Tag Archives: worship

The Gay Christian Network Conference 2017 Recap: Reflections, Setlist, and Videos! #GCNconf

Hey Friends! 

I had an amazing time leading worship at the 2017 GCN Conference.  A few folks have asked about my experience as well as a copy of the set lists so here we go!  

I’m still in awe. I’m writing this weeks after the conference and the awe of being asked to serve as worship leader for this conference still amazes me.  For those who don’t know my story, I’m someone who was told by church leaders that God would never fully use me because I’m gay or that people would never see me as a man of God because of my sexuality.  Years later I’m seeing every one of those words fall to the ground as amazing opportunities to lead and be an advocate for LGBTQ inclusion in churches continue spring up on my path. 

I also had the honor of assembling a world-class team of LGBTQ people and allies. Many of us share the similar stories of being wounded by churches and church leaders and being part of an event like this – while sometimes difficult – is cathartic and redemptive in ways that we can’t fully describe.  When possible I’ll do follow-up posts with stories that I have permission to share.

For those who couldn’t be at the conference or who missed the live stream, videos are here! Our team led worship for the first three general sessions of the conference, which all can be viewed on GCN’s YouTube page (Session 1, Session 2Session 3, Session 4 – Liturgical Worship).  Additionally, please enjoy the keynote speakers who’s talks are also on these videos.

I’ve created a Spotify playlist with most of the songs we shared. You can follow that playlist here

I wanted to be very intentional about the song selections for the conference. With 1400 people in attendance all coming from different churches, denominations, theological leanings, and musical preferences, creating a worship experience for us to have TOGETHER required some intentionality.  Fortunately, this is something that I strive to do year-round, GCN being no different. Our selections tried to incorporate songs that would be familiar when possible or easy to pick-up and follow-along if it was your first time singing it.  The songs range from hymns to gospel to contemporary Christian music and included a bilingual worship song.  We also tried to be mindful of the messages and language of each song to be sure that the sets were as accessible to a wide an audience as possible.  I’m still learning and there are lots of places where I can do better at this, but I think it’s worth the extra effort. 

One of the songs that are not on Spotify is “Room For Us All” by The Many.  In 2016 I started singing with this group and I LOVE the music that we’re making together. You may download the song for free here along with other music from The Plural Guild.  Something I secretly hoped for while we were singing this song is that while we repeat the chorus of “We are on this earth to love” that people would hold hands or lock arms and sing this… and it happened! It’s the little things that make my heart glad. 🙂

Below is the written setlist and after that some cameraphone photos and screen shots of what people shared about the conference on Twitter. 

Thanks for following my grand adventure and stay tuned for more! 

Session 1 – Thursday:

  • Lord, You’re Worthy
  • Medley: Set A Fire, Always, Ever Be, Simple Gospel
  • My World Needs You
  • You Are Good (in Spanish and English)

Session 2 – Friday:

  • Reprise of “You Are Good”
  • For Those Tears I Died
  • Simple Gospel
  • In Christ Alone with On Christ The Solid Rock
  • Glorious

Session 3 – Saturday:

  • Here’s My Heart
  • Deep Cries Out
  • Old School Medley: We Bring The Sacrifice of Praise, In The Name of Jesus, Victory is Mine, 
  • “Here’s My Heart” (Reprise)
  • My World Needs You (Reprise) with Isaiah 58 Spoken Word
  •  Room For Us All
  • Hold Us Together 

Session 3 – Continued at Offering: 

  • Chase Away my Dark
  • It Is Well

We Have Been Changed to Bring Change!

Think on this!

CHANGED from blaine hogan on Vimeo.

This music video was created for Aaron Niequist’s new song, Changed.

©2009 AARONieq Music / Willow Creek Community Church

I Love this video.  it speaks in simple ways about the awesome things that God has called us to.  “How can we worship more than singing?” is a question we have to ask regularly.

Right now, I’m knee deep in planning an Arts Reception for all the creative, musical, artistic types at my church.  My hope is to empower as many people as possible to connect with our church and use their gifts and to connect with other individuals who share their passions.  I’m extremely excited about the potential of what could come from people gifted by God to do creative things getting together to spread the Gospel, provoke thought and action, and to communicate the heart of God.

