Thank you for praying for the Pennsylvania Worship Arts Weekend! As always, I loved watching God weave together the various strengths and experiences of our staff team into a tool to encourage growth in the students. Each student band had two or three of us helping them with music, sound, and communication. As the communication coach for one band, my job was to encourage them in their stage presence and expressiveness.
My favorite moment in rehearsal came after my band had worked hard on both the music and communication of one of their songs. Scott, the music director I was paired with, walked up to each music stand and swiveled it around so the students couldn’t see their song charts. They reacted as you would expect, with groans and anxious faces. But Scott made them play the song anyway…and to their surprise they made very few errors.
Then Scott had them play it again from memory. He encouraged them to focus on worshipping God instead of on the music this time, because they already knew the music. The transformation was wonderful! I watched their tension melt away as they began to freely express their love for Jesus in their faces and body language. And what’s more, their music was more expressive, too!
You can watch a recap video of the Pennsylvania Worship Arts Weekend below. (And yes, I’m in it briefly!)
Please pray that the students will continue to apply what they learned at the Worship Arts Weekend, not only in music and communication but in spiritual things like dealing with sin and walking faithfully with God. Thank you for your prayers!
In December and January, thousands of college students across the US attend Cru Winter Conferences during their winter breaks. Each conference is crafted to help students move toward God, toward others and toward a life well-lived for Christ. The one thing we hear the most from attendees all over the country is: “God changed my life at winter conference.”
I worked at the conference in Indianapolis, which was held between Christmas and New Year. I was part of the tech team, running lyrics and speaker slides on the big screens. And yes, as you can tell if you look closely at the picture, I was sitting behind the screens seeing everything in reverse. :-)
Over 1500 students attended this conference and participated in a day of outreach when they partnered with local churches to distribute food boxes in the inner city of Indianapolis. These “boxes of love” opened doors for conversations about Jesus. In a nutshell, here’s what happened:
Praise God for what He did in these lives!
This coming weekend (February 22-24) I will be on the teaching & coaching team for another of our Worship Arts Weekends. College students involved in musical worship for weekly Cru meetings on their campuses will come to a church camp in western Pennsylvania to learn and grow in both art and heart. Although these conferences are much smaller than Cru’s winter conferences (currently 29 students are registered), God still works in big ways.
Please pray for me as I coach and teach:
I will coach one student band in communication skills, encouraging them to apply the principles l will teach in my session on communication in leading worship.
I will also teach a session on a Biblical view of excellence, especially as it relates to worship leading.
During the breakout sessions, when students attend clinics related to their specific skills, I’ll teach about running lyrics and media.
Please pray that God would prepare both my heart and the hearts of the students for what He wants to do in our lives.
The four conferences I told you about in my last newsletter went well. The schedule was tiring, but I was energized to see God work in the lives of those I trained. Here are some encouraging comments from two of the Cru staff members I coached in our small group practices during Emcee Lab (the fourth conference).
Beau will emcee a large regional conference for students during winter break. He wrote this:
Emcee Lab was one of the most practical trainings that I have experienced during my time on staff. The speakers and coaches made it very easy to stay engaged and locked-in during the entirety of the weekend because they definitely had the expertise. The tips were all extremely useful, the heart behind being an emcee was valuable, and the communication drills helped me become a more complete public speaker.
Angela emceed a conference for Cru staff leaders last week. This is from an email she sent the other day:
…Thank you for your work during Emcee Lab! You set me up so well to do what we were trusting the Lord to do. I’m sharing this feedback with you as it’s almost word for word what y’all challenged and trained us to do! Thank you!!!
———- Forwarded message ———
… I wanted to just tell you what an AMAZING job you did as an emcee. You were gracious and poised and had such a presence up there. I really felt like you led us through the sessions as one firmly planted, journeying with others, and reliant on the Lord. Thank you for all of your work…I know that is a LOT of work. You did a fantastic job!!
Although Emcee Lab was the smallest of the four conferences, I believe it will have a big impact through the Cru staff members (and one student) who attended. Some will emcee at large conferences like Beau and Angela. Others will emcee (or teach students to emcee) at weekly large-group student meetings on their campuses. Whatever the event, each one of them will have the opportunity to set the tone of the gathering and prepare the hearts of the audience to hear from God.
I want to thank you for your partnership in ministry. You are helping me equip Cru staff members, students and others with communication skills that will amplify their impact for Christ!
Between now and November 11 my calendar is chock full! I will participate in four conferences
#1: Together 2018– Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX
Oct. 18-21 (including travel days)
My role: volunteer
People from across the nation are gathering together to pray for our nation, worship Jesus, and be equipped and commissioned to a lifestyle of moving closer to Jesus and the world around us. This is a collaborative effort of PULSE, Cru, InterVarsity, and the Circuit Riders to launch gospel movements on every campus in the U.S.
#2:Comm Lab Clinic– Minot, ND
Oct. 29 – Nov. 1 (including travel days)
My role: organizer and communication coach
Cru staff teams from Grand Forks, Fargo and Minot will be joined by some local church and parachurch workers for this two-day training event. Three other communication coaches and I will teach delivery skills in a supportive, small-group environment.
#3: Indianapolis Winter Conference Auditions and Worship Arts Weekend – Local
Nov. 2-4 (I only coach on Nov. 3)
My role: communication coach
Students from Cru movements in Indiana and surrounding states will come for training to grow as worship leaders on their campuses. Some of them will also audition to be part of the worship band at Cru’s winter conference in Indy right after Christmas. I will do some communication coaching and also teach clinics on running worship lyrics and other media shown onscreen during meetings.
#4: Emcee Lab– local
My role: organizer and communication coach
I organize this annual training event for staff members and students who emcee at weekly meetings and conferences of all sizes. An emcee (master of ceremonies) can do a great deal to guide an audience as they process how God is speaking to them during an event, and we want to help them grow in those skills.
For stamina and good rest
For safe travel
For wisdom as I teach, coach and lead
For God to speak to the hearts of those who attend
That I would depend on God consistently in the midst of this busy time.
In an organization as large as Cru, some resources remain “hidden gems” unknown to many staff members. Our communication training resources (conferences and videos) fit into that category, so my teammates and I have spent the past several weeks planning and preparing ways to help get the word out within the Cru community.
We made a schedule for posting announcements to our in-house email newsletters and staff-only online bulletin boards.
We wanted a fresh, new look for our materials because we’ve used our previous designs for a long time. One of my teammates came up with a concept for a new logo for our conferences, and I finalized the design (below).
To help people mentally connect our events to one another, we tweaked the names. Comm Lab (the most well-known) remained the same, but Emcee Training became Emcee Lab and our 2-day communication training events (focusing on either delivery skills or story writing) are now called Comm Lab Clinics.
To create engaging content for our announcements, I edited video footage of testimonials about our training into seven “ads” of about 20 seconds or less. Here’s a link to the first one: https://vimeo.com/288213964.
I organized information on resources from my broader department (including our communication training) into a website. I also designed this sample one-page website (see screenshot below) that can be used as a template for anyone who hosts a Comm Lab Clinic.
While I was in “web design mode” I made some tweaks to this ministry website. I hope you like what you see!
For our announcements and website to be effective in reaching staff members (and their students) who can benefit from our training
For wisdom for me as I write and post the announcements
For MUCH wisdom for me as I write two talks I will give for the women of my church at our fall retreat September 28-29; the topic for the retreat is God’s grace