sum-ahh-thyme

May 27, 2008

every year around this time worship leaders all across the country start gearing up for the craziest season of the year…summer.  for middle and high school students summertime means 8 weeks of no school and no worries.  for worship leaders summertime means we put on our war paint and do our stretches and get ready for church camps and crazy, radical teens.  i love the buzz of the summer months…traveling and meeting new people, eating at cool local restaurants (a spiritual gift in our band) and watching the Holy Spirit do unexpected, fresh stuff that turns our world upside down.  our journey this summer starts with three camps in panama city beach florida, then it’s to louisiana, california, oklahoma, chicago, manila (philippines) and finally oregon.  every summer i have an expectation of what i think our experience is going to be like and every summer i’m reminded of how low i set the bar.

although the summer is a big part of our year, so is the spring and the fall.  spring 08 has been packed full of amazing moments.  we started out in january in boone north carolina at a ski retreat and ended in chicago on may 12 at a college bible study called  6:31.    im constantly learning things i didn’t know about leading worship and how to follow the Holy Spirit before i say or do anything.  this spring has taught me a lot about that.  it’s been an incredible spring season.

so moving into the summer i want to encourage all the worship leaders and speakers and actors and lighting directors and event producers and interns and production assistants and sound engineers and stage managers and rec leaders out there to join me in pursuing still and quiet hearts in the midst of a crazy and loud season.  just think what could happen if there were a whole lot of us out there this summer listening intently to the spirit of God before we led anything.  that would make for some pretty amazing “heaven-meets-earth” moments.  

i’ll keep updates about what’s going on throughout the summer here on the blog.  i’d love to hear about your adventures too…kristianstanfillmusic@gmail.com.  for now…check out pictures from my wife and i’s adventures in florida below.

this guy washed up next to me one morning on the beach.  i told him i didn’t want to hurt him but that i would if it came to that.  let’s just say the jellyfish community won’t mess with me again.

kerri and i actually ate here…it was really good, but i didn’t see bono.  that’s me doing my best bono impression.

i have no words

Tenth Avenue North

May 20, 2008

Tenth Avenue North

hello from partly cloudy florida!  just a quick note to let you know about some cool new music that came out today.  those of you who tune in consistently to christian radio already know about  Tenth Avenue North and their smash hit “love is here,” if you haven’t heard these guys yet you should go check out the new record “over and underneath.”   def check out the songs “by your side,” “hold my heart,” and “times.”  i haven’t heard hooks like this in christian music since dc Talk’s Nu Thang.  enjoy.

i spent all day today leading at my church browns bridge community church.  i started the day at 6:30 am with big church rehearsal and services at 9:00 and 11:00 am.  it was a great and long morning.  the set list was Happy Day (Tim Hughes), Faithful (Alex Nifong), Lord of All (a song i wrote) and Son of God (Starfield).  it was very cool to have a good chunk of time to lead.  

one of the coolest things of the day was watching my 18 year old brother Brett lead our middle school ministry called extreme.  he did a great job!  he’s a great leader with an amazing heart for God.  i’m so proud of my bro.

after big church i headed over to our student ministry called insideout.  we set up and sound checked around 3:30 and we’re hangin out in the green room right now waiting to get started.  it’s been a long day, but really cool to be able to be plugged in at our church.

as soon as we wrap up here kerri and i are jumpin in the car and headed out for a much needed vacation.  we’ll be down in florida for the next week chillin on the beach and reading francis chan’s new book “crazy love”.  

you guys have a great week.  i’ll blog at you when we get back.  peace.

 

 

so i was in the fellowship hall at my blog eating chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese and i met luke and micah.  they had some questions.  i had some answers. 

Luke asks:
how do you pick out your set-lists?  obviously you are lead by the spirit, but what are dynamics between 722 where you are every week and the community knows vs. picking for a camp or event where the group may not know your songs?

great question luke!  when i put together a set list there’s a few things that i think about.  one…usually there’s some type of theme to the event that we’re leading.  i try to think about what would fit well with that theme and what the speaker is planning to talk about.  two…flow.  flow and transitions are so important.  i like to think through how i’ll get in and out of the songs in the set and see if it flows well.  three…if this is a place we’ve led consistently i think about what we’ve played in recent weeks, what songs are “working”, that sort of thing.  if it’s somewhere we haven’t been before then i usually ask whoever does lead consistently a few questions about what’s been going.  i pick from a list of songs that is about 50% our own stuff and 50% other artists stuff.  once we have picked the songs and thought through the transitions we hold our ideas out before God and say, “this is what we’ve planned God, but whatever You want is what we want.”  it’s amazing what happens when the Holy Spirit does something unexpected and unplanned and i pray that i am always willing to toss my plan out the window.  i never want to do anything spontaneous for the sake of being spontaneous.  i ALWAYS have a set planned, but try to remain quiet enough on stage so i can follow when the Holy Spirit leads.

