New year’s resolutions can be fools’ good, promising things you know they can never deliver, but the start of a new year also gives worship leaders a chance to commit to new or continued patterns of behaviour to help us as we lead our congregations in worship.
We can commit to all kinds of things – some frivolous, some meaningful, some life-changing – but here are three new year’s resolutions that will bring guaranteed results to the life of every worship leader and the churches they lead.
Resolve to read
I’ve written before about my commitment to reading and I definitely hold to the “leaders are readers” mantra. Reading opens new possibilities, wires our brains in new ways, allows us to think critically about established patterns of behaviour in our lives. If you read, resolve to continue that and read more in 2013. If you don’t normally read, resolve to read a few books this year. Check out my list of books that I think every worship leader should be reading.
Resolve to connect
Ministry is hard and it’s harder when you try to do it on your own. I’ve committed over the past few years to commit with other worship leaders across Canada (listen to the WorshipRises EP and hear some fruit that’s come out of these relationships) and around the world. Twitter is great for that but nothing beats sitting down with someone over a meal and just talking about life. Resolve to do this at least a few times a month – reach out to some people who are in the trenches with you and get plans for lunch on the calendar.
Resolve to pray
You cannot do this in your own strength. You can’t. Thinking you can is prideful, deceitful, dishonest and just plain wrong. You can’t. You need God. You need His strength, His mercy, His word, everything. You need Him. Resolve to pray more in 2013, pray more passionately, pray more expectantly. Pray for your pastor, pray for the people on your teams, pray for your congregation, pray that the Spirit of God would move mightily in your church and community in 2013.
Have you got some things you’re committing to in 2013? Anything you’re resolving to see happen in your life?
Sunday| is an incredible free resource for worship leaders, tech directors, creatives and really anyone trying to make sense of what’s happening with arts in the church. I was honoured to be asked to write another article for the most recent issue on the gentle topic of how to avoid worship band breakups. I’m so thankful to the Lord for the committed, passionate family of musicians and singers we have at Compass so while I may not have a wealth of experience when it comes to how to handle a breakup, here are some things we’ve committed ourselves to in hopes that the breakups never come.
I think there is a role for worship leaders AND worship team members when it comes to maintaining unity, vision and purpose so I’ve included some thoughts for you whether you are leading a team or a member of a team.
What about you? Ever gone through a worship band breakup? Have you got some things that you do with your church worship team to hopefully avoid a band breakup situation?
This morning we told our church family that our official launch as Compass Community Church will happen on Sunday, January 6. Working towards name change at a 151-year old church has been an incredible process and at some point I may write about all of the steps along the way but we’re excited about our launch as Compass and reinforcing our core directions of upward and outward.
Our launch will be full of incredible stuff for our church AND our community. Here are a few things we’re doing:
We’ll gather everyone from our church family together between both services on January 6 for our official Compass launch. We’ll pray, thank God again for what He’s done and is doing in our church and our region and commission our congregation to carry out the work God has for us.
Each Sunday in January we’re giving stuff away to our congregation – things with the Compass name/logo that people will use often in the community. We’re hoping that these will open conversations about “What is Compass?” and lead to invitations to our church.
At the end of January we’re hosting a Compass Winter Carnival – a great family event for our community where we’ll have indoor & outdoor events, multiple stages, food trucks, ice sculpting, an outdoor rink and tons of activities. Lots of people in our community have never been on our property and we’re hoping to change that with our Winter Carnival.
This really is only the beginning. Changing our name to Compass allows us to solidify some things which have always been very important to us and positions our church for a very exciting future, allowing us to do things which our previous name didn’t allow.
The future is bright. We’re so thankful for where God is leading us and that our congregation is excited and on board. The vision, faith and grace displayed in this whole process has been inspiring. We are praying that the fruit of all of our work and all of this change is that more people would come to know Christ, that God’s Kingdom would come in greater ways all across our region and that we would be part of a revolution of churches who are upward-focused and outward-released. We’re praying God would allow us to be a part of this.
I make no secret about the fact that I am a big big big fan of Paul Baloche so when I saw this Christmas Worship Experience that he put together with LifeWay Worship called Shout For Joy! I was pretty excited. Paul is an incredible worship leader and songwriter but I think my favourite thing about him is the evidence that his heart is so focused on the church. He wants worship leaders like me and like you to succeed in leading our congregations and he comes at his songwriting and his worship leader mentorship from that angle.
Shout for Joy! is a 6-song set that Paul has put together and from what I hear it can be used on a Sunday morning or even as a Christmas Eve service. I know many of you are looking for Christmas Eve service ideas right now so I’d encourage you to check out Shout for Joy!
Each song in the bundle comes with a rehearsal demo track, piano accompaniment, lead sheet, vocal chart, chord chart, rhythm chart and bass guitar part. A powerpoint file containing lyrics of each song and narrations by Paul is included as well.
Black Friday is gone – did everyone survive? Cyber Monday is here and I’ve gathered a few things that churches and worship leaders might want to check out if you are in the mood for spending today. Cyber Monday is a great chance for worship leaders and churches to get resources you were already planning on purchasing with the extra added bonus of savings kicked in!
