Reflection on Worship Weekend

There is much to reflect on after our experiences at the worship weekend in Atlanta sponsored by NOBTS and North Metro Baptist Church.

I’m sure you didn’t miss the depth of research that went into Nory’s presentations. His council on conflict resolution was most important biblical and also reflected sound leadership principles. The same was true of his responses in class on Friday. His message reflected several references to scholars. These are important reminders of the importance of the reading you are doing. You can’t work in overflow if you haven’t spent a good deal of time in books. Was there some reference that Rory made regarding his study of biblical text or other sources that totally blew you away. If yes share. Something Sharp or James shared is fair game as well.

10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ryan McKinney on October 1, 2010 at 1:42 am

    The greatest thing I learned this weekend was what I mentioned to the group at lunch on Saturday. I desperately needed the structure to help develop a personal spiritual growth plan for my devotional life. I am looking forward to beginning this journey myself and to hopefully pass this information on to others. For those in the class that would like any information, feel free to message me via the facebook group, or I’m sure that Dr. Sharp would not mind taking the time to share with each of you as well.

    I also greatly enjoyed the discussion about relevance of texts of worship songs during Saturdays lunch as well. The male vs female expression was very interesting and the effect of geographical contextualization during the choosing of worship songs was definitely enlightening as well.


  2. Posted by Mathieu Barry on October 5, 2010 at 2:23 am

    James Tealy said something interesting on a tangent during the songwriting session. He proposed that the music minister is the primary theologian of the church. I am not sure if I entirely agree or not yet but think that his point was very valid. When the congregation leaves, they usually leave singing the songs of the service.

    It reinforced to me the importance of us being theologians and selecting songs that properly represent Christ and the biblical truths we know. That paired with Rory Noland’s statements and testament to being well read make it very clear that we are much more than just musicians and that our selections and decisions for our services are of the utmost importance.


    • Good thoughts. It is commonly said in our worship leadership classes (the class that all mdiv students take) by the preaching prof that folks primarily get their theology from songs. I don’t necessarily think this is a good thing, but it may be realty in many places–


      • Posted by Jason Musgrove on October 8, 2010 at 1:29 am

        I think that you would be surprised at how much of our theology is at least EXPRESSED in terms of the songs we sing. Given enough repetition, these expressions learned in song can take the place of a more formal theology. Propagandist, PR Reps and Ad Execs everywhere will tell you, “If you repeat a lie often enough, it will become the truth”. The same is true for the songs we sing. That’s why songs have been used to rally movements for millenia. Think about the Arian Heresy and how they used marching songs to spread a false theology. The same could be true in our churches. I bet a lot more people in my congregation could recite the refrain from a dozen hymns (or the chorus to a dozen contemorary worship songs) than could recite a dozen scripture texts. I think that this is what James was getting at. That they are more likely to leave the room humming the last song sang than meditating on the last sermon point. That places a heavy burden on us as worship leaders to choose songs that are worth singing all week long.

      • Posted by Mathieu Barry on October 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm

        The fact that songs carry a lot of our theology is a fact but I think that we must work hard to make sure the Word takes its proper place in the service. Unfortunately, many congregations care more about the songs than they do the Word of God. I think we must carry the weight of theologically accurate songs while working with the other ministers to create a proper view of the importance of the Word.

  3. Posted by Chris Graham on October 5, 2010 at 3:49 am

    There were a couple of things that really stuck out in my head, first was the lessons learned in James Tealey’s songwriting breakout session. He spoke of how we are supposed to use music to help add to the message in the lyrics. I had not thought about it in the aspect that James talked about. The other thing that James mentioned was that within the Christian music industry, we care far too much about being “safe for the whole family” instead of telling people about who God is. This is probably confined to the Atlanta area, but the general idea, I think, is broadspectrum across the U.S. I think it is our job to go, not only to churches, but to all areas of life and play our songs so that God can be known.


  4. Posted by Seth Norris on October 8, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Sorry that I took so long to respond – no excuses here! I appreciated James Tealy’s comments at lunch on Saturday in regard to the lyrics and their use of scripture. I think he makes a good point that song lyrics should either quote scripture as the scripture is written or not quote scripture at all. Regardless, as the posts above indicate, people leave church singing worship songs and often view them as scripture. If a song includes only a resemblance to scripture, many folks go around quoting a song while they think they are accurately quoting scripture.

