DAVID Is Coming to ECC

It’s been a full week of final adjustments, rehearsals and meetings as we get ready for the next step for DAVID: the one-man-musical.

All that to say that we are getting closer to being ready for the services this weekend.  As I continue through this creative process, some decisions are calculated, some are prompted by feedback and some are based purely on instinct.  However, each time I dig into this story I learn more about David and his God.  Here are three thoughts…

 

  •  The spirit of God is powerful.  It empowered David for most of his life.  When it left Saul, he was consumed by fear, hate and dark moods that took control of him.  The spirit of God, or the absence of him, is powerful.
  • The psalms have incredible emotional depth.  David cries out for help.  He cries out in pain and suffering.  He cries out for God to right wrongs.  He also sings and dances to the point that some people think he is in danger of losing his reputation.  Too many times, we are uncomfortable with dark or intense emotions.  David, however, was not one of those people.
  • David was a man of faith and trust.  You might say that David was a man after God’s own heart!  No matter the situation or emotion, David always comes back to a faith in this God he loves.

It all goes down this weekend at Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, IN.  July 8th at 6:30PM and July 9th at 9:30 and 11:00AM.  Come see this man of God who sang,

When my spirit grows faint within me,

It is you who know my way…

 

New Tech Intern: Sam Delagrange

This Summer, we have our first tech intern serving with Michala Halstead, ECC Tech Director.  His name is Sam Delagrange.  He’s a high-school student and we recently interviewed him…and before you write him off for just being a “high school student”, read some of his questions.  I think he might surprise you.  Who knows, you might even find that he has something to teach you!

Ok Sam, first question…how did God lead you to tech ministry?

God led me to tech ministry starting in 4th or 5th grade. We weren’t attending ECC yet and the children’s ministry at the church we were attending was low on volunteers so I stepped in and did tech on Sundays.  Once I started 6th grade at ECC, I immediately began attending the Sunday and Wednesday night youth meetings. Sometime throughout that year, there was an announcement that they were looking for band and tech members. I signed up for tech on Wednesday nights and from there my interest in technology and the way it is always changing took off, along with my journey as a student leader and love for serving God.

How about role models? Who have been the most influential people in your life?

My mom is a huge role model to me. She has been an example to me that with God, anything is possible. She has taught me to always trust in God’s plan and to never give up. In that same way, my dad has been a huge influence to me. He has helped me become who I am and never let anyone take my love of God away from me. Another influential person in my life was Paul Landhuis (ECC Student Ministry Intern). He showed me that it is possible to serve God using the gifts He has provided. And lastly, my Aunt Angie, who taught me to never complain and always persevere and work harder.

So who would you say is your favorite “Christian” artist or songwriter right now?

My favorite Christian artist right now is Colton Dixon. I really enjoy the variety of music he has written. I also relate to some of his songs, such as “The Other Side” where he sings “It isn’t easy to say goodbye But I know it’s only for a little while.” In 2015 and 2016 I lost two influential people in my life. One to a brain aneurysm (Angie) and the other to a collision with a semi (Paul). This song helps me remember that I will see them again and they are in a better place now.

Just for fun…favorite flashback song from when you were growing up?

When I was younger, my dad had an iPod full of music. I remember one song that he had bought the video version of also. The song was “A New Hallelujah” by Michael W. Smith. I can remember sitting on our backyard on the swing listening to this song over and over again.

Without thinking…favorite book of the Bible or favorite verse?

Do not worry. Learn to pray about everything. Give thanks to God as you ask Him for what you need.  The peace of God is much greater than the human mind can understand. This peace will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippines 4:6-7

That’s a great one.  Why don’t you describe your devotions with God.

I like to do different YouVersion Bible plans on the YouVersion Bible app.  My current plan is about identifying God’s word (truth) from opinions or incorrect views (trash).

So I’m curious…what are you presently reading?

Right now I’m reading a book about being a student leader and growing in my walk with God as I lead my peers to God. The book is “Help! I’m a Student Leader!: practical ideas and guidance on leadership” by Doug Fields.

What books are you currently reading or watching for fun?

I’m currently reading different research articles about emerging tech innovations. Like I said, I find the way technology is always changing and evolving very intriguing.

