Switch to Easy Worship

Well, today I officially became an EasyWorhsip 2009 registered user.  I have been debating for several months which program to use. I have been a loyal Prologue Sunday Plus user for several years, and I really love the program. It’s just that there hasn’t been an update for several years, and I was just ready for a change.

I tested our Media Shout, Easy Worship and Song Show Plus, plus some lesser-known options.  I felt it really was a big decision, since whichever program I chose would probably be one that we use for several years. I did have certain features I was looking for, but one of the most important things was ease of use for the operator, since we have several people volunteering from week to week.   I was trying to find a program that had some of the features that I liked about Prologue, yet with the new features I was hoping to find.  But, as I was going through the trial of each program, I found that there really wasn’t a program out there that exactly fit what I was looking for.  ProPresenter was actually the closest, but that only works on Macs, and our church has all PCs.

The more I looked at Easy Worship, the more I realized that this is the program that best fits our needs, and is the easiest for people to use.  After the 30 day trial, I was really getting the hang of it, and everyone who tried it really seemed to like it. I did try Media Shout and Song Show Plus, but even though they have more features, I’m not sure how many of the features we would actually use. Easy Worship had all the features I was looking for and was the most practical. From what it sounds like, the EasyWorship 2010 version will add even more features to really make it the best program out there.

To top it all off, they were running a special for people who were switching to EasyWorship from another program.  So, instead of $399, I will be getting it for $199.  And, they have a conversion tool so I can convert all my songs in Prologue to Easy Worship! (None of the other programs out there offered that.) So, I felt really good about making the switch, and I’m excited to really dig into this program and learn all I can about it.

I found some online tutorials I’m going to post in a separate blog.

Sunday Morning Recap – 9/27/09

This is my addition to the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival at FredMcKinnon.Com. Today’s page is http://www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2009/09/27/sunday-setlists-62/

This was the first Sunday in a new series called “Salt & Light”, which is an 8 week emphasis put together by our denomination, the Baptist General Conference.  The overall theme is extending our reach as individuals and as a church into our neighborhoods, communities and beyond as the “salt and light” of the world.

We opened with “You, You Are God” (Walker Beach/Gateway).

 Then, after the Welcome/Prayer, we did:

“My Savior Lives” (Jon Egan and Glenn Packiam)
“This Is How We Know” (Matt Redman and Beth Redman)
“Hosanna” (Brooke Fraser)

After the message, we did “Carry the Light” (Mark Harris) as a special with the worship team.

We closed with “Shine” (Matt Redman).

Just as a side note, this week I had an interesting experience related to the Sunday Setlists site where I’m posting this.  I happened to see on Twitter that Worship Leader Magazine was having a contest where the first 5 people to submit their setlists from last week would win a free capo.  Well, I already had my setlist put together here for the Sunday Setlists site, so I just sent a quick link to that, and I ended up winning a capo.  What I didn’t know is that they also published the setlist on the Worship Leader website, and possibly in the magazine.   Here’s a link to the page: http://www.worshipleader.com/index.cfm?tdc=dsp&page=features_detail&aid=143

Thanks!

Sunday Morning Recap – 9/20/09

This is my addition to the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival at FredMcKinnon.Com. Today’s page is http://www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2009/09/21/sunday-setlists-61/

Here’s our Planning Center link to this week’s service – http://www.planningcenteronline.com/plans/803245

Another great morning spent with our Bethel family worshiping together! This week we had our Worship Choir up there along with the worship team singers and band. It’s always great to have them there! The worship choir sings once a month with our team.

Opened with “Better Than Life” (Israel Houghton, Michael Gungor)

Then, “Only a God Like You” (Tommy Walker) followed by “From the Inside Out” (Joel Houston).

Then, we did something which was a bit out of the norm for us, but our worship choir, keyboard, guitar and soloist sang “I’m Putting on the Love of the Lord” (John Andrew Schreiner) from The Odes Project. We had a group of 12 of us from our church go down to the National Worship Leader’s Conference in Kansas City this past July, and I heard this song for the first time. About 10 of us were in the conference choir while we were there, and we sang this song during the conference. If you’re not familiar with this project, you can check it out here – http://www.theodesproject.com/ Several beautifully written songs based on writing from around 100 AD. You can watch our conference choir sing this song at the NWLC here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8ULAWrp7Ns.

