Theologically Sound Worship & more ft. Brogan Gaskill

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The One Degree Podcast



Digital library of theological trainings with guided notes

Exegetical Bible reading plans and studies with daily videos going deeper

Monthly Theology Couch Chat discussing a theological hot topic


We have another guest on the podcast! Welcome Brogan Gaskill! He’s incredibly authentic and genuine and seeks to glorify the Lord in everything he does. Brogan is part of a South Carolina church plant/church revitalization and works closely with BCM. He is a great singer/songwriter and we’re so excited for him to join us to talk about worship on this episode.

Let’s dive in!

What is worship?

We’re talking about worship, so we should probably define it first!

Brogan: It’s funny because this is probably something that you think is assumed in certain settings. But it’s a great question and a good exercise to think through. There are a lot of ways you could define it, but my mind goes to Romans 12:1-2. Paul defines worship as a holistic response to God and His mercy, not compartmentalized to a specific time or place. This could be individual or corporate. So, worship can play out in a lot of different ways!

We want our worship to be sincere and that means a whole-life engagement with God, not just one particular section

Nathaniel: So, what it sounds like you’re saying is that worship is not merely confined to singing songs on Sunday morning?

What does worship look like?

If worship flows from a sincere life, what does it practically entail or encompass? Can anything be worship? What’s the difference between corporate and individual worship?

Brogan: It’s understandable why we only think of worship as music. Music is one of my favorite ways to worship the Lord and I love that we get to sing together with the Lord! But worship is more of a heart posture. And not everything can be worship- sin certainly isn’t. But we are always bent towards worshipping, it just depends on what we worship.

But, with the holistic definition, if you are proceeding from faith and your gaze is directed towards Christ, then even the mundane and ordinary things can be redeemed and turned for the glory of God. In that sense, things aren’t really off limits when it comes to our personal worship. So, reading a book, cooking, resting, etc… can be done to the glory of God.

But when it comes to a corporate setting for worship, God has given us primary means of worship:

  • Coming to the Lord in prayer
  • The reading and preaching of His Word
  • Fellowship with other believers
  • Taking the Lord’s Supper together

It’s interesting because, towards the end of Exodus, God gives extensive instruction on the Tabernacle and how to build it. You could get bogged down in this section, but don’t miss the main point: God doesn’t just want Israel to worship Him in any general way. There are very specific, proper ways that He wants to be worshipped. I think that there is also a proper way to worship Him in the New Covenant.

What are ways that we worship God improperly?

Nathaniel: I love the idea that we are always worshipping something. As believers, what are some forms of improper worship that we can unknowingly stumble into?

Brogan: The angle of worship is God Himself, not anything else. So, God should never be a means to an end, because any other end will be the thing we are worshipping. For example, I don’t want to worship God to obtain more knowledge or puff up my head. This can be a real temptation! If that learning becomes the end, we can miss God and He becomes only useful, not beautiful to us.

In a similar vein, something I have struggled with is a consumer mentality. I go into a corporate worship setting to get something out of it for me instead of thinking about how I can encourage others and engage with God.

Self-Forgetfulness in Worship

Nathaniel: It’s interesting that you have the perspective of leading worship through song. I can’t sing, so I have the perspective of being in the conversation. It can be so easy to redirect the focus of worship to me; “Am I doing it right? Am I raising my hand at the right time? Do I look like I’m worshipping?” In my sinful tendencies, it is so easy to turn it back to me!

Xan: Or even, am I enjoying this? “Is it my favorite person leading today or is this kind of rough?” It’s so fickle! We all fall into these tendencies.

Brogan: Yes! I think sometimes my conscience will condemn me and I get paralyzed in analyzing these things. Ironically, I felt this a lot in seminary chapel and was so self-conscious about feeling hypocritical. The enemy so easily makes us focus on ourselves to keep our focus away from Christ. Robert Murray M’Cheyne said, “For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ.” When sincere worship is happening, there is a self-forgetfulness that comes along with it. This is very hard to put into practice though!

How can we worship biblically and theologically?

We’ve started broad, so let’s continue to narrow our discussion to talk about worshipping through song and music. What would you say about why it’s important to have biblically and theologically sound worship music? How do you even determine whether a song is biblically and theologically sound?

Brogan: We could spend hours talking about this question, but there are two primary texts that I would go to for further meditation regarding these questions. Colossians 3:16 gives instructions on how we are to live the Christian life together. The Word of God has to be a determining factor for what we are singing and engaging in song. If we lose that anchor, it becomes ambiguous and unhelpful. We are worshipping a vague God, not one who has revealed Himself in a very specific way. So we need to be careful about the words we are singing. Through that, worship has a teaching element. The times we are singing are times of discipleship. Paul talks about a teaching and admonishing element that renews our minds through God’s truth.

The other text to go to is Ephesians 5:18-19. Singing plays a unique role in our gathering. Part of our Spirit-filled lives is singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to each other. The more we meditate and abide in God’s Word helps us grow in our understanding of whether or not the words we are singing are beneficial.

How should we discern how to lead or listen to questionable music?

There are a lot of popular Christian leaders and music that may have questionable theology or misleading ambiguity. So how would you address worship leaders to steward this discipleship/teaching component? How do you discern if these things are okay/not okay to listen to (even individually)?

Corporate Considerations

Brogan: There are a lot of different ways you can look at this. I think there are very clear principles that if something is completely errant or wrong about God, we can say that it is a good idea to stay away from those songs. It gets trickier when there are people/churches that have unclear or questionable backgrounds or doctrines. It’s important to do your own research on what is being taught, but what if a song and its content are actually really good?

