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Communication Quotes

Posted on Mar 4, 2009 in Leadership

In light of our podcast on communication, I thought I would share some quotes on communication with you:

“Developing Excellent Communication skills is absolutely essential to effective leadership. The Leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.” – Gilbert Amelio

“Educators take something simple and make it complicated. Communicators take something complicated and make it simple.” – John C. Maxwell

“A Leader must get things done through others, therefore the leader must have the ability to inspire and motivate, guide and direct, and listen. It’s only through communication that the leader is able to cause others to internalize his or her vision and implement it.” – Danto Manquez Jr.

I don’t know about you, but I really connect with these quotes. Maybe you’re a great communicator by nature, and you don’t have to worry too much about how you communicate, but for me, these quotes really help me think about how I can be more intentional about my communication and what the end goal/result of my communication should be: “Simply inspiring people to internalize and implement the vision.”

Your Word is Alive – Kevin Kruse Original Song

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 in Songwriting

I wrote this song in response to a sermon series we’re going through on the book of Hebrews. As I was reflecting on Hebrews 4, I was struck with the imagery in verse 12 about how the Word of God is active, and living, and powerful. I couldn’t shake that idea of His Word changing us and our response to that truth.

Out of that idea I started pulling images, ideas, and verses from the book of Hebrews to create a song that I felt embodied our response to who God is and how His Word impacts us. His redemption, His grace, His sovereignty, boldly approaching Him, looking up, knowing the God who knows us;these are all ideas from the book of Hebrews… and our response is to worship the King!

This recording is taken straight from our Sunday worship service (i.e. it’s just a board feed!) I’m on piano and lead vocals; there is also bass, electric, and acoustic guitar and some alto vocals. And even though you can’t here it, there are drums

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Your Word is Alive (chart

Inspiration

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 in Uncategorized

We have a Saturday Night Service. This last Saturday night was February 14th. Know where I’m going? No, I’m not talking about the service we did, I’m talking about missing getting spend Valentine’s Day with my sweetheart. So, since we couldn’t do anything on Valentine’s day, we went out on Monday Night, the 16th instead, and it was a good night.

Almost 7 years ago, my wife & I had our first date. It was at a little place called Jazz de Opus and the performer that night (and the reason we went there) was Dan Balmer. So, on Monday night, after not having been back in quite a while we went to see Dan Balmer at Jimmy Maks (Jazz de Opus has closed and last I heard was a Gay mens club.) Not only was this a Romantic experience for my wife & I, it was an inspiring night for me as a musician.

The Dan Balmer Trio consists of Dan Balmer who plays Electric, George Mitchell who plays keys & bass, and a drummer (the drummer changes from time to time, though he recorded an album with Matt Wilson). Dan also has another group, Go By Train which plays more of a fusion-esque Jazz as opposed to the the Dan Balmer Trio.

My friend Mike introduced me to Dan Balmer a while ago, and Dan has since become my favorite musical group. My favorite playlist in my iTunes is “Dan Balmer.”

Why such an affinity? (As I’m writing this, I’m hoping you’re not thinking I’m some kind of weirdo.) It’s because of the music. The songs he writes and plays are the whole package. They speak volumes without saying a word. Dan’s extraordinary skills make the music. I’ve heard many great musicians, many who have a great technical skill, others who have a great feel. Dan is at the top of both scales.

Every time I listen to his music, I’m drawn in. He’s not just technically amazing, but he’s musically astounding. All of this taken into account, you might imagine he’d have an ego as large as his skill, however, the opposite is true. He’s humble. Of all the musicians I’ve seen and heard, if any have a right to brag, it’s him and he doesn’t.

Every time I see him live, I leave inspired to improve the skills I’ve been given by our creator in a way that no other music I listen to can do. That’s one of the things that amazes me, he’s a guitarist and I’m a pianist and still I find him inspiring. I do have to say that I find George Mitchell quite inspiring as well, but that’s a differnet post.

All that aside, I have to ask you: where do you go for inspiration? Do you have an artist you can go to that can take your dreams of your music to places no other music can do? Is there an artist in your life that not only inspires you in terms of ability and writing, but in their attitude? If not, borrow mine for a while and give Dan a try. You can buy his albums on iTunes or through his website. I don’t think you’ll be dissapointed.

The iPod as a worship tool

Posted on Feb 13, 2009 in Tech

Today I wanted to write about a tech tool that I use quite often, the iPod. Of course, not everybody has an ipod, some have other brands of mp3 players, some use CD’s etc.

Here’s why I use an ipod (or any mp3 player) instead of CD’s.

First, it’s easier to go through a lot of songs. What I used to do was buy a bunch of CD’s, rip them to mp3’s and then load them on my computer. Lately I’ve been buying albums on iTunes. I don’t have to keep a whole stack of CD’s in my car. I don’t have to keep messing with swapping the CD’s and keep them all in their correct cases.

Second, it’s easier to cut out the songs that I don’t think are going to work. Once I’ve listened to all the songs and I’ve started to eliminate some of the songs that aren’t going to work, all I have to do is remove them from the playlist. I don’t have to keep skipping past the songs that we aren’t going to use, I can focus completely on the songs we might use.

Thirdly, once I have the gotten the songs down to the list that I’m actually going to use, I have a playlist that I can use to learn the songs, use in rehearsals, etc.

For me, and iPod really simplifies the whole process of choosing new worship songs for our church, if you haven’t used yours in this way, I’d really encourage you to think about starting.

