Bren McLean

Worship

CCLI – TOP 10 SONGS 2017

by on Mar.31, 2017, under Worship

Christian Copyright Licencing International (CCLI) was established to provide churches, organisations and individuals with simple, affordable solutions to complex copyright issues.

CCLI.png

Licences include Church Copyright, Music Reproduction and Church Video. CCLI also have a great service called SongSelect, where practically any song can be viewed, downloaded and transposed into any key!

Another helpful service is lists of the most popular songs being reported by churches. Below is the TOP 10 songs currently being reported in Australia:

1. 10,000 Reasons – Redman, Myrin

2. This I Believe (The Creed) – Fielding, Crocker

3. In Christ Alone – Getty, Townend

4. How Great is Our God – Tomlin, Reeves, Cash

5. Good Good Father – Brown, Barrett

6. This is Amazing Grace – Riddle, Farro, Wickham

7. Amazing Grace (My Chains) – Tomlin, Giglio, Newton

8. O Praise the Name (Anastasis) – Hastings, Ussher, Sampson

9. Cornerstone – Mote, Liljero, Myrin, Morgan

10. How Deep the Father’s Love – Townend

These songs will be familiar to most churches and it will be interesting to see which ones stand the test of time. As a Worship Pastor, I love to see churches writing their own songs and being inspired by the great composing skills of people such as Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Ben Fielding, Stuart Townend and co.

In terms of local music, I have been involved with CityAlight for a number of year’s now and God seems to be using these talented young songwriters to bless the church. If you’re looking for new songs that are biblically rich and musically uplifting, be sure to check them out.

Their latest album was released at the end of 2016 and the title track, Only a Holy God has been very well received.

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Colossians 3:16-17

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CITY ALIGHT ALBUM – ONLY A HOLY GOD

by on Dec.12, 2016, under Worship

onlyaholygod-cover

The new CityAlight album is finally available on iTunes and SpotifyRecorded live back in June, we are so excited to share these songs with you and our prayer is they will inspire and transform hearts all over the world in the name of Jesus. The perfect Christmas gift!

Only a Holy God is the title track and below is the first song lyric video created:

Check out the CityAlight website for all of the free resources such as videos and charts.

 

 

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BEST SONGS OF THE 1980’s

by on Nov.28, 2016, under Worship

80s-music.png

How good were the 80’s! For those of us who were impressionable teenagers back then, this was the defining era and memorable for questionable fashion and synth pop/rock songs.

A few people have asked me lately about my favourite songs from the 80’s, so I decided to take the 7 day challenge and post a song a day on Facebook.

Below (in no particular order) are the results:

Wouldn’t it be Good – Nik Kershaw

Don’t You Forget About Me – Simple Minds

Rosanna (Live) – Toto

Don’t Dream It’s Over (Live) – Crowded House

Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi

Jump – Van Halen

Flame Trees – Cold Chisel

Honourable mentions – Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey), More Than a Feeling (Boston), Eye of the Tiger (Survivor), Don’t Give Up (Peter Gabriel), Don’t You Want Me (Human League), Owner of a Lonely Heart (Yes).

Any list is going to be subjective, but for someone who is obsessed with synthesizers and great melodies, these 7 songs stand the test of time.

What about Australian pop/rock bands like Dragon, Icehouse, INXS, Midnight Oil, Mi-Sex, Mondo Rock, Noiseworks and Pseudo Echo? It was difficult to fit them in, so maybe I’ll do a separate challenge for classic Oz Rock songs. I have such fond memories of seeing these artists live back in the 80’s and 90’s and it’s great to see some of them back on the road!

 

 

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CHURCH ALBUM RECORDING – 10 QUESTIONS TO ASK

by on Aug.02, 2016, under Worship

CityAlight

Making a church album is a daunting task. Whether it’s a live recording or a studio album, there are so many traps you can fall into. In my 9 year’s at St Paul’s, I have been involved in 4 album projects and when people ask me for advice I usually say “DON’T DO IT!”.

But for the church that is committed to devoting the entire project to prayer, I have 10 questions that need to be asked before you press record:

1. Purpose – What is the purpose/vision of the recording?

Personal v Congregational, Local v Global

2. Songs – Do I have enough songs to choose from?

A typical album of 10 songs should have atleast 30 to choose from. A lot has already been written about songwriting and by sharper minds. My biggest encouragement is to collaborate on the song writing and don’t settle until a ‘good’ song is a ‘great’ song

3. Budget – How much money do I plan to spend and where will it come from?

Funds can come from a number of sources includes savings, donations, loans, crowd funding

4. Location – Where will I record?

Live v Studio v Home. Each has pros and cons that need to be carefully considered

5. Producer – Who will produce?

This is one of the most important questions. Will the album be produced in house, or do we need to engage external producer ? In my experience, the latter is usually better and costs from $1-4k per song

6. Project Management – What program will I use and who will champion it to help manage the overall project plan?

“Fail to plan and you plan to fail”. For the latest CityAlight live recording, we used an online program called Google sheets. This helped us to outline each step and who was doing what and when

7. Team Members – Who will be involved?

Only engage people who have a similar vision to you. You will be spending a lot of time together and there is no room for egos. Another factor is deciding who are volunteers and who need to be hired

8. Copyright – Do I understand copyright and the payment of royalties?

Make sure you have song agreements for each song. Friends can become enemies very quickly when money is involved. Get advice from organisations such as CCLI and APRA/AMCOS

9. Distribution – Where will the album be sold?

Retail (eg. Koorong), Digital (eg. iTunes, Spotify) via distributors such as Tunecore and CD Baby

10. Promotion/Marketing – How will the album be promoted?

Word of mouth, print, online (social media, YouTube)

WARNING

An album project can unite the team and equip the church. But even well intentioned projects have the potential to divide the team, split the church and leave you in debt with boxes of unusable drink coasters!!!

