It was a privilege to be a part of Worship Team Training hosting a Hangout with Branon Dempsey, Rich Kirkpatrick and myself. I love being able to talk about what God is doing at HHICC through our musical artists and how we are able to share their gifts within our community. I look forward to joining then again on Wednesdat, Dec 23rd!
Watch the hangout below or click here.
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!
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...
I shared a couple of days ago on our HHICC blog about changes in my ministry life. Honestly, the last two years have been an intense time of soul-searching, frustration, reflection, and wondering, "What is up with me?"
I took a sabbatical in January 2013 fully expecting that at the end of that 5 weeks that God was going to release me from worship ministry. I was exhausted, depleted, felt old and tired, not effective...fill in the blank. To my surprise, he didn't release me. Instead, he "tweaked" my calling in a way that gave me a renewed passion. He showed me how much I love process. He showed me how much I love every aspect of the worship experience on Sundays from video to lighting to music to the high schooler playing guitar to the message to the temperature of our room to the social media and web presence that brought people there for the first time. I had no idea how passionate I was about all that until that time. I have always led that effort for our team out of necessity but I had no idea how much that was "my thing."
I had the privilege of coordinating the IF: LOCAL Gathering at our church in February and had scheduled a different team from our ministry to lead on Sunday since I knew I would be pretty exhausted. The IF: Gathering was a life-changing experience for me. That Sunday, as I worshipped NEXT to my husband (yeah, that never happens) in the congregation, I truly sensed the Holy Spirit saying, "You don't have to be up there every week anymore." I felt such a release from that part of my ministry immediately. Not because I initiated it. Because God said I was done.
I shared this with Todd and he has been so supportive about what God has been doing in my life in this area. For us personally, with the "unique" relationship we have as husband and wife and Lead Pastor and Worship Leader, he has seen how God has brought new people into our team to make this change a possibility. I'm not a clique person, but this has been so true. "God does not guide where He does not provide."
I am re-tooling. For many of our church family, they may not even notice a significant change. But for me, it is completely different in the way I am organizing my life, my time, my responsibilities, and my focus. I start in a couple of weeks leading a mentoring group of worship leaders in our church from age 16 to well...I will be sharing a lot of what we talk about here at cheval glass.
Philippians 1:6 says ,"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (ESV) So here's to the "new" good work ahead and learning how to use these different tools in my toolbox.
It's been strange for me to be away from cheval glass as much as I have been this past year. It's not that life has not been full of so many things I've learned and observed. I find myself microblogging now so much more through facebook and twitter...saying what I need to say in 140 characters and moving on.
Post-sabbatical, I find myself still refreshed from that time away last January. So much of what I learned about myself as well as my need for "spiritual loittering" still influence my decisions and my time. This is the first "Pre-Christmas" season in a few years that I'm waking up NOW with excitement about our creative endeavors as a team and the musical offerings we will be sharing throughout the season.
I entered the world of homeschool this past August with my 4th grader. I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I am, truthfully. I thought by now I would be thinking something very different! The time with Sydney has been magical. The conversation, the learning experiences, the weekend "field trip" to Atlanta to visit the Fernbank Museum, etc... I have learned SO much about my daughter that I know I would never have learned without this experience. She told me her favorite part of homeschool is her piano and voice lessons we do together. The joy of sharing music with her is hard to put into words. There is just something as an artist about enjoying music with your kids. Sean also is taking piano lessons and is growing up fast into a "little Cynthia" as Todd says. His passion for soccer has opened the door for him to become a part of STORM Soccer Academy this year. He is learning so much skill and is a great team player.
I see this new season of life as one of watching our roots going into good soil. I see it in my marriage, my kids, in our ministry at HHICC, and in our community as we get involved on a much more committed basis. I realized the other day that we have lived in the house we live in now longer than any other home in our 18 years of marriage! This is different and new - not boring or predictable. It is rich with experiences that come from roots gaining nutrients and good soil.
When I think of this season, I'm drawn to Paul's words to the church at Ephesus...
"When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." - Ephesians 3:14-19 (NLT)
This week, I had the privilege to share my story with our church in context with our 24/7 Series on Worship. It was a great experience on the message preparation side of learning how to manuscript (thank you, @toddcullen!) and create an outline for our message notes. Although I serve on our Message Prep team here @hhichurch, it was definitely a twist to be playing and singing in the band and then communicate right after that! I think Todd enjoyed the tables being turned this week in our Thursday evaluation time...I'm usually the one DOING the evaluation!
The coolest thing for me as a Service Programming Director was to weave the songs I chose into the context of my outline. Todd and Cody do a great job connecting with that already, but it was cool to see how to pull the ENTIRE service together with what I said and what we sang.
