Bren McLean

Archive for September, 2014


by on Sep.22, 2014, under Worship


There is a phenomenon in Christian circles known as ‘the paradox of the platform’. I have been meditating on this for some time now and would like to share TEN TENSIONS relating to serving in church:

1. Serving v Starring

The world says it’s all about YOU. That YOU are the star, the most important person in the world.

It’s true, YOU are important, but we are pointing people to Jesus


2. Excellence v Perfection

God deserves our best, but no one’s perfect.

Aim for excellent, which I define as doing the best that you can with the resources that you have


3. Speaking v Listening

This is simple. Pray for the wisdom to know when to speak and when to shut up ;-0


4. Planned v Spontaneous

These are not mutually exclusive. The Spirit expects us to plan and to be spontaneous and works during both


5. Safety v Risky

The safe road can lead to mediocrity.

Try new things. Be adventurous. You have permission to fail. Just be sure to learn from your mistakes


6. Unity in diversity

How is that possible?

Paul talks about the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. There are different gifts but one Spirit


7. Young v Old

We need both!

Aim for a healthy balance of experience and youthful enthusiasm (refer number 6)


8. Working ON v Working IN ministry

Leaders, sometimes it’s just easier to do everything yourself. This approach to ministry has limitations and can lead to burnout.

The Old Testament gives us a great example of leadership. Moses needed help, so Jethro advised him to delegate decisions to capable leaders (Exodus 18)

At St. Paul’s, our philosophy on effective leadership is ‘Discover – Develop – Deploy’.

ie. Finding leaders – Training leaders – Empowering leaders


9. Apple v Android

Ha. I don’t want to get into that argument, both are great tools with heaps of apps for communication and ministry


10. Traditional v ‘Contemporvant’

The ‘worship wars’ have been raging for decades. Much has already been written on the tension between traditional and contemporary/relevant, so I’m just saying the secret is to contextualize.

Keller describes contextualization (Center Church book) with great insight as understanding who the audience is and then communicating the gospel in ways that relate to them. This will be different for every church.

Just remember, the old pipe organ was once ‘contemporvant’! This parody from North Point is a funny take on the modern church service. It is meant to amuse rather than offend.



Fortunately, the intensity of these tensions (or opposing forces) is directly related to the condition of your heart. Someone with a strong sense of their identity in Christ, will be focused on Him and their desire to point people to Jesus rather than themselves.

And here’s the sobering part, God knows the spiritual condition of your heart.

heart check up

Look at Amos 5:21-24. God had serious words for Israel because their motives were not pure. They were corrupted by the world and their own selfish desires.

I would hate for God to describe me (or our service’s) like that!



Worship leaders, how do you respond when you’re asked to sing back up? Or cut a song?

Musicians, what if you’re asked to play less? Or not serve next month?

Creatives, what if you’ve run out of time for the video or drama you’ve spent hours working on?


Is it about you, or Him?

Friends, Jesus is the only way to be reconciled with the Father (John 14:6). So it is Jesus who deserves all the praise and honor and glory for ever (Revelation 5:12-13).

With the help of the Spirit, you can successfully manage the ‘paradox of the platform’.


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by on Sep.08, 2014, under Worship


Yesterday was a wonderful celebration at St Paul’s and the creative team pulled out all the stops. As a father of 4, I really enjoyed the day and am grateful for the variety of gifts and talents that we have at spch.

NOTE – It’s not often you get to see and hear a Harley motorcycle in church!

Below is the song list for the day:

1. The Love Of The Father (CityAlight)

2. 10,000 Reasons (Redman)

3. How Great Thou Art (Chorus only)

4. How Deep The Father’s Love (Townend)


John Gray then preached from 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16. John had 3 main points on being a dad:

  1. Breathe courage into your kids
  2. Comfort and persuade your kids
  3. Urge/insist your kids


Following the sermon, the band played the Casting Crowns song, Courageous. Featured in the movie of the same title, it reminds dads to take courage as leaders of the family:


The drama team also presented a skit titled, Guide To Being A Dad. It was a light-hearted take on the practice of dad jokes. I watched it on 3 occasions and was laughing out loud each time!

It was an edited script originally created by Idiots of Ants. Unfortunately, I can’t share the link here as it’s a little risque (refer YouTube).

Props to Justin, Keith, Pat and Matt for their willingness to perform and poke a bit of fun at the topic.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and granddads! Children are a gift from God and BOTH parents (with the support of family and close friends) are charged with the responsibility of guiding them in the ways of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6).


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