Archives For leadership

Part 2 of 3 in the series Freedom Within Structure

Forest

You’ve heard it said, “you can never lead someone somewhere that you’re not going yourself.”

Let me paint you a picture.
Imagine with me for a minute that you were out for a walk one day. You saw beauty in creation that you had never seen before. God was showing you life in things you had never seen – things you had never known about Himself! Colour was bursting to life right before your eyes! Really, imagine yourself in that moment of awe with me for a minute.

You would head back home and you would be a changed person! You would live life differently and you would be in awe of even the smallest things around you through the rest of your day or week.

Chances are, at some point you would be so excited about this experience that you wouldn’t be able to keep it to yourself. You would want to bring some friends on this walk with you. So, you all strap up your hiking boots and you’re off to show your friends the beauty and glory of God that you had just experienced.

You head back into the woods with your friends and God’s beauty is overwhelming you once again. In your excitement and passion you dive into an even deeper place of awe between you and God! Eventually, you get back home again and turn around to discover that your friends aren’t arriving home with you. In fact, your friends had lost you long ago when you were deep in your own experience back in the woods. Continue Reading…

10 Things

When I’m up on stage, there are a few things that I wish I could just stop and say … but have never had the guts to:

10 – I’m probably going to forget the words at times … To “cover it up”, I’ll sometimes just make random vowel sounds until I realize what I’m supposed to be singing again.

9 – We’re probably not going to sound like those guys that you were listening to in your car on the way to church You’ll have to wait till that band tours through town to hear them.  But even then, you’re listening to a produced album (even if the album is “live”), we’re giving you the “non-overdubbed, not singing to tracks” version of these songs.

8 – When I back away from the microphone, sometimes its because I’m leaving a space for everyone to sing together … Other times its because I have to burp and I don’t want to rip it into the microphone.

7 – I know it’s the weekend and I know it’s morning, but chances are, I was up earlier than you today, so let’s all try to wake up a bit. I think we should all agree right now that what we’re doing is more important than the coffee you’re holding.

6 – There’s more to what we’re singing than just a list of songs. Have you ever realized that the songs we sing are actually thematically building on one another?  That maybe there’s a reason why we had everyone shouting out “How Great Thou Art!” only AFTER we sang about God as the creator of the universe?  When you tune out for a minute during the musical worship set, you might miss out on a truth about God that we’re going to be responding to in a couple minutes.

5 – I’m not here to perform for you.  I’m here to sing WITH you.  We don’t need the show to worship our God together in this way!  (If you’ve missed the conversations over production levels during weekend services, you can check it out here)

4 – I’m not intentionally doing “those things” so that I can receive “those e-mails” on Sunday afternoon (If you’ve been in ministry long enough, you know what I mean). We’re likely trying to accomplish the same goal. We might just be taking a different approach towards that destination.  We’re on the same team.

3 – Even though we can’t make you show up on time, musical worship is not viewed as optional around here.  For those who prefer the teaching over the music, hopefully you realize that there is the huge potential for teaching moments within the music set and the songs we’re singing. You may not feel comfortable joining in this way that may seem weird by our culture’s standards, but really, we’re declaring with our voices, out loud, that we are not God, He is Great, and we submit to His leadership today and forever.  Of COURSE it’s uncomfortable …

2 – When you’re walking in late, talking with others, or even just reading your program, you’re distracting more people than just yourself.  Those who are trying to engage might be pulled out of the moment by hearing your conversation or seeing you walk across the front of the room.

1 – It’s not my job to prepare your heart.  I’ve heard and have even agreed in the past with the statement that Sunday mornings are a glass of fresh water to take in to refresh you and energize you for a week.  Then we come back again the next Sunday to be filled up to be sent out again.  I don’t necessarily agree with this statement anymore.  Instead, I would be in the camp that says our hearts should be so full of joy and excitement for what God did in, through and around us all throughout the week that our Sunday mornings are a community celebration of joy over the goodness of God!  If you haven’t thought twice about what God is up to in your own life before walking in on Sunday morning, than chances are, you might not “feel” it by the end of the 15-20 minutes that I’ve got with you.

Continue Reading…

Blog Header - Lights Out

Date: Sunday, May 12, 2013
Location: Oakville Site at The Meeting House
Time: 9:30am service

One of the most common conversations I have with worship leaders across our sites is how to eliminate as many distractions as possible to allow for a clear opportunity for people to worship our God together in community.  Sometimes, the “distractions” come whether we like it or not.

