15 Churches Creating Influential Worship Music

in Favorite New Things,Friends and Links,Music,publishing. 1 Comment

Here are some churches and organizations, that in my opinion, are writing, creating, singing and releasing great songs for the entire Church around the world to sing. This is not an exhaustive list or a top ten/top twenty list. Just wanted to provide this so you will be able to check out all of their music and maybe include some of their songs into your rotation and put on your iTunes list.

1. Passion/Passion City Church- Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, Matt Redman, David Crowder and more

2. Hillsong Church- Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan, Joel Houston, Jad Gillies and more

3. North Point- Seth Condrey, Casey Darnell, Todd Fields, Candi Shelton, Steve Fee and more

4. Jesus Culture- Kim Walker-Smith, Chris Quilala, Derek Johnson, Bryan and Katie Torwalt, and more

5. Worship Central/Holy Trinity Brompton- Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon and the Worship Central band

6. Reach Records/Reach Ministries- Lecrae, Trip Lee, Andy Mineo, KB, Tedashii, and others

7. New Life Church/Desperation Band- led by Jon Egan, and birthed out of Desperation Ministries, the student ministry of New LIfe Church

8. Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church- Charles Jenkins and the Fellowship Choir

9. Elevation Church- Elevation Worship led by Wade Joye, Mack Brock, Chris Brown, London Gatch and more

10. Austin Stone- Austin Stone Worship led by Aaron Ivey, Jimmy McNeal, Kyle Lent, and more

11. Bethel Church- Bethel Music led by Brian and Jenn Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, and more

12. Gateway Church- Gateway Music led by Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes and more

13. Trinity Grace Churchled by Eric Marshall and more

14. Bayside Churchled by Lincoln Brewster and more

15. Lakewood Church- led by Israel Houghton, John Gray, and more

Bonus: Victory World Music, Vertical Church Band (Harvest Bible Chapel), and 12Stone.

Who else would you recommend?

We > Me

in leadership,Leadership Rules. No Comments

As leaders, we naturally have a tendency to make it about “me.” In some ways, you deserve it.

As the leader, you’re probably putting in the most time, the most resources, the most energy, and risking way more than anyone else. You’re the one carrying the responsibility and the weight. You have the greatest to risk and the greatest amount to lose.

But, ultimately, it’s not about you. It’s about the mission. It’s about the impact. It’s about a greater cause. And it’s about your team.

It’s not just you on your team. There’s a team. Besides you. Other incredibly important staff crucial to the success of you accomplishing your mission and vision as an organization.

So next time someone says “How have you all accomplished all of this?…” or “What do you plan to accomplish the rest of this year?….” or “Who is involved in making things happen within your organization?…” “Or talk about the keys to success for you?….” Or “Man you all are killing it. Congratulations on all the success.” Make sure you start your answer with “WE” or “US” or “OUR.”

Not “ME” or “I” or “MY.”

It’s easy for us to get comfortable with the notion that “I’m” the reason for the success, or because of “my” willingness to stay late, or that new business deal is because of “me.”

But even if it is, honor your team by choosing WE vs. ME, and US vs I.

You can do more together than on your own.

A Conversation with Michael Hidalgo on his new book Changing Faith

I recently had the chance to catch up with my friend Michael Hidalgo, lead pastor of Denver Community Church. One of the up and coming young voices in the church today.

Your latest book Changing Faith addresses the subject of questions, doubts and skepticism that seem to be everywhere today. What prompted you to write on this?

I cannot count the number of conversations I have with people who have serious questions or are plagued with doubts about God and the Christian faith. The thing is, I have these conversations with people who love Jesus, love the Church and take Scripture seriously. What I have learned from them it that it is precisely because of their strong faith that they ask difficult questions and wrestle with their doubts. Changing Faith is a reflection on many of the conversations I have had with such people.

Do you think people in our world today are asking new questions? And if that’s the case, does Changing Faith seek to give new answers to those questions?

