WORSHIP AT NORTHVIEW
At Northview, we value acts of worship in response to who God is and what He has done.
Though worship is far more encompassing than just the songs we sing, music serves as a unique medium, where a group of people can join in one voice and respond to and declare who God is and what he’s done. It’s a way of response that connects knowledge of God (our heads) with passion for God (our hearts).
When people think of music, many think style, but we value content more than style. The style of music, while a valuable creative expression, is primarily a medium we use to teach and remind ourselves of the content – the Person and object of our worship.
We hope that our ministry at Northview engages your heart and mind as you are reminded of God’s faithfulness, His character and His love for His people. We hope that our worship services spur you on as you go back to your communities, families, and places of work and worship Him with your whole lives (Romans 12:1). The deeper the gospel is understood, the more extravagant and all-encompassing the response.
If you have questions about worship at Northview, here’s a list of some of the frequent ones we get, or email Pastor Andrew any of your questions firstname.lastname@example.org.
Worship is a response to who God is and what He has done. God acts toward us with grace which is shown in the created world, and supremely in the Cross. Our worship is a response to this activity. Our acts of worship include both what we do when we gather corporately each week, and individually in our lives (work, play, study, etc.). The deeper the Gospel is understood, the more extravagant the response.” Some passages where we get this summary are Luke 7:36-47, Romans 12:1-2, Ephesians 5:18-20, Psalm 95:1-2, Psalm 96:1-3.
If worship is how we respond to God then hopefully it’s so much more than just singing. It is something believers do toward God, as an expression of recognizing who God is through what He’s done. It is done as a response to the grace he has shown to us in his bringing us to reconciliation as sinners to himself through the work of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, even while we were yet in rebellion.
Colossians 3 says we are to do everything as if for the Lord. Jesus doesn’t desire Sunday morning followers. He desires people who worship God with their entire lives. Sunday morning gatherings are important (Hebrews 10:25), but God wants your entire life, not just some songs for an hour a week. Romans 12:1 summarizes it best, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.”
We gather and worship as it commands us to do in Hebrews, in order to scatter back into the world – returning to our homes, workplaces, and schools to bring the love of Jesus to the world. Worship services that encourage people to be more like Jesus in all their lives is “good worship” – not necessarily music and songs that give us “the feels”.
There are a number of reasons we sing in church, and the first reason, is because the Bible tells us to! Singing has been a part of the worship of the People of God since early biblical times, Moses and Miriam wrote a praise song when Israel was brought out of slavery (Exodus 15). The Psalms are full of encouragement to ‘sing to the Lord’. Most of them were set to music, as we know from phrases like ‘set to the tune of…’ or ‘For the director of music… A song’. This theme of singing continues in the New Testament. Jesus and the Disciples sang after the Last Supper in Matthew 26:30. Paul and Silas sang in prison, under very different circumstances in Acts 16:25. Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 command us to sing to one another, and James 5:13 states, “is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise”. This command has been practiced throughout Church history, through the simple unison melodies of the early church, complex chorales of the Middle Ages, the hymns of the Reformation, or the modern full band songs we hear in many congregations today. Across cultures and across the ages, singing remains one of the easiest ways of engaging people.
Songs have power to teach us our doctrine. What we believe is most easy to remember if we sing it. You’ll find this true if you sit at the bedside of an aged, dying saint and listen as they sing the lyrics of hymns they learned in their childhood that bring them comfort and hope in the Lord, or the child that recites how Jesus loves them, because the Bible tells them so. Those songs stay within our memory far longer than those words could without the melody.
Even more than just for the sake of engaging and learning theology, singing can “move our affections” as Jonathan Edwards would say. In other words, music and song have the ability to unlock our emotions for expression to God. Singing and art in general can connect our minds with our hearts, and cause our hearts to be moved by the truths that sit in our heads.
