Saturday, March 29, 2008

One of My Mentors

Two days ago, the world lost a really great man - one of my mentors, Mr. Mel Larimer. Mel was the director of the Albion College Choirs for 20 years. He was my music education teacher, as well as conducting instructor. Beyond that he was a friend who loved Jesus. At the time I knew him, that didn't mean too much to me. But now, in retrospect, I realize how much his relationship with Christ permeated everything he did. Don't get me wrong, Mr. Larimer had his moments where patience was lacking and things weren't getting done. But, now I can see how his humility always came out and if apologies were needed, they came.

One the biggest things that Mel did for me was getting me my first job out of college. Which led to me meeting my future wife, which led to me meeting Jesus, which led to me getting into ministry, and so on. So I have a lot of gratitude for the life of Mel Larimer. He was well loved and he loved well. My hope is that this phrase can be said of me some day. He will be missed.

More of his story here

Thursday, March 27, 2008

We Need Help!!!

We're moving on Saturday, April 5th from 9am-? We're in kind of a pinch here for muscle since it's the beginning of Spring Break weekend. If you could help out, any part of the day, just send us a comment. I'll get back with you. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Simon Video from Easter

So fun to see this come together. Literally a LABOR OF LOVE!

This is from our site and has better resolution than the Youtube version. Check it out


Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter 2008

This was an Easter to remember. We had SNOW on Saturday, techno music, glow sticks, fantastic media - all pointing to our Savior, Jesus. Mark Beeson, challenged us to go VIRAL with our faith. Where the expectation goes beyond "each person telling one" to "each person telling EVERYONE." This is the heart of our church especially as we move into becoming "one church where you are."

I'm amazed at how our teams delivered excellence with servant hearts. For this I am proud and thankful.
Here was the set list:
Prelude: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger - Daft Punk
Worship: Song of Hope - Robbie Seay Band
Worship: Marvelous Light - Charlie Hall
Special: Hope for the Hopeless - A Fine Frenzy
Light Medley: Coming Out of the Dark(Gloria Estefan), This Little Light of Mine, Shine (Collective Soul), In the Light (DC Talk), I Saw the Light (David Crowder), King with a Crown (Matisyahu), Go Light Your World (Kathy Troccoli)

You can view the service HERE.

I have to give major props to our men of media who delivered BIG TIME!

First, Ben Sanders:

Ben was able to take critique from 30 people, make 20 revisions, and still keep his head and show Christ. Nice work. Ben made the Simon video in the middle of the service and edited the video for our prelude.

Next, Albert Martin:

He made the video that followed our worship time. Beautifully artistic. Many comments about how it brought people to tears. This had my daughter Anna in it. I am so proud of her work, it makes me crazy! It was a rare and beautiful moment to have my daughter singing behind me in a media and then switch to have my wife singing in front of me live. An experience I won't soon forget. The song, "Hope for the Hopeless", by A Fine Frezy is a must listen if you haven't already heard it.

This was a fun photo from our Daft Punk prelude:

More photos from our great music team!

Ben Ngoma, Kim Stewart, Kathy Sellers, Courtney Helman, Brian Warrell, Adam Tarwacki, Leah Hudson, and Mark Pitcher. Great job team!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Friend - Lee McDerment

So, Facebook is cool. And Facebook with God working behind the scenes is even cooler. On a whim, possibly a Spirit-thing, I requested Lee McDerment to be my Facebook friend. Since then, God seems to be putting together a really cool network-friendship-build-each-other-up thing.

Lee is a worship leader at NewSpring Church in South Carolina. (yeah, they stole Tony Morgan away from us, but we're way over it...) I'm looking forward to seeing what God will do through this friendship. It's my belief that artists NEED to be in community. I think the reason that satan can bring down so many of us is that the artistic temperment leans toward a degree of solitude in order to create. Solitude is good, but isolation is not. We as artists need other artists to refine us, recalibrate us, and often rebuke us. I'm hoping that friendships like mine and Lee's can keep me seeking God all the more.


Lee has just released a CD entitled, "A Matchlight in the Dark". If you like the sound of Steve Fee, you'll love this. Jason Hoard, Fee's producer, also helped Lee make this recording.

