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What To Wear…What To Wear?

NV Christmas

So, worship leaders – do you have a dress code for your team? It seems like a minor issue, but it sometimes can become a surprisingly big deal. Style of dress is a form of personal expression, and some people get irate when they are not allowed to express themselves in their preferred fashion (pun intended).

What it comes down to, though, is that a worship team’s purpose is not as a forum for personal expression. The very nature of personal expression is to say, in effect, “Look at me. See how I want the world to view me. See the subculture I wish to identify with.” If the style of dress – be it too formal, or too casual, or too flashy, or too risqué, or too whatever – draws attention to itself, rather than to worshipping God, it’s a miss. In the same way that an 80’s metal guitar solo doesn’t fit in a Tomlin song, a hawaiian shirt or backwards baseball cap might not fit in a suburban church setting largely populated by professional people who live, eat and breathe business casual.

It’s not that we want everyone to be part of the same club…it’s that we don’t want the style of dress to scream “Look at me – and look at what club I’m in!!!”

 

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On Time

Playing With Passion

We require everyone on our worship team to be on time, every time. A “no show, no call” and you’re done, unless somebody is in the hospital… In all seriousness, everybody has a lot going on – the only way to make sure that the services are top quality is to set the bar high. People will generally rise to the level of the expectation – if they feel that the leader thinks that it’s not really critical that they be there prepared and on time, they will act accordingly. So – if the practice is set to start at 6:30, make sure that the drumsticks click off the first song at 6:30 (unless you’re using fill tracks – then the drummer presses “play” at 6:30)… : )

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Uncategorized, Worship Team

 

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Different Views

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A quick one today… I am in a rut. I admit it. I always see our service from my chair in the production booth. I sit in my “Service Producer” chair, between the Show Producer (who is the communicator between the video room and the auditorium) and the Lighting Coordinator.
I need to get out more. Out of my seat, I mean… I need to see how things look from all of the different vantage points that our congregation will be looking from. Not just to impress, or put on a show, but to do what we do with the highest level of excellence possible.
If you know a “car guy,” you can tell how serious he is about it by the excellence he shows in the care of his car. What we do is a whole lot more important than a car, and we want to show the highest level of excellence that we can. To show that we care – to show that we are serious.
That means getting out of my chair every once in awhile…I can use the exercise… : )

 

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Going “Old-School” At Christmas

Unwrapped Stage

Christmas is definitely a time for old school. There are things that I feel perfectly justified doing at Christmas that might push the “hokey meter” at any other time of year. Northview is a very contemporary church, but on Christmas Eve the traditions come out. One of our traditions is to have “O Holy Night” sung by a big-voice soloist. We actually use a Sandi Patty arrangement. No offense to Sandi (she is a great vocalist and entertainer), but we would normally never consider a song arranged for her. Christmas is different, however. It’s full of memories, and it’s perfectly fine to be less than hip and trendy. In fact, it seems like the more hip and trendy we’ve tried to be at Christmas, the less people have responded – people of ALL ages, not just the “seasoned.”

Everybody is OK with reliving the past at Christmas. The older folks have decades of Christmas Eves gone by to reminisce about. The younger parents are remembering their childhood days and seeking to establish traditions of their own. So we do “O Holy Night.” We sing “Silent Night” at the end with everybody holding hands. And we make it snow (it will be hard for you to rent a snow machine in Central Indiana at Christmas because I think we have them all). So try a little old school at Christmas (btw, that Sandi Patty song had people on their feet)!

 

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Growing Up

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“We only learn to behave ourselves in the presence of God.” – C. S. Lewis

I realized some time ago (in hindsight), that I really didn’t start seriously “growing up” until I became a father. I suddenly had my son – someone who couldn’t really do very much under his own power to take care of himself. He depended on me. And I took care of him – because I loved him. And he loved me back – that was the one thing he could give.

Our Father has the same sort of love. We are utterly helpless without Him. There is nothing that we can do to help ourselves that doesn’t ultimately have it’s source in Him. There’s nothing that we can do for God that will give Him something He needs or doesn’t have. All that we can do is love Him.

That’s hard for me. I’m a “do-er.” Type A. I like to be in control. I plan, strategize and measure. But it’s not enough. The only way anything spiritual happens in someones heart is when God prompts it. The only way worship happens is when God receives it.

I need to plan, work really hard, give my best – and then let it go. Trust God. And love Him.

Today I’m writing these words as a message to myself.

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Run Throughs

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Each week, we follow this rehearsal schedule: vocalists rehearse during the week, band rehearses from 1:30 to 2:45 on Sat., and then a sound check for vocals at 2:45. At 3pm, we begin the first of two complete run-throughs. In the first run trough, we do everything exactly as we would in a service (minus the message). Every preservice element, every song, every video (played all the way through), even the announcements. EVERY element, including and especially transitions between the various pieces. It’s not enough to have great elements in your services, you have to practice how you’re going to move between them.

I am a former worship leader and a musician by background, so I know the temptation that exists to use every last minute of rehearsal time tweaking the music side of things. You want the songs to be good. The congregation wants the songs to be good. But the service doesn’t exist for the songs – it exists to help people worship and learn more about the God who created them – maybe to meet Him for the first time. Worship music is one of the “hows” – it’s not the “what.”

Having a rehearsal structure like this allows the entire team to succeed, not just the worship team. Good stuff that reflects the desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) that it works much better than less structured alternatives. This concept is pretty prevalent across many of the churches I’ve seen – I ran into it on the Granger Church blog, as well:  click here

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Flexibility Is The Key To Ministry

“Flexibility Is The Key To Ministry!”

I forget where I first heard that quote. It’s easy to remember, but hard to live out. I’m a very busy guy, and my life can spin rapidly out of control when things do not go as planned (which seems to happen from time to time). However, I’ve learned to plan as best I can – which in our services means to the minute – but then to go with the flow. I’ve learned the hard way that it doesn’t pay to freak out. You just end up adding to the problem, nd have a bigger mess to clean up later.

We recently hosted a concert by Hillsong Young & Free. An awesome team of worshipers from the other side of the earth. They led a great night of worship – however, it was one of those nights where the technology did not want to cooperate. When it came time for them to go on, a bunch of their rented gear went down. A couple of their team very expertly stalled – at the same time, my production team kicked into overdrive, helping to get them up and running. In a church our size, many shows end up being a collaboration between the the artists, their crew and our team – this was one of them. The concert ended up being great, and our team helped to save the day. Not just because they are skilled (which they are), but because they were willing to do whatever needed doing to make things work – not for themselves, or even the artists, but for the people that were there to worship.

I have a great team. They are skilled. They are dedicated. And they are flexible…

Hillsong Y&F 2014

 
 

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