Deep stuff.  What’s the best book you’ve read that has helped you grow as a believer?

I haven’t finished the book yet, but I hope it still counts. The book “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman has been an eye opener for me. It has taught me that I need to be a follower of Jesus, and not just a fan. If Jesus came tomorrow and told me to follow Him, without saying goodbye to anyone or grabbing anything, I should be able to do that; be a follower, and not a fan.

And what single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your life?

My mom always tells me to try my best and as long as I try my best, there is nothing more I can do. This has helped me mentally and spiritually. It reminds me that no matter how hard we try, nobody is perfect and therefore we have nothing to offer God.  But still, if we praise God and repent our sins, He forgives our sins and wipes the slate clean!

That’s truth.  What else do you do for fun when you’re not at ECC?

When I’m not at ECC, I enjoy hanging out with my family and playing with my two dogs at home, or hanging out with friends. My family and I also go camping during the summer and fall which has been a really cool experience. Going camping is one of my favorite things we do together during the summer.

Anything else on your mind you want to share?

I’m excited to learn more and serve more this summer at ECC. I hope to learn some new things this summer and possibly teach the rest of the team some new things along the way. Thank you for this opportunity!

We are excited to have you!  Let’s make sure to welcome Sam as he joins us for this summer internship!

DAVID: the one-man musical

It was a small stage with 60-70 people in the audience.  all-for-One’s artistic director introduced the show and the people clapped as I walked onstage to begin a 30 min preview of DAVID.  I was a little nervous, but I was prepared and felt called to share this story.

It’s the story of a man who is known as a singer/songwriter, warrior and king.  It’s the story of a man who was known for his pure heart and yet committed terrible sin against Uriah, Bathsheeba and others.  But mostly, it’s a story of a powerful God and the man who tried to express his love for God in song.

As I start to prepare all the songs and characters again for July 8/9, when I present the same preview at Emmanuel Community Church, I wanted to share some scenes from the first preview.  Here is a small sneak peak into DAVID…

At the top of the show, the prophet Samuel anoints David.  The Spirit of God enters David and empowers him for the rest of his life…

The Philistines gather their troops and attack Israel…

The Philistine champion, Goliath of Gath, steps out from the frontlines and issues his challenge, “Give me a man and let us fight it out together!”

David hits the giant hard in the head and Goliath falls, facedown in the dirt!

As the Israelite army heads home, the women come out from the villages to welcome King Saul.  For fun they sing, “Saul has killed his thousands, David his tens of thousands.”

Filled with jealousy, Saul tries to kill David.  David sings a song of justice to God.  “O Lord my God, I take refuge in you / Save me and deliver me, from all who would pursue…”

Saul discovers that Michal, his daughter, is in love with David.  Thinking the Philistines will get rid of David for him, Saul challenges David to kill 100 Philistines to get Michal as his wife.  David does it and Saul gives his daughter, Michal, to David in marriage…

Then God sends a dark mood to afflict Saul.  It takes control of him.  He is at home with his spear while David is (again!) playing music.  Saul tries to pin him to the wall…

David escapes and sings to God.  “Deliver me from my enemies, O God / Protect me from those who rise up against me…”

David runs to Nob and talks to Ahimelech the priest.  Ahimelech gives him the holy bread, taken from the presence of God, and also Goliath’s sword.  David escapes to Gath…

David is recognized by the Philistines.  Afraid for his life, David pretends to be insane.  When he escapes he sings his thanks to God, “In God, whose Word I praise / In God I trust, I will not be afraid / What can mortal man do to me?”

This is just the beginning of David’s life and only the first 30 min of the show.  I’m excited to present these characters, these songs and THIS STORY on July 8/9 because I think it will help all of us see a man who was flawed, but who loved the Lord with his whole heart.

Dear Worship Leader:

“Dear Worship Leader:  You have an extraordinary job with high stakes and grand opportunities.  You aren’t just a song leader.  You aren’t just a…musician…You aren’t merely on stage, and those people out there aren’t merely the audience…They are disciples, followers…Each and every week, you are helping people answer the question, How do I approach God?”

-The Worship Pastor by Zack Hicks

This is true for you no matter your role.  You might be behind the sound board.  You might be behind the light board.  You might be a set builder.  Whatever your role, you are helping people approach God.

