Wednesday, May 31, 2006


This Sunday morning owing to cutbacks ;) I just lead worship by myself, one acoustic guitar, one mic, a very receptive and hungry congregation lot's of grace from God and a heart bursting to sing out to Him. Most of the songs were old Vineyard standards, this was my set list:

Who is like our God
In the Secret
More Love
You are God in Heaven

We're stripping everything back for the summer, small acoustic duos and minimal bands, and I get the priviledge of trying out new leaders and releasing them...fantastic.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Challenging thinking on worship leading

I'll develop this more over the next couple of days but I've been mulling over a point that was made at NettleHill. It was asked whether we were going down a road where worship leaders were expected just to turn out 5 well played easy songs for 25 minutes every Sunday morning, before the 40minute sermon (never understood why the sermon was longer than the worship or ministry time) and anything innovative, containing mystery or passion would be seperated to a "worship evening". If that's the case then we might as well put a CD on!!

I'm all for accessibility but I think we often underestimate the sophistication of the congregation. I think that, if God initiates something (and you can usually tell) then we need to feel free to go with it. I'm not talking about singing in tongues for four hours or hyping things...I mean genuine being in the presence of God and lifting our hearts wholly to Him,; that could be done in silence too. After all didn't Wimber say that we are Vineyard because of our VALUES (what we believe) rather than what we do? On a trainig tape about leadership from the mid 80s he says (paraphrase), ...."you can have 99 violins and 72 pianos if you like...I don't care... If you want a choir have a what's right in your context". He was saying that the method, whilst needing to have accessibility to the community and integrity, isn't actually that important.

I've just been watching Bruce Springsteen from 1975, a legendary gig from Hammersmith. Ok, it's a performance, but there is so much passion and hunger coming from the band and during the extended arrangements and improvisations the audience aren't lost, they are caught up. How much more passion. sweat, tears, hunger should we as a royal priesthood (I mean all Christians in this) singing praise and intimate love songs to God Almighty show. I know that I often get in a rut and "just sing the songs" as pastors often like saying, with a sea of blank faces munching donuts and drinking coffee staring at me, unmoved (or so it seems). Sometimes God breaks through and I feel like I'm going to explode and the congregation (well about half of them) are lifting their hearts to the father, lost in adoration. But my question is, if Bruce can let his grit out EVERYTIME he plays so much he shakes, why can't we do that for our Father in heaven. I'm not talking about performing (I'd do it behind a curtain quite happily)....I'm just talking about being us....being authentic....being artists and being passionate. I think it is part of our job as worship leaders to express the hunger, joy, pain and adoration theough music for those who are gifted in other ways...How about maybe being really brave and doing 3 songs or 7?? ;)

Just a thought. Feel free to comment, i'm just in a questioning mode.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday, Monday

Well, it's been a few days since I returned to the land of hills. I'm feeling encouraged and challenged by the time spent at Nettle Hill. It was good to make some new friends and spend quality time with some old ones. These things, by their nature as an open forum, often have a danger of either becoming a "winge fest" or an insular talking shop. This was nothing like that. We discussed the felt needs of outr local communities, the regions and our national movement. Everyone was on board, and I could see that fundamentally everyone was more interested in what God wanted for the Vineyard worship community than anything personal. In fact I saw a return of the sheer hunger and passion that was around in the early days, before we got all "professional". This time we'll have the quality with the passion....what an unstoppable combination.

As the Vineyard is pretty new in Scotland, what I took away, again, was that our missional job is simply to introduce people to the concept of engaging and encountering God through simple, accessible love songs. I think that this is the Vineyard's gift and calling. It's happened in each nation it has ventured into, ever since that first meeting in John and Carol Wimber's home. Over the years we've tried repacking, questioning, dismissing, embracing, re-formatting, in equal measure, our expression of worship. But, call me old fashioned, it seems to keep coming back to the desire in every human being just to sing praise and pour out there heart to the Father, whether they realise it or not. Here in the Forth Valley, we want to create a place where that can happen.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Another Busy Week Ahead

Tomorrow I'm off to the Vineyard records Worship Development Network down in the Midlands. We'll be meeting up with worship leaders from all over the country as well as Dan Wilt and Peter Fitch (from St Croix Vineyard in Canada). I'm really looking forward to it.
In fact, because I'm a bit of an aviation geek i'm just as looking forward to the flight down on a Dash-8 turbo prop with FlyBe (yes I checked, I'm that sad). I like the whole buzz of airports and travel,meeting up with people etc.

On the home front, my mum's tumor has shrunk by four inches, which is excellent as it was too big to operate but now it's going to plan. We've started a new housegroup in Falkirk, as well as continuing with Pure, God really is moving in our area, i hope I have some stories to tell soon.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Raw, Bluesy and Great

Enjoy!! (Click on the play button at the bottom of the player rather than the big one in the centre which links to YouTube)