Lastly, singing can build up the rest of the church body. When a child watches an adult lift their hands, they see what surrender looks like. When, a young adult sees an elderly individual weep because of the faithfulness of God expressed in song, they are moved to greater faith. We never know who is taking cues from us in the gathered setting and who we are impacting when we sing in the gathered community. So, even if we don’t ‘like’ singing, or think we’ll offend others with our poor pitch, find a way of at least ‘speaking’ the words in meter and in time with the rest of the church, and find that the ‘song’ of the Gospel will be imprinted deep within you and be witnessed by those around you.
So, to answer the question, “do I have to sing along”, I suppose you don’t have to, but the Bible commands us to, it’s a valuable way for you to learn theology and have that theology impact your heart, and you are building up your church family around you in your contribution. That’s more than enough reason for us to do it!
You don’t need to be a “good person” who has it all together to come to church – in fact, the church is made up of people who recognize they don’t have it all together – that they need God and need to be with others who also recognize their need for God. Everyone is welcome to attend our services!
At our weekend services, we will do three main things:
We will hear from God’s word together. We will read the Bible and also have some time of being taught through a sermon, not only what it says, but how it applies to our lives. We will read the Bible as it is woven into our service order and learn how to understand it and apply it to our lives as our pastors teach from specific passages?
We will also spend time in prayer in our services, presenting our requests to God and praying for one another. We try to create space after our services for anyone to pray with individuals from our prayer teams.
Our services will also have music! As we sing songs of worship to God and thank him for what he’s done, we remind ourselves of his goodness and his love most clearly seen in the person and work of Jesus.
We will sing both old and new songs as we seek to express God’s truth through the tradition of the church and in fresh, culturally, and contextual ways.
While we love it loud, some might not share our enthusiasm for volume. Some may even worry about hearing damage from overexposure to high volume levels. Let’s talk first about the safety, then get into the philosophy and even theology behind volume.
First, when it comes to safety there are a number of common misconceptions around dB (decibel) levels, but to spare you a very long answer over the physics of volume and sound waves, suffice it to say there are two main scales people use to determine dB levels, dBA scale and dBC scale. The dBA scale measures all frequencies that are potentially harmful to long term hearing. This scale is commonly used by labour safety groups. The dBC scale measures all frequencies of sound, including those that are totally safe and not damaging at all.
WorkSafe BC recommends that a person not be exposed to more than two hours per day at 91dBA. Our services are usually just over one hour, but let’s round up, just to be extra safe. Though our services peak around that level, the difference between our services and, say a lawnmower which runs around 96 (depending on the model), is that a lawnmower is consistently at that volume, and it’s 2 hours consistently at that level which is dangerous.
Our songs and our preaching have lots of dynamic in volume – it’ll get loud, to that same level, but then come down to under 80 dBA for a bit. On average, we’re much closer to 83-85 dBA in a service, which a person can handle without any long-term damage for 8-12 hours per day. While we love to singing together as long as possible, 8-12 hours is a pretty long service.
But, why do we have to push that volume limit at all? Why not bring it way down to a level so this doesn’t even need to be a discussion? Philosophically, we believe that people sing out more when they don’t feel self-conscious about singing out.
Even if you don’t agree with that philosophy, we have theological reasons behind it too. There are some that don’t love loud music because they find it less “worshipful”, but a quick look into the scriptures will reveal what the Bible says about volume in worship.
“Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts” Psalm 33:3 (ESV)
“Praise him with loud crashing cymbals!” Psalm 150:5 (ESV)
1 Chronicles 15 also says David commanded his people to play loudly on musical instruments and they did just that (1 Chr 15:16+28). In fact, the Hebrew word used here, can also be translated as “loud noise”, or even “war cry”, depending on its context.
This theme of loudness is even seen as the end of the age in Revelation 19:1, where the great multitude in heaven are crying out loudly, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God!” The impression you get throughout the Biblical narrative is not of worship being solemn or contemplative, but loud and joyful – like a war cry!
