Grace Church Set List 5.16.10

I have fallen in love with the song Cielo by Phil Wickham. I have to admit that at first I wasn’t sure how it would go over, we sampled and played a version of the intro and for us that was a little different than normal but it went great the whole team that was skeptical at first are now belivers. Great song. The day was great and God moved in a great and mighty way.

Glory to God – Vicky Beeching and Steve Fee
Love The Lord – Lincoln Brewster
The Power Of The Cross – Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
Cielo – Phil Wickham
Draw Me Close – Kelly Carpenter

You can check out other setlists from around the country at Sunday Setlists at

I Go/Don’t Go To Church Because _____

I am part of a generation that has seen an exodus from the church.  Or at least the church according to the former paradigm.  So a simple blog post today that I hope you can interact with.  Simply, Why do you go to church? Or the opposite, Why don’t you go to church?  Just comment below, you can stay quasi-anonymous if you would like, and share why you choose to go to church, or why you choose not too.  No answer is more correct or incorrect, this is just a time to share and add to the greater conversations happening around the church today.  Share, Retweet, get more people in on the conversation, It is a great one to have.

discuss and enjoy

The Most Important Part of Worship Band Rehearsal

Obviously the most important things during any worship band rehearsal are prayer and worship.  That should be at the top of any worship band’s list.  That aside, what would you say the most important part of the rehearsal?  For me there is nothing more important for our worship band rehearsals than some jam time.  Plain and simple, unscripted time to just be musicians.  I know, your rehearsal time is tightly scheduled and allowing 10 minutes of seemingly unproductive time is hard to imagine.  But let me give you a few good reasons to allow your band to just jam for a bit next time they get together.

1. The more you play together as a band the more you know each other and how you play, where your going musically, and generally just a better feel for how each other plays and hears the music.  Yes this can be done during regular rehearsals.  But regular rehearsals tend to be too structured to really get a feel for how each musicians plays.  It builds confidence in each other and can lead to better spontaneity in your worship.  The more you play together the more you know where each person is going.

2. It’s fun.  I don’t know if every worship rehearsal runs like ours but at times it can tend to get tedious, repetitious, and just promote a lackluster attitude through the team.  It happens, not often, but it happens.  Taking a few minutes to just play without regard to perfect notes, parts, or timing, can lead to an endorphin charged rehearsal.  It always goes better when people are relaxed and happy.  (if that doesn’t work just give them coffee – that always works for musicians)

3. Jam sessions can lead to new music.  I don’t know if you are a team or worship leader that writes music but if so, this is a great tool to do so.  When I have written in the past, (i am suffering from major writer’s block – need to get over my fear of crappy music) writing during and through jam sessions was my absolute favorite way to write.  You get a great feel for how a song wants to develop when instruments are in.  You hear different harmonics than you would with just a piano or just a guitar.

4. It encourages creativity.  Let’s face it, many worship songs you probably play have very similar chord progressions.  Chances are you will end up jamming on one that is similar to a song you will play during service.  This can lead you to find new ways to treat the chords, arrangements, instrumentation, and so much more.  Let these jam sessions encourage and lead you to find new ways to use your gifts, instruments, and talents (unless this leads you to trying to create a cooler newer arrangement of Lord I Lift Your Name on High – that song did it’s job, had it’s day – now it needs to go away, far, far away).

5. It allows instrumentalists opportunity to flex their skills when they might not normally get a chance too do so.  Nobody needs a guitar player soloing over ever inch of a worship song.  But at the same time it is hard to ask many talented musicians to come in week after week to play power chords and cross pick 4 chords.  Giving them time to show off their chops, get their guitar solo face on, and just let loose is a good thing (be warned that if not contained to a jam session that guitar solo face may rear its head in the middle of a slow worshipful moment).  And you may just find out more about your instrumentalists ability, restraint, and musicality than you knew before.

6. You can worship with no lyrics.  There I said it.  Yep you don’t have to speak or sing to actually worship.  I know crazy eh?  The simplest jam session can turn into a full fledged time of worship before you know it.  To me these are some of the most powerful moments in worship.  Take a moment to read this quote found written on a German Opera House.

“Bach gave us God’s word,
Beethoven gave us God’s fire,
Mozart gave us God’s laughter,
God gave us music so that we may pray without words.”

So don’t be afraid to pencil in some time to just let someone pick a chord progression and go to town as a worship band.  You may be surprised to find out how much it can benefit your worship service.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences with this idea.  Do you have time allowed to just jam as a band?  Has it been beneficial?  Has it been not so great?

We Are Nashville!

I grew up in a small town in rural Pennsylvania. The thing that I like so much about growing up in a small town was the sense of community that permeated the ethos of that small town. I watched and as the community lived lives together rather than individuals. In times of joy the community was there. In times of sorrow and tragedy the community was there. That same sense of community found in a town of 1500 people can be found exemplified to a wonderful extent in Nashville – the city whose spirit is more like a small town than a cold desensitized city of people living as individuals.

