Thanks to Melanie Siewert, Tom Kline, Kim Castro and Barry Westman for providing their thoughts and insights after participating in The Worship Community’s online study group. We went through Dwayne Moore’s Pure Praise: A Heart-focused Bible Study On Worship together.
It’s a 9-week devotional geared towards worship leaders, worship teams, bands, musicians, pastors, and worshipers in general.
During this nine-week study, the Lord moved my heart in some powerful ways! Admittedly, I am not currently a part of a worship team. The reason why I decided to join the study is because I heard so many good things about it, and I also heard it applies to congregant worshipers. Indeed it does! The title of Pure Praise is so appropriate. Even church attendees can benefit from this study, and that’s where I got the most out of it – from that perspective. My desire is to please the Lord and one way of doing that is ensuring my praise is pure before Him! With that said, here are my 6 noteworthy take-aways from the study.
1. The Daily Praise/Daily Surrender portions were very effective to me. I was daily reminded to remain focused on my praise for the Lord (even those elements of praise I still consider uncomfortable), and encouraged to allow the Lord to reveal those deep, dark crevices in my spirit where I need to seek his forgiveness and recalibrate my thinking.
2. My spirit desires more physical worship, but my flesh likes to put up a fight. Although physical worship is very biblical (throughout all of scripture), I’m still uncomfortable with certain expressions. Clapping and raising hands are no big deal, but I still struggle with the others to varying degrees. So, I’ve opened myself up more to the Lord in this area. I’m still maturing.
3. I love the anchor story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30. There is so much worship in that one story! No wonder Dwayne Moore centered the study on that one amazing event! I’m still impressed with how much about praise and worship we can draw from 30 verses that demonstrate obedience, faith, and the glory of God!
4. About halfway through the study, Moore encouraged participants to listen to the Lord’s voice more. The Lord gave me more than I expected! I heard the Lord speak to me in ways he never has before. My life is more centered on his ways, his timing, and his authority. Glory to his name!
5. The Lord revealed to me that my “awe” of him remains somewhat superficial. There remains a degree of mysticism in my worship. I want to see more of God so that I may revere him, as I should. He is King over all the earth!
6. The mountain analogy seemed so appropriate to me. By the end of the study, I felt tired and frustrated. The very last week about finishing strong allowed me to breathe easy as I continue on my journey in a much better stride. Time will tell how the Lord uses this study through me for his kingdom.
I pray the Lord will use what I have learned, and help me apply it in a manner holy and acceptable to Him. If anyone is interested in developing a pure praise for the Lord whose love endures forever, this study is a MUST. Thank you, Dwayne Moore, for being sensitive to the Holy Spirit while writing this study. I’m truly blessed! Blessings to you and your family!
Melanie is a Christ follower, wife to a wonderful man of God, and mother of two incredible boys. She has several years experience mentoring high school worship bands, and desires to continually write music for the Lord’s church.
I have just completed Pure Praise, a Heart-Focused Bible Study on Worship by Dwayne Moore.
Below, I have listed some reasons why you should consider Pure Praise for yourself.
You will learn how much you don’t know about worship.
I have spent several years reading all the books about biblical worship that I could get my hands on. I have learned and profited more in the 9 weeks of Pure Praise than in all of the other books I have read. However much you already know about biblical worship will be enlarged and strengthened by the time invested in Pure Praise.
You will be challenged to have a deeper walk with God From Day 1, right up until the end, each day’s study challenged me to re-think a lot of my ideas about worship. It is not just about what we do on Sunday morning, but it is all about who we are when no one is looking. Each day consists of Bible-based teaching, followed by creative praise, and a time of surrender.
Do this study with others.
There will be benefit for you to do the study on your own, but you will benefit much more if you go through Pure Praise with others. A small group of us have just completed the journey together, and each day, posted what the lesson meant to us on a Pure Praise blog page here on TWC. And each of us will attest to the truth that we have benefitted greatly from reading what the others have posted. It always amazes me how God speaks to each of us in a slightly different way as we study the same thing.
This is a great study to do with your band, praise team, choir. Study individually, then meet once a week and share what you have learned. You will be amazed at how the unity and vision of your team will improve.
I have made several new friends through the online study on TWC, and we will continue to encourage one another on FaceBook for a long time to come.
Do it more than once.
If you have done Pure Praise already, consider doing it again. This was my second time through,
and I found myself being kicked in the behind nearly every day, because I had stopped doing
what I learned the first time through. Just as repetition helps us learn other important things, so revisiting Pure Praise has helped some of the vital truths I uncovered there to sink in deeper this time.
You will learn about King Jehoshaphat’s greatest moment, and what made him jump.
(Actually, scripture doesn’t say he jumped, but I bet he did!)
Tom Kline is a life-long lover of Christian music of all kinds; has served two churches as Worship Leader, is a songwriter (mostly on TWC’s Songwriter’s Forum,) watercolor artist, and grandfather of 11.
