Worship Team Training Hangout Christmas Celebration

I was so  honored to join Branon Dempsey and Rich Kirkpatrick once again for a Hangout Christmas Celebration with our thoughts on 2015 and the year to come. I think we should have a practice session next time when we debut our instruments :-) That was fun! Enjoy!

 


Recap #EID2015

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I can't believe another "An Evening in December" Christmas concerts (and desserts!) has come and gone! What an amazing day of performances and being in community with great musical artists here on Hilton Head Island.  

As our world around us is ever changing, I believe now more than ever, there is such a longing for something in life to be consistent, a desire to surround yourself with people you enjoy, and the passion to experience beautiful moments together. I believe that "An Evening in December" is a catalyst for  those things to happen on Hilton Head Island.

There are not enough words to thanks the countless volunteers, musical artists, and attendees for making this year's concerts so enjoyable and memorable.  Thank you all so much!

Here's couple of board mixes from the show. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

 

My Favorite Things 


An Evening in December turns 7

An evening in december-2015 design
I never imagined when I decided in the Fall of 2009 to do a Christmas concert with some desserts that it would become an annual event on Hilton Head Island. I had only lived here for a couple of years and had just started to meet some musicians and thought, "Hey, this could be fun! Let's perform some great Christmas classics and have some dessert for an hour!" The response the first year was overwhelming and has been every year. Every show has been different but the core of the team of artists that began together to do this show has remained unchanged. That blows we away!

We sold out of both shows a week before the event this year. First time ever. The work it takes for this team of artists to gather together each year to make this happen is amazing. None of us have time to do this show. We try to fit rehearsals in as best we can but really don't have enough time to work everything out...yet, somehow, we pull it together at the show! Everyone does what they have to do to make this a part of their year each year. I am so grateful for the artists who give so much, who enjoy the process almost more than the product, and for the relationships that have developed and been brought back together again...because of a little, simple, Christmas concert.

Now in its 7th year, we have an entire team of event directors, dessert coordinators, cookie and dessert bakers, and an ARMY of adult and student volunteers who serve at the concerts each year. I am so thankful for this team and how they come together once a year to create such a magical night for our Islanders and their families.

We have had Buddy the Elf (really!), ballet, "Grandma Getting Run over by Reindeer", and "Carol of the Bells "(like no other) to name a few elements.  I am so excited about Sunday night because of what it has represented through the years AND the new artists that have joined this event this year...some of our school music teachers and professionals singers on the Island. 

Never underestimate the power of a musical community coming together to be a part of something greater than anything they could ever do on their own. I know I never will. Here's an audio sample of some great performances through the years...

Evening in December Sampler

 

DSCF8625 Our first year - 2009

 
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 2013 

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 2014  

 


A first step

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IMG_5957  Sunday night, we had the opportunity to sponsor a Global Missions Benefit Concert for our four missions partners at HHICC. All the bands performed for free, the food was provided by Harold's Diner, and we accepted donations for all our partners throughout the night.

I've been giddy since Sunday night for so many reasons.  I was so thrilled with the turnout for the event.  Because we have never done anything like this before, we had NO idea what the turnout would be for this.  It was the first time we have hosted a concert in our new facility since we moved in last July. We invited the "Voted Best Band of 2012" on the Island, Cranford and Sons (who Randy, one of our drummers, is a founding member), and a singer-songwriter friend of Cranford, Angel Snow to join our HHICC artists (who opened the night's concert). Brandon and Kim Smith also performed and shared about their ministry, No Hungry Children.

I have a sincere passion to create avenues for artists to engage with the church. I feel very strongly that the "Church at Large" needs to do a better job of this.  Last night was a first step for us at HHICC.  Doing events like this allows the walls to come down  in every way.  We find what we can do together and create opportunitues for partnership and new relationships are formed.  Oh..and it was like a giant party!

I am so thankful for our team who served, most of them since 7am that morning for services.  It was an amazing expereience to see people from all over our Island community, not just our church community, come and support these artists as well as projects to build schools in Belize, feed kids in Africa, and send Islanders on mission trips.

