Showing posts from 2013

Worship Leaders: Custodians of the Ancient and the Modern


On Friday I had a fantastic evening courtesy of the KingsStock Music Festival who hosted a wonderful Christmas Party complete with mulled wine, mince pies, a choir and the fabulous Daughters of Davis.

Part of the Daughters of Davis set was to sing the ancient hymn 'Amazing Grace' that they had re-imagined and interpreted in their own special way. The song sits nicely amongst their other songs and emboides their unique folky sound. Have a watch of the video I made of their performance above.

As worship leaders we need to realise that we are custodians of the ancient wealth of worship music that has been created and sung within the Christian church for thousands of years, as well as balancing it with the modern. We need to keep ourselves standing firmly in the present, seeking to connect and engage with people who live in today's world and culture. But we need to do this with a sure understanding of where the church has come from. Identifying and celebrating the history o…

Nelson Mandela's Example

I'm sure by now the news that Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, died this week. I must admit I was quite relieved to hear the news as Mandela has been in and out of hospital for months now, and in a very poor state of health. At least he is now at peace.

Being born and brought up in the neighbouring country of Zimbabwe, I heard quite a lot about Nelson Mandela and was also able to observe the effect he had on a nation and the world from fairly close-up. I have also visited Robben Island, the historic prison where Nelson Mandela and hundreds of other political prisoners were held during South Africa's dark days of racial apartheid.

Some still view him as a terrorist fighter. Some hold him in almost god-like esteem. However, I believe we need to look at the fruit of something in order to determine it's roots. If we want to discover the roots of who Nelson Mandela was as a man we should look at the fruit of his life.

He stood against racial segregation - he st…

Sunday Setlist: 17.11.13

In preparation for Sunday's service, I was asked to choose songs that reflected the fact that without God we can do nothing. First I thought this would be a little challenging, but when I started thinking about it and began to look through our church's song database, there were lots of possibilities that came up.

The structure of the sermon changed unexpectedly - after the first song, Mike decided it was time to preach in response to what was sung. This worked really well because after the sermon, people were ready to respond to the word through singing. It was amazing how as we sung and worshipped and as people received words from God or shared what was going on in their lives, song after song just dove-tailed in so well, reflecting the theme or sentiment as the service flowed. It was a great service where the songs served to enhance what the Spirit was doing and wanting to say.

The List
Strength Will Rise - Brenton Brown God In My Living (Everything) - Tim Hughes This is the ai…

My experiences at the Christain New Media Conference 2013

I can't believe it was a whole year ago since I was at the Christian New Media Conference in London. It was good to be back for my second year and in a new, much larger venue - this time I had brought a computer-mad friend!

Premier Media did another great job and the organisation of this years conference was excellent! The programme was jam-packed with some top-class speakers including the Bishop of London: Rt Rev Richard Charles, Katherine Welby, Kate Bottley, John Drane, Rachael Barach (General Manager of, Richard Littledale, Sheridan Voysey and many more!

For me, this conference continues to increase in its importance as the church rises up to meet the challenge of engaging with our world, speaking the language of our world through the ever growing and changing medium of technology. The very fact that Christians who are skilled in new media technologies get together to share and encourage each other, helping each other to do better, go further and make a bigg…

Are You a F.A.T Leader?

It was some years ago now that I listened to a sermon that has firmly placed itself within my mind and has grown to become one of the cornerstones to my attitude and lifestyle of leadership. In the sermon, the preacher was referring to how we should approach living our Christian lives, but it applies itself equally well to leadership. The acronym F.A.T. was used to highlight 3 key points:

F - Faithful Faithfulness can manifest itself in many different ways. Are we faithful to our church and its leaders? Do we contradict any gossip we may hear going on? Do we faithfully attend church functions even when we don't feel like doing so sometimes? Are we faithful to the people we lead? Do we turn up to band practise on time / turn up to help set up the room before a meeting? Do we model the behaviour, dedication and commitment we would like to see in others?

Most importantly, are we faithful to God? Do we have a secret lifestyle or habit that contradicts our Christian faith? Will this, …

Blog Award Finalist!

When I scrolled through my In-box this morning I was not expecting an email from Premier Media, the sponsors and organisers of  the Christian New Media Awards here in the UK.

