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The Clarity Solitude Brings David Bunker

The Restored Heart Shane Tucker

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A Golden Thread of Grace

an interview with Darlene Zschech

14 Spiritual Direction and the Worship Leader Justin Fox

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18 Leading Worship Like a Spiritual Director Rory Noland 20 

22

Music Ministry and Spiritual Direction

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John Michael Talbot

 ersonal & Corporate P Worship an interview with Carolyn Arrends

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First Steps to Becoming a Multi-Cultural Worship Leader

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Nikki Lerner

The Doctor Is In

Dr. Craig GIlbert

WINTER 2019

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CALLED TO BE A

SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR?

W

to those who have come to us with spiritual and practical questions and needs. We’ve then shared those questions with pastors, theologians, musicians, sung prayer writers, technology advisors who could mentor, direct, and assist you in your calling and your life. Whatever God and experience has shared with us, we have shared with you. Together, we’ve explored a theology of worship as sung prayer. It’s a humbling thing to be allowed access to a person or communities spiritual life and I am grateful for each one of you. I never really thought of it this way, but God’s call to start a record label, then a magazine, and associated song service to congregations, and finally a conference, was really a call to become a Spiritual Director. I’m still in process, but am eternally grateful for those who took the time and interest to listen to my questions. Those who directed and continue to direct me, whether personally or via the written page, have literally changed the course of my life.

orship is built on the chronicles of faith and prayer from the pages of Scripture and life from generation to generation. The words of worship are given meaning through embodied expression. In the echoing narrative of God, He is the initial sender, igniting worship in us as the receivers and we respond by sending spoken and sung-prayer back to Him. Songs of proclamation, supplication, inquiry, deliverance, communion, prophecy, each one a note in the grand narrative of relationship and communion between God and His Church. God Who sent, now receives, hears, and responds. He is the ultimate Spiritual Director. Worship at its heart is prayer. And prayer is sacred conversation. Spiritual direction is facilitating sacred conversation and personal growth as a follower of Christ, helping a person to encounter and engage with God and life at a deeper and continually expanding level, existing in the space occupied by both the mystical and the practical. That is in many ways the call of a worship leader. We at Worship Leader magazine have always aimed at following the Father’s Lead, Jesus example, and the Spirit’s Direction, and in turn sought to listen attentively

H OW W H AT

D O

Chuck and the Worship Leader family

YO U

H E A R

G O D?

P L AC E

H AV E

YO U

W H E R E

D O

YO U

B E S T

D E S I G N AT E D

R E C E I V E

A S

S AC R E D?

S P I R I T UA L

D I R E C T I O N?

D R .

C H U C K

CEO/PUBLISHER

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F R O M M


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C L A R IT Y

T H E

C L A R I T Y

S O L I T U D E

H

ow many times have I found myself standing side-by-side my fellow worship team members feeling overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted? One cannot lead a thriving community in worship without discovering the state of their inner world. In that discovery, it becomes clear very quickly. Our soul can be deeply disquieted and yet our conscious awareness of its state be ignored or denied. That disregard and denial is a price the worship leader and his fellow worshippers pay for dearly. This issue of Worship Leader is focused on the role and impact spiritual direction and disciplines have on those who lead and engage in worship vocationally. In recent years there has been a resurgence of deep and profound writing and ministering in and around spiritual direction. When does the soul run out of deep meaning for discerning one’s journey? How do you know when your inner life is deficient or depleted? When life becomes small and descriptions take on a cynical tone one is often suffering from a lack of solitude. For those in ministry in this condition, the soul can turn reactionary, overly concerned with results and appearances, and lose its ability to rest and surrender. It was in the hinterlands of Nashville that I came face to face with my own busyness of heart. I was hired to run a retreat center and I went excited and prepared to reveal all my strengths and insight. What I soon discovered was that I was not comfortable with my own thoughts. Spending hours and days in nature often by myself, made me aware of an inner disquiet. There was an intrusive meddling of anxiety that was persistent. I found that I would avoid solitude. My inner turmoil projected a lack of inner belonging. I could not quiet my thinking. There was an emptying that was calling out to me. In the age of an intrusive media, we desperately need the cultivation of a space

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B R I N G S

specifically assigned to solitude. Being alone is difficult. Many of us are so formed by the noises from Netflix and Spotify and phones that our first few experiences of solitude are grueling and actually painful to the soul. Being alone reveals much more of our deepest fears and unruly emotions and thoughts than we like to admit. For this reason, solitude is necessary for those who seek to lead worship. Solitude also involves a degree of emptying. This emptying may involve the relinquishment of emotions that are crowding out one’s ability to be present and stay in the moment. Spiritled worship leading is always a by-product of being present in the moment. Time is really only imagined. By that I mean we can look at the past and reflect on it. We can imagine the future and hope for it. But it is only the present moment that is available to us to create and join with God as co-creators. When solitude becomes an actual discipline, our souls begin to desire and anticipate this time of respite and quiet. By abstaining from the myriad of distractions of an overly busy life, our soul is prone to ponder, we discover the resilient things, the important things to our deepest parts, our soul’s code, our birthright, our messages from the Father still caught up in the queue. An inner calm is needed to hear the still small voice of God. Today listen and download the silence and its gifts. Make solitude a practice that brings clarity and empowers your worship leading.

BY

DAV I D

B U N K E R

EDITOR, POET, & TEACHER

David is spiritual director and resident muse in the Artist Care program at Visible Music College as well as working with their in house label Madison Line Records.


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R You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.

esting in God is a journey and a process. I am a vagabond, of sorts. My heart is prone to wander. Over the past few decades, I’ve moved within the U.S. and lived in Europe for eleven years. My heart has always been most at home on Ireland. Being saturated in the beauty of the Irish landscape urges me to slow down and listen, and helps me remember who I am and who I am not. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

ROMANS 1:20, NIV

What is it that captures our eye? What consumes our attention? To what, or whom, do we affix our affections? These questions help tease out truth from this pithy fellowship of words, saturated with significance: I become what I behold. What we worship—that which our eyes and heart are fixated upon—has the greatest influence over who we become. Taken as a whole, the Scriptures seem to indicate that the human heart is the center of our soul. Therefore, it’s no surprise we’re encouraged to, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV). Who we are and who we become flows from our center, our hearts.

AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (354–430 A.D.) CONFESSIONS

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WHAT DOES COMMUNICATING WITH THE ALMIGHTY LOOK LIKE IN OUR EVERYDAY LIVES? Fostering a relationship with Our Father consists of pouring our hearts out to Him (Psalm 62:8), listening for His Voice (Psalm 46:10; 81:8), then responding on what He’s revealed to us in Scripture and prayer (John 14:23-24). Worship is a means by which our hearts communicate with God. When many within the Body of Christ think of worship, what’s often inferred is the musical accompaniment to an intentional expression of praise directed to the One from whom all blessings flow and every good and perfect gift comes. Worship is broader. The entirety of our lives reflect Christ and give glory to God. Sung worship is a conduit of expression, a response to God’s initiative to reach and rescue us, and allows our hearts to free flow with gratitude, moved by the movement of the music.

If the role of sung worship is a means by which we can express our hearts to God, spiritual direction is a means by which God can more clearly express His heart to us.

Spiritual direction emphasizes listening to God. As I understand it, Jesus issues two calls to each of us.

WALK WITH ME. By responding to the call to walk with Jesus, we grow in intimacy with Him and our own sense of identity begins to take shape as a result.

WORK WITH ME. This call matures into a sense of vocation—building God’s Kingdom here on earth. But all of this begins with learning to discern, and obey, the voice of the Father. This is where the practice of spiritual direction becomes invaluable. In a spiritual direction relationship, there are three parties: the directee, the director and the Holy Spirit. The directee invites a director, a trusted follow of Jesus, to walk life’s road alongside the directee. The director is trained to listen to the directee and the Holy Spirit simultaneously, and the director’s ability to listen will facilitate the directee’s awareness of God’s voice and work in their life via reflective questioning and praying with the Scriptures. This practice stems from the belief that we are all made for relationship with God, and that created within us is the desire and ability to foster a relationship with Our Father. Sung worship and spiritual direction harmonize with one another, and authentic engagement in both help us nurture a robust relationship with God which Jesus Christ affords all people. It’s because of Jesus that we can cry out to God, ‘Abba, Father’ (Rom. 8:15). It’s through this heartfelt expression of affection for Him, and by learning to listen to His voice, that we remember who we are. We remember that we are His. In these moments we’re put back together, growing up to go out and fulfill our part in His mission—the renewal of all things (Rev. 21:5).

BY

S H A N E

T U C K E R

ASSOCIATE PRIEST, SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR

Shane serves as a Spiritual Director with his non-profit, Soul Friend. He is passionate about travel, writing, the arts, curating catalytic conversations and seeing people become who they were created to be, artistsoulfriend.com silvertongue dreamingbig

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A

G O L D E N

T H R E A D

O F

even then, this behavior actually causes me to cry out to God on their behalf because of my love for them. I love Psalm 145 when it clearly describes God’s heart:

WORSHIP LEADER (WL): Your new book, The Golden Thread, examines the entire process and dynamic of “experiencing the presence of God in every season of life”. Was this book difficult to write as you recalled some difficult memories?

"The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness."

DARLENE ZSCHECH: This book is dear to my

heart, so it wasn't difficult to write as it’s a piece of my story. I LOVE the fact that it is in the telling of our story that we relive again the goodness and faithfulness of God. Sometimes when you are lost in your pain it’s hard to SEE that God is with you, but when you look back you see that there was not one moment that He wasn't walking with you through your pain.

PSALM 145:8 (AMP).

This is Gods heart for us all.

WL: Many things have changed over the past 20 years in the world of worship. Yet, some things will never change. Can you elaborate on what truths remain and will always remain?

WL: Young worship leaders that are just beginning their journeys will benefit immensely by reading The Golden Thread, and older worship leaders will be able to identify with your recollections and counsel as well. Explain the “golden thread of grace” to our readers.

DARLENE: How do I even begin to tell of the keeping power of God? His ability to HOLD us always. As I was writing this phrase, “like a golden thread”, just came out of my spirit. And every time I dive deep into my thoughts of the robust nature of God that is GRACE, that pure metal strand of His overriding kindness feels to me like a cord that will never let me go. I guess it is why I also am very passionate about the worship of God, as He is a God that can be experienced; not just spoken or sung about. I am one who is an everthankful recipient of the amazing grace. WL: For some believers, the notion of God “not being angry with us”, is hard to accept. Can you shed some light on this for worship leaders?

DARLENE: The unrelenting love of God has

been a deepening revelation IN me over many years. At first as a Christian, I was still ‘working hard’ to please Him, when actually I now realize that He doesn’t need my guilt-based works for me to prove my

darlenezschech The Golden Thread is published by

Thomas Nelson devotion. He is actually seeking my heart above all else. Hebrews 11:6 makes it simple; “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Seeking Him is the key. Not to get anything, but to know Him, to hear Him speak, to just BE with Him. He loves us SO much. I see it when I look at how I am with my own children. NOTHING they do can make me love them less. They may disappoint me but

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DARLENE: Every generation has its own sound and way of expressing its heart before God. The methods will always change, but the foundation of truth will always remain. Sometimes I get concerned over what people place value on. But the Holy Spirit has an amazing way of pulling our hearts back into line when we wander. The centrality of the gospel will always be where the power of our message is, and our defining feature will always be the presences of God. Not our talents, opportunities or abilities, but the resurrection power of Christ alive in us. You can manufacture an atmosphere in some ways, but you can never manufacture the presence of God. WL: Please tell our readers what you hope and pray for regarding the reading of your new book? How will your recollections and learnings impact our readers?

DARLENE: My prayer is that through this message of the Golden Thread, you will be encouraged to trust in the providence of our great God, and that you will grow in confidence that God is with you, always. Our Emmanuel. There is no one and nothing that will ever compare.


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spiritual A N D

T H E

W O R S H I P

B Y

J U S T I N

FOX

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L E A D E R


HOW THESE MINISTRIES ARE UNIQUE

T

hrough the centuries many leaders have found great value and support in meeting with a spiritual director as part of their ongoing discipleship and spiritual formation. I discovered the value personally after graduating from Talbot Seminary and going on to serve as a spiritual director myself. It has profoundly impacted the way I shepherd, lead, and love others.

Before diving into the connection between spiritual direction and worship leading, let’s discuss the differences. Worship leading usually describes the activity of guiding a smallto-large group through an experience of corporate singing, prayer, reading, and listening to God together. Spiritual direction, on the other hand, is limited in scope from a one-to-one relationship up to a small group setting. There is more content coming from the participant (the “directee”) rather than the leader in spiritual direction. Significant time and opportunity must be created by a spiritual director, so the directee is free to set the pace to talk, share, and process out loud the activity of God in his or her life. Worship leading is the opposite; the worship leader provides most of the content, pacing, and agenda for individuals or a congregation in which to follow and participate.

