Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lutheridge Workshop

Proof that websites work: A co-organizer of the Music Week at Lutheridge Camp stumbled across our website when looking for info on contemporary Lutheran worship. What resulted was an invitation for us to present our workshop at the event. Gary was on travel and Lans could only able to commit to one day (Monday, July 13), but the response to the workshop was excellent. Representatives from several congregations came away excited about doing contemporary worship and seeing a way to make it happen. THAT, is what GraceFlock’s outreach ministry is all about. We Lutherans need to expand our reach to those who can be touched by Christ with this form of music. They are out there and, with the wonderful support of Christ Our Shepherd Lutheran, GraceFlock is helping Lutheran churches minister to that need.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

So many comments

Playing ten locations in nine days was quite the feat. We will long remember the joys of setting up (what's that buzz?!) and tearing down and packing and unpacking and playing in the heat and singing with passion and the joyful interplay during the concert (How close can we get to Kathy during Sing to the Glory?) and of course, sleeping in many different beds. The two workshops were great as people from several congregations traveled long distances in some cases to come talk about contemporary worship. It was great to see the interest level!

But what will live with me more than anything are the comments people made to us after each concert. As a songwriter, one positive comment about one song from one person will keep me going for a month! And we received positive comments again and again and again at each location during the entire tour. Lans already spoke of some in his blog, so I'll just try to give you an overview of the type of comments that I heard after the concerts.

"I loved the words. Don't stop writing those words!"
"I was so hoping that you would play Eyes of Hope as that song is my favorite"
"You guys really looked like you were having a lot of fun up there!"
"I loved every song. Every one. I kept waiting and figured you would play one that I didn't like. I expected that.....but I loved every single song!"
"The words just said so much."
"How did you first decide to write songs rather than just sing other people's songs?"
"This was so much better than I expected."
"I never knew a Christian concert could be so fun!"
"You could really tell that you played together a lot."
"I could relate to that song about worries, because I have a lot of worries."
"I could really understand what you were saying."
"There would have been more people if it wasn't so hot." [Amboy]
"There would have been more people if it wasn't so cold." [Naperville]
"I wish we would have shown you more how much we liked it."
"Great job!"
"I wish [fill in name] would have been here."
"Where are you playing next? I need to call my friend there."
"Where are you playing Thursday? I have my kids and maybe I can drive there. How far is it to Washington, IL?"
"You guys were really good!"
"I'm so glad Carol (my sister) told me to come!"
"You certainly had a lot of energy!"
"That last song needed to be louder!"
And my favorite from one of my relatives to another "Does he think he's 25 again?!"
Actually I stopped counting at 27 and refuse to grow any older. That probably explains more than I want to admit!
Seriously, the comments told me that we reached people.....we touched people......People who had no expectations when they came to our concert. In almost all cases, they had not heard of us and really had no idea what to expect. And none of them were members of Christ Our Shepherd. The songs work outside of our congregation! Wow! I always thought they would, but it was really wonderful to get such positive reinforcement from people who I had never met before! Bringing these and other songs to touch people's lives is what will bring us to play again somewhere, sometime, somehow. It will happen.......though maybe not nine days in a row!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Other than someday coming to our heavenly home with Christ, there is no sweeter sounding word or more comfortable place than one's own HOME, and we're there! GraceFlock trickled into Peachtree City last night between 9:30 and 11 p.m., depending on which car we were each in. The truck and van arrived at 11 p.m. to a warm welcome - complete with a "Welcome Home" sign - by several congregation members who came to help the weary band members unload. What a great homecoming! Thank you all!

I hope the blog posts have captured some of the feelings and experiences we've had on this tour. There were just too many to report in detail, but you should get the gist. Above all, you should know we felt the incredible support of our home congregation and loved ones while on the road. You just can't imagine how good that felt and we thank you for it. Even those little things (e.g., mowing our lawns, collecting the mail, feeding pets, covering for us at work) while we were away showed us the love of Christ. You are all such special people.

So... now what? Well, after each of us recovers, tends to our families, pays bills, gets back to work, cleans our house, etc., we'd like to throw a post-tour party and invite all our supporters and friends. We'll have more info about this in a while. We've got video, pictures, stories, and songs to share!

The concert at Resurrection Lutheran in Newnan, which was postponed because of the death of Kathy's mom, will be rescheduled for a later time - possibly this fall. July is too busy and too soon to make it happen. Sorry!

