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10 

Thermostats

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Lighting the Match

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Serve to Worship, Worship to Serve

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Marcus Criner

10

An Interview with for KING & COUNTRY

Caroline Lusk

16

Finding Redemptive Analogies to Curate Worship

18

A Labor of Love

Tanya Riches

VOL 28

NO 2

An Interview with Amanda Lindsey Cook

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Horizontal Worship Part I

Worship Leader® (ISSN 1066-1247) is published quarterly by Worship Leader Partnership (P.O. Box 1539, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693). Copyright: Worship Leader magazine © 2019 by Worship Leader, Inc. Worship Leader® is a registered trademark. Published in U.S.A. CPM #4006 5056.

Steve Siler

Album Reviews

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Masterclass with Matt Redman

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O

ver the years, it has been my experience that many people think music, in the context of worship, is important, but they don't know why. They don't necessarily see it as a real ministry; from their perspective, music is just music—a means of artful communication. Very few people think about worship as prayer. They may not be conscious that we are speaking and singing to God. Our music is communication with God. We are opening the gate to the Holy Spirit. We show up to serve God so that He can minister through us. He doesn't need us, but He has chosen to partner with us—that's the mystery, and within the unknown lies a very fine point. When we show up to serve, we are merely a vehicle of God's ministry. It's not about us. It's about Jesus. Because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Heb. 7:24-26 (NIV) We must always be diligent not to allow our singing and serving to take away from the fact that the service belongs to God. He authored and finished it through the work of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to cover our guilt and shame and separation from Him. You are doing what you’re doing because Jesus has called you. You have been invited into His service, as have I. And we have a mission. Our mission is to reveal the spirituality of music; to share a new song with the community. Jesus is the New Song! It's a song of communion with the One who made all, sees all, loves all, serves all, and saves all. To be invited by the Creator of the Universe is an overwhelming, practically inconceivable idea. Incredulous as it may seem, however, the invitation stands. The mysterious dance of Creator and creation goes on, accompanied by a new song that is more than music, more than art. It's a song of communion with the One who made all, sees all, loves all, serves all, and saves all. It emanates from Heaven down to you, your church, your family, your community. Henry Nouwen writes, "Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own." Whose interests are you serving today? As you go about your life, who or what is your priority? If it's anything other than participating in the ministry of God, it's time to step back, breathe deeply, and pray fervently for God's ministry and God's service to encompass who you are, what you do, and what you seek.

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WE

"

ARE

O PE N I N G TH E TO

G ATE TH E

H O LY

D R .

S PI RIT

C H U C K

SENIOR ADVISOR

F R O M M


DOWNLOAD THE REVERB APP A W o r l d o f G e a r W h e r e v e r Yo u G o

L E A R N M O R E AT R E V E R B . C O M / W O R S H I P L E A D E R


a letter from the

editor

Hello friends, It is with deep humility and gratitude that I address you now as the new editor of Worship Leader magazine. For years, this publication has been a guiding light and steady hand for me and countless others navigating the world of ministry, music, and mission. My journey has been surprising, beyond unexpected, and blessed beyond reason. Most recently, God decided to sneak up on me in a moment that could have easily become an extremely selfcentered pity party, to which I invited no one else. In March, I broke my femur, which virtually incapacitated me for three months. The break did not heal, so I had to undergo a full hip replacement and further incapacitation (as I write this, I still haven’t been able to drive for nearly four months!) As a mother of two, this whole scenario was grossly incompatible with my lifestyle. I had far too many places to go and things to do to surrender not only my car keys but the use of my legs.

But wouldn’t you know...not two weeks after my first operation, Worship Leader magazine put out feelers for a new editor. Given my 15 years of writing and editorial experience and love for worship and ministry, it seemed to be a natural fit. God wasn’t done. Unable to go to the grocery store or maintain my regular household routine like usual, goodwill and generosity flooded my family. People I’ve never met brought us dinner. Service groups from two states away sent casseroles for our freezer or gift cards to local restaurants. I received cards and notes of encouragement from loved ones and total strangers. To put it simply, I have been served. People have sacrificed their time and money for my family and me. Through the pain, discouragement, and frustration of my situation, God seized every single opportunity He could to remind me of His goodness and His love through the love of others. And in those moments when I wanted to break down and stay in bed for the rest of my life, God tugged at my heart. He reminded me of all the goodness, all His blessings. He told me of all the ways and reasons to worship. This issue focuses on the bridge between service and worship. I think the two are one and the same. You cannot worship our sacrificial King without sacrificial faith. You cannot claim to love our servant King without serving. While I know you know all of this, I hope within these pages, you will find abundant reminders and helpful tools to enable you to keep service at the forefront of your worship ministry. In an in-depth interview with Amanda Cook from Bethel Church, you will read how she labored over her latest project, seeking to create a collection of songs that would serve her congregation authentically and genuinely. In her article about redemptive analogies, Tanya Riches reminds us of the unbreakable bond of worship and missiology and what that means for you

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today. Steve Siler delves into the concept of horizontal worship, with insight on leading with sensitivity and awareness. These are but three examples of the encouragement and pragmatic conversations that lie within these pages. I urge you to dive deep into each article. Discover for yourself where the author or subject reveals ways to serve each other, thereby pursuing a more authentic offering of worship. I have not been to seminary and would never claim to be a theologian. However, I have read the works of brilliant men and women and am convinced that worship and service are two sides of the same coin. Moreover, I have experienced first-hand how service—whether you are giving or receiving—leads to a deeper understanding of our compassionate, allpowerful God, thereby eliciting a reaction of a more pure, more selfless response of worship. As I continue to heal, I have good days and bad, but I can honestly say that I rejoice in this time of weakness and stillness. I praise Him for His great loving-kindness and compassion, as shown through the actions and service of His children. I thank Him for surrounding me with people like the Fromms and the rest of the Worship Leader family. In a season of what could have been intense isolation, God sent His servants in droves to love on me, encourage me, and to use my gifts, despite my deficits. I look forward to the journey ahead and pray that I can faithfully continue the rich heritage of education, inspiration, and insight that has been a hallmark of Worship Leader from day one. I thank you for the opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what God does next. Sincerely,

Caroline C A R O L I N E

LU S K ,

EDITOR CAROLINE@WLMAG.COM

M . E D .


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D E VOTI O NA L

"I

Thermostats

will come to the level of your expectation." Those were the words I heard the Lord speak to me as I was on the stage, looking out over the crowd during our Sunday worship. This came during a time that the Lord had been dealing with me concerning the role of the worship leader. He was making a shift in me. Recently, however, a hunger started to rise. I had a burden to understand the role of the worship leader in a dramatically new way. During this study, I had been challenging my team's perspective. I told them that they are the thermostats for the service. When one thinks of a thermostat, you think of the object in your home that sets the temperature and atmosphere of your house. I encouraged my team that they are the thermostats of our house [Church]. David said in Psalm 69:9, "Passion for Your house has consumed me." Here’s the thing, the temperature and atmosphere should be set every service by the worship team. Either we can fix it high with expectation and faith or we can just go through the motions and, if not careful, hide behind our setlists. I have found that as worship leaders, we should be the leaders of the service, not the congregation. Let me explain...the atmosphere of faith and expectation should be what we present every time we step onto the platform. 10 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 | VO L . 28, N O. 2

Everyone that is on the stage, whether a singer, musician, choir member, or synth player is leading worship. One is the head of the worship ministry. However, we are all also leading worship by the way we sing and with the passion and faith we attach to it. Years ago, when I was traveling with a band, I remember having either great shows or terrible shows. It all hinged on the movement and energy of the crowd. If the crowd was into it, then the show was great! If the crowd was dead, then the show was a bust. We would get off the stage "lick our wounds" in the dressing room and be so bummed because we didn't see the response we wanted. We were so driven by the crowd's passion, energy, and abandonment, that it fueled what we did and how we played on stage. Sadly, I have seen worship teams act the same way. Leading worship is entirely the opposite. The worship team should fuel the service, bring the energy and faith, set the passion, show the abandonment, and lead with an expectation that God can do the impossible. We don't feed off them; we have the honor and privilege of leading them. Major difference. I would love to say that every time I step on the stage, the congregation is ready to worship with arms lifted toward the ceiling. The truth is, people are hurting, dealing with things, and carrying issues into the building. That's why they need us to lead


Passion for your house has consumed me. P SA LM

and encourage them. We have the responsibility to inspire them to surrender their burdens and magnify the Lord. That's why, as worship leaders, coming to service ready to minister is so crucial. If we lead from their level of expectation, then services at times would frequently go nowhere. They must catch our passion, faith, energy, and excitement. As worship leaders, we must start to feel the weight of our role. People's lives can depend on us being the vessel that God is desiring us to be. God doesn't want you to sound like Him but wants you to be just like Him every time you sing and declare His promises. Say to yourself before you walk onto the stage: "When I sing, God fills this place. When I sing, oppression cannot stay. When I sing, peace and freedom enter, and everything can change." If we are only thinking about these things as we are driving to the service, then we are already behind. The truth is that we should spend hours in the presence of God alone before we step onto the stage. Most will say, "I don't have time for that!" But here's the deal...we genuinely make time for what is important to us. If sleep, TV, and social media is more important to us, then our impact and influence will be severely limited. Our gift will remain undeveloped, and the services we lead won't reach their fullest potential.

