Mark J Martin

Mark J Martin

Why You Should Not Fear Asking

The fear that says, “They will not want to play/sing,” is unfounded.

If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that instrumentalists love to play and singers love to sing.  Don’t feel like you are inconveniencing them by having them practice or by scheduling them to play.

This year, God led us to turn our church orchestra from one that only accompanied the congregational singing into one that accompanies the choir every Sunday morning. We started with a trial run, holding weekly rehearsals for six weeks.

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Worship Shells

Hard work is right.  But don’t work to the neglect of quiet, private worship.

As a leader in worship, your work is fueled by your private worship. To do the one without the other is to present God and your people with a shell.

Don’t be a hollow shell.  Let work flow from your worship.

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The NYC Subway and How You Play Music

Last year, I visited New York City with our church’s youth group.  I had been to NYC once before, when I was a teen.  This time, I had the responsibility of leading the group.

We were using the subway system as our only method of transportation for the week.  To prep for it, I studied our routes on the MTA site, charted our courses, and downloaded an app.  I typed out a card with the entire week’s schedule, the departure times, what stations to enter what train and when.  I had it all laid out.

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Service Planning: Overuse or Neglect?

Worship leaders at times fear repeating a song too often.  We’ll pass over a song as we are planning because we feel we’ve sung it too recently.

While there is a danger in wearing out a song (and I’m sure each of us has that song the congregation feels we sing too much), I have found the opposite to be true.  Repetition is necessary.

There is a point in time, somewhere between

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Helpful Resources: Song Select

You spend hours searching for the perfect song. Then, when you find it, it’s in the wrong key!  You’re leading the youth group in a worship service, and you know that no one is going to sing that high!

You could plug it into Finale, but you don’t have the time.  You could ask the pianist to transpose it, but she doesn’t do that.  What are you going to do?

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Music: Creating Moments that Last

photo credit | jerjones |morguefile.com

photo credit | jerjones |morguefile.com

Music is a passion of mine.  Learning it and creating it has been a major part of my life since my first piano lesson in second grade when Mrs. Croker taught me the black notes using the song “Peanut Butter and Jam.”  From the Broadway tunes I grew up singing to the moments of meaningful worship in church, I have always pursued music.  Now, as a part of my vocation, I get to lead a group of committed people in using music to worship.  It’s an awesome privilege!

Yet, if you’ve been involved in music for any length of time, you know that along with the times of inspiration come the challenges of planning a schedule, finding music for your musicians, balancing budgets, organizing rehearsals, rehearsing the music, and then executing well. No matter how much you love what you do, there are times of simply grinding it out.

What keeps a musician going when the notes become blah and the schedule becomes repetitive?

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Book Review: I Am a Church Member by Rainer

I Am a Church Member by Rainer is a quick, easy read that will inspire you to keep a positive outlook on church membership.  Rainer begins the book with a story of two church members who have become friends.  As they meet for coffee weekly on Monday mornings, their friendship deepens.  At one of their meetings, one shares with the other his discontentment with their church.  He is becoming increasingly discouraged by the inconsistencies of the people of the church.  He doesn’t understand how his friend is still joyfully serving.

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If Jesus had not risen… part 2

Earlier today, I wrote about what would be true if Jesus had not risen.

We often live as if the resurrection power of Christ is non existent.  As I pondered these thoughts, I couldn’t help but think of this video that I had seen.  Let it impact you.

Video Credit – ministry127.com

When we live without the resurrection in our view, we are a generation that lives without power.

Because of the resurrection, this generation can be different.  You don’t have to fall into the trap of dead religion, but you can trust in the Christ who is living right now, who, by His Spirit will radically change you into an un-recognizably different person. Today, start depending on the same power that raised up Jesus from the dead!

Are you trusting in the power of God today?

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If Jesus had not risen…, part 1

Today, we celebrate.  We remember.  We sing.  We rejoice!

But take a moment to consider “what if.”  What if Christ had not risen again?

Paul follows this trail of logic in I Corinthians 15:14.

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

So, what if Christ had not risen from the dead? Or, in other words, does the resurrection make a difference?

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God’s Faithfulness in Relief

Image Credit firebrandphotography | Bigstockphoto.com

Image Credit firebrandphotography | Bigstockphoto.com

Tonight, I came across this draft that I wrote June 4, 2012, but never published.  I wrote it during the time when God had made the next step (moving to Anderson, SC and accepting the Youth/Music Pastor position at Oakwood Baptist) clear to us, and we were working hard to make it happen.  We were taking steps of faith and did not know what would happen next.  Seeing these words against the backdrop of what has transpired since then places the faithfulness of God in stark relief.  Here is what I wrote:

God is taking Candy and me through what could be considered the greatest test we’ve faced during our married lives.  As I posted here, we are in the process of moving, which poses challenges that, frankly, are beyond us.

To be honest, even thought it’s a challenging time, I’d rather be in this position than any other.  God has clearly revealed the next step to us.  Candy and I are united in following His plan for us.  By leading us in this direction, God is keeping us in a position where we have to depend on Him.  Ministry had been running smoothly according to my plans, but that could have continued in self-sufficiency.

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