Thank you SO much to my @hhichurch family for all your prayers before and your encouraging words after each service. It was DEFINITELY something I was nervous about doing (mainly because I didn't want to say anything that Todd would have to clean up the next week!) Stephanie led worship SO well and the band just played AMAZINGLY! Here was our service order:
"Rise and Sing"
"Glory to God Forever"
MESSAGE (You can listen on our podcast! "24/7:Here I am")
My prayer was that as I shared my story that the concept of worship being an outward expression of an inward faith would really sink into people's minds. I struggled for SO many years with looking good on the outside but not really living it on the inside. I know I will always have the struggle, but I'm so thankful that I have "given up" on what I want in life in general and have decided to surrender to God's plan for my life.
Read more recaps here.
It's not often that I have the opportunity to be a participant in a worship service. For any worship leader, it is a rare and treasured experience. I planned the service, scheduled the team, created the video elements..no surprises here. In light of that, I was truly attending my church yesterday as a worshiper...and I truly worshiped.
I discovered several things that happened yesterday that I needed to truly connect with God, with others, and to leave the service ready for the day and week.
1. I needed Time to get comfortable. The first 20 minutes as we were singing, I needed that time to get settled in. The music and welcome time gave me the opportunity to speak with several people, to sing, to get my focus on the reason I was there.
2. I needed Time to be quiet. There was an opportunity between two songs and at the end of the song before the video transition to the message. I was able to quiet my thoughts before the message began.
3. I needed to hear Biblical teaching that encouraged me evaluate where I am with God. Todd's message was something I truly needed to hear. Although I may be married to the Pastor, I do not know everything about his sermons each week. This was one of those weeks I had the general idea, but the Holy Spirit definitely spoke through Him in a very real way to me.
4. It was long enough. The service was about 68 minutes. I didn't get distracted. I didn't feel that it was rushed. I was actually wanting more, which is exactly how I wanted to leave...wanting more of God.
It goes without saying that as the Worship Director I listened to the mix, evaluated the screens, the flow of the service...yeah, it was awesome. I do believe that because those things were so excellent and God-focused, it gave such an open door to the worship experience being free of distraction. Thank you, team, for doing just that!
The Sunday after Easter can be a tough Sunday to plan. If you plan services, you probably put it "all out on the field" the week before which leaves a lot less energy and creativity left for "the Sunday after." I've realized this about myself and this year, I made a strategic effort to creatively plan together the series before AND after Easter at the same time. This allowed me to not lose any steam from one week to the next.
Our new series, "Highly Unlikely" started off great last week! It's a four-week series on the life of Moses and how God used him despite everything in his life.
Here was our setlist...
Closing - Todd
"Give Me Faith" is our theme chorus for this series on Moses. I truly believe it could have been his own personal worship song throughout his life! Christine did an amazing job on it!
I'm so proud of our team. We have gone away from a weekly Thursday rehearsal due to scheduling issues and availability of our team with work and family. We are a volunteer-driven ministry and it is ALWAYS my desire that ministry complement every other aspect of my team's life and not be a burden or obligation that fights the other areas. This is the first community that I have lived in that work schedules are not the typical 8-5 deal. To have a "required Thursday rehearsal" would eliminate most of my amazing musicians and singers.
However, everybody is really coming in knowing the material and executing at such a high level. There's no doubt that having everything clearly laid out in Planning Center for the team is the ONLY way this could happen. Sure, we have some weeks that we are not as tight as others, but I truly believe the team is doing such a great job and making every effort on the personal preparation side before Sunday. My drummer last week said it's the fear of NOT having the weekly rehearsal before Sunday morning that drives him to know his stuff!
Check out other great recaps of services all over the world here.
We wrapped up our Splendor Series this week with "The Benefit of God's Character." We focused on how God's faithfulness through the ages is what guarantees His faithfulness for all time. I really felt that during this time that we are making this transition into becoming Hilton Head Island Community Church, I want our worship times to be familiar and epic. Big songs that remind us of God's faithfulness and familiar to us so that we can sing them without worry about words or chords. The band had a great time this week, I sensed, because they were familiar with the material and it gave us the opportunity to linger in different places like during "Sing Sing Sing" and "Agnus Dei." The congregation sang so well and really participated! We were at capacity in our Worship Center in the 2nd service. It was really hot, but exciting! Here was our setlist... (Click on the song to take you to a youtube video and more info on dowloading it for yourself - that was for my @hhichurch peeps!)
Spoken Word - Written and Performed by Gloria Moss
You can watch Gloria's piece here...
It was a wonderful experience to have someone like Gloria who is gifted in writing and performing to deliver this piece. The video doesn't do it justice (shot on my iPhone!) but it was truly a beautiful way to wrap up this series. I wish this series was two or three weeks longer. It has been SUCH a wonderful series to pray through and plan with our team.