FINAL TIPS

  • Research – Do as much research as you can. Learn from others by speaking to those you admire and taking advantage of online resources.

EG. Recording Worship – Where do I Start; Hillsong 2011 – Behind the Scenes

  • Prayer – Bathe every aspect of the project in prayer. Everything we do is for His glory and in His strength
  • Have fun – Enjoy the experience of ‘making music to the Lord’
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CITY ALIGHT ALBUM 2016

by on Jun.22, 2016, under Worship

Pic 1Sunday 19 June was a phenomenal night at St Paul’s Castle Hill. Gathering in the name of Jesus, 640 people participated in a live recording for the new CityAlight album. There was a wonderful sense of community and celebration as God’s people sang with such enthusiasm. I got goose bumps hearing the people of all ages cry out “I want to know you, Jesus my Lord”. It was a foretaste of heaven.

The event required an army of volunteers. About 70 men and women working together with a common goal; a genuine desire to see the Name of Jesus glorified. Special mention goes to Rich Thompson, Jonny Robinson and Rich Vassallo. I cannot thank these guys enough for their hard work and commitment. We are also deeply indebted to Michael Farren who traveled all the way from Nashville to partner with us. A long term friendship is being forged with Farren (and friends) who is such a talented producer/songwriter.

The 10 songs have been written and arranged with the small church in mind and I am believing these songs will go farther and wider than ever imagined, equipping people and churches all over the world. These uplifting songs are filled with biblical truths that point to a ‘Good and Gracious King’; the ‘One and Only God’ worthy of our devotion.

Pic 2

When will the album be available?

Good question. The producers are now working on post production and hope to have the album competed by late September 2016.  We plan to release a few singles sooner, so stay tuned!

Where can I purchase the first CityAlight album?

‘Yours Alone’ was released in 2014 and is available on iTunes and from Koorong.

May the words of Psalm 95:1-7 stir your soul:

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lordlet us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

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BOOK REVIEW: TRUE WORSHIPERS

by on Dec.14, 2015, under Worship

Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin has been the definitive resource for Christian creative’s since it was released in 2008. Whether you serve in the music, production or creative team, the insights in this book are profound and practical.

“Bob loves God, values theology, and cares about people. This mix is found throughout this wonderful and helpful book. Worship Matters will inspire you as a worshiper and spur you on as a leader of worship.”
Matt Redman

“Bob Kauflin is teaching a new generation to take corporate worship seriously in a fashion that is simultaneously biblically faithful and addressing today’s culture.”
D. A. Carson

The follow up to Worship Matters is titled True Worshipers. This book was released recently and has been 7 year’s in the making.

true-worshipers

Who should read True Worshipers?

Kauflin believes it “is for anyone who wants to understand more biblically how the worship of our meetings relates to the worship of our lives. It’s for those who want to be the kind of worshiper God says He’s seeking.”

The chapters are as follows:

  1. True worshipers Matter
  2. True worshipers Receive
  3. True worshipers Exalt
  4. True worshipers Gather
  5. True worshipers Edify
  6. True worshipers Sing
  7. True worshipers Keep Singing
  8. True worshipers Encounter
  9. True worshipers Anticipate

Each chapter builds on the last and helps us to think more theologically about worship. What better gift is there for Pastors looking to invest in their Creative staff/leaders?!

Endorsements include:

“This important book will inform, instruct and inspire. Bob reminds us there’s a reason behind our rejoicing, and there’s substance beneath our singing. Bob patrols the theological borders of this book like a trusty doberman who won’t allow you to trespass into unhealthy attitudes and approaches in worship. But for all the patrolling, there’s even more pastoring. As you read the pages of this book, be open to the whispers of the Holy Spirit. Be ready for him to guide you, remind you, re-align you, or surprise you—for your greater good and his greater glory.”
Matt Redman

“Brilliant. Freeing. Needed. Worship is often limited to the walls of the church. In True Worshipers, Bob Kauflin reminds us that worship isn’t a Sunday morning routine but rather an everyday lifestyle.”
Louie Giglio

For a thorough analysis of True Worshipers, check out Josh Philpot’s (TGC) review. Then get your copy of the book for a thoroughly enriching read.

 

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DOVE AWARDS – 2015 WINNERS

by on Oct.19, 2015, under Worship

The GMA Dove Awards are an annual event, honoring outstanding achievements and excellence in Gospel music.

