Tag: owen wible

Leading Worship in Lifegroup

As worship leaders, we’re called to do more than just strum a guitar, sing some songs or make a good iPod playlist. We are called to lead people into the presence of God. The goal of a corporate worship time – whether on a Sunday or house to house – is participation. Our aim as worship leaders then is to create a space in the least distracting way possible to lead people to collectively encounter God and surrender their hearts to Him. Here are a few things to think through as you’re planning your worship time.

First, remember that though you’ve been thinking about worship, most people coming in to your Lifegroup are thinking about work, family issues or really anything other than worshipping God. Our temptation is to jump straight in to an intimate song, but the people in your Lifegroup need you to lead them in to that intimate time. Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” In starting a corporate worship time, I generally default to leading people to thankfulness. If I can get people to remember Who God is and what He’s done, then I get them to open their hearts up to Him in surrender. As we begin worship, people need to be reminded why we worship. When building your set list for Lifegroup, start with songs that declare and celebrate Who God is and what He’s done. It’s only after the declaration that people are ready to move into the songs of response and surrender.

We are often asked how we get people to raise their hands, clap, sing spontaneously, etc. The answer is simple: tell them to. Simply saying, “let’s all raise our hands,” calls people to step out of their comfort zone and to praise God. The only way that we teach people to be expressive in worship is by calling them to do it and demonstrating it ourselves.

A few practicals:

  • Tune your guitar BEFORE Lifegroup. Don’t make people sit through your tune up. Arrive a few minutes early to Lifegroup and tune in a back room.
  • Practice new songs before Lifegroup. Don’t think that just because you’ve heard a song multiple times that you know the song. There’s a big difference in listening to it (or singing it in church) and actually leading it.
  • Pick songs in the same key or in relative keys. There’s nothing more distracting between songs than that awkward silence of changing your capo. Remember, our goal is to eliminate as many distractions as possible so it’s easier for people to engage.
  • Lower songs from their recorded key. Most songs are recorded to be at the top of a male vocal range. However in a small setting without a full band, it’s more important to make the song attainable for everyone to sing.
  • Sing loudly. No one wants to be the loudest person in the room. By you singing out, it gives other people permission to sing and not feel self-conscious about being heard.
  • Sing known songs. Sing songs sung at our church or in the Church at large. Now is not the time to bring out the obscure song that has been ministering to you in your personal time with God. The goal is participation!
  • Print song sheets. This isn’t mandatory, but it helps the new person to your Lifegroup feel like they can participate (and even those who have been coming for years, but don’t have a knack for lyric memorization). Even if a new person doesn’t know all of the songs, they can at least read along and jump in once they get the hang of the chorus.

For those of you who are less musically inclined and are rocking the iPod during Lifegroup Worship, here are a few tips:

  • Intro worship. Even though you are not playing an instrument, it’s still your job to call people into worship.
  • Get loud speakers. When everyone out-sings your laptop speakers, people lose the music and guests don’t feel comfortable singing out.
  • Put your iPod/phone in airplane mode. It’s always awkward when the music stops for a second or two when you get a text or email.
  • Pick songs without talking in the recording. People don’t know what to do when someone on the recording starts preaching or someone else is praying. Also try not to pick the songs that have extended spontaneous parts or versions people aren’t familiar with. Familiarity helps people engage.
  • Avoid songs that end abruptly. Sometimes you can’t help it, but try to get recordings that end with applause or fade out. Be ready as the worship leader to step into awkward silence between songs. You might need to pray between songs or help people reengage. Be ready to pray at the end and help the transition from worship into whatever is next in Lifegroup.

Finally, the only way we get better is to get feedback.

Don’t be afraid to ask your Lifegroup leaders for feedback about how worship went. Remember – the goal is to increase participation and eliminate distractions. Often we need an outside perspective on how we can help people engage more!

My prayer is that we have powerful, dynamic worship times in our Lifegroups each week as we continue to grow in our worship leadership together.

Owen Wible, Associate Worship Pastor

AntiochLIVE: An Interview with James Mark Gulley and Owen Wible

AntiochLIVE is on the road to recording their third live worship album, It Is Finished.

We sat down with worship pastor James Mark Gulley and associate worship pastor Owen Wible to talk about the process of creating this album and hear what it’s been like working with big-time producer Jeremy Edwardson, who has worked with other major artists such as Bethel in the past! We’re so excited to encounter God and worship Jesus together on Friday, May 9th as they record!

