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    Leadworship Workshop Feedback

    Posted on July 11, 2013 by Paul | 1 Comment | Leave a Comment

    This spring we hosted several Leadworship Workshops. Thousands of worship leaders and team members have joined us for these 24-hour “up close and personal” worship intensives. Allow me to share some of their comments with you:

    Just a note of thanks for all that you and the team did for our church. Everyone was really stoked afterward and ready to go back and “Infect” the church at home with the energy they received. I attended the Leading Worship workshop and the Electric Guitar workshop. Both were excellent. I told Ben Gowell that his workshop was perfect for where I am right now with the guitar. The workshop lengths were perfect. We had free flowing Q&A and enough time to be exposed to way more than we could assimilate. The registration fee was very reasonable. It was low enough for our whole team to attend. God bless you and the team of presenters and workers and their families”.

    We are so grateful on many levels. The workshop was fantastic and the worship was so refreshing. As a worship team we don’t get the opportunity to be on the other side of the fence very often. There are so many ways the conference influenced our group and we were immediately able to implement some of them….our worship the following Sunday morning was GREAT!!”.

    We also really appreciate you for making your music available to the church. What a blessing to be able to get your music and other helpful videos and tips easily and with no charge. Thank you also for the reminder of how important it is to be in prayer and the Word“.

    “The conference was amazing! Our worship team learned so much and honestly it was refreshing to be the ones in the congregation being filled and ministered to. Our team already picked up things that we used the next Sunday morning and could see a difference in! Thank you for following Gods desires and I can’t wait to attend next year!”


     

    “I’m a pastor of a small church of 80 and my small team would never have been able to go to most worship conferences. Thank you so much for doing something so helpful. Your format and cost was perfect for what we needed. The leadworship.com workshop was amazing and please do it again!”

     

     

    “I came to the first Leadworship Workshop a few years ago and took so much away that I didn’t think it could get better, wrong! I took so many notes on my phone that my battery went dead. God is so amazing how He moves and my worship team was so amazed that Paul is so “normal”. We were so taken away by the concert and then the information that was given out, wow! My drummer and soundman couldn’t stop talking about all the things they learned. I had one talking in one ear and one in the other and that was all worth it, just in that :-) . I was so encouraged to see them so excited to get to church Sunday morning so they could use what they learned.

    Our church was blessed enough to plant a seed in another worship team in town and bring one of it’s members. He never had been to anything like this and was writing notes the entire time. I know he will bless his praise team and church with what you all brought.

    You all do so much for worship that a few paragraphs could not contain the gratitude I feel. Paul said that he was trying to cram 20 years into a little over an hour but he did GREAT! Sure, I would have loved to pick his brain more but what he gave was so fitting to what my team and I needed.

    I could go on and on but to sum it up, thank you so much for allowing God to use you and lives are changed because of your obedience. Looking forward to next year.”

    Read this blog entry about the conference from Kenny Innes from Houston.

    Glorieux – New French Worship CD – July 2013

    Posted on June 26, 2013 by Paul | 1 Comment | Leave a Comment

    Lire le communiqué de presse français ici
    Read the English press release here

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We are thrilled to share with you the release of “Glorieux”, our second worship CD entirely in French.

    This project was only possible because of the hard work and dedication of our dear friends in Quebec, France, and elsewhere. Special thanks to Louange Collective.

    We hope you will join us in worship with these 14 songs with vocals by Paul & David Baloche, Matt Marvane, Pierre Nicolas, Dan Luiten, Tabitha Lemaire, André and Lynne-Marie Favreau, Joel Auge, and others.

     

    Listen to audio samples of the songs here:

    01. Glorieux
    02. Tu Nous A Sauvés
    03. Tout Mon Espoir
    04. Roi Des Cieux
    05. Cet Amour
    06. Nous Sommes Sauves
    07. Par Le Don De La Croix
    08. Être Près De Toi
    09. Voici Le Jour
    10. Oh Seigneur
    11. Vois Donc Le Seigneur
    12. Règne En Moi
    13. Merci Pour La Croix
    14. Alleluia

    We’ve also produced a FREE companion songbook, complete with all the lead sheets.  Download the FREE songbook here.

    We hope this CD will be a encouragement to all our French friends.

    Paul Baloche

    Love in Action – Papua New Guinea

    Posted on February 8, 2012 by Paul | 29 Comments | Leave a Comment

    When I travel to lead worship in places other than my home church, I feel privileged to meet people who tell me amazing life stories about God changing their lives.  Occasionally, I hear an extraordinary story, one that moves me to tears.

    Not too long ago, I was in Edmonton, Canada, at the Breakforth conference.  After a songwriting session, a young woman came up to me and showed me some beautiful photos from Papua New Guinea.  She had been involved in medical work in several villages.  She told me how singing and songwriting had become an integral part of activities the villagers were involved in.  Then, a few days later, she emailed me the story behind the story….

    Dear Mr. Baloche,

    I realized that I didn’t explain the story about the child with the painted face.

     

    The child with the painted face’s name is David, but it wasn’t that originally. He actually didn’t really have a name. See, he was born with Cerebral Palsy, and couldn’t move his limbs and doesn’t know how to talk. When his mother had him, the village thought he was born that way because he was cursed, and wanted to drown him in the river to lift the curse. His mother refused to kill him. She was the second of her husband’s three wives and was cast out of the family because they were afraid all their children would be cursed because of her act of defiance against the spirits.

    So she was cast out of the village, and had to care for herself and her son across one of the rivers in a very small hut. No one would speak to her or interact with her, and when we arrived at the village they warned us not to cross the river because they thought we would be cursed too if we helped her.  It’s sadly not an uncommon occurrence.