69:9

I believe when we lead worship that it should be evident that we not only know about God but truly know Him and have spent time with Him. If we don't make time for God, then we will never have time for God. This is going to require us to get up early and adjust our schedules, but oh, the results when we do this! Remember, we are the thermostats of each service and can absolutely set the tone for each service. Let us confidently walk in our role with much passion and zeal. Let us set the bar high with an expectation and faith that cause the miraculous to occur. We are not musicians but ministers: the music just happens to be the way we minister.

BY

M A R C U S

C R I N E R

WORSHIP PASTOR, AUTHOR

Marcus is currently serving at Anchor Faith Church in St. Augustine, Florida. anchorfaith.com @marcuscriner

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Lighting the Match: FO R

K I N G

S H A R E T H AT

&

T H E

C O U N T RY S PA R K

I N S P I R E D

“ B U R N BY

TH E

S H I PS ”

C A R O L I N E

LU S K ,

E D I T O R

J

oel and Luke Smallbone, better known as for KING & COUNTRY, have earned a career that can be described as no less than meteoric. Following their debut album, Crave, released in 2012 their sophomore release, Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong, (2014) earned them a Grammy Award, countless nominations, and solidified their position as Christian music heavyweights. As it often does, success of that magnitude creates unique challenges and burdens that have potentially careerderailing consequences. From the grueling travel schedule to the pressure of industry expectations, artists like for KING & COUNTRY must possess an insatiable desire to serve, as well as an unconditionally unwavering support systemideally, one that begins at home. Fortunately, for both brothers, home has had much less to do with a place than the people around them. Luke and his wife frequently travel together with their kids, as do Joel and his wife, recording artist, Moriah Peters, when schedules allow. The close proximity has enabled the couples to remain close in good times and bad. When Luke’s wife encountered a psychological battle with addictive tendencies, the couple was able to confront the issue side-by-side. Through prayer, love, and lots of hard work, they were able to move beyond her challenges, ultimately capturing the experience in the song, “Burn the Ships.” Below, Luke and Joel share more about the birthplace of the song and relay their hope that it may serve others engaged in a battle of their own.

WATC H

12 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 | VO L . 28, N O. 2

N OW


IS

LISTE NING

SU B M IT

YO U R

SO N G

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W

p i hors

SE RVE Without fail, nearly every song deemed a “Christian” song is assigned a label. CCM, worship, hymn, rock, crossover, the list could go on… With the same frequency, many Christian gatherings—church services, prayer services, revivals, concerts, rallies, etc.—are neatly broken into sections, with "worship" demarcated and bookended with songs. And yet, after over fifteen years of work in the Christian music industry, 98% of artists and worship leaders will assert that worship is a lifestyle. I think most of us would agree with that sentiment. Our lives should be wholly pleasing to God. After all, Romans 12:1 could not be more explicit about what is considered to be authentic worship: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” It’s a familiar verse. It’s an understood concept. But its practical implications

TO

WORSHIP

require action on our behalf that may or may not fit into our current schedules. This verse calls us all to live sacrificially; as leaders, we must learn to lead sacrificially. In my experience, the easiest way to learn anything is to observe a master at work. What does he or she do to finesse the project and achieve the objective? There is no better ideal of servant leadership, sacrificial leadership than Jesus Christ. Time after time, He demonstrated keen sensitivity to those around Him. When the four thousand gathered on a hill to hear Him speak, He did not leave until He met their immediate, physical, practical needs. He not only led them in a time of learning about the Heavenly Father and how to worship Him, but Jesus also served them. Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” Matthew 15:32 The story goes on to tell how the

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disciples helped pass the food and feed the multitude, which reveals something else about the nature of Jesus’ leadership. By serving others, He also enabled others to serve. He created opportunities for the people around Him to show the love of God, to live sacrificially. In so doing, they worshipped with their actions; not just their words. As a worship leader, you have a responsibility to be sensitive to those in your congregation, but also those on your team. You must create an atmosphere of servant leadership by maintaining a keen awareness of the needs in your church, as well as the gifts of those with whom you serve each week. You might be surprised how far God’s love will stretch when you worship Him through service. Eenim lives in a village far removed from modern medical facilities. It’s a small place with a small church where Eenim loves to sing in the praise choir. Every Sunday, his unabashed joy and childlike exuberance soar straight to the heavens. with every word he sang.


S

WORSHIP But one day, things changed. Eenim began having seizures. They were unpredictable and would completely incapacitate him, throwing his life into chaos. Eenim’s village, not equipped to diagnose the problem, assumed he was possessed and would not allow him to attend church anymore. Eventually, an organization called Baptist Global Response partnered with other service organizations in his area to fund and mobilize a portable, solarpowered EEG machine. Eenim was one of several in his village who received a screening on the machine. Finally, the source of his seizures was diagnosed, he received the medicine his body needed, and he was welcomed back into his village and his church, where he once again lifts his voice in praise. You don’t know Eenim. You don’t know his village and will likely never travel there. However, you do know that service to others yields fruit. Someone somewhere was sensitive to the needs of

e ver

TO

other human beings on the other side of the world, and they gave. Their gifts translated directly into worship. As a worship leader, you and I dishonor the King we claim to serve when we remember all the words but forget the impoverished and those who are poor in spirit. We sing hollow refrains when we spend hours perfecting a transition, yet no time in prayer for our congregations. True worship requires sacrifice. True worship is service to God and to those whom He has called us to love. If ever you doubt the direction of your team, your worship, your faith, make a conscious decision to stop thinking about yourself and seek ways and places, and people whom you can serve. By doing so, you are honoring God’s command. By helping others on your team find places to live and give sacrificially, you are honoring the lessons of Jesus. The day your worship becomes all about you, your music, your sound, or your reputation is the day your worship abandons authenticity and becomes merely

SE RVE a label. However, each day you begin and end with your Heavenly Father and the people He loves and has called you to love and to care for, are the days in which you are genuinely worshipping in spirit and truth. For more information about Baptist Global Response visit gobgr.org

C A R O L I N E LU S K ,

M . E D .

EDITOR

Caroline Lusk is the editor of Worship Leader magazine, a storyteller for Baptist Global Response, and a freelance writer and author. Formerly the editor of CCM Magazine, she has hundreds of published articles to her credit and has ghost-written numerous books. With a Masters degree in Human, Organizational and Community Development from Vanderbilt University, Caroline lives outside of Nashville, TN with her husband and their two children.

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O U R

M I S S I O N

S H O U L D

W E

AC C E P T

I T

Finding Redemptive Analogies to Curate Worship

BY

TA N YA R I C H E S

SENIOR LECTURER, MASTERS PROGRAM COORDINATOR AT HILLSONG COLLEGE

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Tanya co-leads the research pillar at The Centre for Disability Studies, an affiliate of the University of Sydney. She completed her PhD at Fuller Theological Seminary and has authored numerous articles and chapters in scholarly volumes.


