Tutorial Install Video

Video I made – full post on http://blogs.digium.com

How to Configure Digium Phones with Asterisk and DPMA

Videos Tutorials I made to show a conceptual overview and configuration for DPMA

Digium Basic Phone Features Tutorial

Video playlist I made showing how to use Digium Phones

How to Configure a Digium Phone with Switchvox

A video tutorial I made on how to configure Digium Phones with Switchvox

Sanitize Your Hands

I’m pretty pleased with the final product:

The Sweet Beauty of Failure

Our Commander is this cool guy who wants to capitalize on social media. He challenged us to create videos about how we inspire wellness in our department.

I’ve responed by writing a hip hop song about sanitizing your hands.

It’s about as goofy as it sounds and I believe there’s some decent humor in it. The whole process has been very energizing for me. I love the creative and even more I love getting people on board. My favorite part has been involving my co-workers in the project – seeing them laugh when the hear the song and seeing the song increase in quality due to the collective creativty. Each person has added a lit bit.

Yesterday I tried to start shooting the video and failed miserably at it.

Several coworkers had agreed to be a part of the video. I set a date to get together at lunch and shoot the first scenes, but not everyone showed up. We had three guys, and it just wasn’t enough of a critical mass to achieve the effect I was going for. One or two more guys would’ve made it work, but as a result of lack of participation I had to pack everything up without any footage. It was disappointing not only to myself, but also to the folks that did show. It was at that moment as I defeatedly folded up my tripod that God started doing a beautiful thing. Immediately I thought, “this is what Church planting is like. ” (or really, any kind of high-stakes leadership.)

You try to inspire others to join it, people commit and then leave you hanging. It’s not really because they don’t care, everyone who didn’t show had a pretty good reason to not be there, but this is simply he nature of leading. You work hard and stress and push and try to make things happen. And they don’t.

But I am so happy they didn’t.

Defeat and failure are God’s sanctifying agents in our lives. This one event is making me a better leader than the many successes I’ve achieved. The primary bonus here is that God is preparing my heart to be let down, over and over again. He’s allowing me to learn how to push through, rely on Him and creatively shift plans.

Ultimately there were several other immediate bonuses to this short-fall:

More involvement:

Because of this set back we’ll actually have a better video in the end. Initially I simply invited a few folks from my own department, but seeing the need to “over invite” (as no doubt people with have legitimate reasons not to be at the rescheduled shooting) I went all around the building getting more people on board. I invited the 1st Sergeant and he invited the Commander. I would’ve never done this had my original plan gone my way. Several other folks will possibly come on board and the final product will be that much better.

Encouragement:

One thing I’m convinced of is that younger men need encouragement from older men. Every chance I get I try to speak into the lives of younger guys. There’s a man at work that I have a great deal of respect for. When he saw my debacle he took the opportunity to speak some encouraging words. It was like fresh wind blown into the sails of a ship that’s been stagnantly afloat for too long. Without failure we miss out on these types of opportunities.

A Chance to Show Grace:

Not everyone is an attention addict like myself. Some folks are just camera-shy and aren’t totally psyched about the idea on being on screen. Rather than getting angry this was an oppertunity to allow people a gracious out if they wanted to take it. I’m pleased to say that most folks commited to the re-shoot.

My hope for you is that you experience a suffering defeat today. Such things are wonderful fodder for the Holy Spirit.

Don’t Jump Back in the Tub

Sermon Notes March 22, 2009

Sermon Notes

Sunday Morning Notes

Notes on Exodus 20

My New PDA

Moleskine

I Adopted My Daughter Today!!

Evie and Dad

We just got back from court and Eve-Marie is now legally my daughter! We’ve always been a family from the day Sarah and I got married, but now it’s official. It’s been a long and crazy journey to get here – none of which I’ve blogged about, but now that we’re finally here it’s amazing.

We thoroughly prepped Evie for court to ensure she’d show politeness to the Judge. Our lawyer told us what the questions would be –

Judge: Would you like me to make this man here your daddy?

Eve-Maire: Yes sir!

But he didn’t ask that!!

Instead he asked, “What do you think of this man here?”

We hadn’t prepped her for that.

Evie, thought for a moment, and then went on and on about how happy I make her and how she feels when I’m around. Sarah started to cry. Then the Judge almost started to cry!

It was awesome.

Afterward we ate some skittles, and we’re out to Chic-fil-a tonight to celebrate!

You can read Sarah’s post about today here.

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:

img_6885

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

Connecting on LinkedIn

pic_logo_119x32

Do you use LinkedIn? My younger brother, Don, is a professional in the Staffing/HR industry. He swears by LinkedIn as his networking tool of choice. I’ve built some great networks through blogging, twitter and facebook, but I’m starting to see some unique abilities of LinkedIn that have piqued my interested in using it more frequently.

