Posts Tagged church music

Come to #MusiCon15

simple_graphicNew City Music Conference 2015 is shaping up. We are getting registrations slowly but I fully expect 2/3 of the conference to register at the last minute. I’m so thrilled to have our line up of speakers and breakout leaders. It seems to get better and better every time we pull one of these together. If you haven’t done it yet, please check out the conference details and register at

Carrie Jones is the conference director this time. Carrie was involved in the 2011 conference we had here in St. Louis as the graphic designer and she created the conference notebook which was so full of information and resources that people wanted to get the notebook even though they couldn’t attend the conference. Carrie is also a long time member of NCF (@NCFStLouis) and as well as a highly qualified musician on our team.

The conference steering committee was made up of myself (@kirkwardmusic), my dad (@jcalvinward), and my long time friend, Michelle Higgins (@fast_foodie). We went out to lunch when my dad was here in March and hammered out the rough outline of who and what will be featured at this year’s conference.

I hope that you consider coming. If you are from the local region, we would love to meet you or connect again with you to be able to encourage each other in the struggle. If you are from out of town, we would to meet and connect as well and to hear what is going on in other communities. So much has happened in our nation this year that has served to break down our facades and to reveal the areas where we are divided and broken. The gospel has the power to heal communities when it is planted in soil that will let it thrive and produce fruit. Let’s live the gospel of reconciliation and justice that is available to us through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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New City Music Conference 2015 in St Louis MO July 23-26

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Save the Date: August 9, 2014

SAVE THE DATE // August 9, 2014 in Saint Louis

Who: Worship musicians, leaders, and volunteers

What: resource exchange, training, praise, and fellowship

When: Saturday August 9 2014, Daytime workshops ($5 for participants) // Evening concert event open to the public

Why: worship teams from various churches don’t normally have the chance to gather in the same place to be participate in worship events rather than direct them. We will learn together, encourage each other, and share our experiences.

organized by New City Fellowship and South City Church
Contact: //

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Church Musician “Madlibs”

The following is a fairly typical experience for most of us who serve as musicians in the church:

This weekend, I was approached by one of the ____________(adjective) members of our congregation. They loved the number of _____________(genre) style songs we sing but they wished that there were more__________(genre) style songs. This made me feel _________(emotion) despite the fact that the worship that Sunday made me feel __________(emotion).

When I came in to work that week, the pastor told me that music was really ______________(adjective) and the Spirit really ____________(past-tense verb) but  he received an email from a __________(adjective) person who thought that the music was too _______________(adjective). I ___________(adverb) thanked him for this feedback and then when he left the office I ________(adverb) closed the door and said ___________(expletive).

At rehearsal that Saturday, most of the volunteers were __________(adjective) but some were__________(adjective). This made me feel________________(emotion) and I ___________(adverb) reminded them that rehearsal was _____________(adjective). When I went home to my _________(adjective) family  that afternoon, I felt very __________(emotion) and was not very _____________(adjective) to them as a result.

By the time Sunday morning came back around, I was ready to _____________(verb) and couldn’t contain my ______________(emotion). If you had asked me that morning, I would have said that my church is ________________(adjective) and that Jesus is _____________(adjective).

Fellow church musicians, how would you fill out this madlib this week? Is there any doubt that Spiritual warfare is a REAL struggle for church musicians and volunteers? When you get to the final sentence, what is your state of mind? Who is filling in the blanks for you? The blanks will be filled in by either the promises of God and the fruit of His Spirit or by the lies of the flesh, the devil and the world. Lord, lead us!


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Random 2013 Music Conference Highlights

Once again, I’m riding high in the fog of anther encouraging, exciting, emotional and (what’s another ‘e’ word?) conference.

I was struck by several things that come to in no particular order:

The UNbroken chain of mentoring. Karl and Karen Ellis shared in their talk about the “broken chain of mentoring,” which was the rift between the Boomers and the generation before it which has also carried over into the GenX and Millennials. I can see that problem and relate to it, but I was struck at our conference with how many people were there who HAD been mentored and who were following in their mentor’s footsteps. I talked with so many people who I had grown up with or had seen come-of-age at New City Fellowship who were now in active leadership roles in other ministries. It made me thankful for the grace of God working in my life to provide me with mentors who have shaped me, and it made me ask myself who is being mentored by me right now.

New City Fellowship is not the inventor or patent-holder of reconciliation, justice or the kingdom. We can get myopic in our circles about what NCF is doing. We can loose sight of the big picture of how the Spirit of God moves across the face of the earth in the hearts of people all over the world. The conference over and over again reveals to me how small I am in the movement of the kingdom and also how powerful the undercurrent of the kingdom is in the church. I was so glad to meet other Christian musicians who are wrestling with the same questions and desires that I am and who came to those conclusions from entirely different experiences.  It reveals that there is some unseen personality behind all this guiding and directing the development of the church.

There’s too much good music out there. So many songs, so little time. (The same can be said for new books).

God likes to spread his gifted people around. I met and played with so many skilled musicians. It makes me feel a little sad that we can’t all be together in one church to really have a “Dream Team” group of musicians. Of course, I know that if we did that, it would greatly reduce our effectiveness as church musicians. The kingdom calls us to “spread our gifts abroad” and not to consolidate them.

There’s a deep thirst in the church for songs that tell the full gospel in a musical language that invites us to sing. I wrote a theme song for the  conference and it’s reception by the folks there FAR exceeded my expectations. I think that it tapped in on the need for songs to express aspects of the gospel that are missing from the mainstream.

My wife is awesome. I just want to throw that in there.


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Sunday Set List for August 12, 2012

God Is Good – Regina Bell

Jesus Messiah – Tomlin

No Other Name (Nombre No Hay)– Freddy Rodriguez

Ni Yesu Ni Yesu – from Congo in Swahili

Deep Cries Out – William Matthews (our summer Children’s Program Band is sharing this song)

Jesus Is On The Mainline – traditional gospel tune

I Know It Was The Blood – traditional gospel tune


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Question for Worship Leaders: Are you always on the stage?

One of my coworkers asked me yesterday if I had ever done a Sunday where I was not on the stage. I have vacation Sundays – 4 a year, but the other 48 Sundays I am playing the guitar and leading the singing. She was wondering if it would help with leadership development as well as my personal worship if I spent a few Sundays sitting with my family in the worship.

I’m wondering if any of the blog readers out there are also professional worship leaders who had attempted this and would have any thoughts.

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This makes my day

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I’m not motivated.

In the bleak midwinter…I’m back in the office without an once of motivation to get to work. I have a virtual stack of emails to sort through, read and respond. I have 2 months of Sundays to create assignments. I have a couple of Sundays to plan worship services for. I have a new choir season to plan and purchase resources for. We are hosting the Reconciliation and Justice Conference here in 4 weeks. I have a 3 foot high stack of Christmas music that needs to be sorted and filed. Basically I have lots to do and no motivation to do it. 

On the up side, I got a new guitar  this morning. Someone donated it to Steve St Pierre and he passed it on to me. Apparently, it was found in the dumpster behind a Toys R Us. It doesn’t play at all, but check out the paint job – pink with flames


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