Overseers Adam Diehl & Jon Paul Robles

Why Do We Worship?

Posted on October 3rd, 2011 by adamdiehl

Have you ever wondered why we should worship? Let me give you three reasons Christians should truly worship Jesus.

We were created for it.

Revelation 4:11 and 1 Peter 2:9 say it all. ‘Nuff said there.

God told us to do it . . .

. . . 5,094 times. It’s the most frequent command in the Bible! Need I say more? Okay maybe just one more . . .

Worship is a response.

I wrote about that here. God is worth a response. Has God done anything in your life AT ALL? If he has, then respond in Worship!

    “The ‘Why-How’ Model” of Worship:
    Worship in the Psalms

    Posted on September 19th, 2011 by adamdiehl

    To understand Christian worship rightly, we need to understand the model laid out for us in the book of Psalms. I like to call it the “Why-How Model.”

    Check out Psalm 100 (NIV):

    A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

    1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
    2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
    3 Know that the LORD is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

    4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
    5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

    In this passage, verse 5 answers the question, “Why?” It’s because the Lord is good and his love endures forever! Verses 1-4 explain how we should worship. Shouting, singing joyfully, being led by Him (v. 3), and being thankful are all ways we can worship God.

    Check out another example, from the first part of Psalm 103 (NIV)

    1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
    2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
    3 who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
    4 who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
    5 who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

    6 The LORD works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

    In this example, verses 3-6 explain WHY we worship: he forgives, heals, and saves us. Verses 1 and 2 give us specific ways that we can worship: with my whole heart, and by remembering.

    What examples can you find in the Psalms?

    Priceless Principles Part 5 of 5.

    Posted on September 5th, 2011 by adamdiehl

    This post is the conclusion of a series of posts summarizing five priceless principles from Joe Pace’s book “From Performance to Praise.” These concepts apply to every member of the worship team. For more information – read the book!

    Priceless Principle #5

    Those involved in Music Ministry strive for unity.

    Our area of ministry is the most subjective area in the church and because its art – can be the most personally invested area. I have heard some horror stories of disunited worship teams. One story indicated that when the worship leader picked up the microphone (on Sunday morning . . . on stage . . . in front of a congregation), the guitar player unstrapped his instrument and announced to everyone, “I’m not playing if he’s gonna lead!” and then walked off the stage, through the sanctuary, and out the front doors. Geesh!

    Let’s take a look at what happened in the Bible when the worship team was completely united:

    2 Chronicles 5:12-14; “12and all the Levites who were musicians were there–Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their families, dressed in their worship robes; the choir and orchestra assembled on the east side of the Altar and were joined by 120 priests blowing trumpets. 13The choir and trumpets made one voice of praise and thanks to GOD-orchestra and choir in perfect harmony singing and playing praise to GOD: Yes! God is good! His loyal love goes on forever! Then a billowing cloud filled The Temple of GOD. 14The priests couldn’t even carry out their duties because of the cloud–the glory of GOD!-that filled The Temple of God.

    Imagine what it would be like if we were this united in our weekend worship services! Just imagine! When we begin to have thoughts that bring dis-unity, we need to remind ourselves of our worship’s focus: “Its not about me, it’s never been about me, and it’s never gonna be about me.”

    Priceless Principles Part 4 of 5

    Posted on August 22nd, 2011 by adamdiehl

    This post is part of a series of posts summarizing five priceless principles from Joe Pace’s book “From Performance to Praise.” These concepts apply to every member of the worship team. For more information – read the book!

    Priceless Principle #4

    Those involved in Music Ministry are faithful.

    “Faithfulness is a moment by moment, day by day, circumstance by circumstance decision to do one word – stay. To stay committed when you can leave is faithfulness. To remain steadfast when you are continually passed over is faithfulness. There is nothing holding you to this place you are in, and you feel looked over anyway, so just leave. It’s not that simple – you’ve made a commitment to stay in your place until it’s your turn to be moved into the next position.” –Joe Pace

    “Faithfulness is continual. It is coming to choir rehearsal prepared because you rehearsed at home. It is playing the same chords repeatedly until you have them right. It is forsaking the quick, easy way out, refusing to give up after disagreements, or giving your all even after you way of things was not adopted. God needs to know that you are there for the long haul. Being faithful simply means that you will stay in your place doing the same thing continually until God moves you into another position.”

    If God has called you here, then stay here until he calls you away. This is only between you, God, and sometimes a person in spiritual authority.

    Some Thoughts on Special Music.

