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JAN/FEB 2016: TEACH US TO PRAY | WORSHIPLEADER.COM | SONGDISCOVERY.COM | NWLCONF.COM MAY/JUNE 2014 | worship leader.com | songdisovery.com | nationalworshipleaderconference.com

worshipleader PURSUING THE MISSION OF GOD IN WORSHIP

THE GREAT PRIVILEGE DARLENE ZSCHECH

P. 12

luke 11

KNOWING THE TARGET KIM WALKER-SMITH

P. 16

THREE BENEFITS OF THE WORSHIP CHOIR RAY JONES

P. 29

WHEN SONGS BECOME PRAYERS JEFF DEYO

P. 24

NEW YEAR TECH SOLUTIONS KENT MORRIS

P. 78

JESUS CULTURE

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WORSHIP LEADER | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 | VOL 25 NO 1

CONTENTS

JAN/FEB 2016: TEACH US TO PRAY | WORSHIPLEADER.COM | SONGDISCOVERY.COM | NWLCONF.COM MAY/JUNE 2014 | worship leader.com | songdisovery.com | nationalworshipleaderconference.com WORSHIP LEADER MAGAZINE:JAN/FEB 2016

worshipleader PURSUING THE MISSION OF GOD IN WORSHIP

THE GREAT PRIVILEGE | Darlene Zschech

14

THE SUNDAY MORNING PRAYER MEETING | Sam Hamstra

SKILL

MUSIC

12

KNOWING THE TARGET | Kim Walker-Smith

16

SONG DISCOVERY SONGWRITER SHOWCASE

20

LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY—TOGETHER | Robb Redman

24

WHEN SONGS BECOME PRAYERS | Jeff Deyo

26

SINGING IN ONE ACCORD | William McDowell

VOLUME 25, NO.1

18

PLUS!

DON’T JUST TALK, SAY SOMETHING | Rory Noland

IN REVIEW PRODUCTION

THREE BENEFITS OF THE WORSHIP CHOIR

10

luke 11

P. 12

KNOWING THE TARGET KIM WALKER-SMITH

P. 16

RAY JONES

P. 29

WHEN SONGS BECOME PRAYERS JEFF DEYO

P. 24

NEW YEAR TECH SOLUTIONS KENT MORRIS

P. 78

JESUS CULTURE

FEATURED REVIEW P. 72

JOB BOARD:

WEEKLY JOB POSTINGS AT

WORSHIPLEADER.COM

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016

HEY, WORSHIP LEADERS! DO YOU PRAY?| Mark Roberts

DARLENE ZSCHECH

$3.95 USA / $5.50 CANADA

8

THE GREAT PRIVILEGE

MISSIONAL

LEADERSHIP

in this issue

TEACH US

to pray WHAT SETS THE NWLC APART?

P. 54

Teach Us to Pray

28

GRATITUDE’S QUIET REVOLUTION | Reggie Kidd

29

THREE BENEFITS OF THE WORSHIP CHOIR | Ray Jones

30

ANTHEMS OF SOLIDARITY AND MUTUALITY | Sandra Maria Van Opstal

64

THE SOUND TECH’S 5 RULES FOR PRAYER WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS | Gary Zandstra

65

GEAR REVIEWS | Andy Toy

68

10 REASONS THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF A SONG WON’T WORK | Andy Chamberlain

69

NEW YEAR TECH SOLUTIONS | Kent Morris

70

A GOOD SONG AND JOHNNY CASH | Brian Smith

6

4

The picture of the folk-band disciples was an original watercolor created for Chuck Fromm by celebrated illustration artist Rick Griffin. The intention was to display the disciples as part of the Jesus Movement Revival that spawned a new generation of “hymnists,” and demonstrate the truth that Jesus spoke in the vernacular of the people whom he came to serve. Here it is repurposed to be the cry of the unnamed disciple who asked Jesus to “teach us to pray” (Lk 11). The image of the 12, married to the biblical request, invokes the connectedness between prayer and the music we offer in our services of worship. We are asking God to teach us to use our skill, our plans, our talents as instruments of prayer. It is the same lesson we are asking God to teach us here at Worship Leader this year in the pages of the magazine and as the theme for the National Worship Leader Conference. We invite you to join us in this contemplation in 2016.

THE AGONY OF PRAYERLESSNESS | Jeremy Armstrong

34

SPECIAL ADVERTISING | Higher Learning Guide

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ONE LONG PRAYER SESSION | Zac Hicks

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JESUS CULTURE | Featured Review

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MUSIC FOR LEADING

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PERSONAL PLAYLIST

Website: nwlconf.com | worshipleader.com | songdiscovery.com

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5


The Agony of Prayerlessness

worshipleader song DISCovery

BY JEREMY ARMSTRONG

In his book on prayer, appropriately titled, Prayer, Richard Foster notes: We today yearn for prayer and hide from prayer. We believe prayer is something we should do, even something we want to do, but it seems like a chasm stands between us and actually praying. We experience the agony of prayerlessness. That chasm. That indefinite “something” between us and the act of prayer seems to be constantly present. If asked, we could likely give the “something” various names: my work schedule, the kids, sleep, dinner preparations, email, Facebook, and on and on. It is understandable to see our current digital age as a particular hindrance to a vibrant prayer life. We are well equipped to fill our empty space in life—to do anything other than pray: check our messages, watch a few videos, catch up on our podcasts. But it’s not our phones that create the “chasm” between us and prayer. Foster asserts that part of the problem is our tendency to elevate prayer to such a level that if we are going to pray, we have a need to get it right. We need to set aside the right amount of time; we need to understand the correct theological implications and traditions; we need to create the opportune space in order to get our hearts in the right spiritual place for prayer. And in creating these prayer-necessities, we tend to forget that God did not call us while we were yet … perfect. God does not call us to threehour-long prayer sessions or perfectly formed doctrines of prayer. He simply invites us to prayer. And prayer is the realm of grace. What is prayer other than accepting the gift of Jesus Christ who died for us while we were yet sinners so that we might engage freely with the Father? It is reaching out with the arms of a child and crying out, “Abba!”

6

So what does this have to do with music? Well, part of it is to let people know that they are better at praying than they think they are. The biggest book of the Bible, the collected prayers of God’s people, is a hymnal (The Book of Psalms). Let’s not miss this. It is something often overlooked. Music is a God-given and biblical instrument of prayer. When harmony and thought, voice and love, melody and authenticity—filled with Spirit and truth—pour from the lips of believers, there is a mysterious thing happening. And the result is transformation. And it’s easy. Music helps believers cross the chasm that separates us from prayer. And renewal begins when God’s people turn to him in prayer. Prayer is a community’s spiritual breath; it is the engagement with God that aligns our hearts with his Spirit at work in the world. Our mission with this issue of Worship Leader is to champion prayer and to name our worship songs as “prayers set to music.” It is to understand everything we do as church leaders in light of this truth. It is to reinforce the ongoing call to worship prayerfully— engaging with God and marinating our human practices with the transformative power of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is to help our communities join together in one voice and invite them to step out of the agony of prayerlessness.

– Jeremy Armstrong, managing editor

W O R SHIP L EAD ER J AN UARY/FE BR UARY 2016

FOUNDER/CEO/PUBLISHER Chuck Fromm, PhD MANAGING EDITOR Jeremy Armstrong GRAPHIC ARTIST Michelle Mifflin DIRECTOR, TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT Suzie Stablein DIRECTOR, SALES & BRAND PARTNERSHIPS Alissa Smith SALES ASSOCIATE Brian Summers VP, OPERATIONS Nicole Fromm ACCOUNTS MANAGER Judi Coffin ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Kristina Pedrosa

EDITORIAL BOARD Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown, Jeff Deyo, Stan Endicott, Reggie Kidd, Roberta King, Greg Laurie, Hughes Oliphant Old, Matt Redman, Robb Redman, Jason Ritchie, Mark Roberts, Martin Smith, Brian Steckler, Laura Story, Chuck Smith Jr., Vernon Whaley, Ray Jones, Chuck Kraft, Dave Travis, Jim Van Hook.

BIBLE QUOTES: Worship Leader defaults to the NIV. SUBMISSIONS: See our guidelines at worshipleader.com DUPLICATION: We grant permission for up to 100 copies of any original article for use in a local church. For all other feedback or inquires, contact editor@wlmag.com

WORSHIP LEADER MAGAZINE/SONG DISCOVERY: 949-240-9339 x 203 | support@wlmag.com SUBSCRIBE: worshipleader.com/subscribe RENEW/MANAGE: worshipleader.com/subscriberlogin/ NATIONAL WORSHIP LEADER CONFERENCE: 949-240-9339 | support@wlmag.com MORE INFO: nwlconf.com/register ADVERTISE WITH WORSHIP LEADER: 615-678-8958 | sales@wlmag.com MEDIA KIT: advertise.worshipleader.com

Worship Leader® (ISSN 1066-1247) is published bi-monthly by Worship Leader Partnership (29222 Rancho Viejo Road, Ste 215, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675-1046). Copyright: Worship Leader magazine © 2016 by Worship Leader, Inc. Worship Leader® is a registered trademark. Periodical postage paid at San Juan Capistrano, CA and additional offices. POSTMASTER: Send address corrections to Worship Leader, 29222 Rancho Viejo Road, Ste 215, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675-1046. Printed in U.S.A. CPM #4006 5056.


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7


LEADERSHIP BY DR. MARK D. ROBERTS

HEY, WORSHIP LEADERS!

Do You Pray?

H

ey, worship leaders! Do you pray?

At first that seems like a silly or even an insulting question. Do worship leaders pray? Of course, we do. We pray with our teams and at the beginning of the worship gathering. We pray through the music we lead, much of which is literal prayer (addressed to God) and all of which can be offered prayerfully to God. Often, we interject spoken prayers in the middle of our music sets or encourage spontaneous prayers from the congregation. Do worship leaders pray? Yes, we do all the time. I hope so. I’m sure many worship leaders do pray both genuinely and frequently. But, and here I am revealing my own shortcomings as a worship leader, I think it’s easy for us to “do prayer” as part of our professional gig without really praying.

Lost in Detail For example, when I’m leading people in prayer, especially if that prayer happens to be musical, I can get so wrapped up in the details of performance that I’m not paying much attention to God. I’m trying to get the words right, the music right, the tempo right, and so on. I don’t believe this is some terrible thing. In fact, we who lead are supposed to care about the details so those being led don’t have to. But this responsibility can distract us from genuine prayer. If you’ve led worship, I’m sure you know what I mean.

8

Perhaps more worrisome is the tendency to make our prayers more and more of a performance and less and less a true act of worship. You’ll hear former worship leaders talk about how, when they were burned out, they went through motions, pretending to pray without really praying. Sometimes we can even fool ourselves into thinking that we are truly worshiping when, in fact, we’re just cranking it out because it’s our job.

The Honest Look I’m not suggesting that every moment of worship leadership needs to be a heavenly journey or an ecstatic experience. Our ability to invest all that we are in prayerful worship will ebb and flow depending on all sorts of factors, including very earthly ones like whether or not we have a cold or how much sleep we got last night. This article is not meant to pile a guilt trip on you. Rather, I’d like you to take a good, long, honest look at your relationship with the Lord. The state of your prayer life can show you how you’re doing and where you need God’s healing, renewing grace.

Off-stage Prayers You may also want to examine your prayer life outside of leading worship. Just about every experienced worship leader

W O R SHIP L EAD ER J AN UARY/FE BR UARY 2016

will confess that they have gone through seasons of dryness in their spiritual lives, times when they hardly prayed outside of their official duties. God can use such seasons to enhance our yearning for him, reminding us of how much we need God’s mercy in our lives. But if we find that, for months at a time, prayer is something we do only when we’re “on,” then something needs to happen. What might this be? To be sure, we need renewal through the Spirit. Thus, we should call out to the Lord for help. But, if you’re in a dry patch in your relationship with the Lord, I would recommend something else. Find someone with whom to share openly where you are. This person will probably not be your supervisor or a member of your worship team. Your confessor needs to be someone with whom you can be truly and fully honest, someone wise who can listen, speak truth, encourage, and pray faithfully for you. There are times when we who lead need to be led. If you’re struggling to pray, this may be one of those times. W

DR. MARK D. ROBERTS is a writer, pastor, and consultant. He blogs at patheos.com///blogs/markdroberts/.


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LEADERSHIP

BY RORY NOLAND

Don’t Just Talk, Say Something QUESTION:

I feel like I’m in a rut with my talking points during worship—like I’m saying the same things all the time. How can I bring more variety into my comments and prayers?

Answer:

I wish more worship leaders were as conscientious about their speaking as you. Sadly, much of what passes for “talking points” in contemporary worship is idle chatter, words without much thought (or meaning) behind them. No matter how well-intentioned, they still come across as empty filler. Part of the problem is the erroneous notion that spontaneous talking is more spiritual, more “in the moment,” than a well-thought-out or even scripted prayer or commentary. Unfortunately, such thinking too often results in prayers and comments that ramble or lack substance. Another problem is that people today have short attention spans. Constantly bombarded by media, we have so much verbal information coming at us all the time. We tune out more than we take in, which is why worship leaders should be wise with their words. You don’t want the congregation to tune you out every time you begin to talk. So here are some suggestions.

1. Less is more. Be careful not to talk too often or too long. Pick your spots judiciously.

2. Have something to say. Think about what you want to say. It doesn’t have to be profound or elaborate—the simpler, the better, but be purposeful.

3. Challenge yourself to go deeper. Always try to bring something fresh and meaningful to your congregation. For example, for opening comments, instead of the usual, “Welcome to such and such church, let’s stand and sing,” what if you were to read a psalm passage, do a responsive reading (like a Call to Worship from the Book of Common Prayer), or show a brief video? During a transition, point out a word or phrase in the lyrics of the song you’re about to sing that can help the congregation connect with it. You’ll never go wrong sharing Scripture at those points as well. When you pray, don’t merely dwell on what you’re feeling in the moment. Consider what the community might want to say to God at that point of the service.

Challenge for 2016. At the start of this New Year, I challenge each worship leader to make a pact with yourself that every time you open your mouth to speak from the platform, you say something substantive—that you rid your worship leading of all verbal filler and make every word you say count. W

4. Focus. When you pray or make comments, zero in on one main thought. Don’t try to cram three ideas together. Settle on one point and articulate it clearly and concisely.

5. Show, don’t tell. Good writers ascribe to the following mantra: “Show us, don’t tell us.” 10

In other words, don’t tell readers that something is wonderful. Show them by writing about it in a way that captures their imagination. Applying that to leading worship, don’t merely tell us how you’re feeling in the moment. If you speak substantively to it, people will naturally come to their own emotions about it. Worship leaders that say things like, “Isn’t it great to worship Jesus!” or “That was such a profound time of worship” can sound like they’re hyping the moment. If the worship truly was poignant, you don’t need to say it. In fact, you diminish the moment by drawing attention to the emotion of it, especially for those who may not be “feeling” it as deeply as you. Dwelling on the effect also takes the focus away from the object of our worship, the Lord Jesus Christ and puts it on us.

W O R S HIP L EAD ER J AN UARY /FE BR UARY 2016

RORY NOLAND (heartoftheartist.org) directs Heart of the Artist Ministries and is the author of Worship on Earth as It Is in Heaven.


Go FouRTH

JA N U A RY /F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 6 W OR S H IP LE A D E R

11


LEADERSHIP

BY DARLENE ZSCHECH

The Great Privilege I

am writing this article from India at the end of an event that centered on the worship of Jesus. We saw many churches come together in prayer and purpose, with thousands upon thousands passionately bringing the unsaved to encounter God’s presence, power, and saving grace. The result has been nothing short of miraculous. So many saved, so many healed, and unity bringing such a blessing to a land that cries out for a new day. In talking to the many leaders, both young and old across this nation, the same theme runs through every conversation: worship and prayer are instrumental to the shift in the spiritual landscape that is becoming increasingly evident. Just like the prophet Isaiah describes in Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” There is a tangible rising of the glory of God, for as the dark gets darker, God’s light shines brighter. His glory equals his goodness and is never more evident than when you see, hear, and feel the thunder of authentic prayer and worship shifting atmospheres and melting strongholds right before your very eyes.

allow the person who prays to be fully engaged—where otherwise they may find it harder to enter the courts of God without distraction. The point is not how we pray, but that we do pray. If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chr 7:14)

Always Available Prayer is so powerful. It is our constant “phone-a-friend” lifeline to God himself. There are prayers you can pray simply from reading the Psalms out loud. Or like the prayers and the praises of the saints in Revelation 5—a scene in heaven with elders holding a harp (depicting wor-

that become like spiritual entertainment or lullabies that keep our passions asleep.

Always Faithful One of the great privileges we have as leaders of worship is that we lead songs of faith. We even lead those who have prayed and believed for a certain thing, and the worst-case scenario happened anyway. Our trust in God, trusting his sovereignty in our lives, is not only for when things seem to work out our way. Leading others through seasons that bring tension to faith is one of the most sacred spaces we can find ourselves in. Announcing peace and trust in our God through every circumstance is what we are anointed to do. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.” The worship team is really also the intercessory prayer team, immovable in our stance and song about the purposes of God. Our great joy is to lead others in prayer and worship that also allows them to see that God himself is truly at work in every situation. Open your hearts lovely ones—it’s a new day! May Jesus be glorified in these days as we worship and pray with all we are, in response to the love and greatness of our Lord.

“Our great joy is to lead others in prayer and worship that also allows them to see that God himself is truly at work in every situation.”

Always Prayer 1 Thess 5:17-18 says, Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly] thank God in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks] for this is the will of God for you who are in Christ Jesus (AMPC). Some people pray loud, confident, and bold prayers without giving thought to who may hear. Others pray with prayers offered in whispers and moments of total silence. Many prayers are offered wrapped in music and melodies that 12 12

ship) and each of them holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. I love this scene; it shows how prayer and worship come before God and songs are sung throughout heaven declaring his majesty and reign—declaring that he has won the victory over every situation. As we bring our worship, and declare songs of faith that lyrically are filled with God’s Word and promise, these are prayers that become like warfare songs. In the days we live in, warfare songs are exactly what are needed. As leaders of worship in any form, we need to have a personal revelation about the power that is released through declaring God’s rule and reign through prayer and praise. We cannot be satisfied with singing songs

WO O RR SS HIP HIP LL EAD EAD ER ER JJ AN AN UARY UARY /FE /FE BR BR UARY UARY 2016 2016 W

Much love, Darlene W

DARLENE ZSCHECH (darlenezschech.com) wrote the classic “Shout to the Lord” and has a new album In Jesus Name: A Legacy of Worship & Faith.