How has producing this album been different than last time? What’s it been like working with big-time producer, Jeremy Edwardson?

JAMES MARK: I think the biggest difference between this album and the others has definitely been having Jeremy Edwardson as our producer. I’ve been the producer for all of our recordings since 2001, but for this project we really wanted to get someone else with a greater level of influence into the album. We wanted to get someone who can call us higher and innovate with us. After getting in touch with Jeremy and talking with him, it was very clear that working with him was going to be awesome. So it remains to be seen, or I guess it remains to be heard, but we are confident this album is going to be encouraging for everyone.

OWEN:  Two things really stand out to me about working with Jeremy. The first thing is that the quality level is so much higher than anything we’ve ever done before. We are honestly thrilled to be working with Jeremy because he has so much experience in recording live worship. We’re excited to learn from him and see our process become more professional. The second thing that’s been so awesome about working with Jeremy is that he shares our heart and passion for seeing the recording be a live worship experience. I think a lot of times when you’re working with a professional you think, “Ok this has to be perfect.” But he really shares our desire to have a time of raw, live worship where we’re encountering God and capture that for the body of Christ to hear and experience again and again.

Do y’all have a favorite song on the album?

They both laugh.

JAMES MARK: That’s probably a question that will never get a straight answer from any songwriter, ever. We all pour our hearts into each song, so we see the good and strong aspects of each one and what they each accomplish.

OWEN:  I think different songs play different roles and accomplish different things. When you hear a song like, “Shout, Shout” or “Free Forever” you just want to get up and dance! But then there are these sweeping anthems that just make your heart want to rise up and exalt Jesus. So it’s hard to just say, “This one’s the best!” because they all do such different things. Can we say all of them are our favorite?

What is your favorite song to lead in worship?

JAMES MARK: I don’t know that I have a favorite, but I have had some memorable experiences in leading certain songs. The writing process for Thomas’ song, “It Is Finished” was somewhat unique, but once we  finished the song and were arranging it, it all kind of came together really quickly.

OWEN:  It just fell into itself.

JAMES MARK: Yeah, it was almost like God wanted this song to be played; He wanted it to happen so He was just like, BOOM. And pretty much within an hour on the Awaken trip in Edinburg, TX, (our College Ministry spring break mission trip) we thought, “Why don’t we try this?” When a song just works, and everybody goes flying into worship immediately, you’re like, “Thank you Lord!” So that was memorable for me because I was thinking, “Am I crazy or do I love this already?” For the arrangement to just work out almost immediately was pretty unforgettable.

OWEN:  Originally the song, “To You Be the Glory” was just this little chorus I had written in my journal during my time with God. I never intended to do anything with it or show anyone. But I played it for James Mark one day in a group of songwriters that was sharing the songs they had written, and then at the first worship night this semester he came up to me and said, “Hey, I want you to start leading that chorus you wrote.” I could barely even remember how it went, but we just started singing the same four lines over and over. We had never practiced it, nobody had ever even heard the song before except for James Mark, but watching people immediately connect to it as if we’d been singing it in our church for years was amazing. So it’s just been cool to watch the song evolve, and seeing the church rise to it in that first moment.

What have you guys been listening to recently?

OWEN:  I would say Bethel’s new album You Make Me Brave. The song, “Shepherd” has been my go-to these days. It’s just powerful! That and, “It Is Well” are the two songs on that album that have been on repeat for me. Oh! And Kari Jobe’s “Forever.”

How do you get in the songwriting zone?

JAMES MARK: You want to answer that one Owen?

Both laugh.

OWEN:  No. I wouldn’t consider myself an experienced songwriter… I’ve written a song that happened to get chosen to be on the album. Oh and I wrote a song for my wife for her birthday last year, that’s about all of my songwriting experience right there.

JAMES MARK: So I think for me, I respond to life by singing. Driving around I’m always humming melodies or I have lyrics pop into my head. Ideas just kind of come out. But that flow can stop if I don’t make time to write intentionally. I once heard Jason Ingram say, “You don’t have to tell me that you’re a songwriter; I can look at your schedule and tell whether you are or not.” What he meant was, there isn’t anybody that it just comes naturally to who doesn’t also have to be productive sometimes. It’s really romantic and kind of cool to think, “Oh, I just live my life and songs effervesce.” At times that does happen, but real songwriters make time for it. When I make time for it, I’m letting God speak through me. It’s my conversation with Him. As far as what it looks like once it’s time to actually get in there and write, I can do that in different ways, but I tend to drink chai…

OWEN:  And go to Panera.

