Willow Creek Resignations

image Wow.  Willow Creek Community Church reports that Gene Appel and Randy Frazee have resigned Willow and will be serving as Sr Pastors in other churches.  Hybels will assume the role of Lead Pastor at Willow.  I am sure it is a bit of a hit to Willow, but let’s pray for a great transition all around and that the kingdom overall would grow because of these changes.

Read about the whole deal here.

Songs and essays

 Matt Redman has updated his blog in regards to his current tour with Chris Tomlin and Louis Giglio nearing its end. He makes a comment regarding songwriting, and specifically quotes Bono. Check it out:

So, now a quick thought for songwriters. Not from me, but something I came across from Bono of U2. Speaking on songwriting he said “You can have 1000 ideas, but unless you capture an emotion, it’s an essay.” What a great thought. It can be so easy to generate ideas for songs – and put some kind of theme together. But if it’s merely a cerebral exercise it may only take us so far. Truth-based songs will always resonate to some degree, but taking it further, if that truth is delivered with passion, purpose and emotion it will be even more compelling. When writing a worship song we’re not just trying to give people some information. We’re trying to convey the awe-inspiring wonders of Jesus, and describing how our hearts, minds and souls respond when faced with these things. Just take a look at the Psalms – these songs are full of passion and emotion – poured out in the most full-on adoration, intercession and praise you’ll ever come across. They are built on truth, and oozing with emotion.

Check out Matt’s full blog post here.

[tags]matt-redman, bono, u2, songwriting, psalms, worship, worshipplus[/tags]

Do you scratch during worship?

No, you sickos, not that kind of scratching. You know, DJ’s, turntables, live loops… that kind of scratching.

Either way, check out this laptop stand by Stanton. It’s called the UBERSTAND, and it folds up into a 12″ bag for easy mobility, and looks to be a great way to get your laptop on stage easily. There’s also room for some other stuff on there too, such as a mixer, so it looks like the UBERSTAND is just that… your all in one solution to get that laptop on stage, mixing loops and laying down some funky beats.

We’re just starting to get into scratching and loops at eXchange, and I saw this little beaut and figured I’d not only show it off here, but it’d be a nice little segue to find out; Do you incorporate scratching, DJ’ing, loops, or anything in between, in your worship services? If so, how often? Is it a pretty regular thing, or do you only bust it out occasionally? Or, maybe you never have, but would like to? Let’s talk about it.

[tags]worshipplus, DJ, loops, scratching, stantondj, stanton, uberstand[/tags]

Worshipplus at InterVarsity Summit 2007

As you probably saw in Scot’s post from yesterday, he’s leading worship at the InterVarsity Summit 2007 in the heart of Indy (tonight’s worship session was great, by the way). Summit is being held at the downtown Radisson, so we hopped on up to the top floor after this evening’s final session to grab some free cheesecake and coffee. The view was stunning enough that I snapped a couple pics with my phone.

The reason I stopped by Summit this evening was to help debut our newest product, Journalr, an online Bible study and life journaling system that we hope will help people draw closer to God by using technology to assist in Bible study and reflection.

Journalr is in early alpha right now so it’s still got some bugs (none show stopping I believe) and we have plenty of tweaks left to do, but overall it’s in a usable state. Feel free to go sign up for a free Journalr account, give it a whirl, and let us know what you think.

[tags]worshipplus, journalr, intervarsity, summit 2007, indianapolis, radisson[/tags]

Interview with Matt Redman

ChristianityToday.com has interviewed Matt Redman concerning his newly released Beautiful News album (which is fantastic; pick it up if you haven’t already) plus other topics relating to Christianity in general. This interview has only made me respect Matt more. Check befo’ you wreck:

 So how does our faith in God and our worship help shine light in a dark world? How can it transcend all the other cultural messages being sent?

Redman: When we lift up the name of Jesus in worship, it overflows into evangelism. My hope is this new album might do that. With a song like “Beautiful News” where Christians can celebrate the gospel, I hope it might also speak truth to those who don’t know Christ. But remember, worship is not just about songs. It’s our lives, so one of the main ways our worship to God can shine in this world is through lives lived out in service and devotion. As the church, we need to impact our communities, comfort the broken, free the oppressed, and feed the poor (emphasis mine). These things are worship while also sending out a message of what the heart of God looks like in this world.