    So I ignored the villager’s protests and concerns and traveled across the river to see what I could do for her. When I arrived, even she was afraid to let me see her son because she believed he was cursed as well. When I convinced her it would be okay for me to see him and discovered he had CP and there was nothing I could do to cure him, I spent some time talking to his mother about her situation. The little boy was so helpless and small, and I was so proud of her for choosing to take care of him despite what she lost. She clearly loved him, but it was obviously hard for her.

    I told her – and the other curious villagers starting to arrive to see if I’d be cursed – about how it was a medical condition, not a curse, that made him the way he was, as well as how it doesn’t mean he is stupid or unable to learn. You could tell just by looking into his eyes that he knew exactly what was going on. It was hard to convince them all though. They kept getting upset and insisting that even if it wasn’t a curse he was still useless and just took food and water they had so little of to begin with. They said it would be better for him to die to save the rest of the village even just one more meal. If you knew how little food they have you’d understand that this kind of thinking really isn’t as callous and terrible as it sounds. It broke my heart to see their desperation and to look into that beautiful face and into his mother’s tearful eyes and not know how to explain the value of this precious child to God’s eyes and plans.

    So I did what I always seem to do when I’m at a loss for words. I started singing.

    “Open the Eyes of My Heart” was the only song that came to me on the spot, so I sang it as I exercised his limbs… and then, the next thing I knew, he was singing along in harmony. He couldn’t say the words, but he hit every note. The whole village stared in amazement. He had the sweetest little voice. And his eyes were so incredibly bright.

    So I kept singing with him, song after song… and in the end it saved his life. It’s amazing what God chooses to use. I couldn’t do anything medically, but a simple song convinced the entire village that this boy was special. They were all touched by his singing, and I talked to them for hours about how God loves him and every single one of them, and He gave this boy this beautiful gift.

    Now that little boy and his mother live in the center of the village, a place of honor, and he helps with patients. I somehow got the idea that when I was treating people who were in a lot of pain or were frightened that he could sing to them to keep them calm… and it worked.  They call on him for everything, and he sings all the time now. He always looks so determined and so happy when someone asks if he can sing for them.

    His mother gladly carries him all over the village, and though he’s still learning how to speak, he can answer most questions with different signals. That’s when we named him David. Everyone said he needed a good name, a special name. So I told them about the warrior king David, and how he would write music and sing songs. His mother had become a Christian, and I believe that he believes in Jesus too. When I told him the story he kept signaling “yes” over and over, so we named him David, to remind him that he’s a prince in God’s kingdom, and that his songs are very special to God as well.

    I have so many stories where music was able to do what I couldn’t, and I hope it really encourages you, Paul, that God is using your music to all purposes, not just here in North America, but even in faraway places. :)

     

    Beware of the stage

    Posted on May 27, 2010 by Paul | 27 Comments | Leave a Comment

    CMS 2010 reflectionWithin our American Idol/Rock Star culture, often the goal is all about having–and keeping–the spotlight. As Christians, we belong to a least-is-the-greatest kingdom that pronounces the exact opposite, and yet worship leaders must regularly wrestle with the dynamics of being onstage in front of crowds.

    Even the typical “worship service” setup (platform, microphones, spotlights, etc.), for example, forces its leaders to walk dangerously close to those “rock star” elements while making sure the attention stays solely on God. There are many things that we can do to help us from being infected by our performance culture and as always we find timeless wisdom in the ancient text of scripture.

    There is a Priestly model described in 1 Chronicles as “ministry to the Lord”. The Levites didn’t “lead people” in worship but instead were charged with the task of ‘singing praise to God both day and night, in the temple. They sang to the Invisible God – an audience of One. How often do we minister to God in private? Ideally, worship leading is publicly modeling what we have been doing privately. A healthy habit is to “practice” worship throughout the week by creating some alone time with God and by singing songs and prayers to Him. Often I will go into my church sanctuary by myself or with a few core members of my team and we’ll read scripture out loud, especially psalms, which is the vocabulary of worship. We’ll begin to play guitar or keyboard very simply to create a worshipful atmosphere while speaking and singing out psalms and heart-felt prayers. It may feel slightly forced at first, perhaps mechanical, but if you persist in “showing up” to bless the Lord in private, you will begin to sense more of His presence and authority in your outward, public ministry.

    The other aspect of our ministry is Pastoral. Guitar players and singers are “a dime a dozen’ as the saying goes. But those who will give their time and talents in service to God and His people are rare. Jesus asked Peter, “do you love me?” Peter replied, “Yes Lord”. “feed my sheep.” Ask The Lord to give you HIS heart for the community that you serve. Before you dismiss your team from rehearsal, have them come to the front of the stage and look over the empty seats. Ask them to imagine the people who will be sitting there this coming week and encourage your team to pray for the individuals and families who will be showing up in those seats. This is a powerful exercise to help you and your team cultivate God’s heart and love for the people you serve.

    I would encourage you to lean toward more of a conversational tone in your leading style as you begin your service. People don’t like being yelled at, manipulated, or artificially hyped up. Whether you lead fifty people, three hundred, or more than a thousand, aim for being as authentic and sincere as you can. We don’t have to be overly sanguine. People respond best when they sense someone being themselves. In fact I used to always pray something like this under my breathe before I walked on the platform. “Lord, at the risk of being boring, please give me the courage to be ‘who I am in You’– nothing more, nothing less.” We all battle our insecurities in different ways but practicing our ministry to The Lord and praying for the people we serve will take us a long way in distinguishing between performance and effective ministry.