3 Reasons to get more invovled on LinkedIn:

1. Business Oriented: While twitter and facebook can focus much on the personal side of life, LinkedIn cuts the fluff and focueses on business. If you’re looking for a webdesigner to help with your the launch of your campus you don’t have to wade through pictures of thier last camping trip to get to a person’s credentials.

2. Value Beyond Each Contact: LinkedIn uses “3 degrees of separation” to connect you with folks. This is its true power. You not only get to connect with a contact, but also with everyone they know and everyone they know. The contact you are adding may not have the knowledge or skills you are seeking, but odds are they know someone who knows someone who does. This makes it valueable to add people as contacts even if they have small networks and little experience in your field.

3. It’s Not Just About Finding A Job: While the primary function of LinkedIn seems to be able to find jobs or recruit employees it’s value goes far beyond. It’s a source of information. If your looking to findout who the experts in an industry outside your own are it’s easy enough to find some folks through LinkedIn and then ask them. You can use it to find someone who knows any type of information your a looking for (or someone who knows someone) inside or outside your instudry. The same types of searches just aren’t available to your on facebook.

You can find my profile here:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/billychia

If you haven’t signed up for LinkedIn you can do so here.

Thoughts on Turning 30

Man, I’m finally here. I feel this sense of accomplishment. I guess it’s because people often tell me I look like I’m 14. I’m kinda pumped to make the big three-oh.

Our culture worships youth. I’m no longer 20-something. I’m no longer relevant. I’m no longer the target audience. I’m no longer cool. (The jury’s still out on if I was ever cool.)

Youth worship always rubbed me the wrong way.

Scripture says,

Gray hair is a crown of splendor

The people who have had the deepest impact on my life all have gray hair. My parents. Dan Flynn. David Neidnagle.

The impact I have on the world today for Christ is crazy, rediculously more than even a year ago and exponentially more than before that. I enjoied being young, but I also mourn the foolishness of my youth. I love being 30, it’s exactly perfect. I also look forward to getting older and wiser. (Older ‚Ȇ wiser. God gives wisdom.) I can only imagine the kind of Christian I’ll be with 10 more years under my belt, or 20 or 30!

So right now you’re thinking, “wow, Billy’s pretty confident and content with his age.”

I am.

You may also think, “I wish I could feel like that.”

You can

– it’s a side-effect of following Jesus. Seriously, following Jesus won’t make your life perfect, but it’s the craziest awesome adventure on the planet. It’s what you were made for. It’s the only way to be content because Jesus is the only way to eternal life. Following Jesus will also cost you your whole life. (If you want to know more about following Jesus, you’re welcome to shoot me an email. I’d be happy to start a dialogue with you.)

Sometimes God Whispers and Sometimes He Shouts

We found a church today. The Chias will be looking to hook into Summit Crossing Community Church. The service today was great. I could go on an on about all the things I love about this church…

like the way they recycled an old church building and outfitted it for modern worship instead of spending big bucks on a constructing their own building, or how they are doing four identical services so they can maximize their efforts while minimizing the financial investment it takes to put on a worship service in order to pour more resources into the community of Huntsville/Madison, or the fact that the audio mix had a healthy does of electric guitar and kick drum

But I won’t do that. (too much) I’ll just say,

God whispered to me, “This is the place.”

Right in the middle of first worship song. I knew that if Sarah didn’t hear the same thing then we’d be looking further, but she did. Even my daughter Eve wanted to come back.

That wasn’t the only thing God said to me today. God was raging on my heart all morning. He said a lot more to me including:

I’ll use you in the field of IT Networking

Today a man got baptized at the beginning of the service. Sarah and I were in tears at his testimony. He said, “I’m a computer nerd and never spent a lot of time with people or religion…but someone invited me to Summit Crossing and now Jesus is my savior.” I’ve been busting my hump doing online network training. My goal is to get some tech certifications and move into a career in the IT industry. I’ve wrestled with this a lot – especially the amount of time it takes to do the online training.

Today God confirmed in a big way that He’s sending me into a mission field where few can go to reach people few can reach. There are many more “computer nerds” out there who need Jesus.

Do what no one else wants to do

A chief concern for Sarah and I has been where we’ll plug into a church to serve. I need a break from leadership, but don’t want to stop being a Christian. I still want to serve.

Today Paul, the teaching pastor, made a challenge to everyone. He asked that as Summit moves to a 4 service format (2 in the AM and 2 in the PM) that folks choose either AM or PM time and then worship at one service and serve at another. As he talked about different areas of need it occurred to me that God was just calling me to serve wherever there was the deepest need. It may be out of my comfort zone or something I’m no good at, but for this season it’s what God’s calling me to.

