our Sunday morning worship services. Your “win” should and must be influenced by your theology. Continue reading “The Guest Experience”

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