 The answer to those questions is yes and no – in that order. First, the “yes.”

Yes, I believe people are asking new and different questions. From science to business to politics to religion, our world is different every day, which brings up new questions. But the catch is, many people seem suspicious of those who propose to give a firm answer to those questions – particularly pastors.

Which leads me to why I said, “No.” This is not a book about giving new answers. Answers often seek to dispense information, and in our world today there is no shortage of information. We can always find the answer we want. What we need now more than ever is direction and guidance as we see answers. We need to learn how to assess the information that bombards us. In Changing Faith I attempt to do just that. To offer direction, to make what’s blurry more clear – to give a compass rather than a roadmap.

What’s your hope for the person who reads Changing Faith? What do you want them to walk away knowing?

I want people to know that we need to voice our doubt, to ask the hard questions and to be honest about our skepticism. Doubt has been given a bad name. Think of how we speak of Jesus’ disciple, Thomas. We call him “Doubting Thomas” with a good measure of condescension. But let’s remember Thomas was not the only one who doubted.

Matthew remarks that others doubted too, and Luke wrote the disciples thought news of the resurrection was nonsense. Thomas, however, was the only one with the courage to talk about his doubt – to make it known. And what happened? Thomas encountered Jesus in a way no one else did.

Doubt can launch us forward in our conversations and deepen our faith. Remember, there is no question we can ask God that he cannot handle. When someone finishes Changing Faith I pray they will find their faith is not threatened by their questions, but strengthened through it.

What was the best part about writing Changing Faith?

I’d have to say going back through all the notes I had made over the last few years to remember the many conversations I had that gave me the idea for this book. Remembering those conversations made me laugh and cry. So many ideas, thoughts and insights in this book were given to me in these conversations. Each one of them is a gift.

Tell us more about you and your history/background.

I grew up in and around the Church. I tried to run from it, but as far away as I got, I was always drawn to the simple grace of Jesus. After college I met a pastor who was gracious, and always invited me to take my next step never demanding I take his next step. He helped reorient my faith and, in many ways, my life.

I threw myself headlong into Christian stuff. Seminary. Speaking. Working at a church. The whole bit. All the time believing questions, doubts and healthy doses of skepticism were good. But then I learned not everyone thought the same way.

As a result of asking too many questions coupled with my impatient, arrogant and impetuous attitude as a pastor in his mid-twenties I crashed and burned. I was fired from a church I helped to start, and my wife and I felt like we hit bottom (I write about this in my Changing Faith).

In that season I was reshaped again and again. More than that, I saw so many outside the church because I was finally outside the church too. My heart grew far more than I ever knew it could to simply help people take a next step in their faith. My hope in every conversation and interaction with everyone is that I will help them take a step – no matter how small – closer to the heart of the God who is love.

I backed into Church-work again, and eventually landed home in the great city of Denver. I now serve at the Lead Pastor of Denver Community Church. I wrote my first book in 2014 titled, Unlost: Being Found by the One We Are Looking For and just released my second book Changing Faith: Questions, Doubts & Choices About An Unchanging God.

My wife and I have lived in Denver eight years. We live downtown and have three magnificent, active, imaginative, hilarious, wonderful children.


Thanks Michael!

Seven Thoughts on Taking a Risk as a Leader

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Stepping out. Risking. Taking a chance. It’s what we do as leaders.

So why risk? Why do we as leaders step out and move into places of the “unknown” when we are in a comfortable niche and established as the dominant force?

Why change if things are going great for you?

Great question. So why do we risk and take courage as leaders? Had to think about my answer. Seven things stood out to me on the whole issue of taking a risk:

1. Entrepreneurs and Type A Leaders are never satisfied with the status quo and the “comfortable” niche. They can’t stand to sit still. Their DNA won’t allow it.

