Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our Top Ten Moments of 2014

Just over a year ago, we left the comforts of our church staff position to take Infinitely More on the road full-time. 2014 was our first complete year of touring and recording, and it only seems fitting on this 
New Year's Eve to take a look back on this very full 12 months...

Here, in chronological order, are our Top Ten Moments of 2014:

#1. Musicians In Residence

With a goal of introducing contemporary worship and expanding the music team, we had a full winter as as Musicians in Residence in St. Andrews, NB. One of the most powerful moments was the night we debuted the first ever worship band at All Saints Church. It was a success in all kinds of ways, but our favourite was the truly ecumenical make up of the group - our 8-piece band represented 5 churches and 3 denominations. Truly the 'family' of God!

#2. First Day In The Studio

No matter how much pre-production you do, there's nothing as exciting as the first day in the studio. Hearing our amazing Nashville session players get their hands on our songs left us as giddy as kids in a candy store.

#3. The Civil Rights Museum

We can't recommend this enough. If you visit Memphis, spend an afternoon at the Civil Rights Museum. You will be shaken and inspired by the generations of people who stood up for humanity.

#4. Time With Long Distance Friends

One of the best perks of a touring ministry - we were able to see friends in Nashville, Tennessee, Little Rock, Arkansas, and all across Canada's beautiful East Coast!

#5. Getting The CDs

After months of writing, recording, traveling, mixing, mastering, and the thousand other steps involved in making a CD, it was an amazing moment to open the boxes and actually hold the CDs in our hands.

#6. East Coast Tour 

Our biggest tour to date! 9 weeks, 5 provinces, 8300 KM, and over 30 events, all filled with incredible moments and beautiful memories.

#7. Watching Concerts Turn To Worship

We deliberately plan our concerts to be entertaining and welcoming to folks on all stages of their faith walk, but on more than one occasion this year, hearts opened and hands raised as a simple night of music turned into a powerful night of worship. We were so blessed by these amazing audiences!

#8. Teaching Workshops

This year, we put a stronger focus on teaching our Workshops on Worship Leading and Creating Music For Worship, and creating opportunities to mentor singers, musicians, and songwriters. We felt blessed to share our skills, but more often than not, we were encouraged to see so many dedicated people using their talents for the Church. I had a "proud momma" moment every time we received a  follow-up email letting us know how a worship band or choir was using their new skills on a Sunday morning.

#9. Rocky Harbour 

In the middle of our 9-week East Coast Tour, we took 3 nights off in beautiful Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland. With perfect weather and a scarcity of tourists, we were free to explore the community and meet some wonderful folks. On our last night, we walked the beach, watched the brilliant sunset, and even sung our new song. A wonderful respite and a reminder of the importance of quiet time...

#10. Releasing Our First Radio Single

This Christmas, we released our first Infinitely More radio single - Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem. It was awesome to imagine folks across the country listening to our song as part of their holiday celebrations. It was particularly exciting to get Facebook messages from friends saying "I just heard you on the radio!!!"

What a year! We feel deeply called to the ministry of Infinitely More. It's a challenging path, but we can only do it with the love and support of each of you. Thank you for supporting our music and ministry by inviting us into your churches, purchasing CDs, attending our concerts, hosting us in your homes, keeping us in prayer, and joining us on this journey.

THANK YOU for an amazing 2014! 
We're looking forward to 2015!

May you remember 2014 with thanksgiving, 
and may 2015 bring you peace, love, faith, and joy!
Happy New Year!!!

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Bake Some Cookies, Everyone!

As I write this, my shoulders are aching.

"Of course," you say, "This is your busy season! 20 events in less than a month. All that singing and playing, not to mention carrying gear. It makes sense that your body would feel the burn..."

Actually, it's not that kind of aching. 
Tonight, I have Baker's Shoulders.

Today I celebrated my annual Christmas Cookie Day with my Mom. It starts a few days in advance as we discuss the goals of the day. How many different kinds? Are we doubling the recipes? Should we try new cookies or stick with classics? Let's make up the shopping list...

On the actual day, breakfast dishes are cleared and the kitchen becomes a baking machine. Don't step in the room unless you want to be assigned a task.

This year, we tried two new recipes - Mexican Wedding Cookies and Spiced Fig Pinwheels - and my favourite classic choice - Scottish Shortbread, this year with a Salted Chocolate topping. Fabulous!

Right now, the final batch is done and the house smells amazing. We made over 250 cookies! Including the ones that didn't make it onto the cooling racks...

Everyone is busy in December, but those of us in music and/or ministry seem to get an extra dose of it. Between worship services, concerts, seniors home ministry, and all the planning, rehearsing, and traveling that goes with each event, it's easy to see December as a month to 'get through.'

But what a terrible way to approach one of the most beautiful months of the year. This is a season filled with once-a-year music, art, and enjoyment. We personally know the feeling of getting to the end of the month and feeling like we didn't experience any of it. It's exhausting and depleting.

We live in a society that glorifies stress and overworking. We're encouraged to brag about our lack of sleep, our refusal to take a day off, or our '80-hour' workweek. This is our currency to define ourselves as productive, important, and successful.

But what's the point of spending our days creating glorious, inspiring music and worship, and then missing out on the glory and inspiration of it all?

I'm not going to ignore the truth - December is difficult for many people for many reasons. There's no denying it. But we also have the ability to make positive choices in difficult seasons, and today, I'd like to encourage you to do just that.

