Announcement: Welcome to “Beyond Singing: The worship blog of Willow Creek”

Hey!  We (the worship team) would love to do whatever we can to help you take our community’s worship experiences even deeper.  This blog is about sharing stories behind the worship sets, resources to go further, and dreams for what worship at Willow Creek could be.  And we’d love to hear back from you!  How can we become a worshiping church in the deepest possible sense?

And so each week, we’ll post a reflection on each worship experience:  what happened…the heart behind it…info about the songs/readings…resources to go deeper…and maybe even a few video clips.  We’ll try to give as many tools as possible to help the 30 minute worship experiences on weekends and Wednesdays flow into the rest of the week.

So please join the conversation!  How are you experiencing the Almighty in worship (either inside or outside of the services)?  What can we, the worship leaders, do to better serve the community?  Let’s create this thing together…

Honored to get to be on this journey with all of you,

Matt, Aaron, Becky, Sharon, and the team.

Tagged : , ,

Posted by Gabe Lerma on 07.20.10 under Announcements.

38 Responses to “Announcement: Welcome to “Beyond Singing: The worship blog of Willow Creek””

  1. During my quiet time, I love to have the old Willow worhips tapes playing in the background – and I often sing along with many of the songs. Would it be possible to tape one or more of our all worship nights and make it available on a CD or other format?

    Posted by Ed Shannon on 12/13/09 November 5th, 2010 at 11:50 pm

  2. THANK YOU for providing an environment in which all the layers can come off and I can just pour out my worship and adoration to God. The different ways that the worship team helps to encourage and allow for space for me to just abandon all my “other stuff” and just come as I am into the presence of God and worship out of gratitude and devotion, are amazing. I greatly anticipate each worship time, whether it be on a weekend, a midweek, or all worship, because I know that God will create a new experience and I get the privilege of worshiping our Lord in a community that is so passionate and devoted. Thank you all again for being so open to the Spirit and to helping guide us on a journey towards deeper worship.

    Posted by Eric Hamilton on 12/13/09 November 6th, 2010 at 12:49 am

  3. What an awesome idea. Two services come to mind. One was a New Community service maybe a couple years ago. All I remember was the song Sweep Me Away (title?), but the combination of songs and the interface with reflection time was beautifully done. It seemed unique among New Communities (when they were held in the main auditorium). (I’m trying to help you guys place it.) The other was possibly a Thanksgiving service (NewCom) where Nancy Beach gave a reading on wonder. Anything using the “spiritual formation avenues of worship preferences,” like nature would be good, giving lots of reflection/writing time. And not always having to have a musical background. Silence is such a rare commodity in our world.

    Posted by Sandra Lee Blood on 12/13/09 November 6th, 2010 at 1:44 am

  4. I can’t wait to go deeper in worship. May the Holy Spirit give us all the freedom to let ourselves go and worship Him with our arms high and heart abandoned.
    “Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom,” 2 Corinthians 3:17

    Posted by Laura on 12/13/09 November 6th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

  5. Thank you for a site where we can finally say what an AWESOME job you are all doing every single week! There are moments that it is difficult to keep tears from running down my face. I love to look around and see people from all walks of life, young and old, responding to God speaking through your gifts. Thank you for being the best part of my week, saying Thank You to Jesus, through music.

    Posted by Mike on 12/13/09 November 8th, 2010 at 4:51 am

  6. This blog is a great idea…I just wanted to say that, at first, it was the music at Willow is what pulled me in and got me re-engaged with my faith. If ever there is a moment when you are wondering “wow, if I wonder if anyone is out there is able to worship through our music”, I assure you that your creative and wonderfully-performed music makes an indescribable difference in my life. And I can tell it does the same for those around me.

    I really look forward to the music and the message every Sunday. Keep up your awesome work.

    Blessings – Dan

    Posted by Dan F on 12/13/09 November 9th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

  7. A few Saturday evenings ago, Matt lead us in a time of worshipful reflection. Asking us to ponder, “what is it that we find ourselves saying ‘Somebody has to do something about ….'”? We had a few moments of silent reflection. Afterwards, Matt encouraged us to narrow that down to one or two words and he gave us his example. Then he encouraged us to write that word on our hands. That was awesome!! It was the first time that I’ve been able to identify my holy discontent.

    I was so looking forward to hearing what God would tell my husband and friends. (They were serving in PML on Saturday night, so I told them they have to go to the service on Sunday.) Too bad, this was eliminated from the service at the 9:00.

    You took a risk with that one Matt, and it was the right thing to do! It had the earmark of God all over it. Don’t be afraid to follow the Spirit!

