Author: 
Jesse Harms

“The hour is coming, and now is here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.” John 4:23

Welcome to Bethlehem’s “Worship Leader’s Training.” We are thankful that God has called you to Bethlehem in these days and that He is inclining your heart to consider partnering in worship leadership. We want to provide, in outline form, a vision for corporate worship at Bethlehem, some practical implications of the vision and finally some next steps you may want to take for partnering with us in worship leadership. Our prayer is that God will use this training as a means of broadening your understanding of what we see to be His priorities for corporate worship, deepening your love for His Son, Jesus Christ, and confirming a Spiritdirected call in you to “delight yourself in the Lord” by partnering with us.

Mission

If you want to understand why we do what we do around here, why we emphasize some things and not others, then it is important to understand our mission as a church. We believe God has called us to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ (Adopted by the Bethlehem Council of Elders in 1995).

We gladly embrace this mission and strive to carry it out in all we do because we believe it to be both God-honoring and biblical. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39 (This Mission Statement is essentially a definition of biblical love toward people. Love is a passion to bring people into the eternally all-satisfying experience of enjoying all that God is for them in Jesus. p. 8 of the "Mission Booklet of Bethlehem Baptist Church hereafter referred to as "BBC Mission Booklet.").

Values

There are practical out-workings of a this mission in the many facets of our corporate life, many of which have been compiled as “Fresh Initiatives for the Immediate Future of our Mission” and “Values that Manifest our Mission.” Listed below are the “Values” that relate specifically to our corporate worship life (Fresh Initiative for the immediate future of our mission: #4 Diversity in God-centered worship. “Sunday morning worship is a corporate expression of our passion for the supremacy of God. We sense God’s leading to develop fresh expressions of this passion that 1) allow for a more focused and free lingering of love in the presence of the Lord; 2) reflect musically the diversity of our congregation and our metropolitan culture; and 3) interweave the values of intense God-centeredness and more personal ministry to each other in the power of the Holy Spirit.” “BBC Mission Booklet”, 4.).

Values Relating to Corporate Worship:

  1. A public worship form that communicates the supremacy of God in all of life. (Rev. 22:9; Deut. 6:5; Ps. 95:3)
  2. Fervent, biblical, Spirit-anointed, God-exalting, personally helpful preaching. (2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Pet. 4:11)
  3. The importance of old and new, historic and current. (Mt. 13:52; Mk. 2:22-23)
  4. The importance of both head and heart in our worship experience. (Jn. 4:23; Lk. 10:27)
  5. Going hard after God as an all-satisfying end in Himself. (Ps. 36:8; 37:4; 65:4)
  6. Authenticity and transparency in communicating in large and small group settings. (Mt. 15:8; Jas. 5:13, 16)
  7. Vulnerability with our imperfections that encourages candor, not concealment. (Ps. 32:5)
  8. Being a singing people with growing appreciation for diverse expressions of love for God. (1 Chr. 16:23; Ps. 18:49; 40:3; 108:3; 111:1; Eph 5:19)
  9. A place for spontaneity and lay ministry to the body. (1 Cor. 12:4-6; Jas. 5:13; Heb. 10:24-25; Rev. 1:6)
  10. Increasing in a humble willingness to support others whose tastes are different than ours. (Jon. 13:14; Rom. 12:5, 10; 1 Cor. 12:25; Col 3:12; 1 Pet. 5:5)
  11. Growing in appreciation of both fine and folk elements in worship. (For more on this continuum of “fine and folk” in the life of the church see John Piper, “Thoughts on Worship and Culture” (September 26, 1990)(Rom 12:16; 15:7)
  12. Determination to welcome people different from ourselves for the sake of Christ. (Jn. 13:34-35; Rom. 12:10)
  13. Being more indigenous to the diversity of our metropolitan cultural setting, both urban and suburban.(1 Cor. 9:19-23; Rev 5:9-10)

These “Values” relating to corporate worship function as a guideline or a trajectory we seek to follow by God’s grace. We also willingly acknowledge that to date we have yet to realize all of them fully.

Philosophy

Growing out of this mission with its “Fresh Initiatives” and “Values” is a dynamic “Philosophy of Worship That Unites Us.” In an article entitled, “What Unites Us in Worship at Bethlehem?” Pastor John Piper “unpacks” this philosophy and highlights some of the Marks That Define Us in Worship at Bethlehem.

  1. God-centeredness: We put a high priority of the vertical focus of our Sunday morning service. The ultimate aim is to experience God in such a way that he is glorified in our affections.
  2. Expecting the powerful presence of God: We do not just direct ourselves toward him. We earnestly seek his drawing near according to the promise of James 4:8. We believe that in worship God draws near to us in power, and makes himself know and felt for our good and for the salvation of unbelievers in the midst.
  3. Bible-based and Bible-saturated: The content of our singing and praying and welcoming and preaching and poetry should always conform to the truth of Scripture. But more than that, the content of God's Word should be woven through all we do in worship and will be the ground of all our appeal to authority.
  4. Head and heart: The elements of our worship service should aim at kindling and carrying deep, strong, real emotions toward God, especially joy, but should not manipulate people's emotions by failing to appeal to clear thinking about spiritual things based on shareable evidences outside ourselves.
  5. Earnestness and intensity: We will try to avoid being trite, flippant, superficial, or frivolous, but instead will aim to set an example of reverence and passion and wonder and broken-hearted joy.
  6. Authentic communication: We utterly renounce all sham, deceit, hypocrisy, pretense, affectation and posturing. We do not pursue the atmosphere of artistic or oratorical performance, but the atmosphere of a radically personal encounter with God and truth.
  7. The manifestation of God and the common good: We expect and hope and pray (according to 1 Cor. 12:7) that our focus on the manifesting of God is good for people and that a spirit of love for each other is not incompatible with, but necessary to, authentic worship.
  8. Undistracting excellence: We will try to sing and play and pray and preach in such a way that people's attention will not be diverted from the substance by shoddy ministry nor by excessive finesse, elegance or refinement. Natural, undistracting excellence will let the truth and beauty of God shine through. We will invest in equipment good enough to be undistracting in transmitting heartfelt truth.
  9. The mingling of historic and contemporary music: No church or service can be all things to all people. But we do not value stylistic narrowness. We believe there are affections owing to God that different tunes and different texts and different genres may awaken better than others. We will strive to be who we are without exalting our own tastes as the standard of excellence or power. We will see God’s guidance in each worship setting to be both indigenous and stretching (This September 30, 2003 Star article is based on an earlier unpublished article, “What is the Philosophy of Worship that Unites Us?” (April, 1994.)).

