Showing posts from 2014

Setlist for New Year Worship

The church I attend often has a New Year celebration of some sort, often on the night itself with some musical input into the worship as as whole. However this year they have decided not to have this event so I am planning for my songs on Sunday, which is only a few days after New Year's Eve, to reflect the hope and trust for the future that I would have included in our New Year worship celebrations.

Here is the list: Build Your Kingdom Here - Rend Collective
Blessed Assurace - Fanny Crosby
King of Wonders - Matt Redman, Martin Smith etc.
You Make Me Brave - Bethel Worship
Raise Up, Raise Up The Standard - Godfrey Birtill
Jesus, All For Jesus - Robin Mark
In Christ Alone - Stuart Townend, Keith Getty

So what are you  / did you sing as you welcomed the New Year in? I would love to hear - please leave your comments in the section below.

I pray you have a blessed 2015!

Integrity & Authenticity: Mind Your Language

(Originally written for and posted on

A couple of weeks ago I attended a conference in London. I love the heart and mission of the organisation who were hosting the event and I also rate highly some of the worship leaders who were on the platform. The whole conference was spirit-filled and inspirational and there were even free giant Danish pastries with the coffee!

But there was one element that grated, that made me sit up a little straighter and think ‘No. They’ve missed it here’. It was a small thing – as these things often are. It was the language they were using around the concept of ‘worship’. We were invited to join in the time of ‘worship’ which basically equated to singing. We were also invited to follow the lead worshippers as they worshipped. It felt almost as if they were doing so on our behalf – or as if our worship was somehow not a good or as worthy as theirs.

Let us first of all define what worship is – or should be. Singing is part of wor…

Black Friday: a dark day indeed!

As I woke up this morning and turned on the TV news, I was confronted by reports of police being called out to shopping centres and images of people all fighting and clambering to grab the latest 'bargain'. The news was trying to put the spin on the story that people were being money wise and shopping for bargains and of course those in the retail industry who were being interviewed were all in favour of this shopping frenzy - you could almost see the pound signs glowing in their eyes!

Now I have no problem with money, shopping or even spending your money wisely, In fact I do all three. However how you do it is just as important. The deals available on Black Friday are quite limited - say only 50 large screen TVs available in the store at the bargain price etc. When you queue outside the shop for hours in the horrendous weather waiting for midnight when the doors are flung open. Then you, along with the rest of the several hundred people who have been waiting, push and barge …

Need your song transcribed into sheet music?

I have just had some work done for me by music arranger and typesetter David Ball. He has a very impressive client list including:

Survivor / New Wine songbook (2014)The Worship 3 songbook (2013)Various Spring Harvest / Elevation songbooksWarner ChappellRoutledgeLou Fellingham - Fascinate albumGraham KendrickKensington Temple - More Than Enough albumOslo Gospel ChoirLincoln BrewsterNew WineWorship Central - Set Apart album He did a great job within a good space of time. He is also reasonably priced too.
Check out his website and contact him for more info.

Cross Rhythms Interview

I am thrilled to let you all know about an interview I had with the legendary Tony Cummings from Cross Rhythms. We bumped into each other at KingsStock music festival in the summer and ended up doing an in depth interview that covered pretty much my whole Christian life, history, journey and heart for worship and ministry.

Check it out now! Read the full article on their website and leave some feedback.

What is Success?

I often contemplate what it means to be 'successful' (check out some of my previous blogs on the topic). I am becoming more convinced that a Christian perspective of success is very different to our cultures idea of what it means.
Success is not about making it to the top. This sets up 99% of people for failure as there is not enough space for everyone at the top. Not everyone is blessed with extreme intellect or Olympic athleticism. Often the journey to be a 'success' involves backstabbing, being ruthlessly competitive and trampling over others in order to 'be the best'.
There is nothing wrong with having dreams, goals or aspirations. But have you ever stopped to ask God what His dreams are for your life? What is the purpose He has created you for? Once you know that, your journey towards it will be full of grace and compassion for others.
It saddens me to see so many churches adopting the world's criteria of 'success'. How many people go to your…

Integrity & Authenticity: Being vs Doing

(Originally written for and posted on

I would like to begin by asking: “How are you being?”
Church leadership comes with a whole lot of jobs that appear as if they will not wait. They have to be done, and done now! There are a lot of stresses and strains that demand your focus and attention one way or the other. If we are not careful, the business of our lives and indeed the business of our ministry can get in the way of some very important things such as our relationship with our families and indeed our relationship with Jesus himself.
Can you remember the last time you just simply hung out with Jesus? I know sometimes I wake up in the morning and can’t pin point a time when I last did this. Sometimes when I go to read my Bible I fear that I will find some dust on the shelf or that a spider has spun a web on one corner like you see in some cartoon strips. We can get so caught up in the ‘doing’ of life that we can forget to simply ‘be’.
It is vitally impo…

Christian Hip-Hop on the Radio?