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14. HERE’S

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with VR-09............ (pg. 41) keyboard library Roland performance sound

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13


LEADERSHIP

The Sunday Morning Prayer Meeting

I

once served a congregation that held a mid-week prayer meeting. Each Wednesday night, a couple dozen church members gathered for a time of prayer led by the pastor. During my tenure, the prayer meeting was seldom well attended. That fact didn’t please the unofficial leaders of the congregation who measured the congregation’s spiritual maturity, not by how many came to Sunday morning service, or by how many attended the Sunday evening service, but by how many came to the mid-week prayer meeting. In response to the weak attendance, the faithful attendees encouraged me to offer a Sunday sermon on the importance of attending the mid-week prayer meeting, but I couldn’t find a text to go with that sermon. I admit, however, I didn’t exert much energy in the search.

The Motions

and now—that the prayer meeting of the congregation takes place on Sunday morning. Like the First Church in Jerusalem, we gather weekly for teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. As a gathered community, we employ several different types of prayer, including adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication (hence, the acronym ACTS). We offer those prayers in a variety of modes: spoken, sung, or silently; individually and corporately; personally and by proxy. When we add up the time given to prayer each Sunday morning, I think it safe to conclude that the Sunday service is, indeed, a prayer meeting.

“…as worship leaders we know when we sing a song to impress and when we sing a song as a prayer to our Triune God.”

Truth now be told, I wasn’t a big fan of the mid-week prayer meeting. I had a couple reasons for my lack of enthusiasm. First, if prayer broadly considered is communication with God—communication understood “as meaningful, interactive self–disclosure” (Evan B. Howard, Introduction to Christian Spirituality)—we didn’t pray much during our prayer meetings. The weekly mid-week service lasted 60 minutes. That time was filled with a couple of songs, a thirtyminute lesson from Scripture, audible prayer requests for those suffering from any number of medical conditions, and a few minutes of “popcorn” prayer. Second, and more important for this conversation, it seemed to me then— 14

BY SAM HAMSTRA

Prayer Made Easy

The good news for worship leaders is that our congregations love singing their prayers, especially their prayers of praise and thanksgiving, and, furthermore, we have the privilege of planning and preparing those songs. With our prayers of thanks, we highlight the many blessings God has poured into our lives, but love for the Lord will not let us stop there. We must also offer our prayers of praise to the Lord; it is an ontological necessity. After having received God’s manifold gifts of mercy and grace, we long to praise the giver of the gifts, our Beloved Triune God. While tempted, we don’t want to be so enthralled with the gifts that we forget to praise the giver of every good and perfect gift (Jas 1:17).

W O R S HIP L EAD ER J AN UARY /FE BR UARY 2016

Leading Sung Prayer The question remains: how does approaching our Sunday morning service as a prayer meeting impact our preparation for and planning of the service? First, it surely minimizes the temptation to perform for the congregation rather than lead the congregation in prayer. While difficult to describe the distinction between the two, as worship leaders we know when we sing a song to impress and when we sing a song as a prayer to our Triune God. Second, it encourages us to recognize that our Sunday services are saturated with prayer, to frame our singing prayers as such, and to seamlessly lead the congregation in both spoken and sung prayer. Third, it encourages us to prepare ourselves for communal conversation with the Lord. I don’t know about you, but I can’t just flick a switch into corporate prayer mode. For me, and perhaps for you, leading authentic and sincere corporate prayer overflows from the practice of personal, private prayer. Without the latter, the former devolves into insincere strings of religious-sounding words that pass as prayers. Finally, it encourages us to answer this question: how can we prepare those gathered for a service saturated with prayer so that the prayers they offer flow from sincere and humble hearts? W SAM HAMSTRA Sam Hamstra is Affiliate Professor of Worship at Northern Seminary and Director of the Master of Arts in Worship program.


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MUSIC

Knowing ~ the ~ Target How personal prayer and devotion gives us leadership clarity and moves out to make a difference in our worshiping communities.

BY KIM WALKER-SMITH

W

orship and prayer go hand in hand. In my mind, I can’t have one without the other. It starts in my personal time of devotion. I make it a point to spend time with Jesus, worshiping him, reading my Bible, praying, and going as deep in his presence as I can. I understand that I can’t lead people somewhere I haven’t been. So when I contend and press in for more of him, it is not just for myself. My job as a worship leader is to serve the people I’m leading and help bring them into an encounter with Jesus. Every breakthrough in my personal time with Jesus can become a corporate breakthrough when I’m leading.

Divine Partnership As I spend time with Jesus, I get to know more of his heart. My heart begins to open up and expand as I care more about the things that matter to him. My prayer is to partner with him and whatever it 16

is he wants to accomplish through me. Sometimes he will gently press something upon my heart—I may suddenly feel a burden for people who are desperate for breakthrough. If this is the case, I will begin to pray for those people as the Spirit leads me, and in the midst of that I may feel hope coming alive in my heart. Being sensitive to the Spirit in this prayer means trusting that Jesus wants to flood the community with that hope. I begin to ask Jesus to bring that hope into the room where I will be leading worship. I ask him to remove their burdens as they walk through the door. With this kind of prayer in leading, before I walk onto the stage, I have a target. I know what I’m going after in the worship service, and I have an idea of what Jesus is going to do.

Prayer in Song Choice While that kind of personal prayer preparation is important, I also feel a personal conviction when it comes to

W O R S HIP L EAD ER J AN UARY /FE BR UARY 2016

the preparation of choosing my songs. I can’t sing songs that I don’t one hundred percent agree with. I must believe every word that is coming out of my mouth. I want to sing songs that I have a personal connection to—songs that I have lived and prayed. On the upcoming Jesus Culture album Let It Echo, I co-wrote a song called “Alive in You.” This last year was one of the hardest years I have experienced in a long time. I felt like the fire that was surrounding me was also consuming me. In the middle of that, the Lord spoke to me and told me that I wasn’t alone. He said the fire will not consume me, but it will refine me, and I will come out stronger. The revelation that Jesus was with me, even in the mess, chaos, and fire, is what carried me through. The chorus of the song says, “Even in the fire, I’m alive in you.” When I sing that song, I sing it with overwhelming conviction. I know what it is to be in the fire. I understand the battle


My small church needed a better way to

SCHEDULE VOLUNTEERS involved in trusting Jesus. The lyrics, “You are strong in my brokenness, sovereign over every step” and “from beginning to the end, you deserve the glory,” are all prayers I have prayed, cried, and shouted this last year. This is where my prayers become my songs. Knowing my target before I walk onstage helps me choose the songs I am going to lead. If Jesus is going to bring breakthrough, I want to choose songs that have brought my breakthrough. If he is going to bring hope, I am going to choose songs that are prayers and declarations of hope.

us to encounter Jesus and to have our lives changed. How could we stay the same after spending time with him? Our songs are not just words we are read off an overhead screen. Our songs are prayers and weapons of warfare against our enemy. When we lift our hands in surrender and sing out our love to Jesus we are praying the way Jesus taught us to pray: not my will but yours be done! Jesus, You deserve the glory! As we fix our eyes on him, our burdens fade away. The ache inside our hearts is replaced with hope. As we surrender all to him, he brings the

“Prayer is a bold declaration of faith in the face of fear. It is a shout of joy in the middle of a storm.” Break the Routine When the worship service starts, so do my prayers. Sometimes people get stuck thinking that prayers are only requests, but prayer is so much more than requests we bring to God. Prayer is a bold declaration of faith in the face of fear. It is a shout of joy in the middle of a storm. Prayer is sometimes softly spoken words of trust through many, many tears. Our corporate times of worship are not meant to be a routine we fall into. Our songs are not a necessary introduction before the preacher preaches. They are meant to be a time for

breakthrough we have been waiting for. At the end of our worship service, our prayer becomes overwhelming gratitude. We are overflowing with thankfulness for all he has done. We pray that he will teach us to walk in the atmosphere of worship and prayer every single day, no matter where we are. We are filled up, and we keep running, we keep singing, and we keep praying. W

KiIM WALKER-SMITH Kim Walker-Smith has quickly become one of the strongest voices in worship music. She is a passionate worship leader with an anointing to bring an entire generation into an encounter with God. Kim has been a part of Jesus Culture since the beginning of the ministry and now serves as president of the Jesus Culture Music label. She carries a genuine heart to see worship change the course of lives and nations. Kim is married to Skyler Smith, and together they have two sons, Wyatt and Bear.

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Serving with you.

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17


ARTISTS FEATURED ON SONG DISCOVERY JANUARY/FEBRUARY VOL. 126

SONGWRITER SHOWCASE

AARON IVEY

COREY VOSS

BACKGROUND:

BACKGROUND:

I began leading worship in college while attending Houston Baptist University. After finding a few friends that also had a love for leading people to worship Jesus, we started a band and said, “Yes” to any opportunity to be with people and lead them. Fifteen years later, I’m blown away by all that God has done in bringing me and my family to Austin, Texas, where I serve as the worship pastor at The Austin Stone.

Growing up, music was a big part of my family. We have several musicians in the family, and we were exposed to a lot of different styles of music. I can remember my dad introduced my brothers and me to classic ’70s and ’80s rock almost anytime we were in the car together. I really began leading worship in high school for my youth group. It was really an incredible time for me as a new believer. I had a youth pastor that mentored me and taught me how to lead worship. During my college years at Southeastern University, I led worship in the weekly chapel services as well as off campus at my home church. It was in this season that I learned the Lord was calling me to write for the Church. I had written a song called “Coming to Save Us” in my dorm room one night and was brave enough to share it with some friends. They encouraged me to lead it in a chapel service. So I taught it to my band, and we led it one time. Little did I know that several weeks later there were other students on campus that had started leading my song in chapel. It was wonderful to see something that the Lord had given me in my own worship time become a corporate anthem.

Song Discovery Vol. 126, #6, “This Glorious Grace” The Austin Stone, Austin, TX | austinstoneworship.com

ABOUT THE SONG:

This was a co-write with my friend Brett Land, who is an incredible worship leader here at The Austin Stone. This song came after a season of personal burnout and weariness in ministry. During a time of prayer and pleading for the Lord to pour out his grace, the melody and lyrics of the first verse came out as a prayer sung to the Lord. It quickly became a song of needfulness, longing, and pleading with the Lord for more of his glorious grace to hold and endure me. FAVORITE SONGS:

Of all time?! This is terribly hard. “O Holy Night,” trad. “Heaven Breaks,” Sleeping at Last “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” trad.

Songwriters: Have a song you want to share with the Church? Submit your song at worshipleader.com/submit-a-song

18

Song Discovery Vol. 126, #5, “Praise the King” Gateway Church, Shelbyville, TN | coreyvoss.com

ABOUT THE SONG:

“Praise the King” started as a chorus I had pre-written because I wanted to sing about the resurrection of Christ and declare the victory he has won for us. I was so thankful to have Michael Farren and Dustin Smith join me on this one. They brought some amazing verse and bridge lyrics that helped make the song so powerful. FAVORITE SONGS:

Tough question but if I had to pick… “Here I Am to Worship,” Tim Hughes “Revelation Song,” Jennie Lee Riddle “How He Loves,” John Mark McMillan

W O R S HIP L EAD ER J AN UARY /FE BR UARY 2016


PRESENTS

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 VOLUME 126

I I

P S A L M S II S H A N E

&

S H A N E

1. PSALM 46 (LORD OF HOSTS)

7. SEAS OF CRIMSON

SHANE & SHANE As heard on: Psalms, Vol. 2 Words & Music: Shane Barnard/ Josh Miller/ Jennie Lee Riddle/ Josiah Warneking Visit: shaneandshane.com theworshipinitiative.com

DANIEL BASHTA As heard on: For Every Curse Words & Music: Brian Johnson/ Daniel Bashta/ Joel Taylor/ Bobby Strand Visit: danielbashta.com

2. FOREVER HOLY

ARROWS & ANCHORS As heard on: Volume I Words & Music: Reid Kelly/ Amy Coleman/ Justin Morgan Visit: arrowsandanchorsmusic.com

TRAVIS RYAN As heard on: You Hold It All (Live) Words & Music: Travis Ryan/ Brandon Collins/ Michael Farren Visit: travisryanmusic.com

3. ALMIGHTY GARY DURBIN As heard on: Almighty- Single Words & Music: Gary Durbin Visit: garydurbin.com

4. EMMANUEL VALLEY CREEK WORSHIP As heard on: By Cloud By Fire Words & Music: Rachel Forman Visit: vccworship.org

5. PRAISE THE KING

DOWNLOAD

8. CROSS OF MERCY presents

TEACH US TO

Pray

9. O BLESSED TREE TODD WRIGHT As heard on: O Blessed Tree - Single Words & Music: Lee Black/ Todd Wright Visit: bethelbibleworship.com

Download now at songdiscovery.com Expires 2/29/16. Valid for subscribers only

JAN/FEB 2016 Volume 126

10. WILDFIRE NEW WINE WORSHIP As heard on: Wildfire (Live Worship from New Wine 2015) Words & Music: Sam Bailey/ Nick Herbert/ Ben Cantelon/ Tim Hughes Visit: new-wine.org/worship/home

COREY VOSS As heard on: Praise the King- Single Words & Music: Corey Voss/ Dustin Smith/ Michael Bryce Jr./ Michael Farren Visit: coreyvoss.com

11. I KNOW YOU’RE GOOD

6. THIS GLORIOUS GRACE

12. SPEAK AWAY

AUSTIN STONE WORSHIP As heard on: This Glorious Grace (Live) Words & Music: Aaron Ivey/ Brett Land/ Kyle Lent Visit: austinstoneworship.com

TAYLOR AGAN (FT. MAISEN SMALLEY) As heard on: Speak Away - Single Words & Music: Taylor Agan/ Hunter Leath Visit: youtube.com/tayloragan

STORY As heard on: I Know You’re Good - Single Words & Music: Jesse Du Visit: storyworship.bandcamp.com

CHORD CHARTS & LEAD SHEETS IN 3 KEYS

Our God is stronger Our God is greater Our God is higher than any other

LYRICS FOR POWERPOINT

Subscribe + Download TODAY AT songdiscovery.com or call 949-240-9339 *Download expires 2/29/16. Valid for subscribers only

JA N U A RY /F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 6 W OR S H IP LE A D E R

19


Lord, Teach us to pray

TOGETHER By Robb Redman

20

W O R S HIP L EAD ER J AN UARY /FE BR UARY 2016


O

ver the past decade or so, many worship musicians have been engaged in what scholar and author Hughes Old likes to call “explorations in the attics” of our respective hymn and song traditions. Old-fashioned and in some cases forgotten hymns have resurfaced with fresh, singable arrangements, revised lyrics, and even additional verses or choruses. Chuck Fromm describes the results as “meeting old friends in new clothes.” But as far as I can tell, something similar with public prayer has yet to happen on a wide scale. On too many weekends in too many congregations, pastors and worship leaders seem to struggle to lead their congregations in spoken prayer. Depending on the liturgical tradition of a church, you are likely to hear either offthe-cuff prayers that come off trite and superficial or written prayers that sound too perfectly polished. And both lack what it takes to usher people into a corporate yet personal conversation with God.

services, this trend stems from a lack of liturgical imagination. Ironically, our forebearers in the faith— in nearly every tradition—mastered the art of public prayer. Perhaps it is time as worship leaders we went exploring in the attic of our respective prayer traditions to find something that can help us move corporate prayer from a time of collective awkwardness to time well spent in conversation with the Triune God. And where better to begin than Jesus’ teaching on prayer.

generations-long Jewish practice of prayer both in the home and the synagogue. I think it is safe to say that Jesus didn’t mean to sweep all that aside and replace it with this one prayer. The patterns of prayer his disciples knew from childhood didn’t need to be replaced or even fixed, but they did need to be fundamentally reoriented toward Jesus and the kingdom of God. In other words, Jesus didn’t say to his disciples, “Forget everything you thought you knew about prayer, and we’ll start at the beginning.” Rather, Jesus invited them into a practice of prayer What Jesus Didn’t Need to Say About Prayer patterned after his own—a practice that Jesus’ teaching on prayer challenges each was shaped in the same way as theirs by generation afresh, and the touchstone the Hebrew Scriptures and the prayers continues to be the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:5- of the synagogue, but which was also 15 and Lk 11:1-13). Some have pointed out radically different from theirs because it should be called “The Disciples’ Prayer” it was reformed and transformed by his because Jesus meant for his followers to knowledge of the Father’s will and his use it, but there’s nothing wrong with the experience of the Holy Spirit. original title since it is likely this was the While the disciples were a little slow in template for his own prayers as well. In picking up on this (the real breakthrough Matthew, Jesus gave the prayer following didn’t come until after the resurrection, at a warning to his disciples not to pray like Pentecost), this dynamic revolutionized Is It Even Possible? What I’ve described likely will not surprise the Pharisees, that is, to pray as a public the practice of prayer in the early church, most pastors and worship leaders; they demonstration of piety. In Luke, Jesus gave even though in most outward respects not feel the frustration with corporate much about it changed. The first prayer acutely. As one worship Christians continued to pray the leader put it to me, “When I prayers, though they “We need to move beyond trying to impress synagogue pray, I feel like my words are certainly felt free to change the just one platitude after another.” language to reflect their ChristGod and our congregation with our Another pastor said, “We have a focused perspective.¹ prayers to allowing ourselves and our few traditional liturgical prayers in our service, but they seem A Gift and a Task people to simply be with God in prayer.” awkward and out of place and What does that mean for pastors nobody knows how we can make and worship leaders today? It them feel like they fit.” means there is a two-fold dynamic One solution has been to do of freedom and responsibility, away with as much corporate prayer as the example in response to a question from a gift and a task, in leading others in possible. At many contemporary services, his disciples about how to pray prompted prayer. On the one hand, there is great there are only two: a brief prayer from by watching him pray. freedom to lead public prayer that boldly the worship leader either before or What Jesus said about prayer in both approaches the throne of grace (Heb after the worship set and a prayer from passages continues to deserve our full 4:15-16). We are free from the tyranny of the preacher at the end of the message. attention and careful reflection. But I’m technique, of worrying if God will refuse While eliminating corporate prayer may also struck by what Jesus didn’t say in to hear us if we aren’t doing it the right be rationalized as a way to streamline these cases. There is no mention of the way. This fear, by the way, can be found ¹ See, for example, Ralph P. Martin, Worship in the Early Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1975).

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Corporate prayers don’t need to repeat or reinforce the message

in all liturgical traditions, from the most formal and traditional Catholic, Lutheran, and Anglican settings to the most informal charismatic and house church settings, and everything in between. Each group has its own version of “liturgical correctness” that robs it of the freedom of prayer that Jesus promised. But on the other hand, with the freedom of Jesus’ example of prayer, however, comes great responsibility. Worship leaders have a task, a responsibility, to lead well—to lead others thoughtfully and pastorally. It is no small thing to lead others in prayer in a public setting. Not surprisingly, many pastors and worship leaders say that leading corporate prayer is the hardest or most intimidating part of the service. So what can we do? The old Boy Scout motto comes in handy: “Be Prepared.” There is no substitute for good preparation in any phase of leading worship. Musicians, technicians, and preachers usually come well prepared for services, so why would it be any different for corporate prayer? Two kinds of connection can be helpful here. And interestingly, they are connections that our forebearers took seriously, namely, the tie between corporate prayer and personal prayer, and the tie between corporate prayer and preaching.