M

any people think that ‘worship’ and ‘mission’ are unrelated areas of the Church. Maybe there is a mission board and a worship team, but they rarely intersect. In the history of the church, though, this couldn’t be further from the case. In the study of mission (or missiology), there have been few books as influential as Don Richardson’s Peace Child. This book epitomized a total change in approach to mission, revolutionizing theology in non-Western contexts. The book, if you haven’t read it (and every worship leader should!) is a story from Richardson’s own experiences of ministry. In the 1960s the Richardsons traveled to share the gospel with the warrior Sawi tribe in Western New Guinea in Indonesia, working as linguists. They struggled to convey the gospel in any transformative sense and prayed for a breakthrough amongst the people they were ministering to. Don Richardson was finally given a ‘redemptive analogy’ in a practice that had existed among the Sawi for a long, long time before these missionaries’ arrival. In this particular practice, warring tribes would exchange children to ensure they had lasting peace with their neighbor. The logic claimed that if a man was to give his own child to a neighboring chief, then he could indeed be trusted. This analogy was used with great success and helped the Sawi genuinely understand the message of Jesus, as a peace child given by God to make a trustworthy promise with us that we would be spared the bloodshed we deserved. The message is beautiful, and the model itself is a powerful one. The Richardsons borrowed from the existing practices of the people they were serving to share the gospel they were telling. By doing so, they put the message into practice in more ways than one. Similarly, in regards to worship ministry, there are ‘redemptive analogies’ within the many diverse cultures in which we serve. Even in the city, even in the suburbs, even in the West there is culture. If we have eyes to see them, the ‘redemptive analogies’ help us all understand the message of Jesus—and they can be sounds, they can be phrases,

they can be visual images. There are so many ways to tell this story—it is infinitely translatable, and forever timeless. Here, I think of British scholar Robert Beckford’s fantastic book that draws upon his own cultural example of Jamaican Dance Hall music, entitled Jesus Dub: Theology, Music and Social Change. He speaks of how theology can help us amplify the good things we need to hear at the right time. Turn up a deep bass line to help people groove along. Turn up the melody to help the people’s ears ring. As pastors and creatives, we get to remix the existing tracks to ensure that our congregations are being discipled in the ways of Jesus. Surely, that’s what it’s all about! Not just replicating popular songs, but changing and transforming hearts. Chuck Fromm, who founded Worship Leader magazine, calls this ‘worship curation.’ I think it’s a great term that draws upon a metaphor of how an art gallery chooses its displays for the people they imagine coming through their doors. The joy and the delight of this role are not to make objects, but to bring them together in interesting ways. The fun is to be able to see the many responses that people have with the chosen art that is on display—the meaning they take away from it. If more worship leaders saw themselves as ‘worship curators,’ then we would think of the church as a creative and a vibrant, exciting place. The surprise would be in how things are put together, not the objects themselves. Exploring the space becomes an experience all of its own, and can be easily applied to a worship set! Such a picture reminds me of Paul in Acts 17, speaking out in the Areopagus, after inspecting the various commemorations to the gods in Athens in the marketplace. He was burning with the message that he wanted to share. However, to make sure it was understood by those to whom he was speaking, he cited a local place: an altar “To the unknown god.” He spoke in local terms they understood, and he even cited the poetry of their own peoples, which results in one of the most beautiful scriptures in the New Testament.

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.' Acts 17:24-28 is a beautifully curated summary of Jesus’ mission that fit the Athenians, and resulted in some key converts that day. It was a remix that spoke to hearts and minds and caused them to ask more questions. Perhaps this is our mission, should we choose to accept it! If we can partner with the Spirit to find 'redemptive analogies' in the poetry, landmarks, music, and practices of the people we are trying to serve, then we will begin to be able to draw mission and worship together in ways that help us better attune to Jesus. So perhaps, this is what is needed now in our world more than ever—a truly missiological approach to worship, which draws the eyes and the hearts of all peoples towards heaven.

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BY DAR RYL B RYANT

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A

A

LABOR OF

sophomore album is one of the most revealing glimpses into the true merit and legitimacy of an artists’ talent, creativity, and intention. Within the tracks of House on a Hill, Amanda Lindsey Cook of Bethel Music dispels any question of her artistic chops. For two months, the critically-acclaimed singer and songwriter sequestered herself in an unfurnished home concealed in the rolling hills of Tennessee. The music she birthed within its walls culminated in this second solo project. During its creation, she discovered new, profound truths and understandings of God and of herself. In this interview, she shares how she hopes others will be able to do the same.

LOVE

WL: Amanda, please tell the Worship Leader audience about the title song, "House on a Hill." Your delivery is amazingly emotional and vulnerable.

AMANDA: I will preface by saying that a close friend

said, “Good art introduces people to the artist, but great art introduces people to themselves.” As artists, we explore the variance of the human experience, which will be a central theme for me from now on. Great art is when all of that goes into a moment, a poem or a sound that feels as if it came from the listener. The framework of House on a Hill—a house— has a purpose. I wanted to capture the invitation into our own soul and have conversations and communion with Christ. That is how I feel when I read a great book, or experience an excellent tour guide or have a good teacher who teaches you how to learn. House on a Hill is an invitation into a space that is providential, literal, and figurative. The framework of a house has a purpose. I wanted to capture the invitation into our own soul and have conversations and communion with Christ. It’s like living in a parable of my own comprised of all these paradoxes as one. I ventured into this space through a divine prompt that allowed me to canonize the moment and season, and enter this lonely place that was cozy for the song to hit its mark.

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WL: Was the transition from “House on a Hill” to “Comforter” intentional? The attention to detail between each song is exquisite. It feels like you are taking the listener on a journey. I don’t want to read too much into it, though. Please share your thoughts.

AMANDA: Yes! I love that you noticed this. I love that

you noticed the labor involved. The whole album feels like a heart map; not a map that tells you how to get from one place to another, but a map in which everything is connected. Everything is holy. Every piece of our journey is holy and connected. When we go to an evergreen forest, we can start to feel the trees. Their resonance has led to some of the most profound experiences I have ever had. There, I have a different perspective. I don’t feel so clouded and lost, and the continuity of the events in my life become more evident. To me, any good story has an arch. When I started this project, I thought that “The New Country” would be the first song and “Awakening” would be the final song. However, we ended up flipping that, seeking to place each song in the location that would facilitate the most significant impact and elicit the emotion and response from the listener, for the listener. “Comforter” encourages us to feel safe, let down our guard, be vulnerable, and be recognized for our true self. When we experience comfort, we can experience rest. When we burrow under the comforter on our bed, we soon meet with sleep--which is absolutely essential for healing. In much the same way, when we are cradled in the arms of the Comforter, we find peace and rest.

WL: Please tell us about the song “Awakening.” None of your lyrics seemed or felt contrived. You weave a lyrical tapestry.

wanted to capture the idea that we are resurrected and regenerated every morning. To us, those concepts are directly tied to Jesus on the cross. While He was dying in agony, He had a conversation with the Father about forgiving mankind. Forgiveness looks like and is so complete that Jesus can say, “Forgive them. Father, they know not what they do.” Grace is our awakening to a holy God. Forgiveness without shaming. We are waking up to the sunrise that has always been there whether we have recognized it or not.

WL: The theological phrasing of "I am Because You Are" is so thoughtful. Please tell the Worship Leader audience more about this song.

AMANDA: "I am Because You Are" embraces the idea

that humans cannot exist in isolation. Our humanity is bound up in each other, and we need connection. Desmond Tutu stated, “We can only be human together.” “I am” is the definition of who we are. Language gives us a source of connection. Thomas Merton has a profound take on this idea. “It is a risky thing to pray that our very prayers get between God and us. All praise is an action and not a reaction. In prayer, we discover what we already have. You start where you are, and you deepen what you already have, and you realize that you are already there.” I hope that House on a Hill encourages the Worship Leader audience to be lovers of Jesus Christ and lovers of life.

CHECK OUT THE FULL REVIEW OF HOUSE ON A HILL

CLICK HERE

AMANDA: I feel especially fond of talking about the

tapestry of lyrics. No man is an island, and I feel like more and more that the songs that I write are a thank you to writers of books that have moved me, found me and resurrected me. I enjoy being in a whimsical state. I get to partner with these geniuses who brilliantly read my soul back to me through a concept, idea, or a project that I am working through and help bring those ideas to life. “Awakening” was the result of the process of being thunder-struck by ideas that we exchanged in the writing room, and my hope is others would be moved by these profound ideas and stories as I was. We

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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 is currently a PhD student at Grand Canyon University.


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B E H I N D

T H E

S C E N E S

W I T H

THE BELONGING CO.

