All posts tagged: church


Here’s the graphic and stage package for the latest teaching series at Rancho Community Church.

awakestage copy

We didn’t get much on direction for this series – it wasn’t completely formulated until the day it started so we had to create a graphic that was more generic. The graphics actually were born from a conversation of stage design planning. We designed it all in Photoshop (to scale) and then turned it over to our Tech Team.


The stage design consists of three black chalk walls, all hand colored. The AWAKE title is cut out of plywood and mounted off the chalk wall, backlit with light bulbs. It really comes to life when it’s lit up with our LED Pars.


Here’s a panorama of the Worship Center and stage.


Big kudos to the Rancho Community Tech Team for taking a conversation and turning it into a reality. Below are some photos take by Bryan Lanning.

awake2 awake1 awake3


In this series I’m sharing thoughts on what I believe I’d say to young worship leaders – what kinds of things I would pour into them. It stems from me thinking about how I’m going to mentor up and coming worship leaders in our church – so I’m kind of testing the waters with my thoughts.

I think to begin, it’s important to look for, and recognize young talent, passion & heart, when it comes to continuing to grow as a church in worship. I also think it’s important that young people know that there’s opportunity for them to use and develop those skills & passions. So before we create a list of things to tell young worship leaders, we need to have great opportunities for them to participate in worship leading. For many churches these opportunities are youth groups, small groups, worship events (concerts, etc.), and in some cases main worship services.

I think the question for church leaders (myself included) is “are you clearly communicating your desire to develop young worship leaders?”

Assuming we’ve got some good opportunities for young people to lead, and we’re building life-giving relationships with them (meaning you’re not simply taking from them, but you’re building into them), then we’re ready to talk about what kinds of advice, challenges, and encouragements we should be giving them – that’s what this series will cover, from my point of view.

Next, Part 1: “Love the Ministry, not the Music”

Julianna, one of our former worship leaders at Rancho Community Church who is currently planting a church in LA with her husband and company, sent me this link:

Why Creatives Leave the Church

And this email:

My favorite line:
the church needs to embrace creativity beyond sermon series graphics and the occasional live painting (to the newest Casting Crowns song?)

Ok, my real favorite line:
Art can’t redeem the world, and that is why we must be modest about it. But it can show us what redemption would look like, and this is why it matters.

Thoughts? Alex, I know you’ve tried the collective thing in the past, why do you think that didn’t work out as well?

After reading through the article, I wrote this response:

Completely agree with a lot of it.

My thoughts:

  • We’ve lost the sacred spaces – churches are now multi-use, multi-functional, mostly secular spaces… there’s no forum for art to be displayed, developed, appreciated
  • We don’t have time – the church is doing so many things that it doesn’t have time to make space for art
  • Art/Artists tend to be weird, quirky, not main-stream, so they get left out of the “vision” of the church (other than series graphics & live painting circus show)
  • The Modern/Western Church has distanced itself from “art” because it’s not safe (where we used to lead)
  • Art can be expensive, the Church is notoriously cheap (unless the lead pastor gets fired up about something/program)
  • How can we redeem art in our life-time? without being overly-weird, where we scare away main-stream society? Well, that’s a book, but I have seen some churches that have permanent and temporary spaces/cultures do it. It just has to be a core value of the church… and the core value doesn’t need to be “art” but more of a celebration and real living into Romans 12.
I realize now that I didn’t really answer Julianna’s question.
We tried a Collective at Rancho once – I think we had two meetings and then it faded away. But as I look at what I wrote, I think that’s exactly why it didn’t work. For those reasons. And the fact that I just didn’t have the capacity to push it through.
Anyway, any more thoughts?


Great weekend @ranchocommunity & @ranchomurrieta. I was in Murrieta this weekend and did the welcome/updates. We introduced a new song, “The One Who Saves“, followed by “Forever Reign” – as we were singing I was thinking of how these lyrics:

we have found our hope
we have found our peace
we have found our rest
in the One who Loves
He will light the way
He will lead us home
as we offer all
to the One who saves us

Along with these lyrics:

I’m running to your arms
I’m running to your arms
the riches of your love
will always be enough

Those songs speak so well of the truths we are trying to convey each weekend:

  1. That it is God that does the work of saving and of (here comes a big word) sanctification.
  2. That we “run into His arms” as he is our Heavenly Father and his Holy Spirit empowers us to live out the gospel.
I shared from Matthew 10 as a follow up encouragement to our time of singing together:
But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
The encouragement for our church was that we tend to work towards pleasing God, trying to be good parents, spouses, employees, etc. most times out of our own energy, and many times we fail. God is reminding us that he knows us intimately, and wants us to trust him, with our every day lives – to run into his arms and let him be enough. To really live out of the overflow of God’s love and grace in our lives.

Check the pics.


Success! If I do say so myself.

This December I got to get my creative hands dirty as we reimagined a previously very successful run of Christmas productions at Rancho Community Church. Traditionally this performance was purely choir/orchestra driven, with drama, dancing, and narration. This year we decided it was time to modernize the tradition – a pretty tall order.

We brought in our worship band, made up of some extremely talented players & vocalists (Jeff Johnson, Emily Tingley, Travis Tingley, Brian Willett, Eric Kern, Eric Beruman, and Joe Catone. We added some motion graphics, put together by Alan Marsala. And added a bunch of new lights and triple-wide screen projection courtesy of Chris Batchelor. Mix that in with our choir and orchestra (minus the dancing, drama & narrations) and you’ve got 2011’s production: “LIGHT”.

It was a beautiful mess, which actually came off better than I was expecting. Our teams played well with one another. Humility and flexibility were abundant, as were creativity and passion. I think we really presented some quality music and production – all telling the story of Jesus, the Light of the world, the real reason for Christmas. And we raised some money for local homeless outreach, Project T.O.U.C.H. About 1,600 people attended over two nights. Feedback was about 10% said it was too loud, 10% said it was too traditional, and the other 80% loved it – so I consider that, #winning!

Huge thanks to all our singers, players, techs, and designers – without whom, we wouldn’t have had a show. Shout out to Brian & Chris (tech), and Marcy (stage/theme), the infamous Marck McKay (musical director), and of course my wife, who showed up both nights with our kids to watch – that’s what you call support!

There’s a ton of pictures here (thank you Tina). Expecting more pictures from Jason Edmonds. And some amateur video here (thanks Joe). Hopefully we’ll have a pro video snapshot soon.