Whether it's baking cookies, watching a Christmas movie, or taking the long drive home so you can see the neighbour's crazy light display, take a little time each day to enjoy the blessings of the season. Read an Advent devotional or book of seasonal poetry to give yourself a moment of focus in the day. And take a few moments to be still and give thanks for the blessings in your life.

This may seem like simple advice, and it is. But in the craziness of the season, it's the simple things we tend to overlook. And when we turn our focus back to them, even for a few minutes, the results can be powerful!

One week til Christmas Eve, everyone! 
Let's enjoy the blessings of this beautiful season...

*   *   *   *   *

There's still time to order Infinitely More CDs for Christmas! 
Each and every CD ordered from our site this month will receive a FREE Christmas Card! 
Please visit for all the details

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Our First Radio Single!

This week, we've taken a new step in our ministry - 
we've released our first single to radio!

Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem is the title track of our brand new Christmas album, 
and perhaps one of our favourite cowrites.

You can hear a sample of the song HERE.

Last winter, I came home after a busy morning of teaching to hear Gerald's familiar words, "I started something new today." He played me a verse and a chorus:

There's a boy in the African desert
Who is watching the skies tonight
He knows that two thousand years ago
A child was born from the light
And his heart beholds that beautiful sight

Tonight, Everywhere is Bethlehem
Children are praying for peace and love 
And whispering ‘amen’
In their dreams they see the manger 
And the Saviour who Mary tends 
Tonight, Everywhere is Bethlehem

I fell in love with the moving imagery and the sweeping melody. I could picture this young boy with a look of wonder on his face. I imagined a warm breeze moving around him, and the stillness of the night.

I announced, "I love it. I can see the second verse. By the way, I'm cowriting this with you."

It's not the first time Gerald has heard me say these words. A smile crept across his face.

"What's your idea?"

My imagination leapt to the other side of the world. If "everywhere" was Bethlehem, then I wanted to show a completely opposite setting that would also be home to the hope of Christmas. I saw a young girl in a crowded urban setting...

There's a girl singing carols in Times Square 
Collecting spare change for the poor
She sings 'no crib for a bed'
To remind us what Christmas is for
And her voice rings out so sweet and so pure

Tonight, Everywhere is Bethlehem...

As we continued to work on the song, we wanted a way to bring the message of the first Bethlehem into our "everywhere" Bethlehem. We remembered the powerful message of the angels:

Do not be afraid. There is great news, for all the Earth. 
A child is born. He's Christ the Lord. Hope of the world.

With that, our song was complete. We decided it made a perfect duet, with Gerald singing the 'boy' verse and me singing the 'girl' verse. We created harmonies for the chorus and bridge. This summer, we brought the song into the studio to record. Denny Martin (Nashville) put together a wonderful track using acoustic instruments and lush strings. Carmon Barry (Toronto) painstakingly recorded our vocals to find the perfect mix of performance and emotion.

We're thrilled with the recording, but the best part is singing it live! We love seeing the smiles in the audience, and it's always an honour when someone wants to buy a whole CD because they've fallen in love with one particular song. And this Christmas, we get to share it with a whole new audience...

We're so excited about this new adventure. We believe passionately in the message of our songs, and in the power of having Christian music on the radio. We pray this radio exposure gives our music the chance to be heard by a broader audience.

We would love your support in getting Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem out to a larger audience.

How can you help?

- Please call or email your local radio station to request our song.

- If you work in radio, please contact us for downloads.

- And finally, please keep Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem in prayer, 
that it may reach hearts this Christmas season.

Thank you!!

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Guest Post by Gerald Flemming

Today, we featured a guest post by my husband 
and Infinitely More partner, 
Gerald Flemming.

Is it possible that with every single choice we make 
we either gather closer to Jesus or shove him farther away?  
Is the world we live in that absolute?  

I’m staring at my hands right now.  I’m thinking about what I’ve done recently and what it tells me about my life.  I’m judging the worthiness of all the input I’ve left myself vulnerable to this week…of every single sight and sound I’ve willingly left myself open to.  I’m ‘microscoping’ every word I’ve spoken and every action I’ve taken.

Wow, what a frightening way to live.  Being so obsessively self aware of our moral compass that we’re constantly staring at the needle as if it was the second hand on a Doomsday clock.  Staring so hard at the minutiae of our lives that the colors of the world become muted and grey.  We find ourselves stressed and tired and uninspired, so quick to judge others around us as being wrong or even worse - damned.  I know this sounds a little overwrought and over the top, but it happens every single day.  It happens on the internet and in our own lives.

There is a Pastor, someone I’ve known for eight or nine years.  He posted recently that he found he was tired and anxious and edgy all the time.  And then he was quick to post 'of course' he was, and that was fine because he wasn’t made for this world - he was made for the next world.  If you look at his other posts, tracing back, you see a picture of someone who is caught up in the politics of fear and paranoia and looking for Biblical justifications for all of it.  He hates 'this' politician and 'this' is why.  He puts links to all of these outlier blogs that speak in very hyperbolic terms about the conditions in the world today.  Don’t get me wrong - he can out-quote most Old testament scholars I know, but his swift judgmental attacks on anybody who challenges his assumptions seems to show somebody who is becoming unstable and detached from the love and the grace of Christ.  We are called to view the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament.  I’ve never heard him quote the New Testament.  Not a single time.