We recognize that sometimes a mix can seem uncomfortable, and we’re working really hard to be considerate of everyone while following the Biblical mandate of making a joyful noise. We also recognize that loud noises aren’t for everyone, and want to try to accommodate those who physically can’t handle the volume levels where they are at. Over everything, we want to create an environment that is celebratory and joyful because as Christians, we have a lot to be joyful about!
A lot more thought goes into song selection that simply a leader liking a song.
When a worship leader picks the songs they are singing on a given weekend, they are trying to accomplish four main ideas with our song selection.
Liturgy – In many circles, people cringe at the word liturgy, because they assume it means structured readings and solemn reflective services. In reality, a liturgy is simply the form in which a service is conducted. For some it is very specific and the same week to week, for others, their liturgy is intentionally free-flowing and loose. Every church has a liturgy, even if they don’t know it. Northview follows a 4-fold liturgical structure. We walk through 4 intentional steps – gathering, the word, our response, and a sending. As worship leaders we try to have our songs fit with that 4 step process, so our first song is generally welcoming and reorienting us to God. After that, is the word, where we will hear from God’s word, through scripture reading, more singing, and primarily through the preaching of the word. After hearing from God’s word, we respond. This can take many forms as well, but generally it is some form of thankfulness for who God is and what he’s done, and how it changes who we are and how we live. This is also the place where we practice communion as a corporate response to God’s grace. Lastly, we are sent out with a benediction or blessing, to go and be the church in our communities, homes, schools and workplaces.
Theology – Over and above all, we believe that you are what you sing. We place the highest emphasis on our theology in our songs. We believe that while preaching is obviously very valuable, people are taught as much by the songs they sing as the preaching they hear. Imagine if I asked you to tell me the 3 main points from the sermon this past week, could you recite them? Possibly, but probably not. If I asked you to sing the chorus of a popular song though, would you be able to remember those word? Far more likely, because melody and rhythm has a way of sticking in your mind in a way that speaking alone cannot do. Therefore, we believe it is extremely important for us to be singing things that are true and beneficial for the edification of the church body.
Singability – There are a lot of really great songs, with powerful messages that we don’t sing in church. Another factor in song selection is singability – how realistic is it to sing this as a congregation? Is this song range asking too much out of people? Will they be able to follow along if it runs around all over the place? This is a harder question to answer, because different age groups and demographics will enjoy or struggle with different songs. The goal of the worship leader in song selection is to ensure that people are able to follow as much as possible, because if people can’t sing along because the song is too high, or too hard to follow, we aren’t accomplishing our main goal which is for people to sing along!
Aesthetic – The last factor, and probably least important, but still a factor nonetheless is a songs aesthetic. Is this song beautiful? Is it poetic and well written? Does it inspire those singing it? Is it overly boring or redundant or cliche? This is a very difficult category as it’s so much more subjective than the other categories, but the goal of a worship leader in picking songs is that they reflect the beauty, majesty and creativity of God.
This question comes up often – “why do we sing songs from (insert artist name here) when we don’t believe the same things they do?
Aren’t we promoting them by singing their music?” This is a great question and we generally respond to it with two parts.
First, we believe all truth is God’s truth. By that we mean, if the content is true, it’s good – regardless of its source. A person writing a song does not own the truths of that song, nor did they make those statements true – God did, and God owns them. Therefore, any song that is true is valuable and can be sung in our services.
However, the second part of the answer is, is this song beneficial? While a song may be true, we want to be very clear that we do not endorse everything that comes from every author. There may be certain artists that are linked to specific movements that we very much disagree with and that are very popular in our community. We must be very pastoral in ensuring that by singing the songs of a specific artist, our church knows the dangers of that artist.
