The Electric: Overdrive Overkill

In this series I try and address different aspects of the practical side of playing electric guitar in church music. This week we’ll talk about the different types of overdrives, and why you may be wasting money on your rig.

Note: Any opinions or gear recommendations I give are my own based on my own experience. No company pays me to endorse them. But I can be bought! 😉

So if any guitar, amp, or pedal maker wants to send me there stuff they can contact me HERE 


I’ve written about Overdrive pedals in worship many times in the past. HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for example. My point today isn’t to talk about how to use them or which one is the best. My point is today is to talk about a common mistake that many guitarists (both worship and otherwise) make in selecting and purchasing the overdrive pedals in their rig and how this can end up costing you needless dollars.

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The 5 Point Band

Let’s be honest about two things:

1. Church bands tend to “overplay” and step over each other on a regular  basis

2. Church bands are often a hodge podge of who’s available instead of who is needed.

What I’m going to suggest will hopefully unmuddy the waters sonically speaking and give structure to arranging and picking your church’s band for a worship service.

When I put a band together for a Sunday or Wednesday I first look at who is available. It’s all well and good to want a thick analog synth sound on a song but if all your keyboard players are on vacation, you’ll need to rethink your plans. Once I know who is available, I start to fill roles based on my “5 point band”. I admit that I don’t always do it consciously, because I’m so used to doing it. But it’s always there in the background of my mind. So here are the 5 points that I look for to put a band together. I’m going to write them in order of importance.

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Does The Worship Leader Have To Sing?

For someone out there, this is going to be a mind blowing, revolutionary thought. So by all means, feel free to sit down for a moment and catch your breath.

For the rest of you, who hopefully get the playful spirit in which I wrote the above sentence, this is a valid conversation for us to have.

In some church traditions, this is a pointless conversation with an obvious answer: of course not. But for many evangelical churches, the question I posed would mean a complete paradigm shift. The worship leader is ALWAYS the person singing. Whether they sing on their own, or if they are also the piano player, guitarist, or even bass player, the worship leader always sings. I’m going to propose that maybe this thinking is why your church’s music ministry is struggling.

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Can A Non-Believer Be On The Worship Team?

Someone is going to read the title of this post and think to themselves: “Of course not! Who would think that is a good idea”. While someone else will think: “Why not? I know someone who did this or that and it worked out just fine”. The answer to this question really does not depend on what you think, or what I think. As with all things, our answer to this or any question should be ‘What does God think?’ This is why having the Bible, God’s word to humanity, as our final authority is so important. So let’s talk about this. In a day and age when churches hire musicians from outside the church, some who aren’t even christians, does God have anything to say on the subject of Non-Christians and Worship Leading?

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The Electric: Chord Voicing

In this series I try and address different aspects of the practical side of playing electric guitar in church music. This week we’ll talk about chord voicing and how they can be used when playing in the church band.



A while back I was asked to play electric guitar at the last minute. The church had an electric and an amplifier and that was it. No overdrive pedal, no delay, the amp  had some reverb but the options were pretty much just “on” and “off'”. What’s a guitar player to do?

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Prep: Part 2- The Band

How do you prepare for a Worship Set? In this post I will focus on preparation for leading worship as it pertains to the Band members.

Chasing or Challenging

Whether they know it or not most churches chase musicians and artists. They either chase after them or they chase them away.

Chasing After Artists

Have you ever heard of a church that pays a drummer from outside the church family to show up on Sundays?

How about a church that lets a guitar player stay on the worship team even after he’s left his wife and kids?

I know of examples of both of these situations. This is just my opinion but these churches seem to value “the artist” over community in the case of the drummer or people in the case of the guitar player.

I know of churches that have policies on who can be involved in the worship team but will break them without a second thought if they are a good enough musician. Imagine if we did that with the children’s ministry?

Chasing Artists Away

The flip side of the church that idolizes “the artist” is the one who shuns them. “Go be creative somewhere else,” they say. “The church isn’t the place for artistic expression” they might tell you. But they will often look down on the bass player when he joins a band that plays in the local bars or the graphic designer that falls in with a loose crowd of artists who don’t shun them.

Challenging The Artist

The goal I have is not to chase but to challenge. As the music director at my church I don’t want to chase after musicians. If I find out someone plays an instrument I’ll talk to them but I try not pressure and I don’t want to bend rules or policy due to talent.

But I also don’t want to chase them away. I want to find a place for the artists that God adds to our church family. I’d rather see them create for God’a glory in the context of our church family than outside of it.

I want to challenge our musicians and artists to be creative servants. I want to challenge them as family members to serve the same way we would a deacon or Sunday school teacher.

I will use and be thankful for the artist God gives us and I hope and pray that I challenge them rather than chase them away.