And now for some home, family, and self time to recharge the batteries and reenter the mission field of daily life. The love and peace of God which passes all human understanding be with you all! Amen.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Finale

Well, friends, we did it! We made it through ten performances in nine days and are still talking to each other. :-) Seriously, we finished our final concert tonight to a crowded sanctuary at Faith Lutheran in Washington, IL. It was another receptive and grateful audience comprised of all generations.

For the band, hitting that final chord of Changed tonight was a bittersweet moment. All the hard work, long hours, long drives, sore muscles, fund raising, rehearsals, songbook writing, packing, unpacking, planning, visiting and, above all, ministry has nearly come to an end. By all accounts, it has been a most successful endeavor, and we're just a bit sad to have it come to an end. We have touched many and they have returned the favor to us. Standing on this side of ministering, it is just amazing how rewarding it is. We can only attribute it to the gift of the Holy Spirit which gives the more it spreads.

O.K. We're tired and satisfied, but the work is not finished. GraceFlock is already discussing the next phases of its ministry...but we'll need some time to recover and regroup. We thank you all for following and supporting us through this blog. We'll have more to share later, but for now, we're headed to bed so we can start the long drive home tomorrow. Peace and blessings to all of you.

Good night.

Quote of the Day: "Go in peace, serve the Lord!" (Lans at the end of the concert tonight, followed by "Thanks be to God!")

Outdoor Concert in IL

We did our first (and only) outdoor concert of the tour last night. Just our luck that it was the coldest July 1st on record for the area. Fortunately, our guitars and violin held their tuning just fine, and with a little extra effort, the flutes held theirs, as well. The cool weather knocked down the attendance a bit, but probably knocked down the mosquitoes, too. The pastor of Word of Life in Naperville, IL (Gary Peterson - what a coincidence!!) was eager to have us play outside because the congregation is trying to have greater visibility in the community. Judging from last night, his goal was met. He said more than half of the audience was comprised of non-members, and we saw several people stop and listen as they were walking or driving by.

In a new twist for us, we had an opening act. The praise band from Word of Life played three songs to open the night. They did a great job, and it was a special treat for us to sit and listen to another act. Word of Life is doing some wonderful things!

Through the tremendous hospitality of Ann and Del Boland, the entire band stayed at their home for the night. They, along with David, are doing just great in Naperville, and we had the chance to catch up with each other during the wonderful breakfast they cooked for us. What a blessed and special family! We sure miss them!

Speaking of missing loved ones, we wanted to let the rest of the GraceFlock family know they have not been forgotten on this tour. In fact, the script for our opening introduction (read by a pastor or congregation member) thanks those of the band who were not able to join us for the tour, and it thanks them for their love and support. The ones who made this tour possible are not necessarily only the ones who went on it. Mark, Sue, Robin, James and Karen, y'all are appreciated more than you know.

Well, friends, just one more night (Washington, IL). We're going to try to reschedule the Newnan, GA concert for July 10, but I have to check with the church first. Pencil in the date and watch for an update. Gotta go eat that last piece of bacon and then hit the road. Keep us in your prayers. The Lord is at work in and through us.

Quote of the Day: "That wasn't just a concert, that was a SHOW!" (Del Boland, to the band after last night's concert.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why We're Doing This...

Each concert, we're finding, takes on its own personality. Last night at Bethel Lutheran in Madison, WI was no different. Compared to some of the smaller towns in which we have played so far, playing at Bethel was like playing at Shea Stadium - huge, cavernous, with a spectacular sound. Performance-wise, we matched the site, I think, but it was what happened as a result of the performance that moved us the most and reminded us of why we are doing this. We had many comments such as, "I didn't want it to end," and "Now THIS is what I want our contemporary worship to sound like." We even had a man in the back standing, with arms uplifted during "Here I Stand."

But even those accolades pale in comparison to the young woman who stood there, hand in hand with her husband, telling me that he hadn't had time for church and had never attended a Christian concert before - but he was now interested in seeing more concerts. And the single dad who wants to bring his young kids to our next concert (tonight in Naperville, IL). The Holy Spirit was at work last night and we were but its vessel. Friends, this is why we are doing this.

Quote of the Day: "Happy Birthday, Frank!" (The whole audience at Bethel Lutheran to Frank on his 58th birthday.)