Archive for the 'Worship Leading' Category

Sunday Setlist and Safety First!

Today I led worship in Kidstown (the children’s minstry at SC3) I had a blast – along with getting to hang out with my daughter I got to wear this cool lanyard:

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Today we sang

  • Pharoah Pharoah – old skewl bible camp version
  • Your Name – Paul Blaloche

At Summit they do Big Idea style ministry (which makes me absolutely love the children’s ministry!) Right now the adults are going through Exodus, so the kids are too. It’s pretty rocking to read the Bible together at home as a family and have it tie into what’s going on in corporate worship on Sunday in ALL the evironments.

More worship setlists from today here.

Sunday Setlist

I played electric guitar today at SC3. It was a blast, here’s the set –

  • The Lovliest Sound – Starfield
  • Glorious – Tomlin
  • Take my Life – Tomlin
  • Surrender – Jeremy Camp
  • Let it Rise – Holland Davis

Man it was nice being back on stage to help lead worship again. Today was probably the most laid back experience I’ve ever had playing on any worship team I’ve ever been on. They just have their stuff together at Summit. There’s lots of folks on the team who have been doing it for a long time and everyone was so professional. (The Drummer today actually played Djembe in the Elder’s living room at the very first service 5 years ago when the church was planted.)

I LOVE playing guitar 2. Today we had acoustic and lead electric along with my rhythm electric. This is such a fun position to play because you get to add a lot of nuanced parts. The main structure of the song isn’t relying on your part, but it just gives the mix that little something extra. It’s like being the special sauce.

Let it Rise really torn it up today. They rock pretty hard most Sundays at Summit but this song just took it to the next level. At rehearsal Patrick, our worship pastor, said to the lead gutiar, “You have the GREEN LIGHT – I wanna hear Def Leapord going on during this song!” It was tons of fun and the people were just lovin’ it.

Of course we all know God smiles when he hears guitar solos in church ūüôā

Check out more setlist mainia at Fred McKinnon.com

O Come Emmanuel – Rocked Out

One of my last Sundays at Chase. You have to check out the awesome counter melody from 2:50  to the end.

Leaving Chase Valley Church

I’m writing this post with a morose, but peaceful heart. Today was my last Sunday as the Worship Arts Pastor at Chase Valley. One week earlier I turned in a letter of resignation to the leadership. I didn’t want to but out of obedience to God I had to. I know I am following God’s will in this. It doesn’t make it hurt any less.

Chase Valley has gone through a lot of painful staff changes. I said that it was my goal to leave with the least amount of hurt and that I was willing to do anything to help transition the ministry. The leadership felt that it would be best if I made today my last Sunday. I submitted to their decision. 

My final setlist for Chase Valley was

  • I Am Free – Egan
  • Adonai – Badham, Fieldes
  • O Come Emmanuel – Chia
  • God of Wonders – Byrd
  • Once Again – Redman
  • All Creatures of Our God and King – Crowder

I didn’t plan for this to be my last Sunday – these just happen to be the songs I already had scheduled this week. You can see more setlists from other worship leaders at my friend Fred’s blog.

Why I’m Not Leaving

If you’ve read my blog or attended Chase Valley you know things have been rough. There has been interpersonal conflict and financial struggle. None of those reasons are why I have chosen to resign. In fact conflict and struggle are what I signed up for. I knew Chase Valley was facing hurt and hardship before I arrived.¬†A huge reason why I came was because I wanted to minister in this situation. I felt called and¬†equipped¬†to do so.¬†

I love the people of Chase Valley. I love my worship team. I love my ministry. 

So What’s the Problem?

I have a high ethic of supporting leadership fully. The fact is that the senior pastors have a vision for the church that I cannot in good¬†conscience¬†support. I would be¬†disobedient¬†to God if I did. It’s not a bad vision. They have a Godly vision that¬†authentically¬†matches their gifts, talents, experiences and calling. Unfortunately it runs contrary to what God has gifted, equipped and called me to do.¬†

Two visions Рboth good, but both very different. 

The moral choice was to step aside and let them lead the church where they believe Christ wants it to go. 

The Masses vs The Margins

These differences in vision logically breed separate philosophies of worship. The senior pastors are called to the masses – to “cast as wide a net as possible.” The ethic here is to format a worship service that has the absolute broadest appeal and “offers something for everyone.” It’s not a bad philosophy and many churches are successful using it.

My calling on the other hand is to create new, innovative and different forms of worship. Rather than appeal to the masses, my goal is to reach out to the margins Рthe people no one else is reaching. If you want to reach the people no one else is reaching you need to do what no one else is doing.

A call to the masses vs a call to the margins – one does what is most popular, one does what is least popular. One seeks to follow in what is tried and proven while the other seeks to lead into uncharted territory. The world needs both kinds of churches.

The Next Step

I really don’t have any plans at this point. God told me to resign and I followed in obedience without knowing what the path would look like. Sarah and I have discussed other churches in town we’d like to visit in order to find one where we could serve Christ wholeheartedly. I’ll be posting later on the process of finding a church.

For now my hope is for the full success of Chase Valley. The Senior Pastors have assured me of their confidence in their vision – that they fully and confidently believe the church will make a turn to become a growing chruch again.

On the Fly

Sunday Setlist

  • Everyday – Joel Houston
  • O Come Emmanuel – Billy Chia
  • Offering – Paul Baloche
  • Jesus Paid it All – Kristin Stanfil
  • Glory in the Highest – Chris Tomlin
  • My Hope is Built on Nothing Less – Billy Chia

Had some media challenges today. I was introing the Christmas verse to offering and asked the tech to put the words on the screen. But they didn’t go up. I asked people to help me sing it because this verse always chokes me up. (Yes, I know I’m a pansy sap. I’m ok with that.) Well this verse didn’t get up while we sang it either. Made for an awkward moment.

During the sermon I checked inwith the tech and found out that verse didn’t make it into the Media Shout. I did a little on the fly training and showed him how to add in the extra verse. I’m actually pretty proud of the guy for having such a learning heart. I said, “We shoot for improvement, not perfection.”

Distracted

Setlist for today

  • O Come Emmanuel – Billy Chia (I used an em9 inspried by Jeremy’s version. Mine’s a little more rocked out.)
  • One Way – Hillsong United
  • King of Glory – Chris Tomlin
  • Awesome is the Lord Most High – Chris Tomlin
  • Inside Out – Hillsong United
  • Til I See You – Hillsong

The band did a tremendous job today. I had another scheduled worship leader so I got to hang back and just play lead guitar. The band felt tight on stage.

The crowd was … unenthusiastic.

I personally did not show up with my A game today. Last week held 7 shades of turmoil at Chase Valley. We’re still in it and I’m not allowed to talk about it. This past week I spent tons of time in prayer over this situation. I invested the majority of my emotional and spiritual energy into it instead of investing energy into “how can I be the best leader for my team this week?”

I felt like I was just reacting to situations that arose this morning instead of proactively leading. I hadn’t gotten my head into the leading my team and leading our peope in worship. I was still focused on this other tangent that needs to be resolved.

Honestly, my heart is just shattered over this. I’m sure I’ll blog about it once there’s a resolution. For now all things are on the DL.

In the meantime check out some other folk’s sunday setlist at Fred’s site.