BY

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S T E V E

R E E D


W

ith a sound system and lighting rig that rivals most concert tours, operated by people who actually work on those tours, for a worship team where most of the people play on those same tours, at a church that is shepherded by a Grammy award-winning pastor; one could easily be a mixture of impressed, intimidated, jealous, critical and/or inspired by The Belonging Co. (TBC). Their 2018 album, All The Earth, topped charts around the world, bringing them quickly into the public spotlight. However, as you will see, whether or not their music and style is your cup of tea, once you look past the recognizable names and the sticker price of their gear, you will find lessons that can be taken to heart and applied at every church. Such was my experience when I went behind-the-scenes one Sunday morning with TBC. It was a revealing glimpse into a ridiculously multifaceted operation that seems to function with a gait, ease, and intention all its own. I arrived at 8 a.m. on a beautiful spring morning to observe the weekly task of ‘load-in.’ Though the end of the year promises its own building, most people are surprised to find that TBC has, from its inception, been a mobile church. Over their few years of existence, they have rented a string of buildings to accommodate their rapid growth and manage building availability based on the local concert scene. Their current and longest-held location is in the heart of downtown Nashville at a venue/skate park/youth center started years ago by Michael W. Smith, known as Rocketown. As I walk in, I am greeted by Charles Starling, one of the many Australians at TBC, who oversees the entirety of the production ministry. Several team members are already busily moving road cases into place as other helpers begin to arrive and jump in. I’m initially surprised by how much is already set up; the towering line array of speakers, the subwoofers, and the rather large LED video wall. Charles tells me, “We’ve made a deal with the venue so we can leave it up and in exchange, they can use it for other

events.” Understanding the challenges of lending equipment to others, I ask, “Do you ever run into problems with that?” With a believable sense of relief and compromise in his eyes, he says, “Sometimes, but it’s worth it to save the time of setting up and taking it down each week.” The drums and lights are being set up as other team members are efficiently moving equipment into place. It seems a well-oiled machine as everyone appears to know what to do and where to go. “The key is organization,” says Charles in his charming Australian accent. “The more you can break the job down into simple tasks and have teams, the better.” A collection of printed pages with written details and photos of how their storage space is supposed to look catches my eye. I also notice everything, literally everything, is in a case. Something that allows them to maximize their limited on-site storage by stacking their gear on top of each other using some plywood and a metal ramp to safely and efficiently move items up and down. Also notable is the general cheerful disposition with which everyone is serving, especially given how the grind of years of mobile church loading and

back into storage where he greets team members with high fives and bro hugs. “I don’t have any kind of resumé that would say that I should be the worship pastor at The Belonging,” Andrew responds when I asked him how he came to be involved here. “We don’t bring people on-board based on a resumé, but rather on heart.” For a church filled with impressive resumés, that’s a powerful statement and one that was repeated by several people. In fact, there are actually no auditions, very few paid positions, and almost all came to participate, and then were promoted based on relationship. “We don’t have the space to rehearse,” Andrew continues. For a church known for its music, I ask, “How do you make that work?” “People are expected to come prepared,” he says, “all we have is about an hour before service.” I don’t know about you, but to me, that seems a pretty tight window to prepare for the 40+ minutes of music they do each service, especially given how much they like to go off script and 'flow.' I then asked him to walk me through some of the gear they use to pull it together each week. We are standing by

We don’t bring people on-board based on a resumé, but rather on heart. unloading can take its toll. “It’s my job to not only get the job done each week but to manage the health of the team,” Charles explains. “We want them to feel refreshed and for their families to be doing well. So we try to have everyone serve only two weeks out of the month and to have fun.” He then introduces me to their worship pastor, Andrew Holt, and takes his leave to check on things. Exiting the stage, he guides an empty road case

the recently purchased Nord keyboard that Andrew says only a few people actually use the sounds from and that most use it only as a midi-controller for the Apple computer program MainStage. He also tells me how the keyboardist is responsible for launching their Ableton powered multi-tracks. “We use them about 30% of the time, mostly for up-tempo songs,” he says. When I ask how that works when they go

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It’s important to find God’s blueprint for your church. Learn from others, but you need to be you.

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off script, he says, “We don’t want to be restricted by technology. We constantly have to ask ourselves if it adds or takes away.” He also tells me that to make sure the transition between the tracks and live doesn’t throw them off they run a separate click track that is sampled to match. Because the church owns the equipment there is additional consistency because everyone uses the same version of the tracks. The worship team starts to arrive and even though he’s not leading today, Andrew is there to make sure they have what they need and to provide support. I make my way out to ‘front of house’ where the main soundboard is to talk with production manager, Sean Richardson. It’s a name that many don’t know, even at TBC, because most everyone affectionately calls him 'Bear.' “The band that used our system this week made some changes,” he tells me as it’s obvious they are trying to sort out an issue. It turns out that two speakers have been turned off and overall, it’s not as loud as it usually is. “There’s just not much headroom,” says their lead sound engineer Robert Marvin. After a few adjustments in a laptop and a couple changes on the board, they are satisfied that they can make it work. “Just how loud do you usually run it?” I ask knowing that they do not shy away from the volume at TBC. “We try to stay between 97 and 99 decibels on an A-weighted scale and peak at 100,” Bear tells me. For those unfamiliar with these numbers, let me just tell you that it’s a tiny bit quieter than a rock concert. Earplugs are available at the welcome center, free of charge. “We do us,” Bear says declaratively. “People may come in and be overwhelmed by the sound and the lights, but to us… this is excellence.” Doing things with excellence is immediately evident in the culture at TBC from the biggest moments down to the smallest details. “We are looking for the right tool. People

think you have to spend a lot of money because that’s the only way to do it,” he continues as we begin to look at their equipment. “But you could spend a lot less and accomplish the same thing.” We then begin to talk about how the sound system has changed over the years

a surprise to many, as the sound of the console wasn’t much of a factor. The reason why lies in their heavy use of a program called Multi-Rack by the Israeli company, Waves, which has been previously reviewed in Worship Leader. As an industry leader in little bits of software

for TBC, starting in the basement home studio of Pastors Henry and Alex Seeley to a Behringer X32 to now a DigiCo console. “So what made you want to upgrade to the soundboard you have?” I ask. Interestingly, his answer is, “Mostly routing…and we were also maxing out the inputs.” That response may come as

called ‘Plug-ins’ that are used in recording programs, Waves created Multi-Rack to allow you to use many of the same plug-ins used in the recording studio live and in real time. The software is run on a MacBook perched atop the left side of the soundboard, but the real work is being done by a heavy-duty external computer

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server located in the rack to the right that does all the processing. “At some point,” Bear tells me, “everything touches Waves.” “I try to make it sound like a record more than live,” says front of house volunteer Robert Marvin, who is a wellknown producer in Nashville. “What’s the difference between the two?” I ask. After a few moments of thought and asking for input from his fellow techs, he says, “probably compression.” Just then, they signal from the stage that they are ready for sound check and it’s time to let them do their thing. I take a trip backstage where the other two DigiCo soundboards are located. The first soundboard is being used solely for in-ear monitors, while the second is used for their live stream. Each soundboard has its own specialized engineer and purpose. “We try and run the monitor board as flat and true to what musicians are doing as possible,” says Bear, a former touring monitor engineer himself, “so there really isn’t a lot of processing.” With such a stark contrast of approaches for each environment, having multiple soundboards gives them the ability to run independently of each other so they can do what’s best for their unique listeners. I am then led back to the inner recesses of the building, to an all cinder block room that houses two essential aspects of the ministry. My nose quickly reveals the first purpose of this area, as I find that I am only one of a steady stream of people visiting the coffee and snack station. With set up at 8 and the first service starting at

S T E V E

11, having sustenance and some caffeine is a popular and appreciated amenity. Additionally, tucked in the corner of this 100 square foot room, is the live stream ‘studio.’ Seeing the studio monitor speakers set up and hearing the reverberation off of hard walls and floors, I ask how challenging it must be to mix in this cavernous environment. To which the mix engineer quickly says, “Actually, I usually mix on Beats headphones. They have so much bass that it helps me keep my mix from getting too much low end.” He then explains that “It’s important to get the volume pretty loud for people listening on iPhones and if there is too much bass the phone’s compressor will engage and turn the overall volume down.” With the coffee brewing as quickly as it’s consumed in the background, He then walks me through some of the settings on the significantly smaller DigiCo board and additional Waves Multi-Rack rig. “A lot of my drum sound actually comes from the four crowd mics. They help it sound massive,” he says as Charles comes in to let everyone know it’s time to gather for the 10 o’clock prayer time. The culture of TBC is in full display as the crowd of volunteers from each department begins their time together by having team leaders publicly honor one of their members before they pray. Several people passionately pray to be effective in their ministry and to reach their city. Before long, everyone is heading out to serve in their area. The band wants to run a few more songs, but you can

