This will certainly be an Easter we never forget, huh? Here is a song I wrote for an Easter Sunday worship service many years ago. (This video is ripped from our Sunday worship live stream from my home yesterday, during our Communion segment.) The first couple verses are from Jesus’ perspective* to his followers, and the third verse is our response to his saving act of death, burial, and resurrection for us. May Jesus give us comfort, guidance, and peace during this time. Stay safe!
Hey guys, we have been streaming our service (like everyone else, I guess), last four Sundays from my house. Up to now we’ve been doing live worship on the stream, but yesterday since I was speaking I thought we would pre-record a video with several worship team members and play that over the live stream. It ended up being a bigger project than I realized and took a lot of time. But I learned a lot and if I do it again, I think it will be faster next time. Here were the basic steps, and this video shows a little more as you can see some of it on my computer screen:
- Made a scratch recording of the song(s) with rhythm all the way through for people to listen over headphones while they sing or play (must have enough harmonic content for the singers to stay on pitch).
- Have members make cellphone videos of themselves singing or playing along to the track.
- Export the audio out of the individual videos and use some kind of audio editing software (like Garageband, Logic, or ProTools) to make a nice mix of all the audio tracks. This will get better results than trying to mix the audio when you combine the videos.
- Figure out the layout of the videos in some kind of layout software (I used Keynote) using screen grabs of each video (not the video itself) or even on a piece of paper. This is to see how the videos may be cropped or positioned on the screen to make everything fit. Much easier than working with the videos themselves in the editing program (at least if you have a less powerful computer, like I do).
- Put all the videos into a video-editing program (like Premiere or I used DaVinci Resolve). Sync each video to the final audio mix one at a time. Be sure to mute the videos you aren’t working on to save processing power.
- Export the video! My computer isn’t powerful enough to play all 8 videos at once, even at a lower frame rate, but it did a good job with the export –took about 3 hours or so to chew and spit it out.
This time is growing us creatively as it is making us figure out other ways to help our congregation worship. And some of these videos we are making will have a longer lifespan of encouragement than just one Sunday service, so that’s cool. Stay safe! Love you all!
Here is the final video we showed on the livestream:
Hey guys, happy Monday. I hope you are figuring out how to navigate this time well and worship from home, if that’s the situation you are in. We started out the year with the theme “Doing Life Together” for our small groups — little did we know how this time would really refine us and make us closer. Our particular small group has a group chat going where we are connecting every day and it’s so encouraging.
I have heard people are using my lyric videos for house church gatherings (which is so cool — never did I envision that when I was writing or recording these so many years ago). I have made this page to post some of the ones I have now and I’ll work on getting more up in that same place. I have also had people asking for permission about using my songs. Just know that I give blanket permission for any use of any of my songs that are for building up the church or serving those in need. If you are making a blockbuster movie or TV show and want to use my music, I would accept some royalties 🙂
Last week on the last song of our streaming house church service we asked those in our church to take cell video of them singing along over the live stream and send it to us. This video is a mash-up of the videos that were sent in over the top of the original live stream. Brings a smile to my face to see everyone worshipping from their own homes but all of us making music to God together. We do need God to BE WITH US during this time!
Hey guys, interesting times to be a worship leader, huh? It has been cool seeing the streaming services of different services in our fellowship of churches over the last week (from yesterday and the week before). I keep hearing that the efforts we are making to connect people in worship (even online) are so important right now. I wanted to share a medley we did yesterday in our little home-based service we streamed out to hundreds of people — it was cool to hear feedback people were belting it out at home! And the “birds” analogy I share on video here seemed to connect — maybe it’s something you might share if you are one of the people helping people worship from wherever they are. Praying for you all, for our country, for our global village and the battle we are waging. Love you!
