Author Archives: Eric Shelhart

Track or No Track?

by Brian Nelson

As worship leaders in today’s music world, the question of track or no track is very real. Using programs to create and cover keys, percussion, or the elusive 2nd electric guitar part, is becoming bigger and more popular. What used to be something only artists did, has been simplified, duplicated, and spread around to the masses.

Tracks have become an incredible tool for many churches. They have complimented bands and made them tighter. They have filled holes created by sudden sickness (see 2nd electric guitar part) and helped bridges be the epic moments of worship they’re meant to be.

However, some leaders overwhelmed by the whole idea. To think about putting these tracks together is too much. Others are too busy. They oversee small groups or other ministries. Or they’re part-time.

Some have consciously decided they don’t need them. It represents a lack of “realness” to them. Having people in the audience hear things that they don’t see feels strange. Still others don’t like their inability to follow the Spirit’s lead (actually tracks can change on the fly, but many don’t know that).

So what’s the answer to the question? Should you use track or no track?

Of course, that question can’t be answered here for your church. But maybe looking at the way we get the answer is more important. How do we decide?

Deciding on tracks is no different than determining solos, lighting, clothing, band size, number of singers, use of choir, song keys, worship style, or countless other decisions (maybe slowly read that list again). Each must be closely examined and separately discussed. Each is important. Looking at other churches, reading magazines and attending conferences will help guide us. Gathering opinions from our team will shape our thinking.

But one question should always trump all other research. One question should trump cool. One question should dominate our prayer times. One question should be the MAIN question we ask ourselves and our team:

Will the people I’m leading worship God more deeply, in spirit and truth, because of my decision? Examine, think, pray, discuss.

If yes, do it. If not, pull it. Even if it’s cool.

Colossians 3:17 – Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

A Word from Jeff Calhoun

Hello beautiful people. I am so glad I get to talk to you for a moment. What I want to do in this email is unapologetically encourage and hopefully convince you to be at the Experience Conference this year. Before I do though, let me ask you a question about your life and ministry.

Have you ever been stuck? Stuck in a ditch, stuck in a rut, stuck in hole; axle deep in depression addiction, painful relationships or impossible situations. Well, if you’ve been in ministry for long, or life for that matter, you have most likely found yourself stuck somewhere or in something, feeling like your wheels were spinning and your life and calling had stalled. You may have even thought about giving up. The rate of ministry burnout is nothing short of concerning if not alarming. CNNmoney.com posted an article a few years back listing the top 15 stressful jobs that don’t pay much and guess what… you and I are checking in at #5. Ministry is a lot harder than it looks.

So, that’s what compels me to ask you to do whatever you have to do to come to the Experience Conference. Why? Because the Experience Conference is a place where you can get UN-stuck and on the road to healing and wholeness. I have seen pastors and worship leaders avoid breakdown and find breakthrough at The Experience Conference. I’ve seen churches revitalized because of what happens in the hearts of their worship leaders and pastors. And this happens not because we have the best artists and speakers and workshop teachers; though they are all amazing. It’s not even because we are at Disney World even though Mickey always makes the magic happen. It happens because, at the very beginning, we made a decision, and a conscious commitment to make the Experience Conference a safe place where those in ministry could find real care and loving grace for the deepest wounds of their hearts and leave their conference experience with renewed hope for healing and wholeness in their lives and ministries.

We have seen God honor this commitment time and time again. Our hope is that you will come and experience a deep and healing work of the Holy Spirit at this years conference.

Know that we are praying for you. Know that you are absolutely not alone or forgotten in the difficult struggles of life and ministry. Our heart’s desire is that you would find renewed strength hope and vision for your life and ministry.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. (Psalm 40:1-3 NIV)