A word about Powerpoint in church


Here’s a thought-provoking quote from Tim Challies’s book “The Next Story”:

“It is usually only after a new technology is invented that we use our creativity and ingenuity to find ways of integrating it into our lives. This exacerbates its unintended consequences. If a technology was created specifically for business application and we adapt it to a worship service, we will see that there are some businesslike ideologies wrapped up in that technology (eg when we take PowerPoint from the boardroom to the sanctuary).” – p.62

I’m finding it a fantastic read at the moment, and it’s really challenging me to identify why I use the technologies around me the way I do, and to have almost a theology of technology. Challies draws much of his research from a guy named Neil Postman, a technologist whose work I’d probably be interested in reading in the future too!

– William

Why people sing in church

Thought I’d share a quote from a conversation between DA Carson and Tony Payne. Here, Carson suggests what he’d say during a church gathering/service to explain why there’s singing.

“Historically Christians are a singing people because we have so much to sing about. In this church, we sing songs from centuries past, and songs that have been written in the last five years. We’ll sing some of both tonight. And if some of these lyrics seem strange to you, nevertheless listen to the people of God as we delight to sing to the God who made us and has redeemed us.”

I’d say something like that. Then the very joy of corporate singing can have a telling effect on people. When I was here for the Katoomba Men’s Convention, I heard reports of guys who had never been to a Christian meeting of any sort, dialling up their wives on their mobile phones and saying, “Dear, these guys are nuts but just listen to them sing” and holding up their phones.

And of course there’s plenty in the Scriptures to help us understand the value of singing in a gathering of believers (Col 3:16-17, many of the Psalms, 1 Cor 14).

The rest of the discussion is worth a read - it articulates (much better) some of the same thoughts we explored as a music team a couple of weeks back when discussing our definitions of worship.


– William

HBC Easter Weekend recap: grace behind the scenes

(Here’s a recap of the service and the songs we chose this past weekend at Howick Baptist Church. You can find links to the set lists of this church and many other churches each week at theworshipcommunity.com. You can also read through previous HBC service recaps here.)


Easter Weekend is always a busy time if you’re involved in music ministry. By God’s grace we made it through three different services. Instead of starting with observations of what you may already have seen, I’m going to share about some behind-the-scene moments and thoughts:

  • “He’s gone home to get the CD” – About 10 minutes before the Good Friday service was meant to commence, we got word from that Luke (our youth intern) need to rush home to grab a missing music/video file for the youth group’s drama presentation (a modified version of the Lifehouse – Everything skit). So we had to shift that item from where it was earlier in the order to after Joe’s message so that there would be enough time for Luke to get back. By God’s providence, the clear gospel presentation from Joe helped to set the framework for understanding the metaphors and the themes presented by the teens, and it all weaved together perfectly. Yes, it made for a very tense morning praying that the Lord would keep Luke safe on his last-minute dash (to Manurewa and back!)
  • Guitar stops working – I was slated to play a solo of “Man of Sorrows” after all that. And as the big moment arrived, I stood in front of the congregation, I picked up my guitar… and realised it had no sound (it’s a semiacoustic). Frantic looks at the sound desk. Quick glance behind me at the mass of cables. I ended up just playing it without amplification which meant folks at the back of the church only heard vocals. But in all that God humbled me to not think too highly of my own abilities, and some people commented that without the guitar, they were able to focus more on the fantastic words. Praise the Lord!
  • He is risen! he is nervous! On Easter Sunday… not really sure why, but under all the expectation I didn’t feel as relaxed as other weeks. Fluffed through the opening welcome, and even as I was describing the scene on the third day in preparation for singing the Getty’s Resurrection Hymn, I mixed up the gospel accounts and spoke of the angel rather than Jesus appearing to the women.
  • I love what I do – I think it was about 2 hours into the Thursday night rehearsal, in the midst of the laughing as someone said something funny, and looking around at the team, that a thought clearly hit me: God has been so good to bless me with such wonderful ministry partners. It’s so good that I can’t think of anyone in the team that doesn’t have a heart attitude to serve the church during our gathered worship. It’s so good that I can’t think of anyone that wants to be on team for the ego trip, or for the status and prominence. It’s wonderful to see, and it makes me love serving alongside these brothers and sisters in Christ! To God be the glory!


Here’s the songs we chose over the Easter weekend…

Order of Service (22 April 2011, Good Friday)

(worship leader: William Chong)

Welcome: Isaiah 52-53

1. How Deep the Father’s Love for Us – Stuart Townend.
2. Jesus Thank You – Pat Sczebel.

Message – The Most Tragic Death The World Has Ever Known (Joe Fleener)

180 Youth Drama Presentation

3. Man of Sorrows – Philip B Bliss, arr. David Potter. I made a recording of it here.


Order of Service (24 April 2011, Easter Sunday)

(worship leader: William Chong)


1. Jesus Came to Earth – Solomon Campbell, Daved Campbell, Bob Kauflin. We had the Sunday School children lead us in singing this song. Great stuff!
2. Resurrection Hymn (See What a Morning) – Pat Sczebel.


