Get To Know CityAlight (and Their New Album)

For the past few years I’ve been enjoying the music of CityAlight both on a personal and congregational level (as we’ve added several of their songs to our worship services). They have just released a new album and, to mark the occasion, I asked them (Richard Thompson and Jonny Robinson) a few questions. I’ve interspersed their new songs throughout the interview so you can give them a listen. The album is available now wherever good music is sold or streamed. …

What I Love To Ponder at 10:01 AM on Sunday Morning

Eighteen hours ago, brothers and sisters in New Zealand gathered to worship God. City by city and church by church they joined their voices together to praise him in song, to call out to him in prayer, and to hear from him through the Word. So, too, did believers in the easternmost reaches of Russia. As their worship services drew near to a close, Australians in Sydney, then Adelaide, then Perth began to sing their own calls to worship, as …

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Is It Time To Go Back to The Heart of Worship?

I had been lost in a kind of daydream and snapped back to reality with the realization I had been singing “The Heart of Worship.” It surprised me to learn I know the song by memory, and since I was already well into it, I kept on going. You probably remember the chorus: “I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You, Jesus.” It was 20 years ago that Matt Redman penned this song, which means …

The Best CCM Debut Albums

Sometimes you heard a band’s or artist’s debut album and think, “I’ll keep an eye on them.” Sometimes you hear it and think, “I’m hooked.” There are some artists who take two or three albums to really hit their stride while others make their mark right out of the gate. I was a big fan of PFR back in their day, but if they had only ever released their debut they would soon have been forgotten; it wasn’t until Great …

A Church with Great Music

I heard someone say it recently: “The music at that church is great.” It didn’t take me long to understand what he meant—that the church has a great music program. They have a band composed of talented musicians who play and sing with skill and beauty. To be part of that church is to benefit from the skills of an incredible group of musicians. This is what we tend to mean when we consider a church’s music. When we say …

The Art of Godliness, Episode 5: Music in the Church

Today I bring another episode of The Art of Godliness, the podcast that attempts to think out loud and in public about how to lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. Paul and I discuss the always-controversial topic of music in the church. Isn’t it ironic that music, meant to create unity in the church, is so often a source of division? It shouldn’t be this way! Thanks to this week’s sponsor Logos Mobile Education from Faithlife …

The Beauty of a Defiant Church

Beti loved adventure and loved to invite others to join in them. Her latest thrill was skydiving. “You should come with me,” she told Sam. “You’re crazy,” he replied,” “There is no way I’m jumping out of a plane. Why do you like stunts like that, anyway?” “Because they give me joy.” “And what if your parachute doesn’t open?” “Then I’ll be with Jesus.” On Sunday, Beti’s parachute didn’t open and she went to be with Jesus. The news went …

The Mark of the Most Successful Worship Leaders

Every week a pastor or worship leader chooses the songs his church will sing the following Sunday. Every week he combs through the possibilities to select the five or six that will best fit within the service he is planning. How can he choose well? How can he best serve his congregation in their singing? I have traveled a fair bit through the first half of this year, and just about everywhere I’ve gone I’ve had the privilege of attending …

What We Gained When We Lost Our Hymnals

A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled What We Lost When We Lost Our Hymnals and was rather surprised to see 300,000 people stop by to read it! I meant to point out that there are consequences in shifting from one medium to another—in this case, shifting from hymnals to PowerPoint projection. (I use “PowerPoint” to stand in for all forms of projection.) It is true of every new technology that it brings benefits and drawbacks. Neither hymnals …

What We Lost When We Lost Our Hymnals

I don’t think we should go back to using hymnals. But I do think there’s value in considering what we lost when, over the course of a relatively short period of time, we gave up hymnals for PowerPoint projection. Not all of us, mind you, but most of us. It’s worth considering because it helpfully shows what we stand to lose when we switch from one media to another, and especially when we do so quickly and without due consideration. …