Connecting Public and Personal Prayer The first way to deepen public prayer is to strengthen its connection with

personal prayer. It takes a person of prayer to be a leader of others in prayer. But a couple of misconceptions can break this connection. The first “tie-breaker” is the mistaken belief that our experience in prayer is insufficient or inadequate for leading others, which leads us to lean too much on the prayers of others. Brennan Manning observed: We must never allow the authority of books, institutions, or leaders to replace the authority of *knowing* Jesus Christ personally and directly. When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasive travel agents handing out brochures to places we have never visited.² Presenting the prayers of others as our own is ethically questionable and pastorally misguided. That said, using prayers composed by others, properly cited, can be a useful springboard into a particular topic or issue. If you use a prayer by A.W. Tozer, for example, a slide with his picture and the source provides credit where it’s due and a creative link to the “great cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1). Whatever the corporate prayer style of our churches happens to be, we need to move beyond trying to impress God and our congregation with our prayers to allowing ourselves and our people to simply be with God in prayer. In Answering God, Eugene Peterson, the translator of The Message, describes prayer as a first language, a language of relationship and intimacy,

rather than a second language, which is about information and persuasion.³ The freedom of prayer as Jesus taught it is the freedom to speak to God as an adopted son or daughter, not as an attorney arguing a case or a salesperson closing a deal. The second misconception is that only ministry professionals can lead others in public prayer. There are probably men and women in your congregation besides the staff who can lead others in prayer, the “prayer warriors” that can add spiritual gravitas to corporate prayer from a lifetime of faithfulness in prayer that even ministry professionals can’t match. Some training and orientation will be needed for those who have never led corporate prayer in worship, but your services will be richer for it.

Connecting Public Prayer and Preaching Several years ago, ministry consultant Chip Arn warned against the tendency among pastors and worship leaders to focus exclusively on preaching and music and to neglect other elements of their services. While many pastors and worship leaders understand the importance of congregational singing in reinforcing and communicating themes addressed in sermons, the value of other liturgical elements is often discounted. Arn counseled leaders to remember that “the service is the message.”4 Even in services where there is little or no coordination between sermons and musical selections, there can and should be strong connections between preaching and public prayer.

² Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Books, 2008). ³ Eugene Peterson, Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer (San Francisco, CA: HarperOne, 1991). 4 Chip Arn, How to Start a New Service (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1997). 22

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as much as they need to allow worshipers to engage with God. This is hardly a new idea. In churches with more structured liturgies such as Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and others, prayers are crafted to coincide with the lectionary, the cycle of Scripture readings for every Sunday of the liturgical year. This practice dates back to the earliest days of the church when it adopted the pattern of prayers and readings from the Hebrew Bible (and added the writings that later became the New Testament). The Psalms, in particular, were both recited and sung. It is clear from Paul’s letters that the practice of extemporaneous prayer certainly flourished in the early church alongside the established pattern of memorized, recited prayers (Eph 5:19, Col 3:16). Unfortunately, “free” prayer in worship from the leader and from the congregation fell out of favor, and public prayer consisted almost entirely of composed prayers linked to specific readings for Sundays or other feast days. In the wake of the Reformation, pastors were encouraged to modify or extemporize on composed prayers or replace them altogether with their own prayers. The Puritans were known as great preachers, but they also cultivated the practice of leading corporate prayer. They understood that preaching and praying from the Word go hand in hand. While the Puritans were generally opposed to reciting written prayers from the Prayer Book, neither did they believe in “winging it” with corporate prayer, either. Instead, they developed the practice of “conceived prayer.” Another way to think of it is

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“thought-out” prayer. They developed the content of their prayers for Sunday morning throughout the week, often in response to their study of Scripture and sermon preparation.5

Next Steps How can these proven practices guide us today? Here are a few suggestions. First, make use of all three forms of prayer in your services: composed prayers, extemporaneous prayer, and conceived prayer. Regardless of your liturgical tradition, there are ways to use different prayer forms that fit your style. Second, corporate prayers don’t need to repeat or reinforce the message as much as they need to allow worshipers to engage with God. Allow corporate prayer— spoken, silent, or in song—to provide the people a way to prepare to hear the reading and preaching of God’s Word in the sermon and to interact with God at a personal level. Finally, while preachers often know how to connect prayers to their own sermons, other leaders can do it, too. Let mature persons of prayer bring a different perspective in the corporate setting that offers people a different way to connect the sermon to their own relationship with God. A recent event illustrates these points. A couple of years ago, I preached at a church in my hometown of Yakima, Washington. My sermon, on the spiritual significance of our weekly work, was followed by prayer led by an elder named Bob. I sent him an

Hughes Old, Leading in Prayer: A Workbook for Worship (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995).

outline of the sermon the week before, so he’d had some time to think about it. But he didn’t bring any notes that I could see. His prayer wasn’t long but he spoke from the heart, and it was clear to me from the platform that the congregation valued him and his leadership. I wondered how he would handle it. His prayer offered a different and far more personal take on my concluding point about seeing our work as sharing in God’s kingdom work. It was a beautiful, humble prayer asking God to bless our work. But even more, it was a heartfelt plea to God to allow us to see him in and through our work. The bobbing heads and the muttered “Amens” told me the blue-collar congregation was following him into a moment where they could share together before God their hunger for his presence every day, especially on the job. Afterwards, the members kindly complimented the message, but I knew God had touched them through Bob’s prayer.

Amen Public prayer does not have to be a lost liturgical practice. In the same way that many churches today are rediscovering the value of older hymns, so we can rediscover and reclaim ways of praying together that allow people to connect with God and each other in powerful ways. W DR. ROBB REDMAN Dr. Robb Redman is Dean and Professor of the College of Theology at South University. He lives in the Savannah, GA area and is married to Pam, who is a music director at their church; they have a daughter, Martha.


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BY JEFF DEYO

When Songs Become Prayers WO RS H IP AS I NT E RC ESS I O N I’ve recently begun thinking of worship songs as prayers set to music. Truthfully, worship songs and prayers share many of the same components and serve many of the same purposes. Understanding this will help us as leaders, writers, and congregants to become more intentional with both expressions.

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rayer serves as a powerful expression for believers. From the intercession of Daniel to the repentance of David to the appeal for favor from Esther to the desperate cry for help from Jehoshaphat, prayer takes on many forms. From Israel’s plea for deliverance to Jesus’ prayers of thanksgiving to Moses’ face-to-face fellowship with God, prayer is a foundational connect-point for people and their Creator. So what about worship in song? Is it much different?

Worship Defined We tend to define worship music simply as songs sung with the purpose of bringing glory to Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit—either songs sung to God or about God. This is clearly a significant part of musical worship, but isn’t there still more? As a child, I didn’t grow up in a church where we equated the singing portion of the service with actual time spent cultivating relationship with God. Yet, as my eyes were opened to this idea years later, I found myself gravitating passionately towards songs with lyrics that were sung straight to my Heavenly Father. Honestly, I loved these savory new songs-to-God so much that I almost avoided the songsabout-God entirely. Only in the last few years have I swung the pendulum back to the center where I now seek out and lead all types of worship songs. Songs to God. Songs about God. Songs that proclaim. Songs that rally. Songs that prophesy. Songs that convict. Songs that inspire. Clearly, just as different prayer emphases have numerous facets, worship lyrics do as well. In fact, the longer I travel 24

this fascinating journey, the larger my understanding of musical worship becomes—and the greater my realization of the connection between prayer and musical worship.

Inextricable Since early Bible times, prayer and musical worship have been attached at the hip. The Psalms are loaded with musical prayers, and it is often remarkably difficult to tell where the psalmist’s prayers end and their songs begin. I love how James Goll puts it in his book The Lost Art of Pure Worship: Worship and prayer form the seamless garment the priest wears as he ministers unto the Lord. Where does worship end and prayer begin? In my experience they just ebb and flow together like the tides of the ocean, supernaturally-naturally. In the ministry of the priesthood of all believers, I see no clear demarcation between something called “worship” and something called “prayer.” Even in Revelation 5:8-14 (NLT), we find the prayers and the songs of God’s people intertwined. And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a

new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”

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Verse 8 refers to something many call “harp and bowl,” where the music (the harp) brought before the throne is intermixed with the prayers of God’s people (incense) until it results in a powerful, worshipful expression—a new song!

“Because our worship music has adopted such powerful expressions involving well-known bands, concert-like atmospheres, and songs we sing in our cars and services alike, we must be careful not to miss the Father in all the hoopla.” New Prayers What if we were to take our favorite song lyrics and simply pray them—speak them to God? Would it work? What if we were to take our private prayers and layer in melodies? Could it work? Take the song “Even So Come” on the 2015 Passion album—a song that aligns itself with Revelation 22:17-20 by hastening Jesus’ second coming with the simple word, “Come.” All of creation All of the earth Make straight a highway A path for the Lord Jesus is coming soon Call back the sinner Wake up the saint


Like a bride waiting for her groom We’ll be a Church ready for you Every heart longing for our King We sing, “Even so come, Lord Jesus, come” Then there’s the song of intercession I wrote back in 2001, “Let Me Burn.” It is a perfect example of a song that agrees with what God desires, praying it out through singing—so that these things, which are absolutely the will of God, might come to pass! Let the nations rejoice in you Let your people return to you Let the source of my life be you Let me burn for you Let your fire of justice reign Let creation confess your name Turn my heart from stone to clay Let me burn with praise Think of the common prayer acrostics that we often follow. P – Praise R – Repent A – Ask Y – Yield A – Adoration C – Confession T – Thanksgiving S – Supplication Aren’t these themes also entirely compatible with those in our worship songs?

Unique Aspects Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that prayer and singing are actually one and the same. Yet, if there is a reason to see them as close cousins, it is that just as prayer is clearly meant to procure direct communion with the Holy One, these songs of worship are also meant to give us complete unhindered, laser-like, straightto-the-throne access to the one true Almighty God. We know this. But it is easy to forget— to get caught up in other things. Because our worship music has adopted such powerful expressions involving wellknown bands, concert-like atmospheres, and songs we sing in our cars and services alike, we must be careful not to miss the

Father in all the hoopla. He, above all else, desires relationship. He, above all else, knows we need relationship. He, above all else, calls us to intimacy, fellowship, and communion with himself—through prayers, through songs, and in our lives.

Prayer Set to Music You see I’ve discovered that my ears desperately need to hear my own prayers. I’ve often heard God’s voice as I, or others, pray. I’ve learned from these prayers— sung or spoken. My ears also need to hear me singing biblical truths from the Word over and over—whether they come through reading or through those little ditties we call “songs” (which could easily be referred to as “responsive readings set to music”). Consequently, just as this worship leader’s heart needs to come into direct contact with God through prayers—musical or otherwise—so do the hearts of those I’m leading. And so, I must become more intentional as a worship leader, making sure I am considering these things as I lead and as I choose my songs—also as I set out to write the worship songs of tomorrow. If songs can be prayers, what if we wrote with this in mind? If songs are sung prayers and prayers engage us with God, then our songs should be intentionally positioned to connect us directly to our God in the same way that prayer brings us directly before his throne. For when songs become prayers and prayers become songs, we might just find ourselves stepping into deeper dimensions of his presence than we’ve ever imagined. W JEFF DEYO Jeff Deyo is a worship leader, recording artist, author, actor, writer, and professor. He is known internationally as the lead singer of the Grammy nominated, Dove Awardwinning group Sonicflood and the voice behind classic worship songs like “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever,” and “In the Secret.” He is the founder of the Pure Worship Institute (PWI), a refreshing worship conference designed to encourage, equip, and empower singers and musicians to honor God with their songs and their lives, and he now holds the high distinction of being a full-time faculty member in the College of Fine Arts at North Central University in Minneapolis, MN. He has been married to his college sweetheart, Martha, since 1992. Together, they have 4 beautiful children, Roman, Evan, Channing, and Clara.

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Singing in One Accord Interview With William McDowell

Encompassing a riveting sound and a heart for leading powerful encounters with the Living God in worship, William McDowell has led people around the globe in prayer and worship. McDowell serves as the lead pastor at Deeper Fellowship Church in Orlando, Florida, and his pastoral heart is clear in his music as it is in his thoughts on worship and leading people to a nearness with the Creator. WL: The purpose of a service of worship is to help people engage with God. As a worship leader and musician, how do you lead in such a way that encourages this type of connection? William McDowell: I’ve often said and felt that the goal is to become invisible at some point during the time of worship and preferably as soon as possible. If people leave saying that we were great at some level, it constitutes a failure on our part to get out of the way. Mattew 16:24 is a great starting place—self-denial. Then comes the realization of two clear things. First, God wants to be with us even 26

more than we want to be with him. The Scripture tells us that when Jesus released his spirit into the hands of the Father (Mt 27:51), the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom, which can represent access. However, I love that it is specified that it was torn from top to bottom, and not bottom to top, meaning that it was God getting to man and not just man trying to get to God. Which leads to another understanding—the greatest worship leader in all of history is Christ himself because in that act he forever made a way for us to have access to the Father and now is our high priest and perfect sacrifice. As a result of that understanding, the second truth I’ve come to is that because of the finished work of Jesus giving us access, I’m not actually leading people “into” the presence of God—Christ did that. What we are actually doing is leading people into the awareness of his nearness and changing the corporate focus towards the things above as Colossians 3:2 tells us to do.

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WL: What role does musical excellence play in helping people encounter the living God in worship? WMD: In some circles musical excellence is downplayed too much in favor of “the right heart” insinuating that there is no need for an emphasis on excellence; however, truthfully you can’t worship apart from your heart, so the condition and posture of the heart should be biblically taught and understood by anyone aspiring to lead people into encounters. First Samuel 16:7 is a great starting point. However 1 Chronicles 25 makes it clear that when the musicians were set in place by David in the tabernacle it was because they were skilled musicians. That shouldn’t be overlooked. We are helping to create an atmosphere musically for people to encounter God. The purpose of musical excellence is used both as an expression of our worship to God and to not be a distraction to a congregation trying to engage and en-


counter God via the musical expression of worship. WL: Your experience has taken you around the world as a minister of music. What is the most important aspect to keep in mind when you are leading people from another country into an encounter with God? WMD: I have had the amazing privilege to minister in almost 40 different nations, and the one thing I have learned is that there are many styles but only one sound. Passion, hunger, and desperation has the same recognizable sound no matter the culture, ethnicity, or style. Our love for God, our passion for his presence, our desperate cry for him must be clearer than our style, and when it is, it is contagious. In Acts 2:1-2 we commonly hear and repeat the phrase “when they were all together and in/with one accord … suddenly a sound came from heaven.” The phrase “one accord” when studied is a compound Greek word that translates to mean “same passion”! Meaning, when they all had the same passion then a sound came. What passion? A shared need for God and what he promised. We find that in every nation and every culture. Tap into the same passion! WL: We believe that renewal begins when people turn to God in prayer. How have you seen music as the conduit for prayer and renewal in the lives of worshipers and the Church on the whole?

WMD: I absolutely agree! No move of God has ever happened in the history of the earth without prayer. Music creates atmospheres that can help posture our hearts and cause us to corporately declare what we may not have readily declared privately. Every project I have done has included some place/space for prayer and intercession. Several of my most wellknown songs are prayers that can help position the heart for renewal. WL: What is the responsibility of the worship leader and what work belongs only to God in leading a worship service? WMD: Simply put the responsibility of the worship leader is to create avenues and atmospheres for people to have an internal posture of submission before God— everything that happens after the posture of submission is the work and leading of the Holy Spirit. WL: Share a little about how God showed up in the live recording of Sounds of Revival and how you prepare for something like that. WMD: The Sounds of Revival recording was amazing. We recorded it at Bethany Church in Baton Rouge. Jonathan Stockstill is the pastor and one of my closest friends. The people who came (3,000+) all came to worship. I’ve often said we record live to capture what it looks, feels, and sounds like when God shows up and people respond. God showed up and the response of the people was unbelievable.

You’ll hear unscripted, unaltered, unrestrained worship not just from the stage but from the crowd. It was truly amazing. Our team prepares with much prayer and rehearsal, and by rehearsal I mean practicing his presence, not just the music. We encounter God in powerful ways in our rehearsals. I call our rehearsal time leading up to a recording the “presence week.” Pastor Steven Furtick, Bishop Joseph Garlington, Pastor Jonathan Stockstill, and Israel Houghton all led devotionals for us that week, as well, which helped set the stage and expectation among us for what God would do and say. WL: When you feel people responding to God in worship in a powerful way, what should you do? WMD: Get out of the way and don’t try to control the moment. Allow the moment. When applicable encourage the moment by creating more space for it, but by all means, stay out of the way. WL: Do you have any encouragement for worship leaders in local churches looking to lead expressive and prayerful worship? WMD: Live a life of worship. Meaning, let your life have a consistent internal posture of submission to the will and voice of God through his Word. Do what he does; say what he says; go where he goes. It is often said that you can’t lead people to places that you haven’t been. I understand the sentiment, but it’s not completely true. In Scripture, several were asked to lead others to places they had never been before. In reality, you can lead people to places where you don’t have the faith to go alone. That is certainly developed in private moments with God in his presence. So stay in his presence in private, and without “trying” you’ll notice deeper moments will be created out of that private place in public settings that you didn’t intentionally orchestrate. W

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BY REGGIE KIDD

Gratitude’s Quiet Revolution

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n an interview about his documentary The Civil War, filmmaker Ken Burns described recreating the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Burns said that in the midst of the filming he was gripped by a fleeting sense that he could intervene and stop the bullet, thinking how different things would have been … if only.

Change of Scene Sometimes I feel a similar desire for the story of the Fall. One where the Serpent hisses, “Indeed, did God say, ‘You shall not eat from every tree of the garden’?” Eve and Adam respond, “From all but one. But we are so grateful to God for all the rest of the trees we do not miss the one. Goodbye, and have a nice day, Mr. Serpent.” What sadness would have been avoided … if only.

An Early Sin Consider Paul’s account of humankind’s tragic exchange: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks” (Rom 1:21). Theologian after theologian has named “pride” the primordial sin. John Milton quotes Lucifer as saying, “I would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven.” C.S. Lewis echoes Milton, asserting that it is through pride that the devil became the devil. At its heart, pride is grasping and dissatisfied—in a word, ungrateful. In the garden, Lucifer the serpent prompted in our

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fore-parents the same grasping, dissatisfied ingratitude that had possessed him. I have learned some sad things about myself. One of them is that I am acquisitive and prone to ungrateful discontent. The old Lay’s potato chip ad, “Bet you can’t eat just one,” was made for people just like me. Why have one (insert desirable object), when you can have two?

