I spent my entire adult life as a professional musician – writing original music, recording albums, touring, and fostering a budding YouTube community, so it was incredibly fitting that God would save me in a musical, intimate moment of worship. I still remember that very morning. Tears filled my eyes as I felt my hands go up on their own – the deepest depths of my soul teaching my body to reach out to God. In an instant, I learned that everything I thought I had built alone had actually been built by a loving God that wanted to use my gift to share His love with the world. What a morning that was for me!

So, inspired by my own revelation of God and a desire to share with others that same feeling, I dove right into serving. After a couple of years playing rhythm acoustic, rhythm electric and providing support vocals in various worship teams, I was offered an opportunity to lead at a church plant in the California East Bay. It was in this season that the true power of Planning Center Online was revealed to me.

I love keeping everyone updated on events and occasionally sharing my heart – praying over and chasing after what God wants to do next!

Planning Center Online, or PCO as we call it, is a wonderful resource for growing leaders. The “blockout request” feature is a great way to honor your team members’ time and is such a convenience when rostering! Team emailing is a breeze – a few simple clicks will pull up all the emails for any given team (worship, audio/visual, etc.) for any given service time! I love keeping everyone updated on events and occasionally sharing my heart – praying over and chasing after what God wants to do next!

My favorite thing to do with PCO has to do with preparing customized song arrangements for the band. For example, when it comes to the EDM-inspired praise movement, creating arrangements for Sunday morning worship can be a challenge – so many electronic samples, layers, moving lines and more! For these songs, I call upon a simple four question technique for rearrangement:

What is the heart of this song saying?
What are the chords?
What is the melody?
Where are the dynamics?

The truth is that these awesome recordings, while incredibly dense, probably started with an acoustic guitar, piano and single vocal. So, if we boil the arrangement down to its very essence – chords, melody and dynamics – we can take it in any direction while still maintaining the heart of the song!

After finishing this “simplified” arrangement, I’ll record a quick acoustic guitar and vocal take (to a metronome!) on my phone and upload it to PCO under the specified key (it will now be available there every time we decide to play that song!). The entire team can then access the recording from the same place as the chord sheets and virtually “rehearse” with the arrangement from home – what a treat!

Finally, on Sunday morning, I will provide the team with “road maps”. These are simple text documents that have the song titles, keys, capo details (for guitarists), tempos and song-forms. Road maps keep us tight and together during our Sunday morning run-through, saving time and inspiring confidence, so that even as the Spirit moves and we decide to leave the song-form behind, we at least have a foundation upon which to build!

The dream that God put in my heart is a simple one: share His love with everyone I can. I want to be effective as possible for Him, so being prepared with the necessary tools is very important! PCO is one of the tools I utilize in order to create an inspiring, musical atmosphere… where someone who doesn’t know God can be saved in a moment of intimate worship.

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