    Posted by Sherri Sanfelice on 12/13/09 November 10th, 2010 at 3:12 pm

  8. When I became a Christ follower in the seventies ( was 17 years old ) there was a christian song write by the name of Andrae Crouch ..He sang a song called “MY TRIBUTE” this song as a new christian really touched my heart and I truly believe encouraged me to follow Jesus with all of my heart. I am now 57 and still listen to it beautiful might want to sing it during worship someday !

    Posted by RACH on 12/13/09 November 14th, 2010 at 12:17 am

  9. Just wondering if you can settle something. Was that the song Beautiful Things I heard as we were leaving the service this weekend? And thanks for that wonderful hymn on Sunday. I have such great memories from the Lutheran church and its many hymns that still speak to me and for me today. Thanks for including them in our worship.

    Posted by Deb Martin on 12/13/09 November 29th, 2010 at 8:09 pm

  10. Yes, that was “Beautiful Things”…great ear!!


    Posted by Aaron Niequist on 12/13/09 December 1st, 2010 at 5:09 pm

  11. Hey Guys,

    Thanks so much for doing this. It is so nice to be able to get a touch of Willow Worship when I am not there. Seeing the Christmas program again was just as touching on my little computer screen as it was when I saw it live.

    Can you tell me the name of the song that was played when Mary and the Angel were together? That song seems to be sticking in my head since I heard it the first time.

    Thanks again for the blog and the time you invest to keep it up.

    Posted by Bob Brehmer on 12/13/09 December 29th, 2010 at 4:49 am

  12. Please publish a list of songs that Kirk Franklin and group sang at last nights service. It was an AWESOME service. I would like to buy the DVD of the service if possible. Thanks!!

    Posted by Debbie Cassady on 12/13/09 January 2nd, 2011 at 4:50 pm

  13. Matt’s total unleash of his sax was a true joy during the Kirk Franklin concert.
    I have been a long time Willow attender (theater days) and have seen many artists come and go.

    There’s nothing better when an artist totally unleashes him/herself in their art!

    Thanks Matt.

    (loved the story of the first Franklin encounter too!)

    Posted by Jeff Howat on 12/13/09 January 5th, 2011 at 7:00 pm

  14. as well as

    Posted by Mage Face on 12/13/09 January 19th, 2011 at 12:41 pm

  15. Worship really is beyond singing… So glad to stumble across your blog. If by community you mean the body of Christ – then I’m glad to have found this blog!

    Posted by Jenny on 12/13/09 February 27th, 2011 at 10:42 pm

  16. Every worship I attend at Willow is so emotional and goes so deep. It really speaks to me and my family (Savannah 17 and Emerson 11, he goes to Promiseland). I cannot wait to take my sister to church when she is coming to town next month. She is a scientist and truely believes there is no God, I am praying I can show her he exists through Willow and all the good things that have happened to my family in the past 6 months.

    Would it be possible to put all the music we sing, up on the website to be downloaded to make one’s own CD? Maybe asking for a voluntary contribution? Feel free to contact me with any comments.

    My God be with you always,


    Posted by Cornelia Kramp on 12/13/09 April 24th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

  17. Hi! I hope that this is an okay way to contact all of you and to thank you all for the marvelous experience of worship at WCCC! I am a former worship leader for the contemporary service at 1st Pres. in Arlington Heights – am now an official “Creeker” — I would very much like to become involved in the choir! (Or, maybe even someday just sit in on a rehearsal and sing with you all!!) It blows my mind when I sing to God — it’s not my voice but HIS spirit in me coming through. It’s not about performance — it’s about getting into a spiritual zone. I usually sit in one of the first few rows on Sunday 9 a.m. — and I feel such a connection as we all sing to HIM. I would love to be pout in contact with someone to talk about being part of this ministry. Thanks!

    Patty Corwin

    Posted by Patty Corwin on 12/13/09 June 4th, 2011 at 6:39 pm

  18. I am so thankful that our church is a church that isn’t afraid to really worship our God. I feel closest to God when I am worshiping through music. I try to remember that I am singing to Him and for him, and try to block out the others around me. But there are those times when everyone in the auditorium seems to be singing in one voice to Him, and at those moments I love to look around and see everyone praising Him. I feel it gives me a very small glimpse of what heaven is going to be like.
    Thank you!
    I don’t think this is really a song request blog, but one suggestion for weekend services is “The Stand” by Kristian Stanfill. I love that one!!! :)

    Posted by Crystal on 12/13/09 August 13th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

  19. The worship part of the service is usually my favorite part. Normally I really feel engaged in the songs. However, when the song is stopped, or a different song is
    added in the middle or the music is just changed a lot it throws me off. If the music stops, then I usually stop singing as well. I can barely sing with music let alone without. As I said, I really like the worship and thank all of you for putting in so much time and effort to make it work well. There are some days though when
    I just cannot get involved in the music as it is too far removed from what I know and love.
    Thanks much,Dennis

    Posted by Dennis on 12/13/09 September 21st, 2011 at 6:19 pm

  20. The music at Willow is a gift to my soul as it prepares me to fully engage in worship time. All my troubles, worries and concerns melt away as listen to the beautiful music and begin to focus on the most important thing in life. Thank you for touching my heart and soul every midweek and weekend :)!

