Tuesday, April 28, 2009


There's a new worship resource out of the UK called worshipcorner.com. It's definitely something you should check out and here's why ..

1. It's free! You can download some sweet original worship tunes and high quality covers for nada!

2. It's great for new musicians! The "play along" section is a sweet learning tool for guitar, keys, drums, and bass.
For example, a new bass player can listen to a full version of "Mighty to Save", then practice with just the bass part, then play along to a track with all the instrumentation except the base.

3. Instructional videos.

4. Worship music from four different countries, and counting.

5. A song I wrote with my friend , Mike Ickes, is featured on the site for your downloading pleasure. It's called "Here I Stand" and you should take a listen. http://tr.im/jYZu

6. Like I said, free music! That's reason enough!


Check out this new banner my designing friend Rachel whipped up for my band. I needed it for a super fun reason; a site out of the UK wanted to post one of our songs for a free download and add a banner for our band. I'll blog more about that tomorrow , but in the meantime, you can check it out here. http://www.worshipcorner.com/

By the way, if you need some photography or design, you should totally check out her work! http://www.puremotif.com/

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Joe Horness Weekend

This week Joe Horness, 25 year music director of Willow Creek Church, came to guest lead at our church and to put on a seminar for us and other churches.

We affectionately refer to Willow as the "Mother Ship" because we've modeled a lot after their successes, so this was a big deal to many at our church.

Here's the order Joe selected.

God of My Days- Zach Neste (G)
I had never heard this tune before and there's a strange line in the chorus "God of my days, the king of my nights" wait seriously, "king of my nights" I had trouble worshipping to that one.

Blessed Be- Redman (A)

Let God Arise- Tomlin, Cash, and Reeves (G)
to make a point he had the everyone in the room including the stage begin the song totally still without moving a muscle. Then we started over with physical expression, it was really awesome!
Let the Praises Ring - Lincoln Brewster (D)
great congregational response

Amazing Grace-Chains Are Gone- Tomlin (F)
Violin solo after a teaching on instrumental music.. sweet-the first time I had heard an actual "teaching" in my church on that
I do not like singing the chorus in F, but my amazing friend Dawn is really even more of an alto than I am , and so I was stuck with the high notes all weekend.

Amazed - Jared Anderson (E)
This is always a good connect er in our church..but I think it's better in D. I feel like a lot of the tunes had the women straining today.

I Love You Lord- Laurie Klein (no key, acapella)

The Dirty,

Dawn and I didn't know for certain until 5 minutes before rehearsal that we would be up front on the mics. and Joe called us out for not knowing our parts in front of everyone. It was a really uncomfortable moment.

Joe prefers all up front singers and the choir singing almost all the time, kind of the older Willow style. I connect much better with more of a modern vocal sound of one lead, and one or two harmonies at certain sections of the song, not all the time. At times, it was hard for me personally to worship with all that unison and constant vocal noise, it loses a lot of the emotion and never comes down enough for me.

It was a challenge for our team to use only lead sheets, as some of them are used to chord charts only, and that led to some more awkward moments in practice.

The Diggety,

Joe is amazing at setting up a song.. the way he verbally intros draws people in so easily, it's awesome.

His teaching on instrumental music, on responding to God with our bodies, and on worship in general was incredible and just what our church needed.

The emotion Joe exudes while speaking and leading is incredible and moving.
There was a great response from the congregation!

I have some great ides and practical things to improve my leading because of this weekend and I'm very excited about that!

That was my week-Check out some other sundaysetlists posts here: http://www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2009/04/26/sunday-setlists-40/

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Joe Horness Numero Tres

The Stage and the Seats

Just a few thoughts this time.

Excellence, Emotion, Relevance, and Authenticity.
How do we transfer what we do on stage to the hearts and lives of the people on stage.
I will not give my life to "song times" but to helping people engage with the One true God.
Be excellent from the beginning.. don't consider the first song a throw-away.