It is humbling to be included amongst the ranks of Mac Powell of Third Day, Tim Hughes, Leslie Jordan of All Sons and Daughters, and Gareth Gilkeson of Rend Collective to give my views on why Christian radio stations don't play much Christian rap or hip-hop music.

It was an interesting question when Tony Cummings of Cross Rhythms asked me my opinion. Reading the responses from other artists it is clear that there is no easy answer - but that's what makes it a good question!

Have a read of my opinion on the topic as well as what 13 other Christian artists think on the Cross Rhythms website.

Integrity & Authenticity: Masks and Makeup

(originally written for and posted on

As Christian leaders it is vitally important that we live the lives we preach. I am starting a blog series where together we will look at, explore and discuss the importance and role of integrity and authenticity in the life of a Worship Leader. The more thought I have given to this topic the more I have realised we are looking at personal discipleship. Being people who are busy and concerned with the lives of others we can all too easily forget that we too should be living a life of discipleship; a life of submission to God and His Word.

Having a platform ministry can often lead to Worship Leaders living double-lives. Somehow the effect of standing up in front of the church and being a recognised ‘leader’ can put some unhealthy pressures on us. One of these is the pressure to live the perfect life. Or perhaps more accurately it is the pressure to appear to be living the perfect life.

How many times have you put on yo…

Recent Reviews of my latest CD 'All Things New'

It has been an exciting few weeks reading what the various music reviewers thought of my latest worship EP 'All Things New'.

In a nutshell - they like it a lot! Louder Than The Music even said 'Quality oozes out of these songs'!

Read the full reviews here:
Louder Than The Music - score 4/5

Cross Rhythms - score 7/10

Never For Nothing - score 8/10

Playing At KingsStock Music Festival 2014

So a week ago I had the amazing honour to play at KingsStock music festival. It was amazing to lead worship in the middle of a field on the Woodland Stage near Huntingdon. There was such a sweet presence of God, it was a very special time.
Singing well known worship songs that spanned the decades helped people from a wide cross section of the church to join in, as there were no words displayed. A lovely time of church unity, just loving Jesus together. Although the KingsStock Music Festival is not technically a worship event, it was good to do so.
After the service, it was back to watching a host of Christian bands and musicians take to the various stages. I had a great time.
Tony and Maxine Cummings from Cross Rhythms radio were there and invited me to give an interview. It was a lot of fun. They also wrote a review about their KingsStock experience that includes a paragraph on the second page about my set. Readithere.
More photos from the event can be seen on my Facebook page.

Sunday Setlist - 7th September 2014

We had a powerful time in church today with guest speaker Rachel Hickson. One of the highlights for me was after we had sung the last song just before the sermon (Victor's  Crown), a teenage girl stood up and shared that she just felt she had to say something, that she was on a journey in a search for God. Powerful stuff!
So, onwiththeset list: Our God Saves
Open The Eyes Of My Heart
Waiting Here For You
Victor's Crown What did you sing?

A Wrench a Banjo and an Anvil

I was blown away when I came across this video (below) on Facebook the other day, and have watched it several times since. Apart from being absolutely mind-blowingly brilliant - it also got me thinking about worship music in local churches (again).

It brought to mind an earlier blog I wrote 'Clone Wars: The Courage To Sound Different' that explores thoughts about whether we should all strive to make our church music sound just like the latest worship CD or whether we should be brave enough to create our own version of a song, or indeed our own 'sound'.

This video gives an excellent example how 'different' does not have to mean a compromise in quality. Indeed, your version may even be better than the original. It will also reflect more accurately your unique church congregation's journey of faith.

More importantly I guess, as a worship leader you should be looking to 'use what is in your hand' as well as seeing how you can develop and take things fu…

What is the most boring job in the world?

After watching a documentary on TV last night about immigration, this lead to a discussion about all the boring jobs we had done. For me it is a close contest between working in a fashion department store and washing dishes in a restaurant - completely boring and mind- numbing!
So just a quick question for you: what is the most boring job you had ever done?