We’re just starting an 8 week emphasis called “Salt and Light” put on by the Baptist General Conference, so this song also tied into our theme for the week.

We ended with “This Is How We Know” (Matt and Beth Redman). We just introduced this song last week, and I get struck by the lyrics of the song each time we sing it!

I hope you all had a wonderful week as well! Thanks.

Sunday Recap – Bethel @ the Rock – 9/13/09

Wow! What a morning! God is good!

This is my addition to the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival at FredMcKinnon.Com. Today’s page is http://www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2009/09/13/sunday-setlists-60/

Here is the Planning Center link to our service today: http://www.planningcenteronline.com/plans/803244

Today was a unique day because we had an outdoor service at a park here in Janesville right by the Rock River. It was a lot of extra work for the worship team – hauling everything down, early call time to set up and sound check. But, it was so worth it! It really made me appreciate how much work church plants and other churches have to go through if they set up in a location each and every week. It also reminded our team how much we appreciate using our Aviom system at church. We’ve been so spoiled each having our own monitor mix. We only had two different monitor mixes today for the whole group. So, it wasn’t ideal, but everyone had a great attitude, and none of that took away from what God did today at the river.

We played two songs just before the service as people were coming in and setting up their chairs. This was new for us; usually we have a CD playing during the prelude. They were:

“The Lord Reigns” – Klaus Kuehn (from Gateway Worship “Wake Up the World” CD)
“This is How We Know” – Matt and Beth Redman (from his new “We Shall Not Be Shaken” CD)

We then started the service with:
“Awesome Is the Lord Most High” (Tomlin)
“How Great Thou Art” (Paul Baloche version)

After a Welcome and Meet/Greet time, we did:
“Glory to God Forever” (Vicky Beeching and Steve Fee)
“Fairest” (Glenn Packiam)

After the message, we ended with “God of this City” (Bleakley and others..); a great challenge to reach our city where God has placed us.

After that part of the service, we ended with a Baptismal service. I always love hearing people’s testimonies! We had 6 people baptized in the river today. So cool to hear how God has rescued people – from alcoholism, drug abuse, and other backgrounds.

It was a great morning, with everyone from all 3 services combined for one giant service. Cool!

Thank you Lord!!

Sunday Recap for 9-6-09

Time for another recap of this morning’s services for the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival at FredMcKinnon.Com. You can read this and other posts from worship leaders around the country at
http://www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2009/09/06/sunday-setlists-59/

This morning’s services went very well, despite the fact that our band was down 3 members! Usually we have drums, bass guitar, electric guitar, keyboard, guitar, and I lead from another keyboard, along with the other singers. With the holiday weekend, we only had guitar, drums, and my keyboard, plus the singers. I wasn’t sure how that would go, but I just went with a little more acoustic sound this morning.

Here’s the setlist:

“Majestic” (Lincoln Brewster)
“Made Me Glad” (Miriam Webster)

“Offering” (Paul Baloche) – during the offering

“Jesus Messiah” (Chris Tomlin) – before Communion

“Mighty is the Power of the Cross” (Chris Tomlin) – during the Bread
– Nice acoustic feel with acoustic guitar, piano and 2 singers

“Nothing But the Blood” (Matt Redman) – during the Cup

I would love to hear ideas on how you do communion. I watched a service online last night where they had the worship songs, then went into communion, and finally the message.

We usually have communion at the end – once a month. But, I’m looking for other creative ideas for how to incorporate that element into a service.

Sunday Recap – 8/30/2009

I’ve really enjoyed participating in the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival at FredMcKinnon.Com. You can read this and other Sunday recaps from this past Sunday at http://www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2009/08/30/sunday-setlists-58/.

