Weekend Links

Weekend Links

Worship leaders, pastors, and everyone serving this weekend: know that I’m praying for you! I pray that God will bless you and stretch you and use you to grow His kingdom and expand His family.

As usual, I found lots of great links this week that I wanted to share with you but that didn’t quite fit into a post. When you get a few minutes this weekend, check them out and be encouraged and challenged. Maybe even learn something. 🙂

Remember, these are just excerpts, but I strongly encourage you to click through and read each post in its entirety.

Julie Janasiewicz explains why it matters that we keep singing, even in the face of world gone mad:

Have you read the news lately? It looks like the world is getting darker and darker, doesn’t it? It almost seems like every time I look at social media, I see another friend who used to run hard after God now turning away from the faith. Though there are great things happening all over the earth, we cannot deny that we are living in turbulent and perilous times. As a worship leader for a Christian ministry, sometimes I ask myself, “Why am I doing this? The world appears to be dying all around me and I’m here singing songs and leading people to do the same. I know I’m here to bless God and He loves it, but what about the lost and dying all around me?”

Michael Smith wrote to let me know about Nextchorus, a website dedicated to connecting churches with new music and musicians:

In 2014 an idea for a website was conceived–a type of platform where Christian musicians, professional or indie, could showcase their music and an audience of churches from all over the world would discover that music and play it for their congregations.

Since then, Nextchorus has grown into a multifaceted music streaming service that houses many talented musicians, networking with many churches around the world!

Sam Luce suggests that maybe an obsession with excellence is hurting the church:

If you regularly attend church conferences you will no doubt hear the rallying cry for excellence in the church. In some ways this is a good thing. I am all for pastors working hard and doing all they can do to reach people with the greatest message ever told. Where excellence starts to kill the church is when we make our church a polished flawless exhibition that we invite people to be impressed by.

When the church takes its cue from the business world and perfects its processes so that it can extend its reach and solidify its brand we have lost our way.

Ivan Mesa interviewed The Gray Havens about songwriting, Tolkien, reading, and heaven:

We were on a deadline to print our first CD and didn’t have a band name. We reached out to our Kickstarter backers and “The Gray Havens” came back as a suggestion that we really liked (definitely a Tolkien reference). It’s hard to overstate Tolkien’s influence and value. The imagination, attention to detail, and authenticity portrayed in The Lord of the Rings is unparalleled. I try to emulate the same kinds of qualities in my songwriting. He also placed an incredibly high value on music and song (even over poetry and prose!), which I very much appreciate.

Relevant Magazine has a list of some notable artists (some surprising, some not) who have covered “Amazing Grace” over the years:

Despite being well over 200 years old, the new musical is a testimony to the enduring power of the classic hymn. The song—and the story of spiritual redemption that inspired it—continues to captivate artists and listeners.

Not only is it one of the most-recorded songs of all times, it’s also attracted a variety of singers and bands to cover it, centuries later. Here’s a look at 14 artists you may not have known covered the timeless hymn…

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