Everyone Who Considers Themself A Church Attender Should Check This Out.

I subscribe to Sanctuary Church‘s podcast, where I spent a summer as an intern back in 2006. Ed Gungor is the pastor there, and a few weeks ago his brother Mark preached the message. It was powerful and moving to me, and I wanted to share a small portion with you. If you consider yourself a church attender, you really need to listen to the audio file. Mark says some great stuff about our need to BELONG to our church – it’s not about a club, presentation, or activist group — it’s about our family.

I edited it down to just over 3 minutes, adding an audio “boop” every time I took something out. Listen to it here.

After you listen to that, consider this: Mark’s thought’s couldn’t be more true to me. Once, at the prompting of several worship-leading mentors in my life, I tried something a LITTLE stylistically different in my church’s worship service to help us be connected to God rather than a style. The next week a woman in my church asked me about it and why we did it. I explained it to her, but then she politely told me, “Okay well if you decide to do that again, please let me know because I’d rather stay home.” I should have said, “SERIOUSLY? You’d let THAT rip THIS apart?”

The full sermon is available here.

Word Up.

I just wanted to touch base with everyone about the past few days of my life. I’ve been in Indianapolis (still am) for a worship convention. It has been fantastic.

Just imagine, if you get several hundred worship leaders in a room and want to lead them in worship — you can expect the worship leaders are TOP NOTCH (although they wouldn’t need to be – I mean the worship leaders should be okay with a vocalist and a kazoo… if you’re too big to be led you’re too small to lead). They have a few worship leaders here that I’ve never heard of – Joel Auge (from Canada) and Mia Fieldes (from Hillsong). There was also the guys at Lakeview Church in Indy (Eric Cooper and Nathan LaGrange), and Ross Parsley and Jared Anderson from New Life Church in Colorado Springs. All of their ministries were top notch. Mia Fildes blew my socks off; her voice is spectacular. If you’re in my worship team you can expect to see some chord charts with her name at the top. 🙂

This is a worship conference by Integrity Media. Integrity is unique because they have.. integrity. They’re the only Chrisitan music supplier that’s not owned by a secular company. I’ve been told by several people that they aren’t out to “sell me stuff,” they want to “resource me.” That’s exactly how I’ve seen it as well. Another thing that sets them apart is that they don’t generate new worship “artists.” They aren’t a label that looks for the greatest band … they’re a label that searches for churches that have got “it” going on, and then network with them. I just love Integrity. (Attention Integrity Staff: if you send me free stuff, I’d be happy to write more blogs about how great you are… HA!!)

I’ve been greatly challenged at this conference. When I came down here I was more-or-less “vision-less.” I searched and prayed, but I couldn’t see where the worship in my church was going anymore. I seemed to have ran out of this leadership fuel about 2 weeks ago. But like I said, I’ve been greatly challenged.

I’ve been thinking about a lot of different things regarding worship at New Hope. Some of them weird and diverse. I’ve got so much to think and pray about.

Myths of the Ministry

In the 1980s, my dad heard a list of ministry myths about pastors at a convention of the Fort Wayne Bible College (later bought by Taylor University). Many of these are specifically regarding full-time pastors. I thought they were very interesting, and very applicaple for today as well.

