Monday, February 26, 2018

Victor's Crown

Threshold moments are those points in your life that you use as a sort of “marker” or point where you define time before and after it.  Marriage is a great example, as many folks talk about life before and after marriage.  Kids are another example, as are changes in jobs, buying a home, etc.  I think that there are certain threshold moments in ministry as well.  Maybe it’s the first time a church breaks 100 people in attendance or possibly when a church breaks ground on a new building.

In my journey in playing in different bands and worship groups, I’ve had some of these threshold moments as well.  The following is probably the most prominent of these times during my time at Mount Pleasant.

I remember when Brad told me we were going to start working on a song called “Victor’s Crown.”  The first time I listened to it, I knew that it was going to be a real “threshold song” for our church, or at least, it’s a threshold song for me simply due to the drum parts in that song.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the song, let’s just say that the drumming on the last half of the song has a little more “oomph” to it than the typical praise and worship song. 

I guess my first reaction was denial, in that there was NO WAY the congregation was going to go for this song…like, at all. You see, my personal history in playing drums at church has not always been an easy one.  While our church body is very accepting of drums in church, not every congregation in my experience has been nearly as welcoming, and I have had to deal with my fair share of animosity from various people in other churches.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that I was expecting some of these same harsh reactions from the congregation the week after we played “Victor’s Crown” for the first time.  As a matter of fact, I remember I half-jokingly telling Brad before we played that morning something to the effect of “If I don’t have a chance to say it, it was a real honor playing here because I’m not sure if I’ll be allowed back after today.”  

I’m pretty sure he laughed, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t.  

As I left that Sunday, I emotionally braced myself for what was coming. 

Much to my surprise in the upcoming weeks, I was flooded with compliments from you in our congregation!  What an encouragement that was, and I still appreciate everyone’s warm compliments. Receiving compliments was and is never my intent when playing drums at church; however, your kind words offered me much-needed relief.  I knew at that point that I would be able to “open up” a little bit more in my playing.  I've been able to do this, but it took learning and playing this song to get there.  

I truly feel like our church culture changed that day, well, at least in my eyes it did.

At this point, “Victor’s Crown” is just another song added to the long list of music we have played in the past and continue to play today.  It’s fun to play (it’s ok to have fun in worship, right?), but even more so, it’s good knowing that I can play it without fear of animosity.  I’m sure that there will other threshold moments like this one, but “Victor’s Crown” will always stick out in my mind as a moment of change at Mount Pleasant.

Thanks for letting me serve.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Is Worship a Concert?

Since a new wave of worship music has come along in the last several years, there has been a bad word to develop among the Christian community in regards to the styles of music being done in churches across the country.  That bad word is “concert”.  That seems to be a word never to be uttered among churches when talking about their times of worship on Sunday mornings. 

Since the “new vs. old” and “traditional vs. contemporary” argument began, some people that cling to the side of traditional hymns have called the music of “modern” churches a “concert”.  Obviously a concert can’t bring any glory or even offerings to the Lord, right?  Well….maybe I look at it a bit differently. 

First of all, don’t get me wrong.  I love hymns.  I didn’t exactly grow up around them so forgive me if I don’t know all 6 (or however many) verses to “Amazing Grace”, but I really do enjoy the song!  There are lots of hymns that I enjoy that have very sound doctrine.  In fact, our church makes it a point to do several songs that throw in a hymn in part of the song, so I don’t think hymns are to be forgotten at all.  Those songs just connect well.  Here’s the thing though…at one time, hymns were considered “modern” and were widely unaccepted in churches.  Imagine that!  Sound like any modern styles of worship music today?  But that debate isn’t why I’m writing.

Back to my thought on “concert”, where does your mind go when you hear that word?  Can you actually have a worship concert and still be holy?  Can you perform and still glorify Jesus?  

Let’s look at the definition of concert:  

1. A public musical performance in which a number of singers or instrumentals, or both, participate.
2. A public performance, usually by an individual singer or instrumentalist.
3. Agreement of two or more individuals on a design or plan.

So, as you can see, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the word “concert”.  We’ve somehow twisted it’s meaning to where “concert” means bringing attention to one’s self.  Sure, if we look at secular music and artists, it’s easy to say their “concerts” bring attention to them and they celebrate their record or the purpose of their tour. That is a “show” and that isn’t what we’re doing.  Our focus is Jesus and Him alone.  We can sometimes be so quick to look at secular culture for our definitions that we overlook what it may really mean. 
Just like everything else we do and every intention we have, our heart is key.  If we are just out to please people with our electric guitar riffs and 4 measure drum fills, then that’s a different story.  But if we come together in harmony, agreeing that Jesus is Lord of all and is worthy to be praised, and use our instruments and voices to lift Him on high, then that by definition is a Worship Concert. 

It’s been said of other churches and probably even ours; “I went there and it just felt like a concert! I’ll have no part of that!” I’m going to say something here…we want it to feel that way!  We want everyone coming together for one purpose!  The music, the singing, the lights, everything is meant to work together to create an atmosphere of worship!  That’s the point of every single note that’s played, every fader that moved and every light that’s triggered.  The name of Jesus is to be raised and glorified!  So, if things feel that way here, then good! That’s what we’re after.  What greater reason to gather, celebrate and put on a concert each week than the name of Jesus?



Thursday, February 15, 2018

Save Me

With this week's post I wanted to share with you the choir special ("Save Me") from last week's Worship Wednesday Service.  Seth and Marci did an outstanding job and the choir was wonderful as always.  The video link is below.  Enjoy!

Worship Big!


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Precious Jesus

With this week's post I want to introduce a new song that we will be singing this Sunday.  It's called "Precious Jesus" by Gateway Worship.  It is a wonderful and moving song about the precious blood that Jesus shed to wash away our sins. 

The lyrics of the chorus are below:

"Precious Jesus, precious Jesus
The beauty of the Savior's blood
Precious Jesus, precious Jesus
Your life and love poured out for us
Precious Jesus"

One of the aspects of the song that I believe people will really enjoy (especially those of us who are a little bit older) is that it incorporates the chorus of the hymn "'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" into it.  All in all, I believe it makes for an extremely powerful reminder of what Jesus did for us on the cross at Calvary.  

Click on the link below to watch a video of Gateway Worship singing it.  

Worship Big!