Not About You, Not About Me

Your blog. Your follow count. Your marriage. Your ministry.

Everything around you is screaming otherwise, constantly contending the corner of You, the Great and Unrivaled. To and from our deepest place – the mighty, smoldering, invisible nucleus of every person – we are coached over and over and over that we are, in fact, really really important. That we could rule this kingdom. That we honestly do deserve some credit. We are continually self-medicating on the holy scriptures of brownie points and weekly attendance and Klout and PostRank. Continue reading

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Top 5 Worship Songs

I’m always curious to know what songs other worship leaders are using in their services. Every local body of believers is different and carries a unique personality, but I’m sure there are some certain songs that trend the sea of modern worship gatherings.

Right now, these are 5 of the songs we love doing in our service:

With Everything – Hillsong United

Always – Kristian Stanfill

Like A Lion – David Crowder*Band

Christ Is Risen – Matt Maher

Rise And Sing – Fee

What are your top 5 worship songs right now?

How Messy Is Your Worship?

If I’m not careful, I find myself making worship into a time that is:

polished

rigid in structure

spiritually stationary

But real worship is messy and honest. Brutally honest. That means it’s not neatly trimmed and sometimes it smells bad. It’s the offerings of real, messy people. Living sacrifices. If offered in true seeking of the Spirit of God, the spotted lambs, the three-legged calves (juxtaposed anatomical pun, check), and the rotting meat are all welcome at the altar of God.

As a worship leader, I want to encourage times of corporate worship that are free to be:

awkward

fluid in structure

spiritually transformational

Do you try to clean up the mess? How do you encourage genuine worship?

4 Thoughts On Observation And Participation In Worship

If you’re a worship leader or someone in a church leadership role (staff or not), you’ve probably experienced the frustration of a “dead crowd”. We ask ourselves How in the world could these people be standing still, staring at the stage looking like they either want to beat somebody up or can’t wait to get to Shoney’s? I believe this is a legitimate desire wrapped up in that ugly school wrapping paper you bought from your niece so she could win a trip to Disney World. No one likes that.

Of course we want to see true transformation in people’s lives expressed in joyful worship! But the part that gets the air-time is the nasty, judgmental spirit that can rot a fellowship of believers from the inside out. The Enemy loves a noble complainer. Continue reading

What Is An Effective Worship Leader?

In an effort to continually improve at what I do, I’m always stacking myself up against people who are much better at it than me. Guys like Redman, Tomlin, Christy Nockels, Kim Walker, Hillsong, and even guys in my church seem so natural and transparent when leading. The question I want to always ask myself is what are those recurring qualities among the most effective worship leaders and how do those qualities weigh against my character?

I’m not talking tattoos, skinny jeans, and scarves. Those are just obvious. Duh.

An effective worship leader…

  • is a discerning servant of the Spirit who leads by listening
  • initiates and models authenticity in the gathering and in his or her life
  • invests in the lives of his or her congregation
  • plans flexibly and knows when to get out of the way
  • has a deep hunger for the Word of God

These are some qualities and trends I’ve observed in some of my worship leading heroes. I’ll be honest with you. I struggle with most of these every time I set foot on stage to lead, so these are truly things I strive for on a daily basis. It was indicting to write them, and I kept trying to soften them up a bit. But that would just be dumb.

Think about your worship leading heroes. Would you add anything to the list?

Ableton Live In Worship

If you’re not into the who audio-tech-production-geeky scene, you may not have heard of Ableton Live. That’s ok. I absolve you, grasshopper. I trust, however, you have heard of worship, so we’ve got that going for us.

Well golly, what is Ableton Live?

Is it a nationally acclaimed touring show of dancing mice? Or maybe the “i” is soft. Is it a grassroots humanitarian movement to empower the oppressed, those unable to N..? Is it even English? No, no, no, and kind of: it’s pure-blooded German. But we digress. Basically, it’s a powerful Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that’s actually more aimed at DJ’s, producers, and loop-based musicians, but has caught traction in other areas because of its ease of use, versatility, and live performance loop manipulation. Continue reading