Keep me in your prayers as I can get a little overwhelmed with the minute details (that I don’t really need to worry about).  I know that God is in control and working things out wonderfully according to his plan.  If you’re in the Chicago area on August 30th, I’d love to see you there!  You can get details at WCarts.eventbright.com!

Submitting to God: This is my Act of Worship

Last weekend was a beautiful practical experience in submission. I had a chance to write a little about it in the comments section of my churches summer devotional page. Since I don’t know how long it will remain available I’ll repost my story here:

This past weekend was an exercise in listening for and responding to God’s prompting. I’m normally pretty busy serving on Sundays, but on Thursday God was giving me a clear directive to ‘be still and know that I am God’. On Thursday I was all set for ‘stillness’ by Saturday night I was ready to make some phone calls and get back to all my activity on Sunday morning.

Well, I resisted that urge and remained still. Because I wasn’t busy, I ended up sitting next to a friend who I haven’t seen for a while in church. Through the service I kept feeling like I should give him a hug – I didn’t do so until the end of service. When I hugged him he broke out in tears and tells me about something terrible that happened to him on the way to church that morning. I was able to get some help for him and just be a friend in the time of need – something I would have totally missed had I been ‘busy’ with all my normal stuff that God told me on THURSDAY to take a break from.

Because I submitted to God, I had the opportunity to see how he would use me beyond my gifting and expectations. God has a purpose in all that I do and go through.  I’m challenged to know all the more – WHERE DO YOU WANT ME TODAY. LORD?

My weekend closed with the opportunity to see Sy Rogers preach at City Church Chicago.  I’d never heard of him before that day, but a friend insisted that I come to the service.  I was glad I did.  Sy Rogers defies the expectations of many about the look and sound of a born-again Christian – or any preacher for that matter. I love that!  He brings the message of the Gospel and teaches in practical ways that apply to most anyone who hears him.  I’ll let this video clip speak for itself.

Continue reading Submitting to God: This is my Act of Worship

Busy Days…

In what seems to be the story of my life, things have been quite busy for me – which in a lot of ways is still a good thing.  I’ve got two great church clients that have been a steady stream of work for me, my two new business web sites are creeping toward a launch, and I’ve been in a plethora of things at church this week.  Just to recap, here are some highlights from the last two weeks or so (yes.. I’m a bit behind in my blogging!)

Photos, videos, and links after the jump Continue reading Busy Days…

Drama in Worship

Life is spinning at a good 60mph right now, but I wanted to be sure to send an update.  Amongst about a million other things, I’m in preparation for our second annual Christmas service at church.  I’ve been cast again as Balthazar, a wise man – the role I played last year in the production.  This year preparations started a little earlier so I’ve had more time to receive direction and coaching.  Stacy, one of the volunteers at church has been really taking me to new depths in understanding acting and getting into the character and telling the story.  As many of you know I’m a pretty animated person already.  And while I did a decent job with my role last year, it’s going to be much more dimensional this year.  What really touched me about this whole process is Stacy’s passion in how she’s directing me.  We spent hours yesterday working through the script, acting out various senarios, daydreaming about what the life of this Character was like.  All of that is to be expected, but there was something about the heart of what she was doing that blessed me as this is her reasonable service to God (Rom. 12:2).  She was using her passion to bless God and serve his people. That touched me and I hope to touch others with the same kind of passion when I get up on stage this year.

The Gift of Prophesy

I just got back from an AWESOME time in the Lord.  My good friend and awesome worship leader, Lorie Smith, invited me out to a concert tonight.  The group she sings with “Just Friends” sang at the event– which was not far from me so I walked over to support them.  Wow… what a powerful move of God.  They sang a song about the presence of God and it put a halt to the entire concert… we couldn’t move past that point – the anointing was so powerful that all we could do was cry out to Him. I only really knew / was close to Lorie there, but God was majorly tugging on my prophetic gift.

