Listening to the Charismatic Tradition

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought0 Comments

If you’re a worship leader engaging in any way with the mainstream of the music of modern worship today, you are interacting with and encountering charismatic Christianity in some way, shape, or form. Lately, God has led me into a season of earnest listening to the Pentecostal and charismatic traditions (many understandably lump the two together, but the more I hear from them, the more I understand their distinctives). God has placed some pretty amazing friends and worship leaders in … Read More

My Interview with Christ Hold Fast

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought4 Comments

I had a blast doing this interview with the insightful guys over at the Christ Hold Fast podcast. I’ve never had an interview quite like this where we were able to quickly dive into some deep, underserved themes. I do some explaining about how the Reformation’s insights about Law and Gospel play into worship, and some important observations are made about how that relates to some missing pieces in the current landscape of evangelical worship today. Check out the episode, … Read More

How Liturgy is Really “The Work *ON* the People”

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought4 Comments

Four years ago, philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff initiated what would become a change in my perspective on worship by diving into the etymology of an often mis-defined word. We often hear that “liturgy” means “the work of the people.” Wolterstorff challenges that: Etymologically the word leitourgia comes from two Greek words, leitos and ergon, meaning, respectively, “of the people” and “action.”  In numerous books on liturgy it is said, accordingly, that the word originally meant action of the people.  And often nowadays an … Read More

Is it Okay to be Singing in Worship about Feelings I Don’t Have?

Zac HicksWorship and Pastoral Ministry, Worship Theology & Thought1 Comment

I’m Singing It, But I’m Not Feeling It A recent, edifying Facebook exchange I had with a friend this week about a lyric of mine got me thinking about the “dishonesty” we all feel when songs and prayers are sung and prayed corporately which DON’T reflect our current emotional frame. It brought me back to the early conversations I had years ago with several rehymn movement pioneers. We all collectively said, “I just can’t do it anymore. I can’t sing … Read More

Why Studying Cranmer Can Be Valuable for Worship Leaders Today

Zac HicksCulture, Worship Theology & Thought0 Comments

Periodically, I will be blogging over at Reformed Worship, a broad and thoughtful home for deep reflection and great resources. My first submission is a plea for folks in our Reformed tradition (and beyond) to take seriously the investigation of Thomas Cranmer, sixteenth century English Archbishop and architect of the Book of Common Prayer. In the article, I discuss why we’re tempted to overlook him as one of the Reformation’s best worship thinkers and why he should be considered as … Read More

Liberating Worship: Notes from My Worship Breakout at LIBERATE 2015

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought2 Comments

If I had 30 minutes to talk about worship, this is what I’d say. Worship is Divine service, where God serves us from the riches of the benefits of Christ’s death and life for us. The Reformation offered some very helpful distinctives in thinking through how the gospel “works” in the human being during worship (i.e. incurvatus in se, the Old and New Adams, and a Theology of Glory versus a Theology of the Cross) The Reformation offered a theology … Read More

An Unintended Consequence of the Missional Movement on Worship

Zac HicksChurch & Ecclesiology, Worship Theology & Thought3 Comments

God as Mission, Worship as Expendable “God is missional in essence.” “God is a missionary God by nature.” “The Church doesn’t do mission; it is on mission.” All true. And I’m so grateful for the recovery of “sentness” as a part our essence as image-bearers of God. Mission isn’t optional. Thank you, missional movement.  At the same time, with some of the missional movement, some unhealthy ideas have leaked in. In my opinion, they can be exposed with this question: … Read More

Rewriting Worship Songs Like the Reformers

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought0 Comments

I’ve been on a Thomas Cranmer kick as of late, not because I have a secret love affair with the Anglican tradition or because I think liturgy is the be all and end all. In truth, I’m coming to discover that among the Reformers (like Luther, Calvin, Bullinger, Bucer), Cranmer probably thought longer and harder than any about the reform of worship. In other words, Cranmer was a Reformation-era worship leader who was stubbornly committed to the idea that the … Read More

Infiltrating Bad Worship Practices by Hijacking Forms

Zac HicksConvergence of Old and New in Worship, History of Worship and Church Music, Worship Leading Tips, Worship Theology & Thought6 Comments

Sounds sinister, doesn’t it? Sounds like something that Christians…especially worship leaders…shouldn’t be a part of. Sounds like the work of terrorists, not pastors. I would tell you, though, that the practice of hijacking and retooling old worship forms has been a part of Christianity for quite some time. Semper Reformanda Every era of Christian worship is always in need of reform. Every era has its highs and lows, its blessings and blind spots. Almost five hundred years ago, Christians like … Read More

A Modern Trinitarian Confession Song, with Some Tradition Sprinkled In

Zac HicksSongwriting, Worship Resources, Worship Theology & Thought0 Comments

In my chapter, “The Worship Leader and the Trinity,” in Doxology and Theology, I try to give feet to how the people of God encounter Him as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in worship. Sometimes, as church leaders we think too narrowly about the ways in which people can learn of and actually know God more deeply. We can think that our only recourse for people understanding and engaging God as Trinity is didactically, in the wooden sense of imparting … Read More