R E E D

MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST, AUTHOR, SPEAKER, WRITER, PRODUCER WORSHIP TEAM TRAINER

already begin to see the relaxed look of calm assurance taking root in the faces of all involved that everything is coming together as it should. As we wait for the service to begin, I ask Bear how he manages such talented people and the expectations from the many professional musicians and sound people who attend each week. He tells me, “Just because someone is the sound person for some major tour doesn’t automatically mean they are going to be on the board here. We vet people by heart.” Which is interesting, because though many other churches might be jealous about the level of talent in the room, it actually requires a high level of leadership to bring unity. With everyone being a professional sound person, they can all literally say, “Well, this is how the ‘pros’ do it.” Earlier in the day, to probe this issue, I had asked a question I knew was debated among sound people—how they send their signals to the subwoofer. With an obvious desire to avoid controversy in his countenance, Bear responded, “There is a wide range of approaches to that. We just have to pick the way that we are going to do it.” Just before the lights go down to begin the service, I ask for any final advice, to which Bear responds, “It’s important to find God’s blueprint for your church. Learn from others, but you need to be you.”

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 Steve@wlmag.com

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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 | worship@liberty.edu


BRIDGES

Buidlin

navigating the cultural divide

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by Nikki Lerner


T

he local church has the opportunity to be a thriving, cross-cultural, relational network when its mission is Gospel-centered. I was carrying my own emotional baggage while pulling up to the back door of our building where we hold church. It was dark, and it was cold. It was a strange time in the United States as we had just witnessed a verdict in the Trayvon Martin shooting case. This young man was shot and killed by a private patrolman in a Sanford, Florida neighborhood. Remnants of the OJ Simpson trial lingered in my mind as it took me back to a time where our country seemed so divided around the topic of race, class, and justice…AGAIN. This was a familiar feeling to me, it just hadn’t happened in a while. After catching a brief news report in a pub where the screen read “NOT GUILTY,” I found myself on this dark morning at 6am about to walk into a theater that would be filled with people from all walks of life, all experiences, ages, and colors. There would not be one culture in the room. There would not be one particular kind of thinking regarding justice and politics. I was about to walk into and address a room full of people who would be bringing their own emotional baggage too; some baggage that looked similar to my own and some that I would not recognize at all. And, yet… I was called to lead for such a time as this. Does the mission of the Gospel still work during times like these? What is the opportunity that lies before us in the local church in this day and age?

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MISSION ONE |

MISSION TWO |

Worship pastors/leaders go first and set the tone.

Cross-Cultural Relational Networks

Many times when you are leading in a monocultural environment, you may not need to deal with issues like this. If most of your community within your church is made up of farmers, or business people, or people who live in under-resourced communities, you may not have to navigate the diversity of emotions around culture and race. However, I have learned in my 20+ years of being in an ethnically and culturally diverse community, that this is not the case. Sometimes, you have the luxury of choosing “one side” or “the other side.” You can lean to the left or to the right. However, if your desire and mission are to develop the skills necessary to lead a diverse group of people in your church, you do not have the luxury of taking a side. Your leadership strategy often needs more nuance, patience, shepherding, and understanding. Many of us find ourselves in a great position of influence. If you think about it, we are the first people that our congregants see during our services. Before the pastor or the speaker comes out to give the address from the Word of God, we are the first to open our mouths. Allow that to blow your mind today. Allow it to blow your mind in a phenomenally good way. It should both scare you as well as delight you. Allow this truth to blow your mind because what this means is that creative people get the opportunity to lead and set the example for our people on how to come to God with all of our emotions, deep feelings, and lingering wounds. Are you prepared to be the first person people hear from after an event happens in our world? Scared? Good.

Jesus tells His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. Make disciples of all ethos. For some reason here in North America, we have become comfortable and okay with the fact that most of our churches are still racially segregated. How can this be when so many of the directives from Jesus as well as his apostles lead us towards a thriving relational network of people from every tribe, every nation, every tongue, and every language? This is mission. This is mission-work. We have a fantastic opportunity in this time in church history to do what no generation has done before—to make the racially integrated church a reality. We have the genuine opportunity in front of us right now, amid so much division, to be 100 percent on-point with Jesus’ directive to make disciples of all nations. When terrible and challenging events happen all over our country, and the world, the Church of all Christian faith traditions has the opportunity to be the cross-cultural, thriving network of people who love God and therefore are compelled by that love. When racially-fueled events happen in our world, to whom do you turn to process and ask questions? If your local church or your neighborhood or network is not culturally diverse, you are only left with “your own” people with whom to process. I believe that this reality falls short of what God intended for His Church of beautiful, diverse believers. Can you imagine your local congregation being the safest place in the world for you and the people around you to find peace and unity in this world? Can you see the day when an unbelieving world dashes to the local Christian church in their neighborhoods for the answers on how to live together cross-culturally? Can you envision your local congregation or organization

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being known for a community of people who are always growing, always learning in the area of cultural proficiency when it comes to ethnicity? I can. I hope you can too because this is a mission. This is the vision I believe that Jesus had when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane for unity and oneness among the very people tthat would claim His name, the great unifier. The Church, those who believe in Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, has its most significant opportunity right now to become this thriving, cross-cultural network. It is fear that holds most of us back. Fear and programming. We are afraid to mess up. Afraid to put our foot in our mouth. Fearful of losing congregants. Afraid of looking like we don’t know it all. We have been programmed to think that a homogenous church model is the best model. If you want to build a big church, then yes, by all means, use that model. But I believe that Jesus has called us to more than that. Jesus has asked us to make disciples of all nations. When our churches are culturally, ethnically diverse, we open ourselves up to a network of relationship that many of us may otherwise not have access to. Going back to the morning I showed up at church after the Martin verdict… I decided that what I would do was to point to Jesus as the first practice that we do as a community. When I took the platform, I greeted everyone in the room and then acknowledged that it may have been a rough weekend for some. I didn’t take a stand of any sort at that moment, but I did acknowledge what everyone else in the room realized and had been talking about for weeks, even months up to that point. After that, I lifted up the truth of how good it was that our church got to worship together in a diverse setting and how we were blessed by God to be able to come together and be safe together as sisters and brothers. Next, I pointed people to the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28:

"Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."

It’s vital in these moments not to begin taking Scriptures that start to back up an opinion that you have as an individual. We all have personal feelings and emotions around things such as race and politics. However, when you have been given a platform and position to steward and people in your church are looking to you to tell them what Jesus has to say, it’s best to choose Scriptures that lead them to worship who God is (in truth) and help them connect that with who they are as people (in spirit). Then, you can allow the Holy Spirit to do what only He can do and what only He is supposed to do.

"In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path." PROVERBS 3:5

what now? BE PREPARED. STAY READY. LEARN FROM OTHERS. TRAIN IN THIS NEW REALITY OF MINISTRY WORK. INVEST IN A CULTURE COACH. DIVERSIFY YOUR RELATIONSHIPS. BE THE CATALYST FOR A CULTURAL SHIFT THAT WILL CHANGE THIS GENERATION OF GOD’S PEOPLE FOR THE BETTER.

I am cheering loudly for you.

N I K K I

L E R N E R

VOCALIST Nikkilerner.com

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

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horizontal

WO R S H I P

B Y

E X C E R P T E D M U S I C

F O R

H E A L I N G P A R T

S T E V E

F R O M T H E

F R O M

S O U L , T H E

H E A R T

O N E

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S I L E R


W

e live in a world full of broken, hurting people. This includes all of us. Everybody is having a hard life. Even the person you envy the most has experienced—or will experience—deep pain. Another way of saying this is that everyone has a story. Songs are one of the ways we tell those stories. Well over twenty-five years ago, what is now commonly referred to as contemporary praise and worship music began a rapid rise to popularity, transforming the musical content in the worship services of many congregations. I’m not going to spend any time arguing the relative merits of praise and worship songs versus the older, traditional hymns. This silly war has divided way too many churches, embroiling them in a styleover-substance, robes-versus-rock-bands debate that subjugates the importance of community. What concerns me far more about the praise and worship songs in our contemporary services is not what they are but what they are not. The lyrics of the vast majority of praise and worship choruses celebrate the greatness of God, usually in the person of Jesus Christ. They tell us that God (or Jesus) is awesome, powerful, and worthy of praise. They lift Him on high, behold Him in glory, and crown Him Lord and King of all. In short, they are vertical in focus, sung to the object of our worship. Insofar as they go, they successfully accomplish what it is they are trying to do.

