Have Fun

Really, really easy to forget this. Yes, there’s a lot to think about, and yes, it’s all good stuff to think about (especially if you’re thinking about delay and buying more of it). And yes, as 2 Samuel points out, sometimes worship involves sacrifice. But let’s face it……we get to bare our hearts and souls and just completely drive out (notice I said ‘drive’, not ‘rock’, hehehe) on our instruments and voices, connecting with the One who literally died for us.

And I readily agree that there are times when that is not fun. There’s a time for everything, and sometimes it’s time to serve through struggle. And of course it needs to be balanced with service, and making sure the worship set isn’t just one long, self-indulgent solo, tone quest, or Capitol Records audition (because of course they’re always in the audience, just hoping against hope to hear a talent like yours), because that’s what’s ‘fun’ for you. But after we’ve balanced all that out…I’m thinking this should be some of the most fun we have all week. Not everyone gets to turn on their Tim pedal for God.

Splendid.
Karl.

P.S. I sold my new Matchless.

No…I didn’t. I need to have something to hug at night while I sleep. I literally tried to kiss the soundwaves that were emanating from it as I played it this weekend. (And that’s not a lie. Although…I did kind of do it just so I could write that here.) But seriously…did any of you read that I was selling it and go, ‘What?!’ No. You didn’t. You probably just said something like, ‘Figures.’ Stupid guitarists.

0 thoughts on “Have Fun

  1. Yes! My friend was telling me about a rather unpleasant experience with his worship leader today and I just wondered where the fun was. How can we stand, stony-faced, while we sing “No One Like You” or how can we stand motionless while singing “Dancing Generation”? I can’t do it, man. I stood with the reserved bassist head-bob for too long. The only reason I’m still on the stage and not running around the sanctuary is because I’m too poor (and too much of a tone snob) for a wireless unit.

    Also, when I read the post-script, I read it with a glint of doubt.

  2. Karl – when I saw “I sold the new matchless” I was two clicks away from deleting the bookmark. I had, I’m sorry to say but for the briefest flicker of a moment, lost my faith in you. I’m sorry about that.

    I had huge fun playing in the worship today. I actually got to play open G slide on two of the songs. It was grindy and slidy. Huge fun. We also did a special that was real slow and low – a real minory bluesy number that made you want to snap your fingers on the 2 & 4. It was “Working on a Building” by the Cowboy Junkies. Again, Great fun.

    So yeah – it ought to be fun. We ought to be smiling and dancing.

    But running around with a wireless unit? Do you know what that does to your tone???

  3. “Not everyone gets to turn on their Tim pedal for God.”

    Blasphemous.

    Ha! I knew you wouldn’t sell your Matchless, mostly because we haven’t heard your Dumble vs Two Rock shootout yet.

    I played lead today, and it was real fun! I tried my best to serve the music and the worship. I played direct through in ears, but I did use the Tim! It was alot of fun, and I think it went well. I didn’t really get much feedback, so I guess they didn’t like it.

    I pretty much played rhythm and my tired repetitive blues licks for fills. I had fun, and had a minimum of mistakes.

    Nate

  4. I played yesterday too…had fun and gave God the credit. I’ll be looking forward to your Two Rock shootout…you are so wealthy, you must have about 10 amps just sitting around gathering dust! Ha!

    rob

  5. Colty–right on! I totally hear ya! Every once in a while, I guess it’s understandable to have a bad week. But for the most part, this stuff is really, really fun!

    And nice to know I’ve sill got at least a smidgeon of credibility…that you didn’t believe me right off. hehehe

    Tom–lol Well, if that day ever comes, I’m deleting myself from my own bookmarks. :) (Don’t hold me to that.) hehe

    And do you have recordings of those songs? Sounds way fun!!

    Good form on the wirleess comment. haha

    Nate–sometimes no feedback means you blended well with the rest of the music. Could be a good thing! Using the Tim is always a good thing! ;)

    And keep checking back for the Two Rock/Dumble shootout. For like, the next 20 years. I don’t even have a line of credit big enough to even charge a Dumble! lol The used prices on those just blow me away! And I know I’m not nearly famous enough to have Alexander build me one. My blog needs to be waaaaay more controversial for that to happen. ;) Or Coldplay needs to call. I’m still waiting!! hehe

    Robin–awesome!!

    And ya…my ‘wealth’ consists of selling the gear I bought when I was a single bachelor with two jobs because no girls would go out with me, in order to fund new purchases. So a Dumble……well……lol, like I said above, when Coldplay calls.

