ELECTION YEAR WORSHIP LEADING

Every. Four. Years.
 
Conversations with good friends that I worship alongside in local church – I hear:
 
“I’m the ONLY conservative in our church and everyone probably hates me for what I believe, I don’t feel safe. Everyone else feels differently than me. I’m gonna hide out for a minute.”
 
12 minutes later I talk to someone else (from the same church):
 
“I’m the ONLY liberal in our church and everyone probably hates me for what I believe, I don’t feel safe. Everyone else feels differently than me. I’m gonna hide out for a minute.”
 
These conversations literally happen in every election cycle.

Revival FOMO Are You Missing the Next Big Move of God?

{REVIVAL FOMO} Have you heard? “God’s about to do something big! Don’t miss out…..”

For years, I followed leaders that told me to keep suffering and striving hard because something BIG was about to happen. The big payoff was just around the corner. They could feel it. They saw a sign. A month turned into a year, turned in a decade of “just you wait, it’s gonna happen.”

Sometimes church leaders use this language to justify the overwork of volunteers or employees. It’s false hope wrapped up in spiritual language. It’s an illusion like the MC Escher Stairs where you keep moving up while going nowhere.

Sometimes church leaders use the optics and stories of other “revivals” to push their teams to exhaustion. “What kind of microphone does Furtick use??”. If you thought it would be less during quarantine church, think again – the competition for the best digital church is at an all-time high!

Sometimes church leaders want revival for some kind of kingdom bailout. Bailout our inadequate leadership, procrastination, lack of diligence, overspending, etc…

I’m ALL ABOUT expecting good things. I’m all about positive, forward-moving leadership. Nothing worse than a stick in the mud, critical team member (I have admittedly been that guy) – but we must stop baiting future revival as an excuse for exploitation or mismanagement. Ministry should be sustainable, to quote Eugene Peterson, more like “a long obedience in the same direction.”

Helping your worship leaders and teams tell the story of God in worship. My name is Mike O’Brien and I am passionate about teaching and mentoring worship leaders and teams. My calling is to use my experience as a producer, worship leader, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist to come alongside musicians, helping them more fully worship God with their instrument and lives. Find out more about how I can help your worship leaders and teams HERE.

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It’s OK If Your Church Never Sings That New Song

NEWER is BETTER + POPULAR is GOOD
That is what our consumer culture tells us.
As those entrusted with choosing songs for our church, we must look beyond the YouTube hymnal and social virality of a song. We must be able to see and hear beyond the slick productions.
A nutritionist for a pro football team does not feed the same meal to a kicker and a linebacker. What’s good for a 10K church in the burbs might not make sense for a recovery group in the city. Are there songs better made for your small church that a large church would never consider?
Some new, famous worship songs should be avoided in your context. Some should be sung immediately. Some should wait a bit. Some will be sung forever in your church. Many will be quickly forgotten.
Here are considerations for selecting NEW SONGS for your local church:
1️⃣ Choose songs that could live in your active setlist for 3, 5, 10 years, or more.
The increasingly short shelf life of trendy worship songs really concerns me. I love that there are some songs in our repertoire that have been with us for decades and continue to feed us. We keep them from being worn out by using different arrangements and allowing them to rest for seasons. For instance, the song “Jesus Messiah” is no longer marketable, but for our church the lyrics do incredible work.
2️⃣Avoid becoming a radio DJ that capitulates to every song request (yes, including your pastor).
Over time, if you are doing your job well, people will learn to trust to eat what is in front of them vs. constantly asking for chicken fingers and cake. If you are constantly trying to please people by entertaining requests, it will never end. When people (my pastor) ask for a song I always ask them “what about the song speaks to you?”, “What in this song, gives voice to what our church needs to say to God?” Often times it’s a deeply felt, short-lived emotion that is completely personal and not corporate.
3️⃣  Dive deeper to find songs that fit your context.
There are hundreds and thousands of beautiful songs and hymns that are not in the top CCLI 1000. This might include your original songs. I recently found a song by Daniel Bashta “Praise the Lord” which has absolutely blessed our gatherings. Listen to more indie worship artists and hunt for songs that will feed your church. Don’t just wait for the big churches to feed you your next moment.

 

Helping your worship leaders and teams tell the story of God in worship. My name is Mike O’Brien and I am passionate about teaching and mentoring worship leaders and teams. My calling is to use my experience as a producer, worship leader, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist to come alongside musicians, helping them more fully worship God with their instrument and lives. Find out more about how I can help your worship leaders and teams HERE.

Three In-Stock Video Tools Every Pastor (and worship leader) Needs Yesterday An easy video set up

Welcome to the new reality of the online church, online small group and ZOOM video conferences galore.

These 3 in-stock items (at the time of this writing!) from Amazon will up your video game immediately. You might not care what you look like, but if what you are communicating is important, then you might as well have it look as good as possible. With these three items, you will be able to FRAME your face is a variety of ways, both standing, and sitting. Things will look and sound better.

A nice HEAVY BOOM STAND to hold your phone. A microphone stand is 100 times more adjustable and easy to use than a typical camera stand. 

A nice METAL ADAPTER thingy to affix the adapter.

A nice PLASTIC ADAPTER to cradle your phone.

Bonus Tips:

Up your lighting: Like Kim Kardashian, buy THIS SELFIE LIGHT – it really helps.

Up your audio: FREE: Talk louder, get closer, close the door or get into a more acoustically dead space. If you want to spend money, try this highly rated microphone for iPhone and here is an option for Andriod.

 

Helping your worship leaders and teams tell the story of God in worship. My name is Mike O’Brien and I am passionate about teaching and mentoring worship leaders and teams. My calling is to use my experience as a producer, worship leader, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist to come alongside musicians, helping them more fully worship God with their instrument and lives. Find out more about how I can help your worship leaders and teams HERE.