    Let’s determine to finish well by helping facilitate a lifelong conversation and sense of community between God and the people He has called us to serve.

    Paul

    This article first appeared on www.worshipcentral.org

    Worship in times of sorrow

    Posted on May 11, 2010 by Paul | 6 Comments | Leave a Comment

    Paul blog reflection 5-2010Some of the hardest yet most inspiring times of worship occur during funerals. The raw emotions of sadness and loss are mixed with a sense of hope and eternal perspective.

    The book of Ecclesiastes says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart” (7:2 NIV).

    In our fast-paced culture, funerals give us the rare occasion to reflect on the brevity of life and how each of our days are numbered. There is a sense of “coming to terms” with reality that our life on this earth will end. As Christians we find assurance in the promise of God’s Word that Jesus Christ did indeed die for the remission of our sins and rose again with the invitation to live forever through Him and with Him.

    Songs of worship can be the most encouraging aspect of a funeral service or a time of intense grief. Part of my role as a worship pastor is to show up and “pastor” those who are grieving. Several times last year I was called upon to lead worship during memorial or graveside services. Silence can be powerful. Stillness consoling. Yet when a simple chorus or hymn begins with a guitar or human voice, you can feel something change in the air. Timely words sung at the right moment can bring a wave of comfort and release His faithful presence.

    “Blessed be Your name when the road’s marked with suffering, when there’s pain in the offering, blessed be Your name.” “Open the eyes of my heart Lord, I want to see you.” “I can only imagine …..I will rise when He calls my name, no more sorrow, no more pain.” These are just a few of the songs that have served the moment and brought hope to those who have lost loved ones.

    Sometimes we aren’t sure how to bring comfort in situations where someone is fighting an illness or recovering in some way. Often my wife and I have gone to someone’s bedside in the hospital or at their home and simply sang over them. With sensitivity to the moment, we pray for them and ask if they mind if we sing quietly and worship in their room. Some of my most profound moments with God have been during these times as tears flow and faith is released in prayer and song.

    Scripture is filled with passages that exemplify praise in the midst of pain, promises of joy as we walk through profound sorrow.

    “Why are you so downcast, oh my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God,” (Ps 42:5-6a).

    “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me … my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Ps 23).

    Shortly before a crazed gunman murdered her, Virginia Tech student Lauren McCain wrote in her diary, “Show me Your purpose for me at Tech, and on this earth. But, if You choose not to, I will still praise you and walk where You lead, not because I am selfless, or holy, or determined to sacrifice myself for what is right but because You are the delight of my heart; and I cannot live without You.”

    Lord, give us all that same heart as we seek to console others in their time of mourning. For one day we will wish for someone to sing over us and help us to worship in the midst of our sorrow.

    This article appeared in Worship Leader Magazine.  To subscribe:http://www.worshipleader.com/subscribe

    Bob Kauflin’s review of “Glorious”

    Posted on April 5, 2010 by Paul | 3 Comments | Leave a Comment

    Glorious Reflection CD Cover blog

    Bob Kauflin: I reviewed Paul Baloche’s new album, “Glorious”. I emailed Paul a few questions which he was kind enough to answer. As long as I’ve known Paul he has always been gracious and  humble. His songs are sung across the world, yet he consistently encourages those around him, laughs at himself, and directs people’s hearts to the glory of  Jesus Christ. He’s also been serving in his local church for the past 20 years. So grateful for his example of humility. Here’s the interview:

    http://www.worshipmatters.com/2009/11/24/paul-baloche-talks-about-his-new-album-glorious/

    Leadworship Workshop Feedback

    Posted on March 1, 2010 by Paul | 1 Comment | Leave a Comment

    The last weekend in February, we hosted a Leadworship Workshop.  More than 600 worship leaders and team members joined us for this 24-hour “up close and personal” worship intensive.  Allow me to share some of their comments with you:

    Just a note of thanks for all that you and the team did for our church.  Everyone was really stoked afterward and ready to go back and “Infect” the church at home with the energy they received.  I attended the Leading Worship workshop and the Electric Guitar workshop.  Both were excellent.  I told Ben Gowell that his workshop was perfect for where I am right now with the guitar.  The workshop lengths were perfect. We had free flowing Q&A and enough time to be exposed to way more than we could assimilate. The registration fee was very reasonable.  It was low enough for our whole team to attend. God bless you and the team of presenters and workers and their families”.

    We are so grateful on many levels.  The workshop was fantastic and the worship was so refreshing.  As a worship team we don’t get the opportunity to be on the other side of the fence very often. There are so many ways the conference influenced our group and we were immediately able to implement some of them….our worship the following Sunday morning was GREAT!!”.

    We also really appreciate you for making your music available to the church.  What a blessing to be able to get your music and other helpful videos and tips easily and with no charge.  Thank you also for the reminder of how important it is to be in prayer and the Word“.

    “The conference was amazing! Our worship team learned so much and honestly it was refreshing to be the ones in the congregation being filled and ministered to. Our team already picked up things that we used the next Sunday morning and could see a difference in! Thank you for following Gods desires and I can’t wait to attend next year!”


     

    “I’m a pastor of a small church of 80 and my small team would never have been able to go to most worship conferences. Thank you so much for doing something so helpful. Your format and cost was perfect for what we needed. The leadworship.com workshop was amazing and please do it again!”

