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We Sing to Remind Us Who We Are


We Sing to Remind Us Who We Are

There’s a legend about an African tribe called the Himba.

In this tribe each child has a unique song.  When a tribe learns that a woman is pregnant, the tribe will go out into the wilderness and come back with a song that is unique to the child in the womb. 



Grace Has Come [Free Christmas EP]

316Qnon0wxVwk8t9aMMmN6pGK4L6ssYcQjiDyHGV08c Our worship ministry staff has some incredibly gifted musicians and this year they decided to put out a Christmas EP as a gift to our congregation. Grace Has Come is a 4-track EP full of original, grace-filled, theologically rich, artistic songs for the Church.

Note: You can find the music embedded in this post or click on a link below to download the music. 

One of my favorite songs, Gifts You Bring, says:

 “There is joy for the broken

Peace for the ravaged

Hope for the hopeless soul

There is grace and forgiveness

Faith and compassion

In Jesus Christ Alone"

Joy, peace, hope, grace, forgiveness, faith, and compassion.

What better truth to celebrate as we prepare for Christmas than the simple truth that all these gifts come from Jesus Christ alone? The only place we can truly find joy, peace, and hope is in the person and work of Jesus. The manger is just the beginning of grace showing up on the scene and changing our world.

In further conversation with our worship team, I learned that this song was not written in isolation from the history of the Church, but it actually had roots in an traditional Christmas Eve prayer.

The prayer says the words, "O God, You make this most holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light.”  Corey, Steve, and Matt wrote, “Oh my God, who has made this night, shine with brightness of your Truest Light.  Break the dark that has hidden me, that has taken me from the gifts you bring.”

Let this free gift from our worship ministry bless you with the grace that comes in the birth of a baby boy.  Download this EP and share it with your friends.



How Should We Think About Worship?


How Should We Think About Worship?

When you attend a worship gathering, what is happening?  Why do we sing the songs we do? Why do we say the prayers, creeds, and confessions?  And who is the service for; is it for believers or is it for unbelievers



What the Church Can Learn from Pixar

Pixar Pixar is one of the most creative companies in the world.  They consistently push the boundaries of technology, release hit movies, and tell touching stories.  I have loved Pixar movies since I first saw Toy Story and I continue to love both their movies and their approach to being a creative organization.  In the Church we may not be creating movies, but a significant portion of our work is about telling the story of Christ and life change within our midst and finding creative ways to do so.  Because of this I think we can learn a lot from Pixar's approach to fostering creativity.

Empower the creatives.

If there are people that are trying to be creative within your church organization, whether they are trying to be creative in their planning of a worship service, their student ministry, or the management of a staff, it is important that they feel empowered.  In most studios, specialized deparments generate movie ideas while another department works on making those ideas into a film.  At Pixar the job of the development department is not developng the movie, but finding people who will work well together, keeping their team healthy, and helping them solve problems.

Perhaps the best way to help our creative teams is not finding more inspiration, but helping them to work well together.  Empowering the creatives is less about teaching them to be more creative and more about helping them as a creative team.  The student ministry team is empowered not when they realize they have innovative ideas, but when they can work well together.

"If you give a good idea to a mediocre team, they'll screw it up.  But if you give a mediocre idea to a great team, they'll make it work." - Harvard Business Review on Pixar

Show Unfinished Work

At Pixar there is a group of people consisting of eight directors called the brain trust.  The idea is that the group can get together and show a work in progress and follow up with a discussion about making the movie better.  Because of the amount of trust in this group of people, they refine creative ideas without an ego preventing critical feedback and without hesitancy from the other members to not pull any punches.

When is the last time you were able to bring a raw, unfinished idea to your team and work it out?  Having a peer culture allows for good ideas to be developed into great ideas.  It allows everybody on the team to offer the insight and challenges.  What would it look like for you to present your sermon series idea before a "brain trust" of people to help you work it out?  What if you were able to write music and present it to a "brain trust" within your church?  What if you could take your student ministry retreat idea and work through it with your team and knew that doing it together would make it significantly better?




Using Spotify For Worship Planning

Spotify I've recently been spending some time with our worship planning team as we've discussed Christmas services and the upcoming calendar year.  One of the tools that I've found indespinsible when it comes to discussing music for worship services is Spotify.  I've had Spotify for several months, but it wasn't until recently that I've really found the full potential of what's possible.

Listen To Songs Without Buying Them

It's no big deal to buy a song for 99 cents, but when you are trying to discover new songs it's helpful to be able to listen to songs quickly without ever having to purchase them.  99 cents is not a lot of money, but multiply that over hundreds of songs and it adds up quickly.  Spotify lets you search their huge library and listen to the song; plus if you have their premium account you can listen to all these songs on the go.

Get Suggestions From Others

One way that I've found Spotify helpful during planning is by utilizing the subscribe feature.  What better way for people who cannot be in a meeting to have a voice into your planning then sharing a playlist?  Song discovery is crucial to planning and also can also be very difficult.  Suggestions from others is a huge assistant in the song discovery process.

Use Apps for Finding Lyrics

Spotify recently added the ability to install apps; I'm curious what the potential is for something like this is.  Initially the best feature that I've found because of the apps is their integration with TuneWiki to allow for reading the lyrics of your current song.  They don't have every song in their database yet, but I'm sure it will grow and continue to be useful.