I was surprised and excited to learn that my blog, yes this very blog you are reading, has been short-listed for an award. This means, I am a finalist! I am one of 5 short-listed blogs in the 'Most Inspiring Leadership Blog' category in the 2013 Christian New Media Awards.

If I am successful and make it through the short-list process and am either a runner-up or winner, I will be attending a swish dinner in London next month! So watch this space and I will keep you posted.

I must say to all those who read my blog and those who leave comments and words of support and encouragement. Thank you! I write the blog for it to be of practical and spiritual use, not to win awards. So thanks for reading and I hope you will continue to do so.

Heavy Metal Prayer Meeting

The church I go to has recently began renting some rooms within our local community centre. Our church also meets at the community centre on a Sunday and has recently become part of the management committee who helps to run the building.

So on Wednesday, we had our monthly church prayer meeting. I was quite excited to go along to our new rooms to meet with others to pray for our church, our town and our world. Chocolate biscuits and fruit juice were laid out on the table, keyboard in the corner - this was going to be great!

At 7:30, the prayer meeting began, but on the other side of the wall, in the main hall of the community centre, so did the heavy metal band!

It was an interesting juxtaposition to say the least. When we sang it was not so bad - we could hardly notice the incessant crunching guitar that created an acoustic wallpaper for the entire prayer meeting. We were thankful that the building was in use by the community (as the centre was due to be closed earlier in the year u…

Church Vocalist / Musician Job Description

I have recently re-written a variety of job descriptions for those who volunteer in teams within church for which I am responsible. There were some areas in some teams that needed clarification. There were also a few things that needed updating based upon a few of the changes that have recently taken place within our ministry structure and the way in which we do things.

I started off by stating our church's main vision and mission statement.

Then I explained the leadership structure within the church and highlighted who was in charge of that particular team.

Below is the job description that I have put together for the vocalists and musicians who serve at my church. feel free to use what is useful to your church setting as well as ignoring what is not. It would also be great to hear from you if you have found it useful as well as if you have any other points that would be useful to add (use the comments section below).

Vocalist / Musician Job Description: As a member of the band …

Song List and Comments by Hugh Osgood

On Sunday 15th September 2013, Hugh Osgood visited our church in Wisbech. It was a fantastic time of fellowship, friendship and ministry. He gave great encouragement to the church as well as to me personally.

I was leading the sung element of our worship that day and had no idea which songs to select as I had no idea what Hugh was going to be preaching about. So I prayed about it and as usual, God stepped in and it was brilliant!

Hugh even made some comments and a joke about the songs chosen before he started preaching (watch the first 2 minutes of the video here to see for yourself). He was complimentary about how there was a good balance of old and new songs, as well as the sensitivity with which they were lead.

So what did we sing? Check out the list . . .

The List

Build Your Kingdom Here - Rend Collective Experiment10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord) - Matt RedmanAmazed (You Dance Over Me) - Jarred AndersonHere I Am (Majesty) - Martin SmithStill - HillsongCornerstone - Hillsong

Beauty in the Broken

Earlier today my sister said the word 'octogenarian' which reminded me about a fantastic choir I came across in a TV documentary series that was aired here in the UK a few years ago. The choir is called the 'Young@Heart Chorus' (check them out here). It is a group of elderly people who have formed a choir and travel around the USA singing their versions of modern pop songs. I think they are amazing!

When I first watched the documentary this clip (watch YouTube video below) of Fred Knittle singing Coldplay's 'Fix You' brought me to tears. I recall from the documentary that one of Fred's good friends had died only a couple of days before this performance. The thing that strikes me even to this day is the beauty of this performance - beauty in the broken!

The song is not perfectly sung. The singer is not perfect in bodily health or looks (you can hear his oxygen canister in the background). The timing goes wrong about half way through. BUT it is extremely…

Is your Outreach Diluting the Gospel?

