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Final Day @ NWLC10

I've learned one very powerful tool after attending conferences through the years...plan time to process what you have learned. I'm returning to the real world today and to a very busy schedule for the next couple of months so I played hooky from the sessions on Thursday so I could have the opportunity for some processing time. Some of these things relate to worship ministry and others are just things God revealed to me during the week.

1. My life is scheduled pretty much every minute of the day. Time management is the only way I can survive. However, in my scheduled time with God, I need to have a more spontaneous and Spirit-led flow to that time. I don't need to have any pre-conceived expectations other than knowing that I am spending time with my Heavenly Father. My goal-oriented, outcome-based, bottom-line driven motivation needs to be checked at the door! It's about being with Him...that's it.

2. I do not do ministry for Jesus- I do ministry with Jesus. Scotty Smith rang my bell on that one. It's walking and talking with Him as I work. It is being in constant communion with Him as I do ministry...side by side...hand in hand.

3. Church should be about Jesus. Our services should be about Jesus. If our attention is focused on the songs, the band, the lights, the video, the size of the crowd- we've missed it. It's about Jesus. Was Jesus celebrated? Did people meet Jesus? Did we worship Jesus? Was Jesus welcome? Did I have an encounter with Jesus as a worship leader? Was I prepared to hear from Jesus? These are the evaluation questions. It's about Jesus.

4. It is when I don't have the answers, when I can't plan my way through something, when I can't see what is coming that God finally gets to do His work in my life. As uncomfortable as that is for me, that is where He wants me right now.

The Song Discovery Team from WL Magazine, Starfield, and Israel Houghton closed out the evening. I have been a huge fan of Starfield and love their music. This was my first time seeing them live. They were up there in the top 3 or 4 for me this week. They were so transparent, enjoyed leading worship, great energy (they had us jumping!) and great songs of worship that focused us on Jesus and Him alone. Israel brought his team from Houston with him...yeah, I really don't have words to describe... From blues to jazz to reggae to was the most musically creative worship experience of the week. Israel's encouragement to us as worship leaders was the ending that I needed. He shared with how he understands the struggles of church ministry as a Worship Leader. He talked about how they are times that people can be critical and you don't feel encouraged (really?!?).But to all of that, He quoted from the prophetical source, Finding Nemo(ha!) Dori told Nemo..."keep swimming...keep swimming." As we sang the last line of "I have decided to follow Jesus," I just kept singing that line over and over,"No turning back, no turning back."

New responsibilities always bring new challenges and these past five months have been just that...a lot of challenges. But I am confident in the Creator's work in me and through me. One of my life's verses is Philippians 1:6. "Being confident in this very thing, that He who began a good work will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." There's no turning back for turning back.

"And if our God us for us, then who could ever stop us? And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?" - from Chris Tomlin/Matt Redman's song "Our God."

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 teach the truth of God's sing the truth of the redeeming power of Jesus in our lives. 

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

Opening night @ NWLC10

image1815513073.jpgI'm sitting here in my seat ready for the National Worship Leaders Conference to start. I'm overwhelmed at the diversity. From teenagers up to our seniors... men and women....multi-cultural...multi-denominational. The Worship Leader Conferences I attended 15 years ago were not like this...we've come a long way. It's hard for me to not get a lump in my throat watching these people enter the room. This is my tribe...worship leaders. I don't know them, but we are connected by the passion we share for God and leading others into His Presence.

Phil Wickham and Keith and Kristen Getty gave us such a gift tonight...the rare privilege of us as worship leaders to be lead in worship. Steve Berger, Pastor of Grace Chapel, challenged us to embrace suffering in life. Instead of asking "why," he says we should ask "why not?" To truly know Christ, we must embrace suffering as a normal part of our lives. The worship team from his church lead us in responsive worship after Steve's talk. They were my favorite part of the evening. The songs they chose so perfectly connected to Steve's challenge to us and that made the worship experience so much more fulfilling and enriching. I can't wait to see what today will hold!

For up-to-the-minute updates, follow me on twitter Here. Look for tweets with the hashtag #nwlc10 or #nwlc.

Sunday Recap

image344329135.jpgWe are kicking it Old School for the next few weeks @lowcountrycc. We started a five-week series on men and women from the Old Testament. We started with Ruth. It really spoke to me about the importance of individual responsibility in sharing what I have with those around me who are in need. Todd explained how "gleaning" in the fields was Israel's built-in answer to poverty- purposely allowing wheat to fall so others could come behind, like Ruth, and have food to eat. I am so excited that at LCC we are getting ready for our Make a Difference weekend in October, where we serve our community as well as provide free clothing through our Clothing Connection on both campuses. I love being a part of a church that makes this a priority every year!