HOW THESE MINISTRIES CONNECT Spiritual direction can play a specific role in the devotional life and professional development of a Worship Leader, and there seem to be several poignant benefits. Spiritual direction helps Worship Leaders develop an ability to be in tune with the leading and activity of the Holy Spirit. It gives them space to ponder and reflect on God’s presence in their own lives, to learn to hear and trust the voice and stirrings of God, which in turn informs the way that they lead others. It strengthens their sensitivity to the leading of the Spirit in worship planning and the facilitation of worship gatherings. Receiving spiritual direction helps Worship Leaders get better in touch with their own emotions and situation. The contours of this journey often lead to deeper, contemplative places of honesty, confession, and growth, exponentially broadening a Worship Leader’s understanding of developmental spirituality and the complexity of human anthropology. The concept that a leader “cannot effectively guide people to where they have not gone themselves” takes on critical meaning here. Spiritual direction enables a Worship Leader to more contemplatively write and choose worship elements and liturgies that reflect these realities of heart, soul, body, emotions, and habits. Spiritual direction gives Worship Leaders the long view of spiritual formation in the life of believers. By taking into account process and conversational prayer, Worship Leaders can move beyond the goal of emotional expression or musical excellence. Worship Leaders gain new metrics for evaluating the success or effectiveness of their ministry, including the ongoing development of a congregation’s prayer life and overall growth in spiritual maturity.

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practice stillness. A S K H O L D

T H E

F O R

L O R D

M E

I N

W H AT

P R AY E R , I S

I N

M Y

M I N I S T E R I N G

“ S P I R I T,

H OW

S O U L

I

T O .

S O

G I V E

C A N

M E

Q U I E T B E

P E AC E ,

I S

M Y

T R U LY M A K E

S O U L?

P R E S E N T M E

S H OW W I T H

M E

A N D

T H O S E

I ’ M

S T I L L ."

How “still” is your soul as you plan your worship services, print chord charts, or plug in mic cables? If you took even five minutes to pause and ask this of the Lord in prayer before jumping into all the necessary, practical activities of preparation, your entire demeanor, pace, and availability to God and others may be changed. How might it change you? What would it look like for a Worship Leader to lead from a place of inner peace and stillness? In what ways would this be a gift to our congregation and volunteer teams? In a chaotic and anxious world, this posture can make our sanctuaries truly become sanctuaries for many.

If we’re honest, often our Worship Leader souls (especially in preparation for leading) are a churning, turbulent sea of anxiety, fear, and self-consciousness, rushed and compressed by hurry, busyness, turmoil, and uncertainty. Unfortunately, if this is the case, it gets reflected to our teams and congregation. We cannot provide a peaceful place of stillness to those around us if we are not experiencing it to some degree ourselves. We need the Spirit’s power to help us do this. That’s why this is a prayer, a request: “Give me peace. Make me still.” How might starting your time of planning or preparation with a prayer like this shape your experience?

practice hospitality. P R AY E R

P O I N T: B E

“ L O R D ,

F U L LY

H E L P

M E

W E L C O M E

P R E S E N T,

A S

I F

Before rehearsal, are the necessary materials and technical needs prepared in advance for your volunteers? How is the lighting, tidiness, and organization in the room? Does it represent a still, peaceful, loving, and hospitable soul? The attention paid to these details will greatly help your teams experience peace, love, and hospitality, and they will reflect it back. It will enable them to move beyond petty distractions and to focus more clearly on the important things, like their own spiritual formation and call to service, as well as the divine task at hand. And, before your congregation enters the worship space, how hospitable have you made it for them? Are

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T H E Y

T H E S E

W E R E

P E O P L E

A N D

YO U .”

things intentionally placed exactly where they should be? Have you given adequate attention to how the platform looks? If Jesus where to walk in a few minutes before service and have a seat, what would he be noticing? What are the surroundings saying about your gathering to come? Does the platform have intentional lighting, meaningful, color-coordinated items on it (candles, art, pulpit, nature, Scripture, etc.)? Or, is it cluttered with guitar cases, dusty plastic flowers, and dented water bottles? Again, hospitality is surprisingly important to the care of others. When the sobering task of spiritual formation is on the table, this welcoming step is crucial.


practice safety. A S K

G O D

I N

P R AY E R ,

“ L O R D ,

C O N F I D E N T I A L I T Y.

A M

TA K E

I

S A F E ?

AWAY

M A K E

A N Y

M E

A

P L AC E

O F

J U D G M E N T.”

grace and love instead of judging too quickly? How do we approach the various musical tastes, preferences, and suggestions of our congregants and volunteers - with snap judgments and quick dismissals if we don’t agree, or with grace and a suspension of criticism? Practicing this posture of safety as we plan and lead our teams in rehearsal and preparation can help us deepen relationships and provide a space for accountability, honesty, and true spiritual growth.

Spiritual Directors operate with a code of confidentiality like many other counseling-type practices, so this particular element may not directly apply to worship leading, but there’s something here nonetheless. What would it mean for a Worship Leader to be a “safe” person, without any judgment? Are you a leader that your congregants and volunteers can trust with personal disclosures, with vulnerability? Are you a safe person that others can be honest and real with about their failings and doubts? Can you keep confidences and respond with

practice attentiveness. P R AY E R A N D

P O I N T:

PAY

H E L P

M E

“ L O R D ,

AT T E N T I O N T O

B E

T O

A B S E N T

H E L P

M E

T H E M . F R O M

F O C U S

H E L P

O N

M E

M YS E L F

OT H E R S

S E T

A N D

This last one is complex because there are often personal experiences we are going through as Worship Leaders that can be quite helpful to share with others. We need to be discerning, though, on what things might be truly helpful or not. Be skeptical and suspicious of your own motives. It’s likely better to error on the side of the prayer above, to be “absent” from yourself and more present with God and others.

A S I D E

A N D

T H E I R

A N Y T H I N G

P R E S E N T

W I T H

E X P E R I E N C E , G O I N G

YO U

A N D

O N F O R

I N

T O M Y

F E E L OW N

T H E S E

F O R

L I F E .

P E O P L E .”

In our worship planning and preparation, it is a rich gift to offer our attentiveness to others, instead of ourselves. How might they experience these songs, these readings, or this liturgical order of things? When we are able to step out of the way, we can more deeply connect with God and others, which allows others, in turn, to more deeply connect with God.

May these practices and postures guide you in a fresh way as you plan and prepare to lead in worship. May God be glorified as you lean on His power within you to love others well.

J U S T I N

FOX

PASTOR OF WORSHIP AT COMMUNITY CHURCH, SEAL BEACH, CA SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR FOR GRAFTED LIFE & BIOLA UNIVERSITY

A native Californian, married for 25 years, with four grown children, Justin’s background as a songwriter, recording artist, and worship leader gives him a unique heart for artists, musicians, and the creative community.

justinfox.com justin_fox foxjustin justinfox

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LEADING WORSHIP l i k e

a

S P I R I T U A L

D I R E C T O R

I

have the privilege of leading worship and the opportunity to minister as a spiritual director to the pastors and worship leaders in attendance at the retreat ministry The Transforming Center. Outside the retreat setting, I have an additional 10-12 individuals with whom I meet monthly for spiritual direction. In many ways, offering spiritual direction is a lot like leading worship. First of all, both roles operate under misleading titles. As a spiritual director, I’m not directing anyone or anything; the Holy Spirit is guiding the conversation. A spiritual director’s job is to companion his or her directees prayerfully as a “soul friend,” and to help them pay attention to where and how God might be moving in their lives. Putting it bluntly, my job is to stay out of the Holy Spirit’s way. Like the term spiritual director, the title of worship leader is also a misnomer. Scripture teaches that Jesus is the One truly leading us in worship. As our heavenly High Priest (Heb. 4:14), the true minister of the sanctuary (Heb. 8:1-2), Jesus leads the people of God in declaring the glory of God’s name, singing his Father’s praises wherever and whenever we assemble (Heb. 2:10-12). Worship leaders lead like spiritual directors when we present worship as, first and foremost, not about us (and our stellar music or impressive production values), but about the Lord, that 18 W O R S H I P L E A D E R | W O R S H I P L E A D E R .C O M | W I N T E R 2 019

b y

R O R Y

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we acknowledge that Jesus is the one in charge of our worship and follow his Spirit’s lead.

THE ART OF LISTENING My formal training as a spiritual director and in spiritual formation schooled me in the art of listening. I used to think I was a good listener, but I quickly learned that I can be easily distracted at times. As someone is talking, my mind can dart all over the place. I began to notice that I interrupt more than I should and I fill uncomfortable silences with awkward attempts to console or, even worse, inane attempts at humor. I also learned that, like all people, I tend to listen to others through filters established by my temperament, personality, and life experience. The way we perceive others often reveals just as much (if not more) about ourselves as it does the other person. In addition, I became aware of how my own fears and insecurities hindered my effectiveness. For example, I had to get over my fear of not knowing what to say or saying the wrong thing to someone who was struggling. I also needed to move beyond the self-imposed pressure to say something profound to prove I’m a decent spiritual director. To give directees my undivided attention, I need to put aside all distractions (especially those related to ego) that hinder me from being truly present both to the person and to the moment. Worship leaders face the same challenge. As we plan and lead worship, we too need to put aside our egos in order to stay attentive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit. We too must set aside any distractions that hinder us from being fully present to the Lord and to our people, which is easier said than done, especially today.

CHALLENGES OF BEING FULLY PRESENT Many experts are mourning the loss of interpersonal connection in our current Digital Age. As much as I love technology and every new gadget that Silicon Valley cranks out, I have to agree with those who claim that our addiction to our cell phones

and social media is killing our ability to engage with one another in meaningful ways. Ironically, “social” media is hindering our ability to be social in the truest sense of the word. Today, instead of enjoying rich, thoughtful conversations, we too often settle for short, shallow bursts of one-liners. We’re like cave people exchanging digital grunts and groans and primitive sign language. This is not a problem merely among the younger generation; it’s a societal issue, a cultural phenomenon, with which we all struggle. If you and I are sitting together over coffee and we both keep checking our phones every time they beep or buzz—if we’re that easily distracted and our conversation so easily interruptible—-then we are not truly present to each other. As a culture, we are losing our capacity for prolonged attentiveness to one another. Our proclivity for distraction is also stunting our spiritual growth because we do the same thing to God that we do to each other. We have a difficult time concentrating while reading God’s Word or praying because our brains are being conditioned by the digital world for shorter attention spans. We need to be constantly stimulated or we get bored. We hurry through our Bible reading instead of listening for what God may be trying to say to us. We try to pray and we get so distracted that our prayer times turn into frenetic, one-sided conversations where we prattle on without allowing God to get a word in edgewise. Rarely do we linger in God’s presence long enough to sense him speaking, to experience deeper intimacy with him, to worship him, or just enjoy his presence. I know all this because I too struggle with hurry and distractions during my devotions. I too have difficulty being fully present to God. In Understanding Christian Spirituality, Michael Downey writes that the spiritual life entails “attending to God’s presence to us and responding to God’s presence by being altogether present to the divine presence which is always near” (67-68). Lingering in God’s presence enables us to enjoy him and puts us in position to receive all the

spiritual benefits he has to offer us. The inability to be truly present in the moment is a serious problem for worship leaders, especially since helping others be aware of God’s presence is part of our calling. How many times have we told our people to “be still and know he is God,” and yet we can’t be still before God for two minutes? How can we inspire our people to be open and receptive to the Lord if we ourselves are too distracted to be fully present to God?

WHAT KIND OF PRESENCE DO YOU WANT TO BRING TO WORSHIP? My goal as a spiritual director is to be a calm, non-anxious male presence in the lives of those with whom I meet. In a similar fashion, I encourage every worship leader to discern, given his or her personality and passions, what kind of presence he or she would like to bring to rehearsal as well as to Sunday morning worship. In describing how she remained attentive as a spiritual companion, Julian of Norwich famously replied that she looked first to God, then at the person, then back to God. In other words, her attention went back and forth so as to remain fully present to both. To lead worship like a spiritual director, then, is to plan and lead with one eye on the Lord and the other on the congregation in order to be fully present to both.