2. The power of Stewardship. Courageous leaders understand that what you are running or leading is temporary, and your responsibility is to steward it correctly because others are counting on you. If this requires changing or risking, then you need to step out and continue to push the envelope with what God has given you.

3. Adventure and the power of the pioneer. Many of us are wired to be pioneers. To go on an adventure. Pure and simple. The journey into the unknown actually beckons us. And excites us.

4. Due diligence suggests it’s actually time to move. Do your homework, research, talk to people, and take very seriously the idea that you are risking. It’s dumb to step out and change/take a risk if you haven’t properly prepared and surveyed the landscape. But once you’ve done your homework and prepared, then go for it. Many people stifle the actual desire to step out because they spent too much time on due diligence. Risking and stepping out can be calculated, planned and strategic.

5. The power of purpose and calling. If God has called you to something in a new season, then you have to be willing to chase after it. Because of the internal pull of God’s call. It’s a responsibility and an imperative.

6. The power of Influence. Leaders lead. And Leaders influence. Being at the head of the pack means you many times end up in the unknown. Where there’s no handbook, no guide, no roadmap. But being out in front is where leaders are comfortable, and out front is where leaders separate themselves from the rest.

7. The power of Change. Healthy things change. Change creates health, and health creates growth, and growth creates fruit. Without change it’s difficult to actually create continual health in an individual, or an organization. Change is good.

7 Keys for Creating a Contagious Leadership Culture

As leaders, we are always looking for ways to create a “great corporate culture.” Whether in a business, ministry, not for profit, or small start up, creating culture is key to a healthy and successful organization.

Tons of books have been written on this issue, and lots of speakers and consultants would consider their theories to be the answer. The reality is, most companies don’t have great corporate culture, based on their employees responses and feedback. Creating the correct culture is a difficult task for any leader.

Organizations work hard over many years to establish a culture that fits their employees, and creates a great place to work.

In my opinion, there are several key ingredients to creating a great culture:

1. Be distinct. Your look/feel/ethos should be yours and yours alone. Make sure your brand, design, and team all are cohesive.

2. Be authentic. Create and live out your values because they are who you ARE, not because they are what or who you want to be, or who or what someone else wants you to be.

3. Believe in your product or offering. 100% belief that what you do is incredibly relevant and helpful and needed. It will drive your atmosphere and the way you make decisions, and create a strong bond with “one purpose” in mind.

4. Be attractive. Is your culture so vibrant and positive that your customers or audience is attracted by it? Do people outside of your walls talk about your culture? Do people want to join your team just to be part of what is happening?

5. Be your own customer. If you won’t buy your product or service or offering, then why would you expect anyone else to? Does a focus group of your core customer require bringing in outsiders, or simply gathering the troops?

6. Be visionary. Be about something bigger than just you and your product and organization. A contagious culture requires a perspective and “end goal” that is broader, bigger and more substantial than the next widget you’re creating.

7. Establish your style and embrace it. Similar to #1, but more specifically toward how you get things done. For example, when I was leading Catalyst, our ethos was “work hard and play hard.” That was our style. We embraced it constantly. Figuring out HOW you accomplish things as a team will help give your team a style to embrace and build.

Young Influencers List, May Edition

Here you go, the May edition of the Young Influencers List. You can see all the past month’s editions here.

1. Tara Russell- founder and CEO of Create Common Good, a social entrepreneurial venture using food to change lives, and co founded NightLight International.

2. Raechel MyersNashville based director and co-founder of She Reads Truth.

3. Chris Galanossenior pastor of Experience Life Church in Lubbock, TX.

4. Derek Minor- singer, songwriter, producer, and hip hop artist.

5. Victor Ho- co-founder and CEO of Five Stars, a San Francisco based digital commerce company.

6. Marshawn Daniels- Atlanta based speaker, author, former Miss America contestant, and business owner.

7. Tim Terrentinevice president of Southwest Michigan First in Kalamazoo, MI, and president of Kalamazoo regional Chamber of Commerce.