Worship team vision

Monday, November 19, 2007
This week we're holding our Worship team meeting. So I thought it would be a good opportunity to put our vision down in word, mainly to help me think about it. Our vision is four words Worship, Encounter, Expect, Go

This is an everyday life activity that is celebrated as a community at least once weekly on a Sunday morning. We individually go about life giving worth to God in what we do. The week's worship overspills into the time of community celebration on Sunday mornings etc. As a worship team our life must reflect this and as it were, be an example of worship. We have to be regularly enjoying God's word and presence, using our gifts outside of church to worship and revel in his presence so we can bring what we have experienced and discovered about the Our Great God from our own private times into the public on a Sunday morning (or other time) whenever leading.

Every time we come together as a community to worship God we should encounter with the Living God. We should be a people of intimacy, intimacy with the Father God. Encounter implies challenge, change and comfort. James 4:8 encourages us to 'Come near to God and he will come near to you’. Part of leading worship is to show people a big and mighty God and encourage them to draw close. People drawing close to Father God cannot but be affected and drawn to a deeper relationship with the Father which increases worship and hunger for more.

Matthew 18 states 'For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them’. Our expectation is God's invitation. We should be coming with expectation that God will be on the move within our Worship times. Encouraging people to come expectant. Expectant to meet with God and to see healings, tongues, the prophetic, new spiritual life etc.

We've come and worshipped on a Sunday morning and now we must go and live the life. We have to give what God has blessed us with away. Worship is giving away what we've received. We can't hide it in the secret.

Great Worshippers: David - part 1

Friday, November 16, 2007
Apologies, it's nearly been a month now since I last blogged. I've been really busy leading a course with my wife in our church called 'Freedom in Christ'. I may have mentioned this course before in previous blogs but I feel like rambling about it again. The whole theme of the course is basically John 8:32, Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Knowing our true Identity in God not just in our heads but in our hearts will set us free in Christ.

This got me to thinking along with a few talks I've been listening to on my mp3 player about the early life of David in the Bible. This guy knew who he was in God. In fact the sheer arrogance of him standing up to Goliath and the passion for God's purposes is amazing.

David must have had an awesome view of who God was. For a young boy who had little experience of wars, battles or the intricacies of politics he didn't let the fear that gripped Israel's battle hardened army deter him from seeing it from God's perspective. Just look at the words he uses as he faces the Philistines.

You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hand
These are real fighting words from a either very foolish person or someone who was totally wrapped up in who God is. Imagine if we had the same confidence and single mindedness. If fear was so overpowered by the the knowledge of God, who he's made us and the power that's been allocated to us. Fear is the enemies greatest weapon. One of the most common commands in the Bible is to 'fear not'. Fear see the world around us in the context of our own power and strength. Faith see the world around through the eyes of our Great and mighty God.
David's fearlessness and confidence in God didn't just happen over night. This may be a topic in itself for another blog.
I feel a few more posts coming on, along the life of David. In fact I might just do a series of blogs on the Bible's greatest worshippers. Lets see how it goes!


Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Found this article from an Irish Christian author called Steve Stockman. Basically he's been doing a dissertation and critique on Modern Worship. This link is to an extract of his research. Very challenging stuff! See what you think. Click here.

Check out Steve's website. Click on the logo

A tale of two Sundays

Sunday, October 14, 2007
Well its been awhile since I've blogged, no excuse really.

Just off the back of leading worship two Sundays moring services in a row and feel both were different.Emphasis on feel. The first I felt awkward, nobody seemed to be getting into it, it was dry and to be honest it dragged. I was in a very different place spiritually. I think I went into the session feeling defeated in my mind and trying to control. I read all the truths in the Bible I could find about who I am and what God has got for me to do but it just all seemed like a foreign concept. Basically I couldn't connect with the truth.

This week's worship session was very different. During a prayer meeting in the middle of the week I felt God saying to me to stop looking at me and start looking at him. I was actually wallowing in my own lack of self worth and how bad I was at everything. But if I start looking at God again, 'I' become small and so do my problems and my own little insecurities. That really set me up for the rest of the week. In preparation for Sunday I had a great time just revelling in God presence and getting recharged with the Holy Spirit.

This gave me a new imputise and excitment that I would be leading people into the Holy of Holies. Leading is operative word. We are leading people to connect with the God of Gods. We can't make them connect but can only paint a picture of a big God using our songs and words. We're leading with a God given authority. That's exciting!

It's funny how you can be blinded about something so obvious and then one day it you wake to this like it's a new revelation.

Anyway I believe God was there this morning through my leading and the contributions made by the congregation. Actually it would be interesting to see what people thought about the two times of worship, if infact there was any difference. Did people worship more and connect to God during either Sunday morning services. That would be an interesting question to ask. Maybe God used both and I'm basing it on my feelings.

New worship songs other than Soul Survivor, Redman, Hughes, Tomlin, Hillsongs

Monday, September 24, 2007
For the sake of debate I've started a discussion on hemustincrease.com. Just for the fun of it. I've re created it here with replies. I'll keep people's names private. Feel free to offer your thoughts.