Youth In Love with Jesus

The Setlist Today  for Chase Valley Church

  • King of Majesty – Marty Sampson
  • Yours is the Kingdom – Joel Houston
  • Jesus Paid it All – Alex Nifong, Elvina M. Hall
  • From the Inside Out – Joel Houston
  • Hear Us from Heaven – Jared Andersen

Today was sweet. Not as much energy in the crowd as the last two weeks, but you can’t keep things at a “10” forever – you need some ebb and flow. The cool thing I noticed today came from out teens. Our Jr. High and High School kids hang out for opening music set, when we take offering they leave and go to the youth room for the sermon. Today, a couple teens hung out for offering and sang along with the offering song and then went to youth service. They were so into worshiping Jesus they stuck around for an extra song. That rocks.

If it’s too loud…

Setlist for today at CVC

  • Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall
  • Blessed Be Your Name – Matt Redman
  • Kindness – Chris Tomlin
  • Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) – Chris Tomlin
  • Light the Fire Again – Brian Doerksen

Today the worship ministry at Chase Valley took about 37 steps forward – it was awesome. We had a few hang ups, but ultimately the advancements we made far outweighed the mistakes.

I played drums today, which was tons of fun and I worshiped like I haven’t in a long time – we had a vocalist on the team step up to take on the full role of leading worship including a lot of the prep work and leading the band through rehearsal. She did a phenomenal job and the band really responded to her leadership.

I’m super excited for the next time she leads. On the “plan vs. improvise” spectrum I lean more towards “plan” and she leans more towards “improvise.” (Both are needed, and neither is morally superior.) I love improv worship – it’s just not what I’m best at and I seek to bring the Lord my best. I certainly appreciate it and I’m looking forward to our worship ministry growing in diversity.

Apparently a visitor actually walked out during the music today citing that it was “too loud.” The fact is we did have a few sound issues today, but if they were so disturbed they actually left, then I’m thinking they are not going to like Chase Valley on any other Sunday.

I’m kinda bothered that they took off. My insecure sin nature wants to please everybody. My redeemed heart knows that today’s worship was for an audience of One and He was certainly pleased.

Keeping it Cool and Collected

Setlist for today at Chase Valley Church:

  • All Because of Jesus – Steve Fee
  • Your Grace is Enough – Matt Maher
  • God of Wonders – Marc Byrd
  • How Great is Our God – Chris Tomlin
  • Lay it Down – Matt Maher

Things went pretty excellent today despite some personnel change ups. One of the things I spent a lot of time doing when I was fulltime was chasing down musicians. If someone had to cancel at the last minute I ran around frantically trying to find replacements. There was a lot of pressure to have a “full stage.”

Now that I’m bivocational I’ve just said, “I don’t have time to chase down worship team members.”

Man, today was so awesome. On stage we did a 3-piece: drums, bass and me on vox and acoustic. Instead of being all stressed out trying to schedule extra rehearsals or cram extra people in, we just went with what we had. The music was super tight and I could focus on actually leading worship instead of having my mind race through how to solve 87 different issues. Man, I love to lead worship.

One of the issues this morning was that my media tech didn’t show up. Instead of fretting about it, we just ran a calm, normal sound check. After sound check I eneded up finding an innocent bystander in the lobby and gave him a 5-min crash course in Media Shout. He did a tremendous job and all was well.

This post is part of Setlist Sunday.

Free Worship Leader Webinar

Jason Hatley from Journey Church is doing a FREE webinar on the Top 3 challenges worship leaders face. It’s from noon-2pm EST on Oct. 30. It’s free, but you do have to register to get your spot.

Jason puts up a great podcast with hardhitting and pragmattic advice. He updates pretty sporadically, so subscribe to RSS feed and you’ll be in on when the next one goes live. (I’m a big fan of the episodes on what a worship leader wants from his pastor and what a pastor wants from his worship leader.)

I have to work my new job on Oct. 30, so I can’t hit up the webinar.

Can someone take notes for me?

Rock It

Today’s Setlist for CVC:

  • All Because of Jesus – Steve Fee
  • No One Like You – David Crowder
  • I Am Free – Jon Egan
  • You Never Let Go – Matt Redman
  • We Fall Down – Chris Tomlin

It was a slim crowd today. It always hard to engage people where there’s 5 empty chairs between each person.

Then, afterward a friend told me, “Great job Billy! Worship felt like a rock concert!” That was pretty encouraging.

This post is part of Setlist Sundays.

Are You a Bivocational Worship Leader?

I need some help blog world! I am transitioning from being a full-time church staff member to having a full-time secular job and volunteering my time to church.

I’m looking to simplify my ministry processes and focus my efforts on activities that will net the most fruit.

If you are a bivocational worship leader/pastor/director I want to know, “how do you do your job?” If you can email me your phone number and a good time to call I would love to have a half hour of your time to listen to your advice.

In all honesty I’m looking for guys who have been successful at this. I believe I can be bivocational and grow my ministry so I want advice from people who have experience doing that. Even if your church is not numerically growing, I’d still like to hear from you. I believe churches grow when they are healthy. If you help grow the health of your church as a bivocational worship staff member then I really need your help!

Email me your phone number.

Leave me a comment with your most effecive ministriy practice for bivocational worship leaders.

Worship Tour Recap

This week we had 2 Chase Valley worship teams. One led worship at Chase and the other led worship at Trinity in Columbia, TN. Here’s the music:

Chase Team:

  • Awesome God (Your Voice) – Vicky Beeching
  • Your Grace is Enough – Matt Maher
  • Kindness – Chris Tomlin
  • Unfailing Love -Chris Tomlin
  • Hallelujah – Jonas Myrin, Marty Sampson

Trinity Team:

  • Jesus Paid It All – Kristian Stanfill
  • Come Thou Font – Billy Chia
  • Everlasting God – Brenton Brown
  • Hosanna – Brooke Fraser
  • From the Inside Out – Joel Houston

Worship went great at Trinity. We got a really positive response. It was powerful to worship with another church and get a real sense of how deep and wide the body of Christ is. I broke a string and didn’t have a back up – I had to skip out on the cool solos I figured out for Hosanna and Inside Out. Was not a big deal.

On the home front I heard things went well and I’m looking foward to debrienfing further with the team. There was a bit of a mix up with offering. Was proabably not a big deal.

The big deal was getting on the road with my team and having the priviledge of rinding in the car with them for an hour. It was It was seeing my drummer tune an unfamilar drum set in about 3.2 seconds and being able to leave the stage to track down a guitar string (that didn’t exist) while my team kept playing.

I’m pretty pumped and pretty worn out. I’m looking foward to being back at Chase Valley next week.

This post is part of Setlist Sundays.

Take Your Worship Band on Tour

This Sunday I’m taking a team of musicians on tour to lead worship at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, TN. My good friend Randy is the lead pastor there. He is a visionary with great heart who is loving his people to the next level. He invited us several months ago to be guest worship leaders. I’m leaving behind a great team of musicians to lead at Chase Valley.

tour bus '74 by LordKhan

Be Missional with your Worship Ministry

Many folks who serve on worship teams only serve within their local communities. This is an opportunity for the Chase Valley worship arts ministry to serve beyond the 4 walls¬† of our building. It’s an opportunity to serve our Christian brothers and sisters and learn from them as well. Randy and I have planned a lunch after worship where both of our teams can interact and talk worship to share and learn from each other.

My Goal was to Go

From the very start my goal at Chase Valley was to equip and empower other leaders. I wanted to see how quickly I could get OFF-stage by empowering others to lead. When I frist showed up my time estimates on accomplishing this goal were 2-3 years. I would have never guessed it would be a real possibility within 9 months. I can’t take credit here – this is only happening because leaders have stepped up in our community. Our home team drummer hasn’t played on a worship team for many years, but came “out of retirement” for this gig.

