10 Things Every Worship Leader Wishes Their Sound Person Knew (and vice versa)

As a worship leader and former sound guy I realize there are areas of tension between the two positions.  The goal of the Worship leader and the sound person are identical – to provide as few distractions for the worshipper as possible.  I don’t feel as if those are necessary tensions and with just a little communication tensions could subside (at least until the following Sunday).

10 Things Every Worship Leader Wishes Their Sound Person Knew

1. Sorry, that equipment is not in the budget
2. I realize when I ask for more of “me” you just put your hand on the knob, looking at me without actually turning that knob while waiting for me to tell you perfect (tricky tricky)
3. An acceptable volume level is not when less than 10 people complain

Continue reading…

Between Yesterday and Tomorrow: Memories and Resolutions

As I sit here watching the “We Need To Sponsor A Bowl Game” Bowl on New Year’s eve, it seems customary to take some time and reflect on the past year as well as look ahead to the year coming. Because an ordered list would mean I think organized thoughts, I will reminisce about the past year in no particular order.

Here are some of my favorite memories of 2009.

  • Celebrating 2 years of marriage to my beautiful wife
  • Graduating (with honors) with a B.A. in “Religion and the Arts” and “Multimedia Productions” from Belmont University. Woop Woop go Honors Program
  • Moving into our very first house
  • Building our very first house (well actually just picking out a few things and letting the contractors build the house – but they finally started on our pool!!!)
  • Rescuing (buying from a rescue agency) our crazy Shih-Tzu Sophie – think a furry Odie
  • Our Unconventional Dinner Theater that fed 150 families in our community a Thanksgiving Dinner.
  • Winning a Baden Acoustic Guitar – no really completely free, it was crazy
  • Being introduced to Settlers of Catan (I know I am a nerd but for real that game is awesome)
  • Moving from Part Time to Full Time at Grace Church of the Nazarene as Director of Creative Arts
  • Seeing a good friend come home Afghanistan (DUUUUUKKKKEEEEE!!!!!)
  • Story Chicago at the Paramount Theater
  • U2 and Muse in Atlanta!!!

Resolutions for 2010

  • Read my Bible more (not putting this on here because I work at a Church, I legitimately need to do better)
  • P90X – (no for real – and not to lose weight but hopefully put a little on)
  • Finding better quiet time
  • Read more (now that I have graduated and am no longer forced to read I can begin on the pile of books I want to read)
  • Take piano lesson (I should have never quit when I was a kid)
  • Take drum lessons
  • Start writing a book
  • Blog better
  • Making year 3 of our marriage better than year 2
  • Start living a better story
  • Move from theory and idea to action
  • Grow our Church Choir
  • Write more music

Monday Morning Hangover 12.28.09

Oh what a day yesterday was.  I always find Christmas time an interesting time around a church.  I always took issue with Christmas services growing up.  We know that a large number of people come to church on Easter and Christmas.  We normally plan the same set of Christmas Hymns and preach a similar Christmas.  The people who normally only attend church on Christmas have a very similar experience each time they come – and lets be honest, that is not the same experience they would have  any other Sunday of the year.  Why do we do this?  Is it because this is what people expect? Is it because there aren’t that many great Christmas songs?  Whatever the reason I feel we should rethink our strategy.  I don’t see any reason that any church should alter their normal Sunday feel and experience.  Every other day of the year a church plans it’s service around what they feel is the best way to reach the community around them.  That may be contemporary, modern, traditional, liturgical, creative or whatever the church feels is the best way to reach.  If that is what a church feel best shares the love of Christ to the community around them then why alter it for a Sunday where more people are expected to attend?  That is like a restaurant being known for serving Asian American Fusion cuisine serving a traditional Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving.  While there is nothing wrong with the traditional Thanksgiving meal, what would entice someone to return the the establishment any other day of the year?  One wouldn’t even know how good the Asian American Fusion food tastes.
My plea for the new year would be to know who you are, know the community around you, and BE that Church. And when it comes to a special service like Easter of Christmas, BE who you are and share the Love of God in your way.
This past Sunday we attempted to bridge that divide that can easily be missed on a Christmas Sunday, (or technically the Sunday after Christmas as it was – though we did this as well on Christmas Sunday) We did use some Christmas music (not a lot) but we attempted to make the day feel like a normal service for who we are.  Take a look at the service order for Christmas Sunday and the Sunday after Christmas.  I loved the feel for the days and was pleased with the connection.
Sidebar – this was the first Sunday using new choir microphones.  We chose to use the Audix Microboom MB8450.  A review will be coming shortly.  All I can say at this time is that the gain before feedback information on their website is correct and these mics gave us tremendous volume over our previous microphone choices.  Which was great other than when I rehearse the choir I do not use my in ear monitors and I never adjusted the choir level in my ears from the previous microphone setup.  Well service started and as soon as the choir began to sing on our first worship song, I thought my ears were going to fall off!  I alway keep some choir in my ears to just boost the fullness of the vocals and feel.  The volume had at least doubled!  I did my best to un-cringe my face and finish the song so that I could adjust the volume in my ears.  So initial opinion is that the microphones live up to the gain before feedback  promises.