  1. Pastors have perfect kids.  People actually think it should be that way!
  2. Pastors have the answers to everything. Don’t me how to change your oil!
  3. Pastors are super-Christians. The only difference is a Calling to full-time ministry. Pastors get tempted like everyone else.
  4. Pastors need less money. Historically this was actually true — Pastors used to get discounts for everything. But that hasn’t been the case for several decades. Pastors have bills to pay like everyone else. 
  5. Pastors only work one day a week. I’ve actually heard of a person who frequently would stop in to speak with a pastor and start out by saying, “I figured you didn’t have anything to do so I wanted to stop by and talk to you.”
  6. I lost it.
  7. I can’t find these.
  8. Not sure where I wrote 6-10 at…
  9. Hmmm…
  10. When/if I find 6-10 I’ll post them, too. But I didn’t want to mess up the beautiful numbering system…
  11. Pastors know what’s happening. Pastors do not magically know if you’re in the hospital or if you are offended or if your life is going down the tubes and you want someone to pray for you.
  12. It’s easy for a pastor to be a Christian. See note on #3.
  13. It’s easy for a pastor to witness.
  14. Pastors have no retirement needs.
  15. The pastor and his family are immune to troubles.
  16. Pastors always have their head in the clouds. Although many pastors need to be visionaries and look towards the future, so it may seem this way because pastors often talk about what COULD happen.
  17. Pastors are a third sex. Ha ha. This made me laugh. A pastor is either a male or a female – and you’re going to get all the emotions and characteristics that go with that sex.
  18. The Pastor’s home belongs to the church. This was the case many years ago but the parsonage idea is quickly vanishing across all denominationsParsonages were often bitter experiences because the family could go away for a day and when they return the walls and furniture could be completely changed– whether the pastor liked it or not!
  19. Pastors don’t need a vacation.
  20. Pastors should always be available. A good church should have a MINISTRY TEAM that is always available. If the pastor is on a date with his wife – leave him alone. This is why deacons were originally created.
  21. Pastors appreciate inside information (aka. GOSSIP).
  22. Pastors sleep in every morning. Sometimes a pastor needs to work 2nd and 3rd shift. I’ll never forget getting home at 2 or 3 a.m. from a youth group event and just as I was arriving home, my dad was leaving to go minister to someone in a hospital.
  23. The pastor’s wife enjoys all facets of the church ministry. My mom (a pastor’s wife) is an exception. But we shouldn’t assume that the pastor’s wife is Called to ministry – she is firstly Called to her husband. (If it makes you feel better, reverse the husband/wife thing to be politically correct). 
  24. If you hire the pastor, the pastor’s wife is part of the deal as well. I’ve heard of one church asking a potential pastor, “If we hire you, what will your wife do for us?”
  25. A pastor is Mr. Fixit. Pastors don’t know how to fix other individuals and all problems in the world. Don’t have an unrealistic expectations — pastors can give you Godly spiritual counsel.
  26. The pastor’s family appreciate hand-me-downs. Pastors families appreciate it just as much as any other family (its not bad, but its not exactly “Christmas” either).
  27. The pastor’s car is the church taxi. “Pastor, I need to get to a doctor’s appointment, can you drive me there?” This actually happens.
  28. Pastor’s don’t need study time or devotional time – they already know all spiritual truth.
  29. Pastors like to eat. Fellowship is important for a pastor – and food often comes with it… too much. 

A Great Find!

If you’re not interested in live sound, stop reading now — you’ll only bore yourself. I know I know I have a cult following of church sound techs.

Several weeks ago I was in a pickle, needing to take a STEREO signal (2 channels) from a computer’s soundcard, and combine them into one balanced signal to go to the board (mixer channels are limited, I don’t have 2 channels to dedicate for computer audio). I talked with a Sweetwater sales rep and he didn’t think there was any product that could do work as a DI box AND also combine the channels — I poked around until we found the Radial ProAV1. This DI-Box will take stereo inputs of any typical device and combine it into a single balanced XLR line. How awesome is that? I was pretty pumped that I found something the Sweetwater guy didn’t even know existed.

A few weeks before that I was faced with a situation where we needed to replace a line combiner (mic splitter). My Sweetwater guy said that the ART Mic Splitter was the only product that would do the trick. Eat your heart out, Sweetwater guy — this morning I found the Radial JS-2 MicSplitter. Gosh I am such a stud for finding that. Boo-Ya!

Radial engineering also has guitar reamers, laptop DI boxes, any DI box for about any purpose, and even the SGI (Studio Guitar Interface). If you’re still reading this and actually understand what I’m saying, then you probably know that nothing causes more problems on a live stage than loud amps and monitors. This SGI unit will allow you to hook your guitar up to an amp that is up to 500 feet away — practialy no signal loss. This is made especially for a studio setting, but I certainly see use for a live sound setting where the guitar player needs the tone from an amp, but doesn’t want to provide the extra noise on stage. Radial says it best in their own description of this product, “Far Out.”

Seriously — I have imagined different types of boxes — but now I actually see that they have been made by Radial. So cool. Keep in mind that I have not actually used any of these products — but I’ve read about them — and it looks like they are making products that nobody else is making so I wanted to give a plug for Radial so they might be of service to you. Be on the lookout for Radial stuff. Plus their prices are not outrageous — very similar to pricing of Pro-Co DI Boxes (only Radial makes a bunch of stuff ProCo doesn’t).

Cool Runnings at CMI Convention.

My brother and I taught a workshop at the 2007 CMI National Convention on how various types of media can help grow a church. Following the snow theme of the conference, our workshop had the catchy title, “Cool Runnings.” We printed up the outlines in the business center at the hotel (thank God for Google docs!). We had put together a neat chart that could help churches take areas of their media to the next level (it’s certainly not prescriptive but it is great general help for many). This chart is for legal sized paper — which the hotel didn’t have in the business center. Rather than paying out the wazoo at Kinko’s to get this chart printed for our workshop, we decided to post it on my website and tell people in the workshop that they could get it at this website.


This is Gonna Be Sweet – Part Two.