R O RY

N O L A N D

DIRECTOR OF HEART OF THE ARTIST MINISTRIES A trained Spiritual Director, Rory leads worship for The Transforming Center and co-chairs the worship department at Nebraska Christian College where he teaches classes on spiritual formation and worship. heartoftheartist.org Rory Noland rorynoland

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MUSIC MINISTRY & SPIRITUAL DIRECTION

I

’ve been involved in music ministry for over four decades. During that time I have seen many rise and fall, both in popularity and in the integrity of their spiritual and moral lives. With both, the rise to and fall from success comes extended time on the road that often isolates the minister from their local church and pastoral accountability. It also means time away from spouses, families, and friends who have no financial interest in the relationship. This always spells trouble. One answer is having a real relationship of good spiritual direction. I was blessed to have a spiritual father in Christ, the Church, and monastic community for nearly 30 years of my music ministry. He kept me from innumerable failings and pitfalls. His name was Fr. Martin Wolter. He was a jovial Franciscan

MUSIC MINISTRY SPIRITUAL BY JOHN MICHAEL TALBOT

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friar who loved Jesus and life in that order. He taught me wonderful lessons about both. But Martin could be extremely fallible and frustrating. He was a typical German that often got sidetracked in the details. He’d miss the meaning of one of my books by correcting the unedited grammar. He was also forgiving, almost to a fault. Sometimes, I needed a swift kick in the backside, and he would only tell me how much Jesus loved me. Sometimes I wanted someone to tell me what to do! But he wouldn’t do it. He just held up a mirror to let me see how silly I often was. And he could talk too much! At times I would have to wait 40 minutes while he talked before I could share why I wanted to see him. His brother friars called this “One Hour Martinizing.” This was often frustrating. But both he and God were testing me to see if I had the patience to wait for the spiritual nuggets that were surely coming in the Spirit. When I needed Jesus to speak to me in a mediated way through an experienced spiritual father and older brother he was always there. Often, he would show up, or call unannounced at the time when I needed some guidance the most. He would do this because he had heard Jesus tell him in prayer that I needed some guidance. This was almost miraculous. This taught me that, like seeing Jesus under the appearance of bread and wine in the


Eucharist, we often have to look beyond the human frailties and faults of spiritual directors to gain the real benefit from them. Probably the greatest lesson Fr. Martin taught me was balance. This is important, for I am radical and sometimes fanatical by nature. He used many parables and examples to illustrate this. The left or right leaning factions of the Church sometimes frustrated me. He said that the church is like the body of Christ, which has a left and right foot. In order for the body to move forward, it must step first on one foot, then on the other. Likewise, life in the church sees many different movements of the Spirit. Sometimes they seem conservative, like the right foot. At other times they seem more progressive, like the left foot. If we only focus on the feet we can often get frustrated with extremes to either side. But if we are patient, we will see that the body of Christ is walking in the straight line towards the goal of eternity. His teaching always kept me balanced, and it still does so today. And he taught me that being radical is like a radish with deep roots. It keeps us from being blown away by every secular or religious wind. It taught me the difference between genuine radicalism and fanaticism that simply mimics the external aspects of genuine radicalism to an absurdity and fault. Spiritual direction goes back to the relationship of the apostles with Jesus, and the disciples in the various churches they founded with their successors in the bishops. It began to specialize in the monastic movements that came from Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. From there it spread throughout Europe, and the Christian east. They were to see Jesus in their spiritual father or mother. In this tradition, the younger disciples talk to the spiritual director almost daily. They would share not only their righteousness and their sin, but even their temptations and thoughts. This was required in order for the spiritual director to really know the disciple. Otherwise, the direction could be off target. This is also unique from the later practice of the frequent use of the sacrament of penance, where only sins in

thought, word, and deed are confessed. This also requires trust between the disciple and spiritual director. So, it’s important to find a good spiritual director. But it is unrealistic to expect perfection from a spiritual director. If you wait for that you’ll wait until heaven! And, as the saying goes, when the disciple is ready, the master will appear. St. Seraphim of Sarov said that it’s better to have a spiritual director than to have no spiritual director. But, it’s better to have no spiritual director than to have a bad one! In the latter case, it’s important for the disciple to steep themselves in the teachings of the fathers and mothers, who are the successors to the saints. But, this is never the desired norm, for it leaves the disciple more open to the tactics of evil, coming externally from the devil, and internally from one’s own weakness. Those who rely on themselves for direction have a fool for a spiritual director. The good spiritual director is a man or woman who has walked the gospel way for decades before the disciple. Therefore, they’re able to point out the pitfalls of spiritual life that the younger disciple may not be able to see. They share, not from the desire to control, but from a willingness to accompany the younger disciple on their journey. Pope Francis calls this the spirituality of accompaniment. The Christian east says that the good spiritual director carries the burden with the disciple in Christ, Who bears all our burdens. But, they only bear not quite half of our burden. This leaves the primary focus on Jesus, and the main responsibility of following Jesus to the disciple. They stand in the place of Christ in their role as father or mother, but are not Christ. They always remain our brothers and sisters in Christ. They only point the disciple to Jesus, and the disciple will eventually lead others to Christ as well. In order to avoid scandal or temptation, men usually have male spiritual directors, and women have female ones, though this is not absolute. I also recommend meeting in rooms with windows that allow others to look in and see at all times, though not hear. I usually recommend finding a good monastic for spiritual direction rooted in

solid Christian tradition. But there are different schools that might work best for different temperaments. In the west, the Benedictine uses a developed desert father and mother approach. Franciscans use a broad approach that even allows for several directors in concert with one main director who specializes in one aspect or another of spirituality. Jesuits use a very detailed way. The Eastern Orthodox specializes in the Jesus Prayer and Hesychasm, or the way of sacred silence. The Copts, or Egyptian monastics, specialize in the desert fathers and mothers in an almost unbroken chain through history. So, I recommend that music ministers have a good spiritual director. Due to both temperament and environment, we are more prone to giving in to the temptations the devil will throw at us from the world. To start I recommend finding a good and saintly monastic that you can meet face to face with quarterly, and call every few days. Share your life, your sins, and even the temptations that come into your mind openly. Then let the voice of Jesus speak to you through your older father, mother, brother, or sister in Christ. If you are like me, it might very well save your personal life, your marriage, and even your soul.

J O H N M I C H A E L TA L B OT

MUSICIAN AUTHOR TV HOST John Michael Talbot is a Grammy / Dove Award winning, multiple platinum-selling Contemporary Christian Music pioneer and a bestselling author of over 30 books. He recently completed a successful three year run as Host and Writer of the TV program “All Things Are Possible with God”. Talbot leads his very active ministry as Founder and General Minister of the integrated monastic community, the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, from monasteries in Arkansas and Texas. johnmichaeltalbot.com johnmichaeltalbot jmtalbot

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p e r s o n a l a n d c o r p o r at e AN INTERVIEW WITH

Carolyn Arends

Worship carolynarends.com carolyn_arends carolynarendsofficial carolynarends

Worship Leader’s David Bunker recently caught up with recording artist, speaker, author, and college instructor Carolyn Arends. She is currently the Director of Education for Renovaré, a far-reaching organization that encourages and nurtures spiritual renewal.

WORSHIP LEADER (WL): Are we as a church right now full of a lot of head knowledge and not much heart, or the opposite? And how does that impact our worship?

CAROLYN ARENDS: I’m not sure you

can answer that uniformly—for every church with an overemphasis on creedal knowledge at the expense of direct experience, there’s another church with an emphasis on experience at the expense of theologically sound ideas about the God we are worshipping. Scripture encourages us to “reason together” (Isaiah 18:1) and to “be still and know” (Psalm 46:10). We need an integration of head and heart … and of body, too, which is why we are called to love with God with heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30).

Right thinking is very important in worship—if we don’t have an understanding of the Triune God that’s informed by Scripture (and by the history of the church’s grappling with Scripture), we will definitely construct and then worship a God of our own making. But the hope, of course, is not just to tick off some theological cognitive boxes and be done with it. If our thinking is getting anywhere close to apprehending a bit of the wonder and beauty of God, wholehearted worship will be the natural response. That’s a long way of saying both head and heart are critically important. I want to reiterate, too, that it’s essential to get our whole bodies involved—to get worship into our sinew and muscle. That’s why

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renovare.com renovareofficial renovareusa renovareusa

singing can be such an important ally in worship—it invites our vocal cords and lungs and diaphragms to agree with our heads and hearts—and to put some effort into it!

WL: How do personal and corporate worship differ? CAROLYN: I’m guessing it goes without saying here in Worship Leader magazine that our personal worship involves every aspect of our beings and every moment of our days. We are always worshipping something—always giving something or someone ultimate value and then living our lives in orbit around that thing or person. As followers of Jesus, the longing of our hearts is to keep the Triune God in that place of ultimate value. Intentional


personal practices of worship—things like training our minds on God through study, opening our hearts to God through silence and solitude and the contemplation of beauty, expressing our love and gratitude through prayer and song—these are all things that help keep us orbiting around the right Center. (And falling ever more deeply in love with Him!) Scripture seems to assume that this process of orienting our lives around the right Center will necessarily also involve corporate worship. In corporate worship, we gather with others to remind ourselves who God is, what He’s done and is doing, and to “magnify” (make big) His beauty and glory in our midst. In corporate worship, we set aside our personal preferences and pathways for a bit and work together to proclaim God’s story to ourselves and to the universe. The “togetherness” of corporate worship is its unique property and gift. That’s why, for example, if I happen to be leading corporate worship in song, I will change any singular pronouns in the lyrics (I, me, my) to plural pronouns (us, we, our) whenever possible.

WL: In regard to leadership and the spiritual disciplines in the church, are we doing more of a performance or are we really spilling our embodied lives and witness into a corporate moment?

CAROLYN: Without visiting and getting to

deeply know hundreds of congregations, it would be hard for me to answer that question fairly. But, just based on my own experience, I do find myself going back to a quote from Bernard of Clairvaux, who was a 12th-century church reformer. Listen to what he said nearly a thousand years ago, and tell me if it doesn’t still ring true: If then you are wise, you will show yourself rather as a reservoir than as a canal. A canal spreads abroad water as it receives it, and a reservoir waits until it is filled before overflowing, and thus without loss to itself communications its superabundant water. In the Church at the present day we have many canals but few reservoirs.

I think a lot of us in the church have a tendency to pour out for others without being filled ourselves. It takes time and intentionality to create space and receptivity in our own lives in order to be constantly filled by Living Water. But we will be so much more useful for others if we can serve them out of the overflow— rather than the dregs—of our own lives with God.

WL: Is worship at its deepest core more of an inward, outward, or corporate discipline?

CAROLYN: I think it’s an upward discipline, leading to inward, outward, and corporate expression. We cast a long, loving gaze upon God, and in doing so discover He is within us and without us and drawing us together. WL: How important is silence & solitude to personal worship?

CAROLYN: Absolutely essential. Jesus, with his habit of heading out to the wilderness to pray, is our example in this. As Dallas Willard used to say, if Jesus Christ needed silence and solitude in order to stay connected with His Father, how much more do we, in our troubled condition, need these gifts? WL: What about corporate worship? Should a congregation embrace uncomfortably long periods of silence in a congregational setting?

CAROLYN: That’s an interesting question. I was recently a guest at Mosaiek Church in South Africa, where they incorporate silences of anywhere from 2-10 minutes in their gatherings. I’ve always thought of silence as a personal, rather than corporate, discipline, but there was something incredibly powerful about sitting with fellow believers in expectant, reverent quiet. I’d like to experiment with that more. WL: Are there any private or personal disciplines that are essential to any kind of leadership in the church?

CAROLYN: Yes. Jesus said we would have fruit if we abide in Him, and abiding takes time and intentionality. Years ago, I had the privilege of taking a distance ed course through Regent College with Eugene Peterson. I can still remember the argument I had with a lecture mp3: Peterson: Pastors are highly susceptible to the sin of sloth. Me: What are you talking about? Pastors are some of the most overworked people alive. Peterson: Sloth is most often evidenced in busyness…in frantic running around, trying to be everything to everyone, and then having no time to listen or pray, no time to become the person who is doing these things. Every church leader has to figure out his or her own rhythms of “abiding in the vine” (or becoming a reservoir rather than a canal)—but I’d be surprised if those rhythms didn’t include prayer, silence, solitude, and practices that engender spontaneous worship (things like walking outside, playing with our kids, eating ice cream, responding to beauty in art and nature). WL: How might leaning more heavily on a personal inward discipline versus a corporate one impact your ability to lead worship? Does it matter or is it "both and," and what might that look like in a daily practical sense? CAROLYN: I’m not sure who first observed that Jesus came to “comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” but I love that expression because I think Jesus brings the needed balance in just that way in every area, if we’ll only let Him. If we are deepening our friendship with Him on an ongoing basis, I think it’s pretty much guaranteed that He will “make more corporate the overly-personal, and personalize the overly-corporate”—in other words, he will help us grow out of our default preferences (which might have something to do with whether we are introverts or extroverts) into richly balanced lives of consistent personal and corporate worship.

