April 8, 2014

Engagement: Why it Matters

I've recently challenged myself to start blogging again, and regularly.

In light of this new challenge, I am kicking off my blogging with a series on Engagement.  Now, I don't mean engagement in the "fixin'-to-get-married" sense, but in the "connectedness" sense.  Although this post is being written specifically with worship pastors in mind, I think this series will be helpful for anyone in a leadership position, especially in ministry-related affairs.

April 23, 2013

Struggles and Suffering: A Major Shortcoming of CCM Music

Over the course of this semester, one of the topics that has come up time and time again is the lack of contemporary worship songs that deal with suffering in a manner that is both honest and Christian.  Oftentimes, worship songs are too happy—or too hopefulto really give voice to the struggles that people face in an honest way.  Of course, there are exceptions to this, but this is the general opinion that people not actively involved in worship planning hold (at least with the people that I've spoken to), and I don't think these criticisms are entirely invalid.

November 10, 2012

Growing Pains

I started reading an article from Brain Pickings that talked about a book called Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life (which, I realize is an incredibly long title) and I was really intrigued by what I read.  The author of the book, Massimo Pigliucci, is a philosophy professor at the City University of New York (CUNY).

I found this article and another on this app called "Flipboard", which is a really cool way to read about a lot of really cool things on your iPhone/Android (I don't know if there's another mobile OS that supports the app...but check it out!).  Just a shameless plug for the app. It's really fantastic.

The article about the Aristotle book focused on the subject of "intuition", which the book spends about a chapter on.  Intuition is that "magical" quality that some people seem to possess more of than others. It's that ability which allows one to "just know" something about someone or some situation.  And in worship, this quality is invaluable in knowing where your congregation is and how to minister to that.  Pigliucci writes,
...these days cognitive scientists think of intuition as a set of nonconscious cognitive and affective processes; the outcome of these processes is often difficult to articulate and is not based on deliberate thinking, but it's real and (sometimes) effective nonetheless....Cognitive scientists treat [intuitions] as quick first assessments of a given situation
and it is important to note the last words of the quote: quick first assessment.  Pigliucci also writes that intuition can only happen in specific domains, meaning although we may be really great at intuiting when our mothers are angry at us, we can be just as clueless as the next guy when trying to figure out if that girl is flirting with us or if she's just being friendly (and if she is flirting with us, does that mean she actually likes us or she's just flirty?).  Finally, he writes that intuitions get better with practice because intuition is all about the brain's ability to pick up on recurring patterns.

So how does this apply to worship and being a worship leader?

September 26, 2011

The Power of Love

Though this isn't a post on Praise and/or Music, it is still an important part of how we worship Christ.

Today in Chapel our speaker was an ex-gay guy giving his testimony.  It was powerful.  He spoke of how we, as Christians, do the gay community a disservice by trying to treat homosexuality like a simple issue, when it is, in actuality, the symptom of a much larger, more complex issue.  He didn't specify what the issue was, and that was the power of his message: you have to know someone, love them, and know their story before you can begin to minister to someone.

August 16, 2011

Band Dynamics

So I feel like the topic of "Band Dynamics" is one of incredible importance and needs to be addressed.  Although this is a post directed more towards youth group bands and private school chapel bands, there may be something in here for all you, who knows? So let's get started.

June 8, 2011

Thoughts on Visuals

This isn't always something that the average church-goer would think about, but it is important as worship leaders and planners to be conscious of: how our lyrics look on screen.  If you go to a church that utilizes projected images, the way those images look is incredibly important.

May 7, 2011

Hosanna - Guitar Tutorial

This is a tutorial on how to play Hillsong United's "Hosanna" with a short-cut (aka foote) capo.  This technique is good for two things: 1.) It is usually easier for a beginner to play because it contains no barre chords or open power chords, 2.) it provides a rich, full open chord sound on an acoustic guitar.

*Note: the short-cut capo used in the video is a backwards Kyser capo, but Kyser does make short-cuts for sale.  If making your own short-cut capo, it must bar the A, D, and G strings (3, 4, and 5).

April 18, 2011

Worship Is Like Seasons

It has been my experience that worship often occurs like seasons.  It has themes and feels, but they all move and change and never really stay in one spot for very long.  I'm sure that many, if not all, of you have noticed that churches get "stuck on a song" (or songs) for a while.  For a long time in my youth service we sang From the Inside Out by Hillsong United, as well as Fire Fall Down.  Currently, we often do Your Love is Strong by Jon Foreman and Revelation Song by Jennie Lee Riddle.  Why do I mention this?

March 25, 2011

The Pursuit of Tone

Maybe it's because I've been writing a research paper for my English class, but I'm going to be writing this blog and using Nigel "The Droff" Hendroff's blog post on Hillsong Creative (The Pursuit of Tone) as a reference and proving point.  Regardless, I hope that you find this helpful and informative, and I pray that you take this to heart.  Also, as with any of my posts, feel free to comment with your opinions, questions, and suggestions.  I want this to stir discussion.

What, then, is the "Pursuit of Tone"?  For those that are newer to the area of Worship Leading, this is a key point to consider, regardless of whether you are a vocalist, a percussionist, a pianist, a guitarist, or a techie (shout out to ya'll!).  The pursuit of tone is just what it sounds like (deep, I know).  It is the constant search-and-discovery that you go through in order to make things sound just right.  No human likes bad-sounding music, so why would God?

March 21, 2011

The Beginning

Why am I doing this?  What's the purpose of the blog?

This blog is supposed to be thought-provoking.  You don't have to agree with everything I say, in fact, I would be surprised if you did.  This blog is supposed to give you advice, but at the very least help you examine what you're doing in worship as I examine what I'm doing in worship.

The main reason I created this blog was actually to leave behind all the knowledge I have gained in the past 6 years I have been leading worship.  This blog will hit a multitude of things: playing the guitar, the heart of worship, ways of worship, getting a team to work together, etc.  Hopefully there will be some videos and tutorials and links and lots of other stuff for you to access too.  I want this blog to be a gateway into the beautiful world of music and the privilege of leading God's beloved in singing His praises.

By all means, feel free to email me or comment on the blog if you have questions or believe I am wrong on something.  I would love for this to be something worth accessing, something worth plugging into, and for this to be a place where we share the adventure of discovering what it truly means to worship our God together.

1 Timothy 4:12