With Thanksgiving Given my disposition and my likeness to our original parents and to Lucifer himself, the discipline of thankful prayer has been working a quiet revolution in me. In part, it’s been as basic as trying to put into my frontal lobe the Savior’s, “Consider the lilies” (Mt 6:28) and Peter’s, “Cast all your cares on him, for he cares for you” (1Pt 5:7). I have been noting how much Paul sounds the note of thanksgiving in the most uncomfortable and deprived of settings. In prison, Paul and company sing hymns (Acts 16:25). From prison, Paul says he has learned to be content in all things (Phil 4:12) and urges his readers to let their requests be known to God “with thanksgiving” (Phil 4:6). When I hear the Serpent hiss, “You don’t have enough,” I’ve found those verses prompting prayers of gratitude for all I do have. And when I pray with thanksgiving, the Serpent’s voice goes silent. W

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Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise. Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

REGGIE KIDD wrote the book With One Voice and teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary and the Robert. E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies.


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BY RAY JONES

three Benefits of the Worship Choir

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here seems to be a resurging interest in the choir in the postmodern church. I get to speak to this on a regular basis at conferences, and a common question that is asked is, “What are the benefits of having a choir as part of our worship experience?” I have a long list, but let me offer just three benefits for you to consider.

1. The choir is a place of inclusion for your ministry. As people consider their place of service in your congregation, it seems that many want to participate in the worship team. While it’s not realistic or even advisable to give everyone with a desire to lead worship a spot in the worship band, the choir becomes a place of inclusion in this ministry. Many churches do not even include serving as a vocalist on the worship team as a volunteer option on their website because it is such a particular service role. In other words, you either have that skill set to be a main singer, or layer, or you don’t. With the choir you can include people of all levels of talent and not worry about the lowering the bar of excellence for the quality of music in your worship.

2. The choir gives permission to the congregations to sing. The regular guy in the congregation has no interest in picking up a microphone and being a lead singer in your church. However, when he sees another regular guy in the choir, singing his heart out, it

seems to give him (and the rest of the congregation) a unique permission to participate. I want my congregation to engage, and our choir seems to be effective at giving everyone permission to sing. I have recently been asked to put together a choir for the Harvest America Crusade in Dallas, Texas, on March 5, 2016. The reason this happened was a YouTube video of our choir in San Antonio was sent to Greg Laurie. When he saw the level of engagement that was brought to the worship in that video, he felt it was something he wanted in the Dallas Crusade.

of the choir. We have the opportunity to turn people into ministers. It is the call of church leadership everywhere. These are three benefits of the worship choir, but there are so many more. The relationships, the sense of community, and the picture of inclusion on display bring an image and a real sense of welcome to your church. This is ideal for everyone in your community and is even more profound for the guest that walks through your doors for the first time. W

Join the Harvest America Choir Sponsored by Worship Leader Magazine!

3. The choir is a place to disciple the next generation of worship leadership and a Note: If you are in the Dallas area (or plan to be place to identify new talent. in March) and want to participate in the Harvest Our choir rehearsals are as much about pouring the churches philosophy of worship and biblical principles of worship into the choir members as it is about learning the music for the next weekend. Our mandate to disciple others does not stop at the worship ministry door. We must be teaching, training, and using the gifts that God gave to the people in our congregations, and the choir is a great place to do that. The church is certainly a place for people to receive, but just as important, it is a place for people to make use of their talents to further the kingdom of God. There are musically gifted people in your congregation. They may never be on your worship team as part of the band, but they can join your worship team as part

America Choir, we would love to have you. It will be a family choir that will include adults, students, and children. You can sign up today at choir.harvestamerica.com. RAY JONES has been in worship ministry for 45 years and since 1992 has been the pastor of worship ministries at Community Bible Church in San Antonio,Texas. With a worship ministry of over 1,600 volunteers, Ray has produced over 35 worship CDs and has published multiple volumes of worship music from his church. CBC is over 20,000 in attendance weekly and is seeking to touch the world with their music. He is the co- author of Will You Worship? book/study series.

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MISSIONAL

ANTHEMS OF

SOLIDARITY and MUTUALITY BY SANDRA MARIA VAN OPSTAL

Discovering the power of sung prayers as participants of a global worshiping community.

Communal Prayer Have you ever walked into a flood of prayers being offered to God? Or experienced passionate waves of intercession rising and falling on a community? Korean Christians have a prayer tradition called “one voice.” It is a form of communal prayer in which the individual prays on his or her own, but at the same time as all the others in the room. It is typically initiated by an exhortation and then an invitation such as, “Let us pray.” Its beauty is found in the murmur as each person lifts up his or her individual voice to the one voice of the community. It is not merely a collection of individual prayers, but the collective voice crying out before God in harmony. This practice values freedom in prayer. Led by the Holy Spirit people can pray at their own pace 30

as they listen to prayers of others. Some call this “Korean style” prayer. Communal prayer may differ from community to community comprising of: • Written prayers that are read to or by the congregation • Popcorn prayer (short spontaneous prayers by individuals one at a time) • Praying around a circle • Praying for or with someone next to you

Community-Shaped Prayer Why “one voice”? This collective audible prayer originated in the great Korean Revival of 1907 which missionaries describes as an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.¹ Their experience of collective trauma over the loss of their nation shaped their prayer. Dr. Jong Chun Park of Methodist Theological University in Seoul describes

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it this way: Many Korean Christians internalized the national crisis and carried the burden into the depth of their own sense of guilt. This “hidden guilt” emerged in Tonsung prayer and was dramatically expressed in the groan of the Spirit of God present among the people crawling over the hill of suffering (Rom 8:26). The voices of this early community were diverse—men and women, rich and poor—and together in unity, they cried out in “one voice.”

Singing One Voice Our prayer tradition may not mirror Korean style prayer, but isn’t that what we do when we sing congregational worship songs? We gather together to sing our prayers of lament, devotion, and praise to God. Worship leaders are prayer leaders. We create spaces and places where


spectives shared what it was like to live prayers can be read, heard, spoken, and Anthems in Mutuality sung. We lead God’s people in sung out peace amidst disagreement and pain, In worship, we not only stand with one prayers that help form their theology. As and we were filled with both lament and another, we learn from one another leaders, we take people where they want hope. Although CCDA’s work is primarily across differences. Each culture has to go, but we also take people where domestic, this reminded us of our global a distinct style and form of worship. identity. After the sharing of stories, we they need to go. Our job is like that of Depending on denomination and ethnic invited the participants to pray and sing a good tour guide that ensures people backgrounds we may center services on behalf of our brothers and sisters are exposed to all the beautiful gems of on different aspects of worship such as that God will bring them peace. We a city, not just the top ten places in the the table, sermon, music, altar call, or utilized the words of a song given to us Lonely Planet guidebook. We provide prayer. White evangelical congregations as a gift from a sister in the Middle East. opportunities for congregants to extypically center the sermon. The worThe lyrics were originally in Arabic, but press themselves to God in ways that are ship precedes it; the prayer responds to familiar to them, but we also provide it. The churches in our urban Latino spaces in which the Holy Spirit forms and African American communities our congregation. Spiritual formation Our job is like that of a good center the music and prayer, which is not only the job of the preacher tour guide that ensures people are seamlessly flow back and forth. Christor adult ministry pastor—worship centered worship and Spirit-infused exposed to all the beautiful gems prayer characterize my church, Grace leaders profoundly shape the theology of our communities. We teach of a city, not just the top ten places and Peace Community, which is why I our congregations to engage God was so excited to become the executhrough prayer, word, and worship. In in the Lonely Planet guidebook. tive pastor. I had been in a setting that moments of congregational worship, centered the sermon to the exclusion we fuse together prayer and music. We we utilized Arabic (Salaam), Hebrew of the prayer and worship time, which compose and select songs that lead our (Shalom), and English translations. With was often cut if the preacher extended his community to an understanding of God our voices lifted in unity we cried out to or her teaching. and his mission. God and committed to being instruments At Grace and Peace Community, of peace. prayer is central to our congregational Salaam (Shalom) Anthems of Solidarity worship experience. Prayer begins at Your peace within us, Lord, will stand, Sung prayers, also known as worship nine in the morning and flows into our surpassing all we understand. songs, allow us to have a unified voice. opening worship set, which begins apEven when fears surround our land We join our voices together in harmony, proximately at 10 (the key word being you fill our lives with peace. singing to God about who he is, what he “approximately”). The reason prayer is so has done, and what he will do. In worcentral to our congregational worship is Salaam, salaam, ship, we proclaim the truth of God in because in our homes our spirituality was the peace of God to every race. hopes that our hearts will catch up with shaped by our praying abuelas (grandSalaam, salaam, our heads. We proclaim the truth about mas). Our grandmothers modeled a life the peace of God in every place. his Church in hopes that we will have of starting their day on their knees. As When walking we are led astray, the grace and strength to live into that people come into our service they walk your Spirit in us lights the way reality. We proclaim life, freedom, hope, into a room that is saturated with prayer. to bring us back and guard our days. even when we feel beat down, captive, An hour of praise, lament, and petition You fill our lives with peace. (Refrain) and in despair. We proclaim our reconruns into our first song. The words are God’s peace you offered us to live, ciliation to God and to one another, even sung, instrumental interludes create space a peace the world can never give, when we experience division. Leaders for prayer, and the song is woven back and while your Spirit in us lives, model and teach our congregations what in. At around 10:15 people are welcomed you fill our lives with peace.² it means to be fully engaged singers who and encouraged. A few days later, we received news understand the songs we sing as unified As a worship leader, the blessing of about the attacks in Paris. We knew we prayers. having these two traditions, “White had to respond somehow as a global Recently, at the CCDA National Conevangelical sermon-centeredness” and community, so we decided to pray for ference (ccda.org), which is a gathering “urban Latino prayer-centeredness” have peace for Paris, Beirut, and other cities of pastors and practitioners of Christian shown me that we need one another. that had experienced such violence. We Community Development in underEach of our traditions not only embodies invited the community to enter back into distinctive styles, but also particular valresourced communities, we invited the attendees into a time of prayer. The entire the song we had taught the day before. ues. A priority for the Word of God being session was focused on learning from the The God of peace became our focal point taught, as well as the necessary space as we worshiped and interceded. conflict in Israel/Palestine and how faith for responding in prayer brings wholeleaders were modeling reconciliation. ness to our spirituality. We need to learn Community leaders from various peranthems that don’t sound like ours.

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MISSIONAL

Praying Differently Imagine a church creating a worship service that helps their congregation understand the experience of immigrants and refugees and the call to “welcome the stranger.” You may be preaching the book of Ruth, wanting to help your congregation understand the survival journey and how Ruth and Naomi’s vulnerably took them to a land where they would not be welcomed. You might craft song selection and prayers around this theme, sing songs in other languages, and share the immigration stories of people in your community. You might invite them to advocate for bi-partisan immigration reform through the Evangelical Immigration Table (evangelicalimmigrationtable.com), become a welcoming congregation for unaccompanied minors (lirs.org), or advocate for refugees. During advent, our congregation was in a sermon series called “Peace on Earth.” The series addressed the need for peace in our community, which has all the beauty and brokenness of an under-resourced urban community. We centered the sermon on the coming of Christ and sang about Emmanuel, “God with us.” We lamented the reality of suffering and engaged God in the context of our pain. We celebrated the fulfillment of the Prince of Peace over our community, nation, and world. On December 13th, National Refugee Sunday (wewelcomerefugees.com), we had two brothers who had worked with thousands of displaced Syrians within their country share about their journey. They had fled Syria, journeyed through another neighboring

country, and obtained visas to come to the U.S. They continue to work with the refugee resettlement here. During worship that Sunday, we sang a song taught to me by a Syrian friend, and invited people to action as a way to live in the “now but not yet” kingdom of God. The Syrians, Michael and John, who had led

leaders “areWorship prayer leaders. We create spaces and places where prayers can be read, heard, spoken, and sung.

worship all over the Middle East, also led us in some songs. One in particular was familiar to us, but the words to the song (“Never Once” by Matt Redman) had entirely different meaning when sung with their story as the backdrop. Kneeling on this battle ground Seeing just how much you’ve done Knowing every victory Was your power in us

Never once did we ever walk alone Never once did you leave us on our own You are faithful, God, You are faithful Worship Leaders are prayer leaders. Through anthems of solidarity and mutuality, we provide an environment where God can form our communities. What might you do to take your people where they need to go? 1. What songs might you want to introduce as a way of standing in solidarity with the community here in the U.S. that is experiencing pain and marginalization? 2. What expressions of prayer or worship might expand your perspective or values? Who might you partner with, a worship leader or church to learn from? 3. What resources might you need, books, articles, song collection, or hymnals to start this journey? W 1. pg 118-11 The Spread of missionary congregations in Korea, Making Disciples in a World Parish: Global Perspectives on Mission & Evangelism, Wipf and Stock Publishers, edited by Paul W. Chilcote, entry by Dr. Jong Chun Park, Methodist Theological University in Seoul. 2. Salaam, Lift Up Your Hearts hymnal, Song 298, words and music by Manal Samir, Egypt © 2002 Songs of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Egypt, Synod of the Nile, tr. Anne Emile Zaki, adapt. Emily Brink © 2008 Faith Alive Christian Resources

Scars and struggles on the way But with joy our hearts can say Yes, our hearts can say

SANDRA MARIA VAN OPSTAL Sandra Maria Van Opstal pastors at Grace and Peace Community in Chicago and is the author of The Next Worship and The Mission of Worship. A liturgist and activist, she is passionate about mobilizing Christians for reconciliation and justice. She frequently consults, speaks, and writes on topics of racial identity and global mission. Sandra serves as a board member for Evangelicals for Justice and the Christian Community Development Association.You can connect with Sandra on Twitter at @sandravanopstal. 32

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Capital

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Higher Learning guide The context of leading worship in a congregational setting is multifaceted and filled with historical and biblical significance. Beyond that, there are people involved. People coming from all walks of life with every imaginable concern and distinctive worldview. And worship is where these things are acknowledged yet woven together to create a multi-harmonious sound of sung prayer and worship to the One God who can unite all hearts. Certainly, leading this beautiful and complex concert of voices requires a skilled artisan. The following pages are here to help you discover your next step in your worship leadership proficiency and theological development. Here you will find some of the top schools and conferences available—an opportunity to make your growth a priority to affect lasting change in your worshiping community.

35 Biola University

44 Lee University

36 Baylor University

46 WorshipLife Event

La Mirada, California

Worship Lab Waco, Texas (conference)

38 Grace Bible College Grand Rapids, Michigan

40 Calvary Chapel School of Worship Costa Mesa, California

41 Cedarville University Cedarville, Ohio

Cleveland, Tennessee

Gatlinburg, Tennessee (conference)

47 North Central University Minneapolis, Minnesota

48 University of Northwestern St. Paul, Minnesota

49 Ocean’s Edge

School of Worship Fort Lauderdale, Florida

54 National Worship Leader Conference VA | TX | KS (conference)

56 Visible Music College

Memphis, TN | Lansing, IL | Dallas, TX

58 Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, Indiana

Beach Atlantic 60 Palm University West Palm Beach, Florida

61 University of Valley Forge Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

42 Hillsong International Leadership College

50 Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies (IWS) 62 WorshipU

43 Liberty University

52 The King’s University

Sydney, Australia

Lynchburg, Virginia

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Orange Park, Florida

Southlake, Texas (main campus)

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Redding, California, and online


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La mirada, CA About

What sets your school apart? Biola prepares students to think biblically about everything, which is why all undergraduates complete 30 credits of Bible and theology classes. In addition, weekly seminars give worship majors the opportunity to learn from some of the finest worship leaders from churches around the country. A generous number of elective hours allow students to pursue interests such as technology, performance, church ministries, or a host of other options. In addition, internships are available in a variety of settings, giving students real-world experience before graduation.

Biola University is a nationally ranked Christian university in the heart of Southern California. Founded in 1908, Biola offers biblically centered education, intentional spiritual development, and vocational preparation within a unique learning community where all faculty, staff, and students are professing Christians. The Biola Conservatory of Music is full of musicians at the top of their fields in technique and artistry. More than that, it’s a community committed to honoring Jesus Christ.

How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? Worship is a way of life. It is devotion, prayer, discipleship, and music. Biola’s Music in Worship program emphasizes and balances musicianship, spiritual formation, and biblical training in a unique Christian community dedicated to seeing you grow. On-campus worship bands, touring, and recording opportunities are available to worship majors as a result of Biola’s vast network of partnerships and highly experienced faculty. Besides rigorous courses in music theory, history, and literature, students take Bible classes from today’s top theologians and live near the thriving cultural center of Los Angeles.

BIOLA UNIVERSITY CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC

MUSIC IN WORSHIP PROGRAM

APPLICATION DEADLINE:

B.S. Degree in Music in Worship

FEBRUARY 1

Music in Worship Minor

Refine your craft. Strengthen your character. Invest in your community.

Listen to our latest release King of All on Spotify, iTunes, Google play and CD Baby

La Mirada, CA | 562-903-4892 music@biola.edu | www.biola.edu/music


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Waco, TX

Worship Lab · July 19-22, 2016

About What sets your conference apart? Worship Lab is unique from other camps because of its intentionally small feel and intimate setting. In 2016, we will be accepting 125 applicants, and we are certain these spots will fill up quickly! The artists who are coming together to train young worship leaders at this event are committed to building relationships with students, not just taking photos or signing a CD. This program is hosted by the Baylor University Center for Christian Music Studies. While deeply rooted in tradition, Baylor is a place of innovation and imagination. No other event of this kind is hosted within a nationally ranked school of music. Baylor graduates anchor worship ministries in some of the world’s most significant congregations. They also garner Dove Awards, write some of the Church’s most lauded songs, and perform with some of the world’s most prestigious symphonies and on the most esteemed opera stages. Worship Lab is an experience for musicians who are serious about their training, and Baylor is a place that has a track record of challenging and inspiring those who seek to serve the Lord. Intentionally not a cookie-cutter environment, Baylor prepares you to discover the minister that God is calling you to be. At Baylor you can develop world-class skills and a God-sized heart.

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Begun in 2015, the Baylor Worship Lab is an exciting event designed to inspire and encourage the next generation of worship leaders. Worship Lab is for students in grades 9-12 who have a passion for the Lord, a desire to serve God with the musical talents they have been given, and the drive to grow both musically and spiritually. During these four days, this highly skilled group of students from across the nation will gather to perform together, develop new skill sets, and learn from some of the most dynamic leaders in Christian music.

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How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? Each morning attendees will gather for Bible study led by our guest artists, who will use this unique and intimate platform to pour their hearts and passions into young worship leaders. There are no celebrities here, only real, authentic Christians who seek to read God’s Word together, pray together, and worship the Triune God as equals, recognizing that we are all made in the image of God. Throughout the day, students will hone their skills in workshops taught by guest clinicians and Baylor students, all of who are leading worship in local congregations. These workshops will focus on: • learning new practical skills for specific instruments • music theory and ear training • worship planning and leadership tips • biblical and theological training • music technology • songwriting • and much more! Our guest artists will lead worship each day and those in attendance will get the opportunity to sing songs with the artists who wrote them and even learn new songs from the artists themselves. Attendees will also hear stories about the life journey of these worship leaders and will be provided with numerous opportunities to engage them in conversation.


