What’s Your Strategy?

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Momentum in ministry is a really big deal. All it takes is one wrong turn and the sails deflate, the vision blurs and you and your team find yourselves in search of direction. This past week has been a strategy check for me. Even though I have 4 incredible music teams, a flourishing tech team, a great creative team, a new Music Director and a Partridge in a pear tree, I know that we are one mis-step away from losing all of this forward motion.

I’ve spent the last several days rethinking everything we do creatively at Sunnybrook. Even though we seem to be firing on all cylinders at the moment, what we do now may not be what’s best around the corner. Ministry, environment, technology, culture, perception…everything is changing and changing constantly. If we fail to strategize, we may fail on a much larger scale down the road.

For us, this kind of planning will take shape in specific ways…for you, it may flesh itself out differently. The important thing is that we strive to be ahead of the curve. We need to be leading the change instead of catching up to it all the time. More details coming soon.

Our New Worship Environment

One of my greatest passions is creating worship environments. I love creating those “encounter moments” where people find themselves drawn closer to God in worship. Last week, we launched the“Worship Cafe'” here at Sunnybrook and I couldn’t be happier with the results. The Cafe’ features table seating, free flowing coffee, new lighting and more of an “unplugged” musical atmosphere. The purpose behind the Cafe’ is really two fold:

1. We wanted to create a more intimate atmosphere for people to pursue God in worship

2. We wanted to create a smaller environment for those who struggle with the big crowds in the main auditorium.

So far, the crowds have been incredibly diverse. Young, old, traditional, contemporary, visitors, seekers and regular attenders have all been joining us in the Cafe’. Here are a few pics from yesterday’s gathering.

The New Guitar

A while back I posted here about my backup guitar getting smashed in a freak on-stage accident (see sad photo below)

                         (My trusted old backup)                                                         

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                           (My new best friend)

Since then, my trusted old Takamine G Series started to falter…so I found myself in the market for a new acoustic. Of course what I wanted and what I could afford were two completely different things. I toyed around with some Taylor’s, dreamed about a MacPherson and even considered another Takamine, but in the end I bought a Boulder Creek Solitaire – For one, it’s a stinking BEAUTIFUL guitar. It plays like and has a tone similar to a MacPherson, has incredible sustain and has the best intonation and action of any acoustic I’ve tried. Best of all, it comes with a sub $1,000 price tag!

Not to be a “pitchman” here, but if you’re in the market for a new acoustic…you’ve seriously got to check out Boulder Creek…it’s well worth it.

The 2nd Life of a Worship Song

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If you’re like me, you love new worship music. I love being able to keep our worship environments musically fresh. Lately however, I’ve been reintroducing some older songs that I thought I’d probably never do again. Here’s a list of tunes that I think are worth a 2nd look.

“Let My Words Be Few”– Matt Redman: This is a simple song with a life altering chorus.

“Better is One Day” – Matt Redman: It’s hard to find a better lyrical picture of scripture. It’s one of those songs that can be rearranged many different ways and still remain fresh.

“Still I Will Worship You”– Curt Coffield: This song’s been re-recorded by a few different people, but the original version recorded live at Willow Creek is still my favorite. Great song about worshipping God no matter what life throws at you.

“Your Love Is Extravegant” – Darrell Evans: Still one of the greatest pure worship tunes ever.

“Far Better” – Desperation Band: This often overlooked tune was on the first Desperation disc. Still my favorite tune these guys ever did.

Anyone else doing these are bringing back others? I’d love to hear what you’re doing.

I Can Hear the Rythm

Some of you have probably already seen this…it’s a long song, but well worth a listen. We’re doing a 5 minute version as our pre-service tune on Easter. Check it out.

Live This Weekend

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Live this weekend @ Sunnybrook:

Pre-Service: Today is the Day (instrumental) – Lincoln Brewster

MajesticLincoln Brewster

Salvation is HereHillsong

How Great is Our GodChris Tomlin

Special: You and MeLifehouse

Closing: Today is the DayLincoln Brewster

Back to Basics

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I’m part of what many call the “new worship” revolution. You know, the age of creating the “environment”, augmenting your sound with click tracks, animated lights, 5 screens, gobo’s, hazers, in-ear monitors and a partridge in a pear tree. Some people say it’s all “flash” or all for show, but I believe it’s all relevant and an incredible way to engage our culture and lead them towards the throne of God.

Tonight however, I had the opportunity to get back to basics. Because of our Christmas production, our midweek worship was relocated to the upstairs youth room. Granted, our youth room is a youth pastor’s dream, but tonight we ran the bare minimum. 1 acoustic, 3 singers and a percussion player. No clicks, no motion lighting, no “flash”. Just a stripped down, low-key time of worship. I found myself lost in the simplicity of the moment. Intimacy with God was tangible and real. In the smaller venue, I could hear each voice and see each expression lifted to God.

Now understand…I’m not about to pack away all the gear and go back to the campfire age…but it was nice for a moment, to connect with God in a simple and personal way.