I am crazy blessed – there are few churches our size that have enough musicians for 2 full worship teams. (I know of several churches that have a much larger attendance but a much smaller worship team.) I got lucky when God put me at Chase Valley.

A bit of Awkward Timing

The announcement went public yesterday that I’ll be going bi-vocational. It’s poor timing because I will absent from Chase Valley when most of the body hears the news.¬† I made some strategic decisions to prepare for this, but ultimately I’ll be relying on my team to lead off stage as well as on. I’ve prepped key leaders with the necessary information and I trust that they will be starting positive conversations in my absence.

I’m crazy excited for this weekend – both for the trip to Trinity and the awesome worship that will take place at Chase Valley. This post is a part of Creative Chaos.

Have you ever had a guest worship leader on a Sunday morning?

Have you ever gone out to do guest worship somewhere?

Loud and Quiet

Worship was amazing yesterday. Here’s the music:

  • Not to Us
  • Lay It Down
  • Hungry
  • The Stand
  • Made Me Glad

Some cool things:

Shouting: We did a “Call and Response” type of liturgical thing this week. We don’t normally do a lot of liturgy so this was different, and maybe I can even say, “fresh” ? I read some scriptures and had people repeat back the line:

Let us rejoice and shout for joy!

People got into it and actually shouted for joy! Very cool moment.

Silence: Following all the shouting we took a moment of silence – it was more like a few minutes of silence. Usually this freaks people out, we don’t like to be still, but it was really meaningful time. As I looked out I saw heads bowed and eyes raised to heaven in prayer. People really took the opportunity to personally connect with God before singing and that was reflected in the worship that followed.

Raise hands: We did the silence stuff for those who are non-emotive and like the contemplative worship – even the non-contemplative people got into it.¬† So we also had opportunities for loud, emotive, physical worship. During “The Stand” before we hit the bridge that everyone loves to sing I prepped it by asking everyone to raise their hands. They did. Like 90% of the people in the room sang that part of the sang “I’ll stand with arms high…” and they actually had their arms lifted high!

Man I just love when worship is cohesive and people’s actions match their words. I hate unenthusiastically stating “let us shout to God” and I had singing “I’ll raise my hands” when they are by my side. Everything was super authentic this week.

Want to see more setlists? Check out Fred McKinnon’s blog carnival Setlist Sundays.

Solo Sunday Setlist

The Setlist today at Chase Valley Church

  • No One Like You – David Crowder
  • O Praise Him – David Crowder
  • My God My Savior – Aaron Shust
  • Came to the Rescue – Joel Davies, Marty Sampson, Dylan Thomas
  • Lay it Down – Matt Maher
  • Once Again – Matt Redman

Worship was really powerful today. We dropped everything down to just one voice and one guitar and it totally accomplished the effect I was going for. There are times when I’m singing on stage with a full band and there are 5 people’s mouths moving in the crowd and everyone else is just staring at you. This morning everyone was singing out. There was huge participation going on.

With that said, I’m looking forward to playing with my team again.

This post is part of Sunday Setlists.

5 Benefits of Solo Leading Worship

Jeff Scott by Tommy Huynh on FlickrSometime having a big band on stage works and sometimes it doesn’t.¬† Every once in a while it’s more effective to scale back, scale down, simplify and reduce. This Sunday I’ll be leading worship by myself.

5 Reasons You Should Lead Worship Alone

1. Teach Worship: Often times with a full band on stage people don’t have to make an effort to worship – they get drawn into worship. That’s a good thing. It’s what we’re primarily shooting for as worship leaders. At the same time if you are always “drawing” and “leading” you are never giving a chance for people to step out on their own to worship God. It’s like teaching your kid to ride a bike but never taking off the training wheels. Simple worship gives people an opportunity to ride on their own into the presence of God.

2. Give Your Team a Sabbath: If your small church worship team is like mine you have a few folks who consistently sacrifice every week. Giving them a week off from rehearsal as well as an opportunity to simply enjoy worship can be spiritually renewing.

3. Create Diversity: Keeping the same band on stage week after week with the same sound is boring and unimaginative. We worship a creative God who calls us to be creative – so shake things up. Do something different. For some who always lead worship alone this might mean bringing in a full band for one Sunday. If you always have a full band then doing a solo Sunday adds diversity to the creative palette.

4. Make Your Big Band Even Bigger: “Dynamics” is kinda like diversity, but not. The concept here is contrast. On a dynamic scale if your band is always at an “8”¬† then when you go to “10” it’s not that big of a change. But if you take things down to “1” then you open the room for a larger dynamic range.

5. Communicate Commitment: In the last 4 months I have positioned myself at center stage only once. Most often I position myself off to the side while putting other leaders out in front. I do this intentionally as part of a healthy mentoring strategy to raise up other leaders. Two weeks from now I’ll be completely absent at Chase Valley – I’m taking a team to lead worship at a friend’s church that Sunday.

With my church in financial crisis the last thing I want to communicate is that I’m going to be “off to the side” or “absent” during the crisis. This Sunday, by leading worship front and center, I am communicating, ‚ÄúI am your worship pastor. I am dedicated to Chase Valley. I am here to lead, support, and love you through this process.‚ÄĚ

Bottom Line:

Love on your team. Love on your Church. Do a solo Sunday!

Just Start Out Worshiping

Set List for Chase Valley Church today:

  • The Heart of Worship – Matt Redman
  • By His Wounds – Mac Powell, David Nasser
  • Made Me Glad – Miriam Webster
  • It is Well – Shane & Shane version
  • Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) – Chris Tomlin

Part of Set List Sundays

Yes, we opened with Heart of Worship. I asked people today to just start out worshiping God instead of having to “warm up.” It was pretty awesome to see people giving themselves to God.

Getting a God-Sized Vision

Set list for Chase Valley Church today:

  • Indescribable – Chris Tomlin
  • Awesome GodVicki Beeching
  • Adonai – Raymond Badham, Mia Fieldes
  • Be Unto Your Name – Lyn DeShazo, Gary Sadler
  • My Eyes Are Dry – Keith Green
  • From The Inside Out – Joel Houston

This post is part of Setlist Sundays.

WOW!!! – worship totally blew my mind today.

When only God can do it.

My church is seriously in a bad place financially. We have been on a budget freeze since I came on staff 8 months ago. We have cut literally everything out of the budget and still can’t pay all the bills. What has been the most crippling is our mortgage. Our church is currently in 1.3 million dollars of debt. The monthly payment assures we have nothing left for ministry.

This truly is a case where the borrower is slave to the lender. (Prov. 22:4)

Last Tuesday our administrative counsel had our monthly meeting. The crazy idea came up to fundraise all 1.3 million dollars of our debt and exist as a debt-free church! This is a ridiculous impossible dream. We average 100 people in our sanctuary on Sunday morning. There’s no way on Earth we can do it.

And that’s the point – to dream a goal so big only God can do it.

Today Pastor Dorothy Ann totally brought it. She preached on how David picked up 5 smooth stones and then killed Goliath. Then she talked about how 1.3 million dollars of debt is gigantic.

You could hear a pin drop on the carpet in the worship center.

The admin counsel was so excited last Thursday about chasing the Holy Spirit in pursuit of a God-Sized dream that we decided waiting a month until the next meeting was too long. We all agreed to pray and seek God for a week, and then come together again next Tuesday night to share what He’d said to us. This morning Dorothy Ann invited anyone in our church who was passionate about this cause to attend.