Remember – Cyber Monday deals are usually only available TODAY so if you are planning to take advantage of the savings here, make sure you get it done. While I 100% support everything I’m linking here in this post you should know that some of these are affiliate links. The price for you is exactly the same so if you choose to purchase through one of my links, thank you very much for the support!
Musical Instruments – Amazon has an incredible assortment of musical instruments, keyboards, recording gear and stage equipment. LOTS of great stuff available here – some of it up to 50% OFF!
Crossway Bibles – 40% OFF store-wide sale on Crossway.org. They’ve also marked down 20 other books and Bibles at even bigger discounts.
WorshipHouse Media – This is the go to site for church media. Whether it’s motion backgrounds, song videos or mini movies make sure you have a look at what WHM has to offer in the Cyber Monday sale store.
WorshipLeader.com – Use the code BLKFRI to get 25% OFF registration costs for National Worship Leader Conference.
Martin Yale CV-7 AutoFolder – I’m going to single this one out because of how unique it is. Want to drastically cut down the time you spend folding bulletins and flyers? This is your answer! A great deal at 42% OFF today through Amazon!
Worship Team Coach – All of WorshipTeamCoach.com’s digital items are on a Cyber Monday sale – use CYBER at checkout to get everything at 50% OFF.
Standard Theme – If you’re thinking about upgrading your blogging experience and ability, Standard Theme is the right choice for you. Use BF2012 at checkout to get 30% OFF this incredible professional publishing theme for WordPress.
Gibson Guitars – You may not have ever thought of using Amazon to buy instruments but you will get up to 60% OFF on select Gibson Guitars today!
AirTurn – AirTurn (the folks who make the pedals you can use with iPad music programs) is offering 15% off their products site wide. Use code CYBER15 at checkout.
OnSong App – I know lots of worship leaders who love this app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch and today it’s on sale for only $4.99 through the app store rather than the regular price of $7.99.
I’ve been reading worship blogs for a bunch of years and I get asked all the time from other worship leaders about great blogs to read for worship resources, worship tools or worship ideas. I think one of my favourite things about worship leaders is their desire to continue to learn, grow and be equipped to do a better job leading worship in their congregation.
There are literally hundreds or thousands of great worship blogs out there for worship leaders to be reading but let me share with you a few of my favourite sites that worship leaders should be following in each of these three categories: worship resources, worship tools and worship ideas.
These sites give you practical content for worship leaders which you can actually use as part of your services on Sunday morning.
WorshipHouseMedia – WHM has a great site for graphics and videos which worship leaders can use in services but their blog is a great spot where they feature seasonal content, free downloads and other worship resources you can use.
LoopCommunity – The guys at LoopCommunity provide top notch loops you can use as part of your worship song sets and their blog features training for Ableton, tips on introducing loops to your worship team and features on worship loop programmers.
Church Motion Graphics – Worship leaders are always on the lookout for worship song backgrounds and different graphic ideas. The guys at CMG have a great blog where they talk about new resources but also give tips on producing and using media for churches.
Worship Matters – Worship leaders, if you are not tracking with Bob Kauflin, you need to start. His site “Worship Matters” and the book of the same name are must reads to equip you in both practical and theological issues.
WorshipCentral – Based in the UK and featuring worship leaders like Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon and others, the WorshipCentral blog is full of really helpful articles, interviews and song stories for worship leaders. Make sure you also check out the WorshipCentral Course if you’re looking for worship team training material.
Church Stage Designs – Jonathan Malm has become an incredible hunter/gatherer of simple, manageable stage designs that any church can tackle. Whether you are looking for inspiration to get started with stage design or some clear examples of designs you can do, you want to read this blog.
Seeds – Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK has created one of the best worship ideas blogs out there thanks to Whitney George (@whitneygeorge) and the rest of the team. Whether it’s how to run rehearsals, kids’ programming, lighting ideas or strategies on taking everything to the next level, Seeds is the first place to look.
David Santistevan – David is a worship pastor in Pittsburgh and is pretty committed to writing and sharing resources for the local church worship leader. So now you know why I like him so much! Follow his blog and on twitter @dsantistevan and you’ll catch a ton of great content.
Bobby Gilles – I’ve posted about Bobby before and I feel like I tweet every one of his articles. He will help you think theologically about important issues related to worship leaders and has no shortage of real world wisdom. He has been a great encouragement to me, even from a distance. You can also track with Bobby on twitter @bobbygilles.
Stephen Brewster – Nobody has the mix of expertise, experience, excellence and cool quite like Stephen. He’s the creative director at Cross Point in Nashville and his blog is jammed full of inspiration, encouragement and more than a little kick-in-the-pants we need. Of course he’s on twitter too @b_rewster and it doesn’t hurt that he was born in Canada!
So I’ve shared my list with you, now what about you? What are your favourite resources, tools and ideas that help you do your job better? What’s out there that I and other worship leaders should know about?
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!
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 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:
Staging & Lighting
Video & Media
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.
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.
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.
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
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…”)
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.
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.
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!!”
We will again be offering breakouts in five different streams:
Video & Media
Staging & Lighting
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!