Apologies for lack of formatting and its all quite long. So wade through it and give me some of your commets

Right here's my original post:

Has anyone got any suggestions of good new songs or worship leaders that are outside the usual Soul Survivor, Redman, Hughes, Tomlin, Hillsongs , Vineyard circles? Do you think we have narrowed down where we look to for new worship songs? Is it just too easy to buy the latest edition of Soul Survivor and never look anywhere else for songs as this is where the newest and coolest songs are. Are we being worldly by the way our worship music has become consumer driven with the heavily marketed latest song? Should churches not be looking to their own worship leaders writing their own songs for their church?

Now here's some of the replies:

Mr X
In one sense Gareth I entirely agree, that we should seek to have songs rise up locally that are more of an expression of the local faith community we find ourselves in, and I think there are some great songs out there that are being lost off the radar due to the fact that they don't have access to established distribution chains which the likes of the churces/denominations/companys that you mentioned.Equally though I feel like the emergence of all the music written by those at soul survivor/Vineyard/Chris Tomlin etc. is enveloped in the soveriegnty of God, in that, God has used those movements/writers hugely in reviving contemporary worship in the UK, which in turn has given access points to thousands of people to meet with God, so in that sense I personally dont feel overly troubled that I buy a Tim Hughes album and say "wow these are great songs, and I feel they express the things that God is speaking to us about too" and Ill use them, in part I believe that God has brought these people to the fore because there has been such little local song writing activity.Again as you said I hope that song writing for the local church does fully emerge and as that happens the need for such a dominance in Christian songwriting will decrease.As far as the consumerism you mentioned, I also struggle with many attitudes and presentation of Christian "products", but interms of worship music, I have two short thoughts, firstly that in a way we have a wordly commercial distribution model that is being used, but it is in some way redeemed if it is building the kingdom of God and bringing glory to him, secondly, Some people (and please hear me that I am in no way being accusitory toward you here, as I have never met you and do not encounter this tone in anyway in your question) can have a very pessimistic, "believe the worst" attitude with regards to "Christian marketting" and as I said before I myself often have reservations regarding it, but in terms of the movements you have mentioned I have been fortunate to spend a little time with some people at soul survivor and to a lesser extent the vineyard and their hearts are genuinely to bless people with the songs they write and to see Gods Kingdom come, and we can sometimes mis-judge peoples hearts because of the distance we stand from them.Sorry this has been so long, but I share your interest in the worship commericalism, the rights and wrongs of it, and wanted to share the few ways I had though about and around it!

Cheers guys for the comments. Mr X I don't doubt the sincerity of many of the worship leaders though it easy to get cynical about the whole christian music industry, rightly or wrongly. I enjoy a lot of Redman, Hughes, Vineyard and Soul Survivor. Infact there's never a Sunday goes by that I or others in our church use Redman songs in leading. He's probably the Wesley of our era.But should we have such a cost on these things? I'm sure we've all heard this before that the gospel is free and Jesus never asked for payment for his services. I agree that these guys have to live and feed their families. Also sometimes when we buy stuff, it costs us more so we tend to value it and not take it for granted. Also I know these guys aren't millionaires and the likes of Stuart Townend drives about in an old clapped out car, but where does the money go too? Record companies? Distributors? Actually I'm interested to know how it all works. (This isn't judgemental but an actual question). I'm probably speaking out of ignorance as to how the Christian music industry works, so would be greatful for someone to inform me!I know Keith Green struggled with this whole aspect and he gave away music for free at his concerts for ages but then got taken on by Sparrow and started selling. Did Wesley sell he sheet music? Don't know, maybe he didApologies if this sounds judgemental but I'm happy to be wrong as the same question could be asked about my life and I would come up failing miserably but I would like to say I was heading towards simpler life (friends may argue the opposite), a life that asks of me, do I need this, am I being greedy, am I living by faith, am I being influenced by fashion, marketing?Suppose I'm not giving any solution but asking the question?It would be great to get someone's opinion from inside the worship music industry. See what really happens. Are there any industry people among us?Phil, can we get chords or music up for these songs that have been uploaded so we can use them in our churches.