A dream this huge isn’t going to happen on its own. God’s not gonna let us sit on the sidelines expecting Him to work without us. We will need to stoop down at the river, pick up our 5 stones and go face to face with the giant before God steps in. I can’t wait until Tuesday.

Will our people be willing to pick up a stone?

No Room on Stage Breaks My Heart

The Voice of a broken heart by WolfSoul on FlickrI’m seriously heart broken right now. The music was so good today it wasn’t enough for me. I could play another three or four services with the team we had. Tremendous job everyone!

Here was the set list today at Chase Valley Church:

  • Blessed Be Your Name – Matt Redman
  • Evermore – Joel Houston
  • Made to Worship – Chris Tomlin
  • Beautiful One – Tim Hughes
  • At the Cross – Reuben Morgan, Darlene Zschech
  • Blessed Be Your Name – Matt Redman

Having multiple layered guitars was super awesome, even if it was hard to find a place to stand on our stage. Crowd participation was at an all time high. We started Blessed Be with just one guitar. When it hits “Every blessing your pour out…” the second guitar came in simply strumming a sustained chord on the down beat. As soon as he strummed that first chord hands went up.

I loved being able to drop out and stop playing to lead people in clapping and the song keeps its integrity. There was some serious worship going on at Chase Valley this morning.

This post is part of Set List Sundays.

Play it in Layers

Kuih Lapis (or layered cake) by by sniffles on flickrMore people on stage Sunday morning equals more sound coming off stage. It’s a simple equation that often leads to disaster. The sound gets murky and the band doesn’t gel. Worshippers get distracted by all the different musicians each vying for attention.

But what if they had humble hearts instead?

What if they felt like it would be ok to simply “be” on stage and not need play on every part of every song?

Layering the sound is the key to keeping it tight when multiple musician’s grace the stage. Here’s an example:

  • Intro: – full band
  • V1: acoustic, drums, bass
  • Pre-Chrous: lead guitar comes in
  • Chorus: full band
  • V2: Drums and bass only
  • etc…

Kinda like a cake huh?

This week at Chase Valley the band includes: drums, bass, percussion, guitar, guitar, guitar, and acoustic guitar. Tonight’s rehearsal was a glorious meld of sonic delight. I’m a more pumped about this Sunday than any other in my entire life.¬† What makes 4 gutiars work on stage together is playing in layers.

This is my creative chaos.

We Are Alive on iTunes + Free Song

Elevation Worship’s new CD We Are Alive in now available on itunes.

You can read my review of the CD here.

To celebrate¬† the release I’d like to give away a copy of Undivided – my favorite track.

To win simply leave a comment with a valid email on this post.

On Friday I’ll pick a name at random and gift the song to you on iTunes. (Thanks to @chrisfromcanada for helping me with iTunes.) I won’t do anything wacky with your email, but I do need it to gift you the song on iTunes.

So, there ya go. Simple contest. Free music. Great CD.

Top 5 Worship Leader Blogs

Top 5 Church Staff BlogsAs a worship leader who blogs, who is friends with a lot of other worship leaders who blog, it’s tough to pick 5 feeds that are “the best.” I think the value in this exercise is looking at the five below and asking, “What do they do? How can I make my blog better?” I possibly even think that some guys on the list have doubts about the value of their blogs. Maybe they’ll see that a lot of us regard them highly and get challenged by this post to produce some killer content.

These are the best of the best in Worship Leader Blogs:

Who did I miss? Who’s on your list?

(Feel free to say, “my blog” I will not hesitate to tell you to subscribe to my blog, I know my content rocks. Be proud and do some shameless self promotion.)

No Drums, Yes Holy Spirit

Worship was great today. Here’s a re-cap:

Set List for Chase Valley Church on July 27, 2008

  • Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall
  • Everlasting God – Brenton Brown
  • Hungry – Kathryn Scott
  • Til I See You – Joel Houston, Jadwin Gillies
  • Jesus Paid it All – Alex Nifong

No Drums?

For a small church I’ve been pretty blessed to have 2 drummers and in 6 months this was our frist Sunday with no drummer. We went with acoustic guitar, bass and 4 vocalists. I was more than anxious about trying to pull this off. In the end, it was some of the best worship we’ve experienced since I’ve been here.

Why?

It was something different.

My personal strength is upbeat/high energy music. When we do songs that rock out they tend to be musically more cohesive, because as a leader I know how to do that and how to coach others to pull it off. It makes sense that we do a lot of high energy music; people are used to that and to some degree come expecting it.

Today we totally undermined expectations by doing something new. The result was a beautiful surprise. A church that never has drums might experience the same effect by adding a drummer or an electronic drummer.

We set the mood.

This week Nate reminded me how important the first 2 minutes are. Always starting the service the same way can get rote so today I shook things up with a low-key invocational prayer. It was different and connected people with the concept for the service. By starting low-key we essentially said, “There’s no drums today. That’s ok, we’re being intentional about being low-key.”

Shaker.

Never underestimate the power of the shaker.

People sang out more.

Vocalists can hide behind the music when they feel unsure of a part. I do it myself. With very little backing music today the vocal team stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park. They sang with more fervor and confidence than I’ve heard on a Sunday yet. The crowd likewise sang louder to “fill in” the hole in the sound left by the lack of percussion. This had such a tremendous effect, I’m tempted to plan a “Church of Christ style A Capella Sunday.”

God.

Of course.

The Message.

Today’s message was on point! When I got up to do the response song I introed the song by talking about Jesus winning the victory for us. People started clapping and cheering. The Holy Spirit used Pastor Fred to stir something within our people today.

This post is part of Set List Sundays at fredmckinnon.com.

Everyone Can Lead Worship Better Than You

Play more Chris Tomlin. Play less Chris Tomlin.

I know what you’re thinking right now –

“Darn it all! I thought I was doing good? You mean EVERYONE ELSE is better than me?!”

Yep, everyone. It’s just a sad fact you need to face. Don’t worry though, there is hope. Here is some advice to get you back on track to leading better worship the way GOD wants you to!

10 Ways to Not Be a terrible Worship Leader:

  1. Stop being so emotional, really it’s not working.
  2. Show a little emotion for pete’s sake. What, is your heart made of stone?
  3. Stop jabbering between songs. Shut up and play. We don’t pay you to talk, we pay you to sing.
  4. Say something! Anything! Don’t just stand there like a moron. Give a little intro to the song – talk about how it affects your life. Be real. We want to hear from you – stop being so distant.
  5. Why don’t you ask us to shake hands anymore? I used to love that.
  6. Please dear, sweet, 6lb. 8oz.,¬† golden fleece diper clad baby Jesus can we get rid of the “meet and greet?!”
  7. Stop showing off so much! Worship is not about you it’s about Jesus. Really, you call yourself a worship leader? Why do you even get on stage? You should just put the whole band in another room and have the music piped in.
  8. Can you please do something about the terribly bland worship music? I mean pep up the arrangement a little bit. Throw in a guitar solo or something. Gees, worship music is so boring. I can’t worship God when I have drool running off my cheek onto the carpet because I’ve been bored to sleep by your unenthusiastic excuse for a “praise song.”
  9. Stop telling me how to worship! Worship is all about me and how I feel about Jesus. Everyone doing the same thing together is canned, boring and trite. You should just let me worship individually how I want to and stop asking us to do things together. Particularly egregious are the sins or asking us to “raise your hands” or “clap your hands.” What do you think we are, your own little monkey army?
  10. Give some encouragement to the crowd. I mean c’mon your supposed to be “leading” in worship. Simply performing isn’t good enough. At least shout out the upcoming line or give some type of cue that we’re supposed to be singing. When you just stand there and play you look like a rockstar who only cares about himself. It’s about Jesus!!