It’s not enough that we lead worship on Sunday, then wipe our faces down and sit on our hands until the following Sunday. Lead guitarist, bassist, sound guy, board operator… we’re all hands and feet, servants to and for the servant king, and simply being in tune on Sunday for a little while just isn’t doing, or being, enough.

Check out the full interview here. You can also check out Matt’s blog here.

[tags]matt redman, interview, christianitytoday, beautiful news, worshipplus, worship[/tags]

Steve Jobs talks about DRM, or, does music really want to be free?

What’s DRM you ask? DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. It’s basically a security measure built into the digital music you buy from such online stores as iTunes, URGE, Zune, Napster, Rhapsody, and almost every other big name online outlet that prevents you from sharing your music willy nilly with every Tom, Dick and Harry.

 Steve Jobs , leader extraordinaire of Apple Inc., has posted his “Thoughts on Music” over at Apple Hot News, and he’s got some revelatory stuff to say, so I’d recommend you go give it a read by clicking here. His article touches on DRM, how effective it seems to be, and where we just might be heading in regards to digital rights and music.

You can click here to add the Apple Hot News feed to your feed reader.

Overall, there’s one tidbit in his article that really grabbed me.

In 2006, under 2 billion DRM-protected songs were sold worldwide by online stores, while over 20 billion songs were sold completely DRM-free and unprotected on CDs by the music companies themselves. The music companies sell the vast majority of their music DRM-free, and show no signs of changing this behavior, since the overwhelming majority of their revenues depend on selling CDs which must play in CD players that support no DRM system.

If that’s really the case, then the RIAA is putting an awful lot of work into locking down a very small amount of sold music. However, they’re approaching Steve’s article from a completely different angle, stating that Steve is actually saying he wants to license iTunes’ FairPlay DRM technology so all digital music is compatible on all digital music players. I didn’t really take that away from the article, but the RIAA is known for, well… nevermind. You read and decide.

So, how does this affect you as a worship leader? That’s the real question. How do you procure your music? What do you do with it once it’s purchased? Do you burn CD’s for your band with music you’ve purchased for them to listen to? If DRM were removed from the tracks you buy from, say, iTunes, would you just e-mail them the music to listen to? I’m curious how you see this affecting you as a worship leader.

Once you’re done reading, use our comments to post your thoughts. Is Steve right on the money, or does he not have a clue? How do you see this affecting how you do things if sweeping changes like the abolition of DRM occurs?

[tags]apple, steve jobs, ipod, riaa, drm, itunes, worshipplus[/tags]

Worshipplus at 24-7 prayer banquet tonight

Scot and myself (including our pal and partner-in-crime Jeff) will be leading worship at the 24-7 prayer banquet happening tonight in Terre Haute, Indiana at Mt. Pleasant UMC.

Scot and I were involved in helping to launch the 24-7 prayer movement in the Wabash Valley back in October 2004 and are looking forward to leading worship at an event where renewal is bound to happen.

You can check out the current 24-7 prayer website for the Terre Haute area by going to www.24-7terrehaute.com. You can also see some images from the launch of our week of continuous prayer back in 2004 by going to www.24-7terrehaute.com/launch.

[tags]24-7prayer, worshipplus, 24-7terrehaute, wabash valley, terre haute, indiana[/tags]

Hang out with Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and others

The Passion crew (I say that because I don’t know exactly who’s involved, but the list of people involved seems to be the Passion peeps) is putting on a series of concerts this year. If you’re a member of Worship Frequency ( you can sign up for free at www.worshipfrequency.com ) then you have a unique opportunity to hang out with Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and other band members prior to these concerts and just chill, almost living room style. The announcement didn’t really allude to what would be discussed (I’m not sure it’s that planned out) but if you’re going to be in one of the cities listed below, I’d recommend picking up a ticket to the concert closest to you and checking this out.

Worshipplus is planning on being at the St. Louis concert, so if you’re around, be sure and come find us. We’ll be the guys walking around with the blank stare of confusion on our face.

Click the image in this post to see the full announcement, along with the cities included.

[tags]worshipplus, chris tomlin, matt redman, worship frequency, worship[/tags]