For those who are in some type of leadership role, this is a great call to do the harder pastoral work and care for your congregation. Know them well. Do the songs you’re singing cause anyone’s conscience to be affected? If a great song comes from a background that someone is uncomfortable with, it is a wise idea to stay away from that song. Especially because there are so many worship songs to choose from!

I would also say that context matters so much! You could be singing the same line as someone else, and be thinking completely different things! I usually try to evaluate songs to see if it is:

  • Informed by the word,
  • Singable,
  • Going to build up the congregation,
  • As well as other criteria.

Then I consider how I can contextualize and set up the song and tie it to God’s Word. If you can’t tie it to God’s Word, that is a good sign that you probably shouldn’t sing that song. I try to choose songs that are specifically tied to the text that is being preached.

Personal Wisdom

Brogan: On a personal level, it might depend on what is wise in how far along you are in your walk with Christ. If your personal convictions are still being formed, it might be good to be more cautious. But for those further along, there is good meat to chew and bones to spit out.

How do you balance platform and humility?

Xan: To really narrow it down, you’re a Christian musician, singer, and songwriter (and a good one, too). How do you balance the platform you have and the idea of redirecting attention to God and not self? How do you cultivate that redirection and humility in your own life?

Brogan: I wish I could say that I have the recipe for success, but I don’t. It’s difficult to not let using God as a means to an end slip into this. It’s easy to fall into this in your thought life, even if no one else sees it. No matter how people view what you do and how you promote, how you go about doing these things is just as important (if not more important) as what you produce.

It comes through a lot of accountability and conversations with others about your ego. It takes work to not do this out of selfish ambition or conceit. Praise God that through His Holy Spirit, we have good motivations. But we also fight the flesh, so we will be a mixed bag until glory. There is a tension that you don’t want to sow to the flesh, you want to sow to the Spirit. But don’t get paralyzed by analysis or fear of doing specific things because of unclarity about your motivations. Rest in the fact that God is going to do whatever He wants to through these things. He is much bigger than your pride, selfishness, and errant motivations. It goes back to the idea of self-forgetfulness.

I fumble along the way, but God is gracious to keep using me. I hope that I will get better as I go along.

Who are some of your favorite Christian musicians?

Brogan: I had a really cool opportunity to open up for City Alight last night. They are great, caring, humble people and were extremely supportive. I love their music and how singable it is. A few others that I look to are:

  • Josh Garrels. To me, he is a forerunner in a lot of ways to a genre that isn’t necessarily corporate worship, but I guess you could call spiritual songs. THey reflect God’s character and come from a Christian worldview, but aren’t necessarily geared towards corporate worship. John Mark McMillan also falls under this category.
  • Benjamin Williams Hastings. He is a worship leader who has written a lot of songs. There is an authenticity in his music that I really appreciate.

Tell us about your new album!

You recently released a new album, Babylon. Tell us more about it and what inspired it!

Brogan: Not too recently, I released an album called Babylon. It came from a season of writing, spanning all the way back to 2018. I didn’t set out to do this, but it came as close as I ever will to a concept album. It comes from the idea of exile. Even thinking about COVID, life changed very quickly and we were living in a functional exile. How do we serve God through that? I looked to the book of Daniel and his faithful example of serving God through the midst of difficult circumstances. Now, in the New Covenant, we know our eternal home is not here. We are currently in Babylon, the kingdom of this world, while God’s kingdom is advancing.

What does it mean to abide here and walk here faithfully? It often looks messy- we have doubts and sin struggles and have to fight. Through the Spirit and Christ beckoning us, we will be called home one day.

What is the process of creating an album like?

Brogan: I wish I could say there is a formula to write each song, but its normally pretty different. Sometimes I have an idea, and I sit down and the song just flows out naturally. It’s a reminder for me that the things I am writing are ultimately given to me. They are a gift to steward. Of course, there are habits to cultivate better songwriting and plenty of effort goes into it. But when it comes naturally, praise God!

But other songs take forever to write! I keep going back and forth on lyrics and structure. Sometimes it’s a grind to finish a song. One of the best lessons I have learned about songwriting is that refining and editing are super important. Be patient, not hasty in the process.

Once the song is down, production is a whole other part of the process that I am still learning a lot about. I have had a lot of help from a former pastor, Manny, who has given me so much knowledge and time and help.

Nathaniel: What song was your favorite to write or sing? My favorite is definitely “Currency.” I’ve listened to it at least 100 times and I think I cry every time.

Brogan: That is so encouraging! As I was writing it, I was praying that this album would help people feel things. And the Lord has answered that prayer. “Currency” means a lot to me- it was a song (particularly the bridge) that I really had to grind for. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but lyrically, I really enjoyed writing the song, “Bridegroom.” This is weird, but I’m still trying to figure out what it means.

Where can people find your music and connect with you?

Brogan: I am terrible at doing plugs! I have music on most digital streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc.. under “Brogan Gaskill.” If you listen, that would mean the world to me! A lot of my music gets spread through word of mouth, social media, etc… You can contact me through my email ( or through my Instagram (@brogangaskill).

Xan: I love that you give behind the scenes on your social media! The artwork is also amazing.

Brogan: Major shoutout about the artwork. Olivia Floyd Art (you should check her out!), a good friend of mine, has done all of the artwork for that series of song stories. She has done a phenomenal job!

One Degree Shift

Brogan: You should download the Dwell App! It is amazing, encouraging, and so practical. It is basically an audio Bible app that has great features. On your commute, one way to take and redeem the time is to listen to the Word.

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