Mr X
Gareth,I found an article recently from the BBC on where the money from a CD purchase goes to be very interesting, Ive copied it below, I imagine a similar arrangement exists in the Christian Music Industry.01 IntroductionWhen you hand over your hard-earned in a record shop for a CD, where does the money actually go? This section explains who gets what when you buy a CD.For the sake of this argument, we'll say that the average CD costs about £15.02 Starting at the ShopRecord shops get their merchandise from a distributor. The distributor doesn't buy records from the label; they merely ship them from the factory to the shops.Shops only pay for the CDs they actually sell. Any that don't sell are sent back to the label.A shop will pay about £8 for a CD that it sells to you for £15. That £8 is known as the Published Price to Dealer (PPD). PPD is an important number because it's used to calculate other royalties.When a CD is sold, the shop pays the distibutor for it. The distributor will deduct its fee - around £2 - and pass the rest on to the label. You can find out more about distributors here.So we've now got about £6 left of the PPD to pay the label, artists and everyone else.But to go back to our original £15 for a second, taking out the £8 PPD leaves £7 still with the shop. A little more than £2.20 of that will go to the government as VAT. That in turn leaves about £4.80 for the shop to pay staff and administration costs, heating, lighting, rent, business rates and all that stuff.03 The Artist's ShareWhat happens to the £6 we've got left from the previous page depends on the artists' situation and their record contract. Typically for a major label deal, the artist will receive about 16-19% of the PPD. It's important to remember that this is money from record sales, and it gets divided between the various full members of the band and their manager.So in an ideal world, the band would end up with somewhere between £1.20 and £1.50 per CD sold. In practise, there are all sorts of extra deductions that the record company will make from that, which will probably drop it to more like 90p to £1.10.Chances are though, they won't even see that. Most artists are massively in debt to their label by the time they put a record out. They'll have taken out advances, which are kind of like loans so they have some money to live on, and also to pay the costs of recording the album. These advances must all be paid off from the artists' share of the income from sales.In other words, the band won't see another red cent from their label until they've paid off all those debts. For a major deal this can be hundreds of thousands of pounds, which at £1 or so per record means that the artists have to sell hundreds of thousands of CDs before they see any money from sales. Some artists have had long careers spanning several albums without actually seeing any royalties from sales at all.For more on royalties, advances and deductions, see our guide to recording agreements.04 Mechanical RoyaltiesSo far, we know that the band members will get a share of the profits from the record, but suppose the performers didn't actually write the song? Maybe they did a cover version, or they're the kind of act that doesn't write and uses songwriters to supply them with material?The band wouldn't be selling records if it wasn't for the writer, so it's reasonable that the writer should get a share of sales income, too.The way this is done is through what are called Mechanical Royalties, or mechanicals for short. As a writer of a tune, you are entitled to a royalty whenever anyone makes a copy of your music for sale, and this is the mechanical royalty.Mechanical royalties vary slightly, but they're about 6% of PPD for a major label - about 90p in our example. This is shared between all the writers on the album. They don't get 90p each; the 90p is divided between all of them. For more information on mechanical royalties, see our guide to them.Normally a writer will have a publisher who will collect mechanicals on their behalf. So the money goes to the publisher first. They will then take about 40% as their commission and pass the rest on to their writer. For more information on publishing, check this link.But mechanicals don't only apply to writers who don't perform. If the person who wrote the song is a member of the band, they are still entitled to mechanical royalties. And this is in addition to their share of the sales income we described on the previous page.This can cause major problems within a band, as the one or two writer-members could start to see income from mechanicals while the non-writer members are still paying off their advances and seeing no income from the record. This is where a band agreement can help.05 Other PercentagesThere may also be other people who will receive a percentage of income from CD sales. Percentages, by the way, are known as 'points' in the trade. One point is approximately equal to 1% of income.High profile producers and sometimes even engineers can command a few points on a record - typically 3 but sometimes as many as 5 - as well as their regular fee. You can find more on producer royalties here.You sometimes also see 'executive producer' as a credit on a record. This is sometimes someone at the label who's made a significant contribution to the record and has been awarded a few points in exchange. Other times it's a way of getting a big name artist or producer associated with a new act. They may not have had anything to do with making the record, it's a way of getting their endorsement.06 The Final BillWe also need to allow about a quid to actually manufacture the disk. So, here's approximately how your £15 gets split up:Shop - £4.80VAT - £2.20Distributor - £2Artist - £1.20 (subject to possible deductions and paying off advances)Writers - 90p (although 36p of that may go to the publishers of those writers)Producer - 18pCD manufacture: £1Label - £2.7207 One-off CostsThere are also a number of one-off costs which need to be met in order to make a record and sell it.One of the major ones is the cost of actually recording the thing. This can run to hundreds of thousands of pounds.Studio time will be the bulk of that cost, but there will also be fees for the producer, engineer and any musicians who have been hired in to play special instruments or sing back vocals (you can read more about these people, known as session musicians, here.)One of the bits of this which is pretty unfair is that the recording costs have to be paid off by the band. And once they've done that, the label still owns the rights to the record. This is a bit like paying off your car loan to find that the bank still own your car at the end of it. Sadly, that's just how it isThe other major one-off cost is marketing the record. This means things like buying advertising space on TV, radio, poster sites and in magazines and will often run up to another couple of hundred grand. Plus there's the cost of actually making the TV and radio ads, and designing posters and magazine adverts.Then there are some smaller costs like designing the CD cover and producing promotional copies of the record to give to journalists, DJs and radio & TV producers. Often labels will also produce extra marketing gimmicks like t shirts and frisbees which will be dished out to media types to promote the record.And we haven't even touched on the whole use of singles to promote the album, and the costs of making and marketing them: more advertising space, remixes, videos and more frisbees.08 Why the Label Gets MostIt's true. The label is already charging the recording costs back to the artist and will also try and charge back as much of the marketing cost as they can too. So how come they get twice as much as the artist?Now we don't want to be seen as apologists for the major labels, but there are reasons for the label to take such a huge slice of the wedge.Mainly it's because most artists don't even get to the stage of releasing their first album. Depending on who you believe, only about 1 in 10 or even 1 in 20 artists who get signed actually go on to have a successful career.Some of the others release a single or two that flops and are quietly dropped. Others even get to make a whole album that never gets released because it's not great and the cost of marketing a turkey would be good money after bad. So the label will dump the record and sign another act rather than release an album they're not sure about.And all of these artists will have been paid advances when they were signed and some will have racked up recording and other costs. The label needs the money from the few artists that did succeed to pay off their losses from the ones that didn't. So some of your £15 is going to pay off the A&R department's mistakes.09 Small Label DealsThe stuff we've looked at so far applies to major and large independent record deals.For a small label deal, it's typical to do away with all the complexities. Often they'll simply split the profits from the sales of the record 50/50 between the artist & label, once the label has deducted manufacturing and other costs.Costs may be proportionally higher than for a major deal. For example, it costs more per unit to make a few hundred or a couple of thousand CDs rather than the tens or hundreds of thousands that a major would press.So it might be £2 or more per CD than the quid we assumed earlier.

