Junior High Retreat ’16

For those in youth ministry, fall tends to be retreat season. We participate each year in two retreat hosted at our church camp, Butler Springs. This weekend we will take students to the High School Retreat. Just over a week ago we participated in the Junior High weekend. The theme was Lost & Found and we emphasized how God celebrates when lost people are found.

Our group enjoyed the weekend as we sang together, played games, hung out, looked for Pokemon and even dressed up in costumes!

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Solid Rock in Wilmington July 16

11741220_794323657331836_1518476368536126449_oSOLID ROCK is a team of high school students (grades 10-12) who audition to be a part of the group. They combine singing, instrumental music, acting and other artistic expressions to present a program to encourage people in their relationship with God. Prior to a one-week tour, including stops in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and New York, they meet for a week on Cincinnati Christian University‘s campus to rehearse and prepare.

We are looking forward to hosting SOLID ROCK as one of our own students is a member of the group. We have had several students from our church family who have been a part of the group in the past and they have great stories of their experiences.

The picture above is a photo of this year’s group at one of their earlier presentations. I snagged it off of the aforementioned student’s mom’s Facebook page.

If you are in or near the Wilmington area, we’d love for you to join us. SOLID ROCK will present their program on Thursday, July 16 @ 7:00 pm. Hope to see you there!

solid rock

SOLID ROCK 2015

solid rock 15Each summer Cincinnati Christian University invites high school students to participate in a two-week event called SOLID ROCK. Students meet on the campus of CCU for a week of rehearsal to create and learn a program of ministry through music and the arts. During the second week, the group travels by charter bus to present their program at a different church every night.

My son and a few former students from WCC have participated in SOLID ROCK in the past and had a great experience. We have one student this year who is preparing to send her application in to be a part of this summer’s program.

If you are a high school student (or know a high school student) who enjoys the arts (singing, playing a musical instrument or the technical side of things), check out SOLID ROCK. It’s a great experience and also creates relationships that last beyond the two weeks together.

Information on the program and how to apply are on the Cincinnati Christian University website. Dates for 2015 are July 5-10 (on campus) and July 11-17 (on tour). The application packet is due March 16th. Go check it out.

Praise You in the Storm

photo credit: SimpleSkye via photopin cc

photo credit: SimpleSkye via photopin cc

The Christian music group Casting Crowns released a song a few years ago called Praise You in This Storm.  The chorus of the song says this:

And I’ll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

This past Sunday, as I was leading our song set, I witnessed people in our congregation living out this chorus.

I’ve mentioned before that I feel like I have a unique perspective on a Sunday morning.  Most Sundays I am up front with one of our praise teams leading our community as we sing.  I get to see people as they sing and respond to God by bowing heads, lifting hands or simply closing their eyes.  Being involved in the church for a number of years I also know some of the struggles that people go through.  I was struck by how a number of our people were able to praise God even though they were going through a storm.

Some in our church family are dealing with relationship struggles and marriage issues.

Others are experiencing loss.

There are individuals and families impacted by health concerns.

Still others carry the burden of a family member who is far from God.

Yet, many are still able to praise God in the storm.

I was moved by their example and reminded that God is faithful no matter what our circumstances might try to tell us.  One of the benefits of corporate worship is being encouraged by the faithfulness of many of God’s people who continue to praise Him in the storm.  It was a good reminder to me that I need to and can praise Him in the storm.

Great Christmas Opener from North Point

In the past I’ve posted things I’ve heard on the podcast from North Point Community Church in Atlanta. A couple of years ago several of us from Wilmington went to a conference they put on and we saw some of their creativity first hand.

Each year they have a Christmas opener that kicks off their services. In inviting people to this year’s services, they posted last year’s opener. It is so funny and so well done. Take about 9 minutes and check it out. You have to watch the first half (the part with the kids) which makes the second part so humorous.

Christmas 2013 Opener: “Christmas In Bevelton (The Best Christmas Carol Ever)” from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Top Worship Songs at WCC in 2013

worshipLast year I borrowed an idea from another worship leader and posted the top worship songs we used in our services in 2012. Even though it is now February, 2014, I thought it would be interesting to look at what songs we did in 2013. These are listed in alphabetical order and are included due to the number of times we used them throughout the year.

The songs we used the most often were

I also marked the ones that we introduced in 2013.

One thing that I am continually reminded of as I select songs and lead is that there are so many worship songs to choose from! I will look at one church is doing and their list is so different from ours. The number of songs available just continues to grow.

The makeup of your congregation makes such a difference in the songs you select. Our church family is made up of multiple generations and so preferences are varied and even songs people are familiar with is quite different. Each Sunday we offer a time before our service where we sing hymns. (We moved away from using a hymnal several years ago) One of the songs we sang was A Mighty Fortress is our God and two of our praise team members had never heard the song. It surprised me that they didn’t even know the tune, but that is a good example of how much “church music” is out there.

So, here’s our list from the past year:

  1. 10,000 Reasons – new for 2013
  2. At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh)
  3. Awesome is the Lord Most High
  4. Christ is Enough – new for 2013
  5. Cornerstone – new for 2013
  6. Enough
  7. Give Us Clean Hands
  8. Glory to God Forever
  9. Hallelujah (Your Love is Amazing)
  10. Holy is the Lord
  11. How Great is our God
  12. Jesus Son of God
  13. Lord I Need You – new for 2013
  14. Lord Reign in Me
  15. My Redeemer Lives
  16. Not to Us
  17. Open the Eyes of my Heart
  18. Our God
  19. Shout to the Lord
  20. Thank You
  21. Unchanging
  22. We Fall Down
  23. Worthy is the Lamb
  24. Your Grace is Enough

Go listen to Jasmine Tate

Jasmine TateThis past weekend my wife and her boys and I traveled up to Cleveland for the wedding of a young lady who grew up at WCC. I was asked to take part in the ceremony. Since we aren’t often in Cleveland we toured the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and stopped by Browns Stadium and Progressive Field where the Indians play.

One of the unexpected bonuses of the weekend was meeting a young lady names Jasmine Tate. She sang during the Unity Candle portion of the ceremony and did a fabulous job. It was just her and her guitar. She has a great voice and unique style.

During the reception my wife and I had a chance to talk to her and hear a little bit of her story. She was kind enough to give us a copy of her CD which we listened to a couple of times on the way home.

You should go listen to her! I found her today on Spotify – she has her EP and has also recorded with Sons and Daughters. You can also find her EP on iTunes. Search for her on Facebook, too.

We really enjoyed hearing her music and meeting her. You should go give her a listen.