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Worship During Quarantine: BEST PRACTICES and What We Are Learning Informative Zoom call with some of my smartest tech friends

My name is Mike O’Brien and I am passionate about teaching and mentoring worship leaders and teams. My calling is to use my experience as a producer, worship leader, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist to come alongside musicians, helping them more fully worship God with their instrument and lives. Find out more about how I can help your worship leaders and teams HERE.

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Encouragement Is Free Using Words to Build Your Team

Recently a friend asked me what I would do with a blank check for the church. I love that question. I rattled off a list of wonderful band gear, design projects, and potential hires for needed areas. Reflecting the following day, the Lord revealed some areas of my heart that were needlessly operating under a burden of scarcity. He led me once again to the Psalmist’s proclamation:

For every beast of the forest is mine,

the cattle on a thousand hills.

I know all the birds of the hills,

and all that moves in the field is mine.

If I were hungry, I would not tell you,

for the world and its fullness are mine.

Psalm 50:10-12

Money is usually the grid by which I’ve seen this text, but when it comes to resources, the reality is that there is so much more to consider. At that moment the clearest resource the Lord was pointing to was my words.

Here are a few ways that we, as worship leaders, can use our words as resources to edify our teams:

15 Gift Ideas for Worship Leaders Unique ideas to bless the musician in your life

It’s that time of year again where you want to get the perfect gift for the church musician in your life. Buying something thoughtful or useful for a musician can be hard; they know what they like and they know what actually works. Because finding the perfect something can be a tall task, I’ve put together a list of creative gifts that any worship leader or church musician would enjoy. I’ve already vetted all the options, read the reviews and chose the perfect product.

Buying presents for a creative person means that your gift will not just be consumed, but be used to multiply goodness into the world. Happy shopping and giving!

1. Books on Worship/Creativity 

Here are some great titles that would bless the worship leader in your life. These are “easy” reads, but still intellectually rich and lasting. Even if they already have one of these titles, these are all classics and will be a welcome duplicate to share on the bookshelf of any worship leader.

For All God’s Worth – N.T. Wright

You Are What You Love – James K.A. Smith

A Brief History of Christian Worship – Jame F. White

The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration – Ed Catmull 

 

My Number One Congregational Participation Tip Start with strength and give it away

 

My name is Mike O’Brien and I am passionate about teaching and mentoring worship leaders and teams. My calling is to use my experience as a producer, worship leader, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist to come alongside musicians, helping them more fully worship God with their instrument and lives. Find out more about how I can help your worship leaders and teams HERE.

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Pastoring Your Worship Community Better This Year

This article appeared on the Vineyard Worship monthly “Notes From The Field” email. To subscribe go HERE.

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality (Romans 12:10-13)

There are song leaders and there are worship leaders. There are worship leaders and there are worship pastors. Regardless of your specific title, I want to zoom in a bit this month on some approaches we can think about in regards to pastoring our worship community better this year. Some of this will come very naturally; if you are like me it’s a never-ending work in progress. We do play a role in shepherding our larger gathered church, but I want to speak to the team that is serving right alongside you.

At this point in my ministry experience, I see the worship stage as the center of the world. It’s not central for reasons of pride or music-centric ambitions, rather it’s primary in my mind because this is where I naturally do the work of discipleship. Musicians and techs under our care are being formed and shaped through the hours, weeks, and years of serving together. When you pastor your team skillfully, you are making disciples, and this is the work of the Kingdom!

Here are some practical ways I encourage you to think about this in 2019:

People Over (and Before) Production 
I love to produce awe-inspiring, over-the-top, pastor-pleasing weekend experiences. Ironically, for years I did this while stepping on the very people I was serving alongside. Over time I’ve learned to welcome and embrace every soul that enters into our rehearsal space. I try to take time before the music begins to give space for people to share and be present to one another. From that foundation of care, we make the music.

Seamless and Consistent Administration 
To quote a friend and mentor, Randy McCoy, “BAD administration hurts people.” One of the most loving things we can do for our teams is to have clean and consistent communication. Timely scheduling, song prep, emails, and texts all speak the language of care. Let people know what is expected of them and what they can expect from you. Over time these faithful structures will build trust, and your team will grow.

Never Stop Saying Thank You 
Sending encouraging texts/emails/cards before, during, and after services can be the fuel for a life-giving worship team environment.  Look for little and varied ways to say “thank you.” A little post-it note on a music stand/soundboard, a bottle of water, a backstage station for hot tea, or a social media shout-out can and will move mountains relationally and organizationally.

Never Stop Learning 
A thriving worship community will be, at its core, a learning community. Both newbies and “pros” will always be exploring new ways to be enriched and challenged. Part of your job as a worship pastor is encouraging everyone to have opportunities for growth. If most of the people on your stage have a “been there, done that” mentality it will create a sense of entitlement and cynicism. We all have something we can be learning. Has it all become just a little too easy? How are you growing as the leader?  Who are you encouraging to risk, stepping up and out? Who are your training to go even beyond you?

Vineyard School of Worship 
Consider attending one of our training events in 2019. Our Rise Worship Bootcamp is for ages 12 to 18, and our Summer Session is for ages 18 to 35. We are currently developing an all-ages Worship Leader Intensive. Also, mark your calendars for our next Sound and Song Summits. Go to vsow.org to learn more.

My name is Mike O’Brien and I am passionate about teaching and mentoring worship leaders and teams. My calling is to use my experience as a producer, worship leader, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist to come alongside musicians, helping them more fully worship God with their instrument and lives. Find out more about how I can help your worship leaders and teams HERE.

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