Maintain momentum.
Don't be a performer, be a facilitator.
Be a competent artist, a leader, a pastor???
When you lead, do people want to follow you?
Teach on worship.
Ask a compelling question, tell a great story
"Sit" in worship..don't just blow through songs.
Art that generates emotion.
Tech support that enhances connection. So vitally important!
Hearts that model authenticity.

If you've never done cardboard testimonies at your church....totally do it...it's powerful everytime I see it!! Comment if you want more info. on that.

So important for us to paint a good picture of God! Vitally important!! When we love Him more, we paint Him better.

Worship Songwriting with Brian Lusky

Why write a song that can be useful for your congregation, when there's so much worship out there?
You know what your church needs, because you are there...Tomlin is not there.
Sometimes you really wish there was a song about......"fill in blank"
It's a sign of health if people in the church are writing Biblically useful tunes.

How to write a song for worship?
There's no one way to write a song. No 1,2, 3 of writing.
We write not to express our emotions and feelings, but to serve the congregation.
Don't set out to write an epic worship tune..and be careful about self-promotion comes from the Lord..don't be pushy about your songs.
You have to see before you sing. Ask God for a revelation. Like a good British tea, let the song brew..
God can't use you publicly unless you are submitted to Him privately.l
Don't be satisfied with mediocre lyrics.

Challenge yourself.
Make time to write...It's a discipline.
Be ruthless about a song..no throwaway lyrics!!!
Don't get too attached
Make sure you match your lyric with the feel of the song-think of the tension in "I could sing of your love forever" when it gets to Oh, I feel like dancing, noone really feels like dancing...
Be open to critizism.
More songs that describe who God is...less about I and me.

He obvioulsy has a lot more to say but time is up....awesome session!

random fun words used

Joe Horness Numero dos.

What do you want people to say about your church?

"They talked about things that mattered to me."
Make sure the message is relevant!
Know your target. are you reaching young people,
People need to feel like what you present matters to their life.

"They kept my attention the whole time!"
You want people to think, what will it be this time? use variety.
ex. have a acoustic week, occasionally add a choir, don't do the same thing every week!
Keep up with what's going on in culture.
Watch and listen for good ideas, get a team together to brainstorm.

"Those guys are good!"
Value excellence..God is worth making it good, the best possible!!!!
Prepare Carefully
Be Unified..easier said than done!
Review-Figure out what you did well and celebrate.
Figure out what you did wrong and make a plan to fix it!

"Those people are real!"
Be honest about your own struggles.
Find authentic people.

"They come through week after week!"
You have to be good each week for people to invite their friends.

We have a lot to work on...How is your church doing in these areas???

Friday, April 24, 2009

Worship Leader Dinner with Joe Horness

We had the first session of our mini-conference over dinner, and I got the chance to meet some new WL's, and to catch up with a friend I used to teach with, who is now a full time WL in a neighboring town. Sweet, sweet, sweet!

The venue was a bit 70's mobster fab. and the menu included scrod, which is just a terrible word no mater how you slice it! The session made up for everything the venue lacked and then some!
Joe is a great mixture of confident, knowledgeable, and approachable. He speaks from his heart and cries a lot when he's talking, which I happen to think is rather awesome.

Here's a few things swirling in my head after dinner...

When making an order think

"What are we trying to get across today?" and
"Where does my heart want to go from here?"
ex.. does your heart want to go from a pregnant worshipful moment right into announcements.
prob. not. Always worship through the whole thing yourself to make sure it works! Think about possible moments of disconnect and plan how to make them connecting moments!

Joe puts announcements after the entire set, so as not to break up a worship run.

Set yourself up for success with planning and prep.
PRAY! so obvious and sooo vital!
Be careful about scheduling the right people in the right combos
Don't wait and figure out on stage what you should have figured out in your office/house.
Do the prep. work! It's too important not to.

