Lessons from Leading Praise: More than Words

I have learned an important lesson regarding choosing praise sets – though the words are very, very important, I need to think about more than just the words when I prepare a set.

Potential problems that can happen if I only think about the words:

1) a fun rock-style song followed by a Celtic-style song followed by a somber hymn

2) 3 or 4 songs that are all difficult to play and all the instrumentalists (including myself) are wondering why we decided to play so many difficult songs at one time

3) 3 or 4 really boring sounding songs – words might be great, but everyone wants to go to sleep

Those are just some examples. I think this lesson became really clear for me one Sunday during run-through when we were working on “In Christ Alone” – the one that goes – “In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song…” As we were practicing I just realized, “um, this song is kind of difficult to play. Are we together or all off-beat? Do we have any dynamics going on? Etc.” And I just felt like, “wow, I hope we make it through today’s set.”

So, after that weekend, as much as I might really like the lyrics of a song, I look at the bigger picture and look at other factors – how it sounds musically, how it will be for us instrumentally, how it fits with the other songs, etc.

Susan IskandarGracepoint Hsinchu Taiwan Worship Leader

Worship Team Facts: In-Ear Monitors

shureEver wonder why the Gracepoint Fellowship Church praise band sometimes looks like secret service agents with those headphones sticking out of one ear? If you’ve never seen them then you haven’t been looking closely and that’s good because you should be focusing on praising God anyways! 🙂 Anyhow, the in ear monitors are basically as is described. Instead of the typical monitors, speakers that sit in front of the stage, we use wireless packs which our headphones plug into. The music is now plugged directly into our ears and this allows the singers and instrumentalists to hear ourselves while on stage. The coolest part about it is that we can choose to turn up or down whatever instrument or other singers in the band. It’s like creating my own personal mix on Sundays!

Gracepoint Berkeley – Home Worship Services

Summer has arrived and home worship services are now in full swing here at Gracepoint Berkeley, where every Sunday, groups of 30-50 people are squeezing into our members’ homes around Alameda to meet for worship service.

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What this means for Gracepoint worship is that each home worship group, using whatever talent they have, is basically learning to lead praise at a small church this summer! No more pro-presenter, no more awesome stage design, and no more cool moving lights. Enter the bongo drum, shaker, and acoustic guitar, like Steven and Joe did this past week at their Koinonia home worship service.

So come join us at one of our many locations this summer to worship in our new, yet old-school, worship format. Who knows, maybe we’ll even bring back the overhead projector and handwritten transparencies!

For those who have been attending our home worship services, comment here on how they’ve been going!

Tutorial: Where the Love Lasts Forever – Hillsong United

Here is Mike from the Gracepoint Fellowship Church Berkeley Worship Team teaching Where the Love Lasts Forever by Hillsong United.

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Praise Leader in Training…

For your enjoyment, looks like he’s going to be just like his dad! Feel free to Comment!

Bittersweet Symphony & Amazing Grace Compilation

The opening video from Hillsongs 2007 Conference. It’s creative and very moving, the build from bittersweet symphony to Amazing Grace w/ Chris Tomlin is pretty awesome…enjoy!

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Tutorial: Mighty to Save – Hillsong United

Short electric guitar tutorial by Gracepoint Fellowship Church’s Worship Team on how to play Mighty to Save by Hillsong United

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Heart of Worship: Story behind the song

Here’s something I recently learned about Matt Redman’s song “Heart of Worship”. It’s a very moving and powerful song but the story behind it is even more amazing. You can read more about in an article here.

To summarize, the pastor of Matt Redman’s church decided the praise and worship time’s were losing their meaning and decided to remove the instruments and sounds system. They spent a period of time where the praise was purely voices, no band, no sound, just acapella. Though different and uncomfortable at first, it actually became a much more worshipful experience as the congregation no longer became distracted by the music, instruments, and sound but focused purely on the words.

This has been something I’ve always tried to do when I sing praise and one of the main things I preached to my band in Acts2fellowship Gold. What makes our worship times on Fridays and Sundays different from any other “rock” band out there are the words that we sing. Our words have meaning, they define who we are, who our God is and that should be our goal during times of praise. It’s not to sing nice rockin’ songs but the focus should be the words and letting that be tied to our desire to praise and worship God.

Dont’ get me wrong now, I’m not saying we lose our band because I love having praise! My prayer is that as a praise leader I’m able to help lead the congregation in a time of worship where the words we sing can connect with our hearts.

I’ll just end this post with some lyrics from the song…

When the music fades, all is stripped away, and I simply come

Longing just to bring something that’s of worth that will bless your heart…

I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You, Jesus


You can listen to the song here:

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Ander Chen – Acts2fellowship Gold Worship Leader

MYT 2009: Want to learn guitar? bass? electric?

musicSign up for Gracepoint Fellowship Church’s 2009 MYT: Multiply Your Talents courses! Hurry, deadline to sign up is May 27th!

Check sign ups for the latest courses!

    Multiply Your Talents Sign Ups

    Tutorial: From the Inside Out – Hillsong United

    Want to learn how to play From the Inside Out by Hillsong United on the electric guitar? Well our electric guitarist here at Gracepoint Fellowship Church, Mike put together a short tutorial to show you how, enjoy!

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