What Exactly Do We Know About Judge Paul Pressler

The firestorm of sexual abuse and harassment stories has officially reached evangelical Christianity. You might not know the name Judge Paul Pressler, but you should. Without him, the largest (though currently shrinking) Christian denomination would look quite different. Pressler is now 87 and retired. He surfaces now and then to endorse GOP political candidates or throw temper tantrums on the convention floor, but he is no longer a vocal leader. That’s why it has been jarring for some to hear… Read more

95 More for the Modern Church’s Door: Sparking a Reformation in the Entertainment Church

How to do worship is not fundamentally a question of preference, but meaning. Read more

Hillsongization and the Insidious Nature of Commercial Worship Music

The commercialization of our music for worship has led to a global takeover by a few key players in the so-called “worship industry.” Read more

There Goes the Neighborhood: What I Think About Mark Driscoll’s Move to Patheos

Apparently Mark Driscoll’s blog now has a home in this neighborhood. Yes, that Mark Driscoll. Don’t recall? Let me refresh your memory. This is the Mark Driscoll who built a Seattle megachurch in his own image. “I am the brand,” he was reported to say. This is the guy who claimed men hated the church because it made Jesus into a “Richard Simmons, hippie queer Christ.” “I cannot worship a guy I can beat up,” he said. It’s the one… Read more

But There’s No Liturgy in the Bible!

The practices that much of Christianity dismisses as artificial ‘traditions of men’ have a Biblical and historical foundation. Read more

71 Things I Would Rather Hear than the New Hillsong Album

I get the most interesting responses when I tell people what I do for a living. “You must play guitar!” No. “Do you have your own band?!?” No. “Have you heard the new Hillsong album? I just love it.” Let me stop you right there. Let’s start over with the introductions. I’m Jonathan. I’m a church music director. And these are all things I’d rather listen to than the new Hillsong album. 71. Elmo, Abby, and Rosita sing “If You’re… Read more

When Disaster Ruins Your Best Life: Joel Osteen’s Biggest Problem

Everyone is talking about Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church. Apparently, they didn’t open their doors to flood victims until they had been thoroughly roasted on social media. It’s more than a bad look. The city is devastated. We are used to flooding, and we thought we’d seen the worst of it before. But we’ve never seen anything like this. The gravity of this situation is enormous. Believe me, I really want to jump in on the criticism. But I can’t…. Read more

11 Hymns for a City Devastated by Water

Dear friends, this has been a tough week to be from the Houston area. At my house, it rained over 40 inches in 4 days. Thankfully, my beautiful little family has stayed safe and dry, but so many others have not. We have family and friends who have escaped flooding homes. Others are facing weeks, perhaps longer, before they are even able to assess the damage. Lives have been lost, and the toll will likely not be known until the… Read more

Why Would a Megachurch Send a Breastfeeding Mom to the Bathroom?

It happens, apparently. It recently happened at Elevation Church, the Charlotte-area super cool megachurch. According to the Charlotte Observer, Amanda Zilliken was nursing her 4-month-old daughter on the back row of Elevation’s stadium-style seating when an usher illumined her with a flashlight, directed her out of the sanctuary and into this lovely place: The volunteer told her that she was welcome back to her seat, “as soon as she was finished.” Hurt, angry, and humiliated by the experience, Zilliken approached… Read more

9 Signs Your Church Might Be Doing Bad Worship

I’ve been saying for years now that bad worship leads to a bloated, malnourished church. We’re seeing that happen now with the prominence of commercial entertainment worship. I understand that using “bad” in the context of worship discussion can elicit a surprising amount of reactivity, so let me be clear what I mean: I’m not in the habit of judging authenticity or intention when it comes to worship. In fact, I have no doubt that most of those who design,… Read more

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