     

     

    “I came to the first Leadworship Workshop a few years ago and took so much away that I didn’t think it could get better, wrong!  I took so many notes on my phone that my battery went dead. God is so amazing how He moves and my worship team was so amazed that Paul is so “normal”.  We were so taken away by the concert and then the information that was given out, wow!  My drummer and soundman couldn’t stop talking about all the things they learned.  I had one talking in one ear and one in the other and that was all worth it, just in that :-) . I was so encouraged to see them so excited to get to church Sunday morning so they could use what they learned.

    Our church was blessed enough to plant a seed in another worship team in town and bring one of it’s members. He never had been to anything like this and was writing notes the entire time. I know he will bless his praise team and church with what you all brought.

    You all do so much for worship that a few paragraphs could not contain the gratitude I feel. Paul said that he was trying to cram 20 years into a little over an hour but he did GREAT!  Sure, I would have loved to pick his brain more but what he gave was so fitting to what my team and I needed.

    I could go on and on but to sum it up, thank you so much for allowing God to use you and lives are changed because of your obedience. Looking forward to next year.”

    Read this blog entry about the conference from Kenny Innes from Houston.

    Paul Baloche interview in Sweetwater Catalog

    Posted on February 4, 2010 by Paul | 1 Comment | Leave a Comment

    Sweetwater Catalog Reflection

    It’s All About the Experience

    Paul Baloche on how the right attitude, technology, and people maximize the message

    By Mark Hutchins

    (You can also read this article with all the photos here)

    You have 20-plus years of experience as a worship leader. What place do you think technology should have in worship — from services to musical performances?

    All technology needs to serve the goal of helping to create an environment that makes it easier for people to connect with God. Technology, when done well, can really enhance the experience. It’s almost the same thing as songwriting; it’s a fine line where, when you’re writing a worship song, you want the congregation singing the song to feel like it’s a natural, organic prayer that they’re singing to God. But if you cross the line where the song is just drawing all the attention to itself, then it’s not necessarily accomplishing the goal of helping people draw near to God.

    In the Gospels, Jesus says, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” I was thinking about that in terms of technology. We want to engage our audience; we want them to participate and sing and not just observe. We want our congregations to participate and not get to a place where they’re just coming to church and watching the “professionals” onstage do their thing. So, when it comes to projecting lyrics and images or mixing the sound, technology has the potential to be a powerful help in creating this environment that visually and aurally helps people connect with God — with their senses. Lighting can also help create an atmosphere that quietly helps people let their guard down, get beyond the hassles of life, and focus their hearts and minds on God.

    How has the progression of technology affected your performances?

    For years, I was a “wedge guy” using onstage wedge monitor speakers. I think wedges can still function fine. But as a vocalist, when you’re onstage and it’s loud and the crowd is singing, it really is reassuring to have a good in-ear monitoring system. It allows me to relax more, to not fight my way through a set because I can’t hear and I’m a little bit unsure about my pitch. It gives me security. That just helps me do a better job of trying to prayerfully lead people in a more effective time of worship.

    What technical challenges do you and other worship leaders face these days?

    A lot of worship teams aren’t aware of how important it is to get a good monitor mix going before they lead worship. Reminding singers and musicians to take a little time to make sure their monitors are properly dialed in can really affect the entire service. The singers need to be able to hear the hi-hat and the snare. The bass player needs to be able to hear the kick, the snare, and the hi-hat. The hi-hat is so important for that subdivision, and to lock everybody in. A lot of times, I’ll go over to my singer’s monitor, and I realize he or she can’t hear the drums. And I’ll go, “Man, you guys need drums!” If you’re using an in-ear monitor system, it’s important for worship leaders to make sure there’s an audience mic somewhere, picking up the audience so you can dial some of that in to the in-ear monitor mix, because in-ears tend to really isolate what you can hear. On one hand it’s beautiful, since you can hear your own pitch quite well, but you lose the leading aspect or the sense of community if you can’t hear the congregation singing or responding.

    Your primary instrument is the acoustic guitar. Has the acoustic guitar become the contemporary worship instrument?

    I would say that worship music has stylistically tended to follow some of the trends of our culture. And I’m talking style here, not content. The acoustic guitar has always been a pretty strong factor in pop music, and I would say it’s always going to have a strong place in worship. But I also would say that electronic keyboards over the years have made it so easy for people to lead from a piano, without having to cart around a heavy, bulky instrument. The acoustic guitar will always have a prominent place in worship, but the electric guitar is catching up quickly. It’s not uncommon to see folks lead with a Strat or a Tele these days.

    So many churches and worship teams have begun to incorporate loops and backing tracks into performances. What’s your take?

    My road band incorporates loops, or stems – a drum loop, a keyboard pad. I find that loops don’t necessarily inhibit your flexibility or spontaneity; you can do the song, and after the song’s over you can always linger at the end or start another chorus. The key is discerning the moment. In worship, it’s really important for the worship leader or the team members to try to diagnose what’s going to best serve this situation. And then, if you feel that loops and VJ and images and lights are going to serve it well, then by all means use them. But there may be some situations where less is more. The key to technology is to not become overly dependent on it. Let it serve you by giving you more choices in your tool kit.

    Any advice for newer worship leaders or leaders who want to continue to move their programs forward?

    I would say, go slow. Don’t feel like you have to go out and buy all this stuff overnight. Add things incrementally. As you add, you need to learn how to use it. There are lots of good conferences available out there. Maybe there’s a church in your area with a bigger budget and a really developed program. Make an appointment with that worship pastor. Say, “I’m from ‘Church ABC’ down the road here, and it’s obvious that you guys have such great technology, and we’re trying to grow in that area. Can we come and sit in on one of your rehearsals and watch your tech do some things?” You need to find somebody who’s a few steps ahead of you and just humble yourself and ask if you can glean from them.

