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Being Musically Prepared for the Unprepared

We hear it all the time. It has many names. Some call it “spontaneous worship”, others call it “flow”, and then some just call it “going off script”. But is there a formula to this elusive untamed worship moment or expression, and why is it so important to get it right? While I wouldn’t say there is a specific formula, there is absolutely a wrong way to go about it. Having your team be musically prepared for the unprepared ironically has little to do with music, and everything to do with surrender. And surrender comes through unity, with the Holy Spirit and the worship leader who is commissioned to lead the specific set in that given moment. Of course, there are many great tactics that help us be equipped in such moments, and we will discuss some of those, but those are only tools that help support the key ingredient – a heart of worship – more on that later.

So what are some things that can help us be prepared to execute an uncharted “worship moment”? Here are 3 that I found to be essential for our team with Heights Music. 

1. Preparation – To be musically prepared for the unprepared, you must be…drum roll…prepared! I can never stress enough how important it is to learn the songs before the rehearsal. At our church, we do not have a separate rehearsal day and only run through the set on Sunday morning, therefore knowing the songs is crucial. We always encourage our team that we want to spend little of our rehearsal polishing the known, and spend a majority of our time preparing for any moments of the unknown that the Spirit may want to lead us into. By utilizing the incredible resources and platforms we have to learn the songs on our own time, we can use our limited rehearsal times to sync creativity and add anything extra we want to include in our set. 

2. Music Director – This is a role that is often carried out by a musician, usually a drummer or keyboard player, which mainly centers around closely watching the worship leader and leading the band where they want to go. A music director acts as a voice between the worship leader and the rest of the team and typically has a microphone that only goes to the band’s in-ear monitors. The MD is the hands & feet of the worship leader. Whether it be hand signals that have been discussed beforehand, or simply following a leader’s vocal intonation, the MD can quickly call out the part of the song that is to be played next. This is an incredibly important position and is exactly how we communicate during our sets with Heights Music.

3. The Nashville Number System – You may have heard it mentioned, but this method is a game-changer when it comes to calling out chord changes on the fly and is very easy to learn. Using this system, all it takes is knowing the key of the song, which hopefully is something everyone has figured out before the set begins. 🙂 The rest is centered around calling out “intervals” rather than the actual chords. There are a ton of resources you can find on this, but here is a great article outlining the way this system works and how it applies to worship sets. I would strongly encourage your team to start speaking in numbers, so that any spontaneous changes can be quickly called out and executed. 

All of the above are great tools to implement to help us focus on what really matters – the heart. Worship can not be systematized. It is in its essence, an untamed expression of our response to the Lord’s goodness and nature! We are called to worship the way David did, with every fiber of our being. The moment our worship is dumbed down to a series of progressions, a guitar riff, or a groove, it’s no longer worship. It becomes a gig, a hobby, which happens to include a positive message. But this is not the worship I see described in Psalm 150, or the earth-shattering erupt of praises we read about in Acts 16 which opened the prison doors for Paul and Silas. A worship leader is not a position, it is a posture that every heart on stage must carry. To be truly prepared, before our skill, our heart must be in a place of surrender to Jesus, both in our personal life and during a congregational worship expression. When we are surrendered to serve as empty vessels, we become aligned with the Holy Spirit and are able to worship in unity with the rest of the team and go into the unknown! 

Serge Vysochin – Music Director, Heights Music

Serge Vysochin has been a session musician and music director on several worship projects and played with artists including Lincoln Brewster, Meredith Andrews, and Thrive Worship to name a few. Through years of contributing musically to various worship collectives, Serge began to find a new voice as a songwriter and has co-written and composed on the new Heights Music album titled “Father of Hope” which released Summer of 2019. Today, Serge serves as the music director at Bayside Church of Citrus Heights, a local church in Northern California.

You can stream/download the debut EP from Heights Music here.

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The Secret to a Stress-Free School Year

Another school year has begun, and we are so excited to see what this year has in store for you and your ministry! Any seasoned KidMin pastor knows that the key to a successful school year with your kids is staying organized. To help take the guessing game out of organization, we’ve come up with a list of helpful tips to keep you on top of your game this year.

EVERYTHING Should Have a Place – Whether you have an entire building dedicated to student ministry or if you have a single, multi-purpose room, everything you use should have a place. It will not only help you be able to find things quickly but, if you’re ever unable to teach, your substitute KidMin leader will know exactly where to find everything. Small and large containers for all your supplies can actually be found at your local dollar store! Also, be sure to label your containers for quick access. It will take some time to get everything sorted out, but this will save you so much time in the long run.

Schedule Your Time and Stick to It – As we’re sure you’re well aware, ministry is a full-time job! It’s not just about the couple of hours we get to spend with the kids on Sundays, but everything that is involved during the week to prepare for service, follow up with visiting families, and the list goes on and on. Scheduling your time is an absolute MUST. Try to do lesson planning on certain nights, follow up calls on another night, etc. This will allow you to always know what needs to be done on what day and keep your schedule organized.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – Communication is key to any successful ministry, but especially when dealing with little ones! Be sure to always communicate any events, volunteer opportunities, or areas of need to your KidMin staff. You should also be over-communicating with parents to be sure everyone is on the same page. The truth is, things are going to happen, and changes will come up, but communication will take the headache out of a last-minute switch up.

