Tag Archives: gospel

Letting the Gospel Shape our Gathered Worship (preview)


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!




US Holiday/WG11 Conference – rehearse, seminars, NZ connection, Enfield, Thabite

Day 2 of WorshipGod 11.

A full day of 2 general sessions and 2 seminars, as well as dinner with a family with strong NZ connections. Wow, thank you Lord for such an amazing day!



There was some more comedy from Mark Altrogge in the morning (it seems like a WorshipGod thing for Mark to encourage and make us laugh with the things he says!)


Rich Gunderlock and the Bairds led us in singing this morning. This included some songs they had written, including “Completely Done”. I appreciated the way they pointed to Jesus through singing, praying, Scripture reading and words of encouragement.


The teaching this morning was from Bryan Chapell. He’s written a book called “Christ-centered Worship” which I’ve bought, look forward to reading it soon!

Bryan Chapell taught from Isaiah 6 as a picture or rehearsal of the gospel, and how it can inform the way our services can similarly help us to rehearse the gospel progression: from glory, to grace, to mission.

(Note: You can listen to the MP3 of the message here)


We split up and attended two seminars during the afternoon.

The first one (run by Bob) covered principles and suggestions when thinking through how to choose songs. There were plenty of really good ideas and things to consider – will be looking forward to see how to apply them when I’m choosing songs in the future.


The next seminar was even more interesting – a few worship bands signed up to play a song each. Bob gave feedback, encouragement and constructive feedback. What was particularly valuable was some of the comments about band dynamics, voicing, arrangements etc that Bob gave from his accumulated experience with contemporary praise bands.

Two workshops by Doug Gould, a sound technician at Covenant Life Church, were very helpful. Lots of good explanations for how to reduce stage noise, how different types of microphones work and what they’re useful for, and more. These are workshops and learnings our own sound engineers at HBC would be blessed by.


For the evening session, Thabite Anyawile – the Caribbean Spurgeon – brought the Word to us from 1 Timothy 4, emphasizing that the Word of God is to be central in our preaching. I would recommend this message in particular to both pastors and worship leaders, as there are principles and applications for both. If the Word is to be central in our gatherings, both should be on the same page!

(Note: You can listen to the MP3 of the message here)


Some miscellaneous highlights:

    • The worship in song tonight was led by Enfield – and the energy and zeal they had was AWESOME!


  • We got to have dinner with a family who have a special love for New Zealand. Susan Perdue spent some time in Taranaki as an exchange student in NZ, and still have special connections with her adopted parents that she stayed with. Philip and Susan have three children who are all very talented musicians – their eldest son, Chris, showed me his mandolin – what a neat instrument!




  • It’s a fascinating experience being in a church where there’s a traffic cop to direct traffic in, and where there’s traffic jams after each session. wow.


Next: More seminars, Joseph, Live album recording


Update (26/08/2011): here’s the full series of our time in the USA.

Part 1: Fly, land, drive
Part 2: train, jam, steak
Part 3: sing, meet, glory
Part 4: rehearse, seminars, NZ connection, Thabiti
Part 5: edify, songwrite, organise, gather live
Part 6: mission-focused meetings, instrument shopping
Part 7: Covenant Life, tears, crepes and goodbyes, Giant groceries
Part 8: DC take 2, travelling back, final reflections  


– William


D. A. Carson: “The God Who Is There” series

I’ve started listening to a free MP3 series called “The God Who Is There”:

On February 20-21 and 27-28, 2009, Don Carson presented a 14-part seminar entitled “The God Who Is There” at Bethlehem Baptist Church’s North Campus in Minneapolis. The series is geared toward “seekers” and articulates Christianity in a way that causes hearers either to reject or embrace the gospel. It’s one thing to know the Bible’s storyline, but it’s another to know one’s role in God’s ongoing story of redemption. “The God Who Is There” engages people at the worldview-level.

I’m only halfway through the first message, and it’s already a good challenge. Carson is a theologian by training, but clearly reads widely as he’s quoting (philosophers, scientists, statistics) left, right and centre. This series seems to be pitched not just for Christians, but also for skeptics, atheists and anyone who’s interested in understanding the story of God.

Plus he’s got a very interesting accent!

You can find the whole series here.


– William