    Posted on August 15th, 2011 by adamdiehl

    To the right of this post (only viewable on cmiworship.com site – not RSS), you can see a link for asking a question. One such question was asked about policies regarding Special Music, and this post is written to answer that question – but hopefully it will help many of us.

    The Use of Special Music

    Special music (outside of choir and regular worship songs) can be a valuable part of the service. It could also be a massive distraction. The difference is good planning and leadership.

    For example, a good use of special music uses the song to help the flow of the service. Special Music should never be a time filler – it should be purposeful. If the song is worshipful and helps people focus on God – maybe use it as a call to worship. If its about serving or giving, maybe use it during offering. If the song is a challenge to live a specific way, consider using it to introduce or close out a Sermon (if the message is coordinated with the special song). For example, if the Pastor preached on taking Christ out to the people around us, maybe the special song could be Casting Crown’s “If We Are The Body” (Why aren’t His arms reaching…). That would tie everything together.

    Most Pastors are great at connecting to our minds – but its the artistic touch (i.e. special music) that touches our hearts. Touch the mind and heart for the fullest influence – it can create a transformational moment in lives. To coordinate special music with the sermon – that does require active planning! I can’t figure out why so many churches have opposition to the notion of planning. This concept is expected for Christmas and Easter – but for some reason some get offended when artists suggest we continue planning efforts to make every service special. (I’m suggesting we ask God what he wants, and head in that direction until God prompts us otherwise; I’m not suggesting we plan the Holy Spirit’s direction out of our service).

    Planning ahead is a challenge for many busy pastors that struggle to perfect their notes until Saturday night, but if they understand all we need is a general theme (i.e. “Love your neighbor” or “Being devoted to God”) rather than their entire manuscript, they may have an easier time giving artists the fuel they need to serve. I encourage all artists to consistently ask their pastor for service direction ahead of time. I took the liberty of writing a letter to your pastor already that might be helpful. Click here to read it.

    Now the bad use of Special Music is very common as well. Two things can make special music really bad. First, if its just done really poorly. If someone wants to sing on a stage, they need to be gifted at singing. That’s what the Bible says anyhow. (There’s room for some grace – I’ll get to that, keep reading…). Secondly, bad use of special music is if it causes disjoint in the service. Imagine a special song placed right before the sermon. The special song is about sharing Christ with others – great theme, great song. As soon as the powerful song is finished, and everyone is moved emotionally about sharing Christ with others, the Pastor takes the pulpit and says, “This morning, I want to share 5 ways we can hear God’s voice more clearly.” … WHAT?! … At the very least the pastor should have prayed for the congregation to have boldness to be evangelistic before transitioning to his message on a different topic. At the very least each “service element” needs to pass the baton from one idea to the next — but personally I think its better to keep all elements along the same vein. There are a million systems we can use to carry this out.

    Special Music Systems (Structure)

    I believe that the system used to do special music isn’t nearly as important as the attitude behind it. It’s easy to create a good system for Special Music (SO MANY have merit and could be considered “good” in the right setting). It’s also very very very easy to get a wrong/bad attitude about Special Music. What I’m saying is that all the systems we come up with must be about and focused on RELATIONSHIP. Systems are an institutional construct, but the biblical understanding of Church isn’t an institution – it’s PEOPLE (the gathering of those who are “called out”). The institutional constructs (systems) should serve and respond to the needs of the Church (people), not the other way around. The people’s needs should dictate the leader’s systems and structures. (That does NOT mean that the people dictate the leader). That perspective pervades all the following answers to the asker’s specific issues:

    Auditions. I absolutely believe in doing auditions, but I’ve never asked anyone to audition for me – ever. At least I never used the word “Audition.” I think that word — at least in my setting — has a lot of bad connotation with it. It just makes things sound stuffy, impersonal, and rather institutionalized. I don’t think Jesus ever meant for that stigma, so I tend to avoid it. If someone who I’m not familiar with asks if they can sing on a stage, I don’t say, “I need you to do an audition.” But I will say, “Can we meet up after church so I can hear you sing?” This vocabulary will shape an arts department.

    Schedules. There’s a million ways to schedule special music – and I’m pretty sure I’ve used most of them. I don’t think any of them are wrong, figure out what helps you with your goals. Set goals and vision first.