The winners for 2015 were announced in Nashville last night and below are some of the winners…

doveawards15

Song of the Year – How Can it Be (Lauren Daigle)

Songwriter of the Year – Matt Maher

Artist of the Year – Lecrae

Worship Album of the Year – No Other Name (Hillsong)

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Worship Song of the Year – Because He Lives (Matt Maher)

Rock Song of the Year – Good To Be Alive (Skillet)

It’s encouraging to see a few fresh names in the winners circle. For a complete list of the Dove’s for 2015, go to:

http://doveawards.com/awards/2015-winners/

Congratulations to all the winners. Your hard work and God given gifts have been recognised by your peers. May God continue to equip and use you for His glory!

Finally, a shout out to our local brothers and sisters from Hillsong Church! Your music is inspiring a growing number of churches and worshipers. I look forward to seeing the Hillsong movie when it is released later this year.

From the Hills to every corner of the planet, let’s lift up the name of Jesus, for there is ‘no other name’ by which we can be saved.

 

 

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CCLI – TOP 10 SONGS 2015

by on May.28, 2015, under Worship

Christian Copyright Licencing International (CCLI) was established to provide churches, organisations and individuals with simple, affordable solutions to complex copyright issues.

CCLI

Licences include Church Copyright, Music Reproduction and Church Video. CCLI also have a great service called SongSelect, where practically any song can be downloaded and transposed into any key!

Another helpful service is lists of the most popular songs being reported by churches. Below is the TOP 10 songs in Australia:

1. 10,000 Reasons – Redman, Myrin

2. This I Believe (The Creed) – Fielding, Crocker

3. Oceans – Houston, Crocker, Ligthelm

4. How Great is Our God – Tomlin, Reeves, Cash

5. Cornerstone – Mote, Liljero, Myrin, Morgan

6. Amazing Grace (My Chains) – Tomlin, Newton, Giglio

7. Broken Vessels – Houston, Myrin

8. Holy Spirit – Torwalt, Torwalt

9. This is Amazing Grace – Riddle, Farro, Wickham

10. Our God  – Redman, Tomlin, Myrin, Reeves

TOP 25 in USA

These songs will be familiar to most churches. As a Creative Minister, I love to see churches writing their own songs and being inspired by the great composing skills of people such as Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Ben Fielding, Stuart Townend and co.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:16-17

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REVELATION SERIES – THE VICTOR

by on Feb.02, 2015, under Worship

Yesterday, we commenced a new series at St Paul’s titled, THE VICTOR.

The Victor slides

 

This is a 9 week series on the book of Revelation. There are matching bible studies and over that period we hope to get a glimpse of what John saw, Jesus crucified, risen, ascended, in charge, THE VICTOR.

We were also blessed to have Dr Paul Barnett share on Saturday morning.

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Dr Barnett is an ancient historian, New Testament scholar and former Anglican bishop. It was brilliant to hear him demystify Revelation and disarm some of the fears people have trying to understand John’s apocalyptic letter.

For more on Dr Barnett’s insights on Revelation, check out:

http://paulbarnett.info/tag/understanding-revelation/

http://www.koorong.com/search/product/revelation-apocalypse-now-and-then-reading-the-bible/0949108421.jhtml

On a personal note, I love sport. I will watch almost anything involving a ball and 2 or more athletes and last weekend was a sporting marathon. Champions were crowned in Soccer, Rugby League, Tennis, American Football, but let’s be clear…

NO victory in the history of the world holds as much significance as the battle Jesus won over sin and death! Christ is THE VICTOR and by God’s grace we share in the victory.

“Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”

Revelation 19:7-8

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DOVE AWARDS – 2014 WINNERS

by on Oct.15, 2014, under Worship

The GMA Dove Awards are an annual event, honoring outstanding achievements and excellence in Gospel music.

The winners for 2014 were announced in Nashville recently and there are quite a few familiar names.

45th-Dove-Awards-2014

Below are a list of the winners in some of the top categories:

Song of the Year – Oceans (Hillsong)

Songwriter of the Year – Chris Tomlin

Artist of the Year – Hillsong UNITED

Contemporary Album – Fading West (Switchfoot)

Praise & Worship Album – Majestic (Kari Jobe)

Inspirational Film – God’s Not Dead

 

Hillsong UNITED were awarded five Dove Awards, including top song and top artist. Congratulations to these faithful men and women from ‘down under’! I am fortunate enough to know some of the team members personally and have always found them to be humble, hard working and generous with their time. Their passion to equip the local church cannot be denied.

For a complete list of the Dove’s for 2014, go to:

http://www.doveawards.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/2014-DOVE-AWARD-WINNERS-FINAL.pdf

Artists such as Redman and Tomlin have been contributing to the modern hymnal since the late 90’s. Seven of the TOP 25 SONGS reported to CCLI are by these guys, proving their ability to craft congregational songs that edify the church. What an achievement!

Hillsong have made an increasing contribution to church music and currently have five songs in the TOP 25. Will all of these songs stand the test of time? Some will, but I suspect most will fade into obscurity due to their lack of scriptural depth, which stirs the soul.

What congregational songs have been well received by your church this year?

 

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