Living the sanctified crucified life is a hard choice.  There is no question about that.  Allison and I were privileged to be at a lecture series where a wonderful speaker talked about living the Crucified Life.  He talked about waking up every single morning and laying our shames and guilt at the feet of the cross.  Every single morning.  He talked about the difference between being private and being secretive.  Being private is being respectful and modest.  Being secretive, having secrets, is shame based and calls into question the behaviour that is indulged in the shadows.  That was an interesting distinction to me and it felt like that was a healthy level of responsibility to have towards my life and my daily practices.

I think there is absolutely a healthy level of scrutiny we are called to as Christians.
I also think that scrutiny can become as addictive as alcohol or drugs.  I think that individuals can end up craving both self-judgment and the judgment of others and using the Pulpit, their prayer group or their Facebook page as places to indulge this addiction.

At times when we feel that overwhelming need to judge either ourselves or others, maybe it’s as simple as reacquainting ourselves to the peace and beauty that is all around us.

The creation, that is here for us to witness.
The beauty that can render us in awe-filled silence.
A quiet so deep that we can hear the Voice.
Can it be that simple?
Can we trust that it’s really that easy?

‘Be Still and Know that He is God.’

Peace, Gerald

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Every Song Has A Story

For today's Worship Wednesdays post, I actually want to direct you to an article I recently had published.

We were asked by the Niagara Anglican paper to share some words about the creation of our new CD - How The Light Gets In. If you've been following our posts this year, you'll know that our biggest focus for the CD was the songs. How do we discover great ideas for songs? What is the writing process? How do we choose which songs to record, and then, how do we record them?

We decided to distill all of this into an article called Every Song Has A Story.

You can read the article HERE
The link will take you to the full paper, so please scroll down to page 11.

I hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look into the creation of How The Light Gets In
To hear the songs referenced in the article, please visit HERE.

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - East Coast Tour: The Numbers!


We left Ontario on September 9 to start our East Coast Tour.

On November 9, we finished the tour with our final appearance.

The past 2 months have been an intense experience in so many ways. In the next few weeks, we'll finish all the follow up, including a post mortem for ourselves to celebrate the tour and learn how we can make our ministry more accessible and more effective. In the meantime, here are a few numbers to put things in perspective:


4th time touring the East Coast

9 weeks on the road

5 provinces

30 different events

 3 seasons

2 ferries

1 snow storm

8300 kilometers

3 islands

2 moose sightings

1 trip to the mechanic

2 new songs

500 photos

And "infinitely more" new friends, 
amazing experiences, and unforgettable memories.

We still have a few more photos to post, and we're working on a compilation video to share some of our experiences with you.

This week, however, we are simply grateful for every church, family, and community who chose to invite our music and ministry into their lives.

Thank you, East Coast! 
Can't wait to see you in 2015!

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - New Videos!

Hello from my hometown of St. John's, Newfoundland!

We've just finished the busiest stint of our East Coast Tour

12 events in 11 days in 7 communities

We left Ontario just after Labour Day, and this week, for the first time in almost 2 months, we will start to drive west.

In lieu of a post today, we wanted to share some pieces of our concert with you. These come from our recent concert at Church of the Good Shepherd in Mount Pearl, NL. Thanks to Matt for the video!

How Great Thou Art

We created this arrangement a few years ago for our Infinitely More debut CD. It's become a standard in our repertoire, not just for its message of praise, but also for its ability to cross boundaries of generations and denominations.

Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem

Gerald and I wrote this song last Christmas, to celebrate the love and hope that started in Bethlehem, but has the power to spread across the world. This year, it became the title track of our first Christmas album!

We hope you enjoy these videos! To see photos from our East Coast Tour, please click HEREWe ask that you please continue to keep us in prayer as we travel across the country, and share our final performances of this tour. Thank you!

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Write Bad Songs!

One of the great blessings of this East Coast Tour has been the chance to mentor singers, musicians, and songwriters. We've met many of them through our workshops, but we've also met lots just through our concerts. Every so often, a young person will come up after a concert and say, "I want to be a musician too."

We'll ask if they sing or if they play. Are they taking lessons? In school groups? Have they put on a local show yet? Are they in the church choir or band?

Inevitably, the conversation will come around to songwriting. It usually goes like this:

Us: "Do you write your own songs?"

Them: "No."

Us: "Have you tried writing?"

Them: "Well, yes, but my songs were terrible, so I gave up."

At that point, you can hear our hearts break a little.

At first, I tried to sound comforting, consoling them with cliches: "It's okay. We all write some bad songs. You can do it. Keep trying..."

But on Sunday, I met an 11-year-old who told me:

"I tried writing, but I failed miserably. My songs were awful!"

That word: "FAILED"

What a powerful word. It can shut down the best of intentions, the most noble efforts, the lifelong dream.

And yet, if we let it, it can transform our world. It can be the great lesson learned, the giant mountain we overcome, the mighty leap to success.

So when she said, "I failed,
I exclaimed, "CONGRATULATIONS!!!!"

She looked at me like I had three heads.

"Congratulations!" I reiterated. "Writing bad songs is the first step to becoming a songwriter! Write lots and lots and lots of bad songs. Each one will teach you something, and before long, you'll notice you're writing good songs."

I could see the plan forming in her head. I could almost hear the songs writing themselves in her imagination. A smile crept across her face.