Sometimes as a church, we don't do a very good job bringing the community together. I recognize that. Last night, we DID! It was such a privilege to host it, to participate in the concert with other artists, and share our music together. All of it...to benefit people all over the world who need our help...and we made new friends in the process.

This is not the end...I can't wait to do this again!  I look forward to MORE opportunities for us to create avenues for artists and the community to come together here on the Island.


Our First CD

IMG_4817  It's been an amazing experience recording and producing our first worship CD at HHICC. After being a part of several Worship CD projects through the years, you learn so much about the process and what works. I have to say that this process of recording and bringing in a producer  was by far the best expereience I have had to date. To have 15 different volunteer musicians and singers be able to participate and record band and vocals in 5 days...it was awesome.

Tomorrow night is the CD release concert at 6p and I can't wait to have all these musicians and singers on ONE stage to perform these songs. Here's a video promo from our local TV station on HHI.


Day Two Reflections @ NWLC

IMG_9090  The highlight of today was Chris Tomlin's songwriting session after lunch. The room was packed, of course. He shared with us his story of how he met Louie Giglio and began as a worship leader and songwriter. Here were some of his bullet points.

  • The Word of God is His inspiration.
  • Write from life circumstances, themes of your community of faith, and in community with others.
  • You are writing the songs that teach people about God.
  • I want to write the songs people can sing, want to sing, and need to sing

I appreciated his sincerity and his ability to be very transparent about how he never thought when he wrote songs like "We Fall Down" and "Holy is the Lord" that they would be sung all over the world. He was just expressing his heart to God. He really emphasized that our writing has to be God-inspired and from a place where we are worshiping Him.

The most interesting thing that happened today actually had nothing to do with the conference.  Chris took some time for Q & A  at the end of his session and a girl asked him something like " I know this maybe inappropriate, but why aren't you married?" Everyone laughed, Chris laughed and drank water and kept looking around the back of the room. It was about 30-45 seconds of this kind awkward moment and then he said." It's interesting you asked that question, because I just got engaged yesterday." Well, you can imagine...the room went nuts! It was quite a moment!

Jonathan Lee, Laura Story, and Chris Tomlin led our night of worship. It was probably my favorite so far - mainly because Laura and Chris led us in songs that we sing on a regular basis at LowCountry. The place was so alive and people were singing at the top of their lungs! When Chris was leading, I was overwhelmed with what happened in the room. To gather such a diverse group of worship leaders from ALL over the world and then to hear us all singing the same songs, one after another - it may be realize even more how much Chris Tomlin has written the songs of this generation of churches  all over the world.

I didn't film really anything this week because I just wanted to be in the moment an worship, but I had to grab the last 45 seconds of "Sing, Sing,Sing." so that you could see what is it like to get a room full of worship leaders together worshiping God!


Day One Reflections @ NWLC10

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I chose the songwriting track for Day One - Keith Getty, Laura Story, and Matt Redman. I felt as if the three of them got together (which they didn't) and talked about how they would connect their talks to one another!

Songwriting is a sincere passion in my life. I had my first song recorded by a Southern Gospel group at the age of 18. I've written songs for Christian artists. I've had the amazing privilege of writing arranging, and producing a record for our church in Atlanta with original songs from our church. I do not share all this as an accolade to myself. I share it as a testimony to how much songwriting has been a part of my life.

The last line of that paragraph is the point I'm trying to make...has been. I've allowed the busy schedule of raising kids, doing ministry, and pure laziness to invade this creative passion that God placed in my heart many years ago.  Here are some things that I learned.

  • At its essence, Christianity is a story. Hymns show us how to sing our faith. - Keith Getty
  • As songwriters, God uses the normal things in our lives to write the soundtrack for the church. - Laura Story.
  • What is in God's Kingdom that is about being the BEST at something? Being the best should not be the goal of songwriting. -Laura Story
  • What are the themes for your church right now? Ask you Lead Pastor what God is saying to him about the future of our church. This is visionary songwriting. - Matt Redman

I feel in some ways that God is rebuking me this week for not embracing this gift in my life. I feel the Holy Spirit telling me that it's time to not be a " former" songwriter anymore and embrace this calling on my life in this new season of my life at LowCountry.