One thing we want to avoid is making a blanket rule that if a specific author doesn’t affirm every single theological nuance that we do, that we shouldn’t sing their songs. That would be an overreaction and limit our song choices down to a very small number of artists. Historically, there have been many writers who wrote powerful and rich songs that we still sing today, that we would have significant issues with their stances on certain issues. One example, a man named Isaac Watts, who wrote a number of very popular hymns, made a number of very controversial statements over the nature of the trinity outside of his music. We don’t believe that by singing his songs, that our congregation will suddenly follow Watt’s theological leanings, and the content of those songs are rich and true, therefore we don’t take issue with his songs. If we became concerned that people would begin to stray off what we believe to be orthodox doctrine because of his songs, we would reconsider those songs as a part of our hymnody.
In summary, if the song is true and we feel it is beneficial to the congregation, those songs are in-bounds. The worship leaders in tandem with the pastoral staff, must discern together whether or not a song hits on those two categories.
We’re always excited to have more people who are musically skilled join our teams.
We have an application process, but before we get there, let’s talk about expectations we have of people who serve on teams.
We have three main expectations of people who want to join teams.
First, if you want to serve at Northview, it is expected that you have and are fostering a relationship with Jesus. We expect that people who want to join our teams want to worship God, both on the stage and off the stage in how they live. We also expect that by expressing interest in serving at Northview, that you have made Northview your home church. We don’t desire to “steal” the most talented musicians from other churches – if you attend another church, serve the church you attend! We suggest that before serving on teams at Northview that you commit to attending Northview for at least 6 months before you begin to lead.
Secondly, we want people who have great attitudes. This is one of the most underrated aspects of people on our teams. If you’re a Christian, and you’re exceedingly talented musically, but you’re a dreadful person to be around, this probably won’t be the best fit. We desire to have people with big servant hearts, a love for the church, and a desire to serve where ever the needs are. We desire our teams to be encouraging, constructive and teachable – being receptive to feedback and eager to grow in our gifts together.
Last is the musicality – we believe that worship teams should lead with excellence. God deserves our best and as a church and a worship department, we believe we are responsible to offer our best to him. To play on teams you don’t need to be perfect, but team members should always be working on their craft through practice or through private lessons. If you’re not sure where you’re at on this category, that’s totally cool! Come, apply anyway and we can work on this together. We’re convinced that people who are strong in the first two categories can develop this last one.
So, how do you apply? Fill Out This Worship Application Form. After that, we’ll arrange a time to meet you, hear you play or sing, and talk about how you might fit in, discern where exactly your skills could be used, and what aspects of your skills could use further refining. We believe music is a journey that we are all on together. We hope that this process doesn’t sound too intimidating – we’re excited you’ve even done this much by reading this blurb! If you’re at this point now and you’re questioning whether or not to apply, pray about it. Ask God if this is where you should be serving.
Applying doesn’t need to be very stressful, nor is it committing to playing on teams every week for the rest of eternity.
Songs We Sang – August 3/4
Below are the songs we sang in the different venues this past weekend. Also you can listen to songs we sang this past weekend on our Spotify playlist!
Come Ye Sinners – Joseph Hart
Amazing – Amanda Ellsworth/Andrew Geddert
Before the Throne Of God – Charitie Lees Bancroft/Vikki Cook
God Is Able – Ben Fielding/Reuben Morgan
Oh Our Lord – Paul Baloche/David Leonard/Leslie Jordan
God With Us – Leslie Jordan
Come Thou Fount – Robert Robinson/John Wyeth
This We Know – Jason Ingram/Kristian Stanfill
Ever Be – Kalley Heiligenthal/Gabriel Wilson/Chris Greely/Bobby Strand
Yes I Will – Eddie Hoagland/Mia Fieldes/Jonathan Smith
Sovereign Over Us – Bryan Brown/Aaron Keyes/Jack Mooring
This Is Amazing Grace – Josh Farro/Jeremy Riddle/Phil Wickham
Come Thou Fount – Robert Robinson/John Wyeth
Build My Life – Brett Younker/Karl Martin/Kirby Kable/Matt Redman/Pat Barrett
O Praise The Name – Benjamin Hastings/Dean Ussher/Marty Sampson
Glorious Day – Jason Ingram/Jonathan Smith/Kristian Stanfill/Sean Curran