We kicked off the 2nd service on a fairly energetic note — full band dropped in at 0:00 on the clock leaving me no time to say anything but, “Hey, let’s stand up and sing together” … and we’re off.

I immediately regretted this “strategic planning decision” to start without saying anything because I couldn’t shake the feeling that this group needed a bit of refocusing to get into the zone.  As I’m leading through the first song, the back of my mind is fast forwarding through the planned-to-the-second set, trying to find a window of opportunity to say something that might bring us all onto the same page … I couldn’t find it.

We had transitions planned that flowed seamlessly, so without pulling the plug on the whole thing and throwing my team for a loop I decided it was best to play this one out, lead well, drop a little prayer between the first couple of songs and see what God does through it.

Three songs in, the “refocusing” came in the form of a loud pop through the sound system, projectors going black, the house and stage lights going black and the emergency lights turning on … the power to the whole building cut out.

… I guess we’re now going acoustic! Continue Reading…

Flow Header

A Set List …
It can flow places you never thought it would go.
It can be just as much of a teaching moment as the message or sermon.
It can grab the attention of even the hardest of hearts.
It can determine what people are thinking about when they leave their seat.
It can make or break the flow in the service.
It can be a determining factor of whether or not someone comes back next week.

Am I putting too much emphasis on the proper development of a set list? I don’t think so.
Even the best leadership of a bad set can leave a mediocre impression.

We need to be intentional when we’re planning sets. Sometimes, they come together with ease. Sometimes, you may feel like you could have grabbed two random songs with your eyes closed, bashed them together and it would have flowed better than what you had spent two weeks planning.

I think one of the most important approaches to choosing a set list is to determine a common theme throughout the entire set. I know this may sound obvious, but we all need the reminder. Continue Reading…

What If I don't Feel It

Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
~Psalm 147:1~

For those of you out there that lead worship on a regular basis, would you be with me if I said that I don’t always have that feeling of joy, excitement, and passion every time I walked onto the stage? Would you be able to relate to someone saying that there are some weeks that they would rather still be in bed, or at least more behind the scenes than in the spotlight?

For me, I find that there are lots of things that can make me feel this way.
I stayed up too late on Saturday night … I had a busy week at work … I’m not looking forward to an important meeting I have after church … I’ve had too much coffee and now I have to go to the bathroom.
Or maybe it’s because something is laying heavy on my heart. A situation or reality of life that is much bigger than an easy solution. For any one of us, it could be anything. One that I can relate to is the suffering of a family member with cancer.

How can I walk out onto stage to lead worship when thoughts of doubt, frustration, pain, or confusion are very much present on my mind and heart?

HOLD UP A SECOND …

Continue Reading…

Check out part 2 on how to effectively talk to drummers during rehearsal:

If you can’t see this video, click here

Check out the video below — the “Do Not’s” when talking to drummers:


If you can’t see this video, click here

Blog - Stage Signals

I was asked to lead the music at a youth conference in Toronto this past Saturday. The band rehearsed a couple of times and felt good coming into the weekend. Long story short, a couple of circumstances left us scrambling to find another drummer on Friday evening … hours before our first set. Eventually, we found someone to fill in, but walking into the building at 6:15am on Saturday morning, I knew, more than ever, my stage signals to my band that day had to be clear.

It’s not always that you’re left playing a service or an event without any rehearsals with your band (I don’t recommend this), but even with rehearsal, the direction of a song can turn on a dime and it’s now on the leader to keep that from becoming a distraction.

We’re going to jump into a series that will occasionally pop up over the next number of weeks relating to on-stage communication. This will relate far beyond the “Good morning everyone!  Stand up and sing with us!” We will talk about that direction of communication, but more importantly, we’re going to talk about communication between the leader and the band both in a rehearsal and during the service or event. Continue Reading…

A new year is before us — new excitements, new joys, new challenges …
I’m going to let Tim Day, the Sr. Pastor of The Meeting House, take the first post of 2013.

This is for anyone who is involved in a weekend service context. Musicians and techs alike, be inspired and join with us to make way for the Spirit moving in our communities, and to be used to raise the temperature of our weekend services!

(Having trouble viewing this video? Click here: http://youtu.be/6qP2DZHsLAo)

I Lift My Eyes Up

We interrupt this current series to bring you a crucial piece of information …

Think about an in-person conversation that you had with someone today. Not about what was said, but about what was done. Or, if you haven’t seen anyone yet today, stop reading this point, go find someone, have a conversation about the weather, and come back to finish reading this post.  Continue Reading…