Grace Church Service 12.27.09

This weeks weekend service at Grace Church.
Because of Your Tender Mercy – Choir
Angels We Have Heard on High – Traditional
All Because of Jesus – Fee
How Great Thou Art – Arranged By Mark Bovee
Majesty – Martin Smith
Your Name – Paul Baloche

Good Day

Reason for the Season

Who’s making a difference this Christmas season? Even though it’s easy to lose sight of the emphasis Jesus placed on helping the fatherless, orphan, widow, and those in need, we must try to remember how blessed we are and how many people are in need. There are many people working to make a difference this year, here are just a few.

Compassion International
Advent Conspiracy
Water 4 Christmas
GivMusic
CompassionArt
Gift Card Giver
Blood Water Mission
The Mentoring Project

Christmas Morning Memories

Ok let me just come out and say it… I am not the biggest fan of Christmas. As I sit on my couch sipping (because I already tried to drink it and burnt my tongue) piping hot coffee (fresh ground french pressed mmmmmm) out of my green Grinch mug, I think about the effort Christians put forth in order to keep Christ in Christmas but succeed at best in name only. But that is really another post for another day.
Today as I am 700 miles from home I am reminiscing about the Christmas traditions I remember from growing up. There is really only two traditions that sticks out to me. As kids, my brother and I went to bed on Christmas Eve while the house looked as if it was any other day of the year; no decorations, no tree, nothing. We went to bed and the house was bare. As we were sleeping, “Santa” would magically have time to not only stop by every child’s (whom believed in him…) house with presents but he would completely decorate our house. That’s right the whole house was now decorated. The tree, the lights, garland, and much much more. Yes I know my parents are crazy. But Christmas morning became so much more magical as we woke up not realizing my parents had the coffee on IV drip because, well, they hadn’t slept.
The other tradition I remember and this one I still miss, was the Feast of the Seven Fishes. I have an italian grandmother who always prepared this feast on Christmas Eve. It is an Italian-American tradition that in some strange and delicious way combines Roman Catholic traditions, possibly Biblical numerics, and family. Now anytime you combine obscene amounts of food and family, I am a happy man. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for just those reasons. There would be salted cod, scallops, salmon and so much more and I love seafood.
These are the memories I have of Christmas. What are the memories you cherish most? Comment below…

Merry Christmas from a Grinch

Carols and Communion by Candlelight

This has become a tradition at Grace Church over the past years.  Our Family Communion Christmas Eve Service.  We gather together sing Christmas Hymns and listen to a reading of the Christmas Story through the evening.  It is a very stripped down evening with no band, no ensemble, no worship leader, and no big production just a simple reading from the Word of God and a real family feel as we corporately sing songs together.  I have come to love these types of services even though I am the type of person who really enjoys the advantages of technology, full blown bands, and high energy.  This evening really focuses the attention on the reason we gather, Christ and shining His light.
Here is this year’s service order.

Continue reading…

Question of the Week

Would you rather be good at everything you attempt or great at just one thing?
Jack of all trades, master of none, or  Prolific in one specific discipline to the point of lacking other aspects or normalcy in your life.
We all know someone who just seems to be good at everything they attempt.  And we probably also all know someone who is so devoted and prolific in one specific discipline and that is about where it ends for them.
So if you could go back and rewrite the story of your life, where would you rather fall on the scale?

Jack of all trades, Master of none.
Master of one discipline, lacking in others.

Log in or register if you need to and leave your comments.  I am interested in hearing your reasoning for why.

Monday Morning Hangover 12.21.09

I love that I am blessed to lead a wonderful congregation in worship each week.  And I am sure that if you work in a Church you too know the blessings of Sunday Mornings being your “job.”  But those who work also know how much energy it takes to make these services happen.  That feeling you have on a Monday after a great weekend of services is what I have dubbed the Monday Morning Hangover.  It’s not a negative thing I think it actually is a good thing.  It means you gave all your energy to the previous services.  I want to be able to use these posts as a look back on the weekend and think about what worked, what didn’t, and what could have used some tweaking.  Please comment if you were a part of any of the weekend services with your thoughts. Please comment if you attend another weekend service with what worked for you, what didn’t work, links to helpful media, or links to media you created or used in your services.

In a previous post I posted our weekend service order of worship.  I was excited and a little  nervous after our Wednesday rehearsal.  We had a good set but had some new songs and people missing due to unforeseen conflicts. Continue reading…

This Just Made Me Laugh

Ditto

I came across this picture while reading through Terrace Crawford’s blog.
I have to admit that I laughed out loud.  My wife loves to decorate for Christmas.  I on the other hand, am not the biggest fan of Christmas in general so getting up on a ladder to put up lights that will inevitably have to be taken down is not high on my “fun list.”  Nevertheless if presented the opportunity to bestow the biggest form of flattery (imitation), I would gladly recreate the scene in this photo.  If for no other reason than to just laugh.
Thank you Mr. Crawford (and the genius behind the decorations) for making my day.