I have never experienced a Bible study that has affected me like Dwayne Moore’s Pure Praise. I believe part of the reason God directed me to The Worship Community was so that I could participate in this extraordinary event. I have learned so much-and at such a timely point in my life. I am at a place where I am just beginning to be a lead worshipper after years of being on a worship team. My goal is to bring God to people as a minister through music. This study has helped me on that path.
I thought the best way to share what I’ve learned is to go back to the heart of the study-the daily posts. These lesson reflections have helped me to understand what God wanted me to take away. Some lessons were exciting; some concepts were completely new to me, and some lessons shed light on otherwise well known ideas. Here are a few of the lessons that, for me, were life changing.
Week 4, Day 4…”Fine Tuning Our Ears”
“When I tried to concentrate on God’s voice for a full minute (!) I did okay. It helps me to put word pictures in my mind…Christ on the cross or on the throne, the ocean…I do try to have my ears tuned to him throughout the day but for really being still and listening…sometimes it takes a real sense of purpose.
I really appreciate yesterday’s lesson. Very practical. Really the first time someone has taken the time to really explain the why and how of listening to God’s voice. Imagine how much more we can do when we’re truly in his will.”
Week 5, Day 4…”The Power of the Spirit”
“Another “ah ha!” moment for me. I do tend to overlook the Holy Spirit when I’m trying to serve Him. I try to do things of my own accord. Now, looking back, especially with music, I’ve realized I’ve had the willingness, the prayer…I’ve been listening for His voice but completely neglected asking to be filled with the Spirit.
I was playing the piano earlier and going over some of my songs. I was kind of rushing, because I wanted to get through a few before we left. But I came to one and took my time and remembered to have HIM in my mind as I sang. Since this was before the lesson, I didn’t think to ask the Spirit to come into me, but from now on I’ll pray for the Spirit whenever I do ANY music. Or anyTHING! I’m so excited!”
Week 6, Day 3…”The Law of Divine Elevation”
“It’s nice to know that all of us here have struggled in some way or another with pride or frustration when it comes to serving in music ministry…it’s also nice to know that it’s God’s timing, and that we can stop the stressing and anxiousness as to WHEN things will ‘happen’ for us. ‘Such knowledge takes away the stress of feeling we have to ‘fight’ to maintain our position.’ I think this takes a lot of practice but it’s something to remember. HE’S in charge, not us.”
Week 8…”Impress, Inspire, Instruct, Influence, Illumine”
This week was an amazing week. At the heart of my goal as worship leader is to bring God into the presence of the people-to shine for Him as we worship Him.
“Lord, help me to impress people in a mighty, moving way when I lead. I pray for my church, for other leaders, also, that we may impress those who hear. May our words be yours. May our music glorify you. May we make a lasting, authentic impression…not about how we played, or sang, or ‘rocked’ onstage, but about your power and your glory. Amen.”
Again, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this study. I’m also grateful to Russ for organizing it and for Melanie, Tom, Barry, and all the others who participated. May God be with us in our personal journeys as we worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Kim Castro is a lover of Christ and family. She is a worship leader and songwriter hailing from central California. Her heart is to obey the Great Commission and to serve others as God leads.
I just finished going through a tremendous Bible study on worship entitled Pure Praise, written by Dwayne Moore. I’ve heard so much about this book from so many people that I just had to read it for myself. I saw that there was a group of people at The Worship Community, a popular website for worship leaders, who were going to go through the study together online, and I thought that would be a great opportunity to do it, so I signed up and began going through this nine-week study back in November.
One of the main reasons I wanted to go through this study was to see if it would be a good resource to use with our team here at Bethel. I wanted to go through it first, myself, before I led our team through it. Now, after completing it, I know for sure this is something I would like to do with our team. In fact, as we learned on the last day of the study “we are now required to live out what we learned and to tell what we have experienced – through praise that is more pure and more powerful.”
This 9 week study is written for worship teams to go through together, with special group discussion questions included at the end of each week’s lessons. There are five lessons each week, and each lesson included teaching on worship, a time for daily praise and surrender. The central passage that this study draws from is found in 2 Chronicles 20, and I found it amazing how much detail Dwayne was able to draw from one passage! Of course, he uses texts from the whole of Scripture to support his teaching. It was amazing to dig deep into God’s Word and see all that He has to say to worship leaders in this area of worship.
This study is perfect for people of all stages in their role as a worship leader, whether it’s for a vocalist, band member, worship tech, the worship leader or pastor. It starts with general teachings on praise, and then draws you up the mountain of learning to the peak, as you strive deeper and deeper in what it means to be a worshiper and worship leader. I have been involved with worship ministry for over 18 years, and I learned so much in this study, it was incredible! God used this study to point some things out to me that I have read so many times, but have either overlooked, or looked at in a completely new way! I was challenged daily to surrender all to Him. The week on learning how to hear God’s voice was so powerful! I also really enjoyed the week about style, and the one about how we can have the greatest impact on the congregation through our worship.
Each week was worthwhile, and I’m so looking forward to figuring out how I’m going to take our team through this study. I know I need to! Thanks, Dwayne, for such an amazing study!!
Barry serves as the Worship Pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Janesville, WI.