    Posted by Cindy on 12/13/09 September 25th, 2011 at 3:18 pm

  21. Loved the worship on weekend of Oct 22/23 centered on the prayer of St. Francis

    Is it possible to post up the song performed around the prayer?
    It was very moving?

    Make me an instrument of your peace…
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love
    Where there is darkness, let me shine bright

    Hope for the hopeless…

    Thank you Willow Worship Team and may God continue to bless your work!

    Posted by George on 12/13/09 October 24th, 2011 at 3:27 am

  22. I would like to thank the worship team for such an inspired worship time during the anniversary services. I am also thankful for having you include younger members in the choir. My 11 year old daughter had the time of her life! She told me how happy she feels serving our God through her time with the choir. She loved learning the Revelation song. Again, many thanks for reaching out to the Next Gen and involving them this way.

    Posted by Desiree O. on 12/13/09 October 24th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

  23. First of all thank you for sharing your talents for Gods’s glory… And all of our benefit! I was raised Catholic but my husband and I were saved a few years ago- so I really appreciate your incorporation of old hymns and “new” worship songs that are played on Christian radio.
    I would also like to thank Sharon for sharing the spoken word this weekend. Although my husband is saved, he does’t yet feel comfortable in church. He came this weekend though, for fall festival. God is so awesome, I felt like worship this week was geared exactly towards my hubby- you see, he has actually been involved in local hip-hop groups for many years. He has a great talent for writing. I think worship this week really helped him feel at home.
    So thank you again for all you do… Preparing our hearts for hearing each week’s message, I can almost count on the fact that I will be brought to holy tears every week, every service. I know you try really hard to include songs for every backgrounds, every age,.every taste; and I think you a are doing a phenomenal job balancing that!
    With much gratitude,

    Posted by Cassie on 12/13/09 October 31st, 2011 at 2:46 am

  24. Hello Aaron,
    I feel strange seeing all of the positive (and no negative) replies to the new direction that you are taking worship at Willow. Are my wife and I the only people that are having a negative reaction to the departure from progressive/contemporary worship?
    When the worship team started including an old hymn “hopped up” with peppy music, I didn’t mind too much. But now, the entire worship time is filled with more of these and less contemporary songs. Especially distasteful to me are the liturgy responses that are being included as worship.
    Although I have definite opinions about worship, I’m not going to debate this new direction that you and the worship team has taken. I will just say that if the worship remains in this new style, we will be finding another place to worship.

    Yours in Christ,

    Posted by Cory Echito on 12/13/09 November 10th, 2011 at 3:45 am

  25. Cory,

    Thanks for offering your perspective in a gracious way. I’m very sorry to hear that you’re not connecting with some of our recent decisions and would prefer something different. We are attempting to be as wide and inclusive as possible, but realize that everyone may not connect. Many blessings in whatever you decide.

    Grace and Peace to you and yours,

    Posted by Aaron Niequist on 12/13/09 November 10th, 2011 at 9:11 pm

  26. Hello! I was wondering if you could tell me your “statement of Faith”
    or the “core beliefs” of your church? I tried to navigate through your
    site but was not able to find any. ~Thank you so much!

    Posted by SHIRLEY on 12/13/09 December 19th, 2011 at 5:59 pm

  27. Thank you so much for last Sunday!!!! What a great way to celebrate. Worshiping our Lord & Savior IS a celebratory act. For it is our privilege to be able to worship. And though I appreciate all the very diverse ways that Willow’s Praise Team is able to lead us in worship…I really enjoyed last Sunday. There was passion and joy! And as usual, I felt as though I was experiencing a foreshadowing of heaven, standing amongst the saints giving Praises to our All Powerful God! Amen.

    Posted by Melody on 12/13/09 January 21st, 2012 at 7:37 pm

  28. Here’s a question…how would one go about joining the choir or the praise team if feeling led to do so?

    Posted by Melody on 12/13/09 January 21st, 2012 at 7:43 pm

  29. How inspiring and lifting is to know that we can find peace in Him, that we all can rest in his forgiveness and experience His constant presence dwelling in us.