Hebrews 10:25 says to Christians, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

The larger a church is, the smaller they have to think in order to make this verse a reality. That’s sort of an oxymoron – “to be big, you must think small.” But its true. New Hope has a lot of people in it – but we’ve got to maintain an environment where we can continue meeting together and encouraging each other (you can’t do that very easily in a room with 300 people in it). Every church needs community.

The Summer Choir will be built on community. We’re going to do lots of things in Summer Choir that will just be fun — great ways to get to know each other. The reason I’m so excited about this choir is because this will be unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of! I’m not promising anything, but my intent right now is to have cheeseburgers and tacos at the first rehearsal this Tuesday! How cool will that be?! We’re also going to have a “cookout” night in July. As often as feasible we’re going to have rehearsals outside in the awesome sunshine. Seriously – this will be the funnest choir in the world. Forget what your mama told you about choirs . . . because this will be way different. If you attend New Hope (or no place) and like to sing, you gotta check it out. At least come to the first rehearsal this Tuesday and you’re going to get free food out of it! Here’s more information.

This is gonna be sweet.

This is Gonna Be Sweet!

I just finished choosing music for the summer choir last week. I am so excited! It’s going to rock! The first song we’re singing is “The Family Prayer Song,” which we’ll wind up singing on Father’s Day. It’s an awesome song about a Christian family: “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” That song is sorta “soft rock” style. It’s typical to what our choir has done in the past. The second song we’re singing is A LOT different. It’s black gospel! We’ve never done anything like it before. It’s called “Hallelujah, Anyhow” by Joe Pace II. We’re also doing stuff from awesome songwriters like Tommy Walker and Lincoln Brewster. Oh my gosh, I’m pumped for this music! It starts next Tuesday! If you attend New Hope (or if you don’t attend any church but want to . . .), click here for more information.

This is gonna be sweet.

Jesus Saves . . . Why Can’t I?

Argh! I just spent a hunk of time entering notes into the music notation software here at the church. I said to myself, “Adam, you should save your work in case your computer locks up.” I argued back, “Nah – I don’t need to save. This computer was just upgraded last fall, it’s not going to lock up.”

Well, it didn’t lock up. But the power went out. Everything just shut off for about one full second and came right back on. WEIRD!
When the power shut off I immediately knew that I hadn’t saved and that I had lost everything. After a few shouts at whoever caused the outage (I have no clue who or what caused it — but yelling at them seemed appropriate at the time – even if they couldn’t hear me) I got things fired back up. Calming down now.

Jesus saves. I guess I’m not as Christ-like as I thought I was.

I Won’t Beat Around The Bush in This Blog.

A recent poll indicated that only around 10% of Christian church attenders tithe. That’s . . . sad.

Tithing is giving 10% of our increase to God (by giving to the local church). A Christian should (and often will song songs about) complete surrender to God. Everything we have ultimately belongs to God, but God says we need to give him 10% of it. Malachi 3 says that if you are not tithing, you are robbing God. I doubt any Christian church attender would even consider stealing something of value from another person — yet roughly 90% of them steal from God on a weekly basis.

“But I cannot afford to tithe!” Psh. You can’t afford not to. Malachi 3:10-12 says that when God’s people tithe, he will bless them! The inverse of that would be that if God’s people don’t tithe, he will not bless them. Do you trust God’s Word? If he says he’s going to bless you if you tithe — he will. You can take that to the bank.

If you are not giving 10% of your increase (i.e. your paycheck or allowance) to your local church – you are robbing God. Knock it off. Start giving to your local church. Like . . . now. God says so.

New Hope just introduced an online tithing program where you can electronically donate money to the church. If you consider New Hope your church home and you’re comfortable with “online payment” methods, I encourage you to check out New Hope’s Online Giving. It’s been tested for several months and it works great! I’ve used it myself and I’ve found it to be completely safe. Just visit NewHope.in and click on the Online Giving link in the bottom left corner.

One of My Favorite Tools.

As the Worship Arts pastor at New Hope, I have many tools I can use to help me with my job. Today I am sludging through hundreds of choral songs to choose music for the summer choir starting in a few weeks. It’s not easy to find songs that are both musically and thematically appropriate!

This task would be a huge pain if it weren’t for iTunes. iTunes is the free music player program from the Apple company, yet it runs on a Windows PC as well. It’s available at www.apple.com. Today, instead of searching for several CDs, I can simply search through the iTunes library and listen to all the choir sample CDs that publishing companies have sent in — many of these sample CDs are buried deep inside cabinets, but with iTunes I can access everything on my computer. iTunes is saving me a lot of time today, although I’m making up for that saved time by spending it writing a blog to tell you about it. lol.

In the words of Kip, “I love technology . . .”