What to consider when choosing a song list?

•June 5, 2010 • 1 Comment

Hi all, Bob Kauflin has just posted about what he thinks about when he chose the song list for the NEXT conference. Could be a good guideline for when we choose our own song lists!

Conference theme 
Grounding our lives in the authority of God’s Word
The message topics

This probably is the most significant factor in determining where to put songs.
New songs we wanted to teach
These are songs that we want people to consider taking home with them because they’re so good. Usually no more than 3-5 a conference.
Songs the bands knew
Since each band has a limited repertoire I asked them to submit song they felt particularly good about leading.
Familiar songs
it’s occasionally helpful when people can sing a song they know by heart
Songs that bands had written
Some were new, some old.
Sovereign Grace songs
wanting to introduce non-Sovereign Grace folks (about 50% of the conference) to our music
Songs we wanted to present
We wanted to have a couple times when people were just listening, allowing the truth to sink in as they reflected on it.
Songs we had done in previous years
This provides continuity from year to year.
Time allotted for singing
It matters whether we have 28 or 45 minutes.
Songs Josh requested
Each year Josh Harris has a couple songs he’d like us to sing.

See his full post here:

 What Goes Into Putting a Conference Song List Together? - Worship Matters (Bob Kauflin)

How do you choose your song lists? 


Quick Update

•March 23, 2010 • 2 Comments

Hi all! Been really busy with the new job and planning The Saturday Service and haven’t been posting much… terrible Meanwhile, I have been more active on Twitter, so do check out http://twitter.com/turnyourears

Had an opportunity to meet up with @jonaschow at the Faith MC Young Adult gathering. He’s an old friend from secondary school & junior college who’s now heading the youth service at Faith. Always good to see Young Adults doing God’s work!

Here are some links you may want to check out:

Can Rap Music Be Christian? by Scott Aniol – having a discussion here about whether music can be inherently moral/immoral

Open the Eyes of My (Face), Lord by Bob Kauflin – great post about remembering what our duty is as song leaders

What if You Dared Us? by Chris Krycho – Young Adults just can’t wait to get out into the world. But who are they going to work for?

Using Technology in Inter-Generational Services

•January 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hi all! Just like to share from a blog I’ve been following for a while, Church Tech Arts, by Mike Sessler, Technical Arts Director at Coast Hills Community Church.

He’s just written a post about adopting technology in an Inter-Generational setting. Good things to think about even as we’re debating about Twitter in church!!


Check out the blog and follow it! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his posts and I’ve learnt alot just from reading.

Leave a comment

Reading Out Loud – A High Calling

•January 6, 2010 • 2 Comments

Hi all, and a blessed new year! I’ve just begun my first job (praise the Lord), and so have been very busy, so I thought I’d share something short, but poignant.

I was slightly surprised to discover that the position of “Worship Leader” in our traditional service used to be called “Lay Reader”. What we now look up to as a “high” calling – that is, to lead God’s people in worship, used to be a very humble, simple job.

To read.

To read out loud from the Word of God, the book of worship, book of prayers, to follow the musical instructions in the hymnal, and whatever else was planned by the pastor, or worship director (with the theological degree).

Just read.

Amazing isn’t it? What we call “worship leaders” in our contemporary services, we’re actually “song leaders” aren’t we? At least we used to be.

Are we really qualified to be “worship leaders”? Leave a comment.

The Twitter Debate all over the World!

•November 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hi all, the Twitter in church debate is alive and well on the internets so here is a sampling of the discussions that have been taking place on the WWW.

Josh Harris (I Kissed Dating Goodbye) – Should We Use Twitter During Church?
He’s against using Twitter, for good reasons. Also check out the comments! Good variety of views there.

John Piper (Desiring God) – More on Not Using Twitter During Worship Services
John Piper is a big proponent of using Twitter, blogs, and social media, but he doesn’t approve of using Twitter during services. Doesn’t write much, but its good to know what such an influential Christian thinker thinks.

John Saddington – The Reason Your Church Must NOT Twitter
Best reason a church must NOT use Twitter: “If you’re not interested in learning how Twitter can be used for ministry and your church, then you shouldn’t use it.”

Share any links you may have come across! Leave a comment.

The Case for Twittering in Worship

•November 19, 2009 • 2 Comments

Hi all! As promised, here is the article I sent to the Methodist Message. I hope it gets published so that people hear both sides of the story.

The Case for Twittering in Worship by Jonathan Huang

The last Methodist Message (November 2009, Vol 111 No 11) ran an article entitled “Twittering in worship: One Methodist’s perspective” by Dr Anthony Goh, which discourages Twittering during worship because it draws attention to the self instead of God. While I applaud Dr Goh’s plea to rid ourselves of a self-centred focus in worship, his arguments were based on a simplistic understanding of Twitter, and there is indeed a case for “Twittering in worship”, especially in the context of today’s Methodist youth.