cheers for that MR X. Great article and very informative.So what about royalties. Have just been filling out CCLI (1 month late) for our church.Should we be worried about people stealing our songs and making money out of them. If the songs are from God afterall then it dosen't matter, does it? Maybe someone might take your song and make it better. Should we be worried if someone else tweaks our songs and puts his name to it?Do Christian artists get much money from royalties?

Hey Gareth, Not sure how the whole CCLI thing works, but in response to Should we be worried about people stealing our songs and making money out of them, I think probably not.Someone once said "there's no copyright in the kingdom" and "Every good and perfect thing comes from above" and that in a way is how christians should view the song writing process, God gives us glimpses of heaven for us then to sing/speak of what we've seen, he is abudantly gracious and generous in the revelation side of this and the only correct response to this is the same grace and generosity in the expression.I also think though that there is a common courtesy not just to rip peoples songs off and claim them as our own, and maybe copyright has it functions to enable the type of stuff that Rob mentioned, namely: "Would we have some of these great songs if the people writing them were not able to devote their full attention to it?" eg. without making royaltys?

just a couple of comments on this:1) Would we have some of these great songs if the people writing them were not able to devote their full attention to it?2) One of the great side effects of how music is circulated is that many of our churches sing the same songs. - almost like never before, people are able to feel at home in different congregations through the familiar songs used by different denominations and groups.My guess is. If the songs are blessing you, your congregation and are useful for worship. Use them.Though I am an emerging song writer, I am not foolish enough to believe I can sustain my family on my songwriting ability. So like many others, I have a day job. My guess is, like paid pastors, going full time in the music industry is somewhat similiar. They answer the call.


Found a great resource. If you like facebook then you'll love this. Basically a facebook for UK worship leaders. Join www.hemustincrease.com

More common mistakes made by Worship leaders

Monday, September 10, 2007
Following my previous post on common mistakes worship leaders make, I've had a great comment with some more mistakes to add to the list. Has anyone else got any other common mistakes that can be added to the growing list?

1. Unaware (or unaccepting) of the music style of the congregation.
2. Failing to lead the congregation in exhortation. "it's NOT just a song set!" :)
3. Unecessary or excessive exhortation, talking
4. No extra strings/or backup guitar
5. No variety! Use different song style, tempos, instrumentation
6. Slow song fatigue: Hey if you got a room full of YWAMers that's one thing, but try doing 4 slow ones in a row in a typical church and watch em drop like flies!!

Let's Go

Thursday, September 06, 2007

What a week it's been! We've just finished the biggest ever series of outreach events in our church. It was spread over four days where we saw our area leaflet dropped with invitations and outreach literature, held a football tournament, picked up litter, ran a community fair, organised a testimony evening with ex-pop star/celeb and saw commitments to Christ and people being healed on the Sunday morning service.

For me personally it was an amazing time of God's grace and favour. During the 4 days of outreach we had some amazing times of prayer and worship in the mornings. It's amazing when the Holy Spirit manifests Himself, prophecies flow, spontaneous worship erupts, people get healed and of course salvations.

I had the chance of leading in some of these times of worship and it was amazing how God uses us in our weakness and tiredness. For more info on the event see Phil's blog

Save me from myself

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

One my holiday reads ,'Save me from myself',was a great biography of a life completely changed by God . Brian "Head" Welch was guitarist of rock band Korn, mainly famous in the late nineties. In this book he explicitly describes his life in the band, touring and recording. Its a brilliant insight into the lifestyle of a top rock band and how he found God, got off drugs and completely changed his life around to be sold out for God. Recommended read though not for the easily offended!