    Rehearsing the special song in front of a review team for constructive criticism? Great question. I think this one just depends. Unless your inbox is overflowing with people begging to sing special songs, I don’t think this needs to be a policy. A leader must be more focused on the people he’s leading than the institutional constructs (policies) that help him lead. If you have a veteran vocalist that sings fantastic and has great stage presence – I wouldn’t suggest you worry too much about a review team. If you have a newbie, I would invite them to come in a week ahead for some feedback and maybe to have a try with the Sound System (I’ve found “feedback” is a much more welcomed term than “constructive criticism.” The latter just makes people feel insecure). I think the healthiest review process revolves around discipleship principles and interpersonal relationships.

    I used to struggle much more with proper structures. I was challenged by my worship leading mentor, “Do you truly love the people you’re leading?” Of course I said yes. But he challenged me, saying that he didn’t love his church for several years. So I kept asking myself the question over and over – “Do I love the people I’m leading?” The more I asked myself that, the more I saw (in practical situations) that I didn’t truly love them. I had no amnosity, and I liked everyone — but I didn’t truly love them. They weren’t my focus. Maintaining my precious structures and systems were my focus. If I don’t truly love the people I’m leading, I’m probably not going to bother considering what would help each individual. <– Reflect on that.

    What about guidelines for memorizing music and using cheat sheets? This totally depends. Was the singer asked to sing a song three days ago? For crying out loud them them use some words! Under general circumstances, I think special songs should be memorized – that will of course help them communicate the point more clearly. But there are a million factors that can effect this. Maybe the singer couldn’t memorize because of some family emergency or they had to work overtime the past week . . . I try to show grace because I never know when I’ll need it shown to me! (Quick Tip: My favorite is a cheat sheet that has the first couple words of each line on a paper. I once had to memorize a solo in college in about 30 minutes notice. I was familiar with the words, so I just wrote the first words to each line with a permanent marker and placed the paper on the front of the stage. The solo went on without a hitch!)

    What about the regulation of quality of the song selection? This is a fantastic question. I already wrote about how the song selection should flow with what is going on. If you’re worried about people writing their own music and wanting to do that for a special song – THAT is a situation for which I would use a review team. Songwriters must understand that just because they wrote a song doesn’t mean it was for the radio or the church. God gives some songs for our personal expression, others for a group, others for a church, others for a region, and others for radio and beyond. If people in your church are writing music (AWESOME), I would definitely recommend a review team (for support) to analyze its musicality, lyric, and theological soundness.

     

    Priceless Principles Part 3 of 5.

    Posted on August 8th, 2011 by adamdiehl

    This post is part of a series of posts summarizing five priceless principles from Joe Pace’s book “From Performance to Praise.” These concepts apply to every member of the worship team. For more information – read the book!

    Priceless Principle #3

    Those involved in Music Ministry are anointed and skillful.

    First, let’s look at the word “anointed.”

    1. There are two types of skills: natural and learned. Natural skills and Learned skills both get their roots from God.
    2. We must stay connected to the source of our skill to invite the Lord’s anointing on us.
    3. “Skill is developed through practice and preparation. The anointing is not a substitute for either.” –Joe Pace

    Second, let’s look at the word “skillful.”

    1. Psalms 33:3, “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”
    2. Gifting never supercedes practice and work (2 Tim 2:15)
    3. Do your homework. “You cannot just continue to skip through the tulips and not spend the necessary time it takes to make the music and songs you render to the Lord perfect . . . Does God deserve perfect praise?” – Joe Pace.

    Bottom line – pull your weight on the team. If one person is unprepared and did not do their part, it will hold the team back from giving God their very best collective effort.

    Priceless Principles Part 2 of 5

    Posted on July 25th, 2011 by adamdiehl

    This post is part of a series of posts summarizing five priceless principles from Joe Pace’s book “From Performance to Praise.” These concepts apply to every member of the worship team. For more information – read the book!

    Priceless Principle #2

    Those involved in Music Ministry are required to enter into an oath of holiness.

    Nehemiah 10:28-29, “The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand- all these now join their brothers the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the LORD our Lord.” (This was a secret/personal oath between them and God).

    “Worship leaders have a responsibility to keep themselves in a position that is set apart for the purpose of leading people into the presence of a Holy God. We should not take this lightly. If we made this area a fundamental priority, I believe we would see God move more powerfully and more often in our churches today.” -Joe Pace

    1 Thessalonians 5:23 “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    This doesn’t mean that we will be perfect! Even the great missionary Paul was able to admit his faults as he admits in 2 Corinthians 2:7, “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh . . .” But we must stay on top of the problem so that God’s anointing does not lift from us. This was the case in 1 Samuel 15:25-31.

