Showing posts from May, 2012

Worship Academy Roadshow - Hull 2012

Saturday 26th May 2012 saw me attend my first Worship Academy Roadshow as a Worship Academy Ambassador, along with fellow Ambassador Diane Devine. Not knowing quite what to expect and feeling a little nervous, we started setting up at New Life Church in Hull. It was fantastic to meet up with old friends and part of Worship Academy's leadership team, Matt and Alison Key. Angie Lendon and the team from New Life Church were very welcoming and helped to make the whole day such a success!
We started off with an awesome time of worship which made a deep connection with the spirit of God straight away. God was in the house! I always love worshipping with others who are part of worship teams and those who 'get it' - those who have a deeper understanding of what worship is all about. The day saw Alison Key, one of Worship Academy's tutors, give a fantastic and challenging talk about 'Integrity of Heart' based on the Psalms. Then we split into two groups to do some prac…

Sunday Setlist - 20 May 2012

Theme: 'In Christ' sermon series

1. I believe the promise - Hillsong
2. More love more power - Jude Del Hierro
3. What a friend I've found (chorus only + additional words) - Martin Smith
4. Jesus All for Jesus - Robin Mark
5. Still - Reuben Morgan [Hillsong]
6. (Solo) Lord I need You - Jesse Reeves, Matt Maher et. al.

So . . . today I had a plan. I thought it would be great. But . . .oh how wrong I was!

Today was one of those days when everything that could go wrong, went wrong, all at once! We were unable to rehearse this week due to a variety of reasons, so I guess it was going to be 'seat of the pants' winging it session anyway. However we have done this sort of thing before, and we had a practise of the less familiar songs before the service started so I thought everything was fine. Well they were - until they weren't.

We got started - I personally find the first song 'I Believe the Promise' quite a challenge to play in places and its still u…

How to let the prophetic flow during times of worship

During the past few weeks, God has been reminding me and my local church about the need for the gift of prophecy and the importance of allowing it to operate during services. Below is an excerpt fro a letter I wrote to my band about how we can best let the prophetic flow during our services and times of worship.

So how can we do this as a band?
1.Create space for the music & song to ‘breathe’. By this I mean not being afraid to dwell or linger in a certain riff or melody in the middle or end of a song. Not necessarily singing, but a time of waiting and listening to God. Not being too eager or insecure to simply jump from one song into the next without time to think or catch our breath (I’m guilty of doing this I know). But giving ourselves time to ponder upon the song / words we have just sung, to let our hearts and spirits open up and communicate with God. I believe music continuing to play during this time is extremely helpful.

2.  Be sensitive to the spirit. When…

How wide and how deep is your sung worship vocabulary?

This is a question I have been asked before and I have recently come across again. It is one of those questions that I think will always remain valid and is always worth considering: How wide and how deep is your sung worship vocabulary? In other words, how wide and how deep are the songs we sing at our churches? Are the lyrics digging deep into God's word and mining into His truth and revelation, causing us as the worshippers to consider and ponder and learn new things about God, causing us to change? Or are we only scratching the surface, merely putting yet another thin coating of some over-used cliches on top of a shallow theological understanding and view of God?
Here is what the songwriter Robert Sterling says in his book 'The Craft of Christian Songwriting': "Christian music is produced and marketed with the same basic goal as pop music - sell more music. If the goal is to have larger sales, it stands to reason the product will be aimed at a broade…

If I was a Stradivarius Violin

Last week I took a day trip to Oxford with my family. Part of our time there was spent in the Ashmolean Museum. It is packed full of history (as you would expect) that ranged from Renaissance art, Chineese ceramics, Japanese samurai armour to giant statues of Juleus Cesar. One particular exhibit caught my attention - musical instruments.

There were very old stringed instruments, early versions of the guitar, cello, violin. But the one instrument that took pride of place in the centre of the whole room, suspended in its own glass display box, was an original Stradivarius violin! It was in extremely good condition.

I had heard about these instruments as being the finest violins ever made, producing an amazing sound that has remained unsurpassed through the centuries. When I got home I did some research on the web and learnt that in 2006 a Stradivarius set the record of being the most expensive violin ever to be sold at public auction, fetching an amazing $3,544,000 !

As I …

Worship and Mission

It was in November that I attended the last Worship Academy Weekend. Yet again it was a spirit-filled yet challenging time. The main theme was worship & mission and how the two are inseperable. Basically, if your worship is of any value, it's got to go beyond the walls of the church, to reach out into a world of desperate need. Worship & mission, although they often exist in tension, need to both be present. Since that weekend, God has shown me opportunities to pray for others. What I mean by this is random people on the streets or at work, but each time I did not go through with it . . .

I'm greatful that God is revealing opportunities for me to tell others about him in my everyday life, and I pray he continues to do so. But I wanted you to know that I find it hard! Often you may read a blog or a book or article by someone involved in ministry and you read of all their fabulous exploits for God, healings, miracles, people being saved! That's wonderfu…

Original v Music Industry songs

Pause for a moment and consider these questions:

How often do we sing original home-grown songs in my church? Does our church have its own sound, or do we sound like another ministry or movement (eg. Hillsong; Soul Survivor; Jesus Culture; Passion) Does my church actively encourage or equip songwriters within our church? I must say that I use various songs that are 'travelling the world' in my church, after checking that they will 'fit' with my congregation. However, I do believe we need to recognise and rediscover the importance of the home-grown song within our local church's expression.

