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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 www.crdsmusic.com.

Continue Reading →

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VBS IS COMING! Are You Ready!?

Vacation Bible School is one of the biggest church-wide and community-wide events of the year for KidMin. Are you ready? If you’ve ever been involved in a VBS, you know just how much work goes into preparing. We’ve put together a few ideas to help you get the ball rolling.

Promote, Promote, Promote! – The key to a successful Vacation Bible School is to make sure you get the word out. Post signs at local restaurants, daycares, and grocery stores. You may also consider posting an article in your local newspaper. Don’t forget that a church Facebook or website is an excellent way to spread the word. It really doesn’t matter how you advertise; it just matters that you reach as many kids as you can.

Gather a Team – Having a supportive team around you is going to be so important to making this Vacation Bible School successful. They don’t all have to be adults! Ask your youth pastor if you can borrow a few teenagers for the week. They are typically good sports about acting crazy for kids. Come up with a list of what jobs need to be done and then delegate those jobs to your team. If everyone has a job and knows exactly what to do, it will make VBS a breeze! Need help getting volunteers? Check out this hilarious new video from Skit Guys Studios.

Pick Your Media – It’s no secret that WorshipHouse Kids has some pretty great media for your KidMin. Our Vacation Bible School Store is up and running to help you find exactly what you’re looking for to pump up your services! Check out the Super Summer Pre-Service Show 5 Pack by Digital Felt Productions. It includes five interactive game videos that work well as service openers and will get all the kids involved. You also don’t want to miss the new Safari Adventure Collection by Playback Media. It includes a fun countdown full of games, 11 motions and 11 stills to get your kids ministry engaged and active.

No matter what theme you choose, or what media you use, it’s important to remember the goal of Vacation Bible School. If even one child accepts the Lord into their heart, it was all worth it. We are excited that you’ve chosen us to help you prepare. We are sure that this will be a great event for your KidMin, your church, and your community.

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MultiTracks’, The Recording Collective Releases New EP “Yes and Amen”

The Recording Collective’s new EP, Yes and Amen, is available now on all digital platforms.

The five-song EP features gospel-influenced congregational arrangements of popular worship songs including Love Won’t Let Me Down, Yes and Amen, Who You Say I Am, Reckless Love, and What a Beautiful Name.

The Recording Collective was launched by the team at MultiTracks.com with the goal of creating recordings that are a resource to worship leaders and listeners in multicultural congregations around the world. Yes and Amen is the third volume The Recording Collective has recorded and released.

“Our hope is that listeners will resonate with the music and worship leaders will find the songs helpful for their congregations. There are a growing number of churches that place a high priority to have multiple styles of worship represented on Sunday morning. This project is a resource to help serve worship leaders and their congregations,” says Phillip Edwards, founder of MultiTracks.com. “We hope that congregations who haven’t encountered some of these top songs on MultiTracks.com will discover them in a fresh new way.”

Grammy award-winning Producer Chris Baker has been a part of The Recording Collective since its start in 2016 as The Collective’s producer and says the project fills a great need in the local church.

“Being a worship pastor in a local church, I see a huge need for material that can occupy both spaces — contemporary and gospel. I think the EP will supply something that has been needed for quite some time and it’s an answer to prayer for a lot of local pastors and worship pastors. For pastors wondering how their team can do music that not only speaks to one demo or one ethnicity, I think this project is the
answer,” Chris shares. “At the core of the project is to always be authentic. Diversity is so important in the worship genre. It has to be a priority and the heart of every pastor and the local church. It’s what God is looking for — it’s what he died for.”

 

For more information on The Recording Collective and Yes and Amen, visit
www.multitracks.com/artists/The-Recording-Collective.
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About The Recording Collective:

The Recording Collective is a project started by the team at MultiTracks.com with the simple goal of creating recordings that will be a resource to worship leaders and listeners in multicultural congregations around the world. Our goal is to bring musicians and singers together spanning across multiple genres and languages to create highly creative and fresh congregational arrangements that breathe new life into timeless songs for the global Church.

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