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RECL AI M I N G

RE TRE AT

AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE BY

R U T H

T

H A L E Y

he problem with trying to talk about retreat these days is that the word itself has been severely compromised, both in the secular culture and in the religious subculture. In business circles, a retreat is often a long meeting from which you cannot go home. It usually involves extended days spent off-site in which the event organizers not only have control over your daytime working hours but also your evening and early morning hours. Typically, we work harder on “retreat” than in our normal working days, and of course we come home exhausted. The same is true in church culture. A retreat might involve an extended time away for the elders or pastoral staff to do strategic planning or problem solving. Usually time is built in for fellowship and community building, which means that the days are long and the evenings even longer! We also might be accustomed to youth retreats and men’s, women’s, or couple’s retreats that include multiple teaching sessions with many other carefully orchestrated programming elements—loud music, icebreakers, games, elective workshops, activities, skits, and entertainment. Participants typically share rooms, which means they stay up later than usual and don’t rest as well because of the snoring person in the other bed! While such events are wonderful opportunities for building community and creating space for focused teaching and interaction with others, they can also be stimulating to the extent that no one leaves rested or in touch with their own souls—at least not in the way Jesus encouraged his disciples to “come away with me and rest a while.” So what are we really talking about when we reference retreat as a spiritual practice? Retreat in the context of the spiritual life is an extended time apart for the purpose of being with God and giving God our full and undivided attention; it is, as Emilie Griffin puts it, “a generous commitment to our friendship with God.” The emphasis is on the words extended and generous. Truth is, we are not always generous with ourselves 24 W O R S H I P L E A D E R | W O R S H I P L E A D E R .C O M | W I N T E R 2 019

B A R TO N

where God is concerned. Many of us have done well to incorporate regular times of solitude and silence into the rhythm of our ordinary lives, which means we’ve gotten pretty good at giving God twenty minutes here and half an hour there. And there’s no question we are better for it! But many of us are longing for more—and we have a sense that there is more if we could create more space for quiet to give attention to God at the center of our beings. We sense that a kind of fullness and satisfaction is discovered more in the silence than in the words, more in solitude than in socializing, more in spaciousness than in busyness. “Times come,” Emilie Griffin goes on to say, “when we yearn for more of God than our schedules will allow. We are tired, we are crushed, we are crowded by friends and acquaintances, commitments and obligations. The life of grace is abounding, but we are too busy for it. Even good obligations begin to hem us in.” Ron Roheiser points out three images for retreat used in Scripture that meet us in our yearning; all of them apply in different ways at different times. There is the lonely place to which Jesus invited his disciples when he said,

“Come away to a deserted place . . . and rest a while” MARK 6:30

With this invitation he was calling them out of their busyness to a place of rest beyond the demands of their life in ministry, as we referenced earlier. There is the desert/wilderness that the Spirit drove Jesus to after his baptism (Luke 4). Here he did battle with Satan and faced his demons, as we all must. But there’s more! Old Testament references hint at the fact that the wilderness (spiritually speaking) is also a place of intimacy where God tenderly speaks those things he has been wanting to say to our souls:


“Therefore I will now allure her, and bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her...There she shall respond as in the days of her youth” HOSEA 2:14-15

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son [to a journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land]. The more I called them, the more they went from me” HOSEA 11:1-2

Clearly something special happens between God and his people in the wilderness! And there is the Sabbath, the first retreat of all retreats, in which God introduces rhythms of work and rest to the way we order our time. When time had no shape at all, God—by his example and by his instruction—established optimal rhythms for his creation that included working six days and resting on the seventh. This was not a lifestyle suggestion; it was a commandment as significant as not murdering, not committing adultery, and not lying. These metaphors from the biblical/spiritual context for reclaiming retreat as spiritual practice for our time. In fact, there has never been a time when the invitation to retreat is so radical and so relevant, so needed and so welcome. The yearning for retreat: Can you feel it? That yearning is your invitation. It is the Spirit of God stirring up your deepest longings and questions in order to draw you deeper into the intimacy with the God you were created for. Will you trust it? Are you brave enough to let it carry you into the more?

To fully reclaim retreat as a practice that will open us to God, we will explore some of the concrete invitations contained within the more general one. We will consider the meaning of a military retreat (otherwise known as “strategic withdrawal”) for our own lives— putting distance between ourselves and the battle line, wherever that line is drawn in our lives right now. We will hear God’s invitation to rest and learn what we must relinquish in order to do that. We will experience rhythms that replenish us— body, mind, and soul. We will practice recognizing and responding to the presence of God through discernment, and recallibrate based on what God is saying to our souls. We will feel drawn to re-engage our lives in the company of others from a more rested place and establish regular patterns of returning and resting in God. My guess is that the invitation to retreat feels as different and countercultural to most of us as it felt to the disciples, but it was—and is!—the right invitation, offered by One who knows his children so well. The beauty of it is that we are not pushed, coerced, manipulated, or told we have to. Rather, we are invited to enter into something so good for us— body, mind, and soul—that once we recognize it as the winsome opportunity it really is, everything in us will leap to say yes. We may even wonder why it took us so long!

R U T H

H A L E Y

B A R TO N FOUNDING PRESIDENT OF THE TRANSFORMING CENTER

A trained spiritual director, teacher, and retreat leader, she is the author of Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Sacred Rythms, and Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. transformingcenter.org transformingcnt

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U N I V E R S I T Y AT L A N T I C B E A C H P A L M

higher learning G U I D E

T

he 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 multiharmonious 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 available— an opportunity to make your growth a priority to affect lasting change in your worshiping community.

27 Palm Beach Atlantic University West Palm Beach, Florida 28 Anthem School of Worship San Jose, California 30 Baylor University Waco, Texas 32 Cedarville University Cedarville, Ohio 34 Deeper Worship Intensive Orlando, Florida 36 Liberty University School of Music Lynchburg, Virginia 38 University of Mobile Mobile, Alabama 39 University of Northwestern St. Paul St. Paul, Minnesota 40 The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies Jacksonville, Florida 42 Samford University Birmingham, Alabama

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ADVERTORIAL

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT PBA.EDU PHONE 888.468.6722

What sets the Palm Beach Atlantic experience apart? It’s more than exceptionally strong music fundamentals, state-of-the-art facilities, Grammy-nominated faculty and a vibrant, diverse community setting. PBA is unique because gifted music professors with seasoned spiritual perspective will guide you to master your musical craft while finding your place of service in God’s kingdom, whether in performance, composition, arranging, engineering, recording, producing or worship leading.

WORSHIP PROGRAMS/TRAINING OFFERED Our students study Songwriting, Hymnology, Church Music Administration, Conducting, Computer Applications in

Music, Audio Engineering and Production, Piano, Worship Design and Improvisation. Class assignments, on-campus events, informal worship occasions and internships with a variety of area churches provide practical church music experience. Proof of the rigor and effectiveness of PBA’s program is that all our Worship Leader graduates have found full-time positions in the competitive church music field. Your university years are the time to develop your gifts and discern your life work. Where will your passion for music take you? How can you best use your gifts to honor the One who gave them to you? Is God leading you to a professional role in church music? Palm Beach Atlantic University is the place to find your answers and launch your calling.

AT L A N T I C

WHAT MAKES PBA UNIQUE?

U N I V E R S I T Y

2019 AUDITION DATES MARCH 2, 16 AND 30

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Set your musical career in motion! 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: March 2, 2019 March 16, 2019 March 30, 2019 For additional audition information: www.pba.edu/music 888 GO TO PBA (468-6722)

State-of-the-art facilities Internships available

West Palm Beach, Florida

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ADVERTORIAL

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT ANTHEMSCHOOL.COM ANTHEMWORSHIP.ORG

LOCATION | SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA

A N T H E M

S C H O O L

O F

W O R S H I P

AT A GLANCE

WHY ANTHEM WORSHIP?

WHY ATTEND ANTHEM SCHOOL?

WHAT SETS YOUR SCHOOL APART?

We long for people to experience Jesus in the Bay Area by raising the temperature of worship. That’s why we’re working together as a collective of leaders to create music, host events, and train the next generation. Our school is the heart of what we do. In just three years, we’ve trained over 35 leaders and have placed many in churches. Our next event, featuring Lincoln Brewster, artists from Jesus Culture and Hillsong SF will be held March 1-2, 2019 in San Jose.

Anthem School will equip you, the next generation of worship leaders, musicians, and production teams, to develop your unique talents for the Kingdom of God. We do this through top shelf instruction and education at a fraction of the cost of most universities. Through our partnership with William Jessup University, students can transfer up to ten fully accredited units to Jessup or another accredited university that provides similar courses. Over the course of nine months, Anthem students learn from world-class leaders and mentors to help develop their gifts, including nationally known guest instructors Jason Ingram, Mia Fieldes, Brian Doerksen, and others. Learning takes place both in the classroom and in a variety of practical, hands-on ministry opportunities.

Anthem students can stay involved with their local church or, if coming from out of town, can serve with a large multicampus church called WestGate. Anthem provides free housing for students in need through our Host Home program. Anthem staff has connections with hundreds of Bay Area churches, and students seeking jobs are given opportunities to interview and guest lead. For those students wanting to pursue grad school, Anthem has partnered with Western Seminary where students can receive a discounted rate.

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We train worship leaders to transform their world. AnthemSchool.com

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT BAYLOR.EDU/CCMS

LOCATION | WACO, TEXAS STUDENT POPULATION | 17,000

B AY L O R

U N I V E R S I T Y

AT A GLANCE

WHY ATTEND?

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The combination of a major university environment with a church music program that has a passion for the Church and its mission makes Baylor’s Center for Christian Music Studies unique. Only at Baylor can you study church music within a nationally ranked school of music, root for NCAA Division I national champions, and interact with a student population of almost 17,000. 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 ensembles. At Baylor, you will receive personal attention from more than 60 full-time music faculty members, including a teacher for every instrument and voice part.

Baylor’s church music degrees are oriented toward a ministry landscape that is always changing. Although deeply rooted in tradition, Baylor offers an atmosphere of innovation and imagination. Baylor values what you bring to the table and provides opportunities for growth, reflection, and formation. Baylor is not a cookie-cutter environment; it inspires you to discover the minister that God is calling you to be. Here, you can develop world-class skills and a God-sized heart. Through endowed lecture series, students interact with leading church musicians who are blazing new trails. They engage with high profile worship leaders at the annual Alleluia Conference and Worship Lab in an environment designed to equip and inspire church musicians. Baylor students also work regularly with

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professors who are leading the way in church music research and practice. Each year Baylor sends a music and missions team to a different part of the world to share music, lead in worship, teach, and minister in cross-cultural settings. While on campus, students can participate in the many ensembles Baylor has to offer: seven choirs, three wind ensembles, jazz ensembles, the Golden Wave Marching Band, two orchestras, an early music ensemble, and a handbell ensemble, among others. Outstanding students may receive music scholarships on the basis of their performance ability and the needs of the School of Music. Qualifying students also are awarded automatic academic scholarships based on ACT or SAT scores and class rank. To learn more about what Baylor’s church music program has to offer you, go to baylor.edu/ccms.


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ADVERTORIAL

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT CEDARVILLE.EDU/WORSHIP PHONE 937.766.7728

C E D A R V I L L E

U N I V E R S I T Y

AT A GLANCE LOCATION | CEDARVILLE, OHIO STUDENT POPULATION | 3,400 DEADLINES | ROLLING ENROLLMENT

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

ABOUT CEDARVILLE

1. MUSICAL EMPHASIS

The Bachelor of Arts in worship degree is designed to help prepare students who are interested in careers in worship leadership and related fields. All students must take courses in music, theology, and worship-related fields such as theatre, electronic media, or youth ministry. Elective hours can be used to complete minors or to double major. Students pursuing this major must complete the general education core.

The purpose statement of the Worship Program at Cedarville University is “Equipping Worshipers to Serve”, and that informs everything that we do.

We value a core musical background for all worship students. We value contemporary music as the voice of our culture and will equip students to be musically and methodologically relevant in the "real world".

WHY ATTEND? Our school is known for producing

quality graduates who love Jesus and are well-equipped to serve the church and parachurch organizations. Our graduates are in high demand as many pastors and leaders know our program and the quality of our graduates.

OUR VALUES 32 W O R S H I P L E A D E R | W O R S H I P L E A D E R .C O M | W I N T E R 2 019

2. THEOLOGICAL FOUNDATION We value a strong theological foundation, grounded in biblical truth for all worship students. The Bible minor and required classes will emphasize a biblical foundation for worship ministry.

3. INTERDISCIPLINARY NATURE We value interdisciplinary study in fields related to worship ministry. We value each student developing Godgiven talents and interests, resulting in an individualized degree tailored to each student.


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ADVERTORIAL

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT DEEPERWORSHIPINTENSIVE.COM EMAIL JASON MCMULLEN AT JASON@DEEPERFELLOWSHIPCHURCH.ORG

LOCATION | ORLANDO, FLORIDA IMPORTANT DATES | JANUARY 30 FEBRUARY 2, 2019

D E E P E R

W O R S H I P

I N T E N S I V E

AT A GLANCE

WHAT SETS YOUR TRAINING APART? We've said at the beginning this is not a conference, this is training. Our desire is to equip the Worship Leader and the sound carrier. We want to ensure that you walk away not just inspired, but informed. To that end we have partnered with North Central University that will issue a Worship Leadership Certificate to each attendee. This is unique in this space as those who attend will walk away with something tangible that states they have gone through this world class offering, taught by some of the foremost worship leaders and teachers of our time. Add to that the variety of voices and streams that are coming together at a time where we are so divided because we all believe something is coming, that something is revival, and that truly is special. In summation what makes DWI unique is found in its wholesale convergence, and we believe that that is a value that truly sets us apart.

