What does Dave do?
I do concerts, banquets, seminars, camps, schools, colleges – almost anything musical, but because I’m a pastor I end up doing worship services mostly. I usually take the whole service, music included. The organist gets the day off. Sometimes the pastor is there, sometimes I’m filling in for him. I am a preacher who uses music, so the message is a mini-concert with extended introductions or a sermon punctuated with musical illustrations, depending on how you look at it.
What does the service look like?
I’d call it a “hymn service.” If you do contemporary worship, you can call it a “song service.” That’s fine. It will look the same, except for the congregational songs. The congregation sings a couple songs they know and one or two very singable ones I teach them on the spot. Usually I use a song or two I’ve written as parts of the liturgy. You can look at a sample order of service in PDF format if you like. It is designed to be printed front and back.
What is a concert like?
My concerts, chapels and assemblies are lighthearted and fun, with plenty of food for thought, suitable for the whole family because I bring a message aimed at everyday life and the music appeals to a broad range of people. I tell stories, usually involving the life and work of Jesus, and do silly things with hats and characters and audience participation, which I emphasize more if there are children present. If you want me to be totally serious, I can try, but I’m not promising anything.
I’ve also done banquets, confirmation dinners, conventions and so forth. I’d like to get more involved with community outreach events – concerts in the park or community hall, block parties, whatever.
What kind of music does Dave play?
I play fingerstyle acoustic guitar in a variety of styles. I grew up listening to all sorts of folk, rock and country. My mother successfully introduced me to classical music through “Switched on Bach.” Pretty eclectic. So people end up comparing me to just about everybody I’ve ever seriously listened to. Like most musicians, I borrow a lot and fuse things together. You can judge for yourself by listening to some samples on the music page.
Some years ago I played a couple of hymns, “To God the Holy Spirit Let Us Pray” and “The Church’s One Foundation”, during communion at a District Convention opening service. Didn’t think anything of it. I’d been doing that in my congregation in Juneau for years. When I exited the building, two college profs were waiting for me to express their amazement that I could do a Bach Chorale in a folk style. I think I answered, “Bach Chorale?” (Actually, they said “country-western”, but that’s just wrong.)
I’m not classically trained. The fact is, I learned to play hymns to guitar when our organ broke, out of necessity. It sounded fine and people liked it, so I kept doing it. In fact, for a brief time I led The Lutheran Hymnal, pages 5 and 15 with guitar. When you fingerpick the melody line with harmony and alternating bass line (no twang), it isn’t all that different musically from what’s written in the hymn book. It was also good for our congregation of 80 or so people to hear themselves singing together.
It’s common after a concert or service for a frail elderly lady to grip my hand and tell me how much she enjoyed it, followed by a middle-schooler who says, “You rock, man,” or words to that effect, followed by a thankful family with young children, and so on. I have college and high school fans. I don’t know why. I really didn’t expect this and have no explanation for it other than that I start out with great material – the Gospel.
So are you a Contemporary Worship Leader?
No, my mission is to write songs and sing them to the Church, although I suppose I am contemporary, since I’m alive now, and I do lead worship, but I’m not a Contemporary Worship Leader. I don’t have a room full of Integrity/Hosanna song books. Some of my favorite contemporary worship music comes from Robin Mark’s band in Belfast and I use that material as often as I can when I am called upon to construct a contemporary service.
The thing is, whether it is traditional or contemporary worship, do it well, play and sing with all your heart, soul and mind, and be certain that you have crafted a service wherein the people can leave relieved of their sins and burdened with the compassion of Christ, not the other way around, or thrown back on their own resources. Let there be no doubt that the Gospel predominated in that service.
You can download a sample service in Adobe Acrobat PDF format or as an MS Word document.
If you have any infrequently asked questions, please email me or call me at 952.200.9724.