IBW Interview Series: Bob Kauflin

This week we are thrilled to introduce a new feature in our weekly blogs called the IBW Interview Series. We’ve contacted several worship leaders from various backgrounds and ministries and asked them to answer questions that will offer our readers helpful and encouraging insights.

This month we interviewed Bob Kauflin. Bob is a frequent guest lecturer on our campus and our students and faculty have been wonderfully blessed by his ministry to us. He is the Director of Sovereign Grace Music and is a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville. He is the author of Worship Matters and writes at a blog of the same name.   

What books have been the most influential in shaping your understanding of corporate worship?

Engaging with God – David Peterson, Music Through the Eyes of Faith – Harold Best, Worship by the Book, ed. D.A. Carson, Christ-Centered Worship – Bryan Chapell, Unceasing Worship – Harold Best, and most recently, For the Glory of God – Daniel Block.

If you could go back in time and give yourself 2 or 3 pieces of advice as a young worship leader, what would it be?

  • Pursue God’s experienced presence, but don’t forget to enjoy his promised presence.
  • Rely more on the Word of God to work in people’s hearts through the power of the Spirit.
  • Make sure you help people understand how the gospel we’re singing about connects to their daily lives.

What process do you go through in designing the weekly order of worship?

I keep a Google doc with the order and assignments (musical and verbal) of every Sunday. I start by laying out the basic format: Call to Worship, songs, Scripture/confession, songs, pastoral prayer, welcome and offering, sermon, song/communion, benediction. I look over my notes from last week’s sermon to get an idea of what God was saying to the church the past week. That’s generally where the theme of the call to worship comes from, although not always. I then pick a Scripture/confession/creed to go in the middle of the singing. It’s usually a Scripture and I pick something from the opposite testament that I used for the call to worship. After that, I fill in the songs and the rest of the meeting.

In what ways do you think corporate gatherings will change in the next ten years?

I have no idea! My hope is that gatherings will become more dependent on the word of God, the gospel, and the power of the Spirit. I’d like to see them become more focused on congregational involvement and less of a performer/audience paradigm. But I’m concerned many churches will continue to see technology and creativity as playing a more crucial role in our gatherings so that we lose focus on the power of the gospel and the priority of God dwelling with his people through His Word.

What kinds of safeguards are in your life to protect your marriage and your family?

I only have two grown children at home now after raising six, so it’s a lot easier! Julie and I have had a weekly date night on Monday night for the last 25 years. When my kids were at home we had a family fun night on Sunday night, and a more serious family night on Wednesday nights. Those were non-negotiables. I took Mondays off and spent most of them doing some family activity at least part of the day. Most importantly, I watch my passions. If I don’t love being with my wife and kids, something’s wrong. Either I’m doing too much, pursuing the wrong things, or being distracted. And years ago I developed the practice of praying daily for my wife and children. That’s been extremely helpful in keeping me going in the right direction.

The next installment of the IBW Interview Series will feature Jonathan Welch of The Summit Church in North Carolina.