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TRAINING AT DWI 1. WORSHIP LEADERSHIP 2. HOW TO CARRY THE PRESENCE OF GOD 3. BEING LED BY THE SPIRIT 4. WORSHIP LEADING 101 5. CAPTURING THE SOUND OF YOUR HOUSE 6. MUSIC THEORY FOR WORSHIP LEADERS 7. WORSHIP SONGWRITING


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ADVERTORIAL

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT LIBERTY.EDU/SCHOOLOFMUSIC EMAIL WORSHIP@LIBERTY.EDU PHONE 434.592.6568

L I B E R T Y

U N I V E R S I T Y

AT A GLANCE LOCATION | LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA STUDENT POPULATION | 11,000 ON CAMPUS IMPORTANT DATES | OPEN ENROLLMENT

WHY ATTEND?

WHAT SETS YOUR TRAINING APART?

PROGRAMS OFFERED

The School of Music provides the opportunity for you to explore a variety of music interests, both in and outside of the classroom, with multiple degree options, career preparation, performance opportunities, and student-led organizations. As the seventh largest music school in the nation, Liberty offers state-of-theart recording studios equipped with the finest acoustics, advanced technology to publish and produce music, and a unique architecture that encourages soundproof environments. You will study under skilled faculty members who represent a broad base of spiritual, musical and educational experience. Liberty faculty members have graduate and doctoral degrees from some of the world's most prestigious music progams.

The mission of the School of Music is to train and equip musicians to be Champions for Christ! Liberty University School of Music is a community of God-honoring musicians committed to a culture of worship lifestyle, servant leadership, stylistic diversity, academic inquiry, skillful musicianship, artistic and creative expression, and sharing the Gospel through music. Today, student musicians - songwriters, composers, artists, worship leaders, music educators, acoustic and electronic instrumentalists, ethnomusicologists, and performers of all music genres - join together with our prestigious faculty to serve as innovators in the education of future worshiping musicians, like you!

Bachelor of Music (B.M.) Degrees in Worship include studies in: Worship Leadership, Artist Development, Songwriting, Recording Engineering and Producing and Publishing and Producing or Music in World Cultures. Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degrees in Music and Worship include concentrations in: Business, Biblical Studies, Youth Ministry, Women's Ministry, Worship Technology, Cinematic Arts, Theatre, Open Electives or Pastoral Leadership. Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees include: M.A. in Music and Worship, M.A. in Worship Studies, or the M.A. in Ethnomusicology – (preparing musicians as missionaries). Doctor of Worship Studies (D.W.S.) is specifically designed to help prepare worship pastors as collegiate level teachers of worship. (All degrees are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music [NASM] and/or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools [SACS]).

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CENTER for MUSIC & WORSHIP Earn your Bachelor of Music in Worship Leadership or a Bachelor of Science in Music & Worship WITH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING NINE CONCENTR ATIONS:

Biblical Studies | Youth Ministries | Pastoral Leadership Business | Women’s Leadership | Cinematic Arts Worship Technology (audio) | Theatre Ministries | Open Electives Worship students enjoy creative studies in our state-of-the-art Mac Lab, Songwriting Lab, and new recording studio.

For more information about Liberty University’s School of Music: Liberty.edu/SchoolofMusic | (434) 592-6568 W I N T E R 2 019 | |W Oworship@liberty.edu R S H I P L E A D E R .C O M | W O R S H I P L E A D E R

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ADVERTORIAL

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT UMOBILE.EDU/APPLY PHONE 800.WIN.RAMS 251.442.2222

U N I V E R S I T Y

O F

M O B I L E

AT A GLANCE

LOCATION MOBILE, ALABAMA

STUDENT POPULATION 1,600+

DEADLINES ROLLING ENROLLMENT | PREVIEW DAYS ARE FEBRUARY 8TH & MARCH 15TH | RSVP at umobile.edu/preview

WHY ATTEND? There is no school like the Alabama School of the Arts at University of Mobile! Experience uncompromising excellence in music and ministry as you become the spiritual leader today’s church needs. Grow your musical skills and learn from some of the church’s top worship leaders at an accredited Christcentered university that offers a complete music education.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW Our Master of Arts in Worship Leadership & Theology helps you excel in the arts and strengthen your theological foundation. AC C E P T I N G

A P P L I C AT I O N S

Bachelor’s degrees in Worship Leadership Ministry, Business, and AVL Technology prepare you for all areas of worship ministry. Our Prac-ademics approach to higher education gives you practical experiences in performance, production, praise and worship. Record at our professional Fisher-Brewer Recording Studio and 8Eighty Records label. Participate in 20 ensembles that perform around the world. Experience a new state-ofthe-art visualization lab using virtual reality programming in lighting and rigging. Have the advantage of a studio and faculty that are ProTools Certified as Avid Learning Partners to offer our students the absolute best in audio and studio education.

N OW !

Higher Education for a Higher Purpose

BECOME THE LEADER AND THEOLOGIAN YOU ARE CALLED TO BE. University of Mobile is preparing Worship Leaders to serve the church as highly trained musicians and effective pastors.

With a Master of Arts in Worship Leadership and Theology from University of Mobile, you will learn from some of the church’s top worship leaders and pastors, expand your skills in music and technology, and deepen your knowledge of theology and worship.

APPLY TODAY AT UMOBILE.EDU/APPLY UMOBILE.EDU 38 W O• R1.800.WIN.RAMS S H I P L E A D E R • |251.442.2727 W O R S H I P L E A D E R .C O M | W I N T E R 2 019 5735 COLLEGE PARKWAY | MOBILE, AL • 36613

#BEKNOWN


ADVERTORIAL

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT UNWSP.EDU/MUSIC EMAIL MUSIC@UNWSP.EDU PHONE 651.631.5218

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

University of Northwestern – St. Paul is a Christian university in Minnesota providing students an invaluable integration of faith and education. Nestled among the trees and surrounded by a mile of lakeshore, our 107-acre campus features both historic architecture and newer buildings such as the Billy Graham Community Life Commons and renovated Totino Fine Arts Center. All five of our music degrees hold National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) accreditation. Northwestern Media, a ministry of the University, operates more than 20 Christian radio stations and reaches over one million listeners.

The Music Ministry degree equips students to develop a theology of worship to apply contemporary, traditional, and convergent styles of music in a non-denominational setting. 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. UNW students who first enroll as freshmen complete 30 credits of Bible courses as part of their core curriculum, making them eligible for a second major in Bible. Music Ministry majors routinely receive job offers prior to graduation.

S T.

WHY ATTEND?

P A U L

ROLLING APPLICATION DATES WITH FEE WAIVED UNTIL DECEMBER 1

N O R T H W E S T E R N

STUDENT POPULATION 3,200+

O F

LOCATION ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA

U N I V E R S I T Y

AT A GLANCE

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

Learn more at unwsp.edu/music-worship

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ADVERTORIAL

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT IWS.EDU EMAIL ADMISSIONS@IWS.EDU PHONE 1.800.282.2977

LOCATION | JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA APPLICATION DEADLINES| JUNE SESSION: APRIL 15TH JANUARY SESSION: NOVEMBER 15TH 2019 TUITION | MWS: $385/CREDIT HOUR DWS:  $425/CREDIT HOUR

RO B E RT E .

WE B B E R

I N STITUTE

FO R

WO RS H I P

STU D I E S

AT A GLANCE

WHY ATTEND?

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies (IWS) is the only accredited school dedicated to the highest quality graduate education in the biblical foundations, theological reflections, historical development, cultural analysis and missional focus 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 theological posture, delivered in a low-residency educational approach focused on building an intentional learning community. Each course has a strong applied emphasis, so students make a direct impact on their ministries. IWS offers two awardwinning graduate degree programs: Master of Worship Studies and Doctor of Worship Studies. Studying with a superior faculty of distinguished scholars, students come from around the country and across the globe. The IWS community impacts well over a half million people each week in Christian

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worship renewal. The IWS low-residency educational approach is designed to fit the student’s schedule and budget. The result is an applicable and stimulating education that prepares Christians intellectually and spiritually to participate in the worldwide renewal of the Church through Godhonoring worship. Masters and Doctoral class cohorts start twice each year in the first week of January (November 15 application deadline) or second week of June (April 15 application deadline). Financial aid programs are available. GI Bill and Tuition Assistance benefits are available for qualified military personnel.


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ADVERTORIAL

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT SAMFORD.EDU/ARTS EMAIL ARTS@SAMFORD.EDU PHONE 205.726.4111

S A M F O R D

U N I V E R S I T Y

AT A GLANCE LOCATION | BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA STUDENT POPULATION | 5,600+ AUDITION DATES | FEBRUARY 1-2, AND FEBRUARY 22-23 2019

WHY ATTEND? Samford University’s School of the Arts offers a wide-range of opportunities for students to follow their calling in arts and vocational ministry. Through its new Worship and the Arts degree, students can hone their artistic talents while preparing for service to the church.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW The Bachelor of Arts in Worship and the Arts is an interdisciplinary degree designed for students committed to vocational worship ministry in the church and para-church organizations. Coursework emphasizes the practices of Christian worship and ministry with complementary

studies in an arts concentration of the student’s choosing. Students are prepared to design, plan, and lead worship through arts-centered ministries such as art and design, dance, film production, journalism, mass communication, music, and theatre. Upon graduation, students will be equipped to pursue full-time worship arts positions in church and parachurch organizations or graduate studies in seminary. Other degree paths include newly added Christian Ministry, Music and Worship and a minor in Worship Leadership. The School of the Arts is also home to the Center for Worship and the Arts which is equipping congregations to engage intergenerational and artistic worship practices that glorify God, honor Christ,

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and join the transformative work of the Spirit in the world. Its vision is to secure a prominent role in the conversation of worship and the arts locally, regionally, and nationally. Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 4th among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,619 students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health.


SAMFORD UNIVERSITY

Samford University’s School of the Arts offers

a new degree in worship and the arts

designed for students committed to vocational worship ministry in the church and para-church organizations.

Are you ready to . . . Answer the call to worship leadership? Practice your artistry in music, film, dance, theatre, art or creative writing? Add a minor in business, education, entrepreneurship, missions or ministry? Prepare to serve the church?

Come for a visit. Contact us for more information at arts@samford.edu or 205-726-4111 to find out if this is the right major for you.

samford.edu/arts

Samford University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Employer.

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IMPAC TING THE CHURCH THROUGH

SONG

AN INTERVIE W WITH S T UART TOWNEND

Worship Leader’s Alex MacDougall recently reconnected with England’s Stuart Townend. One of the most important songwriters over the past two decades, Stuart has amassed a rich library of songs for the church including writing “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us” and co-writing “In Christ Alone”. His new project, Courage, will be distributed in the US by Integrity Music. For more information, visit stuarttownend.co.uk.

WORSHIP LEADER (WL): What could you say to worship leaders about being faithful to what you believe you've been called to? STUART: Songs have such an important

role to play in our understanding of God. People are learning their theology in large part through the songs they sing. That's just a fact. It's not a good or a bad thing, it's just a fact. What kind of a picture are we painting of who God is through the songs we sing? Songs can teach us the faith and give us a bigger picture of who God is. The problem with only singing songs that say, “I love you, I'm here for you”, is that we're not really expanding our minds to understand the beautiful, eternal, immortal view of who God is. We need to sing not just about how good He is and how faithful He is in our lives, but

also to say, “God is the God of justice; He's the God of creation; He's the God of compassion for those who are marginalized”. The calling that I feel most on me is to write songs that help feed the church, and help in a way to broaden and deepen their relationship with an understanding of how God works in our lives, and help in our understanding of God by singing about Him, so that we aren't just simply focusing our songs on the experience of worshiping in the moment.

WL: To what extent should worship

they're not comfortable. Perhaps we don't sing about it because we would prefer to sing songs that invite the warm, cozy experience of worship. We actually explore a very small aspect of what it means to be a follower of Christ. A leading bishop in the UK was talking about the Psalms and he said, “look at the range of what is being sung about in the Psalms and compare that with the range of what you're singing about in your local church. Which is wider?” That should be a challenge for us to look at the hymnal of the World Testament.

leaders understand tradition, and understand the classic hymns and the Psalms?

WL: Of all the hymn writers that were born from The Reformation, who do you really love to listen to?

STUART: The tradition of exploring ourfaith is something hymns and traditions can teach us. If you look at the old prayers of different traditions throughout Christian history, they are songs and hymns and Psalms. They explore in greater depth and try to paint a picture of Who God is. Hymns actually encourage us to humbly seek God and recognize that we're not worthy of what God gives us, but because of His grace, He does give. Some of the old Celtic hymns say, “I am so in need of You”. They are songs of repentance. We have sometimes lost that because

STUART: I am most inspired to write from the prolific outburst of somebody like Isaac Watts and Wesley because of the range of things that they write about, and the tone and ability to express in a beautiful phrase the wonder of God. There is also something wonderful about being able to sing great theology. It makes it much more powerful in our lives because we recall and remember. However, I think there is a place for us to sing it, and then there's a place for us to meditate on it.