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THE WORSHIP LAB JULY 19-22, 2016 BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Welcome to a unique and high quality worship band camp geared specifically towards young, aspiring worship leaders and instrumentalists. Attend instrumental and vocal workshops, artist discussions, worship training sessions, concerts and worship services.

VIDEO SUBMISSIONS WILL BEGIN FEBRUARY 1, 2016

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Grand rapids, MI

About

What sets your school apart? The New Worship Arts program at Grace Bible College is designed to transform students into creative multifaceted artists who excel in creating biblically-grounded, multi-sensory worship experiences. It prepares students to engage generations of people through their professional training in music and media production in addition to a strong foundation in Bible, theology, and general education.

Grace Bible College puts God at the center of everything: from academics to campus life to off-campus leadership. Our close-knit campus offers an idyllic place to focus on what matters most. Your time spent here will bring you closer to your future goals while bringing you closer to God. Grace’s inspired instructors will become more than teachers—they will act as mentors throughout your journey and beyond graduation. Because although you may arrive as a stranger, you’ll leave as family. Come see for yourself!

How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? The New Worship Arts program is designed to equip students to fulfill their call to serve God in leading others in authentic worship. As part of that goal, we must support this generation of worship leaders in speaking the language of today’s culture—a culture that is deeply rooted in music and contemporary media. The New Worship Arts program will, therefore, provide exceptional learning opportunities within first-rate facilities using the most current music and media resources available. Furthermore, students will benefit from caring and dedicated faculty members who will provide life-on-life mentoring both inside and outside the classroom. Through meaningful evaluation and creative assessments of learning outcomes, students will advance competently to graduation. Upon graduation, students will be confidently prepared to serve as musicians and media personnel in a wide variety of ministry and employment positions

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LEARN, CREATE, THRIVE. Whether your calling is to travel with a band or lead at a local church, Grace Bible College’s Worship Arts degree will help you achieve your goals, as both a musician and worship leader. Watch the video at GBCWorship.com Write worship songs Lead a band Record in the studio Produce an album Lead congregations Tour opportunities Run rehearsals Prepare song sets Master presentations Gain practical experience

Smaller, personal campus Personal mentoring Worship theology Music theory Ear training Arranging Video production iMac MIDI lab Affordable Scholarships available

800.968.1887 | GBCWORSHIP.COM

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About

What sets your school apart? 1. Community: We have developed the school as a small creative community where each graduating class becomes family. We embrace and nurture the community aspect of our school and find it to be one of the strongest tools God uses for learning and growth in our students. 2. Discipleship: We not only train people in their musical and technical gifts, but we focus on the whole of who they are as disciples of Jesus Christ. We design our curriculum so that students have access and interaction with their instructors beyond classroom lectures and meet weekly in staff-led small groups.

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costa mesa, CA

The Calvary Chapel School of Worship began in 2002 with a desire to train and disciple those called to minister through music and the media arts. We offer a curriculum that not only teaches practical musicianship and technical skills but also develops a solid foundation of biblical theology. Our nine-month certification program begins every fall, and all of our course credits transfer to Calvary Chapel Bible College.

3. Location: The campus is located on the grounds of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa where students can learn while being actively involved in a well-established church. Being in beautiful Southern California also allows us to draw from instructors who both serve in the local church context and in the context of the professional music industry in Los Angeles.

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How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? In Mark 12:30, Jesus says: “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.� This is the foundation for our teaching curriculum. As a two-semester program, we focus first on establishing a solid theological foundation for ministry with courses in Worship Theology, Biblical Servanthood, and Theology of the Holy Spirit while concurrently teaching courses in Worship Team Development and Small Group Instrument Labs.


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Cedarville, OH About

What sets your school apart? Our purpose statement is “Equipping worshipers to serve.” We value contemporary music as the voice of our culture and study it in the classroom and in the studio. We are large enough to have great opportunities but small enough that you can be part of our community, and there are opportunities for every student in the worship program to play in a band.

Cedarville University is a Christcentered learning community equipping students for lifelong leadership and service through an education marked by excellence and grounded in biblical truth. We are known for: • Unwavering commitment to the inerrancy and authority of Scripture • Creationist approach to scientific research and study • Required Bible minor is a part of all academic programs • Daily chapels with relevant biblical teaching and authentic praise • Discipleship groups that provide opportunities for Bible study, mentoring, accountability, prayer, and open discussion • Missions and study abroad opportunities that reach nearly every corner of the world

How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? A Bible minor is required for all students at Cedarville, and we have 12 additional hours of Bible in the worship major. Our program is also very practically based with 10 hours coming from “on the job” training in the field experience and internship.

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Sydney, Australia What sets your school apart? Hillsong International Leadership College offers you a unique training experience. Right at the heart of Hillsong Church, you’ll learn life, leadership, and ministry alongside leaders who are changing the world. Join graduates from over 68 nations who are raised, equipped, empowered, and released to make a difference in ministry and worship globally. Come and join the adventure!

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Our worship stream equips us to be the singers, worshipHow does your program balance theological training with practical ers, and the leaders that God created us to be. The amazing trainers here have taught me to nurture and grow my aspects of leading worship? With a proven mix of classroom learning, hands-on ministry experience and a vibrant college community, you will be set up for a life of purpose and impact. The Worship Music stream is designed to develop the heartbeat and creativity of a God-centered worshiper and creative innovator. All courses are structured around equipping you both biblically and practically for authentic ministry environments.

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gift as a worship leader and have been instrumental in encouraging me to step into the calling God has placed on my life. I’ve learned that my voice is a gift that I need to respect and steward—just like any other skill. The confidence you cultivate in this stream leaks out into every aspect of your life and leadership. I wasn’t expecting to learn as much as I did about using music to reach and minister to people, but the overflow of this showed me ways God partners with us in areas I never thought possible. Christine Kuchler (Nevada) – Class of ’15


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What sets your school apart? • The Center for Music and Worship is the largest worship program in the country. • 700 undergraduate students majoring in worship or worship-related degrees • All undergraduate worship students complete an internship in one of America’s leading worshiping churches or para-church organizations • All undergraduate worship students study worship theologies, worship techniques, worship technology, and worship presentation • Undergraduate worship students can pursue degrees with concentrations in Artist Development, Songwriting, Film Scoring, Cinematic Arts, Business, Publishing and Producing, Theater Ministry, Worship Technology, Youth Ministry, Biblical Studies, Women’s Ministry, Worship Studies, and Music in World Cultures • Over 250 graduate students involved in the MA in Music and Worship or MA in Worship Studies programs, both available in online or resident formats • LU launched the Doctor of Worship Studies in January of 2015 with rigorous studies for the career worship leader • All worship degrees at Liberty University are designed specifically for the job market. We know there are jobs available for our graduates.

lynchburg, VA About • 15,000 resident students, 95,000 online students • Over 10,000 students participate in the world’s largest weekly assembly of students in worship on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. • New School of Music Building with 141,000 square feet of space, including 50 practice rooms, a state-of-the-art recording studio, MAC lab, songwriting lab, 150-seat choir room, 250-seat orchestra/ band space, common area, piano lab, 1,600-seat concert hall, 50-seat recital hall, 124-seat recital hall, and a percussion lab. • The School of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music

How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? Everything is about application. All worship and music theory courses are divided into small praise teams or praxis groups for daily presentation. All worship students take worship theology, Old and New Testament worship, creative worship, history of worship, and leadership principles of worship.

Training and equipping musicians to be CHAMPIONS FOR CHRIST

WORSHIP@LIBERTY.EDU | (434) 592-6568 | WWW.LIBERTY.EDU/SCHOOLOFMUSIC

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cleveland, TN

About

What sets your school apart? Lee students can find themselves in the classroom with a professor during the week and leading worship with that same professor on a Sunday morning. This blend of training, study, and mentorship creates a synergy that is ideal for maximum development of skills. Lee students may choose from a wide variety of worship opportunities and learn from mentors with years of worship-leading experience. Lee has a long-standing tradition of excellence in music for the church. Many Lee alumni serve as worship leaders in settings across the globe.

Lee is a private, comprehensive university located in Cleveland, Tennessee, with a current enrollment of just over 5,000. Lee is continuously ranked in the “Top Tier” of Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report. Students are encouraged to embrace their Christian faith in every aspect of living—developing lifestyles of service to the world in the name of Christ. Lee offers 50 on-campus undergraduate majors in 112 oncampus programs of study. Alongside traditional on-campus programs, Lee University’s Division of Adult Learning (DAL) offers fully-online and hybrid programs (at both the Cleveland campus and the Charlotte Center) with today’s adult learner in mind. Never sacrificing convenience for quality, the DAL offers undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs in an accredited, Christcentered setting. This commitment to both academic excellence and unwavering faith is the

reason Lee was just named as one of the top 100 online universities by U.S. News & World Report. The Lee University School of Music is an exciting, energetic, imaginative, and diverse environment, dedicated to educating students in a variety of fields, be it in church, the recording studio, the classroom, or the concert stage. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), the Lee University School of Music serves well over 300 music majors in undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as 700 students involved weekly in some aspect of music performance. Ensemble opportunities abound, with eight instrumental ensembles and eight vocal ensembles, providing diversity in style, including jazz, opera, choral and orchestral masterworks, world music, contemporary worship, urban gospel, and musical theater.

How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? Church music studies at Lee offer a mix of musical, theological, and practical offerings. Classes in Bible, music, and ministry combine with many hands-on opportunities for worship-leading experiences through traveling worship ensembles, chapel services, and internships. In the core classes of the church music degree program, students are challenged to discover biblical principles for worship and required to put these into practice in corporate worship settings.

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gatlinburg, TN gatlinburg convention center What sets your conference apart? Our desire is to help worship leaders live out God’s greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your HEART, with all your SOUL, and with all your MIND.” Matthew 22:37 (HCSB)

June 27-30, 2016 About WorshipLife is a one-of-a-kind worship gathering designed to inspire and equip worship leaders and pastors, their teams, and other church leaders through times of worship and fellowship with dynamic speakers, evening concerts with award-winning artists, choral reading sessions with multiple publishers, and breakout sessions with experts and leaders in the worship community.

How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? Our goal is to encourage and develop these church leaders (in various seasons of their ministries) while also challenging them to mentor and train the next generation. Visit WorshipLifeEvent.com to learn more.

JOIN US THIS SUMMER! WORSHIPLIFE IS A ONE-OF-A-KIND WORSHIP GATHERING DESIGNED TO INSPIRE AND EQUIP WORSHIP LEADERS, THEIR TEAMS AND OTHER CHURCH LEADERS THROUGH TIMES OF WORSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP WITH DYNAMIC SPEAKERS AND WORSHIP LEADERS, EVENING CONCERTS WITH AWARDWINNING ARTISTS, CHORAL READING SESSIONS WITH MULTIPLE PUBLISHERS, BREAKOUT SESSIONS WITH EXPERTS IN MANY FACETS OF WORSHIP AND MORE.

JUNE 27-30, 2016 GATLINBURG CONVENTION CENTER

INSPIRE & EQUIP WORSHIP LEADERS

# WOR S H IPL IFE16

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Minneapolis, mn About Welcome to the North Central University College of Fine Arts in Minneapolis, home of North Central’s School of Worship Arts and School of Music and Theatre. Our purpose? To develop passionate spiritual leaders through academic excellence and rigorous practical application.

How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship?

What sets your school apart? “North Central has a way of fostering the presence of God,” says recording arts grad Ryan Williams ’07. “There’s something special in the atmosphere—who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”

Being a Christian university shapes how North Central does things every day. Faculty and staff are committed not only to students’ academic success but also to their spiritual growth. Students, staff, and faculty form a close-knit community. Graduates don’t just leave as alumni; they are lifetime members of the NCU family. And College of Fine Arts faculty are passionate, accomplished artists in their own right—leading, guiding, and directing students in a wealth of creative endeavors.

NEXT STEP Schedule a campus visit at northcentral.edu/visit or go to apply.northcentral.edu to complete and submit an application. NCU costs less than most other private schools and is competitive with nearby public universities, making an NCU education an affordable investment for the future. In fact 96 percent of NCU students receive generous financial aid. Apply today—we can’t wait to meet you!

Photo by Elliot Johnson

Catch the New MUSIC VIDEO for "I BELONG TO YOU" By FACULTY MEMBER Jeff Deyo now AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE FILMED ON LOCATION AT NORTH CENTRAL UNIVERSITY ALSO Featured on the RECENT "Hearts on Fire" iTunes release from NCU Worship Live

JUNE 20 - 24, 2016 NORTH CENTRAL UNIVERSITY MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA

EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION BEGINS TUESDAY, MARCH 1, 2016 For more information visit pureworshipinstitute.com JA N U A RY /F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 6 W OR S H IP LE A D E R

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About

What sets your school apart? The Bachelor of Science in Music (Music Ministry) includes a variety of worship styles and denominations. Along with developing musical skills (theory, arranging, performing), biblical knowledge, and leadership, students receive hands-on training in the technological, programmatic, and administrative skills needed for ministry. Under the guidance of faculty and experienced worship pastors, students complete meaningful internships in local churches.

University of Northwestern – St. Paul exists to provide Christ-centered higher education equipping students to grow intellectually and spiritually, to serve effectively in their professions, and to give God-honoring leadership in the home, church, community, and world. Northwestern is part of the vibrant cultural center of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Our 107-acre lakefront campus features both historic architecture and newer buildings such as the Billy Graham Community Life Commons. We are small enough to get to know our students, but large enough to offer over 70 different majors including five music degrees: music performance, music education, music composition, music ministry, and the Bachelor of Arts in Music. All of Northwestern’s music degrees hold accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

St. paul, mn How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? Northwestern’s fusion of rigorous, Christ-centered academics prepares students to think critically and address challenges in the real world. A unique biblical worldview curriculum incorporates 30 credits of Bible into every major, giving students the opportunity to elect a second major in Bible. Daily chapel includes well-known speakers and regular opportunities for praise and worship in a strong communityoriented setting.

The Bachelor of Science in Music with an emphasis in music ministry offers a dynamic study of theology of worship, theory and practice of music, and foundations for effective ministry.

Learn more at unwsp.edu/worship.

This program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).


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fort lauderdale, fl About What sets your school apart? Experience. Once you learn something, you are applying it. There are so many opportunities available to students that provide an immediate chance to apply your training.

Ocean’s Edge School of Worship was founded with a specific purpose to provide training and education for the next generation of worship leaders, Christian musicians, and artists. Based out of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, we provide an environment combining personal mentoring and discipleship with modern music, technology, and leadership training in an approach that will equip students for a lifetime in ministry. We offer tracks in Worship, Performance, Artist, and Production.

How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? Students at Ocean’s Edge are challenged to grow spiritually as well as musically. In addition to biblical training received in the classroom, each student experiences the opportunity to grow in their Christian walk through small groups, mentoring relationships, weekly chapels, and more. Seasoned worship leaders and musicians draw from their own experiences and training to come alongside the students, giving them hands-on opportunities to grow in their craft and leading them to a deeper understanding of what it means to lead a team of musicians as well as a congregation.

WORSHIP LEADERS. ARTISTS. MUSICIANS. PRODUCERS.

10 MONTHS FULL-TIME | FORT LAUDERDALE, FL | OCEANSEDGESCHOOL.COM


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jacksonville, fl About

What sets your school apart? IWS is the only accredited school dedicated to graduate education in the biblical foundations, theological reflections, historical development, and cultural analysis of Christian worship. Church leaders from multiple denominations take academically grounded, highly applicable courses rooted in the biblical narrative, drawing on the rich treasures of Christian history and committed to glorifying God in multiple cultural contexts. IWS has a decidedly Christ-centered ancient-future posture with the conviction that “the road to the future runs through the past.”

Faculty and Students IWS has a superior faculty of distinguished worship scholars who hold full-time positions in colleges, seminaries and/or churches. Students, alumni, and faculty come from over 60 denominations and fellowships, from almost every state, six continents, and 25 foreign countries. Students, alumni, and faculty impact well over a half million people around the globe each week in Christian worship renewal. IWS Professor Dr. Reggie Kidd states, “IWS has provided me a community which gathers for rigorous theological study, hands-on training, and personal reflection. We get changed, and I think it’s part of how God intends to change the Church.”

A primary key to reading the entire biblical narrative is this: God is calling his creation to right worship. Right worship leads to the rightly ordered life, family, Church, and community. Right worship stands at the very core of the Christian faith. IWS offers two award-winning graduate degree programs: Master of Worship Studies (MWS) and Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS). The IWS education is designed to fit the student’s schedule and budget, combining distance education with on-campus classes focused on building an intentional learning community. This approach incorporates a student-directed, highly relational instructional philosophy. The result is an applicable and stimulating education that prepares Christians intellectually and spiritually to participate in the worldwide renewal of the Church through God-honoring worship.

How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? IWS focuses on the biblical, theological, historical, cultural, and missional foundations of Christian worship. Each course has a strong applied orientation and emphasis, and students make a direct connection between their studies and their ministry contexts. The MWS program has a 300-hour internship as its capstone course, and the DWS program has an applied thesis/dissertation as its capstone course. Students must have a context (e.g., church, educational institution, mission organization, nonprofit, etc.) for applying their IWS education. The IWS GROW (Global Renewal of Worship) Center provides short-term opportunities for international ministry and study.

How does your school award scholarships and financial aid? Financial aid programs are available. GI Bill and Tuition Assistance benefits are available for qualified military personnel. Contact admissions@iws.edu for more information.

What is the next step? Visit the admissions page online (iws.edu/admissions/apply/) or contact admissions@iws.edu or 1-800-282-2977 for more information. 50

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main campus | southlake, tx About What sets your school apart? The King’s University is committed to the personal and professional growth of each and every student. The TKU Worship Leadership Program combines both theological training in the classroom alongside practical, handson training beyond the classroom. The TKU faculty regularly challenges students both theologically and technically. In addition to industry-leading faculty, students are equipped with a state-of-the-art facility, including a keyboard lab, rehearsal studios, and teaching and practice rooms.

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Named one of the 50 Most Affordable Small Private Colleges in the U.S., TKU offers students a complete learning experience, which combines accredited higher education with practical ministry experience within dynamic local churches. TKU provides a full range of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs in the areas of theology, worship, biblical counseling, Christian ministry, and more.

How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? The TKU Worship Leadership Program provides students with a rich balance of classes that will deepen their understanding of the character of God while also broadening their musical, administrative, and leadership skills as a worship leader.

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I am TKU.

E A R N Y O U R A S S O C I AT E O F

Worship Leadership Degree Earn your Associate of Worship Leadership degree in two years. Learn from industry leading professors and Gateway Worship leaders. Develop skills in songwriting, studio recording techniques, live audio design, commercial voice and more. To learn more visit www.tku.edu or call 817.772.1700

ACCREDITED UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE E D U C AT I O N . M I N I S T R Y.

Accredited | Undergraduate and Graduate | Online Education

ONLINE EDUCATION

BETTER TOGETHER.