I’ve realized this more as I’ve watched our Tech Director, Michala Halstead, learn and model this.  She didn’t start out wanting to serve in a church.  She just knew that she loved music, technology and Jesus, but here she is.  As she takes her role seriously, she realizes that learning about her brothers and sisters at ECC, praying with them and living out her faith before her family and friends is part of her role.  She is helping people approach God.

And you are the same.

Whether you realize it or not, if you are a christian then you have opportunities each week to minister to people.  The question for me this week was simply this:

“Am I going to step up and lead people to God or not?”

It’s not easy.  It takes work and effort.  I have to step out of my comfort zone at times.  But that is my calling.  And so when someone told me about a struggle they were having, I asked, “Do you mind if I pray for you right now?”  And together we approached God, the only one who has all the answers to our daily and eternal problems.

And that is your calling too.

Dear Worship Leader, this week may you not only sing or tech or design or act for the Lord.  May you live for him as you help people approach God.

DAVID: musical update

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The last three Wednesday nights have been filled with workshops for DAVID with the amazing actors of the Emmanuel Theatre Co. here at the church.  I’ve presented the first 30 minutes of the piece and gotten amazing feedback that is still shaping this one-man-musical.  I’ve also been in the studio with a couple musicians laying down tracks to develop the sound of the various songs in the show.

All that to say that we are getting closer to being ready for the first preview performance a week from today on March 10th at the Philmore-on-Broadway for the all-for-One Productions fundraiser.  As I go through this creative process, some decisions are calculated, some are prompted by feedback and some are based purely on instinct.  However, each time I dig into this story I learn more about David and his God.  Here are three thoughts…

  1.  The spirit of God is powerful.  It empowered David for most of his life.  When it left Saul, he was consumed by fear, hate and dark moods that took control of him.  The spirit of God, or the absence of him, is powerful.
  2. The psalms have incredible emotional depth.  David cries out for help.  He cries out in pain and suffering.  He cries out for God to right wrongs.  He also sings and dances to the point that some people think he is in danger of losing his reputation.  Too many times, we are uncomfortable with dark or intense emotions.  David, however, was not one of those people.
  3. David was a man of faith and trust.  You might say that David was a man after God’s own heart!  No matter the situation or emotion, David always comes back to a faith in this God he loves.

Lastly, here is the third song of the show…each one has a different musical flavor so this is just a taste.  I create the individual loops using my voice and a Looping Station.  Enjoy!

How to Run Rehearsals & Build Teamwork

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This past week, 13 artists from ECC attended the Worship Connect conference at Sweetwater Sound.  While there, we attended main sessions with Chris Tomlin’s band, Christy Nockels and Todd Fields.  We also had the chance to go to breakouts on topics like “How to Create a In-Ear Monitor Mix”.

Let me share a few thoughts from our Tech Director, Michala…she says…

“It Starts with You!”  What…?

  • Yes.  Be prepared
  • Know your stuff.  Rehearsal is a place to put the pieces together, NOT for you to learn your part.
  • Part of that is having the attitude that “You’ll never be waiting on me”.  If we are all prepared, we won’t end up sitting around waiting for each other.

What are the Three Phases of a Productive Rehearsal?

 656817285c058dd0ab9512f3c00c60d81.  Line check (Before 3:00PM on Sat or 7:30AM on Sun)

  • Band: get plugged in properly
  • Vocalists: check mic batteries
  • Tech: as everyone sets up, cancel out any buzz or hum

2.  Sound check (At 3:00PM on Sat or 7:30AM on Sun)

  • Band: play a groove everyone is comfortable with as a band before rehearsing Tech team: get signal and rough mix
  • Vocalist: warming up during the band’s sound check
  • Tech team: get signal and rough mix

3.  Rehearsal (3:30PM on Sat or 8:00AM on Sun)matthew-glider-300x182

  • Band and Vocals: get final mix in P16s
  • All: this is the time to improve, not to learn the song

What is Our Bullseye as a Team?

First, we exist to give glory to God and to help others worship

How do we know when we have helped others worship?  One of the ways we know is when the vocalists pull off the mics and we all hear the people sing!

