Jamming with Jenson: Thoughts from an Under-Appreciated Theologian

Zac HicksUncategorized, Worship Theology & Thought0 Comments

At least in my worship circles, I don’t hear a lot of people talking about Robert Jenson, senior Lutheran theologian with a particular talent for writing which is both concise and evocative. But too many of my friends keep bringing him up to me, and I could no longer avoid setting his work aside for other books in my queue. And so I have come across a marvelous chapter on worship in a forgotten yet prescient book of his from … Read More

The Lineup at this Year’s National Worship Leader Conferences

Zac HicksUncategorized0 Comments

So I’m pretty thrilled to see this year’s lineup at the NWLC regional conferences happening this year in Virginia (coming up fast!) and Kansas City. For instance, Lester Ruth, who (along with Swee Hong Lim) just published a NECESSARY brief history of contemporary worship will be speaking. Lester is a scholar with a pastor’s heart and a churchman’s spirit. I trust and believe in this guy. And, though I don’t know her personally, I would especially want to hear what … Read More

The Big Idea of Lent: Jesus Did What I Couldn’t Do

Zac HicksUncategorized0 Comments

The call to fasting and repentance is as ancient as the prophets. Just read Joel 2. There’s nothing like a good fast to, like a defibrillator, shock the unbeating heart of our spirit out of its complacency. However, of monumental, make-or-break importance is to recognize that the season of Lent is far more about Jesus and far less about us. If we fast, we fast to remember the fasting of Jesus in the wilderness, to, in a tangible way, “be … Read More

On Worship’s Boundaries

Zac HicksHistory of Worship and Church Music, Uncategorized, Worship Theology & Thought0 Comments

Just yesterday, Reformed Worship put up a post of mine on worship’s boundaries. Next year is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the pastors, thinkers, and theologians who ministered in the wake of Luther’s posting of the 95 theses. One real “aha” moment of my reading of Luther for doctoral work came in the idea that Luther’s articulation of simul iustus et peccator (simultaneously justified and sinful) isn’t merely a statement about the … Read More

A Brief Theology of Volume Levels in Worship

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought0 Comments

Regardless of your tradition, volume may be one of the top three perennial “unsolvable” problems in worship planning and leading. No matter which way you go, someone is unhappy. Too loud? People feel discouraged from singing because they can’t hear themselves. Too soft? People feel discouraged from singing because they can hear themselves! And this isn’t merely a problem for churches with million-dollar sound systems and rock aesthetics. It’s a problem I’ve heard articulated by folks who feel the organ … Read More

What Some People are Saying About The Worship Pastor

Zac HicksWorship Resources0 Comments

I’ve been privileged to pass some advance drafts of my book, The Worship Pastor, to some thinkers, writers, scholars, and poets across all kinds of lines. I’ve been very grateful for the responses, feedback, and endorsements. Below is what they’ve said! Also, the book’s site is officially up. Pre-orders really help, so please spread the word. And, there’s some incentive. I’ve put together a study guide with discussion questions and “for further reading” recommendations. Some people will really want to … Read More

Killing Worship Through Over-Explanation

Zac HicksWorship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Leading Tips, Worship Pastoring0 Comments

Reformed Worship just released a new post of mine, entitled, “How Over-Explaining Worship Kills Worship.” In that post I entertain some important pastoral reflections on the nature of leading worship that educates and informs without throwing a wrench into worship’s gears. Hopefully you’ll find it helpful! Here’s a little quote: “Worship isn’t a time for parsing doxological technicalities just like driving isn’t a time to take apart your engine.” Go read the post!

Concerns about the Resurgence of Liturgy

Zac HicksHistory of Worship and Church Music, Worship Theology & Thought2 Comments

Tongue firmly in cheek: I’m beginning to think that Santayana’s quip, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” should be added to Scripture, because it has proven to be pretty infallible. (Okay, okay, it shouldn’t be added to Scripture…it lacks apostolicity, universality, etc., etc.) Sound Familiar? My new context at Cathedral Church of the Advent has me reflecting a lot on the history of the Church of England, and right now I’ve been fixated upon … Read More

A Pastoral Reflection on Oscar Wilde’s “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”

Zac HicksArt and Worship0 Comments

I’ve been preparing as a student for a most unique course on “Doctrine for Preaching and Pastoral Care,” with Dr. Jonathan Linebaugh at Knox Seminary. It will happen in a few weeks. He has us reading some unconventional (and splendid) material. The course is particularly designed to intersect with my English Reformation tract, as it is attempting to exposit the pastoral heart behind the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England. Along with a few great theological books, we have … Read More

Why Confession Should Be Interrupted, Not Completed

Zac HicksWorship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Pastoring, Worship Theology & Thought2 Comments

Feeling Worship Over the last two years, I’ve been thinking a lot about feeling and affect in worship. I’ve been pondering how our “emotional apprehension” in worship shapes, informs, propels our congregational gatherings. I used to think that if people just had enough instruction about what worship is and does, they would be more engaged in its elements. I still believe in that, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I can go deeper as a pastoral worship leader in pondering … Read More