Friday, January 28, 2011

Worship Leadership Session: Brian Doerksen

Today I sat in on an all-day intensive learning session on Worship Leadership with Brian Doerksen (a.m.) and Paul Baloche (p.m.). For my friends that have asked, here’s a summary from the morning session with Brian. I missed the first 30 minutes of his session and what follows is my paraphrase of his talk, not direct quotes. I have tried to be faithful to the spirit of what Brian shared.

Worshipping "In Spirit"

We are created to be worshippers and we are good at it. We are not so good at choosing the object of our worship. When we take anything or anyone, including good things, and try to make them “ultimate” in our lives, this is misdirected worship. This is idolatry: when we love people or things with a love that should be reserved only for God. These things eventually begin to crack under the pressure of our worship. No one and nothing is designed to handle the pressure of being God.

Only God is the Ultimate. Everything else (children, spouse, job, pastor, friend, possessions and so on) we must hold with an open hand. They can be taken at any moment. Your health, your life, your family, anything.

Brian recommended the song “Love From a Lesser God” by Ten Shekel Shirt. The song is available on iTunes and the lyrics can be read here.

We were created hungry so we would be driven by hunger to the only One who can satisfy. David was hungry. Yet, he was not sexually pure, he did evil, he had trouble with his marriages. Yet the scripture says “he did everything God wanted.” His kids were problems, partly because David was an absent father and he was famous. He also did things he wanted for selfish reasons, but he repented. He was called a man after God’s heart. He hungered after God.

When we worship God, we do what satan abandoned long ago. When we worship the living God, he remembers and it makes him furious. So he tries to get us to worship lesser gods.

Brian quotes Louie Giglio: All music is worship music. Every song is amplifying the value of something. There’s a trail of our time, affection, allegiance and devotion that leads to a throne and what ever is on that throne is our god. We all do a really great job because we are created to be worshippers, the problem is, some of us have really bad gods.

Hosea: “In you the fatherless find compassion.” Fatherless worship is idolatry, orphaned thinking and living.

John 4:23 True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.” He’s the one seeking us.

God is not a “power” or a set of principles. Though he does have power and principles, he is a person, a spirit. True worship doesn’t start with us. The father initiates our lives, makes an amazing plan, releases us when we want to leave him. The more you try to hold people and convince them to stay, the more you will not feel love. He waits. He releases. He is not codependent.

When we worship God, we worship one who is invisible in the physical realm.
Idols are visible. Our worship of God is a response to his written and whispered words. Deep calling to deep.

Worshipping "In Truth"

To be true worshippers, be saturated with God truth. In your study, ask yourself, “What do the scriptures reveal about God and his character and actions in the world?”

Worship starts with receiving. Worshipping God for who he is and what he has given. As worship leaders, we have to demonstrate that we believe that. We need to understand by laying down our own choice our music, our song, our service.

Worship means to surrender, submit, bow prostrate.

The biggest test of whether we are real worshippers is what we are willing to lay down. Your most important expression of worship is what you are willing to NOT play, not sing, not write.

An orphan has to make a name, create his/her position, “applaud me, stroke me, tell me my song is amazing” When you are well fathered, you can head for the hills, you are not dependent on affirmation. We can be secure enough that we can make way for other people. I’m loved by the father.

The worship of God in spirit and truth is an open-handed, grace-filled life, it is not “performed.”

Read Matt. 10:29-31  This speaks of our value – Don’t strive for what you’ve already been given.
Sparrows fall. This is about death. If we have faith and comfort when it comes to death we have faith and courage when it comes to life.

Suffering: if we are called into God’s family, shouldn’t we be protected from falling? Suffering exists because of the fall and the original couple’s choice to follow the counsel of the serpent instead of God. They became willful orphans.

The Father hears our cry. We are no longer orphans. Brian illustrated this by sharing a story called Abba Changes Everything, an article by Russell D. Moore in Christianity Today. Find it here:

Psalm 27:10 Even if my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will hold me close.

We’re worshippers and we seek transcendence in things that are limited. Consumables. Things that aren’t truth. Eastern mysticism. If we would cry out to our father, God runs to us with open arms.

Biblical worship is letting the love of God find you.

Get to know Brian and his work:

Current Project, Prodigal God:
Book: Make Love, Make War:


  1. At Breakforth? Wish I could attend some year ... my husband has been a few times, but it doesn't coincide well with my work schedule. Awesome post with some awesome truths about our God.

  2. You would enjoy Breakforth. It is diverse enough to offer at least 2-3 options at each breakout that I want to take in. Hard to choose sometimes. I certainly enjoyed Brian Doerksen's thoughts.