Practical Implications:

  1. We will seek to do everything to the glory of God alone in the strength that He supplies: “If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11; see also 1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Cor. 4:7)
  2. We will strive to be people immersed in the Word and characterized by prayer: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Col. 3:16; see also Ps. 5:1-2; Mt 6:6; 1 Th. 5:17)
  3. We will endeavor, by God’s grace, to be a loving, forbearing and forgiving people: “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be likeminded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 15:5-6; see also Mt. 6:14; Rom. 15:1; Col. 3:12-15; Phil 2:3-5; 1 Pet. 5:5)
  4. We will work hard in rehearsal seeking by faith to play and sing with undistracting excellence to the best of our abilities as God gifts us: “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.” (Rom. 12:6; see also Rom. 6:13; Heb. 11:6)
  5. We will prepare our hearts to lead by meditating on the word of God, through prayer, and in confession and repentance of sin: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.” (Ps. 51:10-12; see also Ps 66:18) (See also, "APTAT").
  6. We will seek in our worship services to transparently savor the glory of God by being satisfied with all that He is for us in Christ: “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You.” (Ps. 9:1-2; see also Ps. 30:11-12; 37:4; 42:1; Heb. 13:15; negatively see Mt. 15:8-9) (“God is magnified when we cherish him as gain above all things, and come to him and tell him that and to

    find more of him. God serves us by giving us life and breath and everything about himself that goes to the deepest recesses of our hearts. We worship first and foremost by thirsting and hungering after God above all things. And that means that we worship first and foremost by being served by God. It is a worship service,  because the service starts with God’s serving us what we so desperately need, namely, himself.” John Piper, “All of Life as Worship: Romans 12:1-2” (November 30, 1997)

Next Steps:

  1. Written testimony: we ask that all prospective members of our worship teams write out a brief testimony highlighting God’s saving and sanctifying work in their lives. Please use the last page of this form.
  2. Audition: we will audition all prospective worship team members seeking to ascertain their level of musical breadth and competency. Plan on bringing your written testimony to this audition.
  3. On the pathway to membership at BBC: we would ask that you be moving along the path towards membership at BBC. We will happily direct you to membership classes, leaders, etc. and are more than willing to discuss any concerns you may have along these lines.
  4. Small group affiliation: since we are a growing church and it is impossible for the staff and elders to know everyone who attends our church it is vital to be connected in a small-group fellowship where mutual care and accountability can happen.
  5. Commitment to rehearsals and worship services: we ask that you make every effort to participate in the weekly rehearsal. These are informal times of refining arrangements and prayer and typically last from an hour and a half to two hours long. Our pre-service rehearsals are used primarily as sound-checks allowing time for prayerful heart-preparation together. Also, we often worship at the end of our services and we would ask that you make every effort to participate in these “service ending songs.”
  6. Prayer partner: it is strongly recommended that you find a Prayer Partner who will commit to praying for you especially on the Sundays you participate in worship leadership.
  7. Deferrals: on occasion it may be necessary to ask prospective team members to wait awhile (anywhere from 6 months to 2 years) before participating in our worship leadership teams. The reasons for this request may be related to competency, spiritual maturity, personal circumstances, etc. Be assured that we will lovingly and confidentially communicate the “Why?” behind this decision. Also, we may direct you to a place of ministry better suited to your areas of apparent giftedness.

Bethlehem Baptist Church Worship Leadership Team Application

Let us get to know a little bit about you:

Name: ________________________________

Address: ______________________________

_______________________________________

_______________________________________

E-Mail: ________________________________

Phone: Work: __________________________

Home: ________________________________

Mobile: ________________________________

Occupation: ____________________________

Years at Bethlehem: __________

Member? Yes _____ No _____

Site and service you typically attend: _______

Are you willing to play/sing at other services/sites? Yes ______ No _______

Instrument: ____________________________

Do you have your own instrument? Yes ______ No ______

Vocal: _____________ Part: _______________

Musical background/experience: __________

_________________________________________

_________________________________________

_________________________________________

_________________________________________

_________________________________________

For what spiritual reasons do you desire to join the worship leading team?

_________________________________________

_________________________________________

_________________________________________

_________________________________________

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What is your understanding of the act of worshipping God?

__________________________________________

__________________________________________

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Please give a brief testimony highlighting God’s saving and sanctifying work in your life.

Thank you for your interest in this ministry. Please return this completed form to your campus-specific Worship Department Ministry Assistant:

  • North Campus – Glenda Sannes, 612.455.0804
  • Downtown Campus – Jesse Harms, 612.455.3425
  • South Campus – Tim Jacobson, 612.746.2654

Once we receive your application, one of our staff members will contact you to set up a brief audition with your campus worship leader.

© 2014 Bethlehem Baptist Church