Spend less time doing network training

At I was a little confused when I heard this. Especially since only a half-hour earlier God told me to plunge full forward into computer networking. Paul preached a tremendous sermon on simplicity (check it out here.) He talked about how we all spend too much time getting distracted by being busy. This was super convicting to me – some days I work 8-5 and then come home to do online training all evening. Paul challenged everyone to “Turn everything off for 2 hours in the evening from 6-8pm, and just have family time or alone time with God.” We’re gonna do it.

Starting today the computer, phones, tv, etc… will all shut down from 6-8 and we’ll do family worship time. It’s a little scary because I’m not sure where I’ll fit in my network training, but I believe God is faithful and will provide the oppertunity.

Life Priorities

  1. God
  2. Spouse
  3. Children
  4. Friendship
  5. Physical health
    • Eating right
    • Exercise
    • Sleep
  6. Career
  7. Enrichment
    • Learning
    • Adventure
    • Fun
This is a list of life priorities I journaled recently. The idea was to have a broad measuring stick as I started to do task/time management to see if my calendar and my todo list were taking me in a direction I wanted to go.

Church Marketing Rocks

Yesterday, I dissed on church marketing a bit, but I’m still a huge fan.

For example: buisiness cards.

I love business cards. They work.

Today I finally got an Alabama Driver’s license. I went to the county office, waited for about 2 hours, went through 15 minutes of questions, a photo, and bam, I was done.

When it came my turn I smiled and asked the woman how her holiday was. She said it was exciting to give her husband an iPod Touch for Christmas. I said that my wife gave me a hat, which was the perfect give to keep a shaved head warm.

(On Christmas Eve we worshiped with Sojourn Church. My pal John made sure I was stocked up on churchinabrewery.com business cards to promote their launch in the brewery on Jan. 11th.)

When I reached into my wallet to pull out my debit card to pay, I pulled out a churchinabrewery.com card as well. I laid it down and said,

“I worshiped with these guys on Christmas Eve.”

She said she’d never heard of Church in a Brewery but that she really enjoyed the Christmas Eve service at Grace UMC. She asked to keep the card. (My vibe was that Grace is the right place for her – but I’m suspecting she might have a friend to pass the card along to who would find a great home at Sojourn.)

Business Cards with a web addresses just work. In a situation where it’d be awkward to try to start up a conversation about going to church while there are 300 other people waiting for driver’s liscneses it’s simple and gets you to the point quick.

Great Worship Leaves You Uneasy

Church messed me up today.

We worshiped at The Brook with Jan. It was great to be there. Jan is a pro and I was impressed with how quickly we just dove into worship with only three songs.

The set was short to make space in the service for the 50 min. Fransic Chan video.

The video sermon messed me up.

Seriously, buy a copy of the mp3 from Youth Specialties for 6 bucks or email Jan and asked to borrow the DVD – it’ll mess you up too.

There were two aspects that hit me hard.

1. Sign or No Sign?

As I dream about one day planting a church this question hits me hard. When Rob Bell planted Mars Hill his friends got a sign for the church. He was appalled and made them take it down. I love the kinda guts it takes to have that attitude about church.

The notion is that people have to want to be there.

We beg and plead for people to come to church. We put up billboards, reserve special parking spaces for visitors and make sure there’s coffee and donuts. It’s kinda like we’re saying, “Jesus isn’t enough of a reason for you to be here – we need to add all this extra crap to try and entice you.”

So part of me says, “Sign?! Church can’t have a Sign!”

Chan indirectly hit on this point today. He talked about how as pastors we want to build big churches, but Jesus didn’t do this. When Jesus got a big crowd instead of being “welcoming” he said, “Hate your mother, hate your father, hate your kids, hate your family, pick a cross and follow me.”

We can’t have a sign – people have to want to follow Jesus.

On the other hand I place a super high value on things like signs and websites. I recently saw a business card advertising a sermon series and I commented to Sarah on how intelligent it was to put a map right on the card to make it easy. I have this strong desire to “let my light shine like a City on a hill” But when do we make it so easy for people to follow Jesus they aren’t really following Jesus at all?

Following Jesus is hard.

2. Where’s the Gospel?

Chan spoke about the parable of the good soil – how some people are rocky soil and some have thorns and some is good soil. Chan said that Jesus didn’t waste his time cultivating the rocky soil. He didn’t fertilize the thorns. He only focused on the good soil.

On the one hand this hit me hard – It breaks my heart to see churches bend over backwards trying to appease lukewarm Christians. They make sure the coffee is hot, and the music’s not too loud, and the words have to be on the screen at exactly the right time otherwise it’s too “distracting” to worship God. Gimme a freaking break. If you are so spiritually impoverished that you can’t worship God because you were “distracted” then you need to take a trip to China or Africa where the real Christians live. Where you can get murdered and tortured for your faith. I have no desire to try and appease lukewarm Christians.