When we parted, I said it again, "Write lots of bad songs! Promise me?"

"I promise, " she said.

The Dream was alive again...

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Thanksgiving Blessings...

Let us come before him with thanksgiving 
and extol him with music and song.
Psalm 95:2 

Happy Thanksgiving!

This past weekend, we joined with people across Canada to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. For us, the list was long:

- our families, our friends, our health, and our livelihood
- God's grace, forgiveness, mercy, and love
- our skills and talents, and the opportunity to use them together to serve God and God's people
- and the list goes on...

It was just over a year ago that we made the decision to take Infinitely More on the road full time. It's been an interesting journey, with a huge learning curve. We've had some set backs, such as losing our first Prairies tour due to illness. There have been amazing blessings, like our Covenant Award Nominations, and our winter in St. Andrews By-the-Sea, New Brunswick.

I often describe our life as an Adventure. People generally smile when I say that, until I reveal the truth of that statement:

Every real Adventure contains great challenges, devastating failures, and amazing successes. 

Adventures are not for the faint of heart. That's why we tend to avoid them and choose safer routes. But even in the hardest part of the Adventure, you can still see God at work. 

This week, two great examples showed themselves:

We are currently on our East Coast Tour. We're singing 30 events in 9 weeks in 5 provinces. Scheduling this tour was a bit of a plates-on-sticks trick, balancing driving routes with concert times, making sure we didn't exhaust ourselves while also covering all the areas that wanted our ministry. In a piece of timing that could only be God's, we found ourselves in Botwood, Newfoundland, for Thanksgiving. Botwood is my Mom's hometown, and still home to my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins. For the first time ever, we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving together. What a blessing...

And here's another: We've accepted a concert for November 2 in Hillsborough, New Brunswick. This concert will be after we leave Newfoundland, on the way back to Ontario. Remember how I mentioned balancing our driving routes? Well, this one is terrible! We'll take the ferry on Saturday, giving us a 6 hour drive (not including breaks) on Sunday before the concert that same night. We're happy to do the concert, but the drive has been stressing me out. But last night I thought, "When do the clocks change?" They fall back on November 2! We'll get our extra hour on the day of the drive. You can't tell me that's not God's timing!

I don't know what your Thanksgiving was like. Perhaps you're in the part of the Adventure that feels more like a challenge, or even a season of failure. Let me encourage you to look for God's blessings in this time. I assure they are there, and they are waiting to be found by you. He has not forgotten you. He is still with you. There is no end to the love and blessings He has for you...

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - We Are The Face Of Jesus

The story begins in August, 2013. It was a sunny morning in Chamcook, New Brunswick. We'd had a beautiful concert the night before in St. Andrews By-the-Sea, and we were ready for a relaxing day off. Gerald, as usual, had risen early. I found him at the kitchen table, with that new-song look on his face.

For a long time, he'd wanted to write a new lyric for the classic tune, Shenandoah. "Listen," he said...

We are the face of Jesus
And the world, the world is watching.
We are the face of Jesus
And everything we do reflects upon our Lord...

It was so beautiful, and fit with the melody so perfectly. I've always loved writing that calls us to be accountable in our role as Christians. With the slightest word or action, we can affect another's belief in God. We can draw people to Jesus with our love and our kindness, but perhaps even more easily, we can repulse them with our judgment and our hypocrisy.

When I heard the first verse, I was reminded of the classic hymn, Take My Life and Let It Be. What if we were the eyes of Jesus, the hands of Jesus, the heart of Jesus...

Gerald was also thinking this way, so as we continued our tour, we started to write the remaining verses. But something wasn't clicking. The arc of the song wasn't complete. We couldn't find that final piece of the song puzzle.

The following week, we found ourselves in Berwick, Nova Scotia. The volunteers from Servants Heart Ministries has brought us into the area to sing fundraising concerts for two mission teams. That night, we met a group of teens who would be traveling to the Dominican Republic to build houses. Their excitement and passion for the trip was electric. When we left the concert, we had our final verse:

We are the hands of Jesus
And the world, the world is needing.
We are the hands of Jesus
And every house we build will be filled by His love.

The following night, we were in Kentville, Nova Scotia, to sing the final fundraiser. We told the crowd about the song, and how the teens had inspired the final verse. And with handwritten lyrics in front of us, we debuted We Are The Face Of Jesus.

The teens that inspired our final verse...

Since that time, we've had the chance to sing the song for churches, clergy, and retreats. It resonates with people who are aware that their faith walk is also their witness to the world.

When we decided to step into the studio this year, 
We Are The Face Of Jesus was an obvious choice. 
You can hear a sample from the final recording here.

Just a few weeks ago, we found ourselves in Kentville again, and we were able to sing We Are The Face Of Jesus for the 2015 missions team. We pray that each of us, as we move through this world, will represent the love, grace, mercy and forgiveness of the One who loved us first.

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Guest Post by Gerald Flemming

Today we feature a guest post by my husband and partner in all things 
Infinitely More - Gerald Flemming. 

By Gerald Flemming

Embracing a vision can be a difficult and frightening thing. When your calling appears to you, when you feel it in your heart and there’s that undeniable pull towards the light, what do you do?

Do you throw yourself without delay into the abyss hoping that it is the real deal? 
Do you deny and continue on your current path? 
Or maybe you find that copacetic middle ground that neither commits nor denies, 
but seeks with curiosity?  

