Author: Malcolm Cox

“How did the congregation sing?” The Sunday Sample, Episode 106

http://corporateworship.info/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/The-Sunday-Sample-Episode-106_-_How-did-the-congregation-sing__-1.mp3 What’s one of the tell-tale signs a worship leader has understood their role? It’s revealed by which of these two questions they ask themselves at the end of church service: Question one: “How did I sing today?” Question two: “How did the congregation sing today?” While the first question has its place (especially if you saw people wincing!), the second question is more relevant and, in fact, more scripturally informed.  Consider what Paul tells the Ephesians: “…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18–20 NIV11) His instruction is not to worship leaders. His instruction is to the congregation. We don’t know exactly how they organised their singing and whether they had what we would recognise as a leader of worship. However, whatever their methods, the priority was the spirituality of their congregational singing. I’m reading the book “Sing!” By Keith Getty at the moment. Here’s what he has to say about this question at location 250 of the Kindle edition: “How did the congregation sing? Each of us is part of the answer to that in our own church, whether we are on stage or standing by our seat on the main floor....

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“The connection between the spoken word and the sung word” The Sunday Sample, Episode 105

http://corporateworship.info/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/The-Sunday-Sample-Episode-105_-_The-connection-between-the-spoken-word-and-the-sung-word_.mp3 Last week the title of the Sunday Sample was, “The worship leader is pastor and prophet”.  We discussed the way in which we viewed our role. Musician? Worship organiser? Worship leader? How about Pastor (Shepherd)? How about prophet? I was really pleased to see a comment on this broadcast from my old friend Reeta. Truly this is a global community – she sent me her thoughts from Ghana. Here is her post from Facebook: “In point no 2 he should specifically contact the preacher for his message for the day and choose songs which will reflect and enhance the word of God for the day to allow for an enhanced understanding.” This is a great point. It set me to thinking about the connections between the spoken word and the sung word. Coordinating songs with the message is easier if you follow, as some denominations do, a lectionary with set texts for each Sunday of the year. Even then, some topics are harder to coordinate with songs and hymns than others. We don’t have so many songs about the Trinity compared to those about the cross, for example. In my tradition however we don’t follow a lectionary. On occasions we decide preaching and teaching topics for a few weeks or months. For example, at the moment in the Watford church of Christ we are preaching through Acts.  When I...

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“The worship leader is pastor and prophet”, The Sunday Sample, Episode 104

http://corporateworship.info/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/The-Sunday-Sample_-Episode-104.-_The-worship-leader-is-pastor-and-prophet_-Malcolm-Cox.mp3 How do you see your role? Musician? Worship organiser? Worship leader? How about Pastor (Shepherd)? How about prophet? In Mike Pilavachi’s book “For the audience of ONE” the final chapter includes a section called, “Before leading, think”. In it he emphasises the significance of thinking about the congregation before thinking about which songs to choose. Let me quote, “I think that the worship leader in a sense should be both pastor and prophet. As a pastor he/she should be asking during the days before a meeting: “What is going on in the congregation that needs reflecting upon and needs to be expressed in worship?”” For sure, our lives are busy. Reflecting on needs and listening to God takes time. However, there’s nothing more frustrating, or perhaps more sad, than coming away from a time of worship knowing that our selection of songs did not meet the need. What can we do to create the best possible opportunity for us to be both someone who can meet the needs of the congregation pastorally and prophetically? By the way, by ‘prophetically’ in this context I mean someone bringing helpful truth from God to the congregation through song. Three tips for you: 1. Pray for wisdom. God wants his people fed and edified. Your prayers to that end will surely lead to his guidance for you. 2. Talk to church leaders....

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“How to overcome obstacles to Koinonia”: The Sunday Sample, Episode 103

http://corporateworship.info/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/The-Sunday-Sample_-Episode-103.-_How-to-overcome-obstacles-to-Koinonia_-Malcolm-Cox-1.mp3 Koinonia is a key element in Christian community. Where is this word found? And what does it mean? Koinonia: To contribute; to have in common, share, Heb. 2:14; to be associated in, to become a sharer in, Rom. 15:27; 1 Pet. 4:13; to become implicated in, be a party to, 1 Tim. 5:22; 2 Jn. 11; to associate one’s self with by sympathy and assistance, to communicate with in the way of aid and relief, Rom. 12:13; Gal. 6:6; Phil. 4:15* participate in; share. sharing (13x) G2842 (19x) [Mounce Greek Dictionary] Let’s consider the most important use of the word for our purposes connected to corporate worship: “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing (koinonia) in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing (koinonia) in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:16–17 NRSV) Paul’s point, amongst others, is that, since we share in Christ, and we share in the wine and bread (communion), this makes us one body (local congregation). Thus we should participate in our gatherings in a way which glorifies God, edifies the members and reveals God to non-believers. That’s unpacking much of the rest of 1 Corinthians which we don’t have time for...

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The Sunday Sample, Episode 102: “Watch and Learn”

http://corporateworship.info/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/The-Sunday-Sample_-Episode-102.-_Watch-and-Learn_-Malcolm-Cox.mp3 Something different this week. I spent Saturday and Sunday last weekend at our UK/Ireland annual conference in central London. I was privileged to participate in leading worship on Saturday evening, but on Sunday I was a humble congregant! I enjoyed being able to sing along with everyone else and not having any responsibility for a change. I loved many things about the atmosphere, the content and the attitude with which the musical aspects of the worship were conducted. I took some video of the final song led by my old friend Morris Ximinis. He is a leader of worship I respect and who leads me into the joy of God like few other people can. I have no comments this week, simply an offer and a couple of questions. I’m going to show you a clip of the final song, “I want to see Jesus lifted high”, led by Morris. Then I’d like to ask you what you see in this clip which you would consider to be healthy, admirable, worthy of imitation and the reason why the congregation responded with such enthusiasm. Now, if you’re listening to the podcast, you’re not going to see the visuals, but I think you’ll get something even from the audio. I would recommend, however, that you pop over to the youtube channel to watch at least that part of today’s recording....

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