The power of thanks

Thursday, August 16, 2007
Many of you will probably have had this feeling before. Monday morning blues! Not just a normal Monday blues but coming back after a 2 week Holiday. In fact half way through the holiday the symptoms start to emerge. Your mind starts to ponder the imminent return to the world of responsibilities and work.
In midst of this I came across a great quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

In the Christian community thankfulness is just what it is anywhere else in the Christian life. Only he who gives thanks for little things receives the big things. We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts He has in store for us, because we do not give thanks for daily gifts..... We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts. How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things.

The last thing on my mind coming towards the end of the holidays was being thankful for my work and church responsibilities. After reading this quote and the Holy Spirit nudging me I began saying thank-you for the millions of blessings in my life. Within an hour I my mood had lifted and so had my spiritual stare. Thanklessness directs our spiritual gaze onto us and our needs, makes us start to compare. Thankfulness reminds us who God is, draws our attention to his provision and we begin to see that we have everything we need.

Imagine if as worshippers we lived a life driven by thanks. How much more would we appreciate the here and now, appreciate God and the many good things he has done. Imagine if we lived a life of thanking God for all his future plans, would that not build faith?

A lifestyle full of thanks can only feed our worship leading and worship life!

Practise and holidays

Thursday, July 26, 2007
Just a few thoughts off the back of a very busy period for worship leading in the last few months. Over a 3 month period I've been leading worship in one form or another atleast 10 times. Initially I was struggling but have really found in this last few months I've gone to a new level in confidence and hopefully my worship leading. Nothing beats the hard graft to really build skill and confidence.

Before this period I had been praying for new skill levels and confidence to increase but in all honesty had expected God to give me the magic worship leading pill so that one Sunday I would turn up and become the next Tim Hughes. I know I've mentioned this before but it has really struck home over the last week. Infact it snuck up on me. So if you want to build your skill and confidence, ask your pastor to let you lead worship 4 Sundays in a row.

On another thought, well actually more a statement of fact (if anyone is interested) , I'm going on holidays in a few days for 2 weeks to my beloved Ulster. And as this is a blog, my blog and there are no rules except the ones that I make, I thought I would list my intensions for this time off which has no relevance to worship leading but makes me feel special. :)

- Spend time with my wife, family, relative and friends- Attend 2 friends' weddings (including Brian Houston as wedding band for one of them)
- Time out with God
- Walk a lot
- Drink real Guiness
- Maybe try to write songs
- Jam with my brother and wife
- Mow a lawn, cut down trees, trim a hedge
- Attend a Golf club President's day and maybe play a few holes
- Travel around and explore Donegal and maybe further afield
- sleep
- read
- eat
- Maybe blog

The Great Revival - Smith Wigglesworth

Friday, July 13, 2007
I've just been reading through a few blogs and came accross a prophecy that I'd read a few years ago by one of my 'spiritual' heros Smith Wigglesworth. For no other reason than that it has excited me this morning, I've added it to the blog.


“During the next few decades there will be two distinct moves of the Holy Spirit across the Church in Great Britain. The first move will affect every church that is open to receive it and will be characterised by a restoration of the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The second move of the Holy Spirit will result in people leaving historic churches and planting new churches.

In the duration of each of these moves, the people who are involved will say, ‘This is the great revival.’ But the Lord says, ‘No, neither is this the great revival, but both are steps towards it.’

When the new church phase is on the wane, there will be evidenced in the churches something that has not been seen before: a coming together of those with an emphasis on the Word and those with an emphasis on the Spirit. When the Word and the Spirit come together, there will be the biggest movement of the Holy Spirit that the nation, and indeed, the world, has ever seen. It will mark the beginning of a revival that will eclipse anything that has been witnessed within these shores, even the Wesleyan and the Welsh revivals of former years. The outpouring of God’s Spirit will flow over from the United Kingdom to the mainland of Europe, and from there, will begin a missionary move to the ends of the earth.”

— Smith Wigglesworth, 1947

How encouraging is this! We've seen a "restoration of the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit" to those who received it and the rise of the "new" church. Now we are starting to see the coming together of "those with an emphasis on the Word and those with an emphasis on the Spirit". Indeed the family of churches (New Frontiers) I belong to have an ever increasing hunger for more truth and more spirit and have been in relationship with such diverse organistions as UCCF/New Word Alive and a variety of charasmatic church streams.

Worship is good for you!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007
It's been proved (well, suggested atleast)! A life of worship is good for your health. Recent studies in America have shown that certain personalities are more proneto health issues. Read below an extract from BBC article.

Decades of research suggest there is only one personality type which is not linked to an increase risk of serious disease.

Easy going people - so-called type "B" personalities - appear to be the healthiest.

Type "A" personalities - driven workaholics prone to stress and anger, are more likely to suffer high blood pressure and heart disease, while Type "C" people, who suppress their feelings, have been connected to an increased risk of cancer.

Other research projects have connected Type "D" people, pessimists with low self-confidence, with heart attack or stroke.