It’s amazing that God’s limitless patience and grace has space for all three of those choices. And as we walk down those separate roads there always seems to be constant and quiet reminders that seek to turn us toward a singular purpose. Sometimes it’s people who walk into our lives and whisper the right story that catches us at the right moment. Sometimes it’s a piece of sermon or song, or psalm that seems to speak directly to us.

It’s possible that the moment that turns you towards the light ends up being more abstract. 
A detail in a painting.  
A stanza in a piece of poetry or fiction.  
A moment of unspeakable natural beauty and silence 
where the Voice is undeniable in its approach to your heart.  

And in an instant we are offered that deep breath of perfect knowing.  

I’m closing my eyes and taking a deep breath right now in a cafĂ© in Lunenburg, NS. In the last month both Allison and I have experienced the Voice, in all of those things and other incredible gifts. The privilege of hearing others talk about the remarkable moments that brought them to a deeper trajectory with our Lord. Shimmering sunlit waters that echoed with the sounds of fall approaching. A 250 year old house of God that was destroyed and then resurrected by the love of a congregation and the outreach of many hearts and people coast to coast. We were fortunate enough to receive a call to help with this ten years ago. We were given the honour of sharing a stage with John Allan Cameron at a fundraiser for St. John’s Lunenburg. It would take a willful arrogance not to feel God’s hand on our return here.

For us, the privilege of finally doing a concert here, in this ‘House Where Prophets Speak’, is just another glorious encouragement. It’s another whisper from the Voice, that we are on the path that was waiting for us. 

And that we can completely and totally trust this undeniable pull towards the light.  

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - 7 Ways to Create an Invitation To Worship...

Today, we're posting from Halifax, Nova Scotia! We just wrapped up the New Brunswick leg of the tour with a concert and workshop in Hampton, which was the inspiration for today's post.

How do we bring our congregation into worship?

As worship leaders, we've rehearsed the songs, studied the lyrics, and we come to church with an enthusiasm and a readiness to worship. But so often, we meet a congregation who is not in the same place as us. They seem reluctant to join in the Sunday celebration.

Here are 7 thoughts on creating an Invitation to Worship:

#1. Where Are They?

When we're leading worship on a Sunday morning, our early hours are filled with preparation - vocal warm ups, Bible devotional, prayer, set up and rehearsal. But our congregation hasn't had the same kind of morning. We can't know what they've all experienced, but we know for some of them, it was probably a challenge to get to church that day. Perhaps their littlest one had a temper tantrum, and the breakfast table became a battle ground. Maybe they had a fight with their spouse on the drive over. Perhaps they haven't slept because they know they might lose their job this week, or maybe they're coming in hungover from a later Saturday night. Or maybe they don't even believe in "this stuff" and someone is dragging them to church today.

That's our congregation. That's who we need to lead into worship. Our first step is to recognize this.

#2. Pray.

We always encourage both individuals and teams to pray before worship. In your prayers, lift up your congregation. Remember that they're struggling. You may not know each person's challenge, but God does. Pray that you may be used to lead them into God's presence, and that they may feel God's love and grace today.

#3. How Do We Set The Mood?

Each church handles those pre-service moments differently. Some prefer silence, and other use that time for announcements. Some play instrumental music, while others lead a sing along of favourite hymns and worship songs. Brian Doerkson talks about "stirring the waters" - a gentle improvisation of all the instruments in the band. It's not a song, but simply sounds that start to tune the congregation's ear to the music.

Find the right pre-service moments for your congregation that will meet them where they are, but will also prepare them for a time of worship.

#4. Issue An Invitation.

This sounds obvious, but it can't be underestimated. Find some way - through words, images, music, or movement - to shift the mood and actually invite them into worship. I'm a big fan of using the Psalms to bring our focus into praising and glorifying God. Sometimes, I may issue an invitational prayer while Gerald underscores with gentle guitar. Other times, we've had slides showing different images of the majesty of creation, with accompanying prayers or music.

Don't be afraid to be direct. There are times when I'll pray something like, "I know many of us have come here today with burdens, things that are filling our minds with worries and concerns. Let's lay them aside for the next hour, and allow ourselves to experience the love and grace of God." 

In each case, we want people to recognize that this isn't the rest of the week - this is sacred time, and they are invited into that holiness.

#5. Now, We Get Them Singing

We've chosen different kinds of songs for our opening worship song - sometimes we start gently, other times we get them off to a rocking start. In either situation, we always choose a well known song. As musicians, we forget that most people don't sing on a daily basis, and now we're going to ask them to spend the next hour singing! Allow them to start with vocal confidence on a familiar song or hymn.

#6. Don't Hit Them With The Wall Of Sound

Often times, worship teams can get so excited to play together that they knock their congregation over with the 'wall of sound'. This is our term for when everyone plays every note of every song and it's LOUD! It can come from enthusiasm, but it can be fixed with some good arranging. Allow your songs to build. Start with one instrument, add another on the chorus. Sing unison in the verses, build into harmony. Give your congregation a way to enter the song, and then take them on a journey.

#7. It Starts With Love

Bringing people into worship is an act of trust. Love your congregation. Get to know them. Attend coffee hour and start conversations. Join a small group or outreach project. Build relationships both within and outside of your worship team. Encourage your band and choir to do the same. Break down the us-them walls. Let people know your love of God and your passion for worship. Because when that trust has been built, we can help bring people into the presence of God, and experience all that is waiting for them.