It’s just like fertilizing the thorns.

On the other hand I think Chan is misinterpreting the parable. The point of the parable is that the sower is crazy irresponsible!! A smart sower would not only refrain from fertilizing the rocks – he simply wouldn’t sow seed there in the first place!

I thank God that’s He’s so generous and irresponsible. I was once some pretty rocky soil before God cultivated my heart.

Isn’t the Gospel the fact that we are ALL rocky soil? We were all sinners in need of a savior? Isn’t the point that we can’t do it? – that the church isn’t perfect, that we’re all broken, that we need Jesus to save us?

Chan never got there. The whole appeal seemed to say, “Christians – step up and start living better.”

I never heard – “Oh and by the way – you can’t do it. No matter how hard you try you are completely incapable. But don’t worry – God can. He is capable. It is He who wills and works in you. Trust in Him.”

Leave a comment

If you understood a bit of the struggle I rambled about above then drop a comment. Do you wrestle with this too? Have you found any insight?

You can also check out Jan’s take on today’s service.

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.

Beginning a Search

Today we worshiped with Buliding Church. It surprised me how refreshing it was to just go somewhere and worship God. Not show up several hours early and do a bunch of set up and lead a sound check and various other distractions from God’s presence, but just show up and worship.

After the service I talked briefly with Pastor David about being an ex-church staffer trying to find a place to plug in. He said, “I know it can be awkward.”

Man, it totally is.

The pull is to critique everything. When you’re a church professional trying to find a church it’s like John Madden trying to simply enjoy a football game. Rather than focus on a “What impressed me? – What did I enjoy?” attitude I tried to have a “How could God use me in this community? Is God calling my family here?” attitude.

I will say I really enjoyed the worship and teaching. The welcome team was on point!

We sang –

  • O Come All Ye Faithful
  • Joy to the World
  • Angles We Have Heard on High
  • The First Noel
  • Another song I’d never heard before
  • Run, Run Rudolph (walk out song)

Check out other Churches’ Sunday morning set lists on Fred’s blog.

The Building Church worship pastor only led one song. It was cool to see a guy who empowers his team. I’m not a big fan of Christmas carols for Sunday morning services, but O Come All Ye Faithful and Angles we have heard on High were rockin’. Seriously, some of the most worshipful arrangements of those I’ve heard.

In terms of the big 4

Solid Preaching: Check. David spoke about how Christians don’t search for peace – they HAVE peace, they don’t search for Joy, they HAVE joy. In a culture where it’s super hip and trendy to be “seeking” and very nerdy to be “found” I really appreciated the good theology.

Another thing that struck me that was HUGE was how much vision was just littered through the message. Getting into a small group as well as going through the “growth track” classes were both plugged during the sermon.

Love Huntsville: Check. We prayed over some build-a-bears (“Building Bears”) that were being sent to Children who were spending Christmas in Huntsville Hospital.

Love the World: Check. The put a picture on the screen of the orphans in Venezuela who they were helping. The Pastor and his wife served as missionaries before become church planters.

Passionate about church planting: Big Check. What really impressed me the most was the confidence that folks had about being called to Huntsville. Pat, an associate pastor, shared with wild excitement about how he’d left a paying job to raise support, take on a part-time job and help plant Building Church. They are only a little over a year old and are looking open another campus in Madison in February.

With all this I didn’t hear the whisper of God saying, “This is the place.” I have a feeling like it’s probably not gonna happen that way. I envision it more like us visiting several places and then praying in light of those experiences about where to go.

You can check out Sarah’s take on visiting Building Church.

The Most Important Aspect When Looking for a Church

What is the most important aspect when looking for a church?

For the first time in our marriage Sarah and I and in a situation where need to go out and find a church. “Church shopping” makes me want to throw up in my mouth, and yethere we are. The notion of “shopping” for a church is nauseating because it takes some thing beautiful and destroys it. Church shopping takes the Holy and Righteous Bride of Christ and treats her like she’s no more important than¬†a Startbucks cup of coffee.

Is church just a product to be consumed or something more?

The Bible says the Church is the “fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 1:22-23) You don’t get the fullness of Christ without church – it’s thatimportant. Without getting too deep into theologies of the Universal Church vs the City Church vs local church, I believe it is ablsolute vital to faith in Jesus Christ to experience that faith in the community of a local church. For that reason the most important aspect of finding a church will be finding a community where we can SERVE. A communtiy where our unique gifts, talents and calling can be fully exploited and leveraged for the sake of the Gospel.

It’s not about what you get out of church, but what¬†give to your Savior and others.