I think that for a very long time, churches have been surviving on a diet of 'industry generated' songs which lead to a faxcimilied expression of worship. I believe it is vtially improtant for churches to protect their own identities, as people, communities and countries are all very different. God loves diversity, he loves all his children - after all he …

Should music be used as a form of protest?

Music is a curious thing, isn't it? The entertainment it gives both the listener as well as the performer is undeniable. But it goes a lot deeper than this surface function of ear-candy. It can be a strong vehicle for emotional release or expression; it is considered an art form that takes years of training and studying to get just right. The church has used it for millenia as a way of expressing worship to God, of releasing a creative expression of our very beings in response to all He is. Music has been used by movie makers to manipulate our emotions, and by advertisers to help make us remember a brand or product. It has also been used as a form of protest, or as a social commentary that can sometimes stir people to action.

Some of the ways in which music is used are trite and ephemeral, some are manipulative and wrong, while others can be a force for good, giving voice to the voiceless, speaking out for the oppressed, raising awareness of injustice and causing peo…

Songwriting behind-the-scenes

On TV in the UK recently there have been a lot of programmes about songwriting and many famous names and faces have been interviewed or have let the camera's into their lives so we can watch how the creative process of songwriting works for them. Although I have found the various programmes interesting and have also picked up a few tips as well as gained some fresh insights into other ways of doing things I hadn't thought of before, none has struck or impacted me more than the story of Diane Warren!

She is the most successful songwriter of all time! She has had 38 number 1 US hit singles. Her songs have been featured in over 100 Hollywood films. She has had more hits than The Beatles, Elton John and George Michael combined! She is the first songwriter to simultaneously have 7 songs performed by different artists in the US singles chart. Her songs have contributed to the sale of over 125 million records including 50 platinum-selling albums. I found this hard to be…

Worship at Glastonbury 2011

Not being lucky enough to put my wellies on, pitch my tent and wade through the mud with the thousands of Glastonbury-goers this year, I have had to make do with watching highlights on BBC2 . . .and have enjoyed it immensley. The U2 set on Friday night was epic - hard to believe this was their first time at Glastonbury. But my hat goes off to Coldplay's headline gig on Saturday night. A much anticipated event that will go down in Glastonbury history as one of the greats.

Surprisingly (or maybe not) this has got me thinking a lot about our modern sung worship . . .

DJ Zane Lowe as he introduced Coldplay said: 'let us come and worship at the alter of the song'. Secular music knows exactly what its doing at events like this. In the way things happen on stage, down to paper butterflies descending from the sky during the chorus of a song, lighting effects, singability of the songs for the large crowd to join in with this communal experience - worship!

Despite all…

Using Video Visuals as part of the Worship Experience?

I am wanting to try to use the medium of multi-media visuals more as part of the Worship Experience in our sunday services at KCW. I understand that the whole of the service is 'worship', this includes the Bible readings, testimonies, songs, music, the preaching and even the coffee break afterwards!

However, I think that at KCW, we can explore and make more effective use of the powerful medium of multi-media. I do want to be careful of using multi-media for its own sake, and stick to only using it when it will further enhance or add to the service as a whole.
On Sunday, the theme of the sermon is 'The Disciples of Jesus' so I wan the songs I choose to feed into, or perhaps develop or punctuate the message. So I have decided to . . . .

use a short video that I have found on to help introduce the theme and get people thinking about how we too can be disciples of Jesus. Watch it here…

Song Story - Ten Thousand Thousand

The song 'Ten Thousand, Thousand' took about 2 years to write. It started off with the idea of Revelation 5:11-14

I wanted to try to capture the awesome experience of worship as depicted here, where the earth has the honour of joining with heaven in worship of God eternal. So it involved trying to paint a picture of heaven, using this verse as a base, and then echoing our response to it.

Revelation 5:11-14 (NIV)

11Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"

13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory a…

Re-Examining the title of Worship Leader (part 2)

In my last blog, we began looking at the terminology of ‘Worship Leader’ and focused on looking at to what extent we are, or should be ‘leaders’ in a time of corporate worship, and with our worship teams. I now want to turn to look at the other part of the title: ‘worship’.

For a long time I (as well as many others) had fallen into the trap of compartmentalising, or pushing the wonderful act of worship into a very small box. The label on this box read: ‘Worship is that glorious 30 minutes of singing and music that happens just before the sermon on a Sunday’. Thankfully God has been opening my eyes and freeing my mind to understand that there is SO much more to it than this!
Yes, a time of corporate or private singing is indeed worship and God can meet with us in very special ways during these times, nut this is only scratching the surface. The Bible tells us that by making our bodies a living sacrifice, by living our entire lives in a way that honours and pleases God, w…

Re-examining the title of Worship Leader (part 1)

Have you ever thought about the title of 'Worship Leader' that gets used so much these days? I must confess, it didn't cross my mind or bother me for many years. However, now that I have thought about it, it has begun to do so.

It was during a Worship Central retreat with Tim Hughes and Al Gordon where this was jolted into sharp focus for me. The group was discussing various aspects of 'worship leading' when it was said that in fact it is the Holy Spirit who is THE worship leader. All we should be doing is following where He leads and doing our best to help others follow Him too. So in the worship setting we are (or should not be) leading at all, but rather following and enabling others to follow as well. Bishop Graham Cray suggests that the Father (God) and the Son (Jesus) are engaged in an eternal conversation, or song wiht each other. It is by and through the Holy Spirit that we are invited to join in!

However, leadership is a necessary part of the …