Twitter is a tool. Like any tool, Twitter is not inherently good or bad – it depends on how you use it. It is a means of communication which allows information to be passed from a sender to a receiver. It is like a microphone hooked up to a sound system which the pastor can use to communicate with the congregation. It is also a tool that is fast gaining popularity among today’s youth, both inside and outside the church.

Sure, Twitter can be used to talk about your own feelings, like how “the drummer is really cute today”. But it can also be used in other ways, for example, to communicate biblical truths such as “He makes us rise on wings like eagles”. It depends on how you use it.

Right – so why and how should we Tweet during a service? For example, some people take notes during a sermon. This is perfectly acceptable. Some people take notes on their PDA. Lately, I have begun taking notes via Twitter.

Firstly, note taking increases my engagement level. It forces me to process what the preacher is saying, and reproduce it in easy to remember points. It also allows me to revise the points of the sermon that I found interesting and applicable even after I leave church. With today’s youth, engagement levels are a concern for preachers. This is one way to keep them engaged.

Secondly, Tweets are read by people outside the service. Not only does this immediately multiply the influence of your ministry, but it is a testimony to God. Youths actually stand to “lose face” if they tweet about Godly things. Friends may see them as “holy joes”. But if they choose to tweet about church during church, their friends will see that they choose to spend Sunday morning in the house of God, rather than sleep in, or go to the beach.

There is another way I think that Twitter can be used well in a service – prayer requests. Churches may have a segment where church members come up and publicly share their prayer requests or thanksgiving via a microphone. The congregation then prays on their behalf.

During this segment, the congregation could be prompted to Tweet their prayer requests with the hash-tag[i] #prayerABCmethodistchurch which are displayed on the projection screen. Those who do not use Twitter can submit their prayer requests before the service, which the ushers will Tweet on their behalf.

Twitter is a social phenomenon that is quickly gaining popularity amongst today’s youth, including Methodists. I believe that Twitter is one of the many social media tools that Methodist youth leaders should evaluate as a means of being more effective in engaging young people, and fostering a sense of community in our Methodist churches.

Jonathan Huang is also a “technophile” and very much a fan of Twitter, but I hate people talking about shopping during the service as much as Dr Goh does It’s about how you use it.

You may reach me at: jonathanhyz@gmail.com, or read my blog about worship at https://turnyourears.wordpress.com/, or heaven forbid, Tweet me at http://twitter.com/turnyourears/

[i] Hash-tags are a way of labelling individual Tweets and makes them easily to find and categorise.

Rebuttal of “Twittering in worship”

•November 10, 2009 • 8 Comments

Hi all, as promised, here is the rebuttal that I sent to the editor of the Methodist Message regarding Dr Goh’s article. (See below for The Editor’s reply).

Disclaimer: I cannot stress this enough: I agree that Twitter can be a distraction, just as talking, or sms-ing during worship can be distractions. My main objections with the article were the arguments he used to substantiate his point.

So here are Dr Goh’s arguments, and my subsequent rebuttal:

1) Moods and feelings have no part in worship, and Twitter is all about your own feelings and emotions.

We are commanded to worship God with our emotions "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind" (Luke 10:27).

When David dances with joy in his linen in 2 Samuel 6, or when Isaiah feels guilt at having seen the living God in Isaiah 6, are their personal emotions not a valid  essential component of their worship? They are both means by which David and Isaiah express their response to the Glory of God.

2) Twitter is about the self, and that is not right in corporate worship.

This is a gross misunderstanding of Twitter. Twitter is merely a tool. You can use it to draw attention to yourself, or you can use it to draw attention to God.

Using this same argument, would not preaching from a stage or a pulpit be said to be drawing attention to the preacher, and not to God? Should we abolish it from our worship services? Surely not!

3) It is distracting and disrespectful to God.

Only if you let it be. If you use if for personal communication e.g. “hey guys where shall we go for lunch later?”, yes, it is distracting.

Twitter is a tool. The result is not a reflection of the condition of the tool – it is a reflection of the condition of the heart of the user.

4) It fails the condition of worship being inclusive because some people can’t or don’t know how to use Twitter.

I can’t believe he actually used this as an argument. Shall we exclude dumb people who cannot sing hymns? Shall we exclude the lame because they cannot stand? Or the blind because they cannot read our liturgy? Enough said.

5) Worship is not virtual, it is physical – we should be present in worship.

Twittering about the sermon may actually increase my levels of engagement with the worship service. Just as taking notes helps one to remember the applicable points of the pastor’s sermon, Twittering forces you to listen, process, and reproduce what the preacher is saying.

It really depends on how you use Twitter.

6) God does not have a Twitter account.

*Slaps head*. Do I really have to explain this one?


There are ways in which Twitter can be creatively used in church. Dr Goh has simply dismissed Twitter without examining the ways in which Churches can and are creatively using Twitter to engage youth during a service.

As mentioned, the editor, Mr Peter Teo, did reply and thanked me “for my views”. He also asked me to write a 500 word article supporting the use of Twitter in church/worship.

I will publish that 500 word article in my next blog post, so stay tuned!

What do you think of Dr Goh’s arguments? Leave a comment.