What I have seen and heard take place through this tragedy is nothing less than amazing. People standing hand in hand to help those who were hurt, left with nothing, and rebuild a city where they live and a city they love.

According to Hands on Nashville, volunteers donated approximately 44,710 hours to flood recovery from May 2 to May 11.
We Are Nashville!

Police reported that looting was at a minimum rather people were found roaming the streets asking where they could help.
We Are Nashville!

Artists are feverishly working to design posters, t-shirts, and more all to benefit flood victims.
We Are Nashville!

Musicians giving their time to play benefits, donating money, and garnering support.
We Are Nashville!

Churches sending thousands of people to rescue and rebuild.
We Are Nashville!

Everyone one was affected both rich and poor. Everyone is volunteering to rebuild.
We Are Nashville!

We not only pledge to help those who lost houses, but to also help those who had not house to begin with. Save tent city.
We Are Nashville!

We are a city who will not go quietly into the night. We are a city who will stand waist deep in water to help out our sister and brother. We are a city who will rebuild. The music won’t die, the spirit won’t drown.
We Are Nashville!

Other cities better watch their slogans cause Nashville rocks, it is showing itself to be the city of brotherly love, a city of angels.
It is that small town spirit which makes the city of Nashville so special to everyone who lives there.

We Are Nashville!

Grace Church Set List 5.9.10

I am not normally a fingerpicker. I mean I can do it but I normally stick with the rhythm. We wanted to do something cool for Mother’s Day, so we had a great women’s trio do a bluegrass rendition of I Surrender All (which lends itself nicely to the style). We played in the key of B (I used a capo and played in A). I play my A chord with my index finger bent across all three strings backwards from the normal knuckle bend. We practiced it over and over and over and three services on Sunday left me with a sore pointer finger. Thus the lack of pointing at people since Sunday. Anyway It was a great Sunday, with inspired worship.

Sing Sing Sing – Daniel Carson, Matt Gilder, Travis Nunn, Jesse Reeves, and Chris Tomlin
Let It Rise – Holland Davis (Inspired by Big Daddy Weave)
Mercy and Grace –
Made Me Glad – Miriam Webster
I Surrender All – Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter and Winfield Scott Weeden (Inspired by The Isaacs)

You can check out other setlists from around the country at Sunday Setlists at

How Did You Hear About the #NashvilleFlood and Extent of Damage

I can’t tell you how many times over the past few days I read; “If it wasn’t for Twitter, I would have had no idea what was happening in Nashville.”  I thought to myself; is that true?  Has user created content become a better outlet for news than the news itself?  So in an online Social Media experiment I want to find out how you heard about the Nashville Flood of 2010.  If you live in Middle TN I ask that you refrain from taking the poll but rather that you tweet, retweet, post and share in as many ways as you can so we can reach as many non middle TN people as possible.  Let’s face it if you live in middle TN and didn’t know what was going on well you may have other problems to address.

The other side of this that is so amazing is how Social media has helped garner tremendous support for the City of Nashville from volunteer recruitment to donations of cash, food, water and supplies.  Through twitter “a small grocery store in Orangeville, Ontario is donating cases of water to help out. It’s not much but it’s a start.”  A grocery store in CANADA! Why? People connected through social media (twitter) and wanted to reach out to help their fellow man.

In my humble opinion this is a triumph of Social Media.  If you still question why people would use Twitter, here is a great example.

Please take just a min to fill out the simple poll below and pass it along to your friends.  My guess is that we will see just how powerful social media is and can be.


Why the Nation Should Care More About the Flood in Nashville…

I am not normally a soap box guy. And I realize that though this flooding of Nashville (a city near and dear to my heart) is tragic, it pales in comparison to the wake of devastation left in the wake of other natural disasters. (Katrina, Haiti, Tsunami) Nonetheless it is a tragic situation that has left many without homes, power, clean water, and much much more. Yet nationally the coverage of this “500 year flood” was minor in comparison with lesser national disasters. I can’t tell you how many times I read, “If it wasn’t for twitter, I wouldn’t have known anything about it.” Thank you Keith Olberman for pointing out that the national coverage of this event has been less than acceptable.

So why should the nation care that the Cumberland river rose to the second highest recorded level in history (sidebar: in 1929 it was recorded to have reached 56 feet. May 2 2010 it was recorded at just under 53 feet. Now that being said it is my humble opinion that May 2 2010 should be considered the record because the Cheatham Lock and Dam was built in the 1950’s and was the only reason that our water stayed below the record level – it took me a while to make sense of how this was a record rainfall but yet not a record water level, till I did a little digging – sidebar over). Why should everyone outside of middle Tennessee care about this event.