Ok, we are all born with a certain personality that are more prone to some of these behaviours than others which makes it easy for us to fall into type A,B,C,D.

So where does my reasoning come from?

Type A - Misplaced identities and wrong goals that have been frustrated versus a Worshippers identity being a child of God and goals are to worship Him in our everday life. A grace filled life of relationship with Creator God.

Type C - Self sufficiency and pride versus a loving God who wants all our life given to Him and to be shared with the local community of believers

Type D - distrust and insecurity versus a trust in the rock, the God who knows every hair on our head, yet created the vast heavens

So do you think a Christian is (or should be) a type B?

Ancient Future Worship

Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Recently I 've seen the term 'Ancient Future Worship' banded about. The idea of merging traditional worship into a modern context. Nothing new, I hear you say.

Through a bit of googling I discovered this term was coined by a guy called Robert Webber who was passionate about bringing back traditions like the church calender back into our worship and celebrating God's narrative.

Below is a paragraph taken from his website which gives you an idea of the whole concept. It's a Call to the Evangelical church to re-evaluate the way it does worship

On Church's Worship as Telling and Enacting God's Narrative

We call for public worship that sings, preaches and enacts God's story. We call for a renewed consideration of how God ministers to us in baptism, Eucharist, confession, the laying on of hands, marriage, healing and through the charisma of the Spirit, for these actions shape our lives and signify the meaning of the world. Thus, we call Evangelicals to turn away from forms of worship that focus on God as a mere object of the intellect or that assert the self as the source of worship. Such worship has resulted in lecture-oriented, music-driven, performance-centered and program-controlled models that do not adequately proclaim God's cosmic redemption. Therefore, we call Evangelicals to recover the historic substance of worship of Word and Table and to attend to the Christian year, which marks time according to God's saving acts.

So within modern worship have we lost what communion is about? Have we lost the narrative? Should we start using the church calender again. How can we use these within a modern worship context?

17 common worship leading mistakes and how to avoid them

Saturday, June 30, 2007
Got sent this in an email yesterday with some very useful tips on common worship leading mistakes and how to avoid them

1.Including too many new songs in the set – your congregation is there to worship – most will find it difficult to do so if they spend most of the time learning your latest masterpieces. Vary your set list to include a variety of older, recently introduced and brand new songs and be ready to make changes on the fly if you sense your congregation is becoming weary.

2.Pitching the songs too high – remember that a comfortable range for a woman is about five semitones lower than a man.
Change the key down to avoid going above top D particularly if you are playing in a small church situation.

3.Clunky moving from song to song. Playing a song once its underway is fairly straightforward so make sure you concentrate on rehearsing how to start and end a song. Practising a seamless flow from one song to the next is worthwhile and focus on. It will help if both are in the same key with a similar groove and if you are using music, make sure the sheets are side by side on your music stand.

4.Poor band dynamics – conflicting rhythms, one instrument speeding up/slowing down, vocalists overwhelming the sound with too many ad libs or vibrato
Exercise leadership in directing your singers clearly and if necessary get them some vocals training. Get them to listen to each others’ parts and possibly film or record a service to help with some constructive criticism.

5.Lack of leadership – without clear guidance from the worship leader its difficult for the band to know what they are meant to do, let alone the congregation.
Give a good clear brief in practice and use vocal cues and body language to communicate during the set.

6. Overly complex vocals – congregations get easily confused when the lead vocalist slips into harmonies, trills and ad libs. Simple clear melody is always the easiest to follow. Leave the harmonies for the backing vocalists.

7. Poor phrasing and blending by vocalists.
Make sure that all your singers are phrasing each “musical sentence” in the same way. It can help to have one backing vocalist leading the others so that everyone finishes their words at the same time. In the studio, singers are often asked not to finish the last consonant in a line so that the ending doesn’t sound jagged.

8. Wrong keys or wrong capo positions. Make sure all the band are playing in the same key. Issue your set list in advance with instructions for keys. And if you change your mind, make sure that everyone knows.

9.Tuning – are all your instruments in tune and are they staying in tune throughout the set?
Even the right notes out of tune sound far worse than the wrong notes in tune so buy yourself a decent tuner like the Boss TU2 – cheap tuners can be so frustrating

10. Lack of rhythm and togetherness by the band – this can be caused by many things including poor musicianship and lack of overall direction.
Try to generate a sense of team where everyone plays their part to contribute to the whole without any one musician standing out. Also ensure that you have the relevant instruments in your foldback – i.e. the kick drum and other instruments responsible for rhythm.

11.Winging it – either the result of poor preparation or trying something new out on the spot. Be sure you can accomplish what you have in mind. Are you trying to sing a song without the lyrics in front of you and you’ve forgotten the words? Does your AV guy have the words for the congregation or do they have to remember them too? Do you and the rest of the band know all the chords you need?

12. Technical problems.The sound gremlins can happen to the best of us but try to get there early, set up methodically and make sure your technicians are well trained in the system they are using.