Take some time before the school year gets too crazy and set yourself up for success with your KidMin. You will thank yourself a few months from now. As always, WorshipHouse Kids is here to help you make your KidMin media a breeze. Keep an eye out for new products to help you make Kids’ Church fun!

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Crossroads Music Releases New Single, ‘God of the Breakthrough’


NASHVILLE, TENN. (June 7, 2019) – Crossroads Music’s new single, God of the Breakthrough, is available now on all digital platforms.

The Cincinnati, Ohio-based worship collective of Crossroads Church shares the heart behind their prayers in God of the Breakthrough, written as a response to the death of one of Crossroads Church’s senior leaders, and a near-fatal heart attack that struck the Church’s executive pastor. The single is the sixth single Crossroads Music has recorded and released, following two EP’s and two full-length albums.

Co-writer Austin Livingood says God of the Breakthrough is an anthem written out of desperate prayers for God to intervene in impossible situations.

“We have seen people in our community over the past few months going through maddening life matters: cancer treatments, heart attacks, surgeries, and friends passing away,” says Livingood, worship leader for Crossroads Music. “When we have nowhere else to go, we want God near. When we sing ‘God of the breakthrough, Your promises stand true. You haven’t failed us yet,’ it’s a reminder that though we don’t have all the answers in life, we can always depend on His presence being near to us in broken times, and to hold onto His faithfulness. This song is as much an invitation to the miraculous as it is miraculous that we can lean on God in times of hardship.”

The song has special meaning to Pastor Darin Yates, the Church’s executive pastor who survived a heart attack in March caused by a 99% blockage in one of his arteries. Writers, including Livingood, Justin Mosteller and Robbie Reider, learned of Yates’ heart attack in a writing session, which was the catalyst for penning God of the Breakthrough. Less than 24 hours after Yates’ heart attack, Crossroads Church senior leader Kathy Beechem passed away after battling lung cancer.

“Kathy was one of my best friends, was a mentor to me, and a confidant to me. She was literally on her death bed praying for me,” Yates shares. “When I heard God of the Breakthrough for the first time, I quickly connected with it deeply and emotionally. I thought it was because it was written as a prayer for Kathy and me. However, I now realize it was my prayer to Jesus before the cardiologist would come. I identified with the words, ‘We’ve nowhere else to go. We’ve nowhere else to turn… We need your Kingdom now. Exchange it for our doubt.’ I had no doubt God saved me in that moment.”

In difficult times, Crossroads Music hopes that people will use the song as a tool to get through their darkest moments.

“There’s a tension that I want people to feel when they listen to the song — to stand confidently in,” says Reider, National Worship Director for Crossroads Church. “The tension of, this hurts, and yet God is still on the throne. Maybe I can’t see Your throne from where I’m standing right now, but that doesn’t mean You’re not there. Rather than make it easier, God let me see You and make me stronger.” For more information on Crossroads Music and God of the Breakthrough visit

Continue Reading →

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Helping Your KidMin Navigate the Bible

All great KidMin pastors know that simple memory verses play such an important role in helping kids understand God’s Word. It’s often hard for kids to understand the way the Bible is written (let’s be honest…it’s hard for adults too). Breaking the Bible down into “bite-size” pieces make it easier to process and retain. We’ve put together a list of our Top 10 favorite memory verses that will be easy for your KidMin to memorize and hide in their hearts:

“We love because He first loved us.”
1 John 4:19

“You are the light of the world. A town build on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Matthew 5:14

“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”
Psalm 119:105

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Luke 6:31

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.”
Psalm 56:3

“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing.”
Philippians 2:14

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Romans 12:12

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Proverbs 3:5

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Jesus + Glitter + Rock and Roll = Yancy! 🎵

No matter how long you’ve been in the KidMin world, you’ve probably heard some of the Jesus-filled, Bible-based kids songs from worship leader and songwriter, Yancy! The WorshipHouse Kids team is so grateful for Yancy and all she brings to KidMin from Yancy Ministries. She is passionate about creating resources to serve the church and families, “making Jesus loud” and creating an exciting worship experience for kids of all ages. She has recently introduced new product types to her WorshipHouse Kids catalog including countdown videos and an incredible worship-themed curriculum.

“Have you ever experienced a group of kids worshipping? I mean really worshipping: eyes closed, hands lifted, voices singing loud and strong. I truly believe it is one of the sweetest sounds you could ever hear in this whole world.”
– Yancy

Yancy has a huge heart for instilling the Word of God in younger generations. She’s passionate about encouraging kids to learn about worship and making singing more than just going through the motions. Her songs are fun and engaging, but also provide an opportunity to lift high the name of Jesus!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Yancy‘s library on WorshipHouse Kids, here are a few of our favorites that we know your kids will love!

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