Playlist: How to Tackle Psalms

What do you do creatively for a seven week series in the Psalms called “Playlist?” 

For us, it starts with a bumper that leverages music but in a unique way. We chose to use an old radio in a 1953 Dodge Coronet as a backdrop while stations are changed featuring mashups of songs most people would know. Each mashup featured two well known songs mixed together giving us twice the airplay in the same amount of time:

Our Playlist Bumper includes mash ups from the following artists:

1. “Staying Alive” by The Bee Gees / “Back in Black” by AC/DC

2.  “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith / “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars

3.  “Get Down” by Kool & The Gang / “24 Karat Magic” by Bruno Mars

4. “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran / “Every Breathe You Take” by The Police

5.  “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” by Will Smith / “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

6.  “Loose Yourself” by Eminem / “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve

7.  “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele / “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor.

Music can bring people back to memories and feelings. Mixing songs together can make an experience interesting and can also bring humor.  The Bee Gees and AC/DC? Really? Yes. Really… and it’s funny. 🙂 

At the same time, any reading from Psalms could use a good reading. It’s poetry and song lyrics, after all. So we decided to do a reading of our first Psalm (Ps 90) in a stark, black and white look – that eventually turns to full color near the end of the Psalm. Near the end, as the video turns to color, the band begins to introduce our special music that fits the theme of the Psalm – TIME IS SHORT; USE IT WISELY.

We chose a Ben Rechtor song called “Like The World Is Going To End” to connect with our Ps. 90 reading. Behind the band, we built a video with some of the lyrics highlighted behind. We used ProPresenter to work with Ableton to trigger both video and click track for the band…  Here’s a link to view:



1.  Mash Ups can double impact of songs if used well. They can also provide humor.

2.  Contrast of stark/black and white to cheerful song and color can impact the heart.


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At The Movies Summer Series…

IMG_8735So the At The Movies series has become a popular direction for many churches and often finds itself into the summer months. We originally have done this series under the heading “God on Film”, but shifted a few years ago to the At The Movies branding. This year we did a presentation shift as well that was a bit risky for us, but turned out to be a huge win.

We made the decision to pre-shoot and pre-produce each of the five weeks of this series by having our communicators in a studio setting and then splicing the selected clips into each location in the message. This eliminated the live speaker on stage and everything was done on our large center roll down screen.

Our reasons for doing this were:

1/ Our senior pastor and main communicator was out for 12 weeks over the summer for a planned sabbatical. However, because he was able to shoot these prior to departure, he was the communicator for three of the weeks. This was a win!

2/ We also wanted to experiment with using video for our messages at our Windmill campus. We had not done this in our main am services at this, our original and largest campus. to introduce this as an option was important to us. However, we were not completely sure how it would “play.”

It played well. Very well. The momentum from weeks one (attendance up over 800 year over year) carried through all five weeks of the series. It was a momentum and attendance builder during a time of year where we normally begin to slow down.

We added some features like popcorn and a photo area in the lobby, but did not go overboard.  However, each time the lights dimmed and the movie soundtrack began to play, people were completely immersed.

Here are the movies we did this summer:

  • Hidden Figures
  • The Greatest Showman
  • The Impossible
  • UP
  • Rudy

Because of copy-write restrictions, we were not able to play these live on our stream or post on our Vimeo on-demand account.  In leu, we pre-recorded some intros and outro’s to a “best off” series that we replayed during the message portion online.  It was interesting because our online viewing was cut in half, but our physical on campus attendance was way up. It is causing us to have conversations around occasional “scarcity” series that encourage people to actually show up physically.

We also added a variety of features and special music to accompany the movies. One example, we had a solo pianist playing UP theme music as our walk in during that week.


Great series. Momentum builder. Would encourage.

If you would like resources for this series, please email .

“Mom is the Bomb”… Mother’s Day

momcover.jpgAlways a big day on a typical church calendar, it’s essential that we don’t ignore the power of this holiday to leverage the impact. And it’s always a significant thing to honor and celebrate the ladies. Let’s speak to the cynical…

It’s easy to view this weekend and grab hold of the cynical. Do so at your own risk. This is one of those moments that if you “take a stand” or choose to avoid the significance of the day, you will miss an opportunity. So let’s not miss it.

Our theme this year came together rather late in our process. We spotted some inspiration at our local “lush” store and went with the “bomb” branding. All of it came together within a few hours.

  1. My Mom’s The Bomb branding and invites. We wanted to give everyone a heads up to actually use the day to invite mom. So our graphics team quickly developed a look and we went to print in time for the prior Sunday.
  2. Social media channels were all fired up to capture this day and promote leading up.
  3. Our awesome Admin found a bath bomb distributor and within a short time we had 2500 bath bombs with custom labels shipped to us to arrive in prior of time.
  4. Photo areas are not unique. However, we designed signs specific to our theme and choose color schemes to match.


Bonus: These photos were then quickly turned into a background loop that was used in the performance of the Meghan Trainor song, “Mom is the Bomb”. People loved the photos and loved seeing themselves up on the big screen. Our team definitely had to scramble to create the loop in time for the moment prior to our first service.  It was worth all the effort.

The day was a win overall and all the elements seamlessly worked together.

We see these “big” days as opportunity, not a burden. Lean in and it can build some momentum for your weekends.


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Grabbing The Heart…

In the midst of our “Explicit Lyrics” series through the Song of Solomon we wanted to highlight the power and celebrate marriages. We know they are not “perfect”, but we felt that song grabbed the element that we wanted to highlight.

So we scrambled, found some different couples and highlighted them throughout the song. This was a technical challenge as we currently have a curved screen that we call “The Womb” which is awesome but difficult to format due to it’s wide format.

So we had to keep that in mind as we shot the actual video moments with our couples and their photos. In order to execute it, we went old school and literally used gaff tape to outline the viewable area on our viewfinder. We then made sure that our couples and their families held the photo and were framed accordingly.

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We double checked this by literally broadcasting live onto our center screen as we recorded each of these individuals. And it turned out well. What a cool moment!

“Perfect” sung by Sam Hancock for our Explicit Lyrics series through the Song of Solomon at The Crossing church in Las Vegas

by Powell Sullivan
© 2017 Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Song used with Permission CCS License #9072

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Very. Cool. Moment. Featuring…. The “Meet Cute

Kicking off our series through the Song of Solomon series “Explicit Lyrics” we wanted to also feature a strong moment on the weekend following Easter.

During our programming gathering, we recalled a cool setup moment from the movie “The Holiday” where the idea of a “meet cute” is introduced.  This set up our desired moment perfectly. We then rolled to this classic tune while also featuring classic movie “meet cutes” on our oval center screen behind our vocalist.

Couple notes:

  1. We are able to move this oval screen up and down via motors and so we took the opportunity to bring it to the stage deck in order to give the feel of surrounding our musicians.
  2. Lauren Diaz (The Voice 2016 season) simply killed it on this song and was accompanied simply on the acoustic by Ben Kolarick.

The combination was powerful and not only resonated in the room, but also created quite a buzz via our social media channels.

At Last

Performed by Lauren Diaz, Ben Kolarcik & Matt Biel.

“At Last”
by Mack Gordon Harry Warren
© 1960 Geffen Records

Song used with Permission, CCS License #9072