EP 187 – WORSHIP IN A REPLANT w/ SPECIAL GUEST – JOE CRIDER
This on the road, mobil edition of the Bootcamp finds Jimbo at home and Bob on the Road to Amarillo and a great EP, catching up with Dr. Joe Crider, the Dean of the School of Church Music and Worship at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth Texas. The guys welcome Joe and ask a few questions about Worship. Joe has great insights and drops some real gold when it comes to understanding the theological foundations of worship in the local church.
Here are some of the highlights:
- The typical definition of worship in a church is held together by a musical thread, not a theological one.
- We often end up defining worship by what we like to sing.
- God never called the church to gather around something that changes so much, so often. We are called to gather around Jesus Christ, to worship him.
- Worship is a response to a self revealing God – we worship Him as he reveals himself to us.
- Churches, regardless of size can have God glorifying, Jesus exalting, biblically faithful worship because worship is not tied to a musical style.
- Worship is not a “hot band” and a “great sound system”
- Use the scriptures as your foundation.
There are tons more great insights in this EP of the bootcamp. Pick up Dr. Crider’s book, Scripture Guided Worship over at Seminary Hill Press for more great insights and equipping.
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JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] All right, here we are. Back at it again. Bob. I hope you’re ready for the next episode. Bob, we’ve got you traveling this time. I think this is a bootcamp. First, as we have you mobile, in the car. I think early on we had Hallock as he was going through a Chipotle drive-through or something. but this is a, I think the first one where we’ve got you, mobile on the podcast.
Bob Bickford: It is Jimbo. I’m a fugitive on the run. And, I am, uh, . We’re We’re, we’re actually, we’re driving out to, uh, Amarillo, so, George Strait will be playing in the background. at some point Amarillo, by morning we’re gonna visit my son and the grandkids and, the lovely Barb Bickford is driving. So boot campers do not worry.
I’m not podcasting and driving at the same. Unlike Mark Clifton, our boss at mam, who has been known Jimbo, I think, to do meetings while navigating drive-throughs and or, maybe going to visit replant.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I mean, mark accomplishes a lot in his [00:01:00] truck, and, usually more than one thing at a time. And so, he’s a really gifted guy like that. We have another really gifted guy. He’s a guest on our podcast today. we have had the joy of getting to know, getting to know Joe, Dr.
Kreider, over the last three. Revive events in Elk City, Oklahoma, Tucson, Arizona, and Mount Vernon, Illinois. And just traveling and, and eating out and spending time together. I’ve really gone grown to appreciate Joe and even started reading his book, scripture Driven Worship. And so Joe, excited to have you on the Replant Bootcamp podcast today.
Joe Crider: Thank you, gentlemen. It’s really good to be with you. It’s good to see you both again and, yeah, I don’t have my, 60 ounce Diet Coke with me right now. Like I , like Mark does but, but, um, yeah, I, I’m excited to be with you guys. Thank you.
JimBo Stewart: Well, Joe, tell us a little bit about yourself. So tell us about your role at Switz and, where people can find things like your book or anything like that if they wanna learn more.
Joe Crider: Yeah, thanks. So, [00:02:00] I have the joy and the privilege of serving as the Dean of the School of Church Music and Worship here at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas Baptist College. And, middle of my fourth year. and, the Lord has, Really, really, blessed our time, helped us to transform all of our curricula, from our undergraduate to our master’s degree.
And then we have two tracks in the doctoral program for, Christian worship. One in a, what we call our professional doctoral studies, which is, you know, our DMN or d Edmond. And then we have a PhD that’s, headed up by Dr. Joshua Wa. And, Dr. Chuck Lewis heads up our, our worship area. And then we’ve got a performance area as well at all three levels.
So the Lord has been really gracious in, in helping us reconnect with churches and so that churches are beginning to look. Back to I think all of our seminaries, not just us. the great things are happening that Midwestern in the area of worship things are at Southern, are really strong Things at Southeastern are really strong, I think.