1. Nashville’s central location has made it one of the busiest transportation centers in the Mid-South. Today more than 80 miles of interstate highways weave in and out of the city, making Nashville a vital link to every corner of the region. Millions of tons of goods are moved through the city each year via truck by a multitude of motor freight lines serving the area. Nashville has become a regional headquarters for the trucking industry primarily because of its tight, efficient network of accessible interstate highways, its conveniently centralized location, and the fact that approximately 150 local terminals provide easy break-bulk distribution and specialized services for products such as produce (refrigeration), gasoline, and hazardous waste. If any of the major highways around Nashville were compromised structurally it could cripple a number of different industries that depend on the highways through and the industries based here.

2. Health care is one of Nashville’s top industries; according to the Nashville Health Council, the city is known as the nation’s health care center. Twenty-one healthcare companies are based within the city; in total 350 health care companies have operations here. Many service firms specializing in the industry (including accounting, legal, and others) are based in Nashville, including 12 investment and venture capital companies dealing primarily with health care. Health care services companies based in Nashville control more than 2,400 operations outside the city, as well.

3. Country Music (I know I can’t believe I am even talking about it either) – did you know that number one radio format in the nation is Country Radio! Not R&B, Not top 40 – Country! Nashville has left it’s mark across the entire country and a majority of the population with it’s rich history of Country music. Yeah it’s not going to stop or be affected terribly, but the hardworking people of this city have captured the nations heart with the music – it deserves a little attention for the tragedy. Not to mention the economic benefit other cities see from tours that will inevitably put on hold due to equipment damage, studio damages, and the hinderance in travel.

4. Learn from the event. While this may be a once in a lifetime flood, others can still learn from it. Better road design, water runoff, levees, emergency plans, and so much more. If there is anything positive to ever take from a tragedy it is an opportunity to prevent another one like it.

5. The Volunteer Spirit. The one thing that will probably never be completely covered to the proper extent is the massive response to this situation by the people living here and near here. I never understood what it meant to be the Volunteer State until now. Thousands and thousands of people are pledging help and donations – not just in the short term. There is a spirit about the people of Nashville that is unparalleled anywhere else.

Basically when business is affected in Nashville it’s felt in many ways economically around the nation. Thank goodness for social media such as twitter, facebook, and more to get the word out about how bad the situation really is, and how phenomenal the people here are responding.

Data information taken from

If You Could Only Go to 1 Worship Conference It Would Be…

I don’t know if there is a particular “season” for church conferences let alone worship conferences. It feels like I continually receive advertisement for an upcoming conference featuring the hottest speakers and worship acts and so on and so forth. So my question is, If you could only go to one Worship specific Conference a year (and for a lot of us that is the case) which one would it be? National Worship Leaders Conference, Cre:ate, Refresh, Calvin Institute Symposium, Christ Church, Worship Together , Any Conference in Southern California (because it’s held in Southern California) or another (I realize this list is too long to exhaustively list every major worship conference let alone every worship conference – see this good list here or this one here or this one here)? Why would you choose that one?

As worship leaders we need time to refresh, learn, engage in worship rather than lead, network with other worship leaders, and just plain get away and relax. And generally there is a worship conference near you or relatively near you. But for the sake of the post let’s say it’s a quazi-perfect world without budget restrictions and you could choose just one worship conference, what would it be?

Comment Below and let me know which one and why.

Electron Boy Saves the Day

During the worst storms seen in middle Tennessee in many many years, I ran across this video and just had to share it. I am not a highly emotional person – ask my wife – I very rarely tear up let alone cry. This however caught a little part of my heart and it took like 15 minutes to convince my wife I got dust in my eye. Regardless this is a triumphal story of the power of community. The church should take notes – I know I did.
Enjoy and share the story!

Pulling off a wish like this one required a big story, and a lot of heart. And so, with a note of panic in his voice, Spider-Man explained the dilemma: “Dr. Dark” and “Blackout Boy” had imprisoned the Seattle Sounders in a locker room at Qwest Field. Only Electron Boy could free them.

Erik got into his red-and-blue superhero costume, and called on the powers of Moonshine Maid, who owns a DeLorean sports car. For good measure, more than 20 motorcycle officers from the Bellevue Police Department and King County and Snohomish sheriff’s offices escorted Electron Boy to Seattle.

“They shut down 405 — they shut down I-90,” marveled Moonshine Maid, aka Misty Peterson. “I thought it would just be me, in the car.”

At Qwest Field, Electron Boy was directed by frantic fans to the Sounders locker room, where the entire team was shouting for help behind jammed doors. With a little help from Lightning Lad, the alter ego of local actor Rob Burgess, Erik opened the door with his lightning rod. The Sounders cheered.