Mac Mini, Automator, Keynote & Church Connections Centre

We launched our new Connections Centre in our foyer a few weeks ago. One of the big wins was that I figured out how to use a Mac Mini, Automator and Keynote to make a Connections Centre volunteer’s job really, really easy. We’ve created digital signage in our front foyer using the Mac Mini in a way that only requires volunteers to turn the TV on.

I wanted to share this with you because I know lots of you have big ideas when it comes to tech but not all of our volunteers feel the same way. We’ve now got our Mac Mini running our Connections Centre display through Keynote and thanks to Automator, all they have to do is power up the TV!

macplusautomatorpluskeynote

So how did we get this to work? Here’s what happens on Sunday morning before any of our volunteers arrive at the building:

  • The Mac Mini turns itself on
  • Keynote opens and finds the display presentation
  • The presentation starts running
Once our volunteers arrive, they simply turn on the TV. After our services are over, they turn the TV off and when they’ve left the building:
  • Keynote closes the presentation
  • The Mac Mini shuts down and waits for next Sunday
Brilliant! So how did we do all this? I will give you step-by-step instructions which you can follow very easily. Continue reading…

Reconnect Tech Conference Registration Open

Reconnect Tech Conference is a training opportunity for church tech volunteers to get training in audio, video, lighting, stage design and leadership. The conference is happening at Forward Church in Cambridge, ON on Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27, 2013. Last year we had over 400 tech volunteers attend the event so we’ve moved to a new venue which will allow us to have up to 800 people attend the Reconnect this year.

The training at this conference is designed for smaller churches so we have two main sessions over the two days plus four breakout/focus sessions on the Saturday which can be chosen from one of five streams:

  • Basic Audio
  • Intermediate Audio
  • Staging & Lighting
  • Video & Media
  • Leadership

We’ll be finalizing breakout/focus session details over the next little while and giving people who register the opportunity to sign up for those sessions before the conference happens but we know there are lots of people who are ready to register now even before all of our details are in place.

Reconnect Tech Conference

Registration is open now! Only $59 for great training in each of those five streams plus the chance to connect with hundreds of people from churches of all different sizes who are doing the same kind of role as you – dealing with the same struggles, figuring out the same kinds of problems, learning the best way to try new things.

Register today on our website – www.thereconnect.ca – and secure your spot for the Reconnect Tech Conference 2013.

TGIS – Songs & Series about Sunday

One of the incredible things that is happening in the life of our church right now is a renewed passion and commitment around Sunday morning. After coming back from sabbatical, I was energized and ready to see our congregation engage in worship & word like we had never done before.

In September we did a 4-week series called “TGIS: Four Reasons to be Excited for Sunday” where we essentially looked at why we do four of the key things that happen when we gather together – why we worship, why we preach, why we pray, why we witness. All four things should be happening every week when the church gathers but maybe it’s been a while since you’ve taken time to really think through why we do these things when the church gathers.

tgis audio

All in all, it was an incredible series and God did so much more than we could have imagined. We talked about worship, people sang! We talked about preaching, people submitted their lives to what the Bible says. We talked about prayer, people called out to the Lord earnestly and expectantly. We talked about witness, people encouraged one another to continue to tell the story inside and outside the walls of our building.

The truth is that what the church does when she gathers – when we come together as the people of God, making our gathering a priority, knowing that the Creator of the universe is in our midst, we come expecting Him to move in ways we could never imagine – when those things happen the result is something which cannot possibly happen anywhere else. The church has a monopoly on the manifest presence of God being made known in her gatherings and for too long we have taken that lightly. We need to remember the priority and the power of Sunday morning – not as a ritual, not as a habit, but as a source of life, source of communion, source of power that we, together as the church, need to continue on in our faith.

Nobody else can offer that. Nobody else can hang that outside their door. Nobody can promise that’s what will happen at their event, their show, their whatever. Only the church can offer that.

(Sidenote: If you follow me on twitter or facebook you know that I am pretty much all about Vertical Church right now – both the book and the CD. If talking about this kind of thing gets you fired up, you owe it to yourself and your congregation to spend time reading and listening.)