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WL: The song “In Christ Alone”, has traveled the world. But there is a lyric in there about the wrath of God being satisfied. In some circles that's a controversial line. Because on one hand, how could God pour wrath on His Son? Yet another part of that discussion is, “well, He was mad at sin”, so the only way for Him to express wrath against the sin was to sacrifice his Son”. What say you?

ALBUM REVIEW BY DARRYL BRYANT

STUART TOWNEND

COURAGE

STUART: This is a massive question and in one sense

I welcome the discussion. I think we always need to be discussing and working through our theology. On a number of doctrinal issues, I've tried to come to a place where I can be firm in what I believe, but humble in the way that I hold that. C.S. Lewis would say that God is so far beyond our understanding that we are using poetic terms and ideas to try and express the inexpressible. We are trying to grapple with the gray unknown. The song was not written as some sort of reformed doctrinal statement, to force people into a position on whether the understanding of atonement including the wrath of God is actually true or not. I reject the image that some people have that God is so angry that Jesus had to appease Him. But the point I'd want to make is that that the wrath of God does not preclude his love. God is love. So there is an element of wrath.

WL: Tell us about your new project, Courage. You've included family as part of this recording, and the musicianship is absolutely superb! I really appreciated the variety of musical influence. Some of the songs will have a multi-genre appeal, which is extremely rare. Can you elaborate on your approach?

STUART: It surprises and saddens me that as a genre we seem to have settled on a very narrow rock style as 'the sound of worship'. It's something we learned from U2 in the '90s and we've been doing it ever since! I don't know if it's a question of taste or talent (because it does only require 6 chords!), but it seems to me there is so much more music out there to use to express our worship. So it's been a conscious decision for me in the last few years to use fiddle, whistle, accordion, and banjo for live work and recording, to introduce an acoustic folk sound into our worship. On this record, we've used a little more sequenced synth stuff on a few tracks, as well as influences of folk, country, choral, Tom Waits-style ballad and Sufjan Stevens. All kinds of music I really love, and all of which bring something different to our experience of worship. I just hope people are able to embrace it as worship while recognizing it's using a slightly broader palette of colors then they are used to.

stuarttownend.co.uk It is clear that Stuart Townend is a singer and songwriter that has been trained at the feet of composition, and he knows his way around an arrangement. More associated recently with hymns and songs like “In Christ Alone” and “The Power of the Cross” on his resume is proof enough. Stuart’s latest album Courage is at first fun and contemporary with “How Shall I Sing that Majesty?” and “May the Peoples Praise You?” the guitar and soft banjo are fresh and welcoming with a touch of Celtic influence. The lyrics are reverent with a hint of sophistication that are a joy to listen to. “How Good it is to Sing” based on Psalm 147 is a nice segue to “Still, My Soul Be Still” a beautiful ballad with Kaz Barnett. Noteworthy is the duet with his daughter Emma a precious hymn “I am Here for You” with elegant strings and perfect intonation, this song is a high point on the album. The title track “Courage” is punctuated with banjo and steel guitar and you immediately understand and appreciate that Stuart is a worship leader that does not require all the technology and gimmicks to make his music happen. When Stuart is just strumming the guitar or plucking the banjo, he is at home with the subtle accents of the cultural instruments that make his music rare and unique. “We Believe” and the duet “Keep You Here” featuring his son Phil is another treasure on the album. “For the Cause” is another hymn that is reverent and the perfect transition into the final song on the project “Christ Be with Me”. Hymns are a precious art, tradition and foundation of worship music. Listening to Courage was a joy and felt like navigating a map of glorious places and finding treasure after treasure. The clever instrumentation and fresh use of strings, not to mention the banjo, brought additional fun and life to this album and the duet “Lead On, Lead On” with Emma Townend was also noteworthy on this four-star project that will dance in your head long after the music has stopped and worth a listen. TOP SONGS

“THE VERY BEST” AND “LOVE SOMEBODY”

MOST SINGABLE

“THE BREAKUP SONG” AND “LET THE LIGHT IN”

STRONGEST BIBLICAL CONTENT

“YOU BELONG”

T H E W H O L E PAC K AG E

“DEFENDER” AND “AS GOOD AS IT GETS”

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ALBUM REVIEWS

BY DARRYL BRYANT CROWDER

I KNOW A GHOST crowdermusic.com

DA R RY L

B RYA N T

FORMER GENERAL MANAGER OF THE SANTA FE SCREENWRITING CONFERENCE, MFA IN CREATIVE WRITING Darryl has been exposed to all genres of music having grown up in a musical family and touring the country. He studied sound engineering with Stephen English at Sound Factory recording studio, and has worked with Leon Patillo, Randy Stonehill, Michael Card, Roby Duke, and Kathy Tracolli. Darryl is currently a PhD student at Grand Canyon University.

Multi-Dove award winner and Grammy nominated Crowder wanted to make some porch music and explore organic composition in a combination of East Texas banjo and fiddle and drum driven mixtapes. There comes a time when every artist wants to put out the unaltered project that epitomizes their music, life and span of influence. Crowder found such an opportunity with I know a Ghost. The first few cuts on the album are a montage of vibrant church music with banjo, guitars and 808 drums intertwined with swells, thunder and things that go bump in the night. The music starts and stops with a potpourri of time signatures that build into something special and as a title track you discover where you are going somewhere along the way. The high energy “Wildfire” shifts directions and you know you are having church in a steampunk gospel and funk kind of way and its fun and authentic. “Crushing Snakes” with Taya of Hillsong Music is another change of pace with pulsating and thick drums holding down the beat with sparkling upright piano splashed across the mix. Crowder is no stranger to musical adventure but he also knows his way around a traditional sanctuary destined

tune with an anthem like structure that fits and begs the question of why hasn’t this been done before. Crowder brings a lot of talent to the party and power vocalist Mandisa is exactly what the doctor ordered with “Let it Rain”. When the fingerpicking starts with “Everyday I’m Blessed” and the drums that are anything but subtle catch up with you the banjo finger roll alerts you that you are traveling on a mystical worship journey and you are arrested by “I’m Leaning on You” with Riley Clemmons. The lyrical prestidigitation continues with “No Rival” and features JR with a minimalist spin on this haunting vibe that is a brilliant change of pace with a call and response through the bridge and grooves the rest of the track with a touch of swing. The smoking banjo on “Child of God” and “Happy Day” infiltrate the album and you find yourself somewhere between an anthem and East Texas again and Crowder is having church. “La Luz” featuring the Social Club Misfits is a celebration of the prodigal coming home and the energy and flow is right on time as the Spanish rap reminds us that the Gospels are filled with stories and life encounters that we can apply today. The Sinner’s Cure” strips down Crowder’s voice and he still has a trick or two up his sleeve accompanied by a gorgeous piano surrounded by haunting and chilling analog drones with the 808 laying down the rhythm while amplifying a vocal rap and the song is both sincere and authentic and still very much Crowder. The final cut “Ghost” sums up this five-star project as the real deal and reminds and persuades the listener that “I Know a Ghost” is not a fad or misguided statement but a chance to have an encounter with a living God - forgiving and loving Messiah and we all need to Get Ready! Playing Holy Ghost church music is a “Wildfire” that will not be easy to put out!

TOP SONGS

“I KNOW A GHOST” AND “LET IT RAIN” FEATURING MANDISA

MOST SINGABLE

“RED LETTERS” AND “EVERYDAY I’M BLESSED”

STRONGEST BIBLICAL CONTENT

“THE SINNER’S CURE”

T H E W H O L E PAC K AG E

“CRUSHING SNAKES” AND “NO RIVAL”

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TOP SONGS

“THE VERY BEST” AND “LOVE SOMEBODY”

MOST SINGABLE

“THE BREAKUP SONG” AND “LET THE LIGHT IN”

OWN IT

STRONGEST BIBLICAL CONTENT

“YOU BELONG”

francescamusic.com

T H E W H O L E PAC K AG E

“DEFENDER” AND “AS GOOD AS IT GETS”

FRANCESCA BATTISTELLI

Francesca Battistelli brings much needed energy and perspective to contemporary worship music. Her Grammy nominated “Free to be Me” was as liberating as it was inspirational in letting her audience and the world know that the Christian music industry needed a relevant change that addressed real issues of everyday life. Her latest project Own It is as much a proclamation arguably as a showcase for a fresh generation of artists to take new and authentic paths through worship music. “The Breakup Song” is a throwback tune that changes pace and with Francesca’s powerful and gorgeous vocal range transitioning into “The Very Best” without being trite or condescending with mature lyrics that are never over-stated! “Love Somebody” continues the high energy vibe and has a nineties vibe reminiscent of Kathy Troccoli with power synths that bring the groove in a fun and authentic way. “Royalty” then changes the pace coupled with a subtle modern-day feel that would play in any pop-oriented radio rotation. Battistelli has garnered both critically and commercial acclaim as both a singer and songwriter. The single "This Could change Everything” is an excellent use of complex

rhythms and vocal arrangement that opens up “You Belong” and again showcases the affirming lyrical message that Battistelli is noted for. Using upbeat verses and choruses that amplify the more ballad rooted tunes like “As Good as it Gets” with each song telling a story that is engaging and unique avoiding patterns and clichés that would be so easy to fall into. “Freedom” the final cut on the album is also noteworthy and could have been the title track as this theme resonates throughout the album. “Defender” with Steffany Gretzinger displays a reservoir of depth and grace that is infectious in both its simplicity and complexity that is balanced and heart swelling with mesmerizing string and arpeggios with subtle attention to detail, outstanding production that elevates this fivestar album to a fun and memorable stratosphere. Own It delivers what you have come to expect from Francesca Battistelli and like Lauren Daigle, is an artist with something powerful and affirming to say to this generation with both maturity and clarity that opens the door for conversations about faith and the everyday challenges that face us all.

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APOSTLES WORSHIP

FOREVER HALLELUJAH apostlesworship.org

TOP SONGS

“YOU’RE ALL OVER”

MOST SINGABLE

“MY GOD IS STRONGER”

STRONGEST BIBLICAL CONTENT

“FOREVER HALLELUJAH”

T H E W H O L E PAC K AG E

“MY LIFE IS YOURS”

Heralding from Atlanta, Georgia, Apostles Worship is Paul Reeves, Aimee Miller, and Jeremy Ezell. “You’re Over All” is a smooth ballad that opens Forever Hallelujah with a sense of urgency. The vocals are well balanced and the song feels familiar and engaging as it transitions into “Come and Feast”. The lyrics are thoughtful with the right touch of hunger and passion and blends the instrumentation with the vocals while keeping the narrative original in familiar ways that allows the album to evolve and grow. “My God is Stronger” is joyful and fun and taunts the power of our God and His strength in every situation we may face. The chorus is a wonderful break that gets down

CHRIS TOMLIN

HOLY ROAR christomlin.com

to the heart of the message with a perfect hook that strays from the traditional arrangements and makes this tune memorable. “Lift My Eyes” and “My Life is Yours” take original paths transitioning from ballad to anthem with a well thought out flow. Speaking of flow, the project transitions from one song to another like a contemporary worship service that is inviting and welcoming. “Spirit Send Us Out” closes out this album with excellent songwriting and authentic worship which is vibrant and alive. Forever Hallelujah is a wonderful follow-up to Apostles Worship’s 2017 EP Water to Wine and is a deep well of insightful and relevant worship that is definitely worth a listen, especially for praise and worship leaders.

TOP SONGS

“NOBODY LOVES ME LIKE YOU” AND “RESURRECTION POWER”

MOST SINGABLE

“HOLY ROAR” AND “IS HE WORTHY”

STRONGEST BIBLICAL CONTENT

“GOODNESS, LOVE AND MERCY” AND “PRAISE HIM FOREVER”

T H E W H O L E PAC K AG E

“I STAND IN AWE” AND “HOW SWEET IT IS”

Chris Tomlin refers to his new album Holy Roar as being set apart and the title track. There is something different about this project for the native Texan that sets it apart as a worship masterpiece. Tomlin as both a singer songwriter brings conviction to “Nobody Loves Me like You” and brings an element of storytelling to the arrangement. The exquisite piano and guitar of the traditional “Resurrection Power” leads into “Goodness, Love and Mercy” and is pure worship and feels specifically directed toward the sanctuary. There is no slick overproduction just warm and fresh songs that feel complete and well-written. “Satisfied” is singable and “Impact” is what we have come to love about Chris Tomlin’s music. As both a songwriter and singer, Tomlin’s experience as worship leader gives songs like “Is He Worthy” room to percolate and swell with meaning and purpose as both ballad and anthem. Tomlin knows how to handle the 48 W O R S H I P L E A D E R | W O R S H I P L E A D E R .C O M | W I N T E R 2 019

classics such as “Amazing Grace” and “And if Our God is for Us” from previous projects. What makes Holy Roar stand out is that this project takes what we have come to expect a step or two further and feels comfortable and familiar in a good way. A notable standout is the duet with Nicole Serrano “I Stand in Awe” with Nicole clearly out front. This is a beautiful musical arrangement with plush orchestration and a perfect blend of acoustic instruments that adds reverent power to the track. Chris Tomlin elevates worship and is a joy to listen to. With thunderous masterpieces like “How Great is Our God” as a part of his resume the awe inspiring “How Sweet It is” with Pat Barrett is a perfect way to close out this album and remind us that worship is alive and well and as Holy Roar makes more than a statement but a proclamation for radio and the sanctuary that this five-star project is set apart!