The difficult part for me is that since I’ve been a part of my new church, I haven’t been sure what to do with the gifts of the spirit.  Willow doesn’t exactly operate in those gifts (an occasional laying on of hands in prayer, but that’s about it). Yet I felt called to be there – in particular to offer my gift of worship in ways that would help others to be free to worship God.  I would often ‘hold back’ when in worship, but more and more I’m just letting go and letting God have all of me… whether I’m on stage or in the congregation.  I was often afraid that someone would say “you’re doing too much” but what I’m finding is that the more I let go, the more it is embraced.  I’ve had a few conversations with people that have confirmed the gifting that I thought I needed to hide.   But once again… here I am –at a concert this time in someone else’s church–  in a place where I don’t know what’s ‘appropriate’ or the accepted norm, but I feel God expressing what is the desire of His heart.  So I shared with the pastor what God gave me to say it was EXACT CONFIRMATION of what he was hearing from God: “Dance like David Danced in the Presence of the Lord”… next thing I know the whole church is dancing spontaneously and unrestrained for 20 minutes straight!  Amazingly enough, we transitioned out of that with heart-felt dance from their liturgical dance team.  It all just confirmed to me that God wants to use me in this way.  The pastor even said it over the mic “I don’t even know this man, but he confirmed exactly what God put on my heart”.

Gosh… that was an amazing refreshing for me.  I’m going to have to write more about this later, but there just seems to be some undeniable ways in which God is working.  It never was about my ability or quailfication, rather it’s about God’s purpose and mission.  I’ve been guilty of relying on and being disapointed with my own ability in leading worship – feeling ‘not good enough’ or ‘not strong enough’ – then I was reminded that my most powerful times of ministry have been when I forgot about me and everyone else and focused on God alone.  Times of being totally yeilded to His move and his plan.  Times of seeing healing, changed lives, and broken hearts restored.

Sunday’s service at Willow was AWESOME… indeed God was glorified in that offering of Worship.  I really believe that as we open ourselves to enter into God’s presence – totally open and unashamed that our lives – however broken and wounded will be healed and that his Glory will be revealed.

“None But Jesus”

This blessed me so:

"None But Jesus" by Hillsong United

In the quiet
In the stillness
I know that You are God
In the secret of Your presence
I know there I am restored
When You call i won't refuse
Each new day again I'll choose

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

In the chaos in confusion
I know You're sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do Your will
When You call I won't delay
This my song through all my days

All my delight is in You Lord
All of my hope
All of my strength
All my delight is in You Lord
Forever more

I heard this song sung live by Darlene Zschech at church tonight.  I really appreciate the writing that comes out of Hillsong church.  Powerful simple truths put to meldodies that congregations can easily sing.  Worship was AWESOME!!!

My Big Weekend at Willow Creek in South Barrington

The view from stage rightTHANK YOU LORD! It’s been another wonderful weekend of worship at Willow Creek Community Church.  This weekend, Steve Wu – Willow Chicago Campus Pastor, and our entire music team went lead worship at the Main Campus in South Barrington, Illinois.  This was a great opportunity for me.  This is the first time that a regional campus has lead worship on the main stage at Barrington.  The Chicago campus is only a year and a half old, but God has grown the church tremendously and as we mature the Lord is using us to shake things up at Willow Creek.

THEY HAD EVERY DETAIL!!!! The Barrington Church gave us such a warm welcome.  They went so far as to build a life-size EL train platform!   It was beautifully realistic and detailed – even down to the no-smoking and warning signs!  Dinner was provided in the green room for the entire team before the Saturday night service and breakfast for the two Sunday morning services.  One of the Barrington worship leaders lead us in a song for prayer sparked a blaze of worship and hearts open for God through the entire weekend.  Literally, as each of the services progressed, there was a greater and greater passion that was building in all of us!

Senior Pastor Bill Hybels mentioned in the services that Willow Creek is becoming a singing church and that as a congregation the worship this weekend would be a deffinate time to experience that!  Willow Creek in the past has been a place where participation was very optional, however, things are shifting to being much more participatory –  especially in the form of congregational singing!  It has been my heart to see people liberated in worship… God has touched Hybels’ heart with that same vision and I’m eager to see more and more people giving praise with ALL that they have within them.

Willow Chicago will be leading worship in Barrington for two more weeks, and I pray that God will use us to spiritually set the church on fire with a passion for worship that can’t be quenched!!!