How Do We Create a Great Team?

By continuing our goal of unity…let’s build a bridge between the booth and the stage and remember we are all one team.

When you come in to serve next, say hello to a singer, band member, and tech team and help one another to prepare our hearts to encounter God.
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Thanks and credit goes to Sweetwater Online for the pictures!

Everything that the church is and does flows out of God’s narrative.  There is an urgent need to restore this connection between the narrative, the church and its ministries. . .

-Robert E. Webber, Who Gets to Narrate the World? Contending for the Christian Story in an Age of Rivals

ECC Worship Arts Intern: Keegan Ferrell

With as many people as we have in the ECC Worship Ministry, it’s hard to have everyone meet our new intern, Keegan Ferrell.  So, I thought we’d interview him and share a little bit with you!  So without further interruption, will you please give a warm email welcome to our new worship intern, Keegan…

Ok Keegan, let’s talk…how did God lead you to worship leadership?

         Ever since I was little, I have loved the feeling of music running through my brain and body.  When I was 8, I changed our answering machine from the boring, “Sorry, we are unavailable” message to a full out song to the tune of Bon Jovi’s, “You Give Love a Bad Name.”  My parents told me to erase it, but when voicemail after voicemail began to roll in stating how much they loved the song, my parents decided they would let it slide.  You can still call my home phone and hear an eight-year old me singing at the top of my lungs.

My Mom, seeing my potential, put me img_0389in piano lessons, I was not as cooperative.  I hated piano.  I hated lessons, I hated everything about it.  I would show up to lessons and lay down on the floor.  However, as I grew and developed under different teachers, I began to love the art form and fully embrace music as what I wanted to do with my life.

To me, there’s nothing better to mix in with my faith than music.  I often am selfish in thinking that God gave me musical gifts in order to make me happy, or perhaps even in order to give me a way to impress girls!  However, the only true reason that God gifted me in music is so that I could use those gifts in order to bring glory to his name.

Bon Jovi’s, “You Give Love a Bad Name???  That’s amazing.  I’m going to have to call your house now!  But back to business…how about role models?  Who have been the most influential people in your life?

         My father has always been an example of self-sacrificial love.  He has always put others before himself, even when it puts him in an uncomfortable position.  In this way, he has been an encouraging Christ-like example for what a true man looks like and how he should function at the head of a family.  In the same way, my mother has provided constant support for me, and she is truly my number one fan.  She always is at my shows supporting me, lifting me up after a good or bad performance.  She has shown me what it means to love and support someone in the midst of any circumstance.  

My fantastic jazz instructors Eric Clancy and Dave Latchaw have also been instrumental in my development.

That’s great.  My parents have had a huge influence on me too.  That’s a gift.  So who would you say is your favorite “christian” artist or songwriter right now?

            Hmmm, I hate to say it, but I don’t listen to a whole lot of Christian music.  There are still a lot of Christian songs that I connect with deeply.  Often times, I’ll turn on the worship playlist in the car and before I know it I’m raising my hands and closing my eyes, worshipping the Lord.  Real safe for driving, huh?  I enjoy Kristian Stanfill, Hillsong, Vertical Church Band and Chris Tomlin.

Semi-safe.  Just for fun…favorite flashback song from when you were growing up?

         When I was little I would ride around with my Dad in his truck, he had a CD called Dad’s tunes. To this day, I consider that CD legendary. The songs that are on that CD bring me back to my childhood when I hear them.  A few of my favorites are “What Trouble Are Giants” by Rich Mullins, “Chantilly Lace” by Jerry Lee Lewis and “Kentucky Rose” by Michael W. Smith.

Without thinking…favorite book of the Bible or favorite verse?

         Galatians 2:20- “For I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The live I live in the body I live by faith in Christ Jesus, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Why don’t you describe your devotions with God.

         I lead a large bible study in my house each week, and this is a time that I am able to connect with my brothers in Christ as well as Christ himself. We read a passage of scripture and then we discuss it and how it plays a role in our lives as teenage guys. I have experienced a lot of growth through this group.

What are you presently reading?

         I am reading the book of Revelation right now.  It’s a confusing book and people have devoted their lives in attempting to understand its highly complex and often metaphorical message, and here I am trying to read it and figure it out.  I do love a good challenge.