Bonus tips:

  • Play faster
  • Play slower
  • Play louder
  • Play softer
  • More hymns
  • Less hymns
  • Pray more
  • Don’t pray
  • Make more mistakes (it makes you look more “real”)
  • Make less mistakes (it make your look incompetent.)
  • Just be all things to all people

For even more insight check out Los’ post here.

(In all fairness, Los asked, so I’m not complaining. Ok, maybe I am complaining. I’m complaining about the complainers. Those darn complainers. Uh, when will they stop complaining? I’m so tired of people complaining!)

By the way worship leader – don’t you know it’s not about you it’s all about Jesus? This a reminder. I just wanted to make sure you knew that because the overwhelming majority of worship guys I know are TOTALLY into themselves and have no concept whatsoever that they are supposed to put the focus on Jesus.

Do Two Hymns

I like new songs. I like old songs. “Worship Wars” has always seemed like a silly, trite thing to me. Most of the time I do sets of 4 recently released pieces of music and 1 hymn.

I never heard much feedback on it though.

Today I received several emails thanking me that we do hymns. I thought, “What gives? I’ve been doing hymns since I got here. Why the sudden influx of gratitude?”

Yesterday we did 2 hymns.

I Love My Team

Schedule’s change – it’s unavoidable.

I love when the people on my worship team call or email to let me know if they will be late or if they can’t make it to practice.

Keeping your worship pastor in the loop creates an environment of trust.

What makes Worship Remarkable? 1 of 4

Thank you to everyone who left comments on this post! They were very helpful. I’ve started to move past the question

Should worship be remarkable?

and started to ask

What makes a worship service remarkable?

(Although you are still welcome to add your comments here.)

As I’ve thought, conversed and prayed over this I’ve realized that in the last year there have been 2 Sunday morning experiences that I tend to talk about all the time. I asked myself, “What was different about these experiences that caused me to tell the story over and over again?”

When the answer came to me I realized that both of these services were remarkable for 2 very different reasons. I’ll tell you why in my upcoming posts.

For now,

What do you think makes worship remarkable?

The Newsprint Connection and Remarkable Predecessors

Here is my Worship Text-fessional for March 30, 2008

Set list for Chase Valley Church

  • God of Wonders – Mark Byrd and Steve Hindalong
  • Beautiful One – Tim Hughes
  • Light the Fire Again – Brian Doerksen
  • Hungry -Kathryn Scott
  • Evermore – Joel Houston

Highlights/Lowlights

One of our singers brought in a Newspaper today dated 8 years ago. She had forgotten about this news clip and just found it today by happenstance. It was from the first day Chase Valley Church worshiped in this building when it was newly constructed. There was an article about CVC and large picture taken during the worship service. The lyrics on the screen in the photo were

Clothe me in white so I won’t be ashamed. Lord light the Fire again.

Also by random chance I chose Light the Fire Again as a song for today. It was awesome to do that song and feel that deep connection to the past.

Practice was amazing this week. I had high hopes for today. I was a bit disappointed. Our execution was decent but not exceptional.

I have a deep longing to worship God in a way that is remarkable. Read: I want things to be done in a way that they are worth remarking on. I want people talk about worshiping God to their friends. I’m not sure that right now people are so excited about our worship service that they are compelled to talk about it. I’m wrestling with the notion that God could be calling me to simply be faithful and not worry about being remarkable.

Evermore. Great song. I love my predecessor. She was in love with Hillsong and as a result the congregation knows TONS of Hillsong songs. I’ve never done Evermore before this week, but chose to learn it based on the church’s familiarity. I love this song. All week long I was singing these lyrics into my heart:

Even if my world falls I will say, ‘Above all I live for Your glory.’

For that matter I love both my predecessors. I’m Worship Pastor #3 for Chase. It’s a big honor to follow in their footsteps.

What do you think?

“Being remarkable” should or should not be a goal within the worship ministry?

Easter Worship Confessional 03.23.08

Here’s a goofy/sleep depravity induced worship confessional for Easter:

Watch the video now – check back later for updates to this post.

Email and RSS Subscribers, click here to visit my website and see the video.

Creative Chaos: Monitors as Mains

Necessity fathers invention. Today my post is about thinking inside the box. Various limitations are imposed on each of us from physical space limitations, to human resources, to a very real limit on money. Rather than getting upset about these limitations we can get creative. Los and Wade have inspired me to get creative by thinking inside the box and using my existing situation and existing resources to do something new.

The Dilemma

We have major gaps in our Sunday morning sound. Our worship center was built without an adequate sound system. We have one main array in the middle the blows out the center seating section with sound while the side areas sit in dead spots. It kinda looks like this:

|||||||||||||||| Main Array |||||||||||||||

Dead area |||| Too Loud |||| Dead area

To compensate the former worship pastor used some addition PA speakers to distribute sound around the room:

||| Speaker ||||| Main Array ||||| Speaker |||
Good Sound |||| Good Sound |||| Good Sound

The issue I face is that those speakers were the personal property of the former worship leader so they took them down when they left – leaving me with big dead spots again.

The Creative Solution

I didn’t have any spare PA speaker sitting around but I did have some extra floor monitor wedges. I did some adjustments to the output on the power amp and played around a bit with our crossover. I tipped the floor wedges on their side and now they are kicking out some extra sound to fill our worship space. It’s not a permanent solution, or even a very good one -but it will make a huge difference for Easter vs. having the dead spots.

||| Wedge ||||| Main Array ||||| Wedge |||

Ok Sound |||| Good Sound |||| Ok Sound

Get creative by using what you’ve got in a unique way.

Thanks Matt and Joseph for all your help on this project!

March (Holy Week) Maddness

For most of us who work in the church Holy Week can be busy enough to drive you mad. Extra prep for Easter as well as additional services can shoot the stress levels through the roof. It can be maddening to keep up with everything, but by simplifying you can work smarter and not harder to pull off an awesome celebration of our awesome Lord’s resurrection.

Here’s how I’m keeping things simple to lower the stress and maintain the sane for Holy Week:

Ditch the Band: For our Thursday and Friday services this week I’m going acoustic. Thursday will be a solo show, and I’ll have some additional singers for Friday. It’s more work for me but it frees up the band to focus all their time and energy on perfecting the music for Easter rather than dividing their effort across multiple unique services.

Extra Rehearsals: Our team normally holds one rehearsal a week, but this week we are doing two. Again it’s a little more work for everyone involved but extra rehearsal time ensures that we can nail down difficult elements and go into the weekend services feeling confident and stress-free about our leading.

Leverage your team: I schedule the same singers for Good Friday and Easter. We have enough singers that I could’ve put separate vocalists on each service – but more teams equals more separate scheduled rehearsals. Rather than having two rehearsals for two teams we’re doing two rehearsals for one team. It’s fewer people to coordinate and communicate with throughout the week and the end result should be less confusion and a tighter sound.

Leverage your music: We’ll be singing “Were you there” on both Good Friday and Easter. Not only does it fit thematically with the mood and flow we are trying to accomplish for each service (It’ll close Good Friday and open Easter) but it means that time the singers spend practicing this piece gets to pay off double with two opportunities to lead the same song.