    Week after week your work leading us to worship is awesome!!! Please continue surrendering your beautiful talents to the glory of God.

    I would love to meet you guys in a praise and worship seminar or class. Have you guys considered the posibility of such an event/class during the week or even a weekend?

    Also, how can a person join the choir or the worship team?


    Posted by RO on 12/13/09 February 6th, 2012 at 3:48 am

  30. THANK YOU for this beautiful place to visit, to continue to worship, to be constantly reminded, to be always inspired (when I am at home and work) A BLESSING!….Diane

    Posted by Diane Futo on 12/13/09 February 12th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

  31. I love & miss the all worship wednesdays. Suggestions, a CD, “Sounds of Willow” with our worship songs and second would be a sunday evening worship outdoors at the lake… How awesome!!!

    Posted by Don Wisniewski on 12/13/09 February 26th, 2012 at 6:57 pm

  32. Thank you all for the wonderful job that you do leading worship on a consistent basis. I’m not sure how many people appreciate the work that goes into what you do every week (I can imagine to a certain degree – I was a musician on a church worship team in my college years, and my dad is a professional musician), but my family and I certainly do; we’re grateful for all that you do to bless this church and help draw people closer to Christ. I pray that God continues to bless all of your hard work!

    Posted by Mike W. on 12/13/09 February 29th, 2012 at 2:39 am

  33. My daughter invited me to Willow last fall. I had not attended Church in many years. I love the fact that worship begins more than one song. I feel music is so very important in the way that I worship. Being new to Willow and raised in the Catholic Church and then 10 years in the Episcopal Church, both Churches using hymals, I could read the lyrics and music. At Willow I do not always know the songs. The lyrics are displayed but I do not always know the music. Hymnals show the music in its entirety. Maybe some handouts so that I can read the music? Maybe posting music the week before? Again, I really enjoy the services at Willow. I am so blessed that my daughter reminded me how wonderful it is to join in a worship exprerice with my Lord.

    Posted by Terry Caulfield on 12/13/09 March 2nd, 2012 at 7:55 pm

  34. Hello-
    I just want to thank you all so much. You help make my experience at church so wonderful. I live in Oak Park and sometimes I do attend other churches, Willow campuses and services, but when I am at the Barrington campus and start to hear you, I feel like I’m home. There just isn’t a better feeling when worshipping!

    I would like to know the name of one of your guitarists. The guy who used to have the super long dreads…. I would like to personally tell him how great it is to watch him. He exudes such joy when he performs, that he makes me smile the entire time. Anyway, I don’t know how else to reach him.. I just want to tell him ‘thank you’.

    And thanks to all of you, for being who you are. You make such a difference!

    Happy Easter, and as I grew up saying in Old Slovanic in my church ( Byzantine Catholic) ” Christos Voskese!” (Meaning ‘Christ is Risen!”).

    God Bless,

    Posted by Paula Sandor on 12/13/09 April 8th, 2012 at 9:47 pm

  35. Worship is the primary way in which I connect with the Lord so I am very thankful for our worship team.
    My times of deepest connection with God’s Spirit have come when songs are led with as little interjection and “gimmicks” from the leaders as possible. Many times I exprience frustration because I am being distracted by someone on stage or a song has been chosen that has been extremely over played and/or is lyrically repetitive & simplistic in nature. There are so many amazing worship songs out there that can creatively take us to God’s throne that we have yet to corporately experience. I am best served when our worship leaders lead by humbly using their gifts to direct us into God’s presence -where all else fades away & it is less a “show” and more of a coming before the Lord -where there is a sense that the Spirit is leading & not leaders on stage methodically controlling & directing people. Becky, you do such a wonderful job of this & to that I say “well done”!
    We are so very blessed to have such a gifted group of worship leaders -continue to take us into His presence guys & thank you!

    Posted by Troy on 12/13/09 September 6th, 2012 at 11:16 pm

  36. Loved the song that Shaun sang this morning “don’t give up!” powerful.
    any chance of a video post of it soon?
    thanks and keep up the good work!

    Posted by Keri Wyatt Kent on 12/13/09 October 15th, 2012 at 1:23 am

  37. I just listed to your first week of Advent Modern Liturgy experience. I was blessed beyond words. It was a great way to find calm, inner focus, and make room for Jesus. More, more!

    Posted by Kim Diersen on 12/13/09 December 5th, 2012 at 10:03 pm

  38. Hi guys, I am missing your blog, are you planning on making future posts? Thanks.

    Posted by Rickie on 12/13/09 July 28th, 2013 at 12:42 am

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