How do you invite your congregation into worship?
Please let your thoughts in the Comments section

Our new CDs - 
How The Light Gets In and Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem
- are now available    

Listen and purchase music at

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Holding Sound In Our Hands

It's official - our 2 new CDs are finally here!

Last Monday, we received boxes and boxes from the manufacturing plant. It was amazing to crack them open and see row upon row of CDs, ready to share.

How The Light Gets In and Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem

The next morning, we loaded the car and started out on our 2-month East Coast Tour. It's been a whirlwind start, traveling through 3 provinces, 2 countries, and performing 5 concerts in 5 days.

Today, we've finally had a bit of time to upload the new music to our website. 
You can hear samples of the music HERE.

It's hard to describe the feeling of holding your new CD in your hand. Some people equate the process to giving birth. Many people feel completely drained by the process. Others experience a burst and energy and excitement.

For us, it's probably a combination of all these things. We decided to record because we had so many songs that were crying out for a home. We'd perform them in concerts, and when people requested them on CD, we knew we were singing the stories that needed to be shared. From the writing to the song selection to the actual recording, it's been an intense and emotional season. We've been a little antisocial, and probably should have taken a few more days off, but it's been worth it all.

Our greatest joy now is sharing the music! We're so excited to put these songs into the hands of listeners, and soon, we'll even start sharing our music on radio.

We are so grateful for everyone who supported these projects - those who shared their creativity, their financial support, and their emotional and spiritual encouragement. It truly takes a village to raise a CD!

We would love for you to take a listen
and maybe even purchase a CD or Download.

We also want to share the artwork with you today:

Photos by Simon Chambers.

We pray that in sharing our journey with you, you may also be inspired and encouraged with your recording project. In our experience, it's one of the biggest creative challenges an artist can experience. 

But as soon as it's complete, the only real question is, 
"When can we do this again?"

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - The East Coast Tour Has Begun!

Everyone in Ontario has been complaining about the cool summer. Funny thing - when you spend your entire summer inside a vocal booth, you don't even notice the weather...

It's amazing to find ourselves in September, 
and at the start of our East Coast Tour!

Over the next 2 months, we'll sing 30 events in 4 provinces! 

As we head out on the road, we're always filled with great excitement and inspiration. We love traveling and making music, and the first moments of every tour are filled with all the possibilities that lie ahead of us.

And as with all things, we start with prayer.

We've been praying over this tour for months. We've prayed that we will connect with the churches who need us, and that their leadership will be open to the opportunity. We've prayed that calendars, schedules, and distances will balance to keep our route easy and efficient. We prayed for clergy and volunteers as they've prepared their churches and communities for our visit.

Now, our prayers move to the practical, the immediate, and the spiritual:

  • We pray for safety, our car, and good weather.
  • We pray for good vocal and physical heath.
  • We continue to pray for each church, community, clergy, and volunteer.
  • We pray for individuals and families who will be coming to the concerts and workshops.
  • We pray for our emotional and spiritual heath, both as individuals and as a couple.
  • We lift prayers of thanksgiving for our new recordings, and for the opportunity to use our talents to bring a message of hope.
  • Above all, we pray that everything we do over the next 2 months will honour God, and serve God's people. We pray that everyone involved in these events will come away with a renewed sense of God's unfailing mercy, grace, and love.

If you feel comfortable, we would love for you to join us in these prayers on this tour!

"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."
Matthew 18:20

You can follow our East Coast Tour by visiting this blog, our calendar, and Facebook!

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Guest Post by Gerald Flemming

Today we feature a guest post by my husband and partner in all things Infinitely More, Gerald Flemming. 

The Nutrients of Prayer
By Gerald Flemming

Allison and I are nigh unto finished with our shiny new CDs, ‘How The Light Gets In’ and ‘Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem’. Anybody who has made a single CD knows the incredible odyssey it is, but like last time, we decided to do these two simultaneously. We’ll never learn. The reasons are many, some of them economical, some of them having to do with the ability to streamline the process. To say we are totally wiped out is an understatement of epic proportions. The last month alone, we didn’t have a single day off.

Two years of writing and road testing songs across Canada and the States, culminated into a three month gauntlet that, at times, tested the very fabric of our convictions. The recording process of course was our main focus, but we were still doing concerts and leading worship on a weekly basis, at different churches and venues. This, while also booking a two and a half month East Coast Tour that looks incredibly full and exciting. The reason I’m actually writing Allison’s blog post this morning is because this is technically, ‘almost’ a day off for me, while she is spending the entire day teaching.

And we’ve all experienced that extended period of time without rest. The seemingly endless days of dawn till dusk, having to make hay while the sun shines. We do everything in ‘our power’ to persevere. Contemporary success tech has lots of words for this focus, but all of them feel like they’re lacking because most of them are rooted in the ‘our power’ paradigm.

For Allison and me, I would have to say, this long arduous process
 was fueled more by the ‘our prayer’ paradigm.  

Prayer, for us, is the flash paper. It unites us and ignites us, giving energy and focus when we really shouldn’t have any. It’s the moment of eloquent quiet and solemnity that not only prepares us for the grind but also gets us excited about the possibilities. There’s no question in my mind that we would have folded at some point in the last few months, if we hadn’t been fueled by prayer.  There were times that all of the crazy brought Allison and I closer, and there were times it felt like it drove a wedge between us. Prayer would then help mitigate any energy draining conflict, align our purposes, and set us back to the task at hand.