    Priceless Principles Part 1 of 5.

    Posted on July 11th, 2011 by adamdiehl

    This post is part of a series of posts summarizing five priceless principles from Joe Pace’s book “From Performance to Praise.” These concepts apply to every member of the worship team. For more information – read the book!

    Priceless Principle #1:

    Those involved in Music Ministry are chosen and set apart.

    1 Chronicles 15:16 “David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.”

    1 Chronicles 16:41 “With them were Heman and Jeduthun and the rest who were chosen and expressly named to give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever.”

    “Once you realize that you have been chosen and that God has set you apart or designated you for the music ministry, you will have a different view of ministry to your prospective congregation. You must realize that the first foundation of your place in ministry comes from God and is given to you to share with others.” -Joe Pace

    I Don’t Care What You Can Do

    Posted on June 27th, 2011 by adamdiehl

    I once had a remarkably gifted member of my worship team have to step down from the team for a little while because his work schedule was so awkward. It was going to be a rare moment he could attend church services, let alone rehearsals.

    After about a month or two of not seeing him at all at church at all I sent him a message, “I miss you not being at church.”

    He responded, “Yea, I miss not playing for you, too.”

    I was pretty sure he misunderstood what I meant so I clarified, “Yea, yea, I miss not having you play your instrument – but I’m saying I miss YOU – the person – the essence of who you are. I can’t wait until you can join us in Church again. It’s great to have you around regardless of what you can do.

    At the moment I’m writing the second draft of this post, it’s a Saturday in the middle of winter – about an hour or two before my team’s rehearsal. The snow is coming down HARD at the moment. We’re still having rehearsal and service tonight. I had a gal text me and ask if we were canceling. I said, “No – but if you feel unsafe leaving, stay home! Who you are is a lot more important than what you can do.”

    Who you are (a disciple, a Christian, a servant, a friend, a part of your church family) is far more important than what you can do for your team. I think we often spend too much time talking about improving what we can do rather than improving who we are. Do those things go together? -Well, of course they do. But when it comes to appreciation and value – they’re very different.

    I fear I might be getting up on a soapbox too much with this post, but this particular issue is very important to me and I think it really matters for the integrity of our worship in our churches.

    Independence Day is coming up soon (It’s July 4th this year, isn’t it?). Most churches in America will be doing something to honor the holiday. Most often, this is done with artistic elements – songs and videos. I don’t have a problem with this. Using current events to demonstrate spiritual truth is great! Praying for our country and leaders is mandated by scripture. Giving thanks to God for the freedom we have to worship is also great. These examples could be illustrated with this picture. I am a Christian. I am also an American. They are not the same thing.

    Allow me to be clear – we should live our Christianity in the context of being an American (if you’re an American). I love that. Both the blue and the red circles above can and do have a place in the church. I have no problem with that.

    However, from my perspective I think the American Church has somehow weaved together their Christianity with Patriotism in an unhealthy way. It’s like some churches treat patriotic seasons with equal significance as Easter and Christmas! Some of the videos that are marketed to churches for use on Patriotic holidays make me wonder if we’re here to worship Jesus or worship America! When we do this we’re blending our blue and red circles and it makes church . . . something different.

    Think of the words to songs that some churches use in their worship service. “My country, ’tis of thee – the sweet land of liberty – OF THEE I SING” ??? SERIOUSLY?! I thought we were here to sing about Jesus! This song has absolutely no place during a worship set; the title and first line specifically state that it is about a nation (not God)! Similar connotations could be made to other songs which imply God saved our country (and nobody else), or that sing continuously about the attributes of a nation instead of the attributes of God. Anyone who insists of blending the “Star Spangled Banner” or “My Country Tis of Thee” in a worship set needs to develop a Biblical definition of Worship! God must be the focus of our worship – anything else is just music.

    Again, allow me to be clear – I’m not anti-America. I love America. I’m not anti-patriotic songs in church. I’m just against weaving them together as if they were the same thing (and unless we are extremely intentional about it, that’s exactly how it will be perceived).

    For example – I try to leave out patriotic songs from the worship set but instead we may do an instrumental patriotic song during offering. Or if we show a patriotic video, we may follow it up with a prayer for our country. We’re living out our Christianity in the context of our location.

    Worship leaders and Pastors in America – as you prepare for this upcoming Independence Day church services, ask yourself: “If an English speaking Christian foreigner came to my church this weekend, would they be able to worship with us or would they be confused about whether or not they’re in a church?”

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