13.Problems with pitch – you’re starting a new song and you’ve suddenly realised you’ve started on completely the wrong note. Try to identify the problem songs in advance and quietly play the note you need to hit on your instrument. Hold the note in your head while playing the intro and then hit it with confidence. Alternatively ask one of the other (confident) vocalists to lead on that song

14. Over emphasis on the melody line. Make sure your backing vocalists and single melody instruments are playing harmonies. The lead vocalist and congregation are all on the melody line – create some contrast.

15.Worship crash – often caused by trying something complicated that hasn’t been practised enough. Never try anything complicated until you, the band and the congregation are really familiar with the song.

16.Starting the song in the wrong tempo.Either invest in an in ear click or sing the song through in your head first so that you can pace the tempo properly. Generally the chorus is the fastest part of the song.

17.Audio visual failure – this happened to Matt Redman one time when Andy was playing. Matt just shifted his set list to songs with simple lyrics and gave spoken vocal cues to the congregation at junction points in the song.

Have you got some more classic mistakes and suggested solutions?

Pray,Practise, Persevere

Monday, June 25, 2007
Tasted a bit of heaven yesterday. One of my worship team colleagues was leading worship yesterday at church and I don't think we've had a Sunday like it for months. Let's say God was there. It's the type of Sunday morning every worship leader prays for.

Strum the first few chords and the fragrance of God seems to fall. Expectancy is high, people are engaged and they cannot but worship. Being me, I've tried to analysis and break this down to how and why? Was it the fact that all very familiar songs were played or was it the way they were played or the fact that we had several new people attending. Maybe even being the day after our Alpha away day may have stirred up a new spiritual dynamic or excitment.

But many of these things have been done before and worship seemed to have been lifeless. Infact I'm uncomfortable with these explanations as they are too much 'us' focused. Throughout the Bible God came at his appointed times and that hasn't changed today. Don't get me wrong we have to play our part and pray, practise and persevere but God comes when the timings right.

In our church situation we believe God is taking us to a new level after a few years of dryness, disappointment and discouragement. These were training times, building the firm foundation of our small church. Similarily we have been and will continue to go the through these training periods. There maybe many more Sunday morning worship sessions that don't work out as we see it. We may walk away disappointed or upset for whatever reason but for each disappointment, God is teaching us something new. It brings us closer to Him and thrusts us into his arms.

So keep praying, practising, persevering.

Worship in unexpected places

Friday, June 15, 2007
Stumbled across Sinead O'Connors' myspace website and have been well impressed by the her new material. Her new album 'Theology', is basically what it says on the label. Having heard a few of the songs I'm intrigued by many of the lyrics. They're tainted with worship and Old Testament style prophetic themes.

It strikes me as amazing how God stirs up worship in the most unlikely and unexpected of places. A women who over 15 years ago was tearing up pictures of the Pope causing controversy is now creating challenging worship music, outside of the 'evangelical' establishment. Have we put God in a box?

Below is lyrics from the first song 'Something Beautiful', on her new album. See what you think.

I wanna make
Something beautiful
For U and from U
To show U
To show U
I adore U
Oh U

And your journeyToward me
Which I seeAnd I see
All U push through
Mad for U
And because of U

I couldn't thank U in ten thousand years
If I cried ten thousand rivers of tears
Ah but U know the soul and
U know what makes it gold
U who give life through blood
Oh I wanna make something

So lovely for U'Cos I promised that's what I'd do for U
With the bible I stole
I know U forgave my soul
Because such was my need on a chronic Christmas Eve
And I think we're agreed that it should have been free
And U sang to me

They dress the wounds of my poor people
As though they're nothing
Saying "peace, peace"
When there's no peace

Now can a bride forget her jewels?
Or a maid her ornaments?
Yet my people forgotten me
Days without number
Days without number
And in their want
Oh in there want
And in their want
Who'll dress their wounds?
Who'll dress their wounds?

This song is called Isaiah:

Plod for God

Monday, June 04, 2007
Yesterday at church we had a prophetic word for our church from a guy who came to speak. Part of that prophescy was the emphasis on being faithful to what God has called us. Being faithful with the 'talents' God has given us as is described in the Parable of the Talents.

I must admitt I've found myself in the past daydreaming of leading worship at large conferences, recording worship albums and doing interviews with Worship magazines etc. Suppose there is nothing wrong with those things in themself but it's not what God has called many of us to. Most of us are not called to lead worship outside the four walls of our church.

Infact in many ways it's probably easier to lead worship at a 'Passion' or 'Soul Survivor' type conference. You get several thousand people going for it, who choose to be there for a one off occasion and most likely come with great faith and expectations.

On the other hand you are part of a small church, who rain, hail or shine come weekly to a Sunday morning service. You lead worship to maybe a handful of people through the different seasons of church life. Through the good, bad and indifferent times.

I believe God has called us to be faithful with what He's given us for this season and time. To quote the preacher at our church last Sunday keep doing the 'Plod for God'.

His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!
Matt 25:21

Right ID?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ok, had to add this pic to the blog. Didn't like the score but I thing Kaka's shirt say it all

Wrong ID?

