It’s always funny to me that the busiest day of the week at WorshipTogether.com is Saturday. It just shows how many of us are scrambling to fill our setlist before Sunday morning. We all know that there is never enough time to plan for our services, so when I talk with worship pastors, I like to ask them how they plan their week.

On this week’s podcast, we talk to our good friend Chris McClarney. Besides being an artist and writer, McClarney is the worship pastor at one of the fastest growing churches in the country. We asked him to walk us through how he manages his week and his team.

Warning: His answer may give you heartburn.

 McClarney: “On Tuesday we’ll meet as a worship department to discuss what the weekend’s service will be about. Normally we leave with a rough setlist of maybe two or three songs.

But I’m the kind of guy who likes the idea of not exactly knowing what we’re going to do. (Which is probably making your listeners stress out.) But I enjoy the unknown. Obviously, I have the luxury of having amazing players at my church. When Stu G is playing guitar, you can basically do whatever you want.

So, Saturday night is when they finally get the set list.”

Jimi: “You’ve got to be kidding! Saturday night? Really?”

McClarney: Yeah.

Jimi: “OK. Everyone listening, do not take this advice!

So on Sunday morning, do you prep your team? Like, hey I might change something?”

McClarney: “No. Even after they have the setlist, I have the tendency to, mid-service, just decide that I want to do a different song. The reason is because I really enjoy that moment when nobody is looking at the chord chart. Nobody is looking at their iPad. Nobody is thinking about the riff their supposed to play. So all of a sudden, maybe for the first time all morning, everyone is genuinely engaged in creating worship.”

This pursuit is an interesting dichotomy. While most of us are using our limited resources to strive for perfection, McClarney (who may actually be able to achieve it) is deliberately creating controlled chaos. His goal isn’t perfection, but authentic worship.

We know that about 70% of worship leaders are part-time or volunteers. And most of those who are full-time pastors have many responsibilities beyond leading worship. There are going to be those weeks when you just don’t get to everything. Maybe you don’t have enough time to plan your set, rehearse, or pray. Maybe it’s in the times when all we can do is rely on God is when we see Him take over a service.

Have you ever had a week when your song selection had nothing to do with the sermon, yet the themes of the songs fit perfectly with what your pastor is preaching? It’s like the Holy Spirit has gone before us and taken care of what we couldn’t. It’s not always about picking the perfect song, it’s about serving God and his church with a good heart.

Praying over our worship services and planning for them is always good. But when we over plan and put all of the pressure on ourselves, we limit what we allow God to do. Let’s not forget that, at the end of the day, God understands our circumstances and our resources. In those moments of “controlled chaos,” let’s all relax and allow God to show up.

 

To listen to the full interview with Chris McClarney please visit your favorite podcast provider or listen to the Soundcloud embed below. 

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The Worship Together Podcast is an opportunity for our team to have honest conversations about the songs we sing and the way we lead. Join us weekly as we speak with some of the most instrumental artists, worship leaders, songwriters and pastors influencing the creative culture of the church today.

Finding Untapped Potential

September 28, 2017

How mentorship helped make Hillsong Young & Free’s Aodhan King the leader he is today.

By: Jimi Williams

This week on the Worship Together podcast, I sat down with Hillsong Young & Free, the band born out of the youth movement of Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia.

One thing that always strikes me when I talk with worship leaders is how almost all of them can point to someone who mentored them before their first album, their first leadership opportunity and before their talent had fully matured. It always reinforces to me the responsibility that the church has to raise up the next generation of leaders.

So when I recently sat down with Hillsong Young & Free’s Aodhan King I was curious to see if this was true in his life. At just 24 years old, Aodhan’s songs and band have launched a new sound in worship music. I asked him about his first time leading worship at Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia. It turns out that he didn’t have the most promising start.

 Aodhan: "I remember one of the first times that I sang. They got me to sing Amazing Grace. I was so nervous. I still get nervous but back then I was like paralyzed. So I had my eyes closed and was singing and then I opened my eyes and I realized that I was facing the back of the stage. I don't even know how I turned around. I felt so sick that I just ran off the stage. I went to the bathroom and was throwing up. Everyone in our group knows that story."

 Fortunately, Aodhan had people who came around him.

 Aodhan: "I had leaders like Dylan Thomas, who plays guitar for United. He was my connect group leader. Everyone in the group was kind of musical and it was just natural (to play music). It wasn't ever like we're going to meet at seven to eight to practice guitar and sing. It was just that we loved music. He loved music and I loved music, so it just happened naturally.

 I remember the first time I was on a platform. Dylan brought me up to play acoustic guitar. He was playing acoustic but he plugged in another one for me.

 They might not have had me up high in the front of house, but I was learning.

Those kind of natural things that happened and helped me get to where I am now.

 It definitely challenges me to be more like that. I think of the patience that they had with me. I knew how bad I was. I was really a horrible guitar player. I couldn't sing. Everything was bad. But the fact that he had the patience to do that, I  look back and I'm like, 'wow'."

To listen to the full interview with Hillsong Young & Free’s Aodhan King and Laura Toggs please visit your favorite podcast provider or listen to the Soundcloud embed below. 

 

SUBSCRIBE NOW ON ITUNES

The Worship Together Podcast is an opportunity for our team to have honest conversations about the songs we sing and the way we lead. Join us weekly as we speak with some of the most instrumental artists, worship leaders, songwriters and pastors influencing the creative culture of the church today.

Today, we are excited to introduce the Worship Together Podcast.

Each week our team will have honest conversations about the songs we sing and the way we lead. Join us weekly as we speak with some of the most instrumental artists, worship leaders, songwriters and pastors influencing the creative culture of the church today.

This week in our inaugural episode, Jimi Williams sits down with one of the most unique and recognizable voices in worship music, Kim Walker-Smith. Kim gives listeners a glimpse of her journey with God over the past few years and describes what it’s like to balance her ministry with her personal life.

Continue Reading...

Kim Walker-Smith's new album, On My Side, is out today and we couldn't be more excited to share it with you.  In celebration of her release, we're providing free resources for Throne Room. Get a free chart + listen to the New Song Cafe to hear an exclusive acoustic performance and learn the song below*. 

Song Resources

Throne Room*

Brave Surrender

Glimpse

I Know*

Awaken Love*

Just One Touch

You Define Me

Rise

Fresh Outpouring*

Blessings,

The Worship Together Team

Shame is much easier to wear than grace. Shame is what we know. We’re accustomed to its fit, its feel. We never seem to be enough. We are always falling short. And so we move through life weighed down by an unnecessary burden. 

 

On the hill of Calvary

The light of all the world

With the world on his shoulders

The weight of all our shame

 

Shame takes over whenever we lose sight of the cross. Without the cross, our sin defines us. No matter how long you’ve been a believer in Jesus Christ, the temptation to go back to our old way remains, the way of the law.

We like the law because it gives us a sense that we’re earning our keep. Follow these rules, and you’re safe. Break them, and you’ve failed. But the gospel flips this legalistic thinking upside-down. “Therefore,” writes Paul in Romans, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son” (Rom. 8:1-3).

When Jesus died on the cross on Calvary, he set us free from sin and shame. Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

 

By his wounds I am set free

By his blood I’ve been redeemed

The great divide he crossed for me

Oh, praise the God of Calvary

 

By his wounds we were healed, and we are now a new creation, children of a God who bridged the divide between us with his son Jesus. Let’s exchange our clothes of shame and be clothed in grace instead. Walking and living in this gift given to us by the God of Calvary.

 

"God Of Calvary" by Chris Tomlin

- Devotional by Andrea Lucado

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