Planned or Spontaneous?

Jimi Williams —  February 13, 2014

Whenever I teach about preparing for worship at an event, I inevitably have someone raise their hand and say “I don’t like to plan too much. I’d rather be spontaneous and respond to what the Spirit is doing.” Or I’ve heard people say they won’t use tracks during worship because it limits there spontaneity.

Let’s think this through. There is nothing spiritual or unspiritual about making a plan. In fact, Proverbs 16:3 says “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” The Bible is filled with examples of people who made detailed plans to do something important for God. Nehemiah rebuilt the entire wall around Jerusalem. David built the first temple for God. Jesus’ plan was to endure the cross…

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It was cold, although not “Polar Vortex” cold. My family and I were crammed into our minivan and were two-thirds of the way through our thirteen-hour drive from Nashville to Canada just four days before Christmas. Every once in awhile messages from family with news of an impending Ontario ice storm would grab our attention but, as it was, all we could see before us was rain and road. One hour after another on one of America’s most boring drives. That is, until dark.

Besides the obvious (it was dark), the darkness was blinding – turning our minivan into a rolling death trap – street lights, car lights, reflections of any light of any kind suddenly transformed into bizarre laser beams headed directly for the eyes – I was suddenly unable to see much of anything around me…

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I had a very wise pastor tell me once to never do ministry alone. As worship leaders we need to understand that we can lead a band every week, be surrounded by a team of people, but still operate our ministry as a “lone ranger”. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if you are really building a team…

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As 1/4th of the Juno and Covenant Award winning band The City Harmonic Elias has traveled the world to worship alongside churches and Christians of all kinds. He is passionate about faith, ideas, music, culture and the Church, writing and songwriting, worship leading, and all of the ways they collide. Though originally from Hamilton (Ontario, Canada) Elias now lives in Nashville, TN with his wife Meaghan, four kids and a cat who is presently missing (having not come back the very next day).

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3 Free Songs from Martin Smith

Josh Pauley —  December 17, 2013

3 Free Songs from Martin Smith

We have 3 new songs from Martin Smith, best known from his time as the lead singer for Delirious. Be sure to check out each one; listen to the audio, learn how to play it by watching the New Song Cafe, and the download the Free Lead Sheets!

EMMANUEL

GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS

YOU’RE MY SALVATION

A Walk One Winter Night

Jimi Williams —  December 12, 2013

What started as a simple, late night stroll to clear his head from the hassles of the season turned into something that can only be described as…real. The new Christmas story by Al Andrews is a wonderful insight into the real story of Christmas. Beyond the shopping, the ornaments and plastic portrayals of the baby Jesus, Al uncovers the real Jesus, Joseph and Mary behind the facade.

“A Walk One Winter Night” started as an invitation from Dave Barnes for Al to share a Christmas story at Dave’s Christmas concert. There was such an overwhelming response to the story that Worthy Publishing decided to turn it into a book…

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The Importance of Rest

Liz Parker —  November 26, 2013

This week many of you will gather with family to celebrate all that God has blessed you with. You will sit around a table full of food, give thanks and break bread together with those you love. And, when the tryptophan-induced coma kicks in, I’d imagine you will…rest…

Rest is a concept that seems extremely unfamiliar for worship leaders and other church leaders during this time of year as we prepare for the Advent season. The rehearsals 3-4 times per week for the 3-4 Christmas Eve services the church offers, organizing the special music, the kids choir, the dance team, the skits, the video specials…well, it can leave you feeling drained and weary. And, while many of us would like to just put on the most fantastically comfortable pair of pjs, crawl under our covers and sleep for the next 2 months, we just don’t have that luxury!

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Mercy Tree

Jimi Williams —  November 14, 2013

Telling the story of Christ’s death and resurrection is a fundamental part of worship. Yes, we worship our magnificent God and all His attributes. However, the true nature of God, His justice and mercy, is never seen more clearly than through the cross. May we never loose the wonder of the cross and grow weary of telling the wonderful story of how God became a man, died in innocence on a cross for our sins, and rose again to deliver us from the chains of death.

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Thankfulness

Sarah Hart —  November 7, 2013

Three days after Halloween this year, I went shopping at Target, just for a few half-off skeletons and light-up pumpkins at 75% off…though by next year I’ll probably forget where I put them. Anyhow, the Christmas decorations were up already, and I overheard the lament of someone an aisle over; “CHRISTMAS! Come on, I hate this! It’s not even Thanksgiving!” I feel like I’ve heard that lament a lot recently. I even noticed that Nordstrom’s had a special advertisement this year that, in the “spirit of the holidays”, Christmas decorations would not be put up until after Thanksgiving.

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Platforms

Jimi Williams —  October 31, 2013

Recently, I’ve heard a lot of talk about platforms and movements. We see it often in the entertainment business, sports and politics. It’s Hollywood stars hanging out with the “right people”. It’s associating with the “right brands”. In politics, a platform can be a public office (Congress), an organization (Rainbow Push Coalition or Tea Party), or a cause. Sometimes a family name can be a platform. Being a Kennedy will open quite a few doors regardless of whether you are a genius or intellectually challenged.

“Leveraging a platform” means using an association with a personality, movement or organization to raise one’s own public persona. Often a platform makes an individual, who is not well known, an industry leader and public figure. We’ve seen this with people like Steve Jobs (Apple) and Yahoo’s Melissa Mayer…

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