SONG / OUR GOD IS STRONGER

VERSE 1
When worry comes in like a flood
There are no answers to be found
There is a place where we are safe and sound

He is our anchor, He will not be moved
He is a shelter in the rain
A mighty tower where every heart is safe

CHORUS
Even when the hard winds blow
To this refuge we will go
Our God is stronger
No matter what may come our way
We will never be afraid
Our God is stronger

VERSE 2
Any moment we can call His name
He is ours and we are His
We are safe for we belong to Him

BRIDGE
Who can tame the Mighty One
Who can hold Him in their hand
None so worthy, none so strong
Our God alone will stand

SONGWRITING UPDATE

  • I'm surprised how well Shield is connected with our congregation. Even after five or six times, the band and I are still feeling our way through it. The song order is pretty set, but intros and outros are still different week-to-week.
  • I'm excited to hear what my producer pal, Dustin, does with Shield. He is noticeably cooler than me and I can't wait to hear what he adds to the tune.
  • Drums and bass are tracked for Refuge, Safe From Harm and we're doing electrics next week. It's been a long time since I tracked something before using it in church...kinda' fun!
  • Last week, I dusted off an old tune from 2014 that I never could finish and got something going on it. I moved the bridge to the chorus, changed a few of the clunkier lines and wrote a whole new bridge that I LOVE. Song is called Our God Is Stronger.
  • As of tonight, my 2nd major label cut releases tomorrow. Karen Peck and New River's new album will feature Hallelujah For The Cross.
  • I'm also excited for my pal Tyler Ellison's new EP. He and wrote a tune called King Over All and I'm anxious to see how people like it.
  • Feel like I'm making lots of progress on melodies as of late, but the lyrics have been a struggle. I'm not stressing it; just part of the process.

ON VERSES - THE HOW

This weekend marks our fourth Verses - night of worship. Awhile back, I explained "why" we're doing this service during 2015 and promised I'd get a little more specific/practical.

I try to plan a service that's a solid hour. However, this is fairly unpredictable since we tend to stretch and linger in the songs more than we would on a normal Sunday service (due to time.) I used to lead in this more free-flowing/lingering worship vibe a long time ago, but it's been awhile so I'm gradually re-earning how to do that. For us, an hour service equals about 10 songs and four to five pretty long scripture readings.

As for song selection, I have a few guiding thoughts:

  1. It's gotta' be Gospel. I have to make sure that a portion of our songs and scripture paint very clear pictures of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Some nights are more Gospel drenched than others, but I try to make sure it's a big part of our singing.
  2. New stuff. This is a big deal for me - I want Verses to feature new songs. It's a great outlet to try more new material than I would during our Sunday worship. I go back to my favorites list and try to find new songs that will work well in that Verses dynamic.
  3. Stuff they can sing. This is always the struggle, isn't it. Trying to put a lot of new stuff into a set and yet still provide songs people can sing. This is made a bit more difficult by the fact that the worship night is a community event, so it's not necessarily Bethel-specific. Makes it hard to know what songs people like.

The last challenge is always the musicians. I enjoy bringing in the "best of the best" - musician friends who can ensure a consistent quality level, but 10 songs is a lot of material for four or five musicians to learn month to month. So far, the best mix has been to use Bethel musicians in key parts - drums, keys, bass so that the structure of the songs is solid and then invite guests to play in more texture/fill positions.

We still need to find a way to build a more consistent crowd. I'm looking forward to seeing who God brings.

THE LIST EVERY WORSHIP LEADER NEEDS

The WorshipLab Podcast is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to listen to. The hosts are humble, yet obviously experienced and the content is practical and helpful. (Both things you don't find very often in worship podcasts...)

On the most recent episode, hosts Michael Brady and Sam Jones interview Stephen Smith, the Gathering Pastor of Houston's First Baptist Church. Stephen has been a proficient, well-known worship leader in Texas for years and is now leading a fantastic ministry in one of Houston's largest and most beloved churches.

Stephen was on the show to discuss his 100+ Things That Worship Leaders Know, which recently created some internet buzzing over at Stephen's blog, stephenandstar.com.  Since I hadn't heard about this list, I loved hearing Stephen and the guys explain some of the points while on the podcast. I encourage you to go listen to the episode, but I also think you'll find Stephen's list for worship leaders to be a helpful, thoughtful resource. The guys are hosting the list over at their blog, but Stephen has very graciously allowed me to make it available here as well!