Lucky – Dear Worship Team #2

📷: David Heinlein

Dear Worship Team,

We started off Monday with my encouragement that we consider what it means to serve one another. I wanted to get practical on that admonition by exploring Jesus’s “Sermon on the Mount” from Matthew 5-7. This is the blueprint, the epitome of how we are to live our lives as believers – as followers of Jesus. Even more so as members of a team called to lead His people in worship. Let’s look at how the Sermon on the Mount teaches us to serve and love one another.

Let’s start with the Beatitudes. An introduction of sorts to Jesus’s sermon:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Eugene Peterson, who wrote “The Message” translation of the Bible says he wanted to use the word “lucky” instead of blessed because it connected more to our contemporary understanding of the Greek word in this passage. His publisher wouldn’t go for it in the end, but you get the idea. These are preposterous statements in the eyes of the world. Our culture rewards the powerful, the winners. #Winning is a thing, right?

But Jesus says to count yourself blessed, outright lucky – to have won the jackpot if you are poor in spirt or meek. You are highly favored if you mourn or hunger or thirst or if you’re persecuted for righteousness or even insulted because of Jesus. Peterson translates that last bit like this:

“You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds.”

If we’re going to serve one another on our worship team, in our church body, in our families, jobs, schools we must learn to recognize and see what heaven applauds. Maybe get our minds out of Facebook likes and Twitter mentions and learn to value what God values.

The Beatitudes is a pretty good place to start. Count yourself lucky if you make that list.

Love y’all!!


Dear Worship Team #1

📷: David Heinlein

Happy New Year!! 2018 is here and full of possibility. I love blank pages, clean slates, new chapters, or whatever other analogy or picture you want to insert. There’s just something beautiful about beginnings, fresh starts.

With that in mind I’m going to spend the next little while writing some daily encouragements to the worship team at Shelter Rock Church where I serve as worship pastor. While these are directed at them, anyone else is welcome to be a part. Welcome to something new!

Dear Awesome Worship Team!

Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) That’s on my heart for us this year.  Learning how to truly serve one another. We use the word all the time: “Are you serving this week?” “Where are you serving on the team?” and on and on. But what does it mean? Is that the reason we are on the team? Do we approach our music and tech prep (or lack thereof) with that in mind? I’m asking myself and you!

Our congregation is trusting us to lead them in worship and teach them week in and week out. How can we serve them? When I’m on stage playing the first notes of the service am I focused on how I can serve that person, those people with my songs and words and encouragement?

Let’s talk about it, pray about it and, most of all, live it.

Are you in?

Your worship pastor,


The Sound and the Stirring is Out!

So excited to celebrate the release of this EP! Available everywhere!

SpotifyiTunesApple MusicGoogle PlayAmazon

I also have some physical copies if you’d like to order…

Here’s a cool 3D rendering of the EP artwork!


  1. The Sound and the Stirring
    Ben Ward: Songwriter, Vocals, Piano, Acoustic Guitars
    Alberto Vaz: Mix Engineer, Electric Guitars, Synth
    Edgar Meeks: Drums
    Pete Coco: Bass
    Shaun Stols: Assistant Engineer
  2. This Changes Everything
    Ben Ward: Songwriter, Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
    Sebastian Danalis: Songwriter
    Alberto Vaz: Mix Engineer
    Jonathan Mix: Tracking Engineer, Pads, Vocals
    Luke Kutler: Assistant Engineer
    Edgar Meeks: Drums
    Steve Osorio: Bass
    Mike Fenimore: Electric Guitars, Rhodes
    Sara Ciotti: Voclas
  3. Your Name
    Ben Ward: Songwriter, Vocals, Piano, Acoustic Guitars
    Alberto Vaz: Mix Engineer, Acoustic Guitars, Synth
    Edgar Meeks: Drums
    Pete Coco: Bass
    Shaun Stols: Assistant Engineer
  4. Become Us
    Ben Ward: Songwriter, Piano, Vocals
    Alberto Vaz: Mix Engineer
  5. Christmas Anthem (Sacred Harp)
    Ben Ward: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
    Alberto Vaz: Mix Engineer
    Stephanie Osorio: Vocals
    Sara Ciotti: Vocals