In less then two weeks we’ll be leaving for the East Coast for two and a half months.  We have to finalize the set list of a new concert. Make sure all of the tech is sound (pun intended). Get our vehicle fixed (don’t get me started).  And the rest of the toilet roll list of things that need to be done before we leave. Even the thought of all this starts my head swimming and my heart palpitating in an unhealthy way...

Excuse me please, if you will, while I turn away and find a quiet little moment to pray about it.


We would love your help finishing our new CDs! 
Please visit our Kickstarter page to watch our 'making of' video 
and learn more about our exciting pledge rewards:

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - Why We're Recording a Christmas Album!

In 2012, we did a "never again." 

We started out recording our Infinitely More CD and partway through the process thought, "Hey, while we're pouring our blood, sweat, and tears into this CD, we should record a second CD!" So, we did. Every Church Is A Small Town became Gerald's first solo project. We were thrilled with the results, overjoyed when both projects received GMA Covenant Award nominations, but if we're being honest, it was completely exhausting. By the end of that summer, we were drained emotionally, creatively, spiritually, and financially.

Never again.

Or is that, never say 'never again'...

This spring, we began preproduction on our 5th studio project, How The Light Gets In. It's been an amazing journey of songwriting, collaborating, and recording. But partway through the process, a new idea started to surface.

You see, back in 2012, we recorded a single Christmas song, My Heart Is The Manger.

We've loved sharing that song in our concerts, but it's always led to the question, 
"When are you going to make a Christmas album?"

A few years ago, we recorded some live Christmas performances. They contain the beauty and spirit of the season, but they've only been heard by a few friends and family members.

And then we have these great new songs we wrote last Christmas that everyone keeps asking about. It wouldn't be that hard to just record 2 songs...

As we started thinking, the idea formed, "What if we took all those beautiful performances, and brought them together into a special, festive project?"

And the Christmas EP was born!

So this fall, when we release How The Light Gets In, we'll also release our first Christmas album - 

Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem.

You never know where this creative journey will take you. But the beauty of doing more is learning more, and I can honestly tell you: even though we've had definite moments of exhaustion this summer, this time around, the recording process has been pure joy!

We're so excited to share these live and studio performances with you! If you're interested in learning more about both projects and placing your download or CD preorder, you can visit here:

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

BIG Announcements about Our New CD!

Today, we have HUGE news!

Not only are we recording a new full-length CD of original songs and favourite hymns - How The Light Gets In - we're also recording a brand new Christmas EP!

Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem is our long awaited Christmas project, combining sweeping studio recordings with beautiful live performances.

To help bring these projects to life, we've just launched our first ever Kickstarter campaign!

We would love for you to pre-order your CD, and prayerfully consider supporting our recording with some of our exciting pledge packages. You can receive CDs, custom songs, house concerts, and even join our East Coast Tour Club!

Here’s how we want to make this campaign extra special: Our full project budget is $20,000, but if we reach our minimum goal of $3000, every contributor will receive a free Christmas bonus!!!

Please visit our Kickstarter page for all the details:

We'll be posting lots of photos, videos, and song samples over the next few weeks. 
Check back often, and help us bring these projects over the finish line!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Our New CD - Announcing the Songs!

On Sunday, we have a big announcement with our new CD, 
but each day this week, we're posting mini-announcmenets on our Facebook page.

Today, we're sharing the songs!

Stay tuned for more updates!! 

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Worship Wednesdays

Worship Wednesdays is on hiatus this week as we prepare some BIG NEWS for you!

Visit us in the next few days for all the announcements and new developments with our New CD!!

Worship Wednesdays returns in its regular format next week...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - The View From The Vocal Booth

The lights are slightly dimmed, save for the summer evening sunshine peering through the shaded window. The warm brown of the soft wall-covering gives the small room the feeling of a cube-shaped blanket.

I carry my lyric sheet, my pink mechanical pencil, and my Contigo water bottle. The water is room temperature, of course. I lay each piece in its appropriate spot, and take a deep breath. My sunglasses and earrings are removed and sit on the stool. They'll just be in the way.

Checking to see which earpiece is marked 'Left', I don the headphones. The room is deliberately silent, but I can hear myself breathing in the phones if I get close to the mic. I swing my arms and stretch my legs a little. Loose is good. Loose allows the breath to flow.

I do a few of the weird sounds that only other singers find attractive - cascading lips thrills, soaringly high sighs, nasal na-na-nas...

I can see Gerald and Carmon, our engineer, in the next room, chatting and trading guitar gear wish lists.

My eyes catch the lyric sheet I've placed on the stand. "A Divine Heart Imagined You" - I love this song. I remember the first time I heard Gerald sing the first draft. The words and the melody were hauntingly beautiful. I was so moved I declared myself "cowriter" and together, we finished the song.

And tonight, we record the vocals.

Photos taken during our current recording sessions at 
Emmanuel Recording Studios, Toronto, ON.

Over the past few months, this song has had to complete in a class of 50 to see who would make it onto this new CD. We created our arrangement, brought it to the musicians in Nashville to add their creativity to the mix, and then shipped it back to Toronto for this moment.