I think, [00:03:00] new Orleans is doing a great job. It’s just all of our seminaries I think are really, really refocused on. serving the church because I think for a lot of time, for a long time, we were training students for a world that didn’t exist anymore or doesn’t exist anymore. Right.
Um, thinking that we had to be, really focused on a more traditional classical musical style. our church is just bypassed. And then they didn’t look for the seminaries anymore. so churches ended up getting worship leaders who were maybe good guitarists and good singers, but really damn, and they didn’t have much of a theological framework for what they were doing.
And then it became all about the music. And as it becomes all about the music, you start splitting churches and start, churches start to fracture because there’s no theological. and I think that’s really what happens, unfortunately in a lot of our churches needing revitalized or re needing replanted is that.
their definition of worship has been held together by a threat, and that threat is a musical threat rather than a biblical threat.[00:04:00] So, maybe I just jumped away ahead of where you wanted me to be, right there. But, what I’m really grateful for is our seminaries, I think. And I know all the guys that are seminaries, we’re really thrilled and really excited.
the direction of them and where we’re headed in being able to serve our churches, and that’s why we’re here in the first place.
JimBo Stewart: I love that. One of the things that you did a really great job at the REVIVE conferences of talking about is how we need to approach our understanding of what worship is
in particular, and in relation to that. Really what’s at stake on Sunday mornings. Briefly, uh, kind of talk about your definition of worship and how that relates to what’s at stake on Sunday mornings when it comes to what we call the worship service.
Joe Crider: thanks Jimbo. I, I think. I think where this, where this gets off, where we get off or where we, where we, where we [00:05:00] stray is that we end up defining worship by what what we like to sing. And I don’t think God ever called us to gather around music. In our worship. I don’t think God ever called us to gather around music.
I don’t think he would call us to gather around something that changes so frequently with a culture.
JimBo Stewart: Hmm.
Joe Crider: you know, when the organ was introduced to churches, there were people, and this is, you know, medieval time when the, when the pipe organ was really beginning to develop, there were people that said, that’s the devil’s windbag or Devil’s windpipe.
Right. You realize that in every generation, anything that has been new or innovative in the, in the area of helping people to express their love to Christ in a corporate context, there’s always been suspic a suspicion about it because there people have thought, well, what, what is that? That’s just, that’s just introducing the world into what we’re doing because it’s, it’s a sound like that.
[00:06:00] so I don’t think God would’ve ever called us to gather around something that changes so frequently. With the culture, but I don’t think also God would’ve ever called us to gather around something that, especially now, we all have our own individual playlists. as, much as I feel like you’re my friend and brother, as much as I feel like Bob is my friend and my brother, and we could spend time together, in a situation, whether it’s at a conference or just hanging out.
We’ve got different playlists. I, you probably don’t have Puccini on your playlist, you know, which is fine. But at the end of the day, we gather, our people gather around Jesus Christ, who never changes, and his word that never returns void. That’s the unifying factor. Christ is the unifying factor.
His word is the unifying factor in a worship service. The word is transtemporal. It never. goes out of time, does not impact the power of the word. Grass withers. The flowers fade, but the word of [00:07:00] our God stands forever. The word is transgenerational. It works in every generational The word is transcultural.
It works in every culture. You can’t say that about many types of music. So as we think about that, you think, well, this. Supposed to be heading a music school. What? What? But what I am saying though is, is that that makes the music that we do use even that much more important. Because what we help our students realize is that music is a wonderful servant.
It’s just a horrible master. And when our churches look at music being in the master of the worship, then we flipped. . the real focus of our worship on what we like, rather than who Jesus is and what he wants from us in our worship. And that’s to uh, you know, our mind’s attention and our heart’s affection are riveted.
