Jesus

He Knows Me By Name

"But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine."

-Isaiah 43:1

Great verse, right? It's an incredible piece of scripture. But have you ever truly thought about it?

I mean, really, REALLY, thought about it?

God. The God of the Heavens and earth. The dude who created EVERYTHING. Yeah, that one. 

He calls you by name.

Not only does He call you by name... He has REDEEMED you and calls you His own.

So, when you're feeling down on yourself, broken, hopeless, or abandoned... Just remember that the God who spoke the earth into existence is calling you by name. Saying, "I love you. You are mine. You have been redeemed."

Desire vs. Require

You may desire talent and skill. God requires obedience. 

You may desire to travel the world. God requires you to be a light in the world.

You may desire to be Twitter famous. God requires you to make Him famous. 

You may desire to be a boss. God requires you to be a leader.

You may desire prosperity. God requires integrity.

You may desire to pursue happiness. God requires you to pursue joy.

 

 

 

7 Steps for Effective Worship Leading

 

1. COME PREPARED.    

When you arrive at rehearsal, your voice should already be warmed up, your lyrics memorized, and your guitar parts down (if you play guitar while you sing). When you aren’t focused on what the next lyric is or what you’re supposed to play, that leaves so much room for you to focus on LEADING. When the entire band is prepared, it is much easier to add stylistic details and just have fun. Remember: rehearsal is not the place to learn the music. It is the place to put it all together.

                                                                                                                        

2. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GONNA SAY BEFORE YOU SAY IT.

I'm not saying that you shouldn’t let the Holy Spirit lead. There are definitely times for that! But during the welcome especially, it's good to have a somewhat scripted introduction. Here’s a template of a general welcome:

"Good morning! We’re so excited you’ve joined us today at _____ Church. 

My name is ______. We’ve got a few songs this morning, I wanna encourage you to sing along!"

 “Welcomes” call for a brief, energetic, and authentic introduction to let people know you’re glad they’re here with you. No spiritual bombs need to be dropped at this time. Just get them active, excited, and involved.

 The second or third song may call for a spiritual moment. (Note that every song does not need one, but you can figure out if it could use one to engage with your people) It’s a good idea to have this somewhat scripted out as well for the songs we have spiritual moments. I like to write out what I’m going to say before rehearsals so I can practice it and make sure it sounds/feels good. We do this for a couple of different reasons.

To make sure what we say is theologically sound.      

-We don’t want to go up there unprepared and say something that is scripturally incorrect, even if it’s by complete accident.

 It helps the front of house engineer in rehearsal.

- We need to PRACTICE our “spiritual moments” in rehearsal so the FOH engineer can get a good mix of our speaking voice as opposed to our singing voice. We cannot risk the experience of a first-time guest because we said something stupid or spoke too long. As worship leader, we are communicators. It takes practice to say things in the right amount of time, making sure we don’t repeat ourselves too much, say something out of the ordinary, or speak way too long (which I’ve been guilty of) 

 

3. PRACTICE HOW YOU PLAY; PLAY HOW YOU PRACTICE.

Do you see a recurring theme here? I cannot say enough how important it is to treat every rehearsal like it is a service. That old saying “you play how you practice” is so true. The more often you practice your speaking moments, the easier and more fluent it is onstage Sunday morning in front of 100, or even 1000 people.

Also, it is very important not to slack off in rehearsal. I know you may be there for 2-3 hours playing the same 3 songs. I know it gets tiring. I know your feet and your voice are hurting. But, “you play how you practice”. Andy Chrisman from Church on the Move has an incredible blog about “Sandbagging”, which discusses this topic a lot more. I encourage you to read it here: Say No to Sandbagging

 

4. STAGE PRESENCE IS IMPORTANT.

Confidence 

- The way you portray yourself onstage says a lot about you as a worship leader. People can tell when someone is uncomfortable or feels awkward. That, unfortunately, makes them feel uncomfortable and awkward. The worst part of it is, it can be a distraction during worship. When you’re leading worship, you need to be CONFIDENT and ENERGETIC. Find your stance. Keep your chest up (no slouching) and your lips close to your microphone. When you hunch over to sing, your diaphragm isn’t able to fully expand- which makes your singing weaker. Being a worship leader means you’ll have to step out of your comfort zone. I know its awkward at times, but the more you push yourself to step out of your comfort zone, the more effective you’ll be as a communicator.