Both laugh.

JAMES MARK:  Yeah, my brother Stephen and I have been known to write a song or two in a coffee house or bakery.

OWEN:  I would say there’s a balance between inspiration and hard work. You’ll only ever have half-baked ideas unless you put in the time. No one ever writes a perfect song purely out of inspiration. Well, maybe someone does, and they can pray for us!

Both laugh.

Have there been any funny moments in this process? 

JAMES MARK: When the band gets together to practice is when shenanigans usually ensue. We’re about to get into the time when we’re putting in more hours during recording. A lot of times we get to that point in the evening when everyone can get pretty delirious, so we’re looking forward to  making those memories.

OWEN:  At times when we get stuck writing a song, we write joke versions of the song instead. You just make up verses that are as absurd as it gets. Sometimes it’s pulling in really obscure miracles that Jesus did like spitting in the dirt to make mud and rubbing it in a guy’s eyes or random Old Testament stories that obviously aren’t going to end up in the song. Specifically with the crew that is writing on this album, this happens a lot.

So how do you think these songs are speaking to the Antioch Movement right now?

JAMES MARK: All of our songwriters and worship leaders are family; we all carry the Antioch family in our hearts. So we’re constantly asking God what He wants to say to us as a people, all over the U.S. and all over the world. One word we got for this album is that we want people to encounter God.

OWEN:  I think the main theme running throughout the album is  the power of the Gospel and the simplicity of what Jesus did for us on the cross and how we have freedom because of His sacrifice. There are many songs that are focused on the message of the Gospel and what that means for us, and our response to that is to give God glory in praise and worship. We’re going back to the simple truth of the Gospel and then out of that our hearts respond in worship. I think that’s the message we want this album to portray.

JAMES MARK: Certain ones of these songs tell the story of the Gospel, but the album as a collective tells that story as well. When we stepped back and looked at it we thought, “Man, that’s amazing!” We feel so encouraged and excited for how God has brought this all together. We originally thought we would do the recording in the fall, but we felt like God wanted us to do it in the spring. We were like, “Ok God, You’re really going to have to come through for us if this is going to be good,” because the timeline had been bumped up quite a bit. Now I see all the songs that we have, and the dream of working with Jeremy Edwardson, and like He always does, God made it all happen!

Join us Friday, May 9th as AntiochLIVE records their next worship album. It will be an incredible night of worshiping Jesus together. The event is at First Baptist Church Waco and the cost is $5 per person at the door. Tickets go on sale at 6 p.m., doors open at 7 p.m. and the recording begins at 7:30 p.m. We anticipate a full house, so seating will be on a first come, first served basis. Please note, while we welcome families to the event, we ask parents to use discernment in bringing their children.  Since it is a live recording we must keep excess noise to a minimum and will limit entrance and exit from the auditorium once recording beginsHead here for more info and we can’t wait to see you there.

What is Peace?

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

This summer I was on vacation in Oregon. As I was reading on the deck of a coffee shop overlooking the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, a thought crossed my mind: This is the life! It’s so peaceful here. For some reason it got me thinking about the concept of peace. What is peace? Is it an emotion? A feeling that comes once a year while on vacation?

People often say they want world peace in reference to the end of wars. But would resolving all the world conflicts actually bring peace to the nagging thoughts of insecurity, comparison and fear? The battle for peace is not one for relationships or circumstances, but for the mind and spirit. Peace is an internal stability – an inner confidence in the goodness and sovereignty of God. As believers, it is our job to daily get our hearts and minds to a place of solidity in the truth of God.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

Here Jesus introduces us to a new kind of peace; not like the world, but one of our hearts. He challenges our hearts, not our circumstances. Two chapters later, Jesus explicitly says, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 ESV, emphasis added). Another translation says, “Be of good cheer, take courage, be confident, certain and undaunted! “ (AMP).

Jesus is not calling us to end challenging circumstances or even to understand those challenging circumstances. Rather, he’s calling us to be of good cheer in the midst of those circumstances! Peace is not an escape from crisis, but rather a resolve in the midst of chaos. The hymn writer said it best when he wrote, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.”

May we be ones who rely on the word of God over the actions of man.

May we be ones who don’t look to change our circumstances, but our hearts.

May we be ones who find peace solely in Jesus today.

By Owen Wible, Associate Worship Pastor