Reading: Psalm 25

3. The Greatest of All – Pat Sczebel, Fanny Crosby.

4. How Deep the Father’s Love For Us – Stuart Townend.

Message: God’s Right-hand Man (Peter Somervell)

5. In Christ Alone – Townend/Getty.


– William

HBC service recap: 17 April 2011

(Here’s a recap of the service and the songs we chose this past weekend at Howick Baptist Church. You can find links to the set lists of this church and many other churches each week at theworshipcommunity.com. You can also read through previous HBC service recaps here.)


Order of Service (17 April 2011, Palm Sunday)

(worship leader: William Chong)

Welcome: Psalm 24 – Our systematic reading through the Psalms on Sunday mornings providentially gave us an apt passage for Palm Sunday:

“Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.”

1. Come People of the Risen King – Getty/Townend. This was still pretty new for most people, particularly the verses. Great to hear the sound of a full church singing “Rejoice!” in light of all the risen King has done in our lives!

2. Let Your Kingdom Come – Bob Kauflin. Towards the end of the song we had the children from our pre-school group, Stepping Stones, paraded down the aisle with big leaves and branches (in remembrance of Palm Sunday). It seemed like in the absence of a proper introduction (I had planned to say something beforehand but forgot), most people got confused when the kids came in and simply stopped singing from that point on. Will have to rethink how to do this next year… For those there on Sunday, what did you think? Did the brass fanfare/kids streaming in/people singing trifecta work, or was it a confusing mess?

Children’s Message – After the singing, the Stepping Stones children sat down at the steps. Peter came and gave them a special message, complete with age-appropriate props!

Announcements, Pastoral Prayer – A bit of confusion as we weren’t sure what was happening next after the children’s message. Eventually Joe got up and the rest of the announcements went OK. An exciting thing was that this year’s STAND Conference registrations were officially opened!

Reading – Psalm 23

3. The King of Love My Shepherd Is – words by Henry Baker. The singers sang a 4-part hymn based on Psalm 23. Was nice to give SATB singing a go!

4. Before the Throne of God Above – Charitie Lee Bancroft. As you can tell, all the songs were chosen around the theme of the Kingship of Jesus. This one is great as both an explanation of the gospel and also pointing out the strength to continue in the Christian race also comes from the cross of Jesus Christ.

“When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.”

Message: Matthew 21:1-17 – Behold the King! (Peter Somervell)

5. The Servant King – Graham Kendrick. An oldie but a goodie – it sums up the life and ministry and purpose of Jesus as the servant King, and the chorus presents an invitation for all to follow Him. We tweaked the arrangement to be very still in verse 3 to bring the words there into stark focus:

Come see His hands and His feet
The scars that speak of sacrifice
Hands that flung stars into space
To cruel nails surrendered

This is our God the Servant King
He calls us now to follow Him
To bring our lives as a daily offering
Of worship to the Servant King

Next week I’m leading the songs for the Easter weekend services (Good Friday and Easter Sunday). It would be great to see you there, particularly on Good Friday at 9:30 am! In the meantime, please pray for all involved in preparing for these services, and for others across the country, that the greatest story would be proclaimed across NZ!

– William

HBC service recaps: 27 March, 3 April, 10 April

(Here’s a recap of the service and the songs we chose this past weekend at Howick Baptist Church. You can find links to the set lists of this church and many other churches each week at theworshipcommunity.com. You can also read through previous HBC service recaps here.)


Order of Service (27 March AM)

(worship leader: Craig Starrenburg)


1. From Everlasting – Brian Doerksen
2. Let Your Kingdom Come – Bob Kauflin

3. Salvation’s Song (Loved Before the Dawn of Time) – Andrew Small, Stuart Townend

Announcements, Mission Focus
Pastoral Prayer

4. All I Have Is Christ – Devon Kauflin

Sermon: 1 Tim 4:1-5 (Peter Somervell)


5. O Church Arise – Stuart Townend, Keith Getty


Order of Service (3 April AM)

(worship leader: Jon Scanlan)


1. Glories of Calvary

2. Indescribable

Mission Focus: Slavic Gospel Association

Reading: Psalms 19 and 20

3. God Moves – William Cowper, arr. Bob Kauflin

4. Grace Unmeasured – Bob Kauflin

Sermon: 1 Tim 4:6-8 (Peter Somervell)


5. The Potter’s Hand – Darlene Zschech


Order of Service (10 April AM)

(worship leader: Craig Starrenburg)

Newer songs:
God Moves – William Cowper, arr. Bob Kauflin
Gethsemane Hymn (To See The King of Heaven Fall) – Stuart Townend

Sermon: 1 Timothy 4:9-11 (Peter Somervell)

– William