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CASTING CROWNS

ONLY JESUS castingcrowns.com

Casting Crowns has garnered both critical and international acclaim with Dove and Grammy awards. Mark Hall’s distinctive and easily recognizable voice blends in with Megan Garrett and songs such as “East to West” and “Voice of Truth” have found their way into major films and have cemented Casting Crowns as icons in Christian rock/ pop. However, there is so much more to this band through the past decade. “Only Jesus” gets things started with a melodic up-tempo vibe that is impeccably arranged with pulsing integral strings and power drums that lay the foundation for thoughtful lyrics. “Nobody” featuring Matthew West is an anthem with clever lyrics and well-arranged vocals with Megan’s female lead breaking through at the right time and elevating the song to another layer and level of intimacy. The title track to Only Jesus takes Casting Crowns signature move and forces the listener to reflect with counterpoints that weave in and out of reverence and lyrical transparency that is gripping and forgiving. The journey continues with “In the Hands of the Potter” that is one of the best tunes on the project. The emotional ebb and flow really capture the moment with poignant acoustic guitar strums that open the range for heart touching words and intonation. Casting Crowns has a musical pallet like no one else in the genre and their use of pacing on “Even When you are Running” the balance between minimalism and big sounds allow songs to breathe so that lyrics are not buried but leap to life to add more clarity. Then

when the album changes directions on songs such as “One Awkward Moment” and “Home” the listener is having a conversation with the artists in ways that display mastery and sensitivity. Only Jesus is a multidimensional and intricately layered sonic menagerie of music at its best that often defies genres. You know that you are listening to inspirational Christian music but you can accomplish this unapologetically and invite your friends to listen because the songs transcend religion and really speak to the ups and downs of life that we are all travelling through. I would be remiss to not highlight the banjo and fiddle laden “Start Right Here” this song is real and convicting and calls out those of faith to do something more to get the gospel out, a perfect transition into the powerful and poignant “The Change in Me” which is authentic and beautifully orchestrated praise and worship. There is so much to like about Only Jesus. Casting Crowns takes no shortcuts and always adds the right touch of lyrical narrative that builds a message and allows the listener to take the journey in creative and profound ways. This five-star project never takes its foot off the gas but slows down during the sharp curves and bumpy hills of life and is a bridge to compliment the thoughtful arrangements and intelligent transitions from ballads to anthems with songwriting prowess that is so necessary to embrace “One More Song for You”. This project will get plenty of airplay – give it a listen and share it with someone looking for a way home.

TOP SONGS

“NOBODY” AND “ONE AWKWARD MOMENT”

MOST SINGABLE

“ONLY JESUS” AND “EVEN WHEN YOU’RE RUNNING”

STRONGEST BIBLICAL CONTENT

“IN THE POTTER’S HAND” AND “HOME”

T H E W H O L E PAC K AG E

“ONLY JESUS” AND “ONE MORE SONG FOR YOU”

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TOP SONGS

“MAGNIFICENT, MARVELOUS, MATCHLESS LOVE”

MOST SINGABLE

“THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD”

THE NORTH COAST SESSIONS

STRONGEST BIBLICAL CONTENT

“MY DWELLING PLACE” AND “I LIFT MY EYES”

gettymusic.com

T H E W H O L E PAC K AG E

“I WILL WAIT FOR YOU” AND “PSALM 150”

KEITH & KRISTYN GETTY

Keith and Kristyn Getty have been writing hymns and promoting traditional, folk and classical hymns for almost a decade and co-wrote “In Christ Alone” with Stuart Townend. Arguably, one of the most popular hymns of this generation internationally. The North Coast Sessions opens with “I Will Wait for You” This beautiful tune based on Psalm 130 is reverent and the gorgeous bagpipe intro is a classic. The Irish Celtic vibe is vibrant and powerful with the perfect crescendo and closes as strong as it begins. The acoustic menagerie of “Magnificent, Marvelous, Matchless Love” is the perfect showcase for Kristyn’s multi-octave range and is punctuated with relevant lyrics that don’t compromise and don’t hold back. The Celtic instrumentation is creative rhythmically and just plain fun to listen to. As the pace slows

down with “The Lord is My Shepherd” the lead guitar intro is masterfully recorded and flows without taking away from the subtle harmonies and riveting lead vocal. “I Lift My Eyes” is a blend of captivating acoustic guitars and delta blues that is genre bending with folk sensibilities. Noteworthy is the youthful child lead in on “You Have Searched Me” which is a standout on this album with sweet and blissful subtleties that lay a foundation for the lyrical narrative and a priceless showcase of hymns and traditional music at its best. The instrumental “Psalm 150” is culturally significant and demonstrates the folk prowess of The North Coast Sessions. From the enthralling instrumentation to the compelling vocals no matter what your worship fancy is this four-star album is worth a listen.

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ANSMANN RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES www.ansmann.net

GEAR REVIEWS BY

S T E V E

It is truly amazing how sound can be transmitted wirelessly from point to point through microphones and in-ear monitor packs. What is not so amazing is the price you have to pay to cut the chord. While the initial purchase price of wireless gear is quite a bit more expensive than its wired counterpart, the real cost is the small fortune you will spend over the lifetime of said equipment for batteries. Most wireless gear has a high rate of power consumption and will burn through batteries pretty fast. So quickly, in fact, that sometimes a battery will die in the middle of a service! Since there’s not much else that is more embarrassing for a sound person than having to take the dreaded walk of shame up the aisle with a fresh set of batteries, most ministries have adopted a one and done policy. For each and every service, a new set of batteries are used and at the end of the day, they go in the trash. That is as many as two batteries per microphone or in-ear pack and when you add it all up, even if you are buying batteries in bulk at a discount, that is a lot of waste. However, times have changed. Thanks to a little thing called ‘science’, rechargeable batteries have come a long way and are really worth taking another look at. In an effort to be ‘eco-conscious' and ‘green’ many of today’s top recording artists have pushed for a lower ‘carbon footprint’ and to generate less waste on their tours. These demands have provided the necessary market conditions for companies like Ansmann to bring their innovations to a thriving marketplace. While you yourself may or may not be that interested in being ‘green’, most everyone is interested in ‘saving some green’ as this next generation of batteries are extremely cost effective when compared to their nonrechargeable counterparts.

R E E D

MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST, AUTHOR, SPEAKER, WRITER, PRODUCER WORSHIP TEAM TRAINER Steve along with his wife and children comprise the worship group Steve & Shawn. Steve is an avid learner and teacher by nature and his extensive travels as a guest minister, long history of local church service, and experience in the recording industry provides a fresh perspective on how equipment can help resource the church. Steveandshawn.com musicandministry.co

Ansmann offers two main classes of batteries that each includes many different sizes. The most ideal for churches is going to be the MaxE Pro that offers 9 hours of run time on a single charge and can be recharged 2,100 times! What is also amazing about this new technology is that you don’t have to fully drain them before you recharge, that’s right no memory! The other advantage to MaxE Pro is that they have a very low rate of discharge, 1% per month vs. the 2% per day of their other line of batteries. Discharge is the only apparent downside to the current rechargeable technology, as over time the batteries leak out their charge, especially if they are not being used. I placed some of the 2850 model batteries, that have a 14 hour run time but also have a 2% per day discharge, inside a device that has been off 99% of the time and after months it powers right up. I also placed 2850 model batteries that I had fully charged on the counter and they were dead within a few weeks. However, by comparison, I opened up a pack of the MaxE Pro model batteries that were charged at the factory and have been sitting on my desk for months and they have almost fully held their charge. That’s a pretty big difference so I would certainly spend the few more dollars to get the MaxE Pro unless you really need the longer run time of the 2850 model batteries. You will also have many options for a charger for your batteries. A four battery charger for AA’s or AAA’s is the smallest while the standard Energy16 charger is a multi-battery size workhorse that will change 9v, C, D, AA, and AAA batteries and it is designed to sit on a desk or can be hung on a wall. For those interested in maximizing their ability to charge in the least amount of space there are also options for rack-mount units that are more battery type specific and take up one rack space but are quite a bit more expensive.

OVERVIEW PROS

YO U C A N S AV E A L OT O F M O N E Y A N D R E D U C E YO U R WA S T E

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B OT T O M L I N E

R E C H A R G E A B L E B AT T E R I E S H AV E C O M E A L O N G WAY A N D A R E R E A L LY WO R T H TA K I N G A L O O K AT B E C AU S E I T W I L L S AV E YO U A L OT O F M O N E Y

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ONSONG IPHONE/IPAD APP www.onsongapp.com

OnSong is a powerful and diverse app that many worship teams, small groups, and churches will find to be a low-cost and easy answer for many of the technical demands of modern ministry. It can display lyrics with background pictures and video in either a wired or wireless configuration. It can display sheet music to musicians and allow them to change the key of a song with the swipe of a finger, show you chord formations, allow you to make notes, and can even be linked together with everyone else on your team so that one person can scroll and advance the music. It can also control smart bulb enabled lighting. It can trigger loops and playback. It can send visual messages to your team. Oh, and it can also do all of those things at the same time and be controlled wirelessly by a foot pedal on stage if you don’t have a free finger. So yeah that’s a lot, but let’s break down the two main features that are applicable for most churches or groups. For those looking to digitize their music stand, you really don’t need to look much further than OnSong as there are many great features that will help you know what’s coming next. Almost everything is customizable; colors, fonts, custom notes, keys changes, and more are quickly and easily accessible at the swipe of a finger. You can integrate with CCLI and even manage your music library via a computer if you so desire. iPads can be linked together, allowing someone to be your page turner so you can keep your hands on the instrument and off your iPad. The other main feature is the one I have been the most excited about, the ability to project lyrics

and video wirelessly by the touch of a finger or by a foot pedal. This is done by connecting your iPad or iPhone wirelessly via AppleTV (recommended) or ChromeCast (less recommended) or you can also just make a hardwired connection by using an iPad to HDMI or VGA converter. Lyrics can be displayed over a color background, imported pictures, or even video that all look just like the expensive programs that have to be run from a laptop or desktop. The flexibility of connections allows you to easily show your lyrics via TVs and projectors but best of all you can do it from anywhere. There is no need for a booth! You can sit with your family or the lyrics can just be controlled handsfree from the stage via a wide variety of Bluetooth foot controls. OnSong has so many features that you really need to head over to onsongapp.com as it’s pretty impressive how much it can do especially given the low price of $24.99. A price that is kept low, in part, by allowing you to purchase the features that you want separately as your initial cost unlocks most of the app's ability but if you are not really interested in projecting lyrics with motion background then you don’t have to pay for it. All of these in-app purchases are offered at an extremely low cost especially given what they can do. The OnSong app is probably best suited for small to medium-sized churches and would be perfect for small groups. The company has been around for quite some time which means that users benefit from the depth of development of the program and from its ability to work on older equipment, even on the iPad 2 if it has the last available software update.

OVERVIEW PROS

A N E A S Y WAY T O C O N T R O L LY R I C P R OJ E C T I O N A N D S H E E T M U S I C W I T H M A N Y O P T I O N A L F E AT U R E S AT A V E RY L OW C O S T

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O N LY WO R K S O N I P H O N E O R I PA D . P R OJ E C T I O N I S F O R LY R I C S O N LY - T H O U G H I T C A N S H OW A N I M AG E O R A V I D E O A S A B AC KG R O U N D . T H E R E I S A L S O N O B I B L E V E R S E I N T E G R AT I O N F E AT U R E L I K E T H O S E F O U N D I N S TA N DA R D C H U R C H P R OJ E C T I O N S O F T WA R E . T H E S O F T WA R E I S , H OW E V E R , R E G U L A R LY U P DAT E D S O W R I T E I N O R C H E C K B AC K I F T H O S E A R E D E A L B R E A K E R S .

B OT T O M L I N E

S H O C K I N G W H AT A L L YO U C A N D O F R O M O N E $ 2 4 . 9 9 A P P.

