Each year I try and take stock and look back over the previous year and see what's really stood out to me in terms of worship albums, songs, blogs and worship times I've been in. I also want to look ahead to 2014 and tell you some exciting things coming up :)
Best Worship Album of 2013
I've really enjoyed the album by Hillsong Young & Free "We are Young & Free". You might think- weird title- but it's Hillsong's youth ministry and they've gone down a dance route with their sound. I love the sounds they create and some of the songs pack real truth in as well as being catchy and accessible. We've used the song "Alive" at our Students & 20's meeting "Invision" at Church and it's gone down brilliantly!
Best Worship Song of 2013
I've blogged about it before but I absolutely love "Christ is Enough" by Hillsong. They've taken an old hymn with stunning truth and really modernised the melody and lyrics. You can really belt out the chorus of "Christ is Enough for me" and declare that He is all you want and need! Brilliant!
Most Innovative Worship Song of 2013
I love bands like Radiohead that have used electronica to great effect and I've been wanting to see more of that alternative sound in worship music. Along came this song on the Bethel "Tides" album "Give me Jesus". This song was a traditional African-American Spiritual and Matt Stinton has put a verse to it. I'm so impressed with the production and sound of this song!
Most Useful Worship Blog of 2013
My friend Chris Marsh set up Worship Leader UK a couple of years back. I've found his book reviews incredibly useful. I bought a few books following his recommendations and have found them really good to mull over!
My Most Most Discussed Blog Post of 2013
I've been really pleased with how this website has been received since it was launched several months ago. In the first few days it had over 1,000 hits and was being shared a lot. The blog post that brought the most discussion and hits was this one on "Breaking out of the Soft Rock mould". Lots of good points raised by people.
Worship Leading at Church in 2013
The local Church is where it's at! I love my Church City Church. In 2013 I was asked by the Elders to take on leading the worship team. This has been challenging, time consuming but so enjoyable and worthwhile. We've seen different teams emerge with different sounds and there's a plethora of young emerging worship leaders coming through- that's what really excited me- training and investing in them!
Worship Leading Highlight in 2013
To be honest there's been so many. I'm hugely grateful to do what I love doing as part of my job. Serving alongside really Godly men and woman like Sam Parker, Simon Brading & Jules Burt at Mobilise 2013 and Forum was amazing but I think these two moments were highlights for me!
- At Forum on the last night we had a bit of a celebration. We led with "God's Great Dance Floor" and "Dancing Generation". There was more celebration than I've ever seen at Forum before with lots of people dancing at the front. We'd only learnt GGDF a few hours before we played it and I introduced the song saying "this might crash and burn as we've only just learnt it but..." (never a good way to intro a song!)
- At Relational Mission prayer and equipping days I was leading worship and at the end of "I stand Amazed" people began to clap and shout to the Lord. Normally this quietens after a few seconds but it went on and on. We came back in with our instruments and started to crescendo and make lots of noise. The cheering and applauding went on for 2-3 minutes I think. It was one of the most amazing Spirit filled spontaneous moments of worship I've ever been in! I think Jonny's hands were hurting a bit afterwards (Jonny drums).
Biggest Frustration in 2013
I think the biggest frustration for me was the lack of songs I've written in 2013. In 2011/2 there was quite a few songs like "The Father's Love" and "Fountain of Goodness" and others that I wrote and released and have been greatly encouraged to hear of them being used in Churches across the UK. In 2013 I've only written one or two that I'm happy with. I haven't found that much time and space to write songs and when it's come to co-writes there hasn't been the spark that there was a couple of years ago. Please pray!
Things to look forward to in 2014
- My Church is going from two to three sites so more worship leaders and teams need to be developed and trained and more people in Canterbury can be reached with the Gospel!
- I'm getting increasingly involved in Relational Mission (the Church family we are part of) and worship leading at our events/ conferences. A big highlight for me in 2014 will be the Leadership Conference in May. There'll be new people to work with in the team and an exciting new arena to serve in.
- I've been asked to do worship training for different Church's worship teams. I'm down in Bournemouth in March to spend a weekend with Lansdowne Church. Pray that this would be fruitful!
- Finally... I feel faith to start writing and putting together an album in 2014. I think over the last couple of years I've built up a few worship songs I'm happy with. This year I'd love to write more and hopefully experiment with different sounds. I'd love there to be a strong sense of Trinitarian worship, cross centred songs and sound wise I'd love to tap into sound-scapes and maybe a bit of electronica- getting away from the standard "worship sound" that I think my previous singles have had. Please pray for me over the next few months about this one!!
Thanks for reading this! Hope it's given you a few useful resources and keep checking the website for new blogs (and songs!!) in 2014!
Happy New Year!