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15 minutes with Jock

April 15, 2011

ALM:UK (Abundant Life Ministries’ worship team … from the UK) was on a whirlwind tour of the U.S. a week or two ago. They came through the Chicagoland area, and we got to spend a little time with worship leader/singer/songwriter, Jock. (He has a last name, I’m sure, but I don’t know it. I could look it up, but you wouldn’t care anyway, and I’m not that interested in being professional right now ’cause that’s not the point, here.)

Funny story about the pic: I handed my phone to an older lady in the cafe, and she couldn't figure it out. This is the one I "took" to demonstrate how to use the camera. I have a dozen other, totally blurry ones. Husband's face in the background mirrors the poor lady's. :)

So you’re sitting across a small cafe table from a young man who writes great songs, and leads worship in a pretty rockin’, big – and growing – church in a bad neighborhood. You have 15 or 20 minutes. What do you talk about?


Worship Leader Stuff:
Most of practice time is used on transitions. The band knows the songs when they get to practice, so most of their time together is spent on how to move from one song to the next. Jock commented that you can know the songs great, but you mess with people’s worship experience when you mess up the transitions.

I’m part-time staff at our church now, but my husband is not and I remember well 40 hours per week plus playing with the team. So believe me, I know how painful this is to hear for worship team members who are volunteering. I didn’t get to ask if his team were all on staff with their church or not. I know it makes a huge difference.

He also volunteered transposing songs, in the context of transitions. They don’t move them “heaps” (cuuute … British slang), but a step – maybe two – up or down to make the set flow together is not much. He even started to ramble off the songs they changed keys for that night.


Guitar Stuff:
I’m not going to pretend to know or care about this conversation. Jock and Husband (and Matt, I think) had a moment about guitar pedals and tones, and I zoned out a bit.


UK Stuff:
ALM ministers in Brandford, England. It’s not the best neighborhood, apparently, but they’ve seen God do amazing things in unlikely people’s lives because they just open their arms and love people. The Holy Spirit will convict people of sin. The Holy Spirit will break down and rebuild people. The Church is called to love God and love people.

There’s a big Muslim population in Bradford, and Jock mentioned that there’s a big mosque on the same block as their church. I think it was Matthew who asked if they saw a lot of Muslim converts in their church, and Jock’s answer shocked me.

He said they have all kinds of people come for big events, like Easter and Christmas. Muslim men usually don’t show up, but the women and children come because they know it’s going to be a fun, family-oriented event and the kids will leave with candy and/or presents. If anyone does leave Islam, and put her trust in Christ, “It’s all we can do to try to sneak them small Bibles or New Testaments, and a couple of sermon CDs now and again … You know … because of the honor killings.”

Really? He nodded. There are honor killings in the UK. The UK!

For some reason that hit really close to home for me.

The rest of the night was great. Great worship. If you haven’t checked ’em out yet, do it.

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