At age 13, my daughter Emilie Kirkpatrick began leading worship with me. In the past eight years, she has released two projects of her own songs and is a in skillful worship leading as well as songwriting. These eight year have formed a collaboration. Recently, we formed "a beautiful liturgy" as a music group to write and lead worship! We have already recorded one of the five songs for our 5-song project! But, we need your help and support as independent musicians. On Kickstarter.com or on this video and link, you can see and hear our story! The site even has a sample of the song we already recorded. Please, give it a watch and let us know what you think!
For a third time, RKBLOG has been recognized by Worship Leader Magazine editors as a distinguished resource for leaders who are involved with worship ministry and leadership in the local church. The November/December "BEST OF 2015" issue recognizes a whole slate of resources including technology for churches, books on leadership, and school programs focused on worship.
It is also quite an honor to be part of the National Worship Leaders Conferences over the past years as an instructor. There are excellent people out there in the blogging world that are also recognized and many more who were not mentioned. What makes this important is the relationship with my friends and fellow creatives who read RKBLOG. Thank you for the years of contribution and meaningful conversation. We have much work still to do in inspiring people to CREATE - BELIEVE - LEAD!
A few years ago, a young adult very openly expressed his frustration with worship at church. “Rich, why is it that I feel closer to God at a Coldplay concert than I do at church?” This was a stunning admission, because it represented not just his experience but that of many and perhaps spoke to some doubts in my own mind. However, what came from this conversation changed how I viewed worship in church. Worship at church should either be made more like the secular music out there, if that is truly more spiritual. Or, there is something missing in the worship at church that needed to be changed. I tried the first, making relevancy a goal, but I think that hand has been overplayed. So, I am left with the second idea. What is missing?
If you are an avid worshiper of Christ and attend church on a regular basis, you probably already know what a fantastic worship experience is to you, right? Or, maybe you don’t attend church as often as you might because your past worship experiences never hit the mark. Having been to church more than many, I see the gamut and know that even when one person is soaring in their version of a worship service, another may be unaffected. There are many factors that contribute to why there is so much disparity, but I think I found ten reasons that will aid you in your experience of worship. I hope these help you!
With hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees flooding Europe, our response as a nation has at best been tepid. We have 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., but many would rather build walls than talk about how humanely to deal with the small children caught in the political crossfire. This week a 14-year-old geeky student brought a homemade clock to school and was arrested for making a “fake bomb”—four policeman surrounded and handcuffed the confused, slightly built young man. He happened to be Muslim and “looked” the part. Why is it that people not like us bring out our dark side? I believe that fear for our safety seems to trump human dignity. But, should it? Would we put Japanese-Americans in concentration camps if we had it to do all over again?
Back in September of 2005 I officially launched myself as a blogger. They were called "weblogs" in the early millennial days which is why my Twitter handle is still @rkweblog. Ten years of conversations and life later I am now RKblog.com with media recognition as one of the top 75 Religion Bloggers in the nation, listed amongst some very impressive individuals of faith.
My wife has taught me the value of birthdays and celebration and for that I am grateful to her! I may even bake a cake tonight, but what I would love is just a simple "hello" to let me know you've stopped by. After all, this blog is nothing without the thousands of readers over the years who have endured my progress as a writer and human being.
As I was assisting the unpacking this new church’s first sound system, the young pastor asked me something I thought strange in the moment. “Rich, by now shouldn't you have a couple books out by now?” The conversation centered around his view that my ministry career should be at a certain level of achievement given my supposed status. He mentioned his path was to start this new church, and as it grew he would write a book, and then there was the platform that was needed in all of that. At that moment, I was in a big church and yet taking time as a friend to help set up audio gear in his large suburban, three-bay garage. His church had not even held its first public service, but his personal platform and achievement was center of what he wanted to talk about.
Social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are now not only personal expressions but company branding machines. With the proliferation of this new media, I have identified five sins that create weak impact—unless you are into rewarding stupidly bad behavior. And, they drive me crazy! The dark side of social media might hurt you more than help. Many companies see added stats to follower lists, but do they know that their supposed social media manager is cheating a system instead of engaging people?
There is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and many techniques to draw people to click to our blogs. But, how do you have a conversation that actually influences and reaches the right people? It is one thing to attract traffic to your blog or social media. You can get people’s attention once. However, that could do more harm than not if your desire is to actually influence thinking. Is your message worth a discussion or simply a click?
In our society, what works and produces profit is what we value. While we hunger for a post-modern identity and story, the structures, all around us scream utility, conformity and results. Money rules. This might even be true in our houses of worship as we may have unintentionally turned business metrics on our expression of worship. The question is this: do we value utility more than beauty in our worship? The answer is that our culture-infused church in modern America apparently does.
I have enjoyed being part of worship and music ministry in the local church since the days I used to develop Kodak Kodolith slides projected over a cyclorama curtain. The changing colors and the sharp, crisp slides were all in analog, including the spelling errors! The Saturday night ritual of developing in my darkroom-closet was quickly terminated upon the purchase of our church’s first digital projector. Then, the horrors of PowerPoint as applied to congregational singing commenced.
Old stories such as “Hansel and Gretel” and “Little Red Riding Hood” were meant to put fear into children. Lessons such as Aesop’s “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” were likely to prevent a child from basically ringing the fire alarm for fun. Fear is a motivator. It works. Fear of losing your job can be leveraged to keep you and your coworkers from offering legitimate grievances and used in turn to add hours and workload without additional compensation. From TV news to Facebook posts about the ending of the world, fear sells and gets our attention. Our fight or flight chemistry is amped to the max. It's a science and it works.
From the first note to the last, what is played musically in church matters. Music is one of the historically prominent and powerful vehicles for our Christian worship–today as well as in the past. Whether the worship is expressed on a Fender strat or sung by a choir in full robes the music matters. Like the beams of a building need competent engineering, the execution of our music leadership requires skill. You can compensate all you want with automated loops, tracks and auto-tuning but in the end polished bronze is still bronze. Gold is the real thing. Just because something is shiny does not make it valuable or worthy in the long run. Is what we are offering as valuable as we think it is? Good musicianship and the several components that it contains matter.
I don't usually do this, but if you want to win a free copy of the movie American Sniper, simply let me know in the comments and in the comment thank a vet you know personally. I thank my friend Adam who served his country faithfully. His story inspires me in what he has overcome both in battle and in the life afterwards.
This movie is important. Why? We need to consider the cost of war, for one. Secondly, we must honor and tangibly value the lives of those who serve us in the armed services. Besides that, it is a very good film.
On Friday, I will randomly select a winner. I will contact you via email.
At least two extremes exists when describing the role of the worship leader. Today, we ask for rockstar-monks to lead us in worship. I have heard an influential leader say repeatedly at conferences, “Your role is more important than mine as the preacher.” Really? This made me feel important at the moment, but reality says something else. As a worship leader we prepare people to hear the word, lead them in prayers, but how is that more important than leading and forming a congregation spiritually through preaching? As a worship leader, my role is surely significant as I serve the whole congregation and have a part in the spiritual formation, but not a superior part. I am simply just a part. And, to put that on me or any worship leader is to raise this role to monk status.