In this episode, I spoke with worship pastor from Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Joe Day. Joe is a family man, a songwriter, and he oversees the worship ministries at two of Mars Hill's campuses. He has a lot on his plate, so I was grateful for the time to sit down with him. As I mentioned in the session, I have a few more notes than normal for this particular episode. We talked about a lot!
I bolded the primary things that jumped out to me.
Clarity Over Creativity
I think this is so important. It certainly applies to you if you're serving as a worship leader in a collective, congregational context. If you're writing songs for Church gatherings this is huge...
What's the point of the gathering? What's the big idea? Is it Jesus?
The point is this:
...Make it obvious.
Listen to or download the podcast here, and check out the detailed show notes below....
Here are few of the things that were said:
- Joe's songwriting story in the Seattle music scene:
- His old Gibson LGO and considering the lyrics
- Joshua Tree experience
- Played drums in bands first
- Had no intention of being a pastor
- Bands as a ministry, but not a part of a local church….. freedom?? Nope.
- The need for pastoral oversight
- Visited a church and kept going
- The band almost signed a contract, but he felt called to the local church
- 1998, the first Acts 29 church plant
- Songwriting as a pastor…. Does it change??
- Every song is a worship song?
- Worship songs according to Mars Hill: Crist centered, congregational, and musically accesible
- Their desire is for people to meet Jesus…. Their music serves that desire
- The distinction between congregational (or "church worship") vs. non-congregational
- Clarity over creativity
- Paul in 1 Cor giving up his freedom for the sake of others
- Don't think less of creativity, but rather, employ it to clearly communicate Jesus....
- So…. lyrics that are clearly Christ centered…
- Not leaving things hanging in the air, but seeing things resolved… in Christ
- Gospel being the center and not leaving much to abstraction….
- Avoiding buzz phrases that sound good but don't say much
- The flip side of this is thinking of the people who are unchurched
- Wanting people to know Jesus…. experiencing his love and grace
- Art for only art's sake is dangerous…. (but art should be highly valued…)
- Is Jesus higher than everything else?
- Band in the club (non "worship music"): What are you trying to accomplish? What are your convictions?
- Leading worship in the church teaches you how to arrange music that helps people respond, which helps you when you're playing music "out there"
- At the same time…. have a space for experimentation
- His album Grace
- Currently, pastoral ministry is taking up time and giving him a full plate
- Joe's songwriting process (and EVERNOTE)
- Pennies in the Bank… (ESM!!!!!!)
- Writing lots of verses… then picking the best!!
- WRITE A LOT…
- don't stop at just your first three four verses
- His co-writing experiences - Death to Life (Tooth and Nail… Nate Garvey)
- Writing in solitude vs co-writing
- Mars Hill Music
- Encouragement in the Great Commission (make disciples, plant churches)
- Jesus is with us!!! He should be the vision
- Work backward from there….. Location > Tulsa? > How do people in the city respond to music… what are they responding to?
- There's nothing sacred about a "worship team"
- Elevate the vision, and people will sacrifice their time and comfort
- If people are energized with what you're doing then, burn out is the last thing on their mind….
- All the forms that we employ are tweak-able!! Nothing about the forms are sacred...
Twitter - @joeday
2013 Mars Hill Music
Tooth and Nail and Mars Hill Music is getting the music and message out...
Here are some of the bands:
And make sure to visit the music site here - http://marshill.com/music
Twitter - @marshillmusic
Other Things Mentioned
http://freemusicgift.com (for ESM - Evernote Songwriting Method)
5 Reasons to Kill "Christian Music" - (What do you think?)
***This article is philosophically meaty. It requires you to be actively engaged with your thinking cap on as you read it. It's provocative and insightful on certain points, but I think there is a good chance for him to be misunderstood at the same time, so certain things need to be clarified (in my opinion...)
I've considered writing a blog post in response to it at some point so standby for that...
Want to meet each other??