    You’ve worked with Sweetwater for quite some time. Why the long relationship?

    I was thrilled with the opportunity to do this interview because I remember way back when Sweetwater just started and they had this teeny little catalog and one of the first websites. It’s been amazing to watch Sweetwater grow over the years. I’ve bought a lot gear from them. It’s quite a success story, and I think it has a lot to do with the attitude about serving — about educating, equipping, and encouraging. The whole Sweetwater vibe, to me, is about serving. They just kind of get that — to serve and to answer questions — and they’re not just in it to make a quick buck. I think Sweetwater has earned the trust of the music community because they almost approach their business like ministry.

    Thanks so much for speaking with us, Paul. Any closing thoughts?

    From the sales people who sell the equipment to the tech guys who use the equipment to the worship leader and the worship team, we all have to ask ourselves, “Are there things we can do to better serve the people God has called us to serve?” That’s a fundamental value that runs through all our roles. I think everything seems to fall in line if we just make it our priority to serve as best we can.

    Paul Baloche on making your tech person an integral part of the worship group

    For years it used to be sort of the band and the worship team, and then there were sort of these tech people who were sort of their own thing. Somebody needs to initiate bringing everyone together, making it all one team. Either the tech people need to reach out to the worship leader and say, “We want to be more connected to what you guys are doing,” or, if I’m talking to worship leaders, I put it on them: “As a worship leader and a worship team, you need to initiate this connection with your tech people and make sure they’re involved spiritually and relationally — that they get your heart and that they have an understanding of what you and your senior pastor are trying to accomplish.” A tech person can make or break it, period. Let’s face it: the worship leader can be on his knees praying all week, prepared spiritually, prepared musically by rehearsing the band. The pastor prayerfully studied for the sermon, and yet all that has to filter through the hands and the ears of that tech person. Pretty amazing when you think about it. Tech people really have to have a sense of how essential their role is in making sure that they’re plugged in and part of the vision of the entire team.

    Paul’s signal chain

    I use a McPherson acoustic guitar with an L.R. Baggs pickup under the saddle. I use Elixir strings and an amazing Elixir cable. That goes into a BOSS TU-3 tuner, and then I come out of that into an L.R. Baggs Para Acoustic DI. I’ve also used a Radial JDI. Coming out of the DI, I go into a mixing board. Electric guitar stuff: I’ve used a Telecaster into a Tube Screamer into a Vox AC30 or a Fender Blues Junior amp for smaller gigs — that’s great for smaller rooms. As far as live vocal mics go, I love the SM58. It’s amazing to hear all the great mics that have come out, and I am willing to use them here and there, but live, I tend to fall back on the 58 a lot of the time.

    On the studio side, I upgraded to Pro Tools 8. I use it more for demos at home. But when it’s time to cut serious tracks in the studio, it’s typically on the Pro Tools HD system. I like the RODE NTK mic for vocals, and I’ll run that through an Avalon preamp. We use Apogee converters.

    Paul Baloche’s latest album, Glorious, is available now.

    Worship Musician Magazine – Interview with Paul

    Posted on January 13, 2010 by Paul | 2 Comments | Leave a Comment

    WMM Cover Reflection

    After 20 years of music ministry, 23 years of marriage, three children, 11 worship albums, 2 Dove Awards and countless conferences, teaching sessions and worship times; Paul Baloche has something to say about a valuable team of fellow- trekkers, songwriters and the “glorious” grace of God. I literally tracked him down after a songwriting workshop at the 2009 Christian Musician Summit (CMS) at Overlake in Washington. Well worth any effort to connect, this veteran worshiper obviously enjoys the journey he’s been on with the Lord, and is ready to share testimonies of God’s faithfulness, as well as practical tips on songwriting for the Church.

    Aimee Herd: Paul, you have so many different things you’re doing, writing and recording your music, traveling, leading worship and teaching at conferences like CMS, leading worship at your church, not to mention (but I will) being a husband and father—you’re a busy guy. So, let me ask you, right off the bat, how do you stay focused on what God has for you to do, and not get burned out? What steps have you taken to stay healthy in body and spirit?

    Paul Baloche: Well, I’m amazed that I am healthy, 2009 was a very busy year. …International ministry, sleeping in planes and trains, buses and hotels, and shaking a lot of hands. I’ve not been sick, and I’m so grateful. I’m tired a lot though, and it keeps me calling on the Lord. I think tiredness, weariness can bring us to the end of ourselves, where we say (like the song) “Jesus take the wheel.” I’ll actually use those words. I’m very aware that I can’t do this unless God will give me grace for today and strength. …Strength to listen to people as they come up afterwards, and to not just hit the “autopilot ministry button.”

    I could do the same set list every night, but I try to look for that fresh thing. And I think my band guys challenge me in that, without even trying to. I want it to feel fresh for us as a community—the band—it’s like a men’s retreat. We all have our own lives, wives and families, and we’re serving in the local church, and yet, when we come together, there’s a dynamic of brotherhood. We’ve been playing and traveling together for quite a few years. There is quite a different age gap too, we kind of span the different generations, and I think it’s good because we challenge each other in our conversations.

    AH: Iron sharpening iron.

    PB: Yeah.      I’m challenged by Michael Rossback and Ben Gowell who are in their late 20’s, and then there’s Carl Albrecht who’s an established guy—such a solid guy. It’s been a healthy thing for us.

