two new songs posted

I just posted two more songs over on the new myspace page. The two newbies are Psalm 67 and Hail the King. Both songs very intentionally lend a large part of their focus to the same focus of this blog: knowing Him better and making Him known... the idea that worship and witness must be inextricable linked such that worship is purposefully viewed as (amongst other things) both the goal and fuel of missions. Enjoy the new songs!


broken silence follow-up

It's been six months, so time to post again right? The conviction I mentioned last time to get a few of my songs out there for the world to hear is finally coming to a head. I recently sent lots of stuff off to the US Copyright Office, and now I've done what everyone other musician seems to do: I put together a myspace page. So far I only have 2 songs up, but keep posted as I plan to put some more up in the weeks to come. Also, I blogged over there on a few more of my thoughts of getting that page started. Enjoy!


breaking the silence

Wow, so it's been almost a year of no posting.  I've had a handful of folks prod me along the way to pick it back up to no avail.  I've been toying with getting back in the game lately, and this is essentially me sticking my toe back in the water to see if I'm ready to give it another go.

I've been all over the metaphorical map this last year.  The highlight has certainly been joining my beautiful wife in welcoming my amazing daughter into the world, but other high points have involved doing a ton of stuff with our student ministries, seeing our music ministry continue to improve, and as of late I've begun dabbling in recording some of songs that I've written that have worked really well with our congregation.  I'll keep you posted with that progress as I have a goal of making some quality recordings available within the next few months (there I said it, so now I have the vast expanse of the internet to hold me accountable, right?).


free band seminar videos

I just came across these band seminar videos via Bob Kauflin's blog. Some great things that every church musician playing in a band setting needs to hear (especially instrumentalists). Check out a few of the videos below as an appetizer, then go check the rest out at Zach Nielsen's blog. For you leaders, make extra sure to check out the video on leadership on his site. Enjoy!


where is your treasure?

It's good for me to be reminded of the important things. I just came across a great post from Lukas Naugle, the Director of Resource Strategies at Desiring God. I've found as a musician that it's deceptively easy to get wrapped up in treasuring music gear (guitars, amps, effects, etc.). In a way I'm thankful that God allowed me to buy my cheap guitar back in college, that a guy in a bible study I led accidentally chipped a piece off of the headstock, and that my guitfiddle has continued to be a decent sounding economical workhorse. It's a reminder to me that there isn't a lot that I need in order to worship and serve God - in fact, the only thing I absolutely need is the blood of Christ. This topic is also a reminder to me that our lives should strongly reflect the truth of where our treasure resides. This should be evident and palpable to the world around us.

In his post that I mentioned, Lukas points us to Matthew 6:19-20. Also check out Luke 12:33-34 and Hebrews 11:23-26. So, where is your treasure and is it evident?


one year later

Wow... the Of Worship and Witness blog is one year old day. When I started blogging last May I honestly just hoped it would be a blessing to my team and an outlet for me, but the impact has been much bigger than I would have expected. People from 38 countries have made their way here. Quite a few folks from the 10/40 window have even come, including people from countries like Iran, India, and the UAE. I'm blown away that God has turned this into something that is equipping leaders and teams around the globe. Incidentally, if this is your first time here I'd recommend you take some time and work your way through the four part "sorting through songs labels in worship" series in the left-hand column. A new feature that I also added recently is the the widget to the left that has a few books that I'd highly recommend.

I have some exciting idea brewing about what's next, but I'd also be love to hear your ideas on what subjects, topics, or issues you'd like to see more of, so leave me a comment!


7 tips on introducing electric guitar in corporate worship

A while back I posted about the idea of shifting from acoustic guitar to electric as the fundamental timbre in corporate worship for the sake of the music that we lead with being an honest and relevant expression of and to the culture in which we live and do ministry. That post has been my most viewed and commented post ever since I started blogging back in May of '07. The responses that I've gotten here, here, here, and via email has been really informative. Well, I finally made the leap in our more contemporary service a few weeks ago and it went great. I gave it another shot last week and it went even better. Here are 7 things I've learned about making this jump:

  1. Pray for direction: The desire to make a switch like this can come from at least two different sources. One is a heartfelt Spirit-led desire to engage the hearts and minds of your people with the greatness of our God such that they might treasure Him more, and to use music that they more authentically connect with toward that end. The other source of this desire can be pride that wants to look and sound like a rock star. Pray that God would first show you if this move is right for your church, and then pray that He would show you if this move your heart. If it is not right for them, don't do it. If something is not right with you, you had better wait.
  2. Poll your people: One of my big hesitations I originally had about swapping out my acoustic guitar for an electric was that I recognize that on average, our congregation is pretty conservative - leading me to think it may not be the best move for our body. In talking with some of our leadership and members (musicians and non-musicians), I came to realize that most people did not see it as a big deal and most really welcomed the idea. There was even one guy who was really honest in admitting that while the idea weirded him out, it really only amounted to personal stigmas and he encouraged me to give it a try.
  3. Form the foundation first: Another reason that the transition went so well was because I've been blessed to have a really faithful young electric guitarist who has put in an amazing amount of time over the last year or so and is growing to be a really good player. On top of that, our band as a whole has tightened up such that they could routinely be mistaken for pros. That being said, if I had tried this out prior to the band's growth or prior to that young guy helping to establish a taste for electric guitar from the lead guitar position I might have gone down in a blaze of glory. Is it was, I had the benefit of standing on a really solid musical and aesthetic foundation.
  4. Practice your part: If guitars were dogs, then acoustics and electrics would be two very different breeds. When you approach leading make sure to take plenty of time by yourself to think through and play through how you plan to sit in the mix, if and/or how you'll use effects, if you'll use riffs versus standard chords, and even what chord voicings you plan to use. You'll go a long way towards making your musicians feel comfortable, and an even longer way towards ensuring that quality happens on Sunday.
  5. Easy on the effects: First time out of the chute I didn't use any effects at all. Well, I tried to use them during rehearsal and we almost fell apart. So for the first Sunday I just set my gain such that if I lightened up my pick attack my tone would clean up, but if I dug in I would get some overdrive. It worked great. The second time I brought out the electric I started using some tempo based delay. Guess what - the band adjusted, we stayed really tight, and Sunday morning was awesome. No problems.
  6. Love your sound guy: Remember that you and the band are not the only ones making adjustments. Your sound guy has probably spent a lot of time getting your acoustic EQ'd and sitting perfectly in the house. Make sure you plan in some additional time for him to make adjustments. At the end of the day, he determines a huge part of how good you sound.
  7. Make sure that it still is not about you: I'm hoping that if you checked your pride at the door in your decision to transition over to electric that this won't be an issue, but knowing how deceitful pride can be it probably bears repeating. Just as on any other Sunday, everything in the course of a worship service should bring all praise, glory, and honor to our Savior. Make sure that your playing continues to not get in the way of that regardless of which guitar is in your hands.
Hopefully this is helpful to some of you guys out in blog-land who are thinking about making the leap. Are there other things that you have found helpful in a similar transition that I didn't list?