Monday, May 21, 2007
Last week, a light went on! A bomb dropped! My whole perception of myself was turned upside down. I had been chatting to my wife about what God had been showing her and i just realised I've been living with the wrong ID.

On my spiritual passport I've had my name, my Irishness, my ministry, status as a worship leader, guitar player, member of New Frontiers church, reasonable squash player, songwriter. But God was saying to me, is this who you really are? What happens if you came across a more Irish person or a better squash player or a better guitarist? What happens if your identity is criticised or challenged? What would happen if each of these things, good as they are, were taken off me tomorrow? Would I as a person collapse? Do I depend on these things for my worth?

I had to answer that I would probably collapse.

So I'm in the long painful process of getting a new passport replacing the above with

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
John 1:12

Now if we are children, then we are heirs heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ
Romans 8:17

Worship and grief

Thursday, May 17, 2007
Over the last month I have been reading a blog that I've found which I'm not sure really how I came across it but it's really inspired,touched and saddened me all at the same time.

The blog is written by an Irish Pastor (Al) who has nursed his wife (Lins) through illness believing, praying, hoping God will intervene and is ultimately used to express the raw grief he feels from her recent death and is a frank expression of his emotions towards God and everything else.

We can learn all the theology in world but nothing prepares us for the theology of grief. We can sing 'Blessed Be Your name When I'm found in the desert place' but how easy is it to do that. This guy is learning the art of worship in the desert place.

Here's a small excerpt from Al's blog, four weeks after her death.

I sit in my ‘new’ bedroom, back in my mum and dad's house; my little sisters old bedroom, with a single bed, a few old photographs and cards Lins had sent me over the years, one of Lins’ dresses lies on my bed and I am surrounded by cardboard boxes containing the contents of Lins and my little house. I then realise that I am 27 and a widower and, still in a state of shock I ask the question, ‘God, how did I get here?’ And then I can’t help but say to Him, ‘God all I tried to do was serve You.’ I don’t like the story I find myself in. I don’t want to this to be my story. I am still hoping this is all it is - a story - and one day God will give Lins back and my real life can start again. I don’t want this to be my life. And yet I am powerless. I can’t do anything. I just have to go with the emotions that this stinking journey of grief takes me on. And this past week it has brought me to the place and emotions I have just described.

I'll let the rest of his blog speak for itself

Redman overdose?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Found this funny article on one of my favourite websites

Although it's fictional, do they have a point or does it really matter?

And you thought a worship leader worships when they lead

Thursday, April 26, 2007
I think one of the many things God is teaching me at the moment is to walk in step with the spirit, Galatians 5:25. What does this mean?

Last night I was leading worship at our cell group and I think I got a small
taste of what leading worship instep with the spirit means. Two songs in, I was asking God why he hadn't turned up and why worship was so dry and what did He want to say to us.

I just felt the small quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit telling me to wait and that he would speak. So I argued a bit (and you thought a worship leader worships when they lead). Then I caved in and just played two chords continuously and we waited. About a minute later someone spoke up with a word which was spot on. Again I felt the Holy Spirit saying there was other things God wanted to say. This time I was less patient and asked if anyone else had a word. Someone did!

Both words led to a great discussion after the worship time had finished.

This was something of a new experience for me as I'm usually so focused on my music or lack of confidence etc. But imagine if we were continually in step with spirit. How would this affect not alone our worship times but our everyday life.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Is it me or does anyone else struggle with worship leading on a Sunday morning or at other church meetings. Don't get me wrong I enjoy it and I believe God has called me to do this but I feel the whole process is just one big question mark. What songs should I do? What chords should I play? Should I introduce or speak during the
worship time? Should I introduce a new song? If so, how? Why are the rest of the church not engaging with God and looking at me blankly? Why is my self confidence so low? Why are my fingers not moving quickly enough accross the fret board? Why have I just messed up the timing of that song? Does Matt Redman every ask these questions?

Am I asking too many questions? Am I trying to create a nice little worship formula?

What next?

Discovered an article by a missionary called Frank Laubach. He worked in a remote location in the Philippines and he developed the "Each One Teach One" literacy program, which has been used to teach about 60 million people to read in their own language.

One of his greatest ambitions in life was to live a life of near continuous prayer by practising thinking about God for 1 second in every minute of the day. He then went on to write a pamplet called 'The Game with Minutes'.

The following quote from his pamplet nicely sums it up .....
'We make Him our inseparable chum. We try to call Him to mind at least one second of
each minute. We do not need to forget other things nor stop our work, but we invite Him to share everything we do or say or think. Hundreds of people have experimented until they have found ways to let Him share every minute that they are awake. In fact, it is no harder to learn this new habit than to learn the touch system in typing, and in time one can win a high percentage of his minutes with as little effort as an expert needs to write a letter.'

This may all seem quite drastic and I know I'll never reach the '1 second in every minute' but it has encouraged me to pray 'What next Lord?' quite a lot more recently.