    Whoa, I just thought about this. I could sell my entire rig, my car and my wife’s car, all our furniture, save on rent by breaking our apartment lease and living under the overpass, and I still wouldn’t be able to buy a Dumble. Now that is scary!! haha But not necessarily unattainable…………just kidding! Just kidding. Maybe a little…

    Kenrick–props. Absolutely.

  6. you are allowed to sell your new matchless… as long as you give me a good deal. ;-)

    speaking of Tim pedals… I expect mine any day now. Paul C shipped it last week. It’s been a long time (9 months), but hopefully worth the wait. I ordered mine with the toggles, so it can do asymmetrical clipping.

    But my cmatmods signa drive has been getting a ton of playing time lately. I’ve been using it much more than the zen, which is weird because i was on the verge of selling the signa drive a couple months ago…

  7. Hey Karl, I’ll try to get a recording to you. I have the mp3 of the actual song (when I say actual, I mean by the Cowboy Junkies) but I’ll try to get a copy of what we did from our sound guy.
    -Tom

  8. Last week of worship was a struggle. Everything turned out all right because God is good but….it was tough. The pastor thought it was the best worship that we’ve had so far….hmmm…go figure.

    • Ohhhhh that happens to me all the time. It will be when I feel that my tone is awful, I’m playing off time, Hitting wrong chords and notes. Coming in on the quiet part with a super loud power chord. A song will have ended and I’ll accidentally pluck a string on my shirt button and of course my delay will be set to some super long echo. Heck – even played in the wrong key.

      It’s those Sundays when someone will inevitably come up to me and say how moved they were and how mighty the spirit was and how they felt the presence of the coming kingdom yada yada yada…

      I just smile and nod.

    • That God does great things through our frailty is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind with respective to being a worship musician. Whether we play technically brilliant or not is irrelevant. All that matters is that our respective community of believers were led to realize they’re (not only at this moment, but always) in the presence of the Lord.

      That being said, I’m not suggesting that my statement above is a license to just ‘throw any old thing out there without taking time to prepare’. God is deserving of excellence, which for our worship ministry, we define as “striving to do the best with what God has given us.”

      Our devotion to the rehearsal time is not about ensuring we look and sound good as a band; it’s about ensuring that nothing on our part (mis-played note or chord; slipped the beat, etc.) causes our folks to disengage from the worship experience.

      That’s not saying that we won’t make mistakes, because we will. But I have discovered the truth of something the Darlene Zschech mentions in her book from a few years ago, “Extravagant Worship”. God also works through the mistakes their bands make (hard to believe the Hillsong folks occasionally have glitches, isn’t it?). On those occasions where the ‘train came off the tracks’ and they’ve had to restart a song, if anything those experiences have served to further increase the congregation’s identification with the genuineness and authenticity of their worship teams.

      • Well I’m a post behind, so maybe no one will read this … but I came across a quote in a book I’ve been reading (ok book I have to read for class … same thing, right?) that made me kinda rethink the way I relate to leading worship:

        “… unlike the composer or playwright, the worship planner is not the ultimate creator of the artistic product. Instead, the Holy Spirit is the director of true worship. The worship planner’s creativity lies in discerning the movement of the Spirit, shaping the elements, and providing structure that allows the congregation to respond to God’s revelation.”

        The difference between thinking of our music as the bridge connecting (an active idea) the congregation to God and thinking of our music as the context (passive) within which the Spirit connects (active) the congregation to God is both tiny and huge.

        I dunno … I don’t think I’m doing the idea justice and I’m feeling preachy … and I hate feeling preachy. Makes me want to go take a hot shower …

  9. Ryan–lol If I ever do, I will, brother! And congrats on the Tim. Life-changing. hehe And I’m so the same way with pedals. Such a sickness. lol

    Tom–right on! Thanks, bro!

    Elliot–lol The shootout is coming! ;)

    Mark & Tom–ya, God is good that way. Although sometimes I’m not sure if maybe on the days I suck, I’m just more in tune to anything good somebody says, because I need it! lol or maybe they’re just trying to make us feel better. hehehe Either way, it’s nice when God does what He wants, in spite of us. :)

  10. When we are at what we think is our worst…. that is when He is made strong…

    Can anyone play a worship service without a single flub? With rotating teams it is very difficult to do this.

    Last Sunday I was going to commit to playing without any music in front of me…need I write more? Anyway…same thing happens … you hear it was awesome, God was moving, the Spirit touched me….and I am thinking jeesh I thought I sucked, tone was all wrong, forgetting bridge chords…

  11. Karl: I completely agree. Worship can be a LOT of fun. Why do we think we need to always worship our Lord while standing in one place stock still no expressions on our face ?

    Fortunately I play in a pentacostal church and they are used to seeing lots of emotion during any service. So my occasional lapses of ‘toneface’ and bouncing around don’t bother them too much!