Body Language

- Your hands are a major tool in communication. Use them as much as possible when you lead. WL’s with guitars, you can afford to NOT play for that second verse. Your electric guitars take care of that. Use that time to use your hands to lead the congregation. WL’s without guitars, do not fall into the habit of grabbing the mic or the mic stand. That just looks weird. A good rule of thumb is to never let your hands go below your hips. Clap a lot! And you don’t have to clap loud to get people to clap. I like to faux clap a lot. It gives the same energy!

Find Joy

- When you’re not leading a song; sing anyways! Just not into the mic. If you don’t sing the second verse, step away from the mic and sing a long! The congregation sings when you sing. And remember- LOOK HAPPY TO BE THERE AND HAVE FUN. This is so important. You need to be joyful when you’re leading others in worship. Don’t be too cool for school onstage. It tells people that you don’t care what you’re singing about. If they believe you; they trust you. If they trust you; they’ll follow your leadership. This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to “fake” it up there. But sometimes you just have to suck it up and be joyful because that’s what it takes to lead worship. 

 

5. TAKE CARE OF YOUR VOICE!

Voice lessons 

 - Voice lessons are the best way to keep your voice healthy and strong. Being challenged every week by an instructor helps a lot. You can take your singing to another level with voice lessons, I strongly recommend it!

Vocalize U app 

 -This is a great app to warm up with. It gives you a whole bunch of scales to work with. I love it!

Stay away from caffeine on performance days!

 - I realize that early Sunday mornings are rough and you need your coffee, but caffeine is a severe drying agent and is terrible for your singing voice. I reccomend ROOM TEMPERATURE WATER ONLY on performance days. Not cold water; room temperature. Cold water will constrict your vocal cords.

 

6. NEVER STOP LEARNING.

I don’t think there’s ever a time when you’ve “arrived”. I believe you should always learn as much as you possibly can. Here are a few ways to grow:

Books 

"Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rockstars", Stephen Miller

"The Air I Breathe", Louie Giglio

"Worship Matters", Bob Kaufman

"Doxology and Theology", Matt Boswell

Pretty much anything from this website

Blogs

Carlos Whittaker

Seeds.com (Andy Chrisman)

David Stantistevan

Chris From Canada

Mentoring/Training

Conferences

Private Worship Leadership Coaching

Apprenticeships

 

7. STAY IN THE WORD!

Most importantly, read your bible! I cannot stress this enough. Worship leaders should constantly be in the word. It is our source! Your worship onstage should be an overflow of the worship in your daily life. Memorize scripture. Stay in tune with Jesus. Read your bible, read your bible, read your bible!

 

QUOTES ON WORSHIP

"A worship leader is to be a person who exemplifies worship in all areas of life as an example for the church to emulate; who pursues God with everything and lives a life of holiness that worships through obedience in all things; who leads the church in an all-encompassing lifestyle of worship."- Stephen Miller

“We are called by God. We are the carriers of God to the world. A worship leader is a shepherd. They are your people. Lead them to Jesus. Even if all you have is a couple seconds, lead people to have an encounter with Jesus. Each one of us has the opportunity to stand in the gap for people. The weight of worship is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”- Louie Giglio

 “And remember, the goal of practice isn't doing something until you get it right. It's doing it until you can't get it wrong.” - Bob Kauflin

 

Elevation Worship "Wake Up the Wonder" Twitter Giveaway

Elevation Worship is releasing their eighth album today, and in my opinion, they are putting out some of the best quality worship music. Wake Up The Wonder was recorded live in Charlotte, NC at Time Warner Cable Arena with 16,000 fellow worshippers on August 1, 2014. This is perhaps Elevation's best record yet, and I can't wait for you to hear it! I am pleased to announce that I have TWO albums that I will be giving away today. Here's how simple it is to enter:

1. Follow @chrisgroat and @elevation_wrshp on Twitter

2. Retweet the tweet below

https://twitter.com/ChrisGroat/status/537275405401473024

3. Follow Chris' blog via email. (You can sign up at the bottom of the site)

Once you've completed these steps- congrats! You are officially entered to win. Two random winners will be selected, and the giveaway ends at 7pm CST. I will notify the winners via direct message on Twitter. Good luck!