Do less music: A standard week around here includes 6 songs. Because I’ll be opening Easter acoustically with 2 songs this leaves 4 songs for the band to learn. 4 songs means more time focused on each song.

Any thoughts? How do you maintain your sanity during Holy Week?

Free, Quality Hillsong Tabs

I found this great site that has a bunch of PDFs of tabbed out hillsong songs:

http://www.playguitar.com.au/Hillsong.html

They are very helpful for learning the lead parts on various songs. (I’ve used these tabs for Hosanna and Mighty to Save.) Sometimes Hillsong and Hillsong United will use 3 or more different guitar parts and he’s got them all tabbed out.

Enjoy.

Palm Sunday Recap

Set List for Chase Valley Church for Sunday, March 16

  • The Happy Song – Martin Smith
  • Hosanna – Paul Baloche
  • Everlasting God – Brenton Brown
  • We Humble Ourselves – Paul Baloche
  • Hosanna – Brooke Fraser
  • Holy is the Lord – Chris Tomlin

Highlights/Lowlights

Singing with the children – for the last 3 weeks I’ve skipped out on the sermon to hang with the kiddos and teach them Hosanna by Paul Baloche. All the kids from k – 5th grade came walked in with palms and then came up front to lead this song. We had them piled on each side of the stage and they did sign language for the chorus. It rocked.

Simple Band РWe scaled down to one vocalist (besides me), and only one guitar, bass and drums. It worked AWESOME.  The music was tight and we reached a new level today musically.

My voice didn’t quite “wake up.” It was tough to sing the whole set. We did Holy is the Lord as a response song after the sermon. Then as people are leaving we sing the chorus again. My voice finally felt ready to start as we were singing that final chorus.

2 Hosannas – Yeah it’s Palm Sunday, of course we’re gonna sing multiple versions of “Hosanna in the Highest.” They both went great.

Electric – I played my electric on the Fraser Hosanna. (I played acoustic on everything else.) I wanted to get the delay and cool riffs into the song. The bass carried a lot with out the acoustic so it still sounded pretty good with only one guitar.

Worship: Rock the Choir

Today worship was awesome!

Set List for Chase Valley Church March 9th, 2008

  • No One Like You – David Crowder
  • King of Majesty – Marty Sampson
  • Made to Worship – Chris Tomlin
  • Wholly Yours – David Crowder
  • Hear I am to Worship – Tim Hughes
  • Psalm 103 – Billy and Sarah Chia
  • The Heart of Worship – Matt Redman

We had a lot of music today.

Highlights & Lowlights

  • The hour time difference threw lots of people off. Half the team showed up late. Really late.
  • The Choir sounded phenomenal! (More on that below)
  • The band was super tight. Everyone worked hard on the music this week and it really showed.
  • I put so much into it I was pretty drippy with sweat when I got off stage.
  • No One Like You rocked. This is a brand new song for the congregation. It’s also a tricky one to learn in typical Crowder fashion. We did it pretty close to the CD version so there was a lot of nuances the people had to pick up on. Everyone worked hard and we nailed it.
  • King of Majesty – Not my favorite song, although a lot of people around here like it so we may be doing it again. I’m not a fan of lyrics like “These words are from my heart, these words are not made up.” They’re just a little trite for me, but I know some of the songs I like lyrically are too convoluted for some people. Being a worship pastor is not all about picking only the songs you like.
  • Made to Worship – tough song to sing. I even brought it down to A and it was still hard. I liked being able to play a lead line on this one.
  • Wholly Yours – I totally messed this one up. This song has a progression. The lyrics take you through a story of being broken and then finally giving your all to God. Well I showed up today ready to worship. I didn’t want to wait through the whole song. When we should’ve gone into the bridge with says, “But the harder I try the more clearly can I feel the depth of our fall and the weight of it all.” I shouted out “So here I am” and tried to go into “here I am finally all of me everything!” Apparently I was too excited and didn’t want to have to wade through “depth of the fall” to get to “all of me wholly yours.” Fortunately the choir was rock steady and went the bridge when they were supposed to. I fumbled a few chords and got back on track thanks to the choir.
  • Here I am to Worship – went well the first time.
  • Psalm 103 – I didn’t plan on doing this song. We front loaded a lot of music today and then band sat down and we went into offering. Normally the congregation sings a full song during offering, I haven’t really done “special music.” I came back up and started finger picking to give some back ground music while the offering was being collected. When I looked at my pastor to give him the cue that offering was done and he could come back up, he simply had his head bowed in prayer just vibing a spirit of worship so I started singing. It felt well received.
  • Hear I am to Worship (take 2) – I finished Psalm 103 and Fred gave me the cue to do another song. So we sang another verse and a few choruses of Hear I am to Worship. (The theme for today’s sermon was “Worship.”) I stopped playing guitar, and while the crowd sang acapella I put down my guitar and left the stage then joined the crowd to sing. So we sang with no one on stage but God. I didn’t plan this but I was hoping to underscore the notion that worship is not about the music or the band but it’s all about God.
  • The Heart of Worship. Didn’t quite have the punch I thought it would. Fred told Redman’s story of how worship had gotten stale and routine and that his church stopped using a band for a season to focus on what worship was really supposed to be. During this season Redman wrote Heart of Worship. I thought after the message this would really hit home, but perhaps the fact that this song is so oversung it may have felt like the stale, routine worship that Redman was trying to avoid the first place. (I’m just speculating at this point, really the whole day was amazing and I heard tons of great comments about both the music and the message today. Really every other song went spectacular and this one was not bad, but simply average.)

How to Rock the Choir

We don’t do choir the same old way at Chase Valley. Instead of a feature act, the choir sings once a month as the “back up” singers. They learn all the worship songs that we do for the day and sing on each one. They sing mostly melody but throw in a good mix of harmony as well. It has several benefits:

  • Having 10 – 15 extra people on stage leading really helps to draw people into worship.
  • The sound is really full because we use condenser mics and run them through the mains
  • They stay on track when I don’t!
  • There are tons more that maybe I’ll do a post on in the future.

I love doing Choir this way. It has it’s challenges and perhaps in the future we’ll do some special music but today I was really excited to being doing choir this way.

So there’s a lot there to comment on. Let’s keep a conversation going on this post (or other past ones) next week while I lighten the blogging and celebrate the best 2 years of my life.

Creative Chaos: Subtleness

Carlos is pulling out a new blogging community idea called “Creative Chaos.” The general idea is for church types to share creative elements they use within worship or large group settings on our blogs so that we can all benefit from each other’s creativity. (You can see the post for all official rules.)

I’m calling my contribution for this week “subtlleness”

Here’s the idea –

The sermon theme for Sunday is actually “Worship.” We’re singing a lot of songs specifically about worship and we’re using a sermon spice video called The Gift of Worship. The video challenges many modern preconceptions about worship. One of the lines in the video says “Worship is not about whether or not the guitar is too loud.”

Now “too loud” is a subjective thing – meaning what one person believes to be “too loud” another thinks is really “too quite.” I personally never want the guitars to be “too” loud because that would mean they are overpowering everything else and we’d have a bad mix.

However, my educated guess is that my electric guitar at it’s “normal” volume is going to be “too loud” for some. So purposefully, intentionally – we will will have loud guitar with the distortion pedal on in worship on Sunday. It’s subtle, apart from this blog post, no one’s gonna say anything about it or point it out.

I’m not gonna make the guitar louder than I normally would. That might be too obvious and our goal here subtleness. I rotate between leading from acoustic and electric, and I tend to use my acoustic more often, but I believe being intentional about doing electric this week will subtly underscore the video.