The Girl Guide movement have recently changed their promise to one that deletes God. The new promise which comes in to effect on 1st September replaces the words 'to love my God' with 'to be true to myself and develop my beliefs' and also replaces 'To serve the Queen and my country' with 'To serve the Queen and my community'. Their website states that this was done after a long consultation process and the reason for the change is to make the organisation more 'open' to all girls and that it:
 "continues to emphasise the spiritual development we offer".
For me, it is a sad day when a Christian organisation (or at least an organisation that started out as Christian) feels they need to dilute their message and to delete God from the core of their identity in order to be more 'acceptable' in today's society and culture. Since the days when Jesus walked the earth His message has always been counter-cultural. A lot of it goes aga…

Wait Upon You - Song Story

The other week I preached a sermon in church about The Prayer of David (read the blog and get link to the audio here). Since then I have been reminded about a song that was featured on my debut worship album FLY called 'Wait Upon You'.  When I wrote the song, James Blunt was big in the charts with his song 'Beautiful'. I wanted to try to capture s bit of his style in this song, hence the guitar work. It is about a preparation of the heart, calling ourselves to be still, to worship, to know that He is God! The section where the verse and pre-chorus are sung together happened quite naturally. I stumbled across it while singing the song again and again. One section fitted on top of the other really well and it is also different to the 'normal' or 'standard' worship song sound so it pushed the boundaries a little.

Listen to song here!

Download and print free chord chart and lead sheet here!

Buy the song from iTunes here!

Wait Upon You I am here to wait up…

Sunday Setlist - 18th August 2013

It has been a while since I posted my setlist - so thought I would remedy that now!

The sung element of our worship service yesterday (Sunday) went well - despite the keyboard being accidentally unplugged during the first song and a guy from the tech team rushing about trying to fix the problem (these things do happen)!
The Song Selection Process
It was difficult to choose songs to fit with the theme of the sermon 'Jesus is a Better High Priest' taken from the book of Hebrews. So instead I chose songs that were on my heart, after praying about it. It worked out well, as when people began to share about what God was doing in their lives a common theme emerged: 'Jesus is my strength, my help in times of trouble. We can face tomorrow with confidence because we know Jesus'. I did have to 'skip' a song in the list as it did not fit with what the Holy Spirit was doing and jump to a song that did. As a result I will only be mentioning the songs we actually used in my…

How To Introduce New Worship Songs

Over the years I have tried a variety of different methods of introducing a new worship song to a band and to various congregations. Every church and congregation is different, so do feel free to use those ideas that will work in your context and ignore those that won't. This blog is kind of an 'up-date' of where I am and where my church is at the moment in so far as introducing new songs goes. I am pretty sure we will give these ideas a try, but in a year or two's time will be looking for further ways of trying to refine and improve this process. Anyway, this is how we are about to try to introduce new worship songs within our context at present:

One of the most radical changes to the way we have done things in the past is introducing a 'New Songs Listening Evening'. The key focus being on listening!

Problems in the Past In the past I used to send a YouTube link and chord chart attached to an email to everyone who would be at band rehearsal that week, ask the…

Listen to my sermon about prayer

A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to preach in my local church. I had not preached for several years, so was quite nervous but was sure I had received a Word from God for the church.

Continuing the sermon series 'The Life of David' using the books 1 and 2 Samuel, I focused on a specific section which was a prayer that David prayed (2 Samuel 7:18-29). As well as putting the passage into context and explaining what David was saying based upon his context, I also tried to explain how this prayer can be applied to our lives today. Using illustrations such as social networking and internet dating to help me explain the importance of deeper prayer, I hope you enjoy listening to it.

Title of my Sermon: The Prayer of David
Listen here:

Comments most welcome in comment section below.

Matt McChlery plays KingsStock Music Festival 2013

The band and I had a fantastic time playing on the main 'Impact Stage' on Saturday afternoon supporting other Christian bands and musicians such as Chip Kendall, Empire Nation and Daughters of Davis.
We were on at 4pm and had a great time playing original songs such as 'Sunshine', 'Won My Heart', 'Wonderful Counsellor' and 'You Alone'. The new site for the festival is amazing. It comes complete with great camping facilities with electrical hookups as well as some real toilets! Tallula's Tea Tent has some great cakes and hot drinks and there were other food vendors on site including an ice-cream van which went down very well over the hot weekend. 
If you have been before, you know how great KingsStock is! If you haven't, you should make a plan to book your tickets and come along next year. I only went of the Saturday this year but am hoping to go for the whole weekend next year!
Come along, get involved and have a great time! www.kingsst…

Trekkers holiday club

It is the school summer holidays! Hundreds of churches around the UK undertake the running of a holiday club during the holidays. It is a great time of fun and biblical teaching and thousands of primary school aged children get to hear about the good news of Jesus.