    AH: Speaking of that “freshness,” especially in relation to your new CD Glorious, I know one thing you’d mentioned regarding this recording was that you wanted “every song to matter, to be relevant and to be Biblical, and to carry spiritual weight.” It seems as though that could be a daunting task. Did you go into the project with that goal right from the start, and did it present a challenge, or did it actually make it easier because you had that focus?

    PB: It was our goal, whether or not it was articulated exactly like that. I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself when it’s time to do a project. Even my wife will sort of (sighs) take a deep breath and say, “Here we go.” She feels it too. We feel like the last thing the world needs is just another CD, or—in the words of Switchfoot—“adding to the noise.”

    So, I think each project adds some spiritual pressure, not in a bad way, but in a sense where it causes me to reflect and think about where I’m at right now in my season of life, and in my walk with the Lord. I don’t want to just sing clichés or rhymes that fit together. I think, “Okay, what’s going on in me, in my church, in the world, in the global Church… are there some things we should be singing about or addressing? Are there some areas of Scripture that we should pull out and mine? There may be gems in there that we really haven’t accessed.

    I tried to lean toward the New Testament on this project, theologically. We typically sing a lot from the Old Testament Psalms as part of our worship lexicon in the Church, so I tried to be a little bit intentional about pulling in some New Testament themes, but then shaping those themes in a way that you could sing them in worship. As you’re singing, you’re reminded of those Biblical, New Testament truths. …Like, “You’ve saved us, we’re daughters, we’re sons all because of what You’ve done, You’ve saved us, You’ve raised us up with You”—it’s all Ephesians chapter 1.

    “Shaken”, out of Hebrews, a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, “everything that can be will be shaken and only You remain.” So, there were Scriptural concepts like that, and we were saying, “how do we pull this out?”

    “Glorious” is very New Testament. Looking “beyond the cross,” could almost sound offensive but, I’m saying, “Look beyond the cross”—if you will—and relate as the Apostle Paul did, to the living, resurrected Jesus. That was a revelation to me: the Jesus that Paul knew was not the Jesus that walked around in sandals, healing the sick in person and who related to the Disciples—it was interesting. The Apostle Paul was actually trying to kill people who were following Jesus at first and then he had this encounter with Jesus-the risen Christ on the way to Damascus, and it rocked his world. Then he ended up writing practically the whole New Testament! And he said, “I didn’t get this from man, I got this from revelation.”

    So, I love the Apostle Paul’s desire to look inside the mystery, as it says in Colossians 1:27—“the mystery of Christ in you, the hope of glory.” It’s kind of mystical, and that sounds like a bad word, but I heard it said years ago that “not every mystic is a Christian, but every good Christian is a mystic.” Paul was a mystic, he was trying to see into the eternal realm, and he was trying to get us to see. (Laughing) …That was kind of a long answer.

    AH: No, it was very good. You had a fair amount of co-writers on this album…

    PB: Yeah, well tried and true—Brenton Brown—he’s just a dear, life-long friend and we always make time during the year to get together and try to stir each other up, and see if anything rises out of that. In fact, we actually wrote “Glorious” last year at CMS as we were checking into our hotel! I remember we hadn’t even emptied our suitcases yet. So, that’s kind of special, it was at CMS when “Glorious” was taking shape as a co-write.

    “Wonderful God” was written with Rita—my wife. She had this chorus for like 4 years, and I loved it. She’d walk around singing it, and I’d say, “When are you going to find a verse for that?!” She’s one to not rush it. So, I had this verse idea that was more of a testimonial style: “how Your mercy fell and changed a heart, this heart is mine…”

    We tease and say it was like eHarmony. com; “Hey, you’ve got a chorus, I’ve got a verse…how about if they go out on a few dates together—hey, they’re pretty compatible…” So, that became a song.

    Jason Ingram, just an amazing producer guy who’s produced a lot of people in Nashville. I’d never met him before but seen his name on a ton of records. Somebody had hooked up an opportunity for us to meet, hang out and write. It was like instant “koinonia.” We were both blessed and blown away just how quickly the two songs came out; “Just to Be With You” and then the next day, “To The Cross”.

    That was cool, and then writing with Ben Gowell, my guitarist, I love this guy. He just had a baby last year and is the co- producer on this album. I just felt like it was cool keeping it “in house.” Like, this is my band, let’s make a band record. So, as a band we went to Ben’s house, we went to Nashville, we came to Tyler, we kept trying to work through these songs to deliver them in a way that was musically fresh, but at the same time, still accessible to church bands. That’s still a big goal of mine; to serve the Church, to serve worship teams with songs that their church can sing.

    AH: With that focus: writing songs that are specifically for church and that can be sung by different worship teams, is it ever a challenge to come up with new material? And, when you’re teaching, how do you go about teaching people to write in a congregational kind of way that is still fresh? What are some of the pointers that you give them?

    PB: In 25 words or less?! (Laughing) Sometimes, I’ll just say to people, “Don’t try to write a song, just sing your prayers. Over the next 6 months, don’t try to write a song, just sing prayerful ideas.”

    AH: Can you give me an example of that?

    PB: Well, Open the Eyes of My Heart. That’s an older example, but that was just a phrase that I kept praying long before it was ever a song. On this album, with the song To The Cross… we were doing a tour in Canada, and in the midst of worship (we were at a kind of conservative church that night) we were in heavy worship but, I just felt like there wasn’t a lot of outward response. I think people were trying to connect but were having trouble. I said, “Look, I don’t want to make anybody do anything but, I just had this thought that Jesus stretched His arms out and did something physical for us. And in response to that, I wonder if you’d feel free to just lift an arm to the Lord, maybe lift your hands and say, ‘God, You stretched Your arms out wide, and in response I’ll lift my hands up high to You Lord.’” As soon as that came out—I was just ‘noodling’ on the guitar: (strumming guitar and singing now) “You stretched Your arms out wide, I lift my hands up high, to my Savior.”