Sunday Setlist - 13 July 2014

Well church was good today. We only managed to sing 4 songs but God showed up and was obviously working in people's lives, which is what it's all about!
As we only sung 4 songs I won't tell you about those we did not do even though they were on the original list.
The band was a liftoff thin on the ground today, one acoustic guitar, keys and a clarinet. So we have the songs more of an acoustic treatment, avoiding to much rhythm which would sound weak without a solid bass or drum section to sit on top of.
The List: Our God ( Water You Turned Into Wine)
When I Survey (The Wondrous Cross)
Waiting Here For You
My Life's Ambition - available from
So what did you sing today?

Duet with Henry Olonga

I have just woken up after a very busy weekend! 3 days with 3 events, all of which I was very much involved in makes for a very tired body.

It was the annual Wisbech Rose Fair and my local church, The King's Church Wisbech was very much involved in the festivities. We ran a cafe, craft market, Stop The Traffik gift box (raising awareness about human trafficking) and our monthly 'After Hours Live' event was given an extra-special twist for the occasion.

Retired international test cricketer, Henry Olonga who is also a great singer as well as being a friend, came and entertained us with stories about his life as well as singing some amazing songs. The second half of the event was a question and answer session, where I asked Henry questions from the audience. Then we sung a duet of the moving 'Our Zimbabwe' - this was very special for me as I have always loved the song and having the chance to sing it with Henry was just fantastic!

We have many more amazing guests com…

Welcome To The World Katrina

Just wanted to let my blog readers know that my first child was born on 27th June, weighing 3.625kg. Her name is Katrina which means 'pure'.Already had one bad night followed by a good one. We are starting to get the hang of this parenting thing :) Am loving having her in my world.

Matt McChlery playing KingsStock Music Festival 2014

It is with great pleasure that I can confirm that I will be playing at the brilliant KingsStock Music Festival again this year. This will be my second time playing and will be very different from last year's experience.

This year I will be playing on the Woodland Stage on Sunday morning, leading the worship for KingsStock's worship service.

I am really excited to be given this opportunity. I would encourage everyone to come along to this great Christian music festival that is packed with independent as well as professional artists including: Chip Kendall, Daughters of Davis, Empire Nation, Rivers & Robots, Paul Bell, Sounds of Salvation, Keith Hammond and many, many more!

Tickets are on sale now with a variety of pricing options. Grab yours now!

See you at KingsStock Music Festival! Friday 29th - Sunday 31st August 2014  Burghleigh Hill Farm St Ives near Cambridge

Pushy Salesman Evangelism

Yesterday started off well. I have just started my paternity leave and anxiously await the arrival of my first child. I took the day easy, not doing too much, watching some bad day-time TV shows. All was well with the world . . .Then it happened! A knock at the door.

A friendly person was there and introduced himself. Not being one to swear and yell, I listened to what he had to say. He offered a free no obligation quote to re-do our double glazed windows. Now, the windows we have in our house are OK by my standards, however being a responsible home owner I wanted to at least find out how much new windows would cost - I had no idea, so why not?

So an appointment was arranged for later that day. Another representative arrived from the company, very friendly and chatty. But it took him ages to 'get to business'. He seemed to be buttering me up with small talk 'establishing a rapport' (I am not daft - I knew what he was doing). He then rattled through a sales pitch, expl…

Leading Worship In All Its Forms

The church I go to is typically evangelical in nature. Church is an informal, yet important gathering together on a Sunday. Testimonies are shared, we pray, we sing modern worship songs, we hear Bible teaching (sermons). We have a band and play guitar, keyboards and drums. I enjoy going to 'worship conferences' to learn more about my role, leadership and how to do things better.

But, as I have said in previous blogs 'worship' is not music. It is an attitude or positioning of the heart towards God, giving Him our focus, our attention, our praise and adoration.

So as a Worship Leader who sings and plays guitar on a Sunday, how else am I supposed to be leading and facilitating worship. What other ways can I lead people into the presence of God?

Recently a lady in our church held a seminar about Spiritual Formation and how the use of 'spiritual disciplines' can in fact help to transform us into becoming more Christlike as well as aid us in our worship and communio…

The Just Church - Encounter, Explore, Engage

I have just come to the end of reading through the book ‘The Just Church’ by Jim Martin from IJM (International Justice Mission). The book is divided into two distinct parts, the first of which I have looked at in previous blogs. In this second part the style and emphasis of the writing takes on a more practical tone.
This section deals with three key phases IJM have identified for churches that are serious about getting involved in justice ministry to go through in order to be the most effective that they can be within this tough area of ministry. The three phases are: Encounter, Explore and Engage which all aim to connect the whole church with the work of justice both locally and internationally in a variety of ways. Practical advice and tips are given alongside some road-tested stories of successful implementation. Tables and charts are drawn out to help provide an organised, intentional focus to the development of identified aims and areas of need.
Although some may be feeling li…