Creativity Takes Patience, Silence, Time, and …

Posted on Feb 9, 2009 in Creativity, Worship Ministry

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Creativity lately. I know that many of you are a part of creative teams at your churches and you all have your own process for how come to your end result. I’ve been wanting to write what I know about how to utilize creativity in the local church, and have had trouble narrowing down the ideas, so I just decided to start writing and work it out along the way.

First, let’s start by defining what a Creative Team is (and isn’t). I’ve been doing a lot of research on other creative teams out there, and what I’ve found is that there are two types of creative teams – at least the term gets used in these two ways quite regularly. In the first it is used to describe a team of people who do the creative stuff. They’re the dancers, singers, actors, etc. This is NOT the type of creative team I will be discussing. The type of creative team I will be talking about is the group of people who meet to brainstorm creative ideas about a sermon or sermon series and creative worship elements that will enhance the point of the sermon or sermon series.

With that out of the way, I want to talk about one of the biggest hindrances to the success of a creative team – Patience. I haven’t talked with a ton of people who have been doing this, but one of the common threads in these discussions seems to be that the ideas just don’t seem to come. It seems, in our culture, we can’t be satisified unless we get the resolution we’re looking for immediately. It’s this desire that forces us to settle for the lesser creative ideas and not plow through to find the absolute best ones.

It’s like that at times – plowing. The old school kind, you know using horses or mules, etc. Coming to the best idea can be a lot of hard work and take a lot of time.

So, in your meetings, do everything you can to excercise patience. Wait. Don’t get in a hurry (if you can help it).

Also, don’t be afraid of the silence. People need time to think. You need time to think. Most people (men and women) can’t think their best if someone is always talking. Stop talking. Encourage the silence. This is the hard part, ask others to be silent. If you have someone on your team who jeopardizes the conversation, talk the him/her in private and ask them to try to allow more time for others to talk.

Along with patience and silence you need time. It’s different than patience. You need to have enough notice on what the sermon or sermon series is going to be that you don’t have to be rushed to come up with something. You’ll never get the good stuff that way. This will be something that you’ll have to work with your Senior Pastor on. It might be a hard conversation, but it’s absolutely necessary. If you’re not far enough out in advance, you’ll always be behind the eight ball, only able to do what you can accomplish at the last minute. You’ll also be frustrated. You’ll come up with really good ideas, where if you had just a couple more weeks you could pull off the really good idea, but because the weekend is only days away you’re forced to do what you can not what you could.

One last though is that your patience and time may need to span multiple meetings. (If you’re planning far enough out) you don’t need to feel like you have to come up with the final idea at this week’s meeting. One of the best creative ideas a team I was working with came as the result of four weeks worth of meetings. It won’t always take a long time, but it might. You need to give yourself the time for it to take time. You need to give yourself permission to not make a decision right away. Let it simmer in your brains for a week or two. Then after the whole team has had time to process the idea, make a decision as a team on what the best idea is.

That’s it for the first round. There’s plenty more to come, stay tuned!

5 Elements of a great song – Chris from Canada

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 in Creativity, Songwriting

I just found a great article over on Chris’s page.

Here’s the link: http://www.chrisfromcanada.com/?p=1033

Here are some of the highlights from the article:

  • 12:37 Chris – 5 Elements of a Great Song – #1 Define Your Purpose
  • 12:38 Chris – ‘Songs that have universal appeal fall in to that trap. They have no specific purpose and no specific meaning.’
  • 12:40 Chris – Lots of worship songs are filled with phrases that have worked really well in other worship songs.
  • 12:40 Chris – ‘What is my purpose here? Is this how I would talk with someone I love? It this really how I talk or am I treating people like cattle?’
  • 12:43 Chris – Example of specific songs with specific purpose – Heart of Worship by Matt Redman, God of Justice by Tim Hughes.
  • 12:44 Chris – 5 Elements of a Great Song – #2 Eight Seconds
  • 12:44 Chris – ‘Whether it’s A&R or a congregation, you don’t have more than about eight seconds to get them engaged.’
  • 12:47 Chris – ‘Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.’
  • 12:49 Chris – 5 Elements of a Great Song – #3 Show and Tell
  • 12:49 Chris – ‘Communicate the image by telling them what it is.. but you also have to provide them with a picture, something they can see, something that they can put in context.’
  • 12:50 Chris – Don’t go overboard on the pictures – make sure part of the song also TELLS the meaning of the song.
  • 12:51 Chris – Examples of songs that show and tell – East to West by Casting Crowns, One by U2.
  • 12:53 Chris – 5 Elements of a Great Song – #4 Strong Lyric and Melodic Hook
  • 12:53 Chris – ‘If it’s not entertaining or captivating or interesting you’ve missed your point.’
  • 12:54 Chris – ‘We’re all free – create whatever you have to create. But if we want to be better communicators with our music we have to do things that are captivating and interesting.’
  • 12:55 Chris – ‘Lyrically, people just get lazy. Melodically, you’re just not daring enough.’
  • 12:58 Chris – Sound of Your Name by Above the Golden State, Crazy Beautiful by Chasen.
  • 13:00 Chris – Weave hooks through different sections of the songs.
  • 13:01 Chris – 5 Elements of a Great Song – #5 Critique and Re-Write
  • 13:01 Chris – ‘When you co-write, critiquing happens in real-time.’
  • 13:02 Chris – ‘I think it’s important that you let the song happen. Give the song an opportunity to be birthed.’
  • 13:04 Chris – ‘Don’t do critique and re-writing right away. It’s a creative thing and you need to give it time before you can come back to it with a little more objectivity.’
  • 13:04 Chris – Listening to the first two versions and then the final take of Great Things by Matt Maher.
  • 13:07 Chris – ‘A melody is good if you can remember it after going for a drive and spending the day at work.’
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