So there you have it. Nothing too overt. Just a nuanced creative element.

Worship Confessional 03.02.08

Set list for Chase Valley Church:

  • O Praise Him – David Crowder
  • Everyday – Joel Houston
  • Famous One – Chris Tomlin
  • Beautiful One – Tim Hughes
  • Be Unto Your Name – Lyn DeShazo and Gary Sadler
  • We Humble Ourselves – Paul Baloche

Worship Text-fessional | 02.24.08

Worship pretty much rocked today.

Worship set list for Chase Valley Church February 24th, 2008:

  • We Humble Ourselves – Paul Baloche
  • Awesome God (Majesty and Mystery) – Vicky Beeching
  • Adonai – Raymond Badham, Mia Fieldes
  • Wholly Yours – David Crowder
  • Mighty to Save – Reuben Morgan, Ben Fielding
  • Open the Eyes of My Heart – Paul Baloche

Highlights/Lowlights

  • This was a great set – the songs worked well in the slot they were in
  • The band sounded great – we had keyboards/synth for the first time since I’ve been on staff and it made a huge difference.
  • Our sound/media tech was on point
  • We Humble Ourselves – This is a new song for the church and people picked up on it really well. The harmonies were stellar on this one.
  • Awesome God (Majesty and Mystery) – One of our female vocalist led this one and nailed it. This is a pretty rocked out tune and we did it pretty low key – without any lead guitar using simply acoustic, bass and synth. It gave a more tender feel to the song – which I felt was more appropriate given the lyrics: “Your arms are, the arms that surround me in a warm embrace.”
  • Adonai – this is a great song. This was our 2nd time doing this one and the congregation has really responded to it. I started jumping during one of the music interludes and my in-ear monitor receiver unclipped from my pocket and fell on the stage. I had to stop playing guitar to get my monitor going again. The same thing actually happened at the same point in the song during sound check. I must need some duct tape or something – this song’s got some great energy.
  • Mighty to Save – everyone started cheering spontaneously after singing “Jesus conquered the grave” in the first chorus. The Spirit was moving today.

Something Wrong About This

I did a CCLI Song Select Search for “fasting.”

Search CCLI Fasting

The Result:

Result CCLI Fasting

No one’s ever written a song about Christian fasting? Ever? Really?

Re: Pursuing Excellence

Travis posted some great questions in Pursuing Excellence: Where do you draw the line?

Here’s my response:

If the church grows shouldn’t the opportunities grow as well? There are more places to use artistic gifts than simply the Sunday morning large community experience.

If someone is really passionate about music are they playing in local clubs? We need Christians doing that. How can the local church help to facilitate it happening? Are we stopping short at saving orphans in Uganda, which totally rocks, or are we also impacting the culture of our cities positively at the grass roots level?

Are are these Christians artists recording their stuff and putting their music up on myspace?

If they are really passionate about worship are they willing to lead worship for a smaller venues. (Small Group Bible Studies, Men’s groups, Celebrate Recovery, etc…)

Those who are called and gifted to lead worship for large community gatherings are few. I’ve been in churches of 100 that had only 10 in the band and churches of 3000 that had only 30. I think that’s ok. Not everyone is called the Sunday Stage. Because of the temptation for pride involved in such a visual place of ministry it is the extremely few who can approach that ministry with a humble attitude. I would be skeptical about anyone who wanted to get up stage in front of 300 people but wasn’t willing to clean the kitchen or serve in children’s church.

With that said, local church leaders do have a responsibility to help people explore their gifting, discern their calling, and equip their ministry.

I Love Picking Music

There’s been a stack of CDs sitting on my desk for three weeks that I haven’t had a chance to even look at. This week is the first time I’ve felt like I’ve been able to take a breath and start to catch up on tasks. I actually got to listen to some music today and think about songs for the next few weeks. As I listened I realized something.

There’s is tons of great worship music.

There’s really no excuse for doing bad music in church. Perhaps back in the day there was limited selection – but now that’s not the case.

A few that pop out as stellar:

  • Mighty to Save – Hillsong
  • Majesty – Matt Redman
  • All Because of Jesus – Steve Fee
  • Bring me to Life – Bebo Norman
  • Be Thou My Vision – Some guy with mad skills on the acoustic guitar playing with a Celtic kinda vibe and a fluteish instrument accompanying (Just a random mp3 left on my computer – but it rocks.)
  • Holy Ground – Christopher Beatty and Geron Davis (Oh yeah you know I love the old school stuff)

Worship Text-fessional 02.03.2008

The Set List for Chase Valley Church February 3, 2008:

  • All Creatures of Our God and King – David Crowder
  • Forever – Chris Tomlin
  • Hosanna – Paul Baloche
  • Here I am to Worship – Tim Hughes
  • At the Cross – Darlene Zschech, Reuben Morgan

Highlights/Lowlights:

  • My goal this week was to start the set out slow and mellow with All Creatures instead of the routine upbeat opener. (Jesus preached a lot against routine for the sake of routine.) It kinda went ok. Our crowd has some people who grew up with hymns, some that listen to worship CDs and knew it as a Crowder song, and the rest. The words are so good and it’s such a great invocational song to open worship. When we got to the “alleluia” part people started singing along.
  • After that the energy in the room today was intense.
  • ¬†I did not get as much personal rehearsal time this week as I really wanted. I felt kinda naked going out on stage. Every thing’s been busy and difficult because I’m new. Last week was just ridiculous with several events going on on top of the newness factor. This week I’m hoping to get some good practice time in. I can’t really expect my vocalists and instrumentalists to be working hard enough to improve their skills if I’m not doing the same thing right?
  • At the Cross is such a great song. I did the bridge like 80 times it was so good.
  • All in all I felt really great about the morning.

Saying “Yes” to Serving God

One of the most exciting elements of being the new Worship Arts Pastor at Chase has been the opportunity I’ve already had to see our worship ministry grow. It’s been a privilege to interact with so many people interested in music, media and technology. Some are greatly accomplished in their areas and others are brand new with a simple desire to learn.

When a person comes to me and asks, “I’d like to serve God. Can you help me out?” My goal is to always say, “Yes.” I may not be able to say, “Yes” to an accordion solo next week during our Sunday morning worship, but I make it a point to always have opportunities available for people to serve God and grow in their faith. Even if I’m not currently aware of how someone can plug into the team I love helping people discern their gifts and getting creative about ways to plug in.

Recently, Jordan, a friend of mine who is a worship pastor in another church, held an audition with a potential vocalist. It was clear that her gifts would not best be used on the vocal team. Instead of simply saying, “No, there is no place for you here.” Jordan said, “No, this is not your primary area of gifting. We will help you find it.” He essentially said “Yes” to serving God, even if he had to say “No” to a specific situation. After some time it was discovered that this woman held some unused administrative talent. As a result she was able to take a key role in a children’s outreach program. After the event this woman thanked Jordan. She made it a point to say that if she had committed to the worship team she would have been too busy for the outreach. Instead she was able to serve God and feel great about how she was serving because she was serving in her primary area of giftedness.

I love being at Chase because of our team environment. I’ll tell you guys straight up, I don’t simply recruit for my own ministries, but I always keep an ear out for how someone might fit in the larger team – even if it’s in an area I’m not personally involved. Next to worship, my highest passion is seeing people sold out for Jesus, serving Him with all they’ve got. I love seeing people not only serving God, but also being successful and feeling great about their ministry because they are serving in an area where they are called and equipped.

What are your areas of passion or ability?