How to help people engage
1. Ask a question, then have the congregation act.
simple suggestion, but one I haven't really used much... example "what do you need most from God right now" Ask him for it.
2.Tell a story.
This I do, but he suggests writing it out which I do not.
3. Use the Word of God! When in doubt, use scripture, if you can say it with scripture, then DO!
an obvious but nevertheless important tip.
4. Don't wing it..
Confession, this is something I definitely do too often. Yep.

Really, there was a LOT more. But that's what I remember the most.. I would like to get the notes to think through it all again!

Any thoughts?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday, April 19th

This week I had the chance to fill in for the illustrious Brian Lusky, my guitar teacher, friend, and amazing worship leader of Grace church.

The venue is amazing.
I am used to leading in a old department store, a school cafeteria, and a bar. This is a new multi-whatever dollar building. Amazing!

The musicians were phenomenal.
They rolled with my changes after just a little coaxing and were uber-easy to work with and extremely talented.

The people responded.
This church has a young adult crew in the front left hand side who really breathe life into the service.

Here's the dealio.

Blessed Be (key of A) (Kathryn Scott version)
probably should of went down to (G) based on the sinus infection

We Cry Out (Kim Walker) (key of Gb)
got some blank stares at the 9, but it went over amazingly at the 11

Hosanna (Brooke Fraser) (key of E)
a touch of awkwardness waiting for the band to start in the 9, fixed it for the 11!

Awesome God (Vicky Beeching) (key of E)
we transitioned seamless from one song to another...I do love a smooth transition!!

Amazed (key of D)

The pastors did a bang-up job of answering tough questions about homosexuality, creation, evolution, and literal/figurative interpretation of the Word.

I am constantly reminded lately, of what a huge privilege it is to be a worship leader; can't think of anything better really...I am blessed!

This is part of sundaysetlists! check it!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Confessional

Most churches see a boost in attendance on Christmas and Easter.. our "Church in a Bar" multi-site is actually the opposite. It seems even "bar" people want to worship in a more traditional environment on a holiday. It's hard not to be disappointed in a small crowd, but God is God, and God is good no matter how big or small the crowd.

So this is what went down in our church...you can check out what's going on in churches all over here.http://www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2009/03/12/sunday-setlists-38/

Worthy is the Lamb (G with choir) Hillsong
Marvelous Light (G) Charlie Hall
My Savior Lives (B) Jon Egan Glenn Packiam
Nothing But the Blood (G) The Swift Version
At the Cross (E) Hillsong
Let the Praises Ring (E) Lincoln Brewster

There were a lot of things working against us.
less volunteers than usual
technical difficulties
drummer dropped out two days before Easter
Sick worship leader (me)

Rocky start.
We moved both mics up for the opening choir number and then I didn't have a mic to welcome..so I yelled a hello and directed people to sing along with the choir...but, alas, no words on the screen. The easy worship operator could not get it figured out... (what drives me crazy here, it that she kept trying thing after thing and did not put it to a blank screen when she did, so everyone watched her every click)

During the announcements bass player fixed the computer and things were much better and better as the service went on. (Corey can fix almost anything...go Corey)

Even though I was sick, I was somehow able to sing well, and the joy born of the fact that Jesus has overcome death caused me unspeakable joy and freedom in worship despite being so sick..

The small crowd was extremely enthusiastic in worship and it's really an incredible privilege to lead worship on the day we celebrate the most important event in history.
I am beyond thankful.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sunday, April 5th

This week , I sang.. just sang..
It was different to not be the leader ...or play guitar...or pick the set list...or think about transitions..etc....
I did cut two of the songs the leader chose... I suppose I just can't keep totally quiet.. heheh

Here's what went down

Sing to the King (D)
Marvelous Light (G)
Made Me Glad (A)


Take My Life (A)
Holy, Holy Holy (E)

Paul did a nice job leading! Plus, it was great to have Mike on AG...on my GC7 to be specific. It made me a tad bit nervous, but he is as careful as they come. He's also my original inspiration for wanting a Taylor in the first place.
People connected and I got FB message from a new attender that she was able to worship more freely than she had in years... Awesome encouragement there!!

Check out other services at Fred's site!