Yes, Sarah and I are hoping to serve in some way. My family has been pretty beat up by the transtion and we need a place to heal, but we don’t plan on taking a break from ministry. Healing doesn’t happen when you take a break from you mission. In fact,¬†“taking time off” to heal can be the most damaging thing to faith.¬†True spiritual healing happens when you get actively¬†invovled in giving your entire life to Jesus and serving him¬†with all that you’ve got. I’m not saying we want to jump immeditately into leadership¬†– we just need some good community where we can plug into service.

So what kind of church are we looking for?

Sarah and I have come up with 4 elements we are hoping to find in the local church we want to plug into:

1. Solid Bibilical Teaching – This is the most important thing. If we are going to grow in our faith we need to find a teach who can teach us.

2. They tagibly love Huntsville– What is the church doing to actively make a difference in the city? Are all the bulletin announcement for Bible Studies and potlucks or are they getting outside their own four walls to actually love their neighbors? I’ve grown up in the church and honestly I kinda suck and loving my city. I need to find a communtiy that’s doing it and can teach me how.

3. They send missionaries all around the world РMissions in the back yard are important and so are Global missions. Do they send out people on short term missions? Do they support full-time missionaries? Bonus points are awarded if the church does sustainable ministry by sending the short-term missionaries to the same places year after year and connect with long-term missionaries in those locals.

4. They are passionate about church planting – I believe church planting is the most effective way to reach the lost and revitalize existing churches. My goal is to one day be a church planter.

Those are the big four, but bonus point are awarded for

  • The Pastor has a blog and twitter
  • Others in the church blog and twitter
  • Loud guitars with distrotion.
  • Podcasts/RSS feeds of audio and video content
  • Cool¬†graphics on the website (shallow, and I’m just being honest.)
  • A rockin’ kids ministry (Service is the most important – I don’t care about your “kids ministry” as long as your invovling my daughters in serving Jesus. But a fun and safe Sundy morning evirionment where they look forward to going doesn’t hurt.)
  • Candles
  • Dark, dark, turn off all the lights worship.
  • Cool set design (see note on: graphics)

What do you think?

What kinds of things should we look for was we try to find a church home?

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.

Chrismas Tag

Fred McK tagged me up. After alotta serious discorse here’s something fun and goofy:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags: A little of both. I always like tearing open a real wrapped gift.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Faker.

3. When do you put up the tree? Tomorrow hopefully

4. When do you take the tree down? Before my birthday (Jan. 8)

5. Do you like eggnog? Oh yeah!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

7. Hardest person to buy for? Who’s not hard to buy for?

8. Easiest person to buy for? The Operation Christmas Child kids

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yeah, but it’s pretty small. I’d really like to rock it out with a plastic-light-up lawn style nativity.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Yes, I really should.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? One year my little brother got me the kitsch-tivity.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It’s a Wonderful Life

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Done and done.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Absolutely. I try to give Jesus every year.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Mrs. Wojahn’s cookies.

16. Lights on the tree? Only if they are fiber-optic.

17. Favorite Christmas song? If God came down on Christmas Day, I know exactly what He’d say. He’d say “Oi to the punks and Oi to the skins and Oi to the world and everybody wins!”

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home.

19. Can you name all of Santa‚Äôs reindeer? We worship Jesus and not Satan Clause at my house. I can name all of Jesus’s reindeer.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Tree Angles are creepy.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Consumerism

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? red

24. Favorite place for Christmas dinner? At the table.

25. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? Rick McK says, “The Church’s response has been to critique the culture for not talking about Jesus or saying, ‘Merry Christmas’ so there’s this idea that when I’m running through the mall, trampling over people, to get that last thing, you should tell me, ‘Merry Christmas’ not ‘Happy Holidays’ That’s a very lame place for the Church to draw the line in the sand.”

I have to agree, although I use them both as my family celebrates Hanukkah as well.

Tagged: Brunette Koala

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.”

Thankful for Godly Women

Godly Women

My wife just spent a week back in Evansville. She got to connect with some of her good friends Kara, Elaine and others while she was up there. I’m am so absolutely thankful for these Godly women who are able to speak wisdom into my wife’s life Titus 2 style.

Repentance and Forgiveness

I just got back from a meeting where the recent turmoil was discussed. Some truth made it’s way out tonight and misunderstandings were clarified. Some apologies were made, forgiveness was granted and things worked the way the Church is supposed to work.

I’m feeling a deeper sense of peace about God’s plan and Chase Valley than I’ve ever felt.

I believe this is because of you. The person reading this blog. The people who have been reading and praying for Chase Valley. Your prayers are powerful and effective.

There are still things left to resolve. But we are moving toward them.

The last year has felt like a foggy cloud of ambiguity. I feel like tonight many steps were taken forward clarity and understanding.