They’re focused on Jesus Christ, the author and the perfector of. So as we think through that, we realize that worship then is a response to our self-revealing God. Theologians will say God is self-revealing, right? He, [00:08:00] he reveals himself to us. We don’t worship a God that we, in a way that we like to think of him.
We don’t worship a God in the way that we’ve made him up to be. We worship a God in who he has revealed himself or to be. He’s revealed himself to us through. Romans one, nobody has an excuse. Psalm 19, the heavens declare the glory of God. Genesis one, in the beginning, God created. So we, we, we worship a God who has revealed himself through creation.
We worship a God who has revealed himself through Christ perfectly right? Colossians one, he Jesus is the image of the invisible God. We see Jesus. We see who Jesus is. We look at him, we look at Jesus through the gospels, we look at Jesus through the entire Bible, right as the fulfillment of everything in the Old Testament as the, and then a, as who he is, uh, in, in the New Testament.
And we realizes that, that Jesus [00:09:00] is the perfect image of the invisible God. In Hebrews, he said He is the express image of God. so God reveals himself to us through Christ. God reveals himself to. Through the church, the end of the end of Ephesians one, where Jesus is the one that is the head of the church and the church is the fullness of his body.
The church is the fullness of Christ. So he reveals himself through us, to us, through the, through the church. But he also reveals himself most specifically, most clearly through his word. And in that we realize that in all the ways God is self is self-revealing. God reveals in his people respond. And that’s the most simple and basic, for lack of a better way to say it, definition of worship.
God reveals his people respond. And if the word is not ever used in a worship service prior to the message. Then my question for worship leaders and pastors is then who or what are your, have your people been [00:10:00] responding to the entire time they’ve been in the, in the service, in the church service. Up to your message. A cool song, a big organ, you know, with a, with a choir or you know, some, some hip worship leader. Who, who have we been responding to? The idea is that we respond to respond to Jesus. So worship is like a rhythm. It’s a God initiated rhythm, right? He initiates this rhythm by, by revealing himself to his. The redeem received re revelation by faith and then respond to him acknowledging him for his infinite glory and perfection through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
So the fundamental level, God reveals his people respond, and he respond. He reveals himself most specifically, most clearly, most objectively through his word. and what’s at stake on Sunday mornings. It’s people’s view of him, right? It’s people’s view of God and [00:11:00] our question. So that just elevates in my, my opinion, the stewardship of the entire pastoral team, beginning with the senior pastor to realize that everything we do on Sunday mornings is formation, is forming the devotional and spiritual lives of our people.
And our question then becomes, okay, let’s look at our worship service. How are people’s view of God being informed as we go through this time of worship together? Because the reality is Jimbo in Bob, is that? People’s view of God are be, are, you know, the people are being bombarded every week, all the time, by social media, by, by TikTok, by advertising, by movies, by all the ways in which people’s minds and hearts are being shaped right now. and that becomes our time together on Sunday mornings even becomes more important because what we get to do is recalibrate people’s idea of who God is, who Christ is through [00:12:00] the power of the gospel, and then for our people to see the. In reality, who we are in light of the gospel. And for that time to be changed from just some mundane weekly meeting.
Here we go again to literally a transcendent encounter with the Trium God of the universe, who has given his son for us to have a relationship with him. So that’s a, that’s a mouthful, probably way too long on that. But this is what we get to do. We get to do it every. And I, I, I tell you what, I can’t wait for Sunday mornings every week.
Can’t wait because that’s what we get to do. We get to have a, do we get to help our people engage with the
Bob Bickford: I think we pretty much got the doctoral, uh, seminar right there. and man, that was awesome, Joe. Like I think there’s so much content in that that wanna, I wanna encourage the bootcampers push pause and then rewind back and then just go back and get those, get, get some of those points.
Cause I don’t want you to miss what Joe is saying [00:13:00] here because it’s so vital that we, we have equated worship. With forms and styles and all of those sorts of things. Joe, then given all of that, just having a, the right perspective on worship, how do those who are in charge of leading worship facilitate that from the beginning the gathering, all the way to the end in response?
