Tools for Worship Ministry

Here are some options for worship ministry. I’m familiar with some of these tools and would love to hear your thoughts or critiques.

Blessings,
Josh


Websites to assist in planning, organizing, and implementing worship services:

planningcenteronline.com
worshipwebsite.net
worshipkitchen.com
worshipplanning.com
sundaysandseasons.com


Computer Programs for displaying media in worship services:

MediaShout
Live Worship
Easy Worship
Sunday Plus
Keynote
PowerPoint


Websites with video clips that could be incorporated in worship services:

Bluefish TV
Highway Video
Integrity Media
Midnight Oil
Nooma
Sermon Spice
Work of the People
WorshipFilms

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Pipe Organ in Worship

A friend recently emailed me a question: “Is there a place for the Pipe Organ in a worship service consisting of praise and worship, and contemporary hymns?” Here are some thoughts.

Unfortunately, people tend to hold their affinity for music more dearly than doctrine. We must guard ourselves from this tendency. Church music based on truth is a good tool for teaching and for assisting folks to engage in worship, but nonetheless, music is merely a tool. It is God alone and His Word that are central to worship, are absolute truth, and are to be held in highest honor.

There is no style of music that is inherently good or evil. In regard to music style in the church, the question is not “Is it right or wrong (or good and evil)?,” but rather, “Does it edify or is it fitting in our given context and culture?”

Warren Wiersbe has compared songs and music to clothing. Some old clothes don’t fit any more, so we throw them out. Some we dust off from time to time for certain occasions. Some classic clothes we wear quite often.

Amusingly enough, much of our preferred music and instruments today were frowned on in church history. Musical notation of chant began in the 900’s in Europe. Chant progressed to 4-part harmony in France in the 1200’s. John Wycliffe complained that only choirs were involved in church singing in the 1400’s. Martin Luther introduced congregational singing with popular German folk tunes in the 1500’s. Benjamin Keach introduced psalm and hymn singing to English baptists in the 1600’s. Ira Sankey’s pump organ and solo singing were seen as worldly in the 1870’s and 1880’s during D. L. Moody’s revival meetings. The piano was controversially introduced to the American church in 1910 by Charles Alexander. Guitars were fought over in the 1970’s Jesus movement and are still seen as controversial in some circles today.

Pastors and worship leaders need to take stock of their people. If you have guitarists, utilize them. If you have folks that play orchestral instruments, find a way to utilize them. If you have talented organists or pianists, utilize them. Even if it’s not every week, at least find some way for people to serve in the church and utilize their gifts and abilities. Otherwise, we are saying, “We don’t like your gift and ability, so just stay in the pew and be quiet.” I have a worship pastor friend who rotates his church worship styles every 6 weeks or so. It’s a great concept, and the variety is nice. Over the time span of 2 months, there is something there for everyone.

Ultimately, people are priority and not one certain instrument. How often we are guilty of abusing the word NEED (I NEED a pianist, I NEED a guitarist, I NEED a drummer, etc.). Sure, we may really desire certain instruments and some are probably more crucial than others in a given context, but we must not make an idol of one preferred instrument.

As for the question of using a pipe organ, it just depends on your culture and context. In a grass hut church in Africa, no, the pipe organ is not practical nor edifying. For a cathedral in Europe, maybe so. Even in Southern Baptist life, this may vary from church to church. I know of a SBC church that recently spent several million dollars to purchase a pipe organ from Europe. This decision really limits this church in priorities and finances and locks them into one worship style. Spending several thousand dollars on a good keyboard with organ sounds/pads is probably more practical for most churches than spending millions on a pipe organ. We must also recognize that it is much easier today to find a skilled pianist than an organist. The times have changed.

For our church worship context, we use a pipe organ pad on our keyboard several times a year for a hymn or worship anthem. To borrow the clothing analogy from Wiersbe, the pipe organ is a nostalgic outfit we like to wear occasionally.

Christ the Mediator – Baptist Confession

The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) is a wonderful document, and Spurgeon’s revision is refreshing. This Section #8 concerns “Christ the Mediator.” We edited/removed some paragraphs due to its length to read this together in a recent church worship service. After looking closely at Psalm 16 and Acts 2 & 13, we brought back the original phrase “yet saw no corruption.”

For more info, go to:
http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/bcof.htm
http://www.vor.org/truth/1689/1689bc00.html


Reader 1:

Pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon was England’s best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. From 1854 to 1891 he pastored the New Park Street Chapel in London which later became the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Spurgeon wrote the following statement concerning the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith:

“This ancient document is the most excellent epitome of the things most surely believed among us. It is not issued as an authoritative rule or code of faith, whereby you may be fettered, but as a means of edification in righteousness. It is an excellent, though not inspired, expression of the teaching of those Holy Scriptures by which all confessions are to be measured. We hold to the humbling truths of God’s sovereign grace in the salvation of lost sinners. Salvation is through Christ alone and by faith alone.”


Reader 2:

This morning we will read highlights of “Section 8: Christ the Mediator” from The Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) with slight revisions by C. H. Spurgeon.

1. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, in accordance with the covenant made between them both, to be the Mediator between God and man; to be Prophet, Priest, and King, the Head and Saviour of His Church, the Heir of all things, and the Judge of all the world. To the Lord Jesus He gave, from all eternity, a people to be His seed. These, in time, would be redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified by the Lord Jesus.


Reader 3:

2. The Son of God, the second person in the Holy Trinity, being true and eternal God, the brightness of the Father’s glory, of the same substance and equal with Him;
– Who made the world, and Who upholds and governs all things which He has made,
– did, when the fullness of time had come, take upon Himself man’s nature, with all its essential properties and common infirmities, with the exception of sin.
– He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit coming down upon her and the power of the Most High overshadowing her, so that He was born to a woman from the tribe of Judah, a descendant of Abraham and David, in accordance with the Scriptures.
– Thus two whole, perfect and distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion;
– So that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly God and truly man, yet He is one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.


Reader 4:

4. This office and duty of Mediator and Surety the Lord Jesus undertook most willingly. To discharge it, He was made under the law, and perfectly fulfilled it, and He underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have borne and suffered. He was made sin and was made a curse for us; enduring the most grievous sorrows in His Soul with the most painful sufferings in His duty. He was crucified, and died, and remained in the state of the dead, yet saw no corruption. On the third day He rose from the dead with the same body in which He had suffered, with which He also ascended into Heaven, and there sits at the right hand of His Father making intercession, and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.

5. The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience and sacrifice of Himself which He, through the eternal Spirit, once offered up to God, has fully satisfied the justice of God, has procured reconciliation, and has purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of Heaven for all those whom the Father has given to Him.


Congregation:

9. This office of Mediator between God and man is proper only to Christ, Who is the Prophet, Priest, and King of the Church. Free Will of God, and this office may not be transferred from Him to any other, either in whole or in part.

10. This number and order of offices is essential. Because of our ignorance we need His prophetic office. Because of our alienation from God and the imperfection of the best of our service, we need His priestly office to reconcile us and present us to God as acceptable. Because of our aversion to, and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue and keeping from spiritual enemies, we need His kingly office to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us until we reach His heavenly kingdom.