Check out the sound clips on his website or you can buy the CD here.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I saw this, and thought about target audience. Hmm... I wonder if this would be a hit in Granger, Indiana?


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Worship Leader Forum

On Friday, we had a great chance to hang out with worship leaders from seven other churches and talk shop. We covered a wide variety of topics. Here were a few:

- Off-Platform care for volunteers
- Dealing with discipline issues - tough talks with team members
- Rehearsal Structure
- Auditions process
- Creative Programming

One thing, that I thought after our workshop that I would like to understand more is about the role of the worship leader. What makes a person a worship leader vs simply a song leader? I think that just about any decent musician could lead a song. There is something different about helping people engage with God in this thing called corporate worship. I found this article that talked a little about the difference.

A few of my thoughts:
- a worship leader is a facilitator or guide for God's people to experience Him - comments like: "Wow, I really sensed God's presence tonight! Thanks."
- a song leader can become the focus - comments like "man, you are amazing!"
- a worship leader keeps the focus on God while allowing the music to enhance the words
- a song leader looks for ways to make the musical experience "the main thing"
- a worship leader has an idea where he/she is taking people since he/she has prayed through the worship set and can sense the Spirit's guiding ahead of time and in the moment.
- a song leader really has no idea where the "song time" may go. They just have to make sure the right chords are played and the powerpoint is completely accurate.
- a worship leader strives for excellence since they know that it honors God and inspires people.
- a song leader can either fly by the seat of their pants or become so perfectionistic that it can stifle any spirit.

Any more that I need to add?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Three New Faces

We've got some new faces coming to the GCC Vocal Team in the next month or so.

First, Don Reynolds comes to us from Wakarusa. He's a great guy with a great heart for Christ. A grad of Taylor U, he majored in Church Music. Don comes with a lot of experience in performing and leading worship. Very excited to have him join us.

Next, we have Kelli Myers who is from the magical land of Nappannee. A sophomore at Bethel College, she helps lead worship at Lifeline, Oasis, and Merge. Kelli is a very talented pianist as well as a singer. I can't wait to see what God does through her.

Finally, we have Randy Wotring, who lives in Mishawaka. His heart for Christ is very transparent. His singing experience ranges from rock bands and church singing to karaoke. Getting to know Randy has been great, especially his sense of humor.

All three of our new singers bring a passion for Christ and a passion for singing. This is base criteria for us. I'm thrilled to welcome them to our team. Look for them in the coming weeks.

Vocal Masterclasses - FREE!

I've recently been viewing a set of free vocal masterclasses which have been helpful to me. Now, this set of classes is not your traditional way of studying. Nor is it coaching in the traditional form. It is more about song choices and presentation.

As you view these singers, you see high energy (WOW) and lack of energy (aw...).

There are three coaches.

I would listen to this one to a good degree.

I wouldn't listen to this one really at all.

I would take to heart everything this one says.

I think it is a must view for contemporary vocalists. I am encouraging my team to check this out every week in order to make our performances and worship that much more excellent. As we consider the fact that excellence honors God and inspires others, we must do our part to bring excellence to the stage. This includes WATCHING and LEARNING from others.

One of my favorites from last night HERE.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Connoisseur of Children's Movies

I have two girls, ages 9 & 6. We recently saw "Enchanted" for the second time. I love quality, fun, and SURPRISE! This scene carries all of those for me:

Since, I go to movies that are targeted for kids about their age, I have become a connoisseur of this genre. Often, these movies will take really lame scripts and use visual effects to try to make a movie. UGH!!! "The Wild" was this for me, borrowing the characters from Madagascar and the plot of Toy Story 2.

Overall, I feel like in the past 15 years, Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks and others have done a great job improving the quality of these films not only for kids but also for adults. This dual strategy (adult references that are over the kids heads) keeps me engaged and brings me back. Here are my top five kid's movies:

1. The Incredibles
2. The Emperor's New Groove
3. Enchanted
4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Johnny Depp)
5. Shrek 2

If you had to pick 5, which would they be?