Like, How do we facilitate that then, given all that content is. Do we need to guard the way we start it, what we say during worship, how we respond? Could you unpack that for us a little bit?
Joe Crider: Yeah, so, so thanks, Bob. I think where we go to is we, we trust in the authority and we trust in the power of the word through the Holy Spirit. John six, and I think it’s 63, maybe Jesus is, talking to the disciples and he says, my word is spirit. You know, and there’s that aspect of truth there.
So it’s nothing that I say on Sunday mornings that really has any, eternal [00:14:00] significance, but everything that, that the word says there’s where through the power of the Holy Spirit, because God is self-revealing. Right. so that’s the whole purpose. and I’m not trying to, I’m not trying to push this, I don’t make a penny off of this book, but it’s, it’s, it’s just a book called Scripture Guided Worship colon.
A call to pastors and worship leaders and there’s a very specific, order a call to pastors and worship leaders, cuz I’m trying to help pastors realize that, look, you don’t have to have a hot band and a great sound system in order to have biblical worship. In fact, If that’s what you think worship is, we’ve missed it completely.
and what I do is just simply take a passage of scripture, usually from the Psalms because that’s the Saulter, that’s Thesal book of the Bible. And usually I’ll, I, we will just, we will walk through a Psalm and oftentimes that Psalm will have a connection point to our pastor’s message. I don’t always use Psalms.
You don’t have to be completely stuck in the 150 Psalms, but you could, I could spend the rest of my life leading worship out of the Psalms, [00:15:00] but using other passages. Well, you know, you can use, I mean, anywhere in the scriptures because, that contour of worship. But that was the purpose of, of writing the book.
And you, and, and you can pick it up only through Seminary Hill Press, and I’m sorry about that. We just don’t do the Amazon thing. Why? Don’t tell anybody this. I don’t know why we don’t do Amazon, but we don’t. So it’s through Seminary
Hill Press, if you
JimBo Stewart: We won’t, we won’t tell anybody other than the people listening to this
Joe Crider: Exactly. Exactly. that’s.
Bob Bickford: Which is about several, several hun, several hundred thousand are listening to the podcast now, but we’ll, we’ll just ask
Joe Crider: Hundreds of thousands, hundreds of thousands. The, the Seminary Hill Press, they’re, they’re gonna have to, they’re gonna have to print a new edition here because of the, because of the listenership but it’s, it’s very easy. If you just get on Seminary Hill press and put in scripture guided worship, it’ll pop right up.
And I think it’s 12 bucks. I mean, it’s, it’s cheap. And again, it all goes to the seminary. And, but in. Is a, is a [00:16:00] process of that. Generally, what I would just simply say is, is that we get to, we get to celebrate the gospel throughout a worship service, not just tethered to the end of the sermon, right at the very end of a message where, okay, we’re gonna give the gospel.
Now. The gospel’s celebrated throughout the. Soul service, right? And the gospel, the four basic chapters of the gospel is God, man, Christ response, or you can say it, creation, fall, redemption consummation. where we realize and, and you see that beautifully illustrated in Isaiah six, worship begins with God.
It doesn’t begin with us. He’s the one that initiated it. He’s the one that invited us to worship him and he’s the one that made it possible through Christ, right? , we, we have no access to our access to God does not come through some magic guitar lick or some through some. Phenomenal organ in, in choir sound.
Our access to God comes through Jesus Christ. Period. End of sentence. And his [00:17:00] completed work. That’s, and that, by the way, if you’re a believer, that happens every place you breathe. So to say that we, that we only worship during Sunday mornings at 10 o’clock is an absolute other thing that we’ve gotta help our people realize because we wor worship everywhere we breathe.
