They aren’t Coming Back (2)

Abandoned church© Photographer: Alexandre Dvihally | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Yesterday we took a glance at the rumors surrounding the church’s – supposed – impending demise, & noticed that the decline in church attendance in the USA is almost solely taking place in historically traditional or liberal-leaning denominational churches, alone. “But wait! That can’t be right!“, I imagine quite a few of you are thinking, “I read that liturgy was making a comeback!

Yeah. Sorta.

I wouldn’t be encouraging any traditional, we-wear-our-denomination-on-our-sleeves, hymns-singing, choir-led churches to be adding onto their buildings any time soon, because stats can be very deceiving.

There are 2 very healthy things, & one very unhealthy thing, taking place that are leading to those numbers.

Do everything you CAN to become a church ON MISSION, or your empty building will be purchased by a thriving church plant that is willing to do what you are not. It’s that simple.

[Read more…]

I write because I write because I write…

JustWriteI won’t lie – as a songwriter, Writer’s Block has given me a beating a time or two… I’ll find myself holding a guitar, & there’s just NOTHING. What do you do?

My oldest fought with this a few months back at school. His teacher was concerned because he wasn’t finishing stories during writing time. During our face-to-face after school he explained, “I just didn’t have any good ideas.”

So I told him, “Just. Write.”

When you’re facing a blank page, or screen, the best way to put cuffs on Writer’s Block, & escort him from the room is by JUST WRITING. One word follows another – one sentence follows the next. They don’t have to be good [Read more…]

REVIEW REVISITED: Aaron Keyes – “Dwell”

By my standards, Dwell – by Atlanta area worship pastor/artist Aaron Keyes – is one of the all-around best corporate worship CDs of all-time. Serious! StuG’s production is fresh, even by todays standards, the songwriting is Grade A, & the songs are almost all corporate, & adaptable for almost any style of congregation. To top it all off, this is where Michael W. Smith‘s latest hit single, “Sovereign over Us”, originated from! If you’re looking for a great listen, but also would like to find a number of singable, new-to-you corporate songs to use for your congregation, look no further. Here’s the “revisited” review…
(stick around after the review for links to my live interviews of Aaron, as well)
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Artist: Aaron Keyes
Release: Dwell
Label: Kingsway

 

 

 

Highlights: “I am not the Same”, “Sovereign over Us”, “Song of Moses”, “Dwell”, & “Lavish Your Love

I vividly remember when I first heard Chris Tomlin’s newly released CD “Not to Us”.  Up to that point, apart from a couple “worship hits”, Tomlin’s catalogue had been pretty pedestrian, yet out of the blue he released a CD from which I used no less than 7 songs corporately, & which was a trend-setter production-wise for the next several years. Enter “Dwell” by Aaron Keyes. [Read more…]

REVIEW REVISITED: Paul Baloche – “The Same Love”

For Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday of this week I’m going to be revisiting “classic” reviews I’ve written of a few truly excellent worship CDs. Todays is The Same Love by a wonderful pastor & worship leader, Paul Baloche. To be honest, the first few times I’d heard it, I wasn’t sure what to make of it – the flavor & feel of the CD was quite different from all of his earlier work. In hindsight, I now consider it one of my favorites from among his recordings. As best I can describe, it’s still Paul, but deeper – the melodies are richer & more complex, & the lyrics deeper. Though I don’t use many of these songs corporately, it’s one of my favorite listens for personal worship. Below is my original review
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thesameloveArtist: Paul Baloche
Release: The Same Love
Label: Integrity
Highlights: “the Same Love”, “We are Saved”, “Just Say”

 

Paul Baloche needs no introduction. Even if you don’t recognize his name, you’ve sung his songs.  I regularly use no less than 12 of Paul’s originals in corporate worship, which is significant given the number of new worship songs that flood the market daily – he is truly a masterfully gifted songwriter.  What’s better, however, is the Jesus-centered heart of the man, which overflows in his lyrics & personally, for those who’ve been face-to-face with him.

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Songs of Thanksgiving: a short guide

GiveThanksSometimes the special seasons of church life can also be the most frustrating to plan for both a challenge & a blessing. Church attendance surges, but you don’t want to rehash the same set from last year, and the year before… and the year before that.

Well, Thanksgiving is almost upon us, & I have a few song suggestions, all of which are doctrinally rich, melodically memorable, work in multiple styles (lead them as ballads on a piano with a choir, or rock them out with a band) & sure to be a “win” with your congregations. [Read more…]