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.

Thanks with out the Gluttony

Yesterday we ate a lot of food at the Chia house. There was so much food it didn’t all fit on the table at once. We ate way more food than we all normally eat and the amount of food leftover was way more than the amount consumed. It was a massive heap of food.

As we cleared plates and stuffed mounds of foil-wrapped containers into an already-packed refriderator a clear feeling came over me. What might’ve been guilt actually turned into…

Satisfaction.

In the Untied States this practice seems absurd. We schedule a day to over-eat and prepare so much food it can’t possibly all be eaten – creating waste. It seems morally wrong to do this when there are so many around the world who don’t have food at all. I believe it probably is morally wrong if you live like most Americans live.

Most Americans over-consume everyday. We are the fattest people that have ever lived. Rates of heart-disease and cancer are at historic highs. Even our children are morbidly obese.

When you over-consume everyday and then you schedule a day to over-over-consume. It’s just wrong. Yesterday some people should have been fasting, not feasting.

I thank God for my awesome wife. Because of her, we don’t live like most Americans. We’re on the Dave Ramsey plan – living like no one else, so that later we can live like no one else. We roll slim at the Chia house. Sarah goes grocery shopping once a week on Mondays. She only buys what she estimates we will need and no more. By Sunday there are slim pickin’s and we get creative. Sarah often makes only enough food for that one meal – it all gets eaten in modest portions. If there are leftovers then those are eaten the next day.

This system works in a lot of ways:

  1. We are healthier as a family because we eat a balanced diet in modest portions
  2. We save money on our food bill
  3. We create very little waste on a daily basis.
  4. The money we save on food is able to be spent on others.

So for 364 days a year we eat modestly. When you do this then the mood becomes different as you bust out a huge spread. It becomes a celebration of thankfulness to a God who continually provides instead of a celebration of gluttony in an excessive culture.

Our God is a party God. He made the Jews have parties 8 times a year. Parties of lavish celebration. Even when God was going to kill are the first born males in Egypt he had the Israelites throw a party the night before. He’s a party God! He’s takes pleasure in our celebration. Thanksgiving should be a happy celebration absent of guilt. When you live modestly on a daily basis it can be that way.

If you’re feeling guilty about the weight you will probably put on this Holyday season. If the mounds of foil in your fridge cause a sinking lump to form in your gut instead of a beaming shine in your heart then it may be time to adjust your lifestyle. Start now – and by next year you’ll have a very different experience.

Our God is a God of second chances. He righteous life, innocent death and glorious resurrection paid the price for your guilt. Ditch the guilt and start a revolution of praise and thanksgiving.

Setlist Sunday

Setlist today at CVC

  • Not to Us – Chris Tomlin
  • He Reigns – Peter Furler
  • You are My King – Billy Foote
  • Offering – Paul Baloche
  • Lay it Down – Matt Maher

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.

Obama – Helping me Share Jesus

This morning at work the crew was pretty pumped about the election results. Most of them supported Obama in the election. One of my co-workers was really excited about all the Democrats who won. She kept singing “Oh happy day, Oh happy day.”

She sang, “Oh happy Day” then someon else echoed “Oh happy day.”

At this point I chimed in with the next two lines, “When Jesus washed, my sins away.”

Another coworker said, “Break it down Church!” (They call me “Church.”)

I told the crew I’d bring my guitar in tomorrow.

Honestly I was pretty bummed when I woke up to today’s elections results. But when else do you get to sing about Jesus at work with your non-churchgoing coworkers? That’s a win in my book.

As for our political leaders I think I can deal. God is the one who sets up rulers and governors so I’ll trust Him on this one. Besides, my real citizenship is in the Kingdom of Heaven and Jesus Chris is my King.

Experiencing Church

It’s Monday morning and I’m running on adrenaline. I’ve taken one day off in the last 3 weeks. I don’t feel tried. I never do – I tend to have endless amounts of energy until I crash. Instead I get irratable.

I feel it in my kidneys.

The chemical push of an artificial readiness. I haven’t sabbathed and I’m starting to pay the price.

It’s a hard place to be. Even if I could go back in time and take last Saturday off I wouldn’t. My head knows that that’s diobedience to God, but my heart needed last Saturday. We had a Fall Festival at church coordinated by our rockstar Children’s Pastor. This is the type of thing She is really good at. It was amazing. over 40 Chase Valley Church members showed up to pour out themselves by serving over 400 people from the community.

It was the most Church I’ve experience since I moved to Alabama.

The last two weeks of worship have been amazing. We have amazing people at Chase Valley. I’ve led worship all over the country in all types of churches and I’ve rarely experience people more dedicated and passionate for God on a Sunday morning. It’s an honor to lead them each week and the last 2 weeks have been over the top.

