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

Why EDM Sounds So Liberating

Zac HicksArt and Worship2 Comments

(Originally published in 2014)  Electronic Dance Music (EDM) has taken over pop culture. Its infectious beats, airy synths, signature builds, and explosive climaxes are now a household sound, from car commercials featuring Dirty Vegas, to Maroon 5’s backing track to “Love Somebody,” to the viral “What Does the Fox Say?” Those who outright dismiss EDM as illegitimate art mock its bland repetition, its mind-numbing sameness.  Such critiques miss the subtle nuancing and gentle sculpting that occur over time, and they … 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

On Seminary Worship Classes and Lack of Training for Pastors and Worship Leaders

Zac HicksChurch & Ecclesiology2 Comments

Over the last few weeks, I’ve gained some perspectives I didn’t have before. I have new viewing angles on what I perceive as a continued problem that relates to the multi-layered reality of why worship leaders and their lead pastors often struggle to truly work together in that most central experience of the Church–worship. These insights have been gained as a result of being on the other side of this arena (for the first time for me, really), looking at … Read More

How Far Off Are We from the Reformers’ Vision for Lent?

Zac HicksHistory of Worship and Church Music1 Comment

I utilize a wonderful little liturgical resource in some of my worship planning for the chapel services at Knox Seminary, where I both study and teach. This book is a devotionally-oriented compendium of the collects (the short prayers, invocations which “collect” the hearts of the people at the beginning of worship) of the brilliant liturgical reformer, Thomas Cranmer. This book presents the week’s collect along with a few historical observations of how the prayer was written and then offers a … Read More

Thoughtful Responses to All the Modern Worship Bashing

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought1 Comment

In various spheres of the online worship conversation, a few posts (like this one and this one) have been circulating and dominating many of our social media feeds. They offer a strong (and not completely unwarranted) critique of “contemporary worship” and “megachurch worship.” Their sharply critical posture, along with their provocative titles, is certainly what has attracted so many people to click, read, interact, and share. Several people have asked what I think about it all. The short answer is … Read More

Reflections on the Calvin Symposium 2016

Zac HicksWorship and Pastoral Ministry1 Comment

The Calvin Symposium simply has to be named among the best worship conferences out there. The challenge of getting so many different voices and perspectives in one place engaging in convicted yet loving dialogue is difficult, but the folks at Calvin have done a remarkable job of creating that space and setting the tone. My own experience as a conference attender, worshiper, panelist, and breakout session leader was shaped therefore not only by the content of the conference but the … Read More

The Case for the Emotional Worship Leader

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought6 Comments

My Facebook feed blew up this morning with this intense and quite moving footage from a New Zealand wedding. They’re engaging in a sincere and powerful Haka ritual, and though I don’t understand a word of it, I think I get it…and I think you do, too. Our Love-Hate Relationship with Emotions Let’s face it. We evangelicals have a checkered past when it comes to emotions and worship. The Second Great Awakening–that early nineteenth century movement of westward-sweeping revivals–polarized the … Read More

Worship as Jesus Renewing His Wedding Vows

Zac HicksWorship Theology & Thought1 Comment

Metaphors are powerful, but this one’s more than a metaphor… Pastors from time to time are asked by older couples to join with them in what is most often a quaint yet meaningful ceremony. After decades of marriage together, committed husbands and wives sometimes desire to renew their wedding vows with one another. It’s a time for each to remember and recount what they’ve committed to, and to declare their intentions to remain faithful for the next set of years … Read More

New Album Coming in a Few Short Months!

Zac HicksUncategorized0 Comments

God is always giving us a new song to sing. We’ve been writing and dreaming about this next handful of songs for the church for quite a while. In fact, a lot of the hardship that Coral Ridge has gone through over the last year has threatened to forestall if not shut down this project. But we, being both stubborn and confident in our Warrior-King Jesus’s power midst the fiery darts of the enemy, have pressed forward. And we want … Read More