Worship Is Not Music

Worship leader, Paul Baloche recently said ‘Worship is not music, but music can be worship’ (In his article ‘Seeds of Songs’, Worship Leader Magazine. Vol:23, No:1
In a way, it is unfortunate that the word ‘worship’ has been used for different things within the church that quite often can lead to misunderstandings.
For me, part of the problem stems from the genre of music labelled as ‘worship music’ as opposed to ‘Christian contemporary music (CCM)’ or ‘gospel’ for example. The music industry needed to call this genre of music something and labelled it ‘worship music’. Fair enough. We can now associate a particular style and sound of music to the ‘worship music’ genre and can even search for it on our favourite digital music distribution provider. However, this is where the confusion begins.
Scripture gives many examples where music and song are used, and indeed when God encourages us to use them as a part of our worship to Him: ‘Be filled with the Spirit, spe…

Church Leader's Work-Life Balance

I have just returned from a luxurious holiday where my wife and I rented a lovely holiday let overlooking Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight. I don’t mean to make you jealous (ok, maybe a little) but the point I want to make is a serious one.
During one of the breakfast TV panel discussions, the topic of work email was in the spotlight. The question was: Should people look at and answer work related emails when they are at home? The debate swung from one side of the argument to the other, as these things often to on breakfast TV. However, this got me thinking:
I work 4 days a week as a primary school teacher and 1 day a week (technically) for the church. I find with my school work I am able to put down my pen at the end of the day and leave it and everything else school related at school, not to be thought about or acted upon until Monday comes round again. However, with church work I find this a lot more difficult.
I suppose it is partly due to the fact that for a long time my main…

Easter Testimony on BBC Radio

Terry is a friend of mine. He comes to my local church. He has an amazing testimony that he shared with our regional radio station BBC Radio Cambridgeshire which became their feature Easter Sunday interview.

It is a story of real life. It is honest and terrifying. It demonstrates God's amazing love, compassion and power at work in life-transforming ways in our world today.

Have a listen to Terry's story here.

Happy Easter - Jesus is risen!

Worship Leaders - Blind Spots?

I subscribe to the Worship Leader Magazine. It is published in America, but I am grateful to receive a copy of it here in the UK through annual subscription. It is fantastic that there are resources out there, on our side, for us – the worship leader. As such many of the articles are very helpful and cause me to think more deeply about what it means to be a ‘Worship Leader’ as well as a church worker more broadly. However, it does not stop there, recognising that church work is more than ‘just a job’ but involves our whole beings and so also looks more deeply at issues on a personal level that affect personal discipleship.
On this note, I came across a great article in the January/February 2014 issue called ‘Blind Spots: Facing The Truth About You’ by Rory Noland. Rory is, for lack of a better title, the ‘agony aunt’ of the magazine. People write in and he responds with insightful and biblical advice.
This issue, Rory responds to a worship leader who has identified a flaw in his lea…

The Just Church - 6 chapters in

Thank you for joining me for my third instalment as I read and review Jim Martin's book 'The Just Church'. You can catch up with what I thought of the first chapter by clicking here.

Jim Martin is tackling a huge topic that is extremely relevant for the church in our world today. It is not just about a cosy, comfortable church but about a church engaged with the world around it and a church that works to bring healing in freedom to those who are hurting and enslaved. It is a big calling and an extremely tall order. It would be easy for an individual, or indeed a church community to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the problem and be likely to give up or not bother to engage at all.

However, 'The Just Church' helps to discuss the problem through the lense of a church that has already found ways of engaging with the problem of social justice. It demonstrates practically how a church can get involved. It is not all theory, nor is it full of doom-and-gloom stories, al…

Can a vocalist be a 'proper' worship leader?

Yesterday, one of my worship leader friends put a post on facebook that has caused quite a stir, and received a lot of response. She is an excellent worship leader who works for a growing and 'on fire' church. However, early in her taking on the role, some people told her that: 'You can't be a proper worship leader because you don't play an instrument'.

So my question to you all is, can a vocalist be a 'proper' worship leader?

From my point of view, I think that there is no distinction between someone who plays and instrument and someone who does not. Leading worship is a heart-thing. I would agree that musical gifting is important and useful, although this gifting does not necessarily need to be expressed through playing an instrument. A vocalist can still lead a band. It would help if they can speak the 'language' musicians use to help communicate what they are doing but I don't hink this should necessarily disqualify someone from being a…

The Just Church - The Failure Point

Some books I have tried to read don't grab me. I struggle through the introduction and then it ends up back on the shelf. However, this is not the case with 'The Just Church' by Jim Martin. I can see it becoming one of those can't-put-it-down books the more I read it.