So, what’s the problem? They only tell half of the story. In the “greatest commandment,” Jesus has instructed us to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. Current praise and worship accomplishes the first half of this instruction beautifully but routinely disregards the second half. I know some who would argue that a worship service is for God and as such that all of the music in worship should be a gift to Him. In other words, all of the music in our worship services must be vertical in nature. But if, as Scripture suggests, we love Christ through how we love one another, it seems then that to fully express our love of God we should express both vertical and horizontal themes in our worship.

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I think this idea can best be represented by a triangle. In worship, God’s love is flowing down to me and to the person next to me as well. Ideally, adoration and praise are flowing back up to God, both from me and the person beside me. But it is when we are also reaching out toward each other in the spirit of Christ, fulfilling the second part of the Great Commandment that the triangle is completed. The love of God is now flowing down to us, up to God, and between each other. At the very least, when this happens we will be deepening the fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. At the most, it means that we won’t miss an opportunity to live out the Great Commission. Allow me to explain what I mean. Let’s say that Jane and Jim are each going through a terribly difficult time in their lives. Jane’s never been to church. Jim went to church for a while several years ago but had a bad experience and hasn’t been back in a long, long time. Jane is ashamed

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about something that happened long ago. This shame has her feeling like God could never love her. Jim feels guilty about the life he’s been living and feels like God could never forgive him. They each finally get up the courage to set foot in a church. The service begins, with twenty to thirty minutes of praise and worship music. Jane isn’t familiar with church lingo. How does singing the average contemporary worship song speak to the person who has no relationship with God? Praise comes out of a heart overflowing with gratefulness after experiencing God’s goodness and love in one’s own life. For a nonbeliever then, these songs speak a foreign language. “Worthy is the Lamb,” doesn’t mean anything to Jane. Jim’s former church experience left him feeling that God was distant, judgmental, or indifferent. People all around are lifting their hands in the air, apparently responding to something in the song, but Jim doesn’t know what it is because the song isn’t speaking to him. He is finding the song to be at best


full of platitudes and wishful thinking or at worst a series of outright lies. In any event, for Jim, these songs don’t reflect his lived experience of God or the Church. They both begin to get the general gist of the lyrics. Jane hears that God is great and awesome and powerful. She feels more certain than ever that such a God could never love someone as shameful as she is. Jim is pretty sure that this high and mighty God he is hearing about is not going to go down into the pit where he’s been hanging out. Maybe Jane and Jim sing along; maybe they don’t. Maybe they stay for the sermon; maybe they don’t. The point is this. An opportunity has been missed. And this is true not only for the visitors. Church members and other regular worship attendees may believe in God, love God, and desire to praise God. But if they are suffering in silence—whether from abuse, addiction, family problems, money issues, disease, or guilt and shame from who knows what

else—praising God may be painful, difficult, or just downright impossible. But what if during the worship time, one or two of these song slots had been used to reach out instead of to reach up. When Jesus was on the cross suffering unimaginable pain, His arms were reaching out not only to the thieves on each side of Him but to each of us, as if to say, “I understand your pain, and I love you enough to share it with you.” Just as Jesus’ arms were spread open for all, welcoming each one of us in the single greatest act of forgiveness in history, the arms of the singing congregation can be spread wide open in song. That’s the song that allows us to reach out across the aisle and say, “God loves you and cares about you, and so do I.” It’s the song that says, “You are not alone. Christ is with you right where you are.” It’s the song that says, “No one here is looking down on you. We all need grace.”

...what if during the worship time, one or two of these song slots had been used to reach OUT instead of to reach UP.

S T E V E

S I L E R

SONGWRITER, VIDEO PRODUCER, MUSIC PRODUCER MUSICFORTHESOUL.ORG

Steve is the founder and director of the multi-award winning healing ministry Music for the Soul. With over 500 recorded songs to his credit, Siler is the writer of 45 top 10 CCM singles and a Dove Award Winner for Inspirational Song of the Year.

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MADE TO

ARTIST:

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ALBUM REVIEWS

BY DARRYL BRYANT

HILLSONG UNITED

UNITED hillsong.com/united

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.

An array of live songs from the Australian-based band led by Joel Houston, United is arguably the best release to date from Hillsong United. Hillsong United has been synonymous with groundbreaking worship since 1998. With 17 albums to their credit, Hillsong United is a dynamic purveyor of worship music and movements on the global stage. “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail),” from their Zion album, reached double platinum status in the United States. Hillsong United was one of the first Christian bands to sell-out the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and with nearly two decades of touring under their belts, there’s little wonder as to why they continually land at the top, like in 2016 when they were named Top Christian Artist at the Billboard Music Awards. On their latest album, Hillsong delivers the quality we’ve come to expect, with a message that shines with creativity and profundity. United opens with “Ready

or Not,” an intimate duet that invites the listener to join the worshipful experience before transitioning to “Here’s to the One,” a lovely rock-oriented anthem that sets a tone and atmosphere for the journey that is classic Hillsong. “Whole Heart (Hold Me Now)” escalates in intensity with a beautiful female vocal and reverant lyrics. The following track, a sweeping orchestral ballad called “As You Find Me,” is masterfully arranged and the vocals merge the message in gripping and heartfelt ways that signal an emphatic urgency. “Clean” opens with a cappella harmonies that deliver on the song’s title and steal the show with a thoughtful flow that smoothly cascades into the piano treasure, “Starts and Ends” with a persuasiveness that exists throughout the album. The rich vocals and brazen lyrics set this live album apart from the massive collection of Hillsong United projects. The vocal interchanges are timely and create a depth of musicality and reverence that put a unique stamp on United. “Another in the Fire” is a song that should be in every worship leader’s toolbox. As it builds from ballad to anthem, it is an outpouring of both faith and grace that is nothing short of majestic, and a standout hit that should find airplay and create a sanctuary. This is an outstanding 5-star project from start to finish and closes with the noteworthy, “Echoes (Till We See the Other Side).” Hillsong United has delivered with clever arrangements and future classics that is a beautiful listening and worship experience.

TOP SONGS

“WHOLE HEART” AND “ANOTHER IN THE FIRE”

MOST SINGABLE

“HEAVEN ON EARTH”

STRONGEST BIBLICAL CONTENT

“ANOTHER IN THE FIRE”

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

“AS YOU FIND ME” AND “CLEAN”

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AMANDA LINDSEY COOK

MALLARY HOPE

OUT OF MY HANDS

HOUSE ON A HILL

mallaryhopemusic.com

amandalindseycook.com "Awakening," the first tune on album, the second solo project from Amanda Cook, showcases Amanda’s beautiful voice and range that can move you emotionally with subtle intonations that reflect an artistic reflection that are both stirring and disarming. The lyrical tapestry becomes a hallmark threaded throughout the project. As the journey transitions into “Evergreen” and the piano ballad “I Am Because You Are,” there is a connection happening between Amanda and her surroundings that can only be described as pure worship. The heart-throbbing rhythm and pulsing analog percussions are mesmerizing. House on a Hill is a reintroduction of Amanda as a singer with a meticulous sense of timing and sensitivity. One feels like they are sitting in on a conversation between the artist and our savior Jesus Christ that is intimate, inspiring, and open for discussion. The drones, pads, and swirls lead unrestrained into "Comforter," a profound, thought-provoking homily to a warm blanket and the presence of God. Floating arpeggios orchestrate the flawless production prowess of Jason Ingram and Paul Mabury, and are the perfect compliment the upbeat, "Love Never Fails." Amanda possesses a captivating discernment of words and lyrics that makes each song a splendid lexical voyage. From beginning to end, the album possesses a sort of duality, showcasing simplicity and complexity, resulting in a project that is self-assured, composed, and deeply memorable. The project closes out with “Clearing” and “Water Under the Bridge,” delivering a proclamation that embraces a commanding and affirming thesis on the conversation of worship with both maturity and transparency, discussing our faith and the encounters of humanity that confront us all. The last tune on any album has to leave an impression with the listener. “The New Country” does just that. In fact, it is the adhesive that, in many ways, bonds this project together, bringing redemption and hope together in ways that are fulfilling and well worth a listen. This is a five-star project from start to finish that brings artistry and message together in an astonishing way.