We've sung it live many times, but tonight's performance will be something else. This is the one that people will listen to in their living rooms and on their car stereos. They'll hear it on good days when they feel confident in God's love. They'll hear it on the horrible days when the world feels like its crashing in on them, when they doubt that love or mercy or grace exists at all. As I look at the lyric sheet, I think about all the people who will hear this song, but especially the ones who will need it the most. I imagine them listening to melody, letting the message wash over them...

I hear Gerald and Carmon talking to me. We're ready. Carmon hits play, and the track starts to play in my headphones. I hear Gerald's guitar and that beautiful cello. I take a singer's breath, and start to sing, 

"Before the first face felt the first dawn..."

A few full takes to get the feel of the song. Then, a few passes on individual lines and verses to really work the expression and beauty of each section. We break the song into its most minute moments, using every technical and emotional tool we have to explore the fullness of the song.

After capturing each verse several times, I remove the headphones and rejoin Gerald and Carmon. We sit together to choose our favourite takes and create a vocal that is emotional, powerful, and beautiful. We make sure my harmonies match perfectly with Gerald's melodies. We fuss over the tiniest details to make sure every phrase, every note, expresses the message we want to share.

A little techno magic, and the whole vocal is ready. We take a final listen. Not so long ago, this was simply an idea that entered Gerald's creative space. By the end of the summer, it will be a fully recorded song, ready to play its way into the hearts and lives of folks who need to hear about God's plan and provision for their lives. Amazing.

Our work for tonight is done.
With a click of a button, everything is sent back to Nashville where it will be mixed... 
But that's another story....

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page & visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Worship Wednesdays - The Musical Fountain of Youth

Last week, my Facebook feed was inundated with cell phone videos from this year's Stamps-Baxter School of Music. If you've been reading this blog since the beginning, you'll know that Stamps-Baxter was very influential on my decision to enter ministry.

I've been watching videos like this, of 80-something-year-old Rosa Nell Powell ripping up the piano:

Thank you, Marian, for this video!

Southern Gospel musicians get a lot of flack - some deserved and some not - but there's one thing they do right: they raise their children with music. I saw it every year at the school. Whole families would come, training their children to sing harmony, write and arrange songs, and play instruments.

We would also get the seniors, folks in their 70's, 80's, and 90's who were still singing and playing.

I remember the first time Earl Scruggs visited the school with Little Roy Lewis. Little Roy and the band were tearing it up, and poor Earl was off on the side of the stage. I kept thinking, "Why are they making him sit there like that? How can they just parade him around like a mascot?" Then, someone helped Earl out to a chair in the middle of the stage, and he started to play. I was gobsmacked! All of a sudden, this man came to life, playing energetically with precision and passion. The crowd went nuts. I was amazed...

At that same school, a man named Harold Lane spent his days sitting in the back of the auditorium. In his prime, Harold was a prominent vocalist and song arranger, influencing a generation of music makers. But now, he seemed weak and distant. Ben Speer asked if I would please ask Mr. Lane to arrange one of my songs, to give him something to do. I felt terrible asking this frail man to do anything. One afternoon, I sought him out and made my request. He asked me to repeat the question. I wondered if I was causing him confusion, so I nervously asked again,

"Would you please arrange my song with harmony?
"Why?" he asked, "Don't you know how to write parts?
"No, sir, " I answered. 
"Well then, sit down and I'll teach you." 

He grabbed a piece of chalk, drew a staff on the board, and turned to face me. Remember that scene in The Wizard of Oz when everything turns from black and white to colour? Well, Mr. Lane had turned to colour - bright, vibrant, ready to share his passion for harmony with me. I met with him every chance I could get. When teaching music, he was a man on fire.

When Gerald and I talk about who we want to be as seniors, we never speak about retiring in the traditional sense. We may change how we do it, but we'll always make music. Stopping just isn't an option.

In our travels, we often meet folks like Earl and Mr. Lane, people who have allowed their passion for music making to carry on throughout their lives. As they age, their bodies and sometimes their minds start to fail them. Eyesight fades, limb grow weak, and yet, the music stays alive. They continue to sing, write, and play. If one skill becomes too difficult, they pick up another:
  • Soloists with weaker voices move to the chorus where other voices will support them. 
  • Double bass players who can't stand learn to play electric bass so they can sit to play. 
  • Guitar players with stiff fingers learn to write lyrics and collaborate with other musicians to create melodies.
It's almost as if the music fills the gaps left by aging. 
It energizes them, and propels them forward into living life it all its vibrancy.

I'm reminded of this verse:

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6 NIV

Music classes in schools have been on the chopping block for years, and that battle will continue as long as people are foolish enough to think that music and art are frivolous. Those of us who teach and practice the art of music making know that it's essential to who we are as individuals and as a society.

It's critical that we introduce music to children when they're young, so that they learn early how to make music and how to weave it into their daily lives. But I believe it's also critical to make music as long as we possibly can.

Perhaps, in making music, we can find a fountain of youth. 

Let's continue to make music, to teach music, and to encourage others in the art and practice of music making. Let's find a place where our lifetime pool of skills, talents, emotions, experiences, and passions can strengthen and inspire us to explore and enjoy life for as long as possible.

And maybe, in that place, we can inspire the next generation to sing, play, write, arrange, and create...
And the circle will begin once more...

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page & visit us every Wednesday!