Denver church in Norfolk invited me to head-up their holiday club this year. I had a great time: singing songs, playing games, telling (bad) jokes but more importantly having some important discussions about Jesus.

I can tell you, running a successful holiday club is a lot of hard work and preparation. But the fabulous team of volunteers from Denver's St Mary's church pulled together and everything worked well. The children had a fantastic 3 days and all the objectives of the event were met.

Thanks for having me on board! It was great!

Recording in Dudley

On the way to my bachelor party two-and-a-bit years ago I was chatting to my friend, Ryan Baker-Barnes about recording another CD. He offered to help with recording and production and I jumped at the chance. It has taken us two years to get to this point, but we have finally made a start!

Last weekend I had travelled to Dudley where I teamed up with Ryan's drummer, Dave Hill and we recorded some awesome drum tracks for my up-and-coming CD. Ryan is now going to work on further instrumentation and I will be joining him again in a few months time to continue recording and working on the project.

Keep checking my website and this blog for future updates with the recording project!

All-New Website Worship Resource

So I have spent the last few months completely rebuilding my website . It has a whole host of features including free chord charts and free lead sheets (pdf) for a lot of my worship songs. There are also audio samples if the songs so you can hear how they go. Please use them in your church and if you have signed up to CCLI, remember to report your usage every year.

If you really like what you hear, you can buy CDs, MP3s. There is also my book about Worship Songwriting called 'Songcraft' that is also available.

Check out photos, videos and upcoming events!

There is so much for you to enjoy and use to help resource you as a worshipper / worship leader and a lot of free stuff too, so check it out today!

What Can We Learn From The Atheist Church?

I had heard a few discussions about an atheist church starting up in London earlier on this year in the background on a breakfast TV show while I was in the kitchen making breakfast one morning. It was not until the July issue of 'Christianity' magazine that I really heard about it in more detail and began to think about the implications of such a thing upon our society as well as upon the Christian faith.

So, yes. . . it is true. There is an atheist church alive and well in London and is looking to spread its message of community, happiness and godlessness to other cities around the UK as well as around the world. The Sunday Congregation began in January 2013 and is growing fast! Lead by two stand-up comics the structure of the service looks familiar to many church-goers: uplifting songs lead by a lively band (Girls Just Want To Have fun; You Can Go Your Own Way); a talk on a subject (such as 'wonder' or 'play'), a sense of community and a mice cup of tea aft…

Mike Rimmer - excellent advice: how to submit music to the media

I first met Mike Rimmer some years ago shortly after dipping my young and naive toe into the Christian Music world in the UK when releasing my debut album 'FLY'. Back then he was working for another Christian music radio station called Cross Rhythms. He graciously invited me to come for an interview on live radio - my first in the UK! It was great to meet him and we had a fun time doing the interview - giving away a few CDs as prizes as well as me singing a song or two 'live' on the radio.

I must say, Mike really does know a thing or two about the Christian Music industry. He now works for United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) and currently DJs the UCB Drive show on weekdays from 4-7pm and is also on air on Saturday evenings 6pm until midnight.

Last night I came across a fantastic blog that Mike wrote about how up-and-coming 'grassroots' Christian musicians and bands should go about submitting their material to the media - for radio airplay or whatever! Based on…

Interview by WorshipLinks

Popular website WorshipLinks that focuses on anything and everything to do with worship music - especially the leading of worship through music in local churches - gave me an interview recently.

It was great! Why don't you check it out, leave a comment, etc. While you are there, have a look around. There are some really useful and insightful articles! 

Qualities of a Church Sound Operator

Qualifications for Being a Church Sound Operator
Taken from ‘The Ultimate Church Sound Operator’s Handbook’ by Bill Gibson
I have been reading a book all about church sound written by Paul Baloche’s sound guy ‘Bill Gibson’ (title and info mentioned above). As well as dealing with technical and practical things such as: how to mic up certain instruments; how to do a sound check; system configuration and layout etc. etc. He also deals with the theory of sound and the character of the church sound operator.
So here I will include parts from the chapter about ‘Characteristics of a Sound Operator’ as I believe these will help us all to grow and develop individually as well as understand our role within the church context more fully.
He lists a whole set of characteristics that are important for a church sound operator to have present in their life and attitude (or at the very least, to be working towards) and then expands upon each point. I will mention his list here, but will only copy down t…