Some artists like to let their music simmer and then grab you about half-way through the project. Singer and songwriter Mallary Hope took another approach on Out of My Hands. No stranger to the music industry, Mallary has written songs for Faith Hill, Danny Gokey, and Lauren Alaina. On her own project, she elevates her music even further with great compositions and outstanding arrangements that are never formulaic, while being engaging on several musical and artistic levels. Mallary comes out kicking with “You Will Make a Way.” This pop-oriented tune is full of energy and hope, with lyrics that dance around melodies, showcasing an almost effortless vocal dexterity that is fun and well-arranged. “Looking Back at Me,” penned by Matthew West and Jeff Pardo, is powerfully reflective and charges the listener to “walk through the storm.” It’s the perfect bridge to “3:16 (No Greater Love),” which is more rock driven and allows Mallary the opportunity to take more risks with each chorus and put her stamp on this project. Mallary has written songs for Faith Hill, Danny Gokey, and Lauren Alaina, and elevates her music with great compositions and outstanding arrangements that are never formulaic while being engaging on many musical and artistic levels. Mallary plays with complex musical layering on “Pray With You,” summoning intense vocal modulations that move you passionately and fervently with rhythms and melodies. The poprock “Now” is an anthem that garners respect for this former country-western writer from Georgia. “My God” is a thoughtful ballad that does not shy away from crossover appeal and injects fresh perspectives into modern worship. The acoustic “Lay it Down,” with a sweltering rhythm section that reminds us that great songwriting has a way of being transparent while being contemporary and relevant. The title track “Out of My Hands” is noteworthy and continues with a cutting-edge vibe that is interesting and helps shape the contemporary feel that is present throughout this collection. “Love More” is just plain powerful and joyful, with an uplifting energy that appeals to both young and mature audiences in the same interconnectedness. This is a 4.5-star project that brings artistry and message together in an astonishing way.

TOP SONGS

“AWAKENING” AND “HOUSE ON A HILL”

TOP SONGS

“LOOKING BACK AT ME” AND “PRAY WITH YOU”

MOST SINGABLE

“I AM – BECAUSE YOU ARE” AND “EVERGREEN”

MOST SINGABLE

“NOW” AND “MY GOD”

STRONGEST BIBLICAL CONTENT

“COMFORTER”

STRONGEST BIBLICAL CONTENT

“HOME TO THE WATER”

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

“LOVE NEVER FAILS” AND “AWAKENING”

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

“ME” AND “YOU WILL MAKE A WAY”

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THE CORNER ROOM

WITH HIS WOUNDS WE ARE HEALED cornerroommusic.com

N E W

Adam Wright has been on a life-long pursuit to set scripture to music, as was apparent on his first album, Psalm Songs Volume 1. The native of Birmingham, Alabama continued that trend through the beautiful songs and arrangements that comprise his latest release, With His Wounds We are Healed. An ode to the book of Isaiah, the intro is aptly titled “Movement 1 (Isaiah 52:13-15),” and is comprised of elegant cello and oboe, backed by a full orchestra. It is a ballad that is, without exception, gorgeous and passionate in somewhat indescribable ways. The swelling rhythms that close out the song reflect an attention to detail and inspiration that are both humbling and astonishing. “Movement 2 (Isaiah 53:1-3)” showcases Adam’s formidable tenor voice that weaves in and out of melodies between verse and chorus with subtle Celtic influences that are even more impressive as you embrace the acoustic guitar and symphonic background of "Movement 3 (Isaiah 53:4-7). There is a sense of elegance as you move from song to song that reminds you

that you are engaging with a psalmist and an artist who punctuates each sound and word with colors that are above and beyond the typical palette. The listener can connect with scripture and encounter Jesus Christ deeply and tenderly. “Movement 5 (Isaiah 53:10-12”) is also noteworthy as the instrumentation and orchestration are stripped away and allowed to percolate just beneath the surface, while building gradually on the foundation laid by the piano and exquisite female vocals, closing with Adam’s jaw-dropping a cappella. Throughout With His Wounds We are Healed, Adam shines as both singer and songwriter, shaping each passage and song into a cacophony of worship brilliance and majesty. The addition of instrumental versions of Movements 1-5 lend a layer of skillful sensitivity. This Corner Room album is significant, relevant and demonstrates how beautiful instrumentation and vocal arrangements that present scriptures through beautiful vocals build the foundation of a five-star record.

TOP SONGS

“MOVEMENT 1 (ISAIAH 52:13-15)”

MOST SINGABLE

“MOVEMENT 5 (ISAIAH 53:10-12)”

STRONGEST BIBLICAL CONTENT

“MOVEMENTS 1-5”

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

“MOVEMENT 2 (ISAIAH 53:1-3)”

M U S I C

F O R

WORSHIP LEADER SUBSCRIBERS!

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YO U R

C H U R C H

DOWNLOAD THE MUSIC THAT ACCOMPANIES THIS ISSUE AT WORSHIPLEADER.COM


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USA TOUR 2019 HILLSONGUNITED.COM


ZILDJIAN K SWEET CYMBALS www.zildjian.com/campaign/k-sweet-collection

GEAR REVIEWS BY STEVE REED Dating back to Biblical times, cymbals have

sound, (i.e., drum shield, sound clouds, or just a lot of

theological question, "Did King David use a drum

foam) there are other ways to get things dialed in—

shield?" A mystery that may never be solved…

the biggest being equipment selection and setup. A

Though the cymbal as an instrument has endured,

S T E V E

R E E D

majority of the reason people play drums and cymbals

its style has continuously evolved over time. This

so loudly is to get the tone that satisfies their inner

is partly the result of breakthroughs in technology

musician. So a big key to lowering your rhythmic sonic

and manufacturing processes, but mostly due to the

output is to use equipment that sounds right at the

continually shifting preferences of current trends. Even

desired volume.

compared to the cymbals of the past decade, modern

MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST, AUTHOR, SPEAKER, WRITER, PRODUCER WORSHIP TEAM TRAINER

the volume of a cymbal by absorbing or blocking its

long been a part of worship, begging the profound

It is truly impressive to hear the long sought after

cymbals tend to have a uniquely dark, slightly trashy,

tone and sustain bursting forth from these K Sweet

easily washed variety that still retains stick clarity,

cymbals at just the tap of a drumstick. Especially

attributes that the K Sweet line of cymbals from Zildjian

remarkable are the slightly larger than normal 15-inch

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.

(pronounced Zill-zhun) have perfectly in balance.

high-hats (larger sizes also being a new trend in

Steveandshawn.com musicandministry.co

seems a horrible or even insulting adjective to describe

delivers. We tested the 21-inch Sweet Ride, which took

something that is actually a good thing. "Trashy" is used

me a bit to get used to how it reacts to the touch. Every

to describe what a metal trash can would sound like

time I felt like I wasn't quite getting it, I would have my

and is not a slam on its quality of construction. Right

regular drummer play as I listened from the other side

now, "trashy" is in style across almost every genre of

of the kit and was always infatuated with the sound.

While the descriptive slang of drummers can be

hats was always tricky because it required just the right

of the best cymbals I've heard. So let's break down the

amount of pressure. Now, it's easy. Even when these

terminology a bit. What does it mean to wash? No, we

'SweetHats' are all the way closed, they sound pretty

are not talking about laundry or even cleaning your

good. The crash cymbals are also breathtakingly good,

cymbals, but rather referring to the moment when

are pitched really well, and have an interesting look

the sound of the cymbal starts to reverberate past

as the bell, the slightly raised center portion of the

single hits. This "wash" produces a pleasant sustain

cymbal, is left in its natural un-lathed condition. Lastly,

underneath the individual hits of the stick and results

the ride cymbal is its own animal because this is the

in a full sound.

cymbal where you want the best of two contrasting

Next up is the idea of being slightly trashy, which

music. What is unique about the K Sweet line is that all

worlds—wash and clarity. Once again, the K Sweet

For those unconcerned with playing at low volumes, be assured that these cymbals also sound

of these amazing sounds ring through even at low

good at high volumes and have a unique construction

volumes, a feature that puts the K Sweets at the top of

that provides the thin profile that resists breaking. It's an

the heap and can justify the price. Because for just as

interesting attribute, as you would think a thin cymbal

long as people have been using cymbals in worship,

would break more easily. However, the opposite is true

other people have been concerned about the volume

as a thin cymbal allows for more movement and is less

of said cymbals. While some try to externally control

likely to crack.