We had a great morning of worship yesterday at Bethel. Our songs yesterday:

“Salvation Is Here” (Houston)
“You Are Good” (Houghton)
“Glory to God Forever” (Fee and Beeching)
“Revelation Song” (Riddle)
“Shine” (Redman)

Overall, things went great! We were missing our electric guitar player, so it had a different sound yesterday, but it still all came together. I just had to do more of the lead part on the keyboard.

This is the third Sunday we’ve used “Glory To God Forever”, and people are really starting to know the song, which is great! I love that song!

This is also the 4th week we’ve been trying out Easy Worship. I’ve used Prologue Sunday Plus for the last 7 plus years, but I know it’s time to switch, given what’s going on at that company and since there hasn’t been an update in years! So, I’ve taken a look at Media Shout, Pro Presenter (although we have no Macs in the building), Song Show Plus, and now Easy Worship. Easy Worship is the first program that we’ve actually tested out on a Sunday morning. I thought it was simple enough that our people could learn it during rehearsal and use it on Sunday. I also wanted to get their opinion of whatever we go to, since they’ll be the ones using it the most.

I’ve really enjoyed using Easy Worship the last few weeks, but now my 30 day free trial is up, and I plan to test out Media Shout for the next 30 days. We can do so much more with Easy Worship than we could with Prologue. But, I know we’ll be able to do even more still with Media Shout. My only question is will it be much more difficult to put the programs together, and also for the people running it Sunday morning. Easy Worship has been so “easy”!!

I’d really appreciate hearing your thoughts – what do you use? Do you like it? Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Sunday Recap – 8/23/09

Another Sunday morning is done, so it’s time to join the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival at FredMcKinnon.Com and give our Sunday morning recap. You can read this and other recaps from worship leaders around the country at http://www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2009/08/23/sunday-setlists-57/

I’m not sure if this link will work or not – first time I’ve tried it, but here’s a link to the service detail from yesterday via Planning Center Online – http://www.planningcenteronline.com/plans/479447.

We began yesterday with “It Is You” (Peter Furler), an oldie, but one that I use quite often just to get our hearts focused on God and remind everyone (the team included) that it’s not about us, our talents, but all about God and His greatness.

Then the obligatory announcements, meet/greet. What do you guys do with announcements?!?

Our next set included:
“Let the Praise Ring” (Lincoln Brewster)
– I had heard our electric guitar player do the solo for this one last Sunday after church at a youth gathering, and he did a great job at it!! So, after the singers left rehearsal Thursday night, we bumped it up to E, (we had practiced it in D with the singers), added the guitar solo in the middle, and went with it! It came off great! Except for the fact that the singers had to really reach to get some of those notes.

Also, before we started this set, I read Psalm 150, and just reminded everyone our command to Praise the Lord not just with our voices, but with stringed instruments (guitars…), cymbals, etc… I just wanted to remind them that as we play our instruments (solos included) that we are not just showing off, but I’m just giving them a chance to praise the Lord with all their heart via their instrument.

“Holy Is the Lord” (Chris Tomlin)
“Great Is Your Glory” (Vicky Beeching)
– One of my favorites by Vicky B. I heard it for the first time when our choir did the “East to West” musical. We had a soloist do the first verse/chorus, then all joined in. Great chance for the band to use some different instrumentation, and build up a song.

“Be At Peace With One Another” was the message title today, so to intro that we showed a funny clip from the Beverly Hillbillies during the offering about a spat between Gramma and another character that showed how NOT to resolve conflict.

Our children’s pastor came up and did a really neat little visual story with the kids, involving the congregation creating a thunderstorm with paper as he read the story how Jesus said “Peace, be still” and the storm was quite. Really cool! The senior pastor then gave his message.

After the message, we ended with “Break Through” (Tommy Walker). It was a challenging message about conflicts between people, and how true peace can only be found through God, and His power. I love the words to that song, and God really seemed to be at work during it.

A little rest in the afternoon, then a huge group from our worship team and church went down to Rockford, IL last night for a concert with Lincoln Brewster! That was great! Only $5 concert through Summerwood. Norm Stockton was on bass, which was an added surprise – always fun to hear him play!