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Virginia May 18-19, texas July 27-28, kansas oct 5-6 About

What sets your conference apart? 1. You will be exposed to New Song. Being exposed to New Song is more than finding novelty; New Song is a metaphor for Jesus, our mediator—the liturgy of heaven. The National Worship Leader Conference is a place to join with others like you, learn from the experience of influential worship leaders and thinkers, and challenge one another to delve deeper into the art of leading worship. We will find New Song in new musical styles, in recovering classic traditions, in the insights and inspiration of thought leaders, and interacting with others like us. In the process, we will discover a new energy and passion for the ministry of leading the musical prayers of our communities. 2. You will worship with multiple sounds with multiple styles and along with multiple traditions. Worship Leader goes to great lengths to find excellence in multiple voices, styles, and media in order to broaden the conversation of worship. We love contemporary praise band music but believe there is a benefit to being exposed to other approaches as well, including such styles as classic hymns, meditational music, gospel, indie, pop, choral, and many more. Often,

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Part of the Worship Leader Media suite of resources, the National Worship Leader Conference encompasses a broad range of styles and traditions in order to facilitate inspiration, training, and unity amongst the body of Christ. The attendees are training offered at the NWLC, from worship skill to producmost blessed by a tion to musical performance to church leadership to misstyle or a media tool sional outreach, is built on the centrality of God’s story, that they are not familso that his glory will be joyfully declared amongst iar with. Because of this the nations (Ps 96:3). intentionality, there is no This year our theme is “Teach us to Pray.” We other worship gathering that believe that God is at work renewing the global assembles as many people from Church through worship, and at the heart as many traditions across the prayer of this renewal is God’s people turning spectrum of Christianity. to him in prayer. As indicated by the Psalms and beyond, God’s greatest 3. You will be invited to rest. prayer agent is music. When we The National Worship Leader Conference sing together in prayer we engage is designed to take you away from the distracwith God and are transformed tions, designed to pull you away from the things to his likeness, better to join that often overwhelm, and place you in a house his ongoing New Song of worship with others like you to learn and refresh. amongst the nations. Musicians, pastors, worship team members, and multimedia artists gather together to find inspiration and renewal. When this happens, we believe your passion will flow forth with a powerful impact on your entire worship community. This is not How does your program balance theomerely a battery re-charge, this is a time to logical training with practical aspects restore and rediscover your life’s passion of leading worship? and calling. NWLC is passionate about biblical worship, and we believe God uses this to bring about Join us at this year’s National real spiritual transformation both in individuWorship Leader Conference in als and in worshiping communities as a whole. 2016 as we learn to lead the Because we are not gathering to train concert worship of our congregaperformers or entertainers, attendees see a refreshtions skillfully, bibliing absence of pretention. Ultimately we gather cally, and prayerfully. to craft and engage in worship that is directed to God, is about God, and is acceptable to God, not through our ability but through the finished work of our Savior and true worship leader, Jesus Christ. Along with a core biblical foundation, we offer over 60 practical workshops in order to equip every person on the worship team. Tracks include Worship Leader, Programming/Planning, Lead Pastor, Songwriter, Vocalist, Band, Personal Growth, Tech, Visual Arts, and Product Highlight.

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teach us to pray

Join us at this year’s National Worship Leader Conference as we learn to lead the worship of our congregations skillfully, biblically, and prayerfully. 2016 Locations

VIRGINIA

TEXAS

May 18-19

KANSAS

July 27-28

October 5-6

Register your team now for BEST pricing:

NWLCONF.COM

nwlconf.com |

worshipleader.com

|

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Memphis, TN | Lansing, IL (Chicagoland) | Dallas, TX About What sets your school apart? Visible Music College and our Worship Leadership division are the spiritual, professional, and academic hybrid that musicians and worship leaders have always dreamed about: a high level of musicianship with deeply servanthearted musicians. In addition, we enjoy a tightly knit group of talented and focused musicians, producers, and managers in a community of worship, submitted to God and with incredible possibility for the mainstream music industry. Visible Music College enrolls students from 50 states and 20 countries who share a passion for music, a devotion to Jesus Christ, and a ministry calling for the Church or industry. We are passionate about helping effective local churches, planting church music teams, and working with worship leaders to become true Christian leaders and not music team babysitters. Although many of our students are on their way to becoming music artists, our vision is that they remain worshipers in their lives and connected to biblical ministries. Our visible goal is to train the next generation of leaders as worshipers, as leaders in revealing the Word of God in and out of the Church and always impacting mainstream culture with real kingdom music.

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Visible Music College thrives on the belief that music is one of God’s most powerful forces for creating culture change and connecting people globally. We believe that truly modern Christian music education is best as a shared, community experience with the culture of the Church, and we work to align ourselves with local churches and ministries. We create intimate, immersive learning environments with experiential degree programs. Our degrees and certificates help cur-

rent and future worship leaders, musicians, producers, and managers grow together in a balanced spiritual, professional, and academic training model, centered in worship, relationship, and service. The overflow of our degree programs is evident in our oneweek summer music seminars, weekend worship leadership conferences, student-run record label, and community music schools for families.

How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? Our Worship Leadership program is grounded in the Word of God through careful integration with biblical instruction at a high, thorough level alongside daily practical experience in the community and in conjunction with healthy local churches. Theology and Bible courses are significantly featured in all programs, from certificate through masters and are aligned with the Worship Leadership division. Coursework is demanding and relevant, filled with revelation, leadership skills, and practical musical techniques in the classroom from our highly regarded, diversely gifted Worship Leadership faculty of practitioners: Todd Agnew, Dr. John Johnson, and Erin Nowicki. Our daily prayer and twice weekly gathered worship times are thoughtfully prepared, scripturally aligned, and highly participatory, with students leading, learning, and interacting with theological truths and experience with church service design and practical leadership. Our widely experienced staff and faculty continuously guide students in the things of tradition and the things of the Holy Spirit.

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SEE YOURSELF AT

VISIBLE

WAKE UP, GO TO CLASS, WRITE SONGS, STUDY, REHEARSE, EAT, SLEEP, REPEAT. Bachelor degrees and professional experience in a Christian artist community

1-877-55-VISIBLE seeyourself@visible.edu

visible.edu

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Marion, in About What sets your school apart? Wesley Seminary is committed to equipping people for ministry in the local church. In all of our degree programs, everything we do is oriented to helping and resourcing those who lead local churches so the good news of Jesus has maximal local and global impact. One thing that sets Wesley Seminary apart is our faculty. All of our professors have a ministry background and bring a wealth of practical experience as well as academic knowledge into the classroom. We love training pastors because we love pastors … because we ARE pastors who continue to serve the local church even while working as scholars. We love seeing pastors and local churches thrive and make a difference in their communities for the sake of the kingdom. Many people go to seminary to prepare to go do ministry after graduation. We are also unique in that we want to serve those already in ministry. That’s a key reason this program is offered entirely online: so that students don’t have to leave their current ministry context to go to school. A typical online cohort will represent a diverse cross-section of denominational perspectives and worship styles. We don’t promote one particular approach to worship as “right” or “best,” but seek to provide students with the tools they need to appropriately contextualize worship for their local congregation and do whatever they do with excellence “as unto the Lord.” things of the Holy Spirit.

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Wesley Seminary is inspired and engaged—a seminary designed for practicing and preparing professionals and shaped by what ministers and Christian leaders actually do. By putting theory into practice, within your own ministry context, your education becomes more active, more personal, more real. Ours is a seminary designed for ministry and immersed in ministry—one that will inspire you, engage you, and help you grow both spiritually and professionally.

How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? Our Worship Arts specialization is not a music degree—it is a ministry degree with a worship focus. Our primary goal is not to produce better musicians but more effective ministers who shape their congregations through worship. In fact, we assume students who enter this program are already capable musicians. Many will already be serving in local churches. They might have gone into a worship role thinking they were accepting a music job but quickly found out it was only about 30 percent music-related and about 70 percent pastoral ministry. It is that ministerial skill set that all of our Master of Arts in Ministry degrees seek to enhance with 18-hours of core ministry classes. In the Worship Arts specialization, we also devote onethird of the coursework to worship-specific courses that address areas like media and technology, music and the arts, and emerging trends in worship. These courses are designed to integrate the study of the biblical, theological, and historical foundations of worship with real-life application that can be put into practice from day one. Students also choose two elective courses that allow them to go deeper in an area of their own interest.

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MASTER OF ARTS IN MINISTRY

877.673.0009

indwes.edu/seminary

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west palm beach, florida About PBA is a private Christian university located five minutes from the Atlantic Ocean to the east and five minutes to the Kravis What sets your school apart? Center for the Performing Arts Students get laboratory opportunities to the west. A dual emphasis on to try out their leadership and understanding one’s craft and compositions prior to having the performing one’s talent at the opportunity to make it part of a highest possible level is expected worship service. of all students. They will gain the confidence and skills to succeed How does your program balance in their profession and in life. We theological training with practical aspects offer two programs: a Bachelor of leading worship? of Arts in Popular Music with a The Bachelor of Arts in Popular Music—Worship worship leadership track through Leadership Track—expects students to complete a 20-hour the School of Music and Fine Arts minor in theological and biblical studies. Music studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry emphasize the writing and performing of worship music with a worship track in the School both in academic and ministerial approaches. of Ministry.

Each degree offers a minor in the other track. Students with appropriate musical preparation audition to be in the worship leadership track. Students without prior academic musical preparation usually find their niche in the Ministry worship track. Many faculty serve as church musicians in the area. Roget Pontbriand has had a career in church music ministry and been a trumpeter with some of the best worship artists in the country. See his faculty biography on our website: www.pba.edu/music

Let your music make an impact! B.A. in Popular Music – Worship Leadership Auditions required

B.A. in Worship Studies in Ministry Non-audition track

Degrees in Popular Music Industry Track and Traditional Music Studies Learn the industry from our Grammy-nominated faculty

Audition Dates:

State-of-the-art facilities

February 13, 2016

Internships available

April 2, 2016 For additional audition dates and information: www.pba.edu/music 60

West Palm Beach, Florida

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What sets your school apart? The undergraduate degree in Worship Leading is a resident program designed to train and equip contemporary worship leaders. The online graduate Worship Studies program leads students to a deeper understanding of worship in the local church and around the world. Excellence in worship is encouraged on all levels with the understanding that worship is never a performance. UVF’s state-of-the-art technology provides the tools and resources to create an effective learning environment for all students enrolled in the various degree programs.

About

phoenixville, pa How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship?

UVF offers resident undergraduate, graduate and online degrees in more than 50 programs of study with a student-to-teacher ratio of 12:1. UVF is part of the Assemblies of God denomination, but there are over 20 other denominations represented within the student body. Ninety-eight percent of incoming full-time freshmen receive financial aid that includes Pell Grants, Pennsylvania state grants and many institutional scholarships.

UVF intentionally creates its curriculum to offer a balance between the biblical foundations of worship and the practical “hands-on” aspects of leading worship. In the undergraduate program, all students enroll in a core of Bible and theology courses. These classes provide the necessary theological foundations of worship for the 21st century. Additionally, UVF offers ample opportunities for students to receive practical training inside and outside the classroom. These opportunities include leading worship during UVF chapel services and other ministries such as touring on teams locally and throughout the Northeast.

UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE IN

WORSHIP LEADING GRADUATE DEGREE IN

WORSHIP STUDIES For more information and to apply online, visit

VALLEYFORGE.EDU/WORSHIPLEADER

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Redding, CA & Online at WorshipU.com What sets your school apart? The instructors at WorshipU are comprised of the entire Bethel Music Artist Collective, Bethel Church leadership, and worship leaders from around the world. They carry both biblical knowledge and the life experience of pursuing a true and authentic connection with the Lord as worship leaders. They have walked through the challenges of being a part of a worship community and have impacted the world through their pursuit of praise. With the ability to teach and relate to students with personal experience, the WorshipU students are encouraged by what they receive.

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About WorshipU is an online training program that exists to equip and empower worship leaders, musicians, and worshipers to live transformed. The classes are not accredited; however, they provide a comprehensive set of teachings that will benefit worshipers of every skill level and experience.

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How does your program balance theological training with practical aspects of leading worship? WorshipU houses four different tracks, one being the Worship Fundamentals Track and another being the Worship Leader Track. The Worship Fundamentals Track gives a lot of the essential theological training—designed for informing, and educating students on the biblical truths of worship. The Worship Leader Track goes more to the heart of what it means to live a life of worship and the practical details of what being a worship leader entails.


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PRODUCTION

BY GARY ZANDSTRA

The Sound Tech’s 5 Rules for Prayer Without Distractions

O

ne of the most memorable moments of my career (not a good memory) was the time I forgot to mute the input channels of the band as we went into prayer. Sure enough, the acoustic guitar player figured that the prayer, which was to be followed by announcements, gave him enough time to go backstage and refill his coffee. Yep, you guessed it. As the pastor uttered the words, “Holy Father we come to you today …” a huge bang rang out over the sound system, and it felt like maybe the Lord was about to show up in a thunder. Of course it was the acoustic player unplugging his guitar. Since that incident, I have never forgotten to mute the band at prayer time. Prayer from the platform is something that happens at almost every event that takes place at a church, and rightly so! The act of prayer is instrumental in a worship service. Therefore, as a sound tech it is your responsibility to ensure that it takes place in the most effective manner and, most importantly, without distractions. With prayer’s importance in mind, let’s look at 5 specific things that you can do to facilitate prayer.

1. Plan Ahead This goes for every aspect of a worship service but is worth mention here because the transition in and out of prayer time sets the tone and feeling. Prayer is a chance to look ahead and see what is coming up and mentally plan out your next moves. Think what channels do I need to turn on, what level should they be at and, in this age of digital mixing boards, what layer are the inputs on and how am I going to get there?

2. Pay Attention

so it is critical to think ahead and make sure you are doing everything you can to make transitions smooth. A pet peeve of mine is when the pastor gets up and the mic is not turned on, or when the mic is too loud or too soft as he begins speaking (or worse yet there is feedback). It is your job to pay attention and look ahead. A good sound tech always does a sound check with the band. A great sound tech always does a soundcheck with everybody involved in the service.

3. Find Proper Volume Finding the proper volume during a prayer can actually be challenging. Too loud and you feel like you are being yelled at, and it also feels impersonal. Too soft and you find yourself straining to hear what is being said. I like to say keep it at normal conversational level— it should feel “right.” A note here on volume: one of the most annoying things during prayer is background noise. HVAC can be a huge issue. If you are hearing lots of fan noise or rumbling or if you can hear the kids ministry down the hall, find a way to correct it or mitigate it. You could play music underneath the prayer.

4. Use Program Material (background music) When Appropriate As mentioned above, background music, either live or recorded can help mask other background noise. It also can enhance the prayer adding some additional emotional content. The key here is finding appropriate music. (No, AC/DC is not a good choice. Ever.) A soft quiet organ or piano patch played live or recorded is usually the best and safest route to go. Remember it is a music bed, meant to go underneath the prayer.

Transitions tend to be the area where the most notable issues (mistakes) happen, 64

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5. Pray Yes, pray. Participate. God wants to talk to us and for us to talk to him. Take part. Share a private moment with him. Let him know what is on your heart, what is troubling you, and what you are thankful for. Commune with him. I know that you are thinking, okay how am I supposed to participate when I have to look ahead, concentrate on what is going on, and make sure the worship team is happy and not jumping up and down trying to get my attention. Relax! First off, if you plan ahead and are truly prepared, the needs of others (the worship team) should already be taken care of. Yes, there are emergencies and sometimes just plain drama that require you to acknowledge others. For that reason, I always pray with my eyes open and thank God that he gave me the ability to multitask. You can engage in prayer, watch the stage, think ahead, and make necessary adjustments at the same time. You have a job to do during a service. Prayer is for the congregation, but it also for you, the worship team, the ushers, greeters, and staff—it is for everyone. So join in. Make sure you take this time to engage with what is going on in the service; it will help you personally as well as the entire congregation. Remember, the more in-tune you are with what is going on the better your mix and performance will be. It’s a cliché but oh so true. Prayer is powerful! Make sure you do your part to facilitate it. W GARY ZANDSTRA Gary Zandstra is a partner in nemosyn.com, inventor of the one-touch virtual soundcheck 32 channel digital recorder. You can reach him at gary@nemosyn.com


PRODUCTION

BY ANDY TOY

Gear Reviews Shure QLXD24/B87A Wireless System

Function: Wireless Microphone System Price: $1,136 Overview: The Shure QLXD24/B87A system is a combination of the QLXD4 Wireless receiver and the QLXD2/BETA87A wireless microphone transmitter. The receiver comes in a half-rack unit and features a backlit LCD screen detailing channel and signal information. Using Shure’s latest wireless technology, the QLX-D operates using 24bit digital audio for crystal clear sound. Features: One of our favorite features about the QLX-D system is the ability to change microphone capsules quickly and easily. The ability to interchange a BETA 87A capsule for an SM58 capsule on the fly makes it easy to pair microphones with singers, which is especially helpful when working with weekly rotating vocalists in a church service. Scan and sync are two convenient, easy to operate features that allow access to optimal open channels. Networking multiple QLX-D receivers is also simple and straightforward, and you can find and assign open frequencies for up to 60 receivers in just 10-15 seconds. The entire system, receiver and transmitter both are rugged and tough, built for the stage. Application: QLX-D has a range of 300 feet, which is more than enough for even the largest church stages. The BETA 87A capsule performs beautifully and captures a big, bold sound with an exceptional midrange. We especially liked the microphone on female vocals because it preserved the natural low-mids without being muddy while providing a nice presence peak in the upper midrange and high frequencies. The RF connection is rock-solid, and we experienced no dropouts or dead spots in our extensive test. Metering on the receiver is incredibly helpful for setting up gain and troubleshooting for the sound engineer and the interface of the receiver is simple and clear. Every inch of the QLX-D is incredibly well built and well thought out, making the wireless system one of the most reliable and easiest to use we’ve ever seen. More: Outstanding sound quality and easy to use wireless microphone system. Less: Not much

Eventide H9 Max

Function: Guitar Effects Pedal Price: $699 Overview: The H9 may be small, but packed inside the little white box are some of the most sought-after algorithms ever made in the history of digital effects. Included in the H9 Max package are all 45 algorithms and presets from the TimeFactor, PitchFactor, ModFactor, and Space effects pedals, plus several H9 exclusive algorithms. Easy to use and incredibly deep, the H9 Max is capable of truly epic sounds. Features: First of all, let’s talk about the look: beautiful, clean white and black chassis with red LED lights reminiscent of a NASA space shuttle. (Sorry vintage gear nuts, vintage is out and space age is in!) The user interface of the H9 is fairly straightforward: five buttons and a big knob that lets you control different parameters of the effect, but the real power of the H9 is in the iOS app H9 Control. H9 Control connects directly to your pedal via Bluetooth and lets you edit each preset with precision not available on a pedal. Instead of scrolling through menus and tertiary functions on the front of a pedal, the app (also available on Mac and PC via USB) lets you choose the parameter you want to edit and change it with a swipe of your finger. H9 Max includes stereo I/O, a built-in tuner, MIDI I/O and expression pedal and aux switch inputs. Sound: There is perhaps no better way to describe the sound of the H9 other than high definition. I know this is a term thrown around to describe high sample rates, etc, but in the case of the H9, I mean the term quite literally. Each effect we tried was marked by a clean, defined, massive sound from flawless pitch tracking to cavernous delays/reverbs. Standouts included all the pitch effects, which tracked both chords and single notes flawlessly, the reverbs (especially the gigantic soundscaping “Blackhole” preset), and the CrushStation: a bitcrush/overdrive effect that is unlike any effect we’ve ever heard. The H9 gives you effects on par with some of the best DAW plugins on the market today. Truth be told, using the H9 max actually felt more like using a DAW plugin than a traditional stompbox, due to the exceptional tracking and clean crisp effects, and especially because of the iOS app integration. The H9 Max is a pedal that gives you what Eventide does best: big, bold, effects that give the user a nearly unlimited palette to create sounds. More: High quality, big, defined sounds with a great iOS app. Less: You can only use one algorithm at a time (though many algorithms feature more than one effect).

