Notes from the GLS

It’s been a full day at the Global Leadership Summit hosted by Willowcreek Church.  We have 6 staffers from ECC.  It’s great to be able to learn together and process how we can grow together and seek first the kingdom.  So here are a few notes from the first day…

Bill Hybels is the senior pastor of Willowcreek and he challenged us in a couple different ways…

  1.  “Armed with enough humility, leaders can learn from anyone.”  This is a great reminder.  We should NEVER stop learning and we can learn from ANYONE.  We can learn from students, grandparents and even unbelievers.  Let’s be humble and learn….
  2. “Spend 15 min every morning reading/reflect on your life.”  How can we do this?  Journal?  Yes.  I have realized that I need to get back to journaling and ask the following questions:  Who am I becoming?  Am I surrendered to God?
  3. “Am I leading at home as well as I’m leading at work?”  We need to lead well and love well at home.  So for me, I am asking myself, “What plans do I need to make?”

Fredrik Haren is a business creativity expert from Sweden and now lives in Asia.  I was a bit skeptical, but he was great.  He ended his talk with this challenge:

  • “Create!-you do this by doing creative things yourself as a leader because people are inspired to be creative.”  This is a great challenge for me.   I want people to think, “If he can do it.  I can do it!”  And when we create, we are modeling our Creator God.  Let’s create.

Brian Stevenson is a lawyer in Birmingham, Alabama.  He defends children and inmates on death-row.  He challenged us to take 4 steps.

1.  Get close in proximity to broken people.  This will give you compassion and passion.
2.  Change the Narrative.  Many times we make decisions based on our story of the world.  We have a story of redemption.  Let’s work to love people to bring about change.
3.  Stay hopeful.  Living with broken people is hard.  Stay hopeful.
4.  Do uncomfortable things.  The world is a dark place and it’s hard, but we must do hard, uncomfortable things.  Jesus came to earth to die…we are called to live in the same way.
I don’t know if those things grabbed you, but I something jumped out to you.  Let’s all lead together as we glorify God and help others worship.

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!

New Song: O Praise the Name (Anastasis)

What do you think of story songs?
I love them.
Growing up, our family sang story songs all the time.
Go, tell Aunt Rhodie,
Go, tell Aunt Rhodie,
Go, tell Aunt Rhodie,
The old, grey goose is dead.
Wait…the grey goose is DEAD?  What were we thinking?!?!?!?
The song we are learning this weekend is also a story song that talks about death in that it tells the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and death, but also his resurrection and return.  (But first the title…the tagline Anastasis is a Greek word that means “resurrection” or “rising up”.  This whole song is about the resurrection of Jesus and because he rose, we also will rise.)
First, we need to understand what it means that Jesus was on a cursed tree for us.  As we read in Galatians 3:13,
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)
One of the basic ideas of Christianity is that Jesus took our place.  We were cursed from the law that pointed out our sin…and Jesus took it all on himself…
We also start with an active remembrance of the story of Jesus.  BUT this isn’t simply a memory…this is active memory.  In other words, in worship we remember Jesus’ death and resurrection and this remembering is not a passive process, but one by which we actually enter into the story and experience Christ in a real way.  So we start with active memory…
 Verse 1
I cast my mind to Calvary
where Jesus bled and died for me.
I see His wounds, His hands, His feet.
My Savior on that cursed tree
 The second verse confirms that this was a historical event with real people…
Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God.  Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body.  Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. -Luke 23:50-53
Verse 2
His body bound and drenched in tears
they laid Him down in Joseph’s tomb.
The entrance sealed by heavy stone
Messiah still and all alone.
And because of what Jesus has done, we echo the psalms in praising God now AND forevermore…

Psalm 113:2

Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore.

Chorus
O praise the name of the Lord our God
O praise His name for ever more
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord, oh Lord our God.

We’ve sung about the death of Jesus, but now we enter into his resurrection and dish out some trash-talk on death!  As Paul writes,

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory?
    Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  -1 Corinthians 15:54-56

Verse 3
Then on the third at break of dawn,
the Son of heaven rose again.
“O trampled death where is your sting?”
The angels roar for Christ the King.
Looking towards the second coming of Jesus, we decided to change a couple lyrics to make sure we were biblically accurate.  The original lyric refers to Jesus returning in “robes of white”.  However, Revelation says that Jesus is coming back in a robe “dipped in blood” which means red!  However, the saints of God and the armies of God do wear robes of white symbolizing righteousness.  The important part of this verse, however, I think is the end of it.  Again, Paul tells us that we will see Jesus face to face and will be known by him since we will be redeemed and righteous…
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Verse 4
He shall return, His saints in white,
the blazing Son shall pierce the night.
And I will rise, my finished race
and gaze transfixed on Jesus’ face.

If Christians are to witness to God’s mission to restore the world, to recover the Garden, to establish once again the communion of God’s creatures within the communion and fellowship of the triune God, then we must know the narrative, proclaim it and live it—to the death if necessary.

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

How to Run Rehearsals & Build Teamwork

worship-header-650x217

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.
worship-connect-attendees-650x434

Thanks and credit goes to Sweetwater Online for the pictures!

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!

We call for public worship that sings, preaches and enacts God’s story. . . . Turn away from forms of worship that focus on God as a mere object of the intellect or that assert the self as the source of worship. Such worship has resulted in lecture-oriented, music-driven, performance-centered and program-controlled models that do not adequately proclaim God’s cosmic redemption.

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

#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.

 

“Jesus is our worship leader…Jesus is the one who brought us here.  Jesus is the one who makes this possible.  We are united through our common leader, not our common musical preferences. 

We want to make sure that our people understand that…because it’s easy to get locked into a certain musical style and think, “we are really are one in the spirit, one in the Lord.”  No, you all just like the same 4/4 drum-beat and the same guitar riffs and that is not the unity Jesus came to bring us.

[On the other hand,] What churches do sometimes is that they have different meetings for different musical preferences…which in the short term might produce some fruit, but in the long term undermines the gospel.”

-Bob Kauflin