Sunday Recap – 8/16/09

I added my comments last week to the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival at FredMcKinnon.Com, and it really was a neat experience. I met some new worship leaders through the comments, and had fun reading through their Sunday morning experiences as well. So, I thought I would try again. This post is regarding our services at Bethel Bapist Church in Janesville, WI on Sunday, Aug. 16th, 2009. You can read all the other posts about yesterday from worship leaders around the country at http://www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2009/08/16/sunday-setlists-56/

Yesterday was a bittersweet morning. It’s always a good thing to spend time praising the Lord, but personal circumstances this past week have been pretty rough, so for me, it felt more like a real “sacrifice of praise”. But, God is good, and He carried me through the morning, and ended up being a wonderful morning!

We began with “Awesome Is the Lord Most High” (Tomlin), followed by “Glory To God Forever” (Vicky Beeching and Steve Fee), and then “God You Reign” (Lincoln Brewster).

Once a month, we have our Worship Choir sing with the worship team singers and band. They sang with us yesterday, and it always adds another level of energy and excitement to have them there. It’s been a great way to include new individuals interested in becoming part of the worship ministry.

We heard about what God is doing with one of our missionary families in the Philippines, and put the website up for all to see that shows live broadcasting on the Good TV network, one of the only Christian TV networks in the Philippines. God is doing some amazing things there!

The message was “Carry One Another’s Burdens” from our series on the One Another commands found in Scripture. The message seemed especially appropriate for the events happening this week.

We closed with “Everyday” (Joel Houston). Our choir was clapping, swaying on that one – a lot of fun!!

Overall, it was a powerful morning. I guess the big takeaway for me was that just as God carries us through our hard times, we as Christ-followers are to help carry the load of other believers who are going through difficult times.

God is good, all the time!

"Sunday Setlists" – 1st attempt

I’ve read of some worship leaders around the country sharing their setlists and worship recaps from Sunday worship online at the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival at FredMcKinnon.Com , so I thought I would give it a try and join in. You can find all of this week’s entries at:

http://www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2009/08/09/sunday-setlists-55/

So today, 8/9/09, was my first day back after 3 Sundays being gone. We were at the National Worship Leader’s Conference in Kansas City a few weeks ago, and then I had some vacation time, so it was good to be back!

We opened up the service with”Because of Your Love” (Paul Baloche), using Psalm 115:1 verse to intro it. We had VBS here at our church last week, and had over 215 kids here, with 29 salvations! So, this morning had a very celebratory feel to it as we began with praising God for what He has done.

We then sang “Matchless” (Aaron Shust), and introduced “Glory to God Forever” (Steve Fee & Vicky Beeching) for the first time. I wasn’t sure how this would go, but I started by just teaching people the melody on the chorus and bridge before actually singing the song. It seemed to work fine, and I think it helped people be able to sing the song more confidently the first time. It felt a bit awkward, taking the focus off of God for those moments and having a music lesson in the middle of worship, but I think ultimately it will help the church be able to worship better, so…

After the offering, we had a really neat special – one of our singers sang “I Will Rise” (Chris Tomlin) along with a cello player (1st time playing with us…), band, and I had a small “choir” sing on the bridge. There was a great response from the congregation, and I saw a lot of people worshipping, even though they were just listening. Cool!

Our pastor is in a series on the “One Another” commands in Scripture, so today was “Greet One Another”. I wasn’t sure where he would go with it, but it actually was very good. He some some ideas from the “Making Peace” book by Jim Van Yperen about the four levels of greeting (fellowship, basically). A great challenge to go beyond the superficial greetings/conversation we have with each other in the church and move to the deeper levels of expressive, vulnerable and transformational fellowship.

We’re also having a special focus on family this month of August, so for this month we’re doing something that we’ve never done – a Children’s message! Our Children’s pastor had all the kids come up and gave a family challenge to families in our church – to help us practice better fellowship and communication this week, he challenged us to go for a week without TV. (We’ll see how that goes…)

We ended the service with “Rising” (Paul Baloche).

Overall, it was a great morning. It was my first Sunday leading since the NWLC, and I felt so excited to be back. Many of the singers/band were also at the conference, and there was just a renewed energy, excitement about being there and worshipping God together.

To God be all the glory!!