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PRODUCTION

Yamaha TF3 Mixer

Function: Digital Mixer Price: $2,999.99 Overview: Yamaha has always been on the forefront of digital mixers, and the TF series may be most user-friendly digital mixer yet. The TF3 is a compact console with 25 motorized faders, 24 channels, and 20 aux sends, perfect for medium-sized venues. The TF3 mixer is setup for the easiest possible workflow for unprecedented convenience in a compact console. Features: The TF3 has 24 analog XLR/TRS inputs equipped with Yamaha’s D-Pre fully recallable preamps, along with 20 aux sends, 8 DCA groups, and 9 digital effects. Yamaha’s TF mixers are designed for mixing engineers with a range of experience and are full of features that make it easy and fast to dial in a great sound for any source, including a touch screen and the 1-knob COMP and one knob EQ. One-knob COMP applies preset threshold and ratio to the channel just by turning a knob while turning the one-knob EQ draws a curve that gets more dramatic the more you turn it and provides clarity and presence to the selected channel. GainFinder is another brilliant feature that shows you when the console sees optimal gain from a source by turning green, similar to the way a digital guitar tuner works. Our personal favorite feature is the QuickPro Presets. Working with microphone manufacturers such as Audio-Technica, Shure, and Sennheiser, Yamaha has created gain, EQ, and compression presets for industry-standard microphones on any source. TF3 has two iOS apps that allow wireless mixing including StageMix (an FOH mixing app) and MonitorMix, which allows up to 10 users to mix their own monitors wirelessly.

UE Pro Line Drive

Function: Line-Level signal buffer for IEM Price: $149 Overview: I’ll admit it, I was a bit skeptical when I heard about a buffer device for IEM that cost $149, but after one rehearsal with the UE Pro Line Drive, my in-ear monitor experience will never be the same. UE Pro Line Drive is an accessory that plugs in between your in-ear monitor and any source to provide the ideal audio fidelity between the two. About the size of a pack of gum, it comes with an extra set of batteries and a 3.5mm stereo input cable.

Features: UE Pro Line Drive acts as a buffer between in-ear monitors and your audio source, such as a wireless pack, Aviom system, or even the headphone output on your phone. Traditionally, portable devices such as iPods, wireless packs, and even Aviom systems have trouble driving low-impedance, multi-driver in-ear monitors and the audio can sound thin, especially extreme lows and highs. UE Pro Line Drive acts as an impedance transformer for the source and allows IEMs to function at Application: It’s easy to see why mixing engineers are raving about the their ideal performance level. Cutting the technical jargon, it means that new TF series consoles with their gain, EQ, and compression shortcuts no matter what brand IEMs you own, your custom ears will sound how that sound incredible. Whether you like to touch the screen to create EQ their creators intended them to sound every time you plug them in no curves or use traditional knobs, the TF has it, and you can utilize presets, matter what source you plug into. one-knob EQ, or GainFinder or fine-tune each channel the traditional way. The Yamaha TF3 sounds great and performs wonderfully, but the real Sound: No exaggeration, the transformation of my in-ears after I used magic is in the way the interface lets you interact with the console, saving UE Pro Line Drive was nothing short of a miracle. I had the opportunity valuable time for your FOH staff. to test UE Pro Line Drive with multiple pairs of custom in-ears of difMore: Incredibly easy-to-use, compact console. Less: Not much. The only thing we missed in our review was digital expansion and the stagebox, which are coming this spring.

ferent brands and different sources including Aviom systems, wireless Shure packs, headphone amplifiers at different price points, and smartphone headphone outputs. In every situation, the audio was significantly fuller and more balanced. Lows were full and punchy and highs were smooth and crisp while upper mids were not harsh at all. Possibly the biggest difference I noticed was in transient attack. Drums and percussion felt like they were forward in the mix and sounded huge. UE Pro Line Drive is a game-changer when it comes to in-ear monitors, making any source sound leaps and bounds better than plugging straight in. More: Makes your IEM sound phenomenal in any situation. Less: Not much.


PRODUCTION

What happens when a diverse church glorifies the global God? Pioneering worship leader Sandra Van Opstal provides biblical foundations for multiethnic worship, with practical tools and resources for planning services that reflect God’s invitation for all peoples to praise him. When multiethnic worship is done well, the church models reconciliation and prophetic justice for every tribe and tongue.

Intervarsity

“If we worship leaders are taking our pastoral roles seriously, one of our jobs is to prepare our churches for heaven’s worship where all nations are gathered. This book inspires, encourages and teaches how to do just that!” ZAC HICKS,

recording artist, pastor of worship at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church

IVPRESS.COM/NE X T WORSHIP


PRODUCTION

BY ANDY CHAMBERLAIN

10 REASONS

the Original Version of a Song Won’t Work 1. Wrong key for the singers.

5. Not enough rhythm.

Let’s start with the single biggest reason. Album and even definitive live versions of worship songs are arranged in keys that suit the lead singer’s voice, not the congregation’s range. In the last issue, we discussed congregational range in depth, but broadly speaking, songs with male vocals are often 2-3 semitones too high and songs with female vocals are often 2 semitones too low.

The other day at church someone led Matt Redman’s “Sing and Shout” on keyboard. Thing is, there was no acoustic guitar to drive the rhythm along, and it lost all of its punch and energy. So think hard about what your rhythm section has the capability of pulling off, and choose songs accordingly.

2. Octave jumps simply don’t work. Octave jumps are great tools to make songs dynamically exciting. They work great for radio where you need a big lift to keep the listener interested, but whenever a song has an octave leap, you alienate one or other gender in your congregation, and 50 percent of them will either stop singing or sound like they’ve inhaled a helium balloon. So, if you genuinely want to encourage participation, don’t do octave leaps—make it more singable for more people, more of the time.

3. Intros are too long. There are lots of worship songs with 8, 16, and even 32 bar intros. The entire point of congregational worship is maximum involvement. If they have to wait around while the band enjoys a long intro they switch off, so as a band we’ve made the song about our entertainment, not their involvement.

4. Entire versions are too long. Many definitive live versions of worship songs can be 8-12 minutes long with multiple repeats. While this works for large gatherings, it causes average congregations to switch off just as much as the long intros. So please don’t assume that just because a version is well known, that makes the length suitable for your church. 68

6. Wrong key for the instruments. We often talk about the wrong key for the congregation, but if we change the key it can radically alter the instrument’s voicing, particularly the guitars. So if you put songs in unfriendly guitar keys they may not have the voicings available to make the parts sound credible. For instance, I was recently playing for a worship leader, and she wanted to take the key up a 4th. This made the guitar lead line either squeakily high or too low to work well.

7. Way more guitars than you think. While we are on guitars, many studio recordings will have three, four, even five electric guitars buried in the mix to add fatness. Please be realistic! If you only have one electric guitarist and you want them to recreate an album part you may well be asking them to do more than is humanly possible for one musician.

8. You don’t have enough volume. Have you ever been at a party where people didn’t dance because the volume was too low to make the music involving? It’s the same with church. Yes, of course, music can be too loud, but conversely, fast anthemic songs need enough volume to make them involving. If your church has serious volume restrictions, something like “God’s Great Dance Floor” will never ever work, so be realistic about your song choices.

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9. You don’t have enough energy. Similarly some songs only work with big energy. This isn’t just volume, it’s the player’s ability to attack the sound with enough aggression and intensity. If your band plays everything with laid-back energy, some songs will just sound lackluster no matter how much volume you use. So again, choose songs that you can make sound credible.

10. Instrumental sections just don’t work. Lastly, there are a few recent and very popular songs that are bolstered by long or repetitive instrumental or link sections. Again this can pull large gatherings along, but for most churches, any time the congregation stops singing they stop participating. So in all our song choices, we must think not only about what realistically works but, more importantly, which songs makes congregational involvement the priority and not the afterthought. W ANDY CHAMBERLAIN is cofounder of Musicademy. com and Worshipbackingband.com that produce instructional DVDs for musicians involved in worship and multitrack backing tracks and software for churches with missing musicians.


NEW YEAR Tech Solutions SITUATION

AVL systems in need of more resources than are available Once the hectic pace of Christmas programs and productions has abated, a new year beckons with the promise of fixing the gear that failed or came up short of expectations. A projector lamp might have expired during a performance or an antiquated light may have gone out at a critical moment. Whatever the case, January is an excellent time to evaluate AVL needs and plan accordingly. Additionally, with the impending sell-off of more public bandwidth (in the 600MHz range this time), wireless mics purchased as replacements may themselves need replacing this year. In all, the tech-savvy church must make the most of any funds in order to provide uninterrupted, quality technical support.

SOLUTION

ACTION

If the ministry inventory includes an old 700MHz wireless system (now illegal in the USA), either gift it to an overseas mission or “part-out” the components for use elsewhere. For instance, an old Shure SLX24/58 can be parted out to provide a new SM58 head for a transmitter with a dropped and dented element, a functioning battery cover for a broken one, spare antennas for the receiver in the fellowship hall, and a replacement power supply for the one held together by gaffe tape in the kids’ area. The youth department’s old subwoofers can be freshened with a coat of truck bed liner, new NL Speakon connectors in place of the old banana terminals, and drivers sourced from ones never picked up by clients at the local speaker repair shop. A functional older XGA projector sitting in the tech closet can serve active duty on a cart for Celebration Recovery meetings and supplemented by the rough, but usable Mackie SRM450s standing silently in the storage shed. Another idea to renovate the mind is to move existing equipment around. Just as a retail store creates new interest by shuffling merchandise within the showroom, so, too, a church can find new uses and looks by simply moving a few lights around on the bars and placing two truss pieces vertically on stage with low-cost LED warmers attached. Bartering is also a valuable skill for a worship-tech to possess as it allows two ministries to benefit from an exchange of items each needs less than the other.

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to implement structural and functional changes, as well. In place of dedicated audio, video, and lighting techs, now is the right time to start a cross-training program in order to diversify the talent pool and eliminate the stress of one person who “cannot be out on a given Sunday.” Have an audio tech partner up with a video tech and let them walk each other through their paces. It is also a good time to graduate youth operators to the main sanctuary while simultaneously allowing seasoned techs to filter out into other, less-served ministries on campus. For techs with great passion but little skill, now is the time to enroll them in online courses or local training seminars such as FILO (First In, Last Out) and Curt Taipale’s Church Sound Boot Camp. If the pressure of the Christmas productions brought the tech team to the edge of frustration, forgo some new purchases and instead invest the money into a retreat for the team. On a low-cost scale, it can be as simple as an overnight trip to a concert in a nearby major city where the team is granted early access to the facility to experience the production first-hand from load-in to load-out. Seeing how the pros do it can be rewarding and encouraging as the team discovers the same obstacles apply to both environments, and they are in it together. W

Seek ways to consolidate and refurbish

Make it happen on a budget

*RETRACTION In the Nov/Dec issue of Worship Leader (Worship Planning section), we mistakenly printed a worship team role that is not accurate to Worshipplanning.com. To clarify this, a “Planner” is someone who can plan event details and/or schedule volunteers to serve, while “Helpers” don’t contribute to the planning process but do have access to the details of events for which they are scheduled. With this in mind, worshipplanning.com’s lowest price (prices vary based on desired level) is: $15/ month for 3 planners and unlimited helpers.

KENT MORRIS has mixed with Paul Baloche, Tommy Walker, Israel Houghton, and many more.

Also, in the Sept/Oct issue we printed the wrong website for Stretch Shapes; please visit stretchshapes.net for more information.

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PRODUCTION

BY BRIAN SMITH

A Good Song and

Johnny Cash I

recently attended a special writers night at Nashville’s Johnny Cash Museum that I will never forget. Hosted by Cindy Morgan, the event featured some of the finest writers of our day, including Wayne Kirkpatrick, Tom Douglas, Andrew Peterson, and Jonathan Kingham. As I leaned on a railing near the front door, listening to Wayne strum “Boondocks” on his guitar, or hearing Tom explain how he came to write “Little Rock,” I was reminded of the power of a song—and the foundational role played by songwriters. As worship leaders and artists, the craft of the song is no less central to its impact. So the writing process—and continuing to hone one’s songwriting chops—should be a top priority.

Art of Collaboration “The best thing an independent artist can do to grow and develop in their writing is to continue to write regularly, write with others in humility, and to make it a priority to finish songs,” said Jonathan Mason, Director of Word Worship. “Many careers have years of schooling 70

involved—and you can go to some great schools for songwriting. Even with a natural gifting as a songwriter, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have arrived. Be teachable. Confidence is important, but it can’t trump an honest humbleness. Working hard and finishing songs is important but it is just as important to learn patience. Slow and steady wins the race.” “Hands down, the most productive way to improve as a songwriter is to collaborate with others,” said Steve Rice, creator of Nashville Music Architects. “Study, write, re-write, collaborate, attend seminars, take courses … and become the best songwriter you can be.”

Stewarding the Song “If you’re an artist or worship leader, then you are either using songs you’ve written or songs penned by other writers,” Rice explains. “And if you are selling music, you need to at least contact a copyright administrator to help sort out licenses and royalties. You need someone on your team who understands the world of music publishing to ensure: • Compliance with copyright law when using other’s songs, such as recording or posting on social media

W O R S HIP L EAD ER J AN UARY /FE BR UARY 2016

• Protection, management, and collection of royalties on your songs when used by you, your church, or others” Mason concludes, “If a song is going to be used beyond the walls of the writer’s actual private use, publishing is important, whether through administering yourself, through another service, or a major publisher. It will allow you to receive proper wages for your work.” Whether you find yourself leading worship at your church on a Saturday evening, singing into a headset from an arena catwalk, or standing before the mic on the Grand Ole Opry stage, the connection with your listener begins and ends with the essence of a song. Creating the heart of those moments is the gift of every songwriter. For more on songwriting, visit songsphere.com. W

BRIAN SMITH Brian Smith has been serving Christian artists in the area of publicity and public relations for nearly 30 years. Turning Point Media Relations, founded by Smith in 1995, currently represents Newsboys, NewSong, and Ricardo Sanchez, among others (turningpointpr.com).


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FEATURE REVIEW

J E SUS CU LTU RE Let It Ech o J E S U S C U LT U R E /S PA R R OW

j e s u s c u l tu r e . co m

T

he Jesus Culture Band continues to ignite revival and transform modern worship music with its latest live album, Let It Echo. Let It Echo reflects the band’s spiritual growth and maturity brought about through difficult seasons of life as well as its passion to make disciples that worship Jesus. As the band continues to evolve and grow in its music and in intimacy with Christ, it also grows in its passion to encourage others to encounter God.

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What began years ago as a local youth worship team has developed into a fullfledged worship movement and more recently, a local church in California. This movement’s mission is to help others develop a passion for Jesus Christ and also to share him through revivals, conferences, and worship music. With a sound that is musically interesting yet easy to sing, Let It Echo reaches to those who hunger for more of Jesus Christ. Jesus Culture seeks to encourage, develop,

W O R S HIP L EAD ER J AN UARY /FE BR UARY 2016

disciple, and train new worship leaders, facilitate the writing of new worship songs, and help to develop anointed worship that will ignite revival in the hearts of people across the nations. Let It Echo is comprised of 12 new worship songs and features artists such as Kim Walker-Smith, Chris Quilala, and Derek Johnson. The song, “Never Gonna Stop Singing,” opens the album with an upbeat recount of what God has done for his people and their joyful response


in praise to him. This song reflects the Jesus Culture band’s commitment to worship as a means of intimacy with Christ. After the exciting call to worship, the wistful strains of “Fierce” describe God’s love for his children—fierce like a hurricane, a tidal wave, God’s love cannot fail. “Alive in You” moves from contemplative to passionate as it refers to Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (NIV). “In the River” is an exciting song about revival that arises from being washed in the river of God’s mercy, such as in Ezekiel 47:9. Moving into a more contemplative and meditative feel, “Let It Echo,” this album’s title track, speaks of the band’s desire to hear the praises of God echo

across the nations. Continuing in the feeling of reverence and devotion, “God With Us” praises God for all the ways that he is “God with Us,” from the recounting of his birth in Matthew to the depth of God’s love in Romans 8. The otherworldly, free-worship feel of “In Your Presence” looks to God for a lifechanging encounter with God’s glory and presence. “Stand in Awe” reflects the believer’s response to the presence of God: awe, amazement, and worship. The closing track on Let It Echo, “Power in the Cross,” reverberates with the saving grace of Jesus Christ and new life in the cross of Christ.

nations to sing. While the professionalism of this album is unequivocal, Let It Echo is more usable than unique in its style and instrumentation. However, the album is easily listenable and singable across cultures and generations, making it attainable for the average or excellent worship band to incorporate into their worship repertoire.