Are you using those gifts for God’s glory?

Let’s have a conversation about it. I’m not very interested in simply filling slots. I’ve am extremely interested in seeing you serving God in an area you feel great about and I’d love to help see you get there.

Please send me an email (private conversation) or leave a comment (public conversation).

God bless, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

*originally published in my church’s newsletter

Rock the Vineyard

Candlefuse adds equal parts adrenaline shot and overdrive pedal to come up with an inspiring take on an old classic:

More like “Smacked in the face with a wall of distortion and passed out on my knees.”

Worship Text-fessional 01.27.2008

No vid today, maybe next week.

The Set List for Chase Valley Church January 27, 2008:

  • Not to Us – Chris Tomlin
  • Shout to the North – Martin Smith
  • O Praise Him – David Crowder
  • By His Wounds – Glory Revealed
  • Nothing but the Blood of Jesus (Three Verses worth, not just the first line.)
  • How Great is Our God – Chris Tomlin

Highlights/Lowlights

  • Jesse, one of our high school students had his first Sunday on stage today playing drums. He did a phenomenal job.
  • O Praise Him – This song just builds and builds
  • Nothing but the blood – we sung the 3rd verse twice this was so good
  • My voice – I woke up an early to run vocal exercises before the service…it didn’t help. I can sing wonderfully on pitch in evening when I’ve been using my voice all day. I’m still have trouble in the morning. Fred thinks he might know a vocal coach who can help me out.
  • I totally botched the solo on By His Wounds. I’m always trying to push myself to grow in my gifts. Maybe trying to play a mandelin solo on acoustic guitar is just a little too far of a push.
  • Dorothy Ann’s sermon was really good. The last 10 minutes hit me like a tons of bricks. I couldn’t write fast enough to take all the notes down.

Worship Confessional 01.20.08

My first Worship Confessional for Chase Valley Church

Set list for CVC January 20, 2008

  • The Happy Song – Martin Smith
  • Everlasting God – Brenton Brown
  • Hear Us From Heaven – Jared Anderson
  • Brother’s Keeper – Rich Mullins
  • He Reigns – Peter Furler

Check out Cosima’s Blog.
Confessed.

How do you measure the Spirit?

I was watching video of myself leading worship two years ago. My voice was ridiculously off-pitch and the transitions were horrendous, but there was a spirit of worship in that place. You could tell by looking at the people on stage that they were into it. There were parts where you could hear the crowd singing over top of the band. In fact it was so powerful I found myself drawn into the video and worshiping right along with it. Not because things were technically good in any way, but because God inhabits the praises of his people.

Going into my first worship service at a new church I want a lot of things. I want the band to sound tight. I want the harmonies to gel. I want the music to be so well rehearsed that those on stage don’t need to think about it and they can focus on worshiping. I want the media and graphics to integrate seamlessly and I want the sound to be run transparently.

To one extent or another you can measure those things and should. We improve by measuring things we have control over. But how do you measure God’s spirit?

Tomorrow, more than great a great performance on behalf of the musicians or techs I want God to show up. I don’t really believe God “shows up,” I mean he’s omnipresent so he’s always there, but there’s a difference between being where God is present and being in the presence of God. I don’t know how to point to it or measure how much of it happens. But that’s what’s I’m praying for.

Help the New Guy

I could use your advice and insight. Next week I start a new job and although I’ve been involved in some facet of Church work for the last 10 years there are always new challenges associated with a new position.

Chris put up a post asking What Do You Wish You Had Done Differently?

If you are a worship leader, pastor, church worker, or have a job of any kind where you’ve been the new guy how would you answer?

Head over to Chris’s blog and leave a comment to continue the discussion.

I’d much appreciate it as you’d help me to succeed in my new role. (Proverbs 11:14, 15:22)

My New Church

This past Sunday I was announced as the new Worship Arts Pastor at Chase Valley Church in Huntsville, AL!

I’m beyond excited about this new position. Months ago when Sarah when I first started praying over what Church we’d go to to lead worship our biggest concern was not simply finding another place to work but truly finding a community that God was calling us to serve in. Chase Valley is a place where my unique talents, gifts and experiences can really be used for God’s glory.

After countless interviews over the past few months I hadn’t felt a real sense of calling. I drove down to Huntsville for the interview with a great deal of trepidation and not much hopefulness for anything different. Man, was I completely surprised and blown out of the water. Everything I experienced said, “Billy this is where you and your family belong.” I also had this amazing sense that those on the interview team were Godly people committed to prayer. I drove home with an great deal of peace knowing that whoever they chose for the role would be right knowing that they had sought God in fervent prayer. When they offered me the job, Sarah and I likewise received an immediate affirmation. It was still difficult as we had to turn down some amazing opportunities to get to this place. I simply believe this is exactly where God wants me.

We visited Huntsville for the last 4 days. I have loved everything about Chase so far. My Pastors rock and the people are amazing. I have already met tons of people who have deep faith and passion for God’s kingdom. The love that’s been lavished on me and my family has been unreal. I was blessed enough to be able to get on stage to play guitar yesterday. It was an absolute privilege. If everything falls into place my goal is to lead my first worship service on the 13th.

Of course like any church there’s tons of baggage. (CVC doesn’t really have any more baggage than your average church, simply a different kind. If you want to be in church without the baggage your probably in the wrong line of work.) For me it wasn’t an issue of finding a church with no problems (such a place does not exist) but rather finding one who’s problems I could specifically deal with. (Perhaps like finding a spouse?)

At CVC right now there’s been a lot of hurt and a lot of transition. Their Senior pastor of 16 years took a call to another church in the last year and then of course the old Worship Pastor is currently in the process of planting a church. Both of these are super exciting things that God is doing in these people’s lives. Unfortunately it’s left some turmoil within the community. (Imagine if your Senior Pastor and Worship Pastor left your church within 6 months of each other.)

For me this is great news.

One, because Fred and Dorothy Ann, the new Senior Pastors are amazing. They are veterans in ministry with a grounded faith and ridiculously enormous hearts. The know how to love people the way I can only hope to. I’ve already felt a deep sense of team and I can’t wait to start working with them more.

And two, becuase God is moving as Chase Valley Church in a powerful way. Everyone’s reaction to me coming on staff has been humbling. When I was introduced on Sunday several people actually stood as they clapped. I believe they are as excited to have me as come on board as I am. I believe what God is doing right now within the community at CVC, including bring me on staff, is just the beginning. As I talked to different key leaders with in the community I felt a deep sense of hunger for God’s spirit and expectancy. There was a widespread earnestness and passion that I’ve not seen in any church I’ve ever been a part of. I can’t wait to move down to Huntsville and be with these people more.

Thank you to everyone who’s been praying that I find the right church. I have.

Now please pray for our house to sell and a smooth transition to Huntsville.

Look for some new worship confessionals coming soon.

Worship Confessional | 12.23.07

Worship Set List for Christian Fellowship Church – December 23rd 2007

  • The First Noel – Arrangement by Jeff Lippencott
  • Joy to the World -Issac Watts
  • Child of Bethlehem – Wayne Watson
  • It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – Arrangement by David S. Hampton
  • Glory in the Highest – Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Matt Redman, Jesse Reeves and Daniel Carson
  • 2000 Decembers Ago – Joy Williams (Written by Joel Lindsey and Regie Hamm)
  • In Christ Alone – Arrangement by Mark Cole
  • Jesus, Name Above All Names – From My Savior Lives DVD (Ross Parsley, New Life Church)

 

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