So I have just completed the first chapter entlitled 'The Failure Point'. As well as telling a moving story about an IJM field worker (I won't tell you what happened here - you have got to read it for yoursefl!) the point that faliure is an important part of growth was emphasised. As a teacher and educator (my day job), I often console pupils who are struggling and who are afraid to make mistakes. Educators know that we often learn more through our mistakes. However, reading about this in the context of justice ministry and church work in general surprised me. I guess I know the theory, but am still a bit uncomfortable about the reality. Accepting that mistakes will be made, that failure is …

Sunday Setlist - 02.03.2014

The sermon on Sunday was based on Micha 6 and focused on: Justice, Mercy and walking Humbly with our God. Other themes were also touched on.

We included a new song that the band has been working on for a number of weeks. It was ready to be introduced to the church: 'Victor's Crown' by Hillsong. It went very well and was well recieved by the congregation. It grew in power and impact as people joined in and grasped the heart of the song. I think this one is going to fit well with the songs we do and the sound we carry. Now we will keep it in the setlist for the next few weeks so that the congregation can learn it and it become more familiar to them.
The List:
Build Your Kingdom Here - Rend Collective
I'm Forgiven (Amazing Love) - Passion
Victor's Crown - Hillsong
Humble Heart - Matt McChleryFind audio and chord chart here
Purify My Heart (Refiner's Fire) - Brian Doerksen

So what songs did you sing?Do you know any songs that address the Christian response to Social…

The Just Church - part 1

After going to an IJM (International Justice Mission) in London yesterday where I heard the CEO, Gary Haugen speak about justice and freedom; about setting those in modern slavery free; about the church regaining the heart if God - His love for the poor, the widow, the oppressed. I bought this book 'The Just Church'.I will be reading it over the coming weeks and will give a chapter by chapter account if my thoughts and my journey in this blog as I getmy teeth into it, get my head around it and get my heart filled by it.Stay tuned: the journey has just begun!

Top Tips for Good Song Selection

The Valentines Menu I went to a reastaraunt recently and they were advertisting their Valentines Menu in an attempt to encourage people to book their table ahead of the big day. However, their menu (some of it pictured above) was a source of much amusement! Here are some of the Valentines themed meals available:

'Together Forever - Buffalo Mozarella, Basil and Tomato Tian served with Creme Fraiche'

'A Midnight Dip - Sweet Chilli Roasted Duck on a Herb Mash with Roasted Plumb and a Rich Port and Brandy Reduction'

'Hugs and Kisses - Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Pod Ice Cream'

(Have a look at some of the other meals on the menu above)

What made it so funny was the lack of connection or relevance between the name of the meal and its actual description. Knowing that the meal is called 'Together Forever' I certainly wouldn't expect Buffalo Mozarella to turn up on my plate!

Bad Song Selection So how does this relate to worship song selection I hear you…

Integrity & Authenticity: A Vital Component of Christian Leadership

integrity - in.teg.ri.ty noun
1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

Please watch this video

On Tuesday when I was searching the internet for a worship song about healing for this week's service, I came across a fantatsic song that had been recorded by Hillsong. However, I also discovered some of the story behind the song and the guy who wrote it. I was completely unaware of this story until coming across the song and it got me thinking . . . and that got me blogging . . .

(Watch the video above before reading)

Why so shocked? Why do we get so shocked when a Christian leader fails or falls? We live in a world full of sin so why does it surprise us when a Christian leader falls short?

Is it because we sometimes have wrongly elevated them into a 'god-like' position and as such they have shattered our illusions?

Or is it more simply and perhaps more correctly the fact that we expected more from them? They have been entrusted with …

Worship Songs for the New Year

Well 2014 got off to  a great start at my church on Sunday. When I came to choose the setlist I decided to go for songs that would help us to reflect on new beginnings as it would be the first service of the year. It worked really well with a lot of response and other things being triggered by the Spirit amongst the congregation.

This setlist worked really well for the first service of the new year.

Water You Turned Into Wine (Our God) - Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves
I'm Saying Yes (The Cost) - Rend Collective
Jesus Be The Centre - Michael Frye
Cornerstone - Jonas Myrin, Reuben Morgan, Eric Lijero, Batchelder Bradbury
Jesus All For Jesus - Robin Mark

What songs worked well for you?