Sounds like: Let It Echo resounds with the essence of modern rock worship music through its compilation of talented worship artists creating cohesive worship music for churches across the

Amanda Furbeck

Top Songs Most Singable: “Let It Echo” Strongest Biblical Content: “God With Us” (Mt 1:23, Rom 8:31-39). The Whole Package: “Your Presence”

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IN REVIEW

MUSIC FOR LEADING a perfect guest list to complement William McDowell, the new prince of gospel. And the envelope please … Sounds like: Israel Houghton with New Breed and Desmond Pringle

William McDowell Sounds of Revival Entertainment One Nashville williammcdowellmusic.com Groomed by gospel master Ron Kenoly, William McDowell is coming off a stellar year. His previous release, Withholding Nothing was nominated for a Grammy for Best Gospel Album and it was already honored with the Stellar Award for Praise and Worship CD of the Year. Arguably William is at his best in the live arena and can hold his own with the top gospel artists in the business. Sounds of Revival is a powerhouse project from start to finish. With lush vocal arrangements and orchestration, this is big production at its finest. Highlights include, “It Is So” with Travis Greene, offering an energetic reggae flair and tightly syncopated background vocals. “Spirit Breakout” with Trinity Anderson is a sing-along ballad with call and response and is both powerful and majestic. The choir is outstanding and emphatic without overwhelming the lead vocals. Heralding from Cincinnati and now residing in Orlando, Florida, William McDowell’s tenor weaves a tapestry of vocal prowess and evokes Israel Houghton with a stamp of originality. “Heaven’s Open” featuring Daniel Johnson with power brass blends old school gospel with contemporary praise and “Rain Only Matters” offers up a clinic in harmony arrangement. The “Live” performance is an art unto itself and adds culture and relevance to this well-designed project. Finally, the Brian & Katie Torwalt cover “When You Walk Into the Room” is authentic worship and builds with layers of textures that are just mesmerizing. There are so many things to like about Sounds of Revival, not the least is the inventiveness that is brought to this banquet of “gospel delicacies.” This album brings together 74

Top Songs Most Singable: “It Is So” Strongest Biblical Content: “When You Walk into the Room” The Whole Package: “Reveal” Darryl Bryant

pel worship team (in Chicago) is the hidden context of Deeper, her fourth release, and it comes out in beautiful congregational music (“Lamb of God,” “Extravagant”) as well as in spiritual mature, Christian life-songs (“Soar,” “Sunrises,” “Glory”). Thematically, Deeper is an album that feels the pains of life’s realities “The lowest valleys,” as well as the triumph found when setting our sights on the Father (“Sunrise”); he can “be trusted in the dark and in the light” (“Trusted”). Ultimately, Deeper is a reminder of his promise to complete the good work he began in those who love him. And the result is a powerful offering of praise, an offering that gathers hearts toward the arms of the Father through songs such as “Spirit of the Living God” (also on the most recent Vertical Church Band release) where we lean into the quiet voice of the Father that breathes on us and changes everything. As well in that vein of worship, “Lamb of God,” written with Jason Ingram and Andi Rozier, focuses on the work of the Savior on the cross and praises the Son for the sacrifice and the life found in his completed work.

Sounds like: Organic piano-driven music mixed with electro-pop worship with a strong radio crossover appeal. Deeper offers powerful anthems and beautifully produced studio tracks that will carry from the car ride to the sanctuary and back again. Meredith Andrews Top Songs Deeper Most Singable: “Extravagant” Word Strongest Biblical Content: “Lamb of God” meredithandrews.com (Jn 1:29) The Whole Package: “Spirit of the Living You don’t have to be on a church worship team God” staff to release powerful prayers of heart-worship, but in Meredith Andrew’s case, it probably Jeremy Armstrong has helped. Being part of the Harvest Bible Cha-

W O R S HIP L EAD ER J AN UARY /FE BR UARY 2016


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IN REVIEW

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IN REVIEW

Seeker and Servant You Alone Forever seekerandservantmusic.com Steven Curtis Chapman Worship and Believe Essential Worship stevencurtischapman.com We’ve been waiting for over 20 years for this release, even if we didn’t know it. A pioneer of Christian music and a groundbreaking musical resource for the Church, Steven Curtis Chapman has released his first worship album, Worship and Believe. Chapman, a consummate songwriter, enlisted the help of some of today’s top worship artists on his first endeavor into the art of vertical prayer-song (Matt Maher, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, and members of Rend Collective), and the result is powerful music for individual worship and some song options to unite congregations. As a shift from a focus on story songs to vertical prayers, Worship and Believe represents Chapman’s continual willingness to grow in art-

istry. He has led people through life in honest pursuit of following Christ in the everyday, and now he is leading people in more direct prayers. That said, not all of these songs will work in a congregational setting, but those that do (“We Believe,” “Sing for You,” “One True God”) will be solid additions to your worship prayer lists. Sounds Like: There is still a good dose of guitar drive underneath the produced pop rock, which is what we would hope for from a Chapman release. Yet the album largely takes its cues from prominent mainstream worship production. Top Songs Most Singable: “Sing for You” Strongest Biblical Content: “More Than Conquerors” (Rom 8) The Whole Package: “We Believe” Jeremy Armstrong

Seeker and Servant hail from Jackson, Mississippi, and are taking worship music to a whole new level with masterful production, rich sequences, and ambient compositions. Even the intros are complex and thoughtful and personify elegance. And on top of all that, there are still stunning moments. The lyrics and arrangement of “You Will Carry Me” swells and drones inviting the listener to not just hear the song, but to actually experience it. With acoustic guitar and drums stealing the show and closing out the song with energy and sweet atmospheric finesse, “For Your Glory (I Surrender All)” demonstrates that Cameron and Chandler Wood, Kody Gautier, and Josh Westbrook know their way around the classics. “Drawing Me to You” is the complete package, and the video has crossover potential and artistic flair that complements the song well. The vocal arrangement is outstanding and walks the anthem and ballad tightrope with compelling ease. The balance between electronic and acoustic instruments on You Alone Forever provides outstanding instrumentation, and the album as a cohesive whole is well thought out. I hope these songs get a lot of airplay, You Alone Forever is more than worth a listen. Spread the word. Sounds like: Seeker and Servant Top Songs Most Singable: “All for You” Strongest Biblical Content: “You are Lord” The Whole Package: “You Alone Forever” Resources: Free download of this album at seekerandservantmusic.com. Darryl Bryant

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IN REVIEW

Austin Stone Worship This Glorious Grace austinstoneworship.com The twelve-year-old megachurch in Austin, Texas, Austin Stone, releases their latest collection of worship songs designed to lead and serve the Church. And this album is the full package! Every song is written with corporate worship in mind. The collaborative product of the large artist community of songwriters, filmmakers, and musicians at the church, each song on This Glorious Grace has a story of life change through the power of the gospel. This offering is a rare must-have for your church. With a zeal to be a resource to the Church, Austin Stone provides a “story behind the song” video as well as a “theology paper” that outlines the biblical message in every song. Sounds Like: Elevation Worship, Bethel Music Top Songs Most Singable: “Center of My Life” Strongest Biblical Content: “Jesus True and Only” The Whole Package: “You Are God, and You Are Good” Resources: Videos, charts, training resources, at austinstoneworship.com Jay Akins

Casting Crowns A Live Worship Experience Beach Street/Reunion castingcrowns.com A Live Worship Experience was recorded at Casting Crowns’ home church (Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church), where Mark Hall has been a full-time youth pastor for more than 20 years. The offering is a mixture of popular worship music and some of CC’s more vertical oriented songs. Basically a taste of what you would get if you were led in worship by one of the most venerable bands in Christian music. Familiar worship songs included are “Great Are You Lord” (All Sons & Daughters), “Good Good Father” (Housefires), “Here’s My Heart” (Passion et al.), “No Not One” (Christy Nockels), and the Casting Crown’s approach adds life and guts to these musical prayers. Along with a ministry focus, what is most attractive about this team of musicians is the vulnerability and intimacy brought to their music. This is largely due to Mark Hall’s powerful delivery and authenticity in song. A Live Worship Experience is definitely a worthy addition to their already impressive catalogue of God-honoring music. Sounds Like: The style stays true to the bands well-worn sound—country rock driven by Hall’s vocal husk. Top Songs: Most Singable: “Great Are You Lord” Strongest Biblical Content: “Jesus Friend of Sinners” (Jn 4) The Whole Package: “Good Good Father” Jeremy Armstrong

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IN REVIEW

Ricardo Sanchez Grand Symphony Difference Media Group ricardomusic.com Grand Symphony is the latest release, and first studio album, from worship leader and recording artist Ricardo Sanchez, best known for his songwriting and work with Israel Houghton, Darlene Zschech, and others. Sanchez brings great versatility to the album with his wide range of musical influences, from hip-hop to rock to praise and worship anthems, all done in a seamless mixture of English and Spanish. This album will appeal to a wide audience, not

just because of its variety in styles and sounds but because every song and style is done with such high quality. The vocals are super, and the production quality is excellent. Israel Houghton’s influence, both as mentor and producer of this album, can be heard on songs like “Por Cristo, For Christ,” “Halle-Halle,” and others. Ricardo shows his own unique sound, though, on the title song, “Grand Symphony,” and with his distinctive, strong vocals heard in full display on songs such as “Take Over,” a beautiful ballad of surrender to God.

Sounds like: A great mixture of styles, including pop, world rhythms, rap, rock, and contemporary worship, this album is sure to provide something for everyone. Fans of Israel Houghton, Salvador, and TobyMac will have something to love here. Top Songs Most Singable: “Take Over” Strongest Biblical Content: “Halle-Halle” The Whole Package: “Grand Symphony” Barry Westman

Ricardo Sanchez

Oaks Worship Future Bright & Free theoaksonline.org/oaks-worship Oaks Worship’s new album Future Bright & Free is a solid two-disc ensemble of songs written for congregational worship, recorded live with a massive palette of sonic depth. The song expressions range from high-energy and upbeat, like “My Victory Song” and “In You,” to medium-tempo anthems like “For the Light Has Come” and “Victory Is Yours,” to tender moments found in “Thank You” and their ren78

dition of “Turn Your Eyes.” The standout track, “No One Brighter,” finds a balance between poignant contemplation, expressions of adoration toward God, declarations of truth, and responses to salvation in worship. It moves from delicate moments of reflection to inspiring heights in the melody, and the dynamics of the song keep us in a sense of sacred space while we sing praise to the Lord. All the songs feature biblical lyrics along strongly focused horizontal lines, which reinforce our theology of who we are as Jesus’ Church and who we are as individuals because of who he is and what he has done for us.

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Sounds like: Hillsong, Shoreline, Passion, Newport Top Songs Most Singable: “Victory Is Yours” Strongest Biblical Content: “Future Bright & Free” The whole Package: “No One Brighter” Resources: Free lyrics and chord charts at theoaksonline.org/oaks-worship. Brendan Prout


IN REVIEW

Sounds like: Fanny Crosby, Augustus Toplady, and Martin Luther were born in the last 25 years and wrote songs within the Hillsong United, Integrity Music, and folk/roots communities. Top Songs On an album of mostly well-known hymns, these deserve a listen as especially powerful adaptations of hymns into contemporary genres: “Be Thou My Vision,” folk styled “Give me Jesus,” synth and electric “O Happy Day,” soul The whole package: “All Will Be Well,” a less-familiar Fanny Crosby song that feels like an “It Is Well With My Soul” for a new generation. Resources: Chord charts available at calvarycreative.org. Graham Gladstone

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Monuments represents an impressive achievement—this is an album of hymns, done in contemporary styles, that both stirs the modern heart and maintains the power and integrity of the original, historical hymns. This was the goal, “To testify cross-generationally to the faithfulness of God,” and indeed, the various worship leaders and School of Worship artists from Calvary Creative have succeeded, preserving hymn tunes without much melodic or rhythmic tinkering or new choruses (which will help these arrangements serve the older generations) while presenting them musically in a way that is nearly indistinguishable from the current trends in contemporary worship music

(which will help serve the younger generation). Highly recommended for churches whose young worship leaders are reluctant to use classic hymns lest they “lose people’s attention.” Monuments injects new vigor into already powerful hymns, and the Church stands to benefit from the effort. On a personal note, while reviewing this album, two members of the church I pastor were called home by God. This album was a tremendous blessing to me, putting powerful words, affirmed by generations gone by, on my lips and heart with memorable settings that are a pleasure to listen to.

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IN REVIEW

Stu G Have You Heard stugworld.com Fans of Delirious? can now experience prehistory in the remastered 20th Anniversary edition of Stu G’s 1995 EP, which featured every member of the band that would go on to become Delirious?. Two of the songs, “The Rain” and “Rest” receive double treatment on this version of Have You Heard 2015. Their original recordings are included, along with new versions. The originals sound like the period from whence they come, as if the Wallflowers, Jayhawks, or Toad the Wet Sprocket were playing along. The new cuts are radical reimaginings with heavy distortion on the vocals and lots of synth. Have You Heard 2015 ends with a live (and far less grungy) recording of opening cut “Come Like You Promise.” Sounds Like: A combination of Britpop and ’90s Americana alt-rock with doses of Seattle grunge and older influences like the Grateful Dead and Daniel Amos. Top Songs Most Singable: “Have You Heard” Strongest Biblical: “Rest” Whole Package: “Come Like You Promise (Live)” Bobby Gilles 80

Stu g

Celebration Worship Our God, Our Mountain worship.celebration.org In order to bring a voice to what God is doing in Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida, Celebration Worship release their fifth album, Our God, Our Mountain. It’s a congregational release with songs designed by a team of creatives who are clearly familiar with the power of sung prayer to help people connect with God. The impressive result is spare and atmospheric in beautiful ways and prayerfully oriented to encourage the resonance of Scripture in the hearts and pouring from the lips of the congregation. It’s the musicality, prayer-focus, and ultimate singability of the songs that help this release stand out. Track after track, the music is melodic and married to biblical truth. “Victory” opens the worship with a synth-

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driven, up-tempo call to celebrate the defeat of the enemy through the coming of the Son. Then we are encouraged to exalt the one who deserves the highest praise (“Behold the Lamb”), we find shelter in the goodness of the Lord (“Refuge”), and we invite the Spirit of God to take us deeper into the depths of who he is (“Let Your Spirit Fall”). The theme of God’s power and his ability to sustain us in his grace is the foundation of Our God, Our Mountain—it’s a request for God’s presence, and it’s a declaration of the beauty found there. Sounds Like: The more energetic songs are rich with layers of electro sounds and a strong bass-and-drum drive. The down tempo tunes are vulnerable and spare with subtle ambient backdrops. Top Songs: Most Singable: “Victory” Strongest Biblical Content: “Behold the Lamb” (Rev 4-5; Jn 1:29) The Whole Package: “My Soul Will Sing” Jeremy Armstrong


IN REVIEW

less, and needy—definitely the real deal. Oceans of Grace are extremely gifted artists who share the love of Jesus in all that they do. Sounds Like: Bethel’s Tides, Shane & Shane Oceans of Grace Oceans of Grace oceansofgraceband.com New worship band, Oceans of Grace releases their self-titled debut worship album filled with sweeping melodies that instantly inspire you to sing along of the goodness and grace of God. The Oceans of Grace family write songs that will lead your congregations to the throne with beauty and truth. Evident in their focus, this mission-minded worship team exists to lead people in worship but also care for the poor, help-

Top Songs Most Singable: “How Great You Are” Strongest Biblical Content: “I Know That You Love Me” The Whole Package: “You Rise Like the Sun” Resources: Free Spanish & English downloads of “How Great You Are” at oceansofgraceband.com. Jay Akins

Sounds like: With the variety of worship leaders and styles, there is not one single sound that can describe this album. The songs that Tommy Walker lead have the typical guitar-driven soulful sound that Walker brings. The songs led by Jonathan Lewis have more of a full band, choir, and team sound. The other worship leaders each bring their own unique approach and flavor to the album, resulting in quite a variety of sounds and styles on this project.

Faithful: Psalms, Hymns, & Spiritual Songs – Pt. I and II Christ for the Nations CFN Music cfnmusic.com

Top Songs Most Singable: “Victory of the Cross” Strongest Biblical Content: “My God Yahweh” The Whole Package: “We Enter His Gates” Resources Available: Chord charts at cfnmusic.com. Barry Westman

Christ for the Nations has released a compilation of new and familiar psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, released in two parts. Led by worship leader Jonathan Lewis, both albums contain a mixture of new songs, such as “We Enter His Gates” and “Victory of the Cross,” familiar songs such as “I Love the Lord” and “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” and elements of spontaneous worship. Former CFNI student and now familiar worship leader Tommy Walker makes an appearance on the first album with three songs, including a re-release of the first song that he ever wrote, “I Will Give You Praise (Only You),” which appeared on an earlier CFN album. Other worship leaders featured on this project include Rane Tomlinson, Maddy Hunt, and Demi Martin. The songs led by Tommy Walker and Jonathan Lewis stand out as the strongest, and would easily lend themselves well to congregational worship.

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BY ZAC HICKS

ONE LONG PRAYER SESSION

A

while back, a mentor offered me a game-changing insight. He reminded me that what I was doing as a worship leader every week was nothing short of leading the people of God through one, long prayer session. Before that, I had always thought of prayer being a vital part of worship—one of the necessary elements among many others. However, my mentor’s insight caused me to notice that other Christians of all persuasions across time and space had been boldly preaching all of worship as prayer. It’s interesting, for instance, that our Anglican brothers and sisters call their primary worship manual, The Book of Common Prayer, which outlines acts we don’t normally think of as prayer— responsive texts, Scripture readings, singing, preaching, baptism, and Communion. Way on the other side of the spectrum, our charismatic friends in Kansas have a huge worship facility they call the International House of Prayer, where many of those same practices take place. In short, Christians through the ages have thought prayer to be synonymous with the whole of worship. And this all makes sense when we remember that Jesus himself labeled the very Temple “a house of prayer” (Mt 21:13, quoting Isaiah). Understanding worship as prayer roots us in a very ancient, biblical idea.

some seismic shifts in how I thought of worship, the people of God, and my role. The first domino to fall was seeing myself less as a performer of songs and more as a facilitator of prayer. In planning and leading worship services, my job wasn’t to “wow” people to look at me but to help woo them to the very feet of the Father, who speaks and listens. I worried less about how polished things were, and I began to care much more that people were engaged in a truly prayer-

vices, we’re used to shifting our attention back and forth between screens, phones, signs, speakers, and (most importantly) real, live human beings. But if worship truly is, from start to finish, a prayer gathering where the people of God listen and speak, part of our job is to help our people counteract the frenetic pace and infinite distractibility of the world outside our weekly gathering. In our impatient age, we must be guardians of worship as a place where people can truly listen and “wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning” (Ps 130:6). Perhaps all of this will for a time unsettle you as it did me. I could no longer so haphazardly assimilate the latest cultural products and practices into worship without filtering them through the very simple but provocatively pastoral question, “Does this help or hinder my flock’s ability to converse with God together?” And once you start asking those kinds of questions, it’s hard to turn back. May God make us more and more into the kinds of prayer leaders he wants us to be.

“In planning and leading worship services, my job wasn’t to ‘wow’ people to look at me but to help woo them to the very feet of the Father, who speaks and listens.”

This Changes Everything As you can imagine, viewing all of corporate worship as prayer initiated

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ful corporate experience of revelation and response, of God addressing us in his Word, and us speaking and singing back to him in faith. My criteria for song-selection changed, too. I could no longer settle for choosing songs based on sweet grooves and killer hooks. I needed to know that the songs I put into the mouths of the people of God every week were, in fact, suitable for the rhythms of call-and-response that characterize worship understood as prayer.

Sacred Space Seeing worship as one, long prayer session also began to make me more alert to how worship relates to culture. Prayer, like any other intentional conversation, requires attention, time, devotion, and perseverance. In our distracted age of push notifications and multimedia de-

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ZAC HICKS Zac Hicks is Pastor of Worship at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and blogger at zachicks.com. He is also an instructor of worship at Knox Theological Seminary and author of The Worship Pastor, forthcoming from Zondervan in Fall 2016.


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Profile for Worship Leader Magazine

Worship Leader Magazine Volume 25 Number 1  

January/February 2016

Worship Leader Magazine Volume 25 Number 1  

January/February 2016

Profile for wlmag