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TAYLOR 814CE DLX V-CLASS www.taylorguitars.com

A breakthrough in innovation has once again revamped the entire product line of Taylor guitars, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the outside. That’s because this revolution is actually on the inside of the guitar, where few dare to venture and picks often refuse to leave without a fight. The upgrade is in how the guitar is braced, or how the pieces of wood that hold the top and bottom of the guitar together, which drastically changes the sound coming from the instrument. The new V-class of instruments, which are available on almost every model of Taylor guitars, have a distinct...wait for it...yep you guessed it...a ’V’ shape. An idea that came to master guitar maker Andy Powers while watching the waves roll in at the beach. While the shape of the bracing has no impact on how a guitar looks, it does have an effect on how it sounds. This new shape allows the tones of the guitar to resonate more effectively, which produces a better sound, a longer sustain, and even helps the instrument play more in tune. For those who would like to get even nerdier about how all of this works, there is quite a bit of reading and viewing material at taylorguitars.com/vclass. Specifically, I chose to review the 814ce deluxe version of this new V class of instruments because while I was at Summer NAMM, a trade show where North American Music Merchants come to see what products to carry in their stores, I was trying many of the Taylor guitars and just kept coming back to this one because of the sound and the playability. So how does it sound? Well, like

an amazing Taylor guitar. Which will be a bit brighter and clearer than many other brands of guitar. “Why you would want that?” is an idea that has taken me a while to understand, but two factory tours and many conversations with builders have helped me realize that their research and development departments work with top musicians to find what they need and then deliver it. What do top professionals want out of an acoustic guitar? Clarity and to stick out in the mix. So though it can be nice to have the tonal balance of a beefy low end, that full sound will get washed away once the band kicks in and most sound techs will just roll all the low end off an acoustic guitar with EQ anyway. So rather than making a guitar that has to be adjusted later in order to sound right, Taylor builds guitars that do sound like the desired end result. The 814ce DLX also features a rounded edge where your right arm rests on the guitar that adds a nice look and is also very comfortable. This guitar features Indian rosewood on the back and sides with spruce on the top, which is an amazing combination for acoustic instruments. However, as governments across the world are clamping down on wood harvesting, traveling outside these United States of America with an instrument made of rosewood is something to consider as you might not make it back in with your guitar intact. While all of the wood used to make Taylor guitars is above board and is meticulously legal, you must travel with your paperwork proving that it is so or a customs agent just might not believe you. While that’s not a problem for most it is something to think about if you travel abroad.

OVERVIEW PROS

A B E AU T I F U L LY C O N S T R U C T E D G U I TA R W I T H A G R E AT I N T O N AT I O N T H AT S O U N D S G R E AT B OT H P LU G G E D I N A N D AC O U S T I C A L LY. V E RY C O M F O R TA B L E T O P L AY.

CONS

TAY L O R G U I TA R S A R E N OT C H E A P B U T H O L D T H E I R VA LU E A N D A R E S O M E O F T H E B E S T G U I TA R S M A D E .

B OT T O M L I N E

T H I S I S O N E O F T H E B E S T G U I TA R S I H AV E E V E R P L AY E D .

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G&H CABLES GUITAR CABLES www.ghplugs.com/instrument-cables

If you would have asked me a few months ago if the brand of cable mattered, I would have told you that a cable is a cable. Well, that is certainly not the case anymore as a new wave of technology and innovation is quickly changing how the industry looks at one of the most standard pieces of gear, the cable. To say the least I was a bit skeptical at first at the promotional brochure about how this cable was better suited for acoustic instruments and this one is better for guitars and how this and that... but that’s what product reviews are for because as soon as I plugged in the first cable I was astounded at how big of a change they make. Like night and day different. Well, it certainly had my attention now and yes their cable designed for acoustic instruments, called the Resonance, sounds better on

acoustic instruments. It’s like eq and maybe a hint of compression in a cable. It made all of the eq adjustments that I would have made for me. When I changed cables back to the one I’ve had since the turn of the century, I had to brighten the EQ back up to match what was happening naturally through the Resonance cable. Out goes the old cable and welcome to the new. These cables are also constructed to be tough, a little thicker than your average cable to help withstand the perils and shoes of a church platform. These cables are also available with straight plugs or 90 degree plugs which I would recommend you have on at least one side as I had a hard time finding a guitar stand that could take the height of the straight cable.

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H I G H - Q UA L I T Y C A B L E D E S I G N E D T O L A S T T H AT D R A S T I C A L LY A F F E C T S T H E S O U N D I N A P O S I T I V E WAY.

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N OT T H E C H E A P E S T C A B L E A N D I T D O E S D R A S T I C A L LY A F F E C T T H E S O U N D S O YO U H AV E T O R E T H I N K W H AT A L L YO U A R E D O I N G , A L L G O O D B U T J U S T A B I T O F WO R K .

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A G R E AT C A B L E T H AT W I L L L A S T A L O N G T I M E .

G&H CABLES SOLDERLESS CONNECTOR KITS www.www.ghplugs.com/solderless-kits

If you have ever tried to wire up an electric

average person by offering Cable Kits that use a

guitar pedal board then you have quickly

solderless connection that is held in by a set-screw

discovered that one size of cable will not do. Each

to easily create the cables you need. Kits come in packs of 6 or 12 which makes 3

pedal is different and some have plugs that go out the back and some go out the side. This combined

or 6 cables and the ends can convert from straight

with the pedal order you need to eventually get

ends to 90-degree angles as needed. Each kit

to your amp, quickly shows the need for custom

comes with most everything you need; bulk cable,

pedal cables. But making cables in the past has

a screwdriver, and of course the ends. Simply

been reserved for those brave enough to fire up a

measure out how long your cables need to be, cut,

soldering iron and melt metal together.

insert, tighten the set screw, and plug it in. It is as

Thankfully companies like G&H are making custom pedal cables much more accessible to the

easy as it sounds! Even the non-techie people in the world can do this.

OVERVIEW PROS

C U S T O M C A B L E S T H AT R E A L LY C L E A N U P YO U R P E DA L B OA R D T H AT A R E S M A L L E N O U G H T O F I T I N T I G H T S PAC E S . E A S Y T O I N S TA L L .

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I F YO U A R E L O O K I N G T O C L E A N U P YO U R P E DA L B OA R D YO U S H O U L D TA K E A L O O K AT G & H .

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first steps to becoming a

MULTI- CULTUR A L

N I K K I

WORSHIP

L E R N E R VOCALIST

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L E A DER

Nikki Lerner is a cultural coach, teacher, and gifted vocalist with over 20+ years as a practitioner of multicultural worship leadership in the local church. Along with three recording projects, Nikki is also the co-author of the book Worship Together: In Your Church As In Heaven. Nikkilerner.com


Worship leading is not the same in every church and in every culture in the United States. Do your worship leading gifts work everywhere? Are you confident that you would be able to lead worship in any cultural context where you may find yourself? I want you to have an overwhelming sense of YES when you think about these things. In Ephesians Chapter 4, the Apostle Paul tells the believers in the church of Ephesus to “lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” We can never assume, no matter how long we have been leading, that we have learned all that we need in order to be effective as leaders of God’s multicultural body of Christ. It’s time to learn.

SOMETIMES YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW. Who teaches you how to lead worship in a fellowship where the people may have a different ethnic background than you? Who coaches you on the best way to lead an immigrant population? Would you know what to do? Would you feel the same sense of confidence in yourself as a worship leader being called by God, or would your cultural come-from feel like a hindrance to you? Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know when it comes to leading cross-culturally and this is the perfect time in the history of the American church where we need to take the position as learners.

GET TRAINING IN THE AREA OF CULTURALLY DIVERSE WORSHIP LEADING. Over the last 20 years, I have worked to build the ministry at the church where I have been leading. A strong, thriving multicultural church where over 52 different nations are represented in its congregation. One of my greatest joys leading this ministry has been the development of volunteer worship leaders who come right out of the church community. Many of the people that I get to work with have had experience leading worship in mono-cultural environments. All WhiteAmerican, or all African-American, or all KoreanAmerican, or within environments that were all one particular age. Most people have not thought about leading in environments where there is a mix of people who come from different ethnic backgrounds. Just because you have been leading for years, mono-culturally it doesn’t always mean that you have the training you

need to lead cross-culturally. In fact, you may find out very quickly that much of the training you have received up until the point you are in front of a diverse crowd has all come from one cultural group---usually your own. 3 Ways to Begin Your New Learning As A MultiCultural Worship Leader: Find a worship-leading mentor who is different than you in ethnic background, experience, and/or gender. Ask them if you can learn from them for 6 months to a year. Be very clear about your intentions to learn and to broaden your own worship leading toolbox in order to be an effective leader to more cultures than just your own. Expand your musical playlist. If you continue to only pick songs from the CCLI top 100 or your favorite local gospel radio station you will continue to fish in a culturally and musically segregated pool. Ask friends that are of different ethnic come-froms what they are listening to. Take a Sunday off and visit the local Vietnamese Christian congregation down the street or the local Sudanese or Russian congregation and listen to the songs that they sing. Talk to the worship leaders after the service and ask them about their worship leading strategies and philosophies. Read. A lot. Remember, sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. Be sure to pick up some resources by people who have been practitioners in the field of intentional multicultural worship leading and learn some new strategies. Be intentional about reading books written by people who are a different ethnic culture than you for a broader perspective on ministry, leadership, and team-building. Here are three books to get you started: • • •

The Beginner’s Guide to Crossing Cultures by Patty Lane Gracism: The Art of Inclusion by Dr. David Anderson Leading with Cultural Intelligence by David Livermore

Effective worship leading in the 21st century and beyond will not be about songs, but about inclusivity and culturally rich expression for God’s multicultural body. Your greatest asset as a growing, multicultural worship leader is curiosity. Stay curious and lead inclusively.

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I want to help Worship Leaders, Pastors, Music Directors, really anyone in ministry, with the tough questions that challenge us in our head and heart. Share your question with Dr. Craig Gilbert:

worshipleader.com/contact INSTAGRAM.COM/worship.leader

I have been volunteering for a while as a player in my church band. Recently, we needed a new leader. The pastor and church board asked the band who might be able to step up and everyone looked at me. I felt like this was God saying it was my moment so I said, “Ok.” But now that I am trying to do this week after week, I am really afraid that I don’t know what I am doing and questions keep me up at night. What if the pastor and church members don’t like how I lead? What if I make a mistake, on stage, on a Sunday morning? What happens if I let God down?

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hen I am asked this question, I remember my own experience telling people I did not know if I was a good enough player, singer, or leader. But when I dug down and got real honest, my true fear was that I was not spiritual enough to be a worship leader. It is ironic that the very trait that makes us desirable as leaders, the fact that we care so much, is exactly the trait that can make us very fragile and uncertain in our leadership. If you find yourself in some of these times, well-intentioned souls may tell you that doubting is not from God. They are right. There are a lot of scriptures that call us not to doubt but to trust in God. For some people, they can find comfort in those words and can rise up with a new found resilience in their faith. But others need to know they are not alone in their fears before they can begin to find their faith. Let me share with you the words of another leader who had doubts like ours.

Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt? EXODUS 3:11

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FOUNDER OF THE WORSHIP DOCTOR & PURPOSED HEART MINISTRIES Craig spent 25 years leading & designing worship in local churches of all sizes and worship styles. Now he spends his time helping churches across the country imagine and achieve what worship could be and should be in their local context.

Moses had a lot of doubts and argued with God over God’s call on his life. There are others in the Bible who did this as well. Have you ever spent some serious time in the Psalms? There is doubt, fear, hurt, anger and more directed at God. When we step up to lead, doubt is a natural follower. The question is, do we dwell in that fear and doubt, or do we turn it over to the Lord? The origin of Christian worship is the synagogue worship of the Israelites in Babylonian captivity. They had lost their land, their temple, and were in danger of losing their identity. To prevent that from happening they would gather and tell the stories of God. They would sing songs and pray. They would teach on the works and promises of God. The goal

was to remember who God was and what God had done so that they could have faith that God would not forget them. Do you think they doubted? You bet they did. Fast forward to Christian worship today:

“I think, when a man says, ‘I never doubt,’ it is quite time for us to doubt him, it is quite time for us to begin to say, ‘Ah, poor soul, I am afraid you are not on the road at all, for if you were, you would see so many things in yourself, and so much glory in Christ more than you deserve, that you would be so much ashamed of yourself, as even to say, ‘It is too good to be true.'” CHARLES SPURGEON

Our role as worship leaders is to tell the stories of God, God’s work and God’s promises fulfilled in Jesus Christ so that the people of God can have faith that when they are troubled, God will not forget them either. What we have to remember is that those promises apply to us as leaders as well. Is it easy? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, but there will be a sunrise after the dark. So worship leader, trust your call, trust your church, and most of all, trust your God.

“The lesson of wisdom is, be not dismayed by soul-trouble … Cast not away your confidence, for it hath great recompense of reward. Even if the enemy’s foot be on your neck, expect to rise and overthrow him. Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord, who forsaketh not his saints.” CHARLES SPURGEON

Until next time... Worship Leader: Go forth to love and serve the Lord People: Thanks be to God! All: Amen!


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SUBMIT YOUR SONG W O R S H I P L E A D E R . C O M

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Profile for Worship Leader Magazine

Spiritual Direction - WL Winter 2019