So to help put some meat on these bones, here are the service outlines for the four weeks of this series. Hopefully you see the connect with the topic of the morning and the direction we were headed.

TGIS Week #1 – Why We Worship
Open Up The Heavens – Vertical Church
10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman
Psalm 103 – read by our visiting Ugandan pastor
Message – John 4: God seeks worship of, by, through Jesus
Jesus You Are Worthy – Brenton Brown
Jesus Messiah – Chris Tomlin
How Great Is Our God – Chris Tomlin

As part of our response after the message we had set up two microphones and invited people to come and speak Christ-centred, God-praising words of adoration to Him. Incredible.

TGIS Week #2 – Why We Preach
Call to Worship – Ephesians 3:20-21
God Is Able – Hillsong
Our God Saves – Paul Baloche
Psalm 19:7-9
Cornerstone – Hillsong
Message – Ezekiel 37: God’s Spirit uses God’s Word to bring God’s Life
The Stand – Hillsong (pre-chorus only – “So what can I say…”)
Psalm 19:14
Glory to God Forever – Steve Fee
The Stand – Hillsong (whole song)

The focus of the morning was getting people to a place where they realized that without the power of God’s Spirit breathing Life into them through His Word that our church is essentially a valley full of dead, dry bones.

TGIS Week #3 – Why We Pray
Here for You – Passion
Our God – Chris Tomlin
Cornerstone – Hillsong
Give Me Faith – Elevation
Message – Acts 12: We pray earnestly and expectantly, knowing God hears
Give Me Faith – Elevation
Stronger – Hillsong

Prayer is crucial to the life of any church but how we pray also matters. The story of the early church praying for Peter’s release earnestly and expectantly has become a big encouragement for us as we pray about the vision and future of our church.

TGIS Week #4 – Why We Witness
Open Up The Heavens – Vertical Church
How Awesome Is Our God – Chris Vacher & Craig Douglas
One Thing Remains – Bethel Church
Never Once – Matt Redman
Message – 1 Thessalonians 1: High impact church declares AND demonstrates the gospel
Your Kingdom – Chris Vacher & Joshua Seller

It is not enough to be a bullhorn which only declares. It’s not enough to be a social club which only demonstrates. We must do both – declare AND demonstrate. Show and tell. “Your Kingdom” is a song that I wrote with my friend Joshua Seller and has been one which our church loves to sing.

Reconnect Tech Conference 2013

I’ve had the real privilege of being part of the Reconnect Tech Conference lead team after an incredibly successful launch last year, we have agreed to bring back the Reconnect Tech Conference on April 26 & 27, 2013 at Forward Church in Cambridge, ON.

Our lead team is working on details but we wanted to get this to you as soon as possible so that you could add the dates to your calendar and plan to be there with your entire tech team.

Reconnect Tech Conference

Our passion in this from the very beginning has been to create a training opportunity for church tech volunteers from smaller churches. Yes, you will see things that will make you say “Wow!” but you will also get very relevant, simple, hands-on training which will make you a better sound, light, media, tech-whatever volunteer at your church the day after the conference is over. You will go back to your role better equipped, better trained and encouraged that what you are doing matters!

Some Feedback From Last Year’s Conference

Here is what some of our attendees had to say:

“I just want to express my thanks to you and your crew for creating such a great weekend.”

“The leadership team are to be commended for a conference that I think exceeded all expectations–and at an affordable price for small churches.”

“This conference was done with supreme excellence but also with an attitude that was also very pleasing to the Lord!!”

$59 Registration Will Open November 5

Registration will open on November 5 at www.thereconnect.ca

Breakouts

We will again be offering breakouts in five different streams:

  • Basic Audio
  • Intermediate Audio
  • Video & Media
  • Staging & Lighting
  • Leadership

Thanks to a great new venue at Forward Church in Cambridge, we’ll be able to open up more breakout sessions for you to choose and the entire conference experience will be kicked up a couple of notches. Watch for updates coming soon but we wanted to get you this info as soon as we had it confirmed!