Here was our setlist:

"Sing My Love" - Kim Walker Smith
"Sing to the King" - B. Foote
Welcome/ Announcements
"Hosanna" - Brooke Fraser
Video- Message Bumper
"How He Loves" - J.M. McMillan
"How Great Thou Art" - Chorus only

It worked really well coming out of "How He Loves" into "How Great Thou Art." The 6/8 thing worked very well and click, of course, helped with that whole transition. I do both of these songs in Gb (capo and a cut capo- 2nd fret- 1 fret between).

I am so proud of our 15 year old bass player, Macy. She has come so far in one year! Middle school orchestra definitely helped her have the ability to sight read (Thank you, band directors!) but I am so thrilled with her quickness in translating the material on the spot with very little rehearsal. It is quite a gift! Of course, her six year old sister is quite the singer already so there are some genetics going on there as well! Debbie did a fabulous job leading "Hosanna." It is such a joy to lead worship with her. Her talent is amazing, but it's her heart that I love the most. It was also a sad day as we said goodbye to our electric player, Michael, as he heads off to college. He has grown so much in the past year that he has played with us.

it is such an amazing privilege to see these students learn and grow as musicians and followers of Jesus. It is absolutely one of THE BEST parts of my job!

Read more setlists at The Worship Community

Can't wait for the NWLC!

NWLC10 web I am really excited about the opportunity to be a part of the NWLC. The deadline is TOMORROW for online registration. If you can't attend next week, I encourage you to join the online sessions for FREE by clicking HERE.

I am most excited to meet other worship leaders and hear what God is doing in their lives all over the world. That is truly my favorite aspect of attending conferences. It helps me to see the part that we all play together in the Kingdom of God. I am honored to be a blogger for the event and can't wait to be personally challenged and encouraged!

Sunday Recap

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We wrapped up our Esprit de Corps series this past Sunday. Here's a couple of shots of our Bluffton Campus stage from this series (yes, I am replacing the center bulb this week!) I led worship at our Hilton Head Island Campus and Pastor Jeff, our Lead Pastor, taught this week. Todd and Jeff are alternating campuses about every 8 weeks now which is such a great thing for both campuses.

Our room was packed at the HHI Campus. It was awesome! Here was our setlist:

"Happy Day" - Tim Hughes

"Desert Song" - Hillsongs


"We Crown You" - Fee/Kirkland

Video Bumper


"Your Name" - Baloche

"Our God" - Tomlin

Austin Dills, a college student at USC whose family just recently moved here full-time, played acoustic with us for the first time and did a great job especially on "Your Name." It was a nice "classical guitar" feel and  just beautiful. Randy, Sam, and Bill just brought it - like they always do! I love our band! It is such a joy to lead worship with friends and artists that love God and love using their gifts to worship Him.

See more setlists at The Worship Community!

Sunday Recap - Happy Birthday, America!

You never know on a holiday weekend what your attendance will be. As a Worship Leader and Programming Director, I make every effort on holiday weekends to make it an experience that is accessible to our LCC family as well as any 1st time attenders or family members of LCC members who are visiting from out of town. I led worship at the HHI Campus yesterday and it was standing room only!  Here was our setlist:

"America" (yes, Neil Diamond!) - Bill did an AMAZING job on this song and the band rocked!


Parent/Child Dedication  - This is such a cool thing that we do on holiday weekends. We schedule one family per service. We pray over the parents and the child and then we give every child a wood chest with their initial on it to keep their spiritual keepsakes as they grow. We include a letter for the child to open on the day that accept Jesus as their Savior as well as a Bible.

"Salvation is Here "  - Hillsongs

"All Because of Jesus" - Fee

Video Bumper

Message - Esprit de Corps - Part 4 - STAND

"Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)" - Sam on viola was terrific!

"Hear our Praises"  - Hillsongs

It was such a wonderful day of worship together. Check out our video bumper for this series. Jimmy hit it out of the park with this series! Each week, the word that describes each message appears under the Series title to make the bumper unique to each week. Thanks, Jimmy!

Join me for more Sunday Setlists at TheWorshipCommunity.Com.

Esprit de Corps - STAND from LowCountry Community Church on Vimeo.

All about Art

image1895481197.jpgSydney attended our 1st ever Art Camp at LowCountry-Bluffton this past week. Sydney has always loved art and creating with colors, glue, and of course, glitter! The Art Camp Staff knocked it out of the park! Mr.Vinnie, Mrs. Kari, Mrs. Jan, Mrs. Sherry and the rest of the team made it an unforgettable week for my 6 yr old. My favorite thing was her Art Journal where she had answered questions about herself and her family. The creative in me was bursting to see her write down her thoughts and express herself in this way. Thank you so much for giving my daughter such a great experience! If you attend the Bluffton Campus this Sunday, you can see two of the murals they created on display in the Worship Center.

On another artistic note, our Summer Art Show goes on display at both LCC campuses this Sunday. Check it out! A big thanks goes out to Jen Koch and all the contributors from both campuses. If you would like to contribute to our next show, contact
Jennifer Koch.

"Nature is a revelation of God; Art a revelation of man." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) U.S. poet.