What books are you currently reading for fun?

         I am currently reading the Jazz Piano Book as well as the Jazz Theory Book in order to better myself as a musician.  As college approaches, I am auditioning for Berklee College of Music and Belmont University.  I am practicing several hours a day for these auditions and these books will help me on audition day.

I’m not sure everyone would call that “reading for fun”, but not everyone has a shot at Berklee either.  What’s the best book you’ve read that has helped you grow as a believer?

         A book that has helped me grow as a believer is my “Every Man’s Bible.” Obviously the Bible is critical for my faith, but my Bible has devotions in it and applications for the life of a typical man.  I enjoy this aspect, as it makes it simple to apply these lessons to my life.

And what single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your life?

         One of my old piano teachers told me something during a time where I was not very focused or motivated to practice. He could tell that I was not putting much effort into my instrument and he was upset with me. He got very honest with me and said, “Keegan, look. You shouldn’t be practicing in order to impress me at lesson for thirty minutes or any other reason. I’m still getting paid regardless of if you work or not. The only person you’re cheating is yourself. This is for you, not for me. There are no shortcuts.” This really motivated me and I applied this to a lot of things.  For example, our faith in God isn’t just a single decision.  The decision to follow Christ is the first step, but actually following him is when the real work gets put in.

What else do you do for fun when you’re not at ECC?

         When I am not at ECC I am doing one of two things:  I am either sleeping or playing piano! I’m not kidding, I am obsessed with practicing piano. I am always itching to play, so when I’m away from a piano, a kind of tension builds up, but when it is released by playing it is the sweetest feeling in the world!

Anything else on your mind you want to share?

         I am very excited to be a part of the team at ECC. My family has been attending this church for the past 25 years, so I can truly say I have grown up at ECC.  I’m glad to be part of such a Christ-centered, open and loving community.  I’m not sure if worship ministry is something I am interested in for a career, but I am open for what God wants to do with me, and that is why I wanted to do this internship.  I am looking forward to an excellent year with you all!

We are excited to have you on the Worship Arts team for this year, Keegan.  It’s going to be a great one!

#UNITY

We are starting a new ministry year.

We are a regional church with over 1,800 people attending each week…that means over 3,000 people call ECC home.  We also have 6 services in two locations with 12 music teams, rotating tech teams, a drama team, a set design team, photographers, writers and staff…It’s easy to feel disconnected.

BUT WE ARE ONE FAMILY!  As Bob Kauflin writes,

“If we’re Christians, we’re already part of the family.  The question then becomes where and how we work out the details of family life.”

So our theme for this next year is #unity.

One of the main ways we express our unity is by meeting together on a weekly basis to learn and to grow in the God’s Word.  I think it’s easy to think we’ve got the Jesus thing covered.  You can read your Bible by yourself.  You can watch a service online by yourself.  But the truth is that God didn’t design you to worship by yourself.  The reason is that worship is an extension of the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  True worship has always been designed to be done together.

The problem is that when we get together as artists, it’s easy to get on each other’s nerves.  Before I worked in the church, one of my co-workers liked to say, “The more I work with people, the more I like my dog.”  And it’s true!  Church ministry would be so much easier without the people.  But that is another way we show God’s unity.  We get to experience God’s patience and grace in those moments of frustration with other Christians.  Jesus himself told us that…

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” -Jesus (Matt 18:20)

So when we get frustrated and yet show God’s grace, we know that Jesus is there with us.  That is #unity.

It can also be hard when people are different than you.  It’s challenging for students to work with adults who think they know everything and have no fashion sense (like me).  It’s challenging for people of color to work with pasty, white people who assume they do things the right way (like me).  But again, “God is glorified when people who have no visible connection or similarity joyfully meet together week after week,” writes Kauflin.  “They do it not because they’re all the same but because the gospel has brought them together.”  So we come together NOT because we’re all the same age, wear the same clothes or come from the same culture.  We come together because of Jesus.  That is #unity.

So this year, we are going to focus on #unity as we look for chances to see the glory of God in our differences.

This year, we are going to focus on #unity as we are changed to look more like Jesus with every increasing glory.