    It was kind of an off the “top of my head” thing and we just sang it for about 10 minutes. It felt “in the moment.” So, a lot of the songs begin like that. In an honest moment where I’m trying to connect. I always have our tech guy record our worship, and later I’ll fast forward through the songs and listen for between the songs, because that’s where— for me—about 90 percent of those “honest moments” happen, when you’re segueing from one song to the next.

    AH: Those spontaneous worship moments, I love those.

    PB: Yeah. Then I’ll take those and save them up, so when I get with Brenton or different folks, I’ll prayerfully look through those ideas and say, “Here’s something I’ve been messing with…” Sometimes that will provoke something in them and they’ll be like, “Oh, oh yeah…”

    AH: It’s interesting you say that because, in some churches that can be somewhat difficult, to just allow those spontaneous times in between songs to happen, and not to be afraid of it. How do you encourage that?

    PB: I encourage people to allow their set lists to “breathe.” Instead of feeling like you have to cram a ton of songs into this short amount of time; do fewer songs. Then when each song is done, maybe just linger a little, keep it simple… it’s almost like pausing for a minute with a bit of a musical bed underneath. It almost allows people to digest what they just sang. Sometimes I’ll actually use that word like, “Before we move on too quickly let’s just think about what we just sang, and if you want to close your eyes with me, sometimes that helps us to ponder and not be distracted. But let’s just think about ‘every blessing that You’ve poured out, I’ll turn back and give You praise,’ let’s just think about that. It’s a powerful thing. Let’s just think about the blessings that God has poured out this week, and let’s intentionally—in our hearts—lift that up to God…” That’s an off-the-cuff example.

    Just relax and take your time. I’d say, for a piano player, just hang on that last chord for a moment, pause and then move on… We’re not trying to “make” something happen, we’re just allowing for the possibility.

    AH: You want it to be authentic.

    PB: Absolutely.

    AH: So, you’ve been leading worship in your church for a long time?

    PB: Yes, it’s my 20th year.

    AH: Now, I know also in your heart is the goal to raise up other worship leaders. And, of course that’s a practical matter too, because you’re gone a lot. When you’ve been a worship leader that long, is that sometimes a challenge, to raise up someone else? Can you speak to that, and about how to pass on the baton gracefully?

    PB: Mm-hmm. I’ve been saying for 10 years: “operation handoff.” That’s what Rita and I call it, but I’ve never said that to my pastor or anyone in the church; just in my own heart. I know that I need to be consciously handing it off, even if I stick around and still get to do it. In my 20’s is when I started there in that church, and built a core of musicians. We would just hang out for hours and our little babies would be running wild around the sanctuary while we were still rehearsing or praying. (Laughing) We’ve sort of grown up and our kids have grown up together in this community that we’ve built. I’m aware now though, with the mid-to-late- 40’s vibe in our team, it’s important that we intentionally give the 20-somethings space and room to develop their culture. And yet, still speak into it, but not to over-control it. To give them room to make their mistakes, like I’ve had room to make a lot of mistakes and say, “Woops, well that didn’t work very well…”

    AH: Did you have someone do that for you, a worship leader who kind of mentored you as you were beginning to lead?

    PB: It wasn’t a worship leader; it was more the pastor, and he was really gracious. He would always put the emphasis on just being a worshiper (especially when I’d try to back out and say, I’m really not that good a guitar player or a singer…), he’d say, “You know what? You’re a worshiper, Paul. Don’t worry about it, I know that was a little bit of a mess up, but that’s alright. Just keep doing what you’re doing, keep trying to put a team together, it’s good.” He would give me encouraging feedback and occasionally he might speak into it a bit. He just gave me a lot of room.

    AH: Wow, that’s so valuable—it being the pastor. That doesn’t always happen.

    PB: I know! Looking back I’m pretty amazed. I guess as far as mentors is concerned, I tried to find them from afar; Marty Nystrom, Lenny LeBlanc, or sometimes I didn’t even know their name. I’d get a Vineyard tape and say, “Man! I could do that.” It would give me confidence, it wasn’t super tricky— 3 chords, and the guy is an okay singer, but I feel an anointing there, let’s do this. It took the intimidation factor out of it. One of the things I love about leading worship is that all I have to do is get the song started, and then everybody starts singing. And I’m off the hook! You don’t have to be a great singer. (Laughing)

    AH: Talk briefly about your French album: Ouvre Les Yeux De Mon Coeur. I’ve really enjoyed it, and I speak very little French. But, I also program an internet worship station and have put a few songs from it on there, and people have loved it. I’ve noticed that worship doesn’t really have a language barrier. Was that a challenge for you, doing a completely French album?

    PB: (Laughing) Oh man… you have no idea! We did a tour across Canada, and people found out my mother was French, and my dad’s parents were born and raised in Paris. They spoke French to each other but I’d never learned it, though it was in my background.

    I have a lot of French cousins in Nova Scotia and they said (speaking with a French accent now), “Oh you should do an album in French. We’ll help you translate.” I was like, “Yeah, good idea, yeah.” Next thing you know they were calling me and saying, “So, you’re going to do this right? We’ve already translated five of your songs!” I was like, “Wow, you did, huh?” But little by little I thought “I do want to do this.” From a ministry standpoint, I’d love to.