Blog Series: Worship Leader Tools

Lots of new readers have been visiting the blog lately so I wanted to highlight a previous series of posts focused on sharing tools for worship leaders. One of my favourite things to do is discover and share worship leader resources and this series was a great opportunity for me to gather a bunch of those tools together and post about them together.

You can read the introduction to the worship leader tools series and see links to all of the posts here – http://www.chrisfromcanada.com/blog-series-worship-leaders-toolkit/

A few of the great resources for worship leaders that I’ve highlighted in this series:

  • Planning Center Online
  • CCLI
  • PraiseCharts
  • Books every worship leader should read
  • Lots more!

I’ll show you how I use the tools, why I think they help make my job easier and let you know some easy ways you can get started.

I’d love to hear some other worship leader resources you are using which I may not have posted about this series. Worship leaders, what are your favourite tools which help make your job easier?

Giveaway – Starfield tickets!

Happy Monday morning! Canadian music superheroes Starfield are on tour across the country right now and I’ve got a pair of tickets to give away to their concert this Thursday, October 18 at Faith Church in St. Thomas, ON.

Starfield were just nominated for another bunch of GMA Canada Covenant Awards including Artist of the Year and Album of the Year!

starfieldtour

This is kind of a late breaking news contest so we’re only going to keep it open for 48 hours. To enter, you’ll need to follow me on twitter, tweet about the contest and become a fan on facebook. We’ll close the contest at NOON on Wednesday, October 17 and contact the winner. Make sure you keep your calendar open for Thursday evening – Starfield is an incredible band and they put on a great show. You will not want to miss this tour!

Good luck! We’ll announce the winner as soon as the contest closes on Wednesday.

Best New Worship Songs of 2012 – Part 3

This is the third post featuring new worship songs of 2012 that I’ve already taught at my church or will be soon. I’d love to hear what songs you’ve been doing in your churches this year that people are loving!

If you want to check out the other posts, here you go:

Part 1

Part 2

One of the most common questions I get from other worship leaders is “How do you find new songs to do at your church?” I have lots of great sources (and Christian radio is not one of them) but over the next few posts I want to share with you some of the best new worship songs of 2012 which have had the most impact in our church as well as some new worship songs that I’m hoping to introduce to our congregation before the year is over.

This is not a list of the best new worship songs released in 2012 but songs that we have already taught at our church this year which have been well-received and some which we are expecting to teach over the next few months. I’ll hilight three songs in each post to give you a handful of new songs which you may want to introduce in your church if you are looking for new songs.

Vertical Church Band – Not For A Moment
www.verticalchurchband.com
I had the pleasure of hearing Meredith Andrews sing this song this summer and knew right away we had to do it at our church. I heard an interview where she talked about taking the familiar “I will never leave you or forsake you” phrase and turning it around to “Not for a moment did you forsake me.” Beautiful. This has been wonderful for our congregation to sing.

Jeremy Riddle – This Is Amazing Grace
www.jeremyriddle.net
This is a brand new song off the latest Bethel Live album and I only heard it a couple of weeks ago but once I did I knew that we’d be adding it to our library. Great melody, solid lyric and I’m already excited to hear my church singing this one. This video is a bit sketchy but grab the song off iTunes – it is fantastic! (UPDATE: Thanks to Chris who commented below with a better video of this song!)

What are some new songs your church is doing this year?

Best New Worship Songs of 2012 – Part 2

One of the most common questions I get from other worship leaders is “How do you find new songs to do at your church?” I have lots of great sources (and Christian radio is not one of them) but over the next few posts I want to share with you some of the best new worship songs of 2012 which have had the most impact in our church as well as some new worship songs that I’m hoping to introduce to our congregation before the year is over.

This is not a list of the best new worship songs released in 2012 but songs that we have already taught at our church this year which have been well-received and some which we are expecting to teach over the next few months. I’ll hilight three songs in each post to give you a handful of new songs which you may want to introduce in your church if you are looking for new songs.

Here’s Part 1 and Part 3

Hillsong – Praise Him
www.hillsongmusic.com
Another song on our “not yet” list of songs we’ve learned but I’m excited to do this one with our church. If you’re looking for it, it’s available on the Deluxe Edition of the most recent Hillsong CD.

