Thursday, September 20, 2007

New Life Worship

If there's one record that I can't seem to stop listening to, I would have to say it's New Life Worship's My Savior Lives.

When I am in worship leader mode, I try to find new and fresh music that the church would respond to. Most worship CDs I would hard pressed to find 1-2 doable songs we could utilize during a worship service. In this case, I would venture to say that most of the songs I would consider using.

Some of my favorites tunes of this record include:
  • My Savior Lives
  • Endlessly
  • Here in Your Presence
  • Your Name
  • Promises
  • Live to Worship
  • This is Our God
We've already played "My Savior Lives" a couple of times and though it's a high arrangement, it has a ton of energy and the church responds.

We also have been jamming to "This Is Our God" and are introducing this song into our regular worship this weekend. Tomorrow night I am using it during a Harp & Bowl worship set so we'll see how it does. I knew this song was a winner when my 5 year-old boys asked me if I would sing it back to them so they could learn the chorus.

"Here In Your Presence" is a beautiful song if you can stick with it. I made my wife listen to the song today and it didn't resonate too well with her because it took too long to build. I tried to reason with her saying that it was structured much like "The Stand" but she has some merit in thinking that. The bridge on "Here In Your Presence" is quite awesome though as they repeat over and over...

"Wonderful. Beautiful. Glorious. Matchless in every way..."

"Your Name" is a song that explodes near the end. There's a part in there where they cry out over and over, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" Even my two year-old picked up on it right away and started yelling it with them.

"Live to Worship" almost sounds like Chris Tomlin wrote it. It just seems to fit his style...similar to "Made to Worship" or "Holy Is the Lord."

And how can you not love "Endlessly?" One of my worshippers on our team said that it's one of our church's anthems.

So go out and buy this won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My life as a worship leader

I'm not really sure what I am going to write, but I wanted to write so we'll see where my fingers lead on this keyboard...

Almost a year ago, I received an e-mail from our worship ministry team at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa asking if I would consider helping with worship at our satellite church in Ankeny, Iowa. Because at the time I was going through a season of busyness and purging distractions from my life, I ended up deleting the e-mail. Thankfully my wife was also on the e-mail thread.

Because I felt like I was trying to protect my time spent with my family, I was a little surprised when she cornered me later that week and said, "I think that we should volunteer at NorthBranch Church to get them through the holidays."

The next thing I knew, I volunteered my time to help with their only weekend worship service on Saturdays and a few remaining dates for the Alpha Course. Despite lacking fancy media technology the mother church owned, my transition to NorthBranch was pretty easy. I honestly walked into a great situation with a talented backline that was hungry to worship.

It didn't dawn on me how much the church had grown on me until the last weekends of leading a member told me they should create a permanent name tag for me. I stopped writing my name on the sticky name tag and thought about that for a second but said, "Actually this is my last weekend here leading worship."

Those words really sunk in. At the time, the church had called a pretty dynamic pastor named Scott Rains that really spoke to my heart. Our families were bonded together already and the church simply felt like home. But surely God didn't want us to drive a half hour each way to church. Or maybe He did.

After a couple of conversations over coffee at Java G's and some arm twisting by both Pastor Scott and Pastor Molly, they laid out the offer to come to NorthBranch to develop and grow the worship ministry. I thought they were nuts. Surely God didn't want us to drive a half hour each way to church. Or maybe He did.

God must speak to my wife pretty regularly because later in the week she said, "You're going to take that worship leader role at NorthBranch aren't you? This is something we're going to do aren't we?"

I replied, "We are?" I figured she would think it was nuts to drive a half hour each way to church. She didn't think that way.

"Yeah, I think we should," she said.

I started my full-time unpaid position at the beginning of the year and I haven't looked back. Honestly I've been surprised that I haven't burned out or grown bored. Quite the opposite has happened. I seem more engaged with worship and my role. It actually agonizes me when we're on vacation and I have to miss church. I miss seeing the people, hearing the message, following the Holy Spirit in worship.

I'm glad my wife listens to God and is obedient to Him. It's been an incredible journey so far NorthBranch Church...I can't wait to see where God leads us from here.