John Wesley – Rules for Singing

Probably one of the best things we saw today at the conference was found in a very unexpected place. We have been hearing all day about connecting generations, not discarding the past. That’s a huge topic, and something that I’ll need to spend time pondering.

But, while we were sitting in the auditorium waiting for tonight’s concert to start, I just happened to grab the hymnal right in front of me. The conference is being held at an UMC Church, so I have never seen this hymnal before.

As I started to page through it, I came across this document on page vii. I’ll post it here, just so you can see how things have changed since 1791, and how much things have stayed the same.

These are Rules for Singing that are in the front of each hymal, written by John Wesley:


Rules for Singing

1. Learn these tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.

2. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.

3. Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.

4. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy harmony, but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.

5. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend close to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can; and take care not to sing too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.

6. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.

John Wesley, 1791.


Wow – what a statement regarding singing! Again, this is close to the front page in every hymnal in the curch. Our team really had a good time reading it! Thoughts?

Tuesday at the NWLC

Again – I’m overwhelmed after such a wonderful day at the conference today. It opened up with Jeremy Riddle leading us in worship, and then Leonard Sweet spoke. He was great! I went to his workshop after the general session for more.

I went to two workshops by Stan Endicot about worship choir – both very helpful! I also caught part of Paul Baloche’s workshop on “Creating Flow in Worship”

Dinner was fabulous – of course some good BBQ in Kansas City. I forgot to mention lunch – they brought in Chick-fil-A for everyone for lunch! That was cool!

Tonight’s concert was excellent! Some members of the group LoveSong – leaders of the early contemporary Christian movement, sang a couple songs, followed by Aaron Shust and Laura Story leading us in worship. Following that, Mac Powell and friends (Aaron and Laura, plus Matt Maher and others).

Following the concert tonight, we went to a local church here for another little gathering of worship leaders – less formal, coffee, free food! We met Glenn Packiam from the Desperation Band while we were there, and they filmed a podcast for a later episode on

Needless to say, it’s time for bed!

1st Full day of the National Worship Leaders Conference

Wow! Wow! Wow!

That’s what I’m feeling right now after 2 very full days of the National Worship Leaders Conference. It has been wonderful, and so rewarding. I’m so happy that everyone else on our team seems to be having a great time as well.

Monday morning for me started with a pre-conference seminar with Lenny LeBlanc leading worship, Sally Morgenthaler speaking on bringin Christ into the community, and Scotty Smith speaking.

We then had a 5 1/2 hour choir rehearsal with Stan Endicott in preparation for singing in the Conference Choir. It was a long time, but I enjoyed every second! Stan is great, and I love the way he gets us to sound! The theme this week is God’ faithfulness from generation to generation. So, they’re briniging a lot people from the past out for songs, as well as people from today. Evie (yes, that Evie) opened the night with “Spirit Song” – a classic; then we sang a song led by Bill Batstone. Anthony Evans led us in a time of worship, and then we sang with Tommy Walker.

A great day! How fun!

1st Day at the National Worship Leader Conference

Well, we arrived safely in Kansas City last night after a long drive! Sue Whitson suggested this great BBQ place for dinner – Arthur Bryants. Very good!

Now this morning I’ve registered for a pre-conference seminar with Sally Morgenthaler, Scotty Smith and Lenny LeBlanc. I’m looking forward to that!

Following that we’re headed to a marathon conference choir rehearsal. 10 of us in our group are going to be involved with the conference choir. Tonight we sing with Tommy Walker. The official conference begins tonight with the opening concert.

Should be a great day!!

Getting Started

Well, I thought I would just make a place for some of my thoughts, and things I’ve learned. I’ve been involved with the worship ministry for the last 16 years, and I’ve been through a lot of changes in that time.

I’ll be attending the National Worship Leader’s Conference next week in Leawood, KS, so I thought I may use this site to share some of my notes from different sessions and workshops. We’re bringing a team of 12 people from our church to the conference. I’m really excited for the week and look forward to seeing what God has in store for us.