New Life Worship – Great I Am
www.newlifeworship.com
I’m not always a fan of songs that need to be down heeeeere and then up heeeeeere but the pattern works for this song. The build of the bridge and the drive to the lifted chorus towards the end is incredible and the declaration of the lyric is hard to match. I’ve experienced this song from both sides of the microphone and it has been great every time.

Elevation – Give Me Faith
www.elevationworship.com
I first heard this song this summer when we were visiting our church as part of my sabbatical. The spirit of the song is spot on and the humility of the lyric is so refreshing. I cannot wait to teach this one to our church.

Best New Worship Songs of 2012 – Part 1

One of the most common questions I get from other worship leaders is “How do you find new songs to do at your church?” I have lots of great sources (and Christian radio is not one of them) but over the next few posts I want to share with you some of the best new worship songs of 2012 which have had the most impact in our church as well as some new worship songs that I’m hoping to introduce to our congregation before the year is over.

This is not a list of the best new worship songs released in 2012 but songs that we have already taught at our church this year which have been well-received and some which we are expecting to teach over the next few months. I’ll hilight three songs in each post to give you a handful of new songs which you may want to introduce in your church if you are looking for new songs.

Here’s Part 2 and Part 3

Matt Redman – 10,000 Reasons
www.mattredman.com
This is hands down the song of the year for us. We do it in G which makes the high note of the chorus a real stretch at F# but our people love it and they sing it loud. This is as close to a church drinking song as you’ll find and people sing this one out!

Vertical Church Band – Open Up The Heavens
www.verticalchurchband.com
One of the strongest call to worship songs I have heard and used with our people. A great opportunity to focus people on why we gather, calling out to God to make His presence known and tons of energy in the melody. We have a blast with this song and people caught it very quickly.

Hillsong – Cornerstone
www.hillsongmusic.com
This is one of the ones that we haven’t taught yet but I’ve heard so many churches sing it and worship leaders say that their congregations loved the combination of old lyric with new melody. We’ll be learning this one together soon – it is a great song!

What new songs have you been learning in your church?

Giveaway – Church Motion Graphics Monthly Mega Pack Subscriptions

Finding good quality, current media to use in worship services is the kind of thing that can overwhelm a worship leader’s schedule. Sometimes it seems like good media is nowhere to be found, sometimes it feels like the possibilities are endless. Either way, you can end up spending hours and hours looking for graphics and videos to use in your worship services.

What if there was a better way? What if there was a media producer who produced, bundled and shipped new, fresh, high quality media to you every month? Say hello to Church Motion Graphics Monthly Mega Pack!

sample-pack

 

What to expect from the CMG Monthly Mega Pack?

  • Six worship motion backgrounds in multiple formats ($378 value)
  • One five-minute countdown timer ($26 value)
  • An exclusive promo code for additional CMG church media
  • CMG’s best new unreleased church media
  • Access your files all month long
  • Compatible with all worship software including PowerPoint
  • WMV & MOV videos in 1080HD/720HD/480SD plus JPEG stills
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

So what are we going to do to help more people know about this great product? A giveaway, of course!

Thanks to Church Motion Graphics, I’m giving away one SIX MONTH subscription to the CMG Mega Monthly Pack AND a THREE MONTH subscription to the CMG Mega Monthly Pack.

Click the image below to get more info on what’s included in the CMG Mega Monthly Pack and preview the kinds of videos which you’ll receive:

CMG Monthly Mega Pack – Fresh new church media sent to your inbox every month ProPresenter EasyWorship PowerPoint | CMG

 

To enter the giveaway, just enter your info in the widget below and earn entries by tweeting, liking and sharing this post. The more you share, the more entries you receive!

And.. that’s not all!

We want to give away some additional prizes so the fine folks at CMG have agreed to add an extra prize to the contest for every 50 people who enter. So we’ll start with the TWO CMG Mega Monthly Pack subscriptions and for every 50 people who enter we’ll add more prizes to the mix!

We’ll leave the giveaway up until Friday and announce winners on that day. Good luck!