Here's a taste of the what album will sound like.

Interview with Mack Brock

I recently had the chance to have a short conversation with worship leader, Mack Brock. Mack leads worship at Elevation Church, and lives in Charlotte with his wife, Meredith and their son, Harvey. I asked him a few questions about church, family, gear, and inspiration. Here's what he had to say:

Chris Groat- How did God lead you to Elevation Church?

Mack Brock- Long story :)

 

CG- What are your main responsibilities at Elevation Church?

MB- Worship leader, music director, producer, songwriter

 

CG- What are some practical things you do to stay in tune with the Holy Spirit?

MB- Read the bible, worship in my own time, constant communication

 

CG- When do you guys get together to write new songs? What's the process like?

MB- We try and write once a week as a group. We write a lot on our own as well.

 

CG- What does your weekly "to-do" list look like?

MB- Nothing too strange on my weekly list- lots of mundane things too. Check to make sure all campuses have the correct musicians, follow up on the current set list, memorize lyrics, etc...

 

CG- Which guitar is your go-to right now?

MB- Gibson ES-335

 

CG- What does your pedalboard look like these days? 

MB-   

 

CG- How many hours of rehearsal and pre/post production does it take to make a live album?

MB- Too many to count!

 

CG- Which artists/bands have influenced you musically?

MB- Also too many to count! Haha. Radiohead, U2, Kenna, Kanye, Drake, and Coldplay.

 

CG- Waffle House or IHOP? 

MB- Waffle House

 

CG- How do you balance work and your personal life?

MB- It's all integrated. My family is a part of the church. They are bought in just as much as me, so it doesn't feel like I'm working a ton and then go home to my family. We are all in this together.

 

CG- What are some ways to keep your worship team inspired?

MB- Constant vision. Bringing things back to why we do what we do. Every number has a story of someone's life being influenced and changed through the gospel in our church.

 

CG- Lyrics or music first?

MB- For me, music first.

 

CG- Do you prefer Logic, Pro-Tools, Ableton, or any other software?

MB- Logic

 

CG- When you write a song based off of one of Pastor Steven's series/sermons, where do you start? 

MB- Usually the overall vision of the series, the text his sermons are based on, and then his main sticking points for his message.

 

CG- What advice would you leave Worship Leaders/Pastors with today?

MB- Make sure your vision is clear and aligned WITH the lead pastor. Don't have conflicting ideas of what you're doing... work together.

 

Elevation Worship is releasing their eighth album Wake Up The Wonder on November 25, 2014. This album was recorded live in Charlotte, NC at Time Warner Cable Arena with 16,000 worshippers from across the country. Check out their website for countless resources (on most of their records), including chord charts, tutorial videos, and free loops.

Jesus Is Not Your Genie

Prayer is a beautiful thing. However, a lot of times we can use if selfishly.

"Lord, help ME achieve this goal."

"Lord, help ME accomplish MY dream."

"Lord, I deserve this."

What?!

How often do we actually take the time to pray for others? When have we stopped and prayed for

Our family and friends?

Our church?

Our pastor?

The man down the street holding the cardboard sign?

The family next-door?

You see, quite often we find it easy to fall into a mindset of prayer being for us. And don't get me wrong, we should pray for ourselves! We are a hot mess. We need Jesus just as much as anyone. But what is our prayer ratio of OURSELVES and OTHERS? Jesus is not a Genie that we conjure out of the lamp when we need him.

Paul writes in Philippians 2:3-4: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."

Jesus calls us to LOVE others. One way we can do this is to pray for them.

Most importantly, prayer requires our thankfulness and praise towards Jesus. If we aren't praising Him with our lips, how can we praise Him with our lives? Thank you, Jesus, for grace.