Micah asks:
are you working on any new songs? any new stuff coming out soon? 

micah…thanks for asking broseph.  i LOVE writing songs and am constantly working hard at it.  i’ve got a large handful of songs that im trying to finish up right now.  we’ve also been writing as a band and have a few songs that we are all really excited about.  we are hoping to get in the studio in november to start recording our first full length record.  

 

 

Passion Conferences kicked off it’s world tour tonight in Kyiv, Ukraine.  Kyiv is the first of 16 nations that will be visited by the passion team over the next 6 months.  the goal of these tour stops is to call students all over the world to the glory and majesty and wonder of God.  from what i’ve heard already about Kyiv, God was huge there.  check out the world tour web site  for info about where we’ll be heading and other details.  a tour like this takes some serious hard work and serious dollars.  as of may 1st…we’re still in need of $3.5 million.  if you’d like to help out the by donating some cash to the world tour you can visit 268generation.com  and click on the big red GIVE button.  also…they’ll be pictures and details about all the different stops up on 268blog.com.  check it out…stay connected…pray.

 

shhhhhhh

May 13, 2008

i kissed it...almost! if you look to your right you’ll see fish number four that i caught this past weekend at the lake. it turns out that i’m a natural. actually you can be to…pull the rod when the line gets tight. the fam and i escaped the fast paced life of the city on friday and saturday and headed up to lake burton. lake burton is tucked away about 3 hours north of atlanta in tiger georgia in the valley of the north georgia mountains. in my opinion…there is no place so beautiful. i’ve grown up vacationing on this lake. my grandparents own a house on the lake. i’ve had some of my fondest memories in life on lake burton. i learned how to ski, how to eat watermelon, how to watch wimbledon, how to tan, how to drive a boat and how to spot true beauty. seriously…this place is beautiful…check it out…

wow!umm...wow again!

wow!

places like this really do exist. where a day feels like three and quality time doesn’t include returning emails or twittering. i love lake burton for this reason. as long as my family and i have been vacationing here all we’ve ever done is be with one another. we never needed any form of entertainment or distraction to fill our time…we just needed to be. how incredible! i think about how i fill my time with such useless stuff sometimes and it makes me sad to think that i trade moments with my wife and son for text messaging or…blogging. when im at lake burton i can’t escape the purity of my surroundings. it’s the essence of the beauty of God’s creation. for the most part it remains untainted by the craziness of the world that lies 3 hours south. they’ve stopped all new construction on the lake. meaning that there will never be more lots/houses on the lake than there are right now. it doesn’t have a starbucks. there is no lakeside target. no matter how many times you circle the lake you won’t find any wireless internet. basically…the industrial revolution showed up at lake burton’s front door and lake burton shot it with a be-be gun. not literally but i think you get my point. now don’t get me wrong, i LOVE the city…the constant buzz of activity, life happening all around you, new faces everywhere and most def starbucks. i also know that a lot of what we find in the city is necessary for life to happen…like businesses, government and hospitals. i guess what i feel, and maybe you’re with me on this, is that my life has become really LOUD and somewhere along the way i’ve forgotten how to create empty space to hear from and encounter God. it seems that now more than ever before there is a constant barrage of pop culture and responsibility.

what im learning is that there is great value in being still. there is great value in being silent and listening. alot of times we think of solitude or privacy as just being alone to “recharge our batteries.” it’s something we do to escape, but what if stillness and solitude were actions? what if being still was actually the action of moving toward God? what if being alone was actually the action of pursuing a relationship with God? what if being quiet meant you were actually actively listening to and for God’s voice? i think we would experience an encounter with God like we’ve never experienced before. don’t you think so? i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again…i believe that we’re on the edge of something huge. it seems to to me that we’re about to see something new and fresh break. i don’t know what it is. i don’t know what it sounds or looks like, but i know the God who’s gonna do it and take us there if we’re willing. i believe that in His perfect timing He’ll drop revelation on those who are listening. i don’t want my life to be so loud that i miss that kind of revelation.

