2015’s Top 5 WORST Trends in Worship Leading

I have identified five trends that have come to life this year that might be damaging to our expression of Christian worship. Some of these are connected to a tool’s application. The wonderful tools we have around us and the choices for leaders are greater than ever. Our ingenuity and cleverness has reached new heights. But, with all creativity there are two sides. Creativity as innovation solves a problem. Creativity as art tells a story. When we forget the story—basically who we are—in our desire to solve a presenting issue we lose ourselves.

Something BIG and NEW: “a beautiful liturgy” Music Project!

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!

Utility versus Beauty: When the bottom line invades our worship

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.

CD Review: Smalltown Poets – Christmas Time Again

The twice Grammy-nominated Small Town Poets are a Georgia based alternative rock group. This is their second Christmas release and the quality and musicianship still shines on this their seventh studio recording. The blend of pop/rock hooks, original songs, and ancient Christmas carols offers a surprisingly cohesive project. Christmas Time Again is something that will not annoy the holiday cynic while delighting the biggest fans of Christmas. 

Worship Album Review: Elevation Worship – Wake Up The Wonder

A very well-produced track captures the stadium-filled praise from Time Warner Cable Arena this past August in Charlotte, North Carolina. Elevation Worship represents a thriving local mega-church that has heart for their community  yet they surely have something in their worship expression that blesses the greater Body of Christ! This much anticipated project stands out amongst the growing number of modern worship releases for that very reason. You cannot deny the authenticity that something grown local brings. Thankfully, the exponential growth of their franchise has not watered down the passion from Elevation Worship’s earlier releases.

Worship Leaders: Musicians are more than fillers for your multitrack loop!

There are just so many amazing technology advances today to aid the average church musician. You can get the original multitrack stems from the best recordings of modern worship music and do everything from rehearse with them, sweeten a live set with them, or fill an empty band spot with them. I applaud all of these and actually currently employ them in worship settings. However, how we lead our modern worship musician requires us to ask a couple questions. Are we dumbing-down our ability to lead by relying too much on tech and not enough on musical skill? Are we using musicians to fill a slot in a machine rather than inspiring them to create?

All Sons & Daughters cover by Dad & Daughter – “Great Are You Lord”

Intergenerational worship is something we all say we value in the local church. But, it is not easy to display in real life. My daughter, Emilie, has led worship with me since she was about 13. Now, with her college work, songwriting, boyfriend and day job it is quite a treat to co-lead with her whenever I can. Ministry, whether as a paid “church worker” or volunteer lay person is a family business. Or, at least I think it should be. Our faith should be passed on not just in word but in deed. 

All Sons & Daughters song “Great Are You Lord” is now a Dad & Daughter song as you will see on this recording. How are you living out intergenerational ministry?

Providence: Your story is weaved into something bigger than you

A while ago I wrote a song and put it in a drawer and forgot about it. One day it dawned on me that this song was in the voice of a woman. I had the picture of tapestry, of an artist weaving a single thread that makes its mark by how it is thread through the fabric of history. Providence is like this thread. We cannot see the whole picture, but the grand design and fabric might make sense if seen. Often, we will not see on this side of heaven the entire piece of art. However, we can still be connected to the mystery and have security in the fact that there is a plan and that the plan is working both in our personal favor and in the favor or humankind. The good news is that Jesus, the crucified man on the cross unveiled with his act the mystery. God wore and wears our human skin. He loves us, that much. Love wins!

Five Tips for Massively Productive Worship Rehearsals!

Yes, you know you hate to love these top-five or top-ten lists. One fact I state clearly before I teach leaders and worship leaders is that I have made many mistakes over many years of leading music and worship. The list I below comes from such real-world experience. I know the ideas may not be news to many of you. But, having the basics articulated for both yourself as the leader and your team greatly improves your game. Also, teams need to have unity. Unity must be intentional, not randomly executed. 

Here are five simple tips will massively produce better results if attended and followed. Why am I so sure? Well, did you not read in the above paragraphs about my many mess-ups? My pain is your gain!

Five Critical Tips for Modern Worship Keyboardists

I get asked a lot about keyboards in modern worship, as I have played in worship teams as well as been a worship leader for many years. So, I thought I’d give away some practices  that have allowed me to succeed in that role. Whether you use a traditional keyboard like a Nord, Korg, or Yamaha or a soft synth from your laptop or iPad, these tips should apply. By the way, I have written a couple other posts specifically on the differences of using these: Modern Worship Keyboards: Laptop vs. Traditional Synth or Modern Worship Keyboards: My setup for loops, clicks, and keys with MainStage.