OVERVIEW PROS

A M A Z I N G M O D E R N S O U N D AT A N Y VO LU M E

CONS

T O P N OT C H G E A R C A R R I E S T O P N OT C H P R I C E S

BOT TOM LINE

cymbals). Achieving the right sound on our old high-

a bit confusing, it is an accurate way to describe some

SOME OF THE BEST CYMBAL S I' VE HEARD

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CUBASE 10

www.new.steinberg.net/cubase

Back when I reviewed albums for Worship Leader

between different software platforms is the layout

magazine, two of my assigned projects were head and

and organization. A fair comparison would be the

shoulders above the crowd in sonic superiority. Though

differences between using Microsoft Windows vs.

the artists were different, both of those records were

Apple OS on a computer. Both do about the same

actually made (produced) by the same person—Kyle

thing, but many would be lost trying to navigate the

Lee. Like most of the people that make the music you

one they don’t usually use.

love, you probably wouldn’t recognize him, but you

Organization and layout might not seem like a big

might have heard his work on such recent projects as

deal, but it is a massive concern in the recording world

In The Round with Michael W. Smith. Upon moving to Nashville, I actually got the chance to chat with Kyle and asked him my usual opening line for producers, “Do you use ProTools or Logic?” I was more than a little surprised when he answered, “Cubase.” Now, it’s imperative that I mention up front that in the world of recording, like many other occupations, the outcome of a project depends significantly on the skill of the user. However, when artists are consistently producing projects that sound better than the rest, some attention should be paid as to the tools they are using. So when Cubase reached out to have their latest release of version 10 reviewed, I jumped at the chance. Recording software is referred to as a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), which is a fancy way of saying, “Recording software that you can load onto a computer.” These programs allow you to record audio and also create sound via virtual instruments. They also provide you the tools to edit and mix in amazing detail. While each DAW is often slightly superior in one area, a majority of the features remain the same in each program or are irrelevant given how much producers and engineers rely upon 3rd party software called “plug-ins” to add functionality and extra sounds. However, what does change significantly

as people are obsessed with improving their workflow to harness their creativity. Time spent looking for a sound or having to click three buttons instead of one is time that an inspired idea can leave the room and your life forever. While most everyone is concerned about their workflow, few agree on the best way to do it. While some love using industry leading ProTools, others would say that it doesn’t look very professional and, interestingly, some say that they find the Apple recording platform Logic to be, well, illogical. Cubase 10 has the standard tools that you would expect a DAW to have, with their latest version adding updates to their audio alignment tools and improvements to their set of tools for tuning audio. They also have totally revamped the look of the interface, which now includes the ability to search for your plug-ins and virtual instruments by a picture instead of just by name. While there wasn’t any one feature that stuck out to me, what struck me most in my research and interviews of fellow producers about the platform was their deep love of the product. For them, Cubase speaks their language and improves the all-important workflow.

OVERVIEW PROS

H I G H - Q UA L I T Y R E C O R D I N G P R O G R A M

CONS

I T ’ S A L I T T L E P R I C E Y C O M PA R E D T O S O M E O F T H E OT H E R DAW S , A N D YO U M U S T H AV E A P H YS I C A L U S B L I C E N S E R K E Y P LU G G E D I N T O U S E T H E S O F T WA R E .

BOT TOM LINE

A L E G I T I M AT E P L AT F O R M T H AT I S L OV E D BY I T S U S E R S

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YAMAHA BBP34 BASS GUITAR A BASS BUILT TO SING usa.yamaha.com/products/musical_instruments/guitars_basses/el_basses/bb_2017/pro_series

Every detail of the Yamaha’s flagship BBP34 bass guitar, from the body construction to the bolt configuration and even the custom pickup design, helps the notes you play last longer and sound richer. Easy to play and beautiful to look at, this bass is worth taking a closer look at for those searching for a top quality instrument. When you think of Yamaha, many people immediately think about their line of pianos, their array of soundboards, and some may even know them for their motorcycles. But no matter what Yamaha makes, they seem to make them well. Crafted in Japan, this pro level of their BB series of basses are some of the best they have to offer. Let’s take a more in-depth look at what makes this bass different from others. Affecting the tone of any guitar is the wood or wood combination used in construction, as each species of tree has its own unique voice. Birch is louder, maple is warmer, and spruce sings brighter on its own. However, many manufacturers will layer different kinds of wood together to reap the benefits of each unique voice. Keep in mind that it’s not something you can even see once the wood receives its decorative stain, but it’s definitely something you can hear. The unique recipe used for the BBP34 is a layer of maple inbetween two outer layers of Alder on the body and a five-ply layering of maple and mahogany on the neck. One specific place where a lot of sustain can be lost on a bass guitar is where the neck and the body of the guitar come together, which is known as the neck joint. Yamaha has developed a system that adds two bolts inserted at an angle along with the standard four perpendicular bolts to join the main components of the bass together as tightly as possible to maximize the wood’s ability to transfer vibration. Yamaha also maximizes sustain by the way the strings connect to the body of the bass. On all guitars, this connection point is known as the saddle. But on this guitar, the strings take a unique 45-degree turn and actually go through the body of the bass. Allowing yet another place where the strings can transfer their resonance into the wood of the instrument. This bass was a pleasure to play and had a great tone that was easily and diversely shaped by their leading electronics. An interesting feature is the unique shaped neck pickups that slant to either side. Shockingly, it also didn’t “pop” when you accidentally unplugged the cable before you turned off your amp.

OVERVIEW PROS

WA R M S O U N D A N D M A S S I V E S U S TA I N

CONS

A T I N Y B I T O N T H E H E AV Y S I D E

BOT TOM LINE

A G R E AT S O U N D I N G B A S S T H AT I S C E R TA I N LY WO R T H C H E C K I N G O U T

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EXPAND YOU R

TE AM

From Admin to your Worship Team, post your job openings on the

JOB BOARD

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46 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 | VO L . 28, N O. 2

Š2019 Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. FENDER, FENDER in script, TELECASTER and the distinctive headstock commonly found on Fender guitars and basses are registered trademarks of FMIC. Acoustasonic is a trademark of FMIC. All rights reserved.


EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. UNLOCK NEW SOUNDS WITH THE AMERICAN ACOUSTASONIC ™ TELECASTER.®

CRAF T E D I N C OR ON A, C ALI F OR N I A

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M A S T E R C L A S S //

T

You’ve got questions. He’s got answers.

WATC H

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 | VO L . 28, N O. 2

he most effective leaders are those who commit to life-long learning. They seize opportunities to gather new experiences, and they ask good questions. More specifically, they ask the right people good questions. The heart of Worship Leader is to help you become the most effective leader you can be by providing resources from and access to the right people— seasoned leaders who have traversed roads you may be on at this very moment. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more seasoned, informed, and experienced leader than Matt Redman. With 16 albums and eight books to his credit, not to mention iconic songs like "10,000 Reasons" and "The Heart of Worship," Matt has helped craft the era of modern worship music and ministry. Accolades aside, Matt possesses a wealth of knowledge and insight, which is why Worship Leader is thrilled to partner with him by launching an interactive Q&A column to be featured inside the magazine and on WorshipLeader.com. Readers are encouraged to send their questions on anything about worship. From musical to technical to spiritual topics, Matt is ready and waiting to offer you his expertise and perspective. Stay tuned to worshipleader.com for more information and details of question submission. In the meantime, check out the video below from Matt to you. You’ve got good questions. He’s got answers!

N OW


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Start a free 30-day trial FaithlifeProclaim.com/WLMagazine No credit card required. VO L . 28, N O. 2 | W O 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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Profile for Worship Leader Magazine

Vol 28 | No 2  

Missional worship is the axis around which the latest issue of Worship Leader magazine revolves. With the understanding that all ministry be...

Vol 28 | No 2  

Missional worship is the axis around which the latest issue of Worship Leader magazine revolves. With the understanding that all ministry be...

Profile for wlmag