This is the kind of dialogue in which we as worship leaders must engage. If you are a full-time worship pastor, or even part-time, you should be spending some of your work week on stuff like this. From a vocational perspective, your production output will dramatically increase and improve through participating in these discussions. Don't think that you're wasting your time, and don't feel guilty for taking an hour or two (or even ten) reading, thinking, dialoguing, and writing about these things. All in moderation of course. When employed correctly, this type of vocational exercise will encourage more accurate and effective proclamation and re-enactment of the Gospel, carrying over into all areas of ministry and life.

(I found this on Justin Taylor's blog, "Between Two Worlds," and adapted the next paragraph from this post.)

The following eight videos consist of a conversation between Mike Cosper (Sojourn Church, Louisville, KY), Chip Stam (Institute for Christian Worship), and Harold Best (Dean Emeritus of the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, and the author of Unceasing Worship: Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts and Music Through The Eyes of Faith).

I love the work God is doing through Sojourn Church. I have listened to many of the lectures so graciously provided from the Institute for Christian Worship. And if you recall I quoted Harold Best here and here.

A few things stand out to me in this first clip: 1) "Mature believers are easily edified." 2) We make idols of our preferred musical styles, and there must be a call and leading to cast down those idols. 3) Traditionalism is idolatry, while Tradition brings freedom and must be upheld by everyone, leading us into fresh creative expressions of unchanging content.

Mike Cosper, Harold Best, Chip Stam - Worship Discussion 1 from Sojourn/The 930 Art Center on Vimeo.

Beware Vineyard-ites! Best takes a shot at the Wimber model of worship in this next clip. I would ask Best to expound upon Wimber's model, because I think he unfairly speaks to only one aspect of it. I agree with him concerning that aspect, but I don't think it originates in Wimber. It has the potential, however, to be heightened within the Wimber (or Vineyard) style of praise and worship - being changed by "the presence of the Lord." I for one believe their is tremendous value and biblical warrant for experiencing the intimacy of God in the context of praise and worship (congregational song), as long as it is understood that the worship leader isn't the mediator ushering the people into the presence of God, but Jesus Christ alone.

Cosper, Best and Stam -- session two from Sojourn/The 930 Art Center on Vimeo.

The volume jumps in this next clip, so be careful. I appreciate the honest and sensitive conversation here about manipulating emotions musically. It's not all bad, but "manipulativism" is where we err - when music and God are equal. I also love the idea of music being "humbled by the liturgy." Music is a servant.

Cosper, Best and Stam - session three on worship from Sojourn/The 930 Art Center on Vimeo.

An interesting discussion on beauty and art. If you have been impressed with Harold Best's vocabulary and sheer genius to this point, just wait. I wonder if either Best or Cosper knew of Cormac McCarthy before "No Country for Old Men" the movie was released.

Cosper, Best and Stam - Session Four from Sojourn/The 930 Art Center on Vimeo.

A continued conversation on beauty, and the difference between beauty and "pretty".

Cosper, Best and Stam - Episode Five from Sojourn/The 930 Art Center on Vimeo.

Can we possibly please God with our art? The role of Christ in our worship. This is the heart of the matter. But we are also called to excellence - bringing to God an unblemished sacrifice through Christ.

Cosper, Best and Stam -- episode six from Sojourn/The 930 Art Center on Vimeo.

Another volume burst, and a wonderful discussion about relevance.

Cosper, Best, Stam: Episode Seven from Sojourn/The 930 Art Center on Vimeo.

Now we get some disagreement between these three. I wish it would have come earlier. This final clip is perty deep. It is mostly about visual art, representation vs. replication, truth vs. accuracy, etc. I love Best's prayer of the abstract artist.

Cosper, Stam and Best - session eight from Sojourn/The 930 Art Center on Vimeo.

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