Instrumentalists. Vocalists. Sound techs. Weekly meeting program teams.
This weekend, 75 (or more!) college students from Indiana and neighboring states will come to the Worship Arts Conference and Audition here in Indy. The weekend gives them the chance to experience
hands-on clinics for worship band members and leaders;
hands-on experience for instrumentalists and vocalists;
practical input for music directors, program team planners, sound techs, etc.;
opportunity for individual worship band coaching,
challenging content for the heart;
optional auditions for the band that will lead students in worship during the Cru Winter Conference in Indianapolis (December 28-31); and
lots of fun!
Students arrive Friday night and leave Sunday afternoon. The auditions will be held Saturday morning while the 30 or so students who are not auditioning receive additional training. In planning the sessions in this segment, I’ve included part of the Rock Your Meeting video discussion curriculum described in my last newsletter. At other times this weekend, I have the opportunity to teach two communication sessions, offer a workshop on lyrics and visual media, and coach a student band in communicating worship songs.
for all of us who are teaching and coaching this weekend to be deeply dependent on God rather than relying on our own strength;
that God would prepare the hearts of the students for what He wants to do in their lives;
that the students in my Saturday morning sessions would share the Rock Your Meeting curriculum with other students who serve on worship teams, weekly meeting program teams, etc.
Thank you for your prayers!
On a personal note…
I recently attended an 80th-anniversary showing of The Wizard of Oz at the Heartland Film Festival, an annual event here in Indianapolis. This was the first time I had ever seen it in a movie theater, and it was amazing on the big screen! The special effects were especially impressive in light of the creativity and effort needed to produce them in 1939. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing one of my favorite classic films as it was meant to be seen!
Mid to late August is the start of a new semester for most colleges and an increasing number of high schools, so it also starts a new season for many staff teams in Cru, including office teams like mine.
One of the things we did during our kickoff meeting was to pray, plan and dream about projects we’d like to accomplish before the Christmas break. One project I feel God leading me to focus on is the Rock Your Meeting series of training videos.
Over the past several years I’ve helped in various aspects of production for the 27 Rock Your Meeting training videos, including final editing. They now have a home on the Cru website at www.cru.org/rockyourmeeting. These videos are designed to help students (and staff) grow in skills for planning and presenting weekly meetings on campus.
Although they are useful as is, my involvement with the Worship Arts Weekends (retreats for college students who lead worship at Cru meetings) has given me a desire to make them even more useful. For a session at one of last year’s trainings, I showed the students four of the videos (each is less than 5 minutes long) and asked discussion questions after each one.
The Rock Your Meeting videos worked really well as discussion starters, so I’ve written questions for each of the 27 videos and posted them on a test website (www.rockyourmeeting.org) where they are grouped by topic. (The site’s instruction page is pictured below.) The next step will be to have several Cru campuses try them with their student worship teams, program teams, etc. I’ll then ask for their feedback, which will help me finalize the material.
For the testing process for the Rock Your Meeting discussion questions:
connection with campuses willing to test the material
helpful feedback from the testers
my sensitivity to God’s guidance throughout
For diligence and wise use of time on this and other projects
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.
I’m writing this from our ministry’s biannual staff conference in Colorado. One of my favorite things about these conferences is that we spend a large of amount of time every day in worship through music and/or prayer. I love how A. W. Tozer links the purpose of Jesus’ life and ministry with our worship:
Why did Christ come? Why was He Conceived? Why was He born? Why was He crucified? Why did He rise again? Why is He now at the right hand of the Father? The answer to all these questions is, in order that He might make worshippers out of rebels; in order that He might restore us again to the place of worship we knew when we were first created. Now because we were created to worship, worship is the normal employment of moral beings.
A. W. Tozer, Worship: The Missing Jewel of the Evangelical Church
The phrase that blew me away was this: “in order that He might make worshippers out of rebels.” I had never thought about it this way before. What a wonderful way to summarize God’s purpose for His creation! As His child, all I do in both this life and the next is to be an act of worship to Him. And Jesus Great Commission to His church will be fulfilled in worship:
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
-Revelation 7:9-10 (ESV)