It’s a response, right? It’s a response to Jesus. This is response to his word. And worship. What we’re looking at is the beauty of just, of realizing that, that we get to worship and, and that worship can be guided and directed by scripture and therefore our songs are a response to that, those passages, not like, let’s pick a, let’s hear with a blank page and then figure out what songs we haven’t done in three or four or five, six weeks, and what keys all work together.
No, let’s don’t be song driven. Let’s be scripture driven, and.
JimBo Stewart: I love that. I, I love how well you demonstrated that during the, REVIVE conferences. I’m sure you demonstrate it everywhere, that you lead. you did such a masterful job of, of really letting scripture drive and [00:18:00] guide the worship service. And one of the things I like, that I think was unique, on the.
Conferences that we’ve done with that, that you, that you really brought to the table was a demonstration of how. Accessible, this philosophy of worship, this theology of worship is to the normative size church. we can talk style preferences all you want. and I, I mean I love all different kinds of styles of music.
but one of the things that I’ve realized in this role over the last several years, serving. Smaller, normative size, dying, struggling churches is, the idea of a full band, is not theologically incongruent, but it is somewhat unattainable for a normative size church. Like they just, chances are, they just don’t have that.
Amount of musicians, uh, that play that different, many different instruments and can really put all that together. And so it feels really unattainable. and so I think part of that is when [00:19:00] we think of what, as we drill down from, from the theology and the philosophy to the application, how does the normative size church.
Really apply this well in a way that’s excellent. That does not require a massive amount of musicians that can rotate in and play a bunch of different instruments.
Joe Crider: Yeah. I think one of the things is that you, you begin to see that there are wonderful worship orders. pastors can see as, as they even just do their, their devotions. as they study or as they look at the scriptures, they realize, oh my goodness, there’s an amazing worship service right there.
Right. For example, let me pull one out just as a quick example of this. Let’s just use, Psalm. 30. Okay. a, a worship pastor or a pastor could stand up in front of the congregation. Just say, I’m so grateful that we’re here this morning.
As we, as we gather this morning, we realize that we gather at the invitation of the training, God of the universe who revealed himself to us through Christ, and he reveals himself [00:20:00] wonderfully and specifically through his. So let’s hear first from him. As we look this morning. We’re gonna, we’re gonna allow, the Psalm 34 to just guide our worship today and, for our call to worship.
Listen to these the first couple verses of the Psalm of David, Psalm 34. I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise will always be on my lips. I will boast in the Lord. The humble will hear and be glad. Proclaim the Lord’s greatness with me. Let us ex. His name together. Brothers and Sisters, let’s exalt his name together as we sing our opening.
Fill in the blank, right? How many, how many hymns and songs could you respond? I mean, I can think of four. Praise to the Lord the Almighty. all creatures of our God and King. , you know, then you can go through all of the, the really good, songs and, modern songs that have a response of, of some kind of praise right there, right?
And then, here’s interesting. So maybe one or two songs is over, and that’s, those songs are over. Say thank you so much [00:21:00] that when you, you may be seated Now, listen to what David says next. I sought the Lord and he answered me and rescued me from all my. Those who look to him are radiant with joy, their faces will never be ashamed.
This poor man cried and the Lord heard him and saved him from all of his troubles. The angel of the Lord in camps around those who fear him and rescues them
JimBo Stewart: Hmm.
Joe Crider: well, that can go to another couple’s home, that could go to the pastor, praying a prayer of confession. God we’re, every one of us in this room needed res.
Every one of us in this room, every one of this in this room, without Christ would be a shame to look into, because we cannot stand on our own. It’s only through Christ that we will never be ashamed. And all of us have cri. I mean, I’m just, I’m just making this stuff up as we go right here.
Right? but all of the different ways that those four verses 4, 5, 6, and seven, can be articulated through an incredible time of prayer. and that can either go into a song or doesn’t have to. And let’s say this day as, as a particular Lord Supper Day, well listen to the [00:22:00] next verse, taste and see that the Lord is good.
how happy is the perf takes refuge in him. Brothers and sisters, as we go to the table this morning, God has literally called us to taste and see his goodness through what he’s done, through Jesus Christ, and as we celebrate together the Lord’s Supper this morning. I mean, so, that’s a little bit too much there, but, but that’s just an example of how the scripture.
