One Reason to Add a Chorus to a Hymn

Zac HicksSongwriting, Worship Pastoring, Worship Theology & Thought1 Comment

The Bee Does it Again I saw the Bee’s wonderful post today, “Federal Judge Orders Chris Tomlin to Stop Adding Choruses to Perfectly Good Hymns.” Always funny; always satirically insightful. I sympathize greatly. Though not a hymn purist (as you will see below), I am sympathetic to the hymn purists’ arguments. Sometimes, when choruses are added to perfectly good hymns, they are added in a careless manner, insensitive to the hymn text, theology, poetry, and authorial intent. Sometimes, it feels … Read More

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

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

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

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

Watch the Fascinating Discussions I Had at Calvin

Zac HicksWorship Resources, Worship Theology & Thought0 Comments

One of the joys of both being on and moderating a panel discussion on worship issues at a place like the Calvin Symposium is that you’re bound to talk about things you didn’t imagine would be on the table. Such was my case as I moderated “The Worship Leader as Pastoral Musician.” So many important issues were brought up, and our hearts were on our sleeves. Many sensitive topics were not navigated around, but through. One of the things I … Read More

The Worship Pastor – Book Update #2

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought0 Comments

  (Read the initial post) (Read Book Update #1) Book Update #2 It’s been a while since my initial post and the first update about the progress of The Worship Pastor. I’m excited to tell you that its now available for pre-order on Amazon, due out on October 11! Last week, I finished the hard work of doing some extensive indexing for the book (I find indexes valuable for a host of reasons), and Zondervan is in the middle of … Read More

Paul’s Take on Spirit-Filled, Christ-Centered, Flesh-Killing Worship

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought0 Comments

O Paul That Will Not Let Me Go Paul’s letter to the Philippians has been haunting me lately. In a well-known section of the epistle, I was surprised afresh by some important links that the apostle compactly makes between worship, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and the gospel. He says in Philippians 3:3 (ESV): For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh. This is remarkable. … Read More

Reflections on Teaching My Worship Class

Zac HicksWorship & Mission, Worship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Resources, Worship Theology & Thought1 Comment

Last week, I was blessed to have a packed classroom full of thoughtful, engaged students. My aim with this week-long intensive Worship course at Knox Seminary was not to solve all the problems but to place these present and future worship leaders and pastors on some healthy trajectories. We spent a LOT of time in the Scriptures, but we also needed to ask important questions about how we read the Scriptures, because ones understanding of interpretation (hermeneutics)–especially that of the … Read More