  12. Mark–great comment! Especially the part about mistakes increasing the way the audience or congregation relates to us. They start to feel more comfortable, and almost like they’re worshiping with us, instead of us performing. So…should we manufacture mistakes? lol I know, at least in my case, that’s not necessary. I’ve got plenty of real ones just waiting to happen! haha

    Sal–awesome point. He’s strong in our weaknesses. :)

    Rusty–haha That’s awesome! So nobody notices your John Mayer face on a really good note bend? ;) hehe Now that would be fun!

  13. Sound engineer mentioned last week that I’ve been guilty of a few episodes whilst bending and tremoloing a note during worship songs… guess it’s all my emotion coming out! :>

    I’ve even been known to *gasp* smile while playing!

  14. Rapha–very good points! I agree that our music is creating more the conduit for people to be able to connect with God through the Spirit. And we do need to figure out where He is leading. I would argue though, that perhaps sometimes we overthink it a bit? I wonder if sometimes we’re searching for that perfect song and maybe the Spirit is saying, ‘Hey, pick whichever one you want. They all glorify God, and I’m gonna work no matter what.’ But then sometimes I feel worship needs a specific song. Interesting stuff. How do you feel on the matter?

    • Let me re-express it this way, through the paraphrased and re-interpreted for a worship setting wisdom of a recently departed student ministries pastor you might know: Getting down on ourselves because we screwed up others’ worship experience leaves the dangerous door open to taking the credit for leading people to worship when things go well, and vice-versa.

      Now, I also agree that God works through people/leaders sometimes, too, so sometimes that choice of song or beautiful phrase is, in fact, God working, it’s just that we need to take ourselves out of the equation as much as is reasonable …

      … and yes I agree with you that it’s easy to overthink it. To me worship, leading in music and in other areas, is about giving God our best. Which at times isn’t much, and at times (often with His help) is more than we thought possible. It’s all about giving our best and leaving the results to Him.

      • Very interesting. I love these conversations! I would argue that yes, we can screw up others’ worship experiences. And just because we can play an F# when it should be a G, and cause people to cringe and take them out of the moment, does not mean that when we play a G and it’s supposed to be a G, and people are left within the moment of worshiping, that we can ‘take the credit’ for it. Because by that same logic, if ‘the worship experience’ belongs totally to God, then when people can’t worship because we screw up, then we’re giving God ‘the credit’ for that, too.

        The fact if the matter is, God could be much better glorified if He did what He did in 2 Chronicles…and that is to just show up in physical form Himself. But for some reason, He has chosen us to lead the worship of Him, and He has commanded us to use music to lead that worship sometimes. And He’s left a lot of that up to us. We are using the music to create an emotional environment to free people up to sing and emote to Him with abandon (hopefully, hehe). And we can screw up creating that environment, and we can succeed in creating that environment. Ultimately, of course the actual worship is up to God, but we have a role that we can screw up at or succeed at.

        Same thing with sharing your faith. We can say, ‘Well, it’s up to God, we just need to do our best.’ Or we can say, ‘You know what, for some reason God’s chosen to use me in this way. So I’m not only going to do my best, but I’m going to try to actually do a good job at this, and realize that if I say something wrong, yes, this guy might not be open to hearing about Christ today.’ I believe that God has given us responsibilities, as in Matthew’s parable of the talents, and we need to take them seriously.

        Of course you could argue that God has it all planned out already. Those who are going to worship, those who are going to get saved, and it doesn’t really matter what we do. And that leaves us hiding in our bedrooms, conveniently out of any responsibility whatsoever. Just because the ultimate credit goes to God, and because He so many times overcomes our mistakes, doesn’t mean that our mistakes and successes are without consequence.

        And I very much understand that my views regarding this are not very popular amongst either the traditional believers, or the ‘new wave’ post-emergent whatever believers. But we do not live life in a theological vacuum. There is a real world out there, where if I’m having a bad day and I say something inappropriate from the platform or whatever, I could seriously ‘screw up’ someone’s worship experience, and perhaps their view of Christianity in general. Is God still gonna do what He’s gonna do? Can God still reach that person? Absolutely. Doesn’t mean that what I said had no consequences for both me and the people listening.
        :) Cheers!!

  15. lol Rapha, my respect for you just rose a ton, brother. :)

    However, should you ever feel the need to discuss it further, I do totally encourage debates on this site, as long as both parties come at it from the perspective that just maybe, maybe…no one person has everything figured out. And thus far, everyone has done a fantastic job!

    So just so the option’s out there. ;) But for now, good form, my friend. Good form.

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