Yesterday we prayed over a missionary going India. Our missionary we sent to Rawanda came up and laid a hand on him during the prayer. It just felt like, “This is what Chase Valley Church is supposed to do.” Why haven’t we done this more in the last 10 months?

We also started promoting Operation Christmas Child. We have a member at CVC that’s amazing passionate about this ministry and she got on mic to ralley the troups yesterday. At Chase Valley we not only participate in Operation Christmas Child – we are the collection center. Which means other churches bring their boxes to us and our volunteers do extra duty to ship them out. That’s the kind of church Chase Valley is – we’re full of people who do “extra duty.” This was evident on Saturday when folks who normally don’t serve in the area of Worship Arts were ready and willing to help set up/tear down sound gear. That’s the kinda people we have – they don’t say, “that’s not my job” they just step up and serve.

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.

Every Friday

I worked some overtime today. The big boss asked us to start a large project on Friday and it flowed over into today. It was actually pretty cool things went down that way.

The building felt cold and empty devoid of all it’s weekly activity, but a sense of camaraderie was built between the three of us working. During a quick lunch break our supervisor told us some hilarious stories about living all over the world and working for the army.

At 3pm, as we exited the building we continued is some small talk that ended with,

See you on Monday.

That’s when it hit me like a tons of bricks – why didn’t I say,

Hey would you like to come to church with me tomorrow?

I’ve invited people from work to come to church, but it’s usually in the middle of the week. By the time the weekend rolls around people forget. I figure I absolutely love the people I work with – they are awesome. But, if I really love them, why aren’t I being more intentional about inviting them to church?

My new game plan is to try to make a habbit of inviting everyone to church on Fridays. I don’t want to be pushy or rude about it, but simply consistent. I figure in the end everyone would appreciate this. My hope is to do it every Friday.

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.

Just to Put Something Up

Blogging is a tricky endeavor. My first week of bivocatinalism left me zero time to blog. The problem is that once you take a day off you tell yourself, “I can just do a really good post tomorrow that will make up for skipping a day.” Then you are 2 days behind and the stakes get higher. By the end of the week you start dismissing all of your blog ideas becuase none of them are this amazing prolific post you need to get back in the game. So here’s some multi-topic ramble to get things up and going.

The Job

Work is terrrific. It’s also tiring. I walk…a lot. I think I’m going to get skinny again like when I was a waiter. I’m not looking forward to that. I work with a great crew of people I just like to be around. They call me, “Church.” (You can’t say it “cherch” it’s more like “ch-uh-ch”) Apparently my addiction is immediately evident upon meeting me.

Ministry

As far as worship leading goes. I’ve had to drop tasks like crazy. I cut and cut and prioritized and cut some more and still ended up work-o-holic-ing my week. My daughter added, “Spend time with Eve-Marie” to my to-do list. Apparently she’s noticed my increase in busyness and thinks she’ll get left out. She’s right. This week failed. I need to recalibrate going forward.

The Bail-out

I am so angry over this. I have lost almost all respect for President Bush. This was the stupidest move ever invented. It was billed as a “we have no choice, it’s this or nothing.” That’s a wicked lie. There were many free market solutions. Alabama Senator, Richard Shelby did me proud.

Some Good Stuff

Mark Dirscoll is writing a free ebook called, “Porn-again Christian.” If you are man you need to read this and then point all of your buddies to it as well. The first chapter is up on his website. More chapters are coming soon.

I usually find Bob Kauflin’s blog painfully boring, but this video was SPOT ON:

My only qualm with this video is that it’s long on theory and short on practicality. It’s easy to pointificate about how noble it is to embrace paradox and “healthy tensions” but living them out is infinitely difficult. Bob sets up a problem for us and then doesn’t offer any solutions. Then again maybe I should read his book instead of making fun of his video. Check out 3 other top-notch videos here.

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?

Becoming Bivocational

Be careful who your heroes are – you’ll probably end up like them.

For me, I have always admired bivocational pastors. I think it takes a tons of guts, a loads of dedication and a bit of insanity to work full-time and still be on a Church staff. These guys have the tenaciousness and fearlessness that makes them my heroes and very soon I will be one of them.

My Church Makes Me Proud

Last night my church’s Administrative Counsel passed the most recent wave of budget cuts. This time dramatic cuts were made to staffing costs and on Nov. 1st my position as Worship Arts Pastor becomes a volunteer role.

I’m am wildly proud of my Admin Counsel and those who specifically serve on the Staff Parish Relations Team (Human Resources Committee). The fact is that this decision was the right thing to do. This is a giant step forward for our church. It was an extremely difficult decision to make. It took boat loads of character, integrity and courage for those who stepped up to make it.

