Worship in a minor key

It's been about ten years since AlternativeWorship.org emerged. This is one of the projects we helped to fund and support and its great to see how it has been a resource to the alt. worship movement over the past decade. Although its pretty impossible to keep up with all the churches, or blogs, it's still a great resource for those looking into doing worship in a postmodern world. It really is a different world that the upbeat, major key, happy-clappy stage worship-anthems that have dominated the evangelical world. And although its a smaller world, its been helpful to hear what everyone is doing and access those resources through sites like Alternative Worship.

Alternative worship banner

Special thanks to the mighty Paul Roberts for the thinking behind it and Steve Collins for the webdesign and some of the research. Steve also created the smallfire.org site which he is still updating and offers a rich view into church on the other side. Check out Beyond.

More resources at Worship Tricks and EmergingChurch.info and there are two excellent books on the art of Curating Worship.

New Media Easter: Present and Past

It's Good Friday again [comes every year, doesnt it?] and there are plenty of Easter downloads from sites like The Work of the People [some of them free] and other Easter media available online. In the UK, people are talking about Si Smith's Easter creation and bloggers Ben Edson and Tractor Girl are rebelling against people downloading Delirious songs as part of an Easter Facebook strategy to help them reach Amazon Number 1.

Ahhhhh . . . Happy New Media Easter 2010

Now, for the fun of it, lets go back a decade, before Twitter, before Facebook, before broadband allowed us to download big files.

Lets go back to Easter 2000

In 2000, our family arrived in UK in time for Easter. It was our first visit to UK and the alternative worship movement had spurned some incredible new media worship resources. I was traveling around the country over Easter. These were some of the highlights.

1. At Springharvest, where I was invited to speak about the postmodern church in USA, I saw Jonny Baker lead a multi-media communion service using 5 different videos at the same time. BLEW ME AWAY! Seriously. I had never seen that many projectors in one room. I was hooked. Jonny later started a blog series of worship tricks.

article3_01-1.jpg2. In London, I attended Vaux for their Easter service. Incredible media, thanks to the video geeks at that church, but the highlight for me was a slow animation [flash?] of a rotating crown of thorns with poetry. The video I took at that service was some of the first alt. worship footage that most Americans had ever seen. I think the file was less than 2 Megs, which back in 2000 took a really long time to download.

3. While at Vaux, I met Steve Collins and heard the story of the multi-media labyrinth they had designed for St Paul's Cathedral. Amazing! The following year I flew Steve to Austin, Texas for our Epicenter event and he brought the labyrinth with him. By then, it was renamed "Prayer Path" and came packaged in a box. A flash experience of the labyrinth was created a few years later.

labyrinth at st pauls

4. Also in 2000, perhaps the greatest alt. worship book ever, called "The Prodigal Project: Journey into the Emerging Church" came out in time for Easter. The interactive CD in the book gave us a look at what the Kiwi's and Aussies had been doing at Easter through the 90's - highly inspirational.


If I get some free time over Easter, I might threw up some of those videos and images here on this post. Until then, I wish you a wonderful Easter weekend.

After Haiti: What to Say, Sing or Show in Church

Some of you are figuring out what to sing, show or speak about at church tomorrow, in light of the Haiti earthquake. Here are some resources.


Pray for Haiti is a video you can download and play at your church gathering on Sunday. Its free and they guy behind it is my old VJ friend Travis Reed. You might remember he and some friends started a fantastic resource company called Highway Video and then went on to do The Work of the People. He was the guy behind the video on "Please Dont Make Us Sing This Song" which a lot of churches used immediately after Hurricane Katrina. Check out this one called Pray for Haiti.

pray for haiti image


TheWorshipCommunity.com ask the question "What songs should we sing in light of Haiti?". Good question for you worship leaders and some good discussion on their blog.

Songs picked from TheWorshipCommunity as appropriate for church tomorrow include Our God Reigns, The Solid Rock, Whole World In His Hands. God of This City. From the comments there are plenty more songs including "Yet I Will Praise" from Andy Park and "I've Got Questions" from Tim Hughes.


Christianity Today asked what pastors were preaching on after Haiti. Not sure what you are going to say but take a look at some thoughts from the Bible as given by some Haitian Christians, in particular, this post on poverty and the gospel in Haiti and this post deals with the pact with the devil issue that came up and will probably come up again.

Any other suggestions or resources we should know about???????

Ars Nova and New Media Worship

"The current worship transition from old media to new media is as radical as, and in some ways similar to, the shift from "Ars Antiqua" to "Ars Nova". From around 1300 AD, church music broke away from simple Gregorian-type chants into chords, polyphonic masses and harmonies that were not constrained by parallel movements of the foundation line (cantus firmus). Despite being condemned by Pope XXII, the new approach to music opened the door for similar movements in art and literature, setting the stage for complexity and modularity in church worship. And now through new media, complexity and modularity once again find new expression."
Andrew Jones, from "Transcoding Worship: When the Parts Become Pixels", Worship Leader, Jan-Feb 2007 print edition. [No web access]

Sad to announce that the Culture Watch column that I help write for Worship Leader Mag will be stopped so you wont be hearing from me anymore if you subscribe to WL. I enjoyed writing for it and always tried to look beneath the surface of what we do and find something deeper. It may have been a little too technical or philosophical for the readers who just want to know what the next cool thing is and how to implement it, but i appreciate the WL people who let me say my bit. Thanks to Jeremy Armstrong for the recent articles, and to David Di Sabatino (ex-editor of WL, producer of Frisbee) who pushed me to contribute my first article on alternative worship for WL back in 2001.

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Amazing Grace Sunday - Feb 18 (USA)


This Sunday (today) is Amazing Grace Sunday. About 4000 churches [so far] all over USA are singing this song and looking into how they can put a stop to modern day slavery. Erik Lokkesmoe is the Director behind this project and he has been kind enough to keep me updated on its progress all the way through. I have even offered some people his way to help the process along. I really like this whole thing - good people, good heart, worthy cause, nobody out to make a buck.
Details on what we are doing this Sunday and on the 25th coming up . . But in the mean time check out the resources for you (especially you worship leaders) if you want to be part of this movement to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

Register your church here

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Nintendo Wii: Remote Control for Ableton

DJVicar brings up the possibility of using Nintento's Wii remote and Ableton Live for a worship setting and links to a post that discusses it. There is also a video demonstration. Very cool. I saw a VJ use Arkaos and Ableton Live at the same time, but he still had to use his MIDI to run it all. Remote control would rock!.

CloudbursttimDJ Cloudburst [Hi Tim!!] used a Gameboy at one of our worship events in Prague (2002). Once I bought Salling Clicker so I could trigger Powerpoint or Keynote slides from my bluetooth phone. But I never really used Powerpoint [yes, i know, the devil uses powerpoint] prefering to use Arkaos for teaching and presentation instead. I wonder: Is there a way to use Nintendo Wii to trigger videos in Arkaos or a similar VJ program? Anyone know?

Related: The Phones for You, The Skinny on Powerpoint