Your Voice: Letters and perspectives on worship leaders, music selections

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Your Voice: Letters and perspectives on worship leaders, music selections

I have just finished reading the article “Leading Worship A ‘Holy Stewardship’” in the Feb. 9 issue of The Alabama Baptist, not once but twice.

The statement by Joseph Crider, dean of the school of church music and worship and a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was the most profound statement of the entire article: “As churches moved away from children’s choirs, youth choirs and even adult choirs, musical opportunities and training within a ministry context diminished significantly.”

Influence of culture

That is a powerful statement. It seems to me that music ministers have been so enamored with the music of the world that they have tried to realign it to fit the church rather than taking music that worships Christ to the world.

Perhaps a simpler way to say that is instead of taking the church to the world, the church has invited the world into the church.

I did my student teaching at Murphy High School under Mrs. Myrtle Peter. She was what every public school choral music director wanted to be.

One day she made this statement to me: “I don’t know what I would have done all these years for musically trained young people if it were not for the graded choir programs of the Baptist churches.” These were powerful words coming from someone of another denomination.

I worked with children’s choirs in my churches, and I was always proud to see youngsters perform with a confidence they would have never attained outside the graded choir program. What those not involved never knew was the program taught Scripture through songs that taught children to love Jesus and worship God. The final result was confidence in their Savior when they stood to sing about Him.

Real mission

I fear our Baptist colleges have forgotten what their real mission is to the local church. It is not presenting a great singer or performer.   Their main focus should be to train leaders who will lead their congregations in music that brings them to the throne of worship.

Over the past 20 years, I have seen no church, large or small, that has told its worship leader, “We don’t want the traditional instruments or traditional hymns, graded choir programs for our children and youth, or to hear an adult choir sing worship music. We don’t want to worship. Just give us some entertainment.”

The worship leader should be a minister. A minister should be a leader of the needs of his congregation. Worship leaders should prepare to lead a congregation closer to God.

By Iris Anderson
Retired organist, Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile

Why are people not singing?

Worship leaders around the world are changing their church’s worship (often unintentionally) into a spectator event, as evidenced by the lack of worship singing from the congregation.

Prior to the Reformation, worship was largely done for the people. The music was performed by professional musicians and sung in an unfamiliar language (Latin).

The Reformation gave worship back to the people. This included congregational singing. It employed simple, attainable tunes with solid, scriptural lyrics in the language of the people.

Worship singing once again became participatory. The evolution of the printed hymnal brought with it an explosion of congregational singing and the church’s love for singing increased.

Then came the advent of new video technologies. Churches began to project lyrics on a screen. At first, this advance in technology led to more powerful congregational singing, but soon, a shift in worship leadership began to move the congregation back to spectators.

What has occurred could be summed up as the reprofessionalization of church music and the loss of a key goal of worship leading — enabling the people to worship through singing.

By Kenny Lamm
Worship consultant for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
Excerpt from “9 Reasons People Don’t Join in Worship Singing” at

Choose even fun songs wisely

As a boy preacher I listened to congregations enthuse, “If working and praying have any reward, then surely some morning I’ll meet my dear Lord.”

That statement is the opposite of the gospel which insists that working and praying will never earn heaven.

For God’s sake, make sure the songs you use in worship are biblically sound.

But it is not just songs sung in worship that concern me. People leading Christian institutions should make sure even music used at fun events is fit. We must make sure that all we do honors Jesus, even if it is nothing more than a fun song.

Cecil Taylor
Retired professor
University of Mobile

Importance of equipping believers

To equip means “to make ready or prepare.” This is an important concept for believers.

Vance Havner states, “If you are a Christian, you are not a citizen of this world trying to get to heaven; you are a citizen of heaven making your way through this world.”

This world is enemy territory, and we are to allow God to equip us using His holy equipment amid this hostile environment (Eph. 6:10–18).

First, notice the equipper. Hebrews 13:20–21 tells us the “God of peace” makes the believer “complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” The word translated here as “complete” could be rendered “equip.”

Charles John Ellicott explains the Greek word “conveys the thought of completeness, complete equipment or preparation.”

Second, notice the equipping. Ephesians 4:11–12 reads, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

Third, notice the equipped. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 reads, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction [and] for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

These verses teach the sufficiency of Scripture. Charles H. Spurgeon observes, “Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.”

Franklin L. Kirksey,

“Our God specializes in taking the impossible and making it possible,” said Willie McLaurin, interim president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee to the SBC EC in Nashville, Tennessee, in February. “We can accomplish so much more when we align ourselves with the will of God.”

“With our pregnancy tests, we see a lot of lower-income girls. The girls come in and look very defeated, so we want to show them hope, and we want to connect them with resources,” said Danielle Stokes, director of Shoals Sav-A-Life in Florence.

“The feeling I had [when I talked to God] made my heart warm. I didn’t feel alone,” Branee, a UAB student who spent some of her high school years in foster care with the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries.

“Law enforcement a lot of times is a thankless job and to have that opportunity for people to let you know that you’ve made a difference … it’s a very humbling experience,” said Rick Singleton, recently retired sheriff of Lauderdale County.

“Pastors must refuse the temptation to rush all the time” and should maintain a healthy rhythm. “I call it ‘self-sabotage’ when we get out of rhythm like staying up too late and robbing ourselves of rest,” said Tim Dowdy, who serves with the North American Mission Board.

“A great obstacle is we think we know the text, many of them so familiar, but we must bring the naiveté of a child to our reading as though we’ve never been there before. … We can be guilty of trespassing on the territory of the Holy Spirit unless we read the text again and again until its words own us,” said Robert Smith Jr., professor of Christian preaching at Beeson Divinity School at Samford University.

Why would an unbeliever want what we have if we don’t offer them anything different than what the world offers?

Amy Hacker
“Live like you believe”

From the Twitterverse


The older and older I get, the less impressed I am with the famous and the more impressed I am with the faithful.


The central message of the Bible is not the Bible. The central message of Scripture is worthy is the Lamb.


Seven traits of a bad sermon:

  • Preaching w/out a Bible.
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  • Avoidance of talking about sin.
  • All knowledge without application.
  • Application w/out exposition.
  • Never getting to the gospel.
  • No invitation to repent and believe.


Make God’s Word your habit.


I find all this AI technology and capability very creepy. I don’t believe this falls into the “cultivate the earth and subdue it” mandate. Feels more like a tower of Babel.


Discipleship is a long game.

Have patience with people in their spiritual growth.


Matthew 7:11: “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.”


The righteousness of God is good news for those who have faith in Jesus Christ! Lord, I seek refuge in you; let me never be disgraced. Save me by your righteousness. —Psalm 31:1


If you get up early in the morning to study the Scriptures and pray, but are not walking in relational proximity with someone who is hurting — demonstrating to them the words and ways of Christ — your morning devotion is not having the effect on you that you think it is.


Pastors and church leaders who are consistently running late, fail to meet deadlines or cancel meetings at the last minute demonstrate a lack of respect for the time and energy of others.


We don’t decide when a revival happens. God does. We can’t organize it, but we can agonize for it in prayer. We can get our hearts ready. Revival starts with you. It starts with me. It starts with us as the church. And it begins right where we are.