Why This is a Step Forward

According to Steve Stoope the money you spend on staff should be 50% of the money you have coming in. This include salaries, insurance, benefits, ect… all your staffing costs should be 50% of what you bring in. We are a church that averages 100 adults in worship on Sunday and we have 5 full time staff members. Our previous staffing costs were more than 50%. In a time of financial crisis we were spending above our means. Because of leaders with integrity who made difficult decisions we are now living with honest staffing costs.

It’s not the end of the battle – we still have a long way to go before we beat this crisis, but this is a huge win on the battle front. As the church grows and finances increase we’ll go back to having a full-time worship pastor.

You Can Help Me Find a Job

In the meantime I’m in the market for a secular job so I can pay my bills and still lead worship on Sunday. I’ve already had a few opportunities come my way even before this news went public – God is good and He is taking care of me. If you’d like to help me out – I’m looking for a job in Huntsville and I’m not scared of hard work. An 8-5 would work best leaving my nights and weekends for family and Chase Valley. A bonus would be some type of job where I get to contribute to Huntsville – where my job would show my love for my city. Shoot me an email if you have any ideas.

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.

When It All Falls Into Place

Yesterday was hard.

After getting many positive replies to Sunday’s worship from members of my church community and online commmunity, I received one negative response. It was from a leader in my community who I respect. She didn’t dislike the idea of solo worship, but she thought it was poor timing.

The most important reason to do scaled down worship is to teach people that you don’t need all the glitter and sizzle to worship God. Glitter and sizzle isn’t bad. We intentionally make worship exciting every week and don’t apologize for it. But the flash and hype is just not necessary, and believing it is necessary is bad. My friend notes that it is a good and lofty goal to teach this type of worship theology, but now was probably not the time to do that.

The argument makes sense to me. People have a hierarchy of needs – they don’t really care how to increase the battery life of their iPod if they don’t have food to eat or basic shelter. Right now our church is in several layers of crisis. Is it the time to focus on deeper lessons of faith or stick to the basis? Despite my feeling that it was a smashing success, I’ve still been in thought over whether this was a wise call or not.

Today on the other hand was an awesome day.

Everything just fell into place. I seriously feel at ease and happy – two emotions that have been elusive recently. Today, plans that I didn’t think were going to work out, ended up working out. It happened all day long. One example was that I found out 2 band members could not play this week. When I called them up they had already taken the initiative to find their own replacements. Score!

I had five or six difficult conversations today. They were all difficult for different reasons, but in each case those who I spoke with surprised me with thier empathy, dedication and faith. I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised. God has surrounded me with some amazing friends.

I’m pretty thankful for today.

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.

Reality is a Loose End

Jan posted this video and it is so compelling:

This is so refreshingly authentic because she doesn’t try to pretend. It takes maturity to simply admit “I’m growing” rather than faking it with, “I have it all figured out and all the loosed ends are now neatly tied up.”

Wild Goose Chase Winner

Trey McClain won the prize. Trey just launched a cool Evansville church plant. Check out his blog for a review in the next few weeks.

I used this random number generator to pick the winner.

Thanks to everyone who entered. You can read my review of Wild Goose Chase or purchase it on Amazon.

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!

$3,000 a Week

Many of you are praying for CVC and for me personally. Thank you again.

Our weekly budget is $9,000 – this is the amount of money we need to bring in with our offering to pay all of our bills – mortgage salaries, lights, ect… This does not include program money (we are on a budget freeze), and it does not include paying off money we owe to people. 9K is the “bare-bones” budget number.

This is the public number that we show everyone. We print it on the back of our bullitein each week.

We also print the number of last week’s offering. We tend to average around $6,000.

That’s a $3,000 gap.¬† Each week.

last week’s offering was closer to $5,000. That number will get printed on next week’s bulletin.

I talked to leadership about some steps to take – they are in prayer now over what I’ve shared.

I’ve been asking questions like –

What’s the right thing to do in this situation?

How do Christians act when faced with this information?

If character counts the most when character is most needed, how do we act according to strong character?

This is just the public info – there’s more going on behind the scenes. One thing has been evident – a need to be more open and transparent and a need to communicate in new and different ways. I’ll continute to be transparent. This story is still evolving.

A Double Win

This is the conversation I had with my 8-year-old daughter today after dropping my mom off at the airport:

Maybe one day when I’m ready to plant a church you can be my worship leader.”

I don’t know…

You could do it, you’re already good at playing piano and singing.”

We’ll have to make a deal.”

Yeah, what kind of deal?”

I don’t know, a deal.”

What do you have in mind? Pitch it to me.”

Well, I was thinking we could spend a whole day together, just you and me, and then I’ll be your worship leader.”

That sounds like a win/win to me.


 

Follow me on Twitter