    Rory Noland is impressive! I appreciated his views on conflict resolution within worship teams, primarily because his conflict resolution principles apply for any position or group within the church. Noland used scriptural foundations for conflict resolution and a wealth of experience to support his perspective (cf. Mt 18:15-17). While all of his insight was valuable, I appreciated this breakout session at the conference most.

    The entire weekend was great, thanks for making me feel at home amongst so many worship leaders.


  5. Posted by Jason Musgrove on October 8, 2010 at 1:02 am

    I did not attend Rory’s sessions at the workshop, but enjoyed his input in class on Friday. As far as the workshop goes, the biggest thing that stuck with me was the discussion with James Tealey, both in his songwriting class and during the lunch session. I attended the “youth” songwriting sessions, so it was interesting to hear their perspectives on music, lyrics, and the merger of the two.

    One thing James stressed was that we don’t need any more “good” Christian music…we have plenty of it. What we need is “great” Christian music. He put an emphasis on working to make sure that every word chosen in a lyric is the “best” word to convey the message of the song. In a similar way, we stressed matching the “right” melody to the words. While I am not a songwriter, I can see applications of these principles in my own ministry. When I plan worship, am I choosing “great” songs to sing, or only “good” ones? Am I looking for “good” lyrics, or the “best” lyrics? It is easy to be influenced by what’s on the radio, what the church up the street is doing, or what this church has ALWAYS done, instead of focusing on what is the BEST that we can do to honor God in worship.

    Another thing we discussed is learning the “vocabulary” of your congregation. Each church expresses their theology in different ways. I mentioned how I often hear the lyrics of songs when I listen to people pray out loud. I don’t think that they are consciously doing it, but I notice how the song lyrics help form the vocabulary of our corporate worship, even when we are not singing! This places a huge burden on the worship leader to make sure that the songs we sing reflect an accurate picture of who God is. James mentioned an Indian pastor who was more concerned with the “Almost Christs” than the “Anti-Christs”. I fear that there may be some “almost” truths in our song lyrics that, if we are not careful, will creep into our corporate and personal vocabularies and eventually theologies.


  6. Posted by Melissa Mann on October 8, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    One of the things that struck me was in class and how we talked about the metascript of God and His love and actions toward us and God’s revelation and our response. One thing that was discussed was that people have a warped sense of God beause we don’t give the whole picture of who God is and what He has done/ We are still living with the milk instead of the meat of the Scriptures. Its is our job as worship leaders to make sure that the songs we use are theologically correct and give an authentic and whole picture of who God is. The importance of Sabbath rest was a big thing that needs to be incorporated in our personal lives. Something Rory Noland said really hit me too, he said when the artist in you dies the other work becomes too overwhelming so change is needed. It relates to time manangment and spending time growing as an artist, with family, and personally to be able to keep you refreshed and replenished and able to do the work of ministry. Everything that we learned was great and useful. I esepcially liked the times we got to spend with Rory Noland and James Tealy.


  7. Posted by Daniel Corbitt on October 18, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    One thing that really stuck out to me was when Rory said that worship can often be physical because angels are doing face-plants to worship God, as referenced in Revelation 7:11. Love the Lord with all you strength. We rarely think of worshipping in the physical, but that’s what Romans 12:1 talks about. Also, I was pleased to get many Scriptural references on worship, and I know Rory pulled a lot of this from his book.
    1 Peter 2:9 – But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
    Psalm 150:6 – Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
    Psalm 22:23 – Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
    Isaiah 43:21- This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.
    Also, the conflict resolution seminar was extremely insightful since he took examples of personal experience and gave us nearly a play-by-play (pray-by-pray?) on how he dealt with the boisterous, flamboyant, and stubborn with Scripture, prayer, and even his voluntary absence. I think I smiled, at least on the inside, when Rory said, “A soft answer really does turn away wrath.” If we’ll put Scripture to action, then we’ll save ourselves the frustration of needless heuristics. Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s word will not pass away.


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