so i don’t know how this all hits you. maybe you’re with me or maybe you feel like i’ve got issues, but i’m willing to bet there are alot of you that are amening at work or at home or at starbucks with me. so if i could be so bold, i’d like to lay down a challenge to you and to me. let’s commit to purposefully quieting our lives for the sole purpose of encountering God. everyday for the next week, whoever is willing, let’s find somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour to be still and seek God. let’s open our lives up to the working of God’s Holy Spirit. i think we’ll begin to love and live more like Jesus did…connected to the father.

let’s quiet our lives so we can listen. let’s stop moving so we can be moved into action and God’s will. let’s get alone so we can be with God.

book rec : if you are totally with me on this then i recommend reading a book called “the way of the heart” by a guy named henri nouwen…wow!

musical rec : the new death cab for cutie record came out today. it’s called “narrow stairs” and it really is something great. enjoy indie-rock at its best.

this is just a quick post to tell everyone that i’ll be stepping out of the office for a few days.  kerri, isaac and i are headed up to the north georgia mountains to chill at lake burton.  you better believe im gonna bring back some radical pictures of the mountains.  this will be a great place to gather my thoughts on “skinny jean city.”  

if you’d like some chicken soup for your soul…check out the video below.  hope everyone has a restful weekend.

as some of you already know thanks to twitter…alex, joe, tim, matt and i took some band pics tonight to be used for updating our website and other EXTREMELY important tasks. i thought it was time to get some new pictures taken of me and the guys seeing as the last time i took professional pictures was 2004…before i got married! so we enlisted the help of star photographer krissy leigh to help us out.  the following is just a small glimpse into the adventure that was tonight.

we met downtown in a building called the biltmore.  my plan was to use one of their elegant, opulent and radical ballrooms to take photos in.  i thought it would be a good match for our band’s mature nature…btw i can burp the alphabet.  anyway…wouldn’t you want to take pictures in a place that looks like this.

WOW!!!

of course you would…so did we.  unfortunately i recieved some bad information and the ballroom was in fact being prepped for an event happening friday night…total bummer, but we would not be distracted from our goal, our prize…the pictures.  so we pulled back together and quickly decided that the next best thing to a lavish ballroom was a place where they sell expensive looking, cheap things and 50 cent hot dogs…IKEA!!!  if you’re not on the IKEA train yet you should click on the word IKEA next time i type it…IKEA. for those of you not clicking on the link, all you really need to know is that you can  buy 50 cent hot dogs there…nuff said.  at any rate…we wound our way through  IKEA filling our memory cards and hearts with memories that will last a lifetime.  we  laughed, we pretended to be really serious and we all laid in a bed together.  it was  a success in every sense of the word.  

as soon as we get some pics back i’ll make sure to post them here.  also…when our new website is up and running i’ll be sure to tell you about that too.  but until then…excerpts from our adventure can be viewed below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

have you guys heard of this thing called twitter?  it’s a new way to stay connected to all your homies.  basically it works like this.  let’s say i’m at my house and publishers clearing house (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Publisher’s_Clearing_House) shows up and tells me i’ve won 50 trillion dollars.  im excited right?  yes!  so i get on my phone and text twitter at 404-04 and say “i just won $50,000,000,000,000!”  then whoever has subscribed to my account on twitter receives a text message that makes you insanely jealous of my new fortune.  make sense?  sorry…i did my best.  bottom line…if you’d like to receive text messages from me about cool stuff going on in life and in music text ‘follow kristianstanfill’ to 404-04 and follow the instructions.  it could be fun.

hello again or for the first time!  welcome to my little corner of the world wide web.  i like to think of it as a nook.  if my blog was a room in a house i think i might decorate it with thomas kinkade prints and mountain living paraphernalia.

we’ve been super busy leading at two different conferences here in atlanta.  the first was called Orange Conference (www.theorangeconference.com).  this was a gathering of about 4,000 church leaders from all over the world.  the second, DRIVE Conference (www.driveconference.com), ended today and is a conference hosted by my home church in Alpharetta, GA, North Point Community Church, and our pastor andy stanley.  DRIVE is a conference for church leaders as well.  

first…orange.

at orange conference we had the pleasure of leading with francis chan.  just a side note…if you don’t know francis chan yet go type in his name on itunes and download a truckload of podcasts.  also check out his new book “crazy love” (crazylovebook.com).  francis is the pastor of a church called cornerstone in simi valley california (www.cornerstonesimi.com).  a very genuine, honest, Holy Spirit-following man.  i love every chance i get to lead with him.  so we loved leading a session with him at orange conference.  it was one of the sweetest times of worship i’ve had in a long time.  you know those times you have with God where you really do wish it could never end?  those times where you find the line between heaven and earth blurred?  this was one of those times.  francis and i looked at each other afterwards with tears in our eyes and a look on both our faces that said, “only God could’ve done that.”  another incredible highlight for me at orange conference was watching my 18 year old brother lead a session with his band.  brett stanfill is a senior at walton high school with such a pure heart to love God, an amazing gift to sing, play guitar and lead people to worship God.  it was such a proud moment to watch him step on that stage and lead so many church leaders.  brett…i love you…im proud of you…i believe in you.

second…DRIVE.