    They came down and we tried to record my vocals… I’d sing, “Ouvre les yeux de mon Coeur…” and they’d be like, “No Paul, it’s ‘ouvre les yeux.’” I’d say, “I just said that.” They’d say, “No it’s ‘coeur,’ you said ‘coore’…” It sounded exactly the same to me. I felt like a failure, and after two days I said, “I’m sorry man, I need more practice.” They came from Montreal to help me with this. Bottom line, they sang my songs really super slowly– “ouv-re-les-yeux de-mon-coeur” I’d listen to it a couple hours a day, practicing, and when I was done my wife told me (and she wasn’t patronizing), “I’m really proud of you that you actually did this.” Halfway through the project I’d realized that I could make it Paul Baloche AND FRIENDS! Instead of me singing all ten songs, I can get other people to sing French—hallelujah! So, I only had to sing five songs.

    We went to this church in Paris that had asked us to come this summer—we were already going to be in Ireland—so we hopped over to France. It was a dream come true to be able to sing in French. I was thinking, “Who IS this?!” We get done and the next day we saw a Christian book store in the middle of Paris. We walked in and they were playing my CD. It was the craziest experience. My wife was like, “Just stop for a minute, and inhale this moment. We’re in Paris, and I know how hard it was for you to do this thing. When you finished it was like a weight off your back. Now, here we are in Paris, in a Christian bookstore, and they’re playing your music. Just inhale that and give thanks to the Lord.” I was like, “Lord, I just receive that and thank You, I pray that You’ll use this and that it’s a blessing to French-speaking Believers.” It was like a ministry dream come true.

    Integrity Music was like, “What are you doing?” But, I was glad at the end they were kind enough to say, “We get it,” and they picked it up and distributed it.

    AH: As far as other “ministry dreams” go, do you have a style of music or album that you’d like to pursue that you haven’t done before, or a location you’d like to go and lead worship in?

    PB: Well, last year I also did a live album in Asia (Korea) and we released it. While we were there doing a series of concerts, we said, “Let’s just record it.” And, we did a DVD. It wasn’t released in the US, but it was meant to be something to honor Korea. I don’t speak Korean, but I know a little bit… (sings in Korean) That was another ministry dream; to honor that culture.

    Is there a style of music I’d like to do? Not necessarily, but I want to continue to grow. I want to have my ear tuned to the language of music as time progresses.

    AH: And what would you say is that language of music that happening right now, in the vein of worship? What is the way that God seems to be leading?

    PB: Well, stylistically, I don’t think God is as concerned with our “styles” of music, although we are. But God’s people will always sing. So, I think it’s important that we ask ourselves, “Will this help people sing their prayers to God?” Whatever the style is. I want to picture that 65-year-old non-musician guy, and the 22-year-old non-musician couple, and the baby-boomer family… and I want to bring the music that will unite them, not slice them up into various styles and generations. I get excited when I see three generations all together in a room, trying to connect to the Lord through a song. That’s the ultimate for me, it makes me happy in the Lord.

    AH: Speaking of “happy in the Lord,” how is your family?

    PB: Rita and I have three kids—two are in college. My baby’s a senior in high school.

    AH: Are any of them pursuing music at all, are you handing off the baton to them?

    PB: Well, they’ve all had to serve in our worship team over the years—like it or not. (Smiles) My oldest daughter is in grad-school for theater. She’s into costume, theatrical makeup and wig-making. She’d love to work with Cirque du Soleil. And my son went to college for theater for 2 years, but he’s actually doing studio singing now for certain TV shows. Our youngest daughter, this year, was my alto singer all through Ireland. We went to Kathryn Scott’s church, Robin Mark’s, we did youth worship events and then went to Paris where she sang with me. It was awesome to just look over and see my daughter Cherie. She’s got a genuine heart for the Lord.

    As far as my family and my music—I’m trying to finish well. I’m trying to just keep the train on the tracks, keep both hands on the wheel, and not look to the left or the right. I say, “Lord I want to finish well. I pray for grace and strength, and humility and wisdom to finish well, and to try to leave a legacy. I’m aware that the enemy would love to just discredit my life, and my ministry. So, I try to do wise things. We travel as a band—we are a band of brothers—it’s a healthy thing. I wish that for other men and women in the Church that travel and minister. Finishing well is really important to me.

    So, I hope these songs and these projects all serve to make us healthy Believers. That’s what’s really important. Are these songs serving the function of making healthy Believers and healthy communities? So, the world might look at the Church and say, “Wow, that looks so inviting, I want to be involved in that, there’s LIFE there.”

    Paul Baloche’s website offers numerous teaching and worship leading resources, as well as his music.

    Log onto: www.leadworship.com for more information.

    • This article appeared in the January/February issue of Worship Musician Magazine.  To subscribe, click here. •

    “Glorious” CD review in Relevant Magazine

    Posted on January 6, 2010 by Paul | 0 Comments | Leave a Comment

    Relevant Mag cover

    Every Paul Baloche record is a songwriting triumph.

    His ability to craft memorable lines (I have come to the end of me, he sings on “Just to be with You”) and singable melodies (on “Wonderful God”) rivals Chris Tomlin, yet digs as deep as Jeremy Riddle or Charlie Hall.

    On Glorious, after almost a dozen albums since 1992, he slows down a bit and focuses on sustaining truths – how only God can comfort in times of spiritual distress, that Christ offers in-the-moment joy and that intimacy with God requires honest confession.  No pogo-stick anthems here – just ripe spiritual insight.

    This review was printed in the January/February 2010 edition of Relevant Magazine.  To subscribe, go to relevantmagazine.com