How our services are scripture driven, not song driven, and therefore our transition statements, our prayer times, all of those things are, are rooted in scripture that, again, doesn’t return void. And why Baptist haven’t been doing this for ages. I don’t know. Because this is our, this is the way Baptist, I’m not saying this is way Joe Kreider says this The way should do this.
I’m just saying, we’re people of the book, right? We don’t have a denominational liturgy over our heads telling us what to do, but we have the word of God [00:23:00] and that’s what we need to be using on Sunday mornings, and that’s revitalizing worship.
Bob Bickford: Man, that’s such a great, understanding and so accessible for pastors, worship. leaders. Just to connect. We, we have the. , we’ve always had the word. And thinking about how we can infuse that along with the songs of faith from our tradition, from our hymnals, and even contemporary new songs that speak of the, the richness of the biblical truth and weaving that all together and inviting people into, that’s just a beautiful picture.
Joe, I, if you, if there are guys out there who wanna learn more, and be trained. How do they connect with you and Southwestern and what are some opportunities? Jimbo and I, we both went to different seminaries. We’re adjunct with Southwestern, so we’ve been on the campus. We see some really good things happening, but there’s some leaders and some, some pastors out there who may wanna think about, man, I need to connect, I need to get trained.
Or I, I know some guys who are
called and wanna go train. What’s the best way for them to connect with you and the.
Joe Crider: Yeah, so thank you
[00:24:00] so much, Real quickly, we have. We have a lot of online, fully online opportunities for, for pastors and worship leaders. and the two online. The two online is specifically for worship. that I can point people to. You don’t need an undergraduate in music. if you have any kind of undergraduate, it can be in.
accounting. It doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. we have a program called the G C W L. The graduate certificate in worship leadership is 12 credits. And then if they, if they’re into that and they think, man, this has been amazing, all 12 of those credits can transfer into what we call the M A W L, the Master of Arts and Worship Leadership, which is a 36 hour, totally online.
And they can do it all from, from wherever they are. And we zoom twice a week with them so that it’s not like you get, you know, some of those online programs. You have no clue who you’re, who you’re really dealing. You watch a video, but you don’t know the people. We zoom all the, I’m getting ready in just a little while to zoom with our, with, with one of our other classes.
I zoom twice a week with my worship theology class. They’re [00:25:00] not, they’re not required to be on that zoom, but we really try to get to know our students. . The other thing about that, let’s say somebody doesn’t have an undergraduate, they can audit those classes. they can just audit them. Say, look, I just wanna audit the classes and watch the videos, and, we can help them with that.
My email is real simple. J Kreider, c r i D as in David, e r s wbt s.edu. and I would be honored and if anybody wants to just connect with me and say, Hey, could you talk me through some orders? Man, we’re happy to send them examples. We’re developing a website right now. Um, we’ve got one called artistic theologian.com.
That’s through school and there’s tons of resources on there. And I’m actually working a little bit more of a, a specific website on scripture guided worship that will have examples of it, of the things that we’ve talked about today. Cuz our truly our heart’s desires to serve the church. and so, but thank you.
So that’s how you [00:26:00] can please get ahold of me. Email me. I’m thrilled to do, we are thrilled to do anything we can.
JimBo Stewart: Excellent. Joe, thank you so much. This is all just such really good stuff and I hope that, our listeners will take you up on some of that and, continue to just make that shift towards letting scripture be the guide and what drives us on Sunday mornings. Thanks for being with us, Joe.
Joe Crider: Hey, thanks guys. I really appreciate you both. Looking forward to hanging out with you again soon.
Bob Bickford: yes.
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