DRIVE conference ended this afternoon around 2.30.  it was such an honor to lead with steve fee, eddie kirkland, candi pearson shelton and todd fields on monday night, the opening night of the conference.  we didn’t start the musical part of worship until after andy’s talk.  we started very contemplative while communion happened in the room.  while we played and communion was going on there was an amazingly talented painter named mike lewis painting different pictures of Jesus (check out his stuff at http://www.jesuspainter.com).  it was a very honest, quiet time with God.  this conference is really a chance for church leaders to come check out what we’re doing at north point community church and for north point to check out what other church leaders are doing.  the conference is driven (pun intended) by the leadership and vision of andy stanley (the lead pastor of north point community church).  it was an honor to be a part of the conference and amazing to meet so many church leaders and be reminded of the strength of the worldwide church today.  i’ll say it again…God is doing a new thing…things are about to break wide open.

third…jenga.

today after DRIVE ended i went to the local target and bought  jenga for my wife and i to play.  we played tonight and i won.  there’s no real take away from this part of the post…just my pride needing to express the fact that i won.

fourth…7|22

every tuesday i get to be a part of leading a bible study called 7|22 in atlanta ga with an incredible team of people (if you’re in atlanta and free next tuesday night at 7:30…check out http://www.722.org).  at 7|22 we depend on some amazing people to volunteer their time to help us run the whole thing.  because of DRIVE conference happening this week, 7|22 was struggling big time to find volunteers to serve.  so we punted the typical format of a normal tuesday night and made it more of an interactive night.  we sent a third of the people out into the city to serve the community.  another third of the people we sent off to different restaurants we’d made reservations at previously to build community.  the last third we directed to a nearby church called peachtree road united methodist church (one of the most beautiful churches i’ve been in in the united states) for a reflective time of worship and prayer.  it was just me and my acoustic guitar and the Holy Spirit going after it.  it was such a great time to exhale and detach from our loud lives and seek God together.  there was a chunk of about 5 or 6 minutes where i didn’t sing or say anything…we just listened to God and were with Him.  wow.

fifth…david peacock.

david peacock…that name prolly doesn’t mean anything to you, but it means ALOT to me.  david peacock was the 26 year old youth pastor at johnson ferry baptist church in marietta ga who looked at me when i was 13 and said, “you should lead worship…what do you think about doing that?”  the next few years would find david investing in me over coffee and lunches mentoring and teaching me about what worship is and what it means to lead people to worship God.  the horror stories david could tell about me leading worship back in the day are…many.  i would forget words to songs, make it all about me, screw up chords on the guitar, not wear shoes on stage, but he stood by me with a smile and the truth of God’s word to help me along.  now, 12 years later, i find myself in the position of leadership im in thanking God for david’s obedience and diligence.  

just a word to youth pastors and church leaders alike…invest selflessly.  and to the young 13 year old worship leader looking for guidance and wisdom…if you’re gonna be a great leader you’ve got to be a great follower first (im pretty sure i didn’t come up with that).  don’t expect to decide to be a worship leader one day and the next day be leading 10,000 people in worship.  that hardly happens…never happens.  there’s a refining that must happen in all leaders.  you’re gonna have to walk through the fire and do things that are not g-l-a-m-o-r-o-u-s.  that includes playing for free for 8 people, sleeping in your car (or with twenty 12 year old middle schoolers who insist on staying up all night long), or playing “sweet home alabama”…AGAIN!  great leaders know that they’ll never have it all figured out.  they know that in order to lead well they must first follow well.  so everyone…follow well and you will lead well.  the humble ones are the ones God exalts.  this is all stuff im still learning and struggling through now.  let’s learn and struggle together.

pheeeew…that was long.  let’s all inhale…and hold…now exhale.  there we did it.  thanks for reading.  and don’t think i’ve forgotten…i owe you a song about skinny jeans.  the song is tentatively entitled “skinny jeans city.”  to quote the movie elf, “im psyched out of my mind about this.”

musical rec : make sure and check out eastmountainsouth.  they have one self-titled record out that’s beautiful from start to finish.  i’m going to call the genre…electronic folk.  can i do that?  irregardless…it’s incredible.