Praise Medley (in E): We Praise Thee O God / Praise the Lord O My Soul / Great Are You Lord
I have always viewed our worship ministry as one in which we “bring out new treasures as well as old” (Mt 13:52). We like the old songs, we like the new songs. A capella, gospel, CCM, EDM-style (even the occasional bluegrass tune). All options are open to us. As we have tried to incorporate newer worship songs with newer styles we have also incorporated newer techniques of using some tracked materials, pads and arpeggiators, in-ear monitoring, growing complexity. When we recently launched a new ministry and split our Sunday service into two locations, this gave us an opportunity to reevaluate some of this. One of the brothers who is helping to lead worship (and is a big proponent of newer worship music) shared that even though he likes the newer music, he felt with all of the complexity we had lost some of the congregational connection. Our hearts had become a little too hurried, too caught up in the mechanics of what we were trying to do. We had grown to have more stress in our set up and rehearsal, as we had become more dependent on technology. We needed to scale back.
In recent weeks we have been trying to simplify a bit, and focus more on the relationship with the voice of the church. We have been not trying to do too much with our team in terms of technical complexity. It has been refreshing and encouraging. Perhaps I will make a video with that brother I mention above and I discussing this further, but today I just thought I would share this struggle we have had and solicit and comments or advise you may have on this. How are things going in your church in terms of congregational engagement, joy and peace on the worship team? Any practices or principles that are helping your group?
As with much in Christianity, I think this is one of those areas where things are held in tension – push/pull. We push into new musical territory, new technological options and techniques, but then pull back and make sure our whole congregation stays together in unity and praise, bringing God “acceptable worship with reverence and awe” (Heb 12:28).
Happy Monday morning! I wrote this song many years ago for a singles conference with the same name. So it kind-of always has a connection to singles ministry for me. We sang it with all the singles of the LA Church of Christ last October and did it reggae style (which is my favorite way to do the song these days). Hope you enjoy it. Have a great week, everybody.
Hey guys, I am working on providing a page with backing tracks from some of my songs and my arrangements that I am giving away for FREE (for now anyway). I have been getting more requests for this these days. If we are going to continue to plant and build churches around the world that means a lot of worship context is going to be small church than big church. And for some, backing tracks can help! I have posted many of my most popular songs, such as Rejoice, Anchor for the Soul, Praises Heard Around the World, Here Am I Send Me, On the Mountain of the Lord, my version of We Praise Thee O God, and others.
I hope to make many more available soon. And for those of you who are using multitracks and just want some of the tracks, I am hoping to give you a zip file with stems to all of the tracks! (Let me know if you’re interested in this.)
Here is the page: http://jbriancraig.blog/backing-tracks/
I am enjoying listening back to some of these. I like it more than listening to my finished albums, because I don’t like hearing my own voice — nicer to just hear the tracks!
By the way I am working on a new worship album — I have plenty of songs for it, just need to allocate time to record. I can’t wait to share with all of you some good stuff!
Happy Monday folks. I’m excited to let you know about a music album project I finally finished called “Ties to the Light.” If you’re reading this blog you probably know me for my congregational songs. But long ago I used to do alt-pop/rock (in high school and college). A while back I started writing songs in this genre again, and this album of songs represents those tunes I’ve been working on all this time. Going forward I plan to release more songs like this under the band name “Ties to the Light” (just to distinguish it from my worship music). Also I plan to collaborate with other artists under this band name. I would LOVE to know what you think of this project! Here are links for it, depending on what kind of streaming service you use:
Hey guys, just a quick blog post this Monday!
I just uploaded some new chord charts from the last year or two to the main page. Here are the new uploads in case you’re interested in any of these. A few of these are newer congregational songs of mine that we are singing and I hope will be on an upcoming album so I can share with others (Only in the Cross, Worship You My King, Heavens Declare, Dream).
Hey guys! Happy New Year! I didn’t post anything on this blog all last fall because I had a grad school class on Monday nights and ended up spending a lot of Mondays working on schoolwork. But I’m hoping to post something every Monday in 2020 (or most Mondays) — either a new song, video, old song, or thought about worship ministry.
I put this video together over the holidays with one of my older songs. A while back I had captured a 30 sec video of some seagulls at the beach — something about the way they were gliding on the seabreeze was really cool. I decided to slow it way down to a frame at time and put it to this music, and I love the way the artwork of these beautiful creatures brings new meaning to the experience of this song for me and the message of it. Hope it ministers to you like it did for me. Makes me want to let go, have faith, trust God, and glide on the winds of his presence. Great way to start the year. God bless!