The heart of these three worship leaders/songwriters was very exposed. They all have a passion for the local church which so resonates with my heart. They believe strongly in writing FOR the local church and writing songs for our own communities of faith. I know this is what God is calling me to do at LCC. Pastor Jeff has been reading my updates and has ALREADY affirmed me in doing this. I am processing this and asking God for the strength to do what I feel He is calling me to and being faithful to do it - regardless of what others think or whether these songs every leave the lowcountry. These will be OUR songs of faith as a community of believers.

The night of worship was tremendous. One Sonic Society opened (who I heard live earlier this year and LOVE), Tenth Avenue North performed, and then Matt Redman. The thing that struck me is that Matt has written SO many amazing songs that he could have lead us in only songs that he has written and WE would have known them all! But, he chose songs from others as well to lead us in worship. He lead us in worship and encouraged us as leaders to bring truth to our congregations..to teach the truth of God's Word...to sing the truth of the redeeming power of Jesus in our lives. 

More updates to come...follow me on twitter or facebook.


Win a FREE REGISTRATION to NWLC10 TODAY!

I am so excited to have the opportunity to give away a FREE REGISTRATION to the National Worship Leaders Conference in Kansas City, Kansas from July 19-22, 2010. If you don't win today, it would still be great to see you there this summer! You can CLICK HERE to register. Be sure to mention you heard about it from BLOGGER CYNTHIA!.

So here's how we are going to do this...Being that today is Cinco De Mayo, I am going to ask 3 simple questions about this day. Please answer them below in the Comment section. At 10 PM, EST tonightI will twitter the winning name by sending you to my blog to view a video of my daughter, Sydney, choosing the wining name out of hat, comprised of those who answered the three questions correctly. The deadline is 8 PM tonight to get your name in the hat!

Here we go!

1. Today is not, as many people think, Mexico's Independence Day. What day is their independence day?

2. The holiday of Cinco de Mayo is mainly a regional holiday in Mexico. What state celebrates this day the most of all of the other states in Mexico?

3. Today is a celebration of the Mexican militia winning a battle against the army of what country in 1862?

Have fun! Get the word out! See you at 10 PM EST!


Recreate 2010 Recap

The 10th Anniverary of cre:ate was ALL that and a bag of chips! By the time I leave every year, I am brimming over with ideas and a replenished soul...this year was no different. The word for the week was "authenticity." I was so struck by that character trait in SO many of our speakers and musicians. There were SO many amazing moments that I cannot recount them all.

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I will fail to mention in this post all the details of the wonderful conversations at meals, at our tables, and at late night gatherings with friends and new friends. That is THE BEST part of recreate. So for me, here were some highlights during the conference:

  • IMG_1152  Our morning worship times with Ian Cron, Audrey Assad, and Matt Maher were the most spiritually enriching moments of the week. Look for a new song written by Audry and Matt called "Restless." It's not out yet, but look for it...I can't stop singing it!
  • I was overwhelmed by Stephen Mansfield and Dan Cathy...these men had SO much to say to us as church leaders, I was inspired by their authenticity and challenged by their ideas.
  • Sheila Walsh and Luci Swindoll shared amazing testimonies with us that inspired me and brought such perspective to being in ministry and living life in general.

 
IMG_8876  However, the most amazing and...well, the only word that I can use to describe it is "transcendent...was hearing Gungor perform their entire new album from start to finish with no talking or transition. What you hear on the recording, we saw and experienced live (including a string section) with amazing video elements that enhanced the musical experience. I haven't experienced any musical event that was as fresh, musical, worshipful, artistic, and as excellent as their performance. GO SEE THEM! It is amazing...I really have no words to describe it. Buy this record.

The founder of this conference, Randy Elrod, released his new book this week. I blogged about it here. It was so meaningful to hear Randy share his personal journey of writing this book. Randy and his wife Chris are life-long mentors and amazing people. They also have a 10 year old Maltese like me so that REALLY makes them special!

I feel so blessed that I have a such a safe place to go every year for 4 days and be encouraged, challenged, convicted, harassed :), to laugh, and to cry...all of this with friends!

I'm ready for what God has for me this year...and I know it is because He had my attention in a big way last week in Franklin, TN...