Welcome to the Creative Arts Team!

The word WORSHIP means to ascribe worth to something. We all do it- whether it’s our brand new car, our favorite artist, a vintage 1962 Gretch white falcon guitar, or the Creator of the universe, we all worship something. The problem is that we live in a world where more worth is often ascribed to a famous artist or athlete than to God Himself.

Most centrally, the Creative Arts Team exists to ascribe worth to God through the arts. Many people take a quick look & assume that only means playing an instrument or singing, but that’s not true! Our team consists of lighting designers, audio engineers, vocalists, graphic designers, web developers, band members, writers, producers, videographers, slide operators, & photographers all working together for ONE THING: to ascribe worth to our Creator. We exist to show that Jesus is more valuable than anything in the world through the giftings that God has placed in us.

In college, I went on a trip to London for a few days & took many walks in the rain to check out the architecture that the city had to offer. (Just do a google search for “cathedrals in London” & you’ll know what I mean.) These grand, ornate, beautiful, creative structures were all built to ascribe worth to God. If you’re the musical type, go take a listen to Handel’s Hallelujah chorus & REALLY listen. Listen to the creativity & intentionality behind every note- all to give glory to God.

Fast-forward to today at Word of Life. It’s a worship night, the band is on the third song of the evening, “So Will I”. You listen to the lyrics, every note practiced & placed with excellence, every lighting change tailored to match the crescendo of the piece, every lyric displayed for the church to hear & sing to- each & every piece intentionally crafted to ascribe worth to Jesus Christ. This is what you are signing up for- using your creativity to bring praise to the only One worth singing about.

So whether you are a vocalist, sound engineer, graphic designer, or photographer, we pray that you find yourself at home in this family of creatives at Word of Life. Welcome to the team!

Luke Kutler
Creative Arts Director



Creative Arts Leadership

The Creative Arts Team is lead by four Core Leaders over each department. Your Core Leader is your go-to for any area-relevant questions, suggestions, & support. For general questions, please send an email to creativearts@wordoflifeag.org.

Creative Arts Director | Luke Kutler
 | (607) 793-8170
Production Team Core Leader | Alicia Hall | (315) 885-8652‬
Vocal Team Core Leader | Sara Czyz
 | (315) 278-6056‬
Band Team Core Leader | Jazon Hart | ‭(315) 944-8392‬


CORE VALUES

Our team’s values mirror the values of our church. Here’s how the values of Word of Life apply specifically to the Creative Arts Team.

WORSHIP DRIVEN


“Truthful & selfless worshippers”

Far above correct notes, inspiring videos, & well-designed banners is our passion for authentic worship. If we play, sing & create with excellence but fail to worship, we have missed the mark. If we worship FIRST, all else will fall into place. We believe that everything we do on our team is an expression of worship. Each time you sit down to edit a video, you are WORSHIPING. Each time you practice lead lines, clean up the Green Room, or format message notes, you are WORSHIPPING.

More important than excellent preparation, gifted performances, & stunning b-roll shots is your personal devotion to God. As a team, we believe that creativity originates from the Creator Himself. As a result, we put personal spiritual growth as the number one priority for every member of our team.

OPENLY SPIRIT LED

We value planning, but we hold our plans with an open palm to the Holy Spirit. We work towards excellence in preparation, but ultimately submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in everything that we do. We believe God can lead us both in planning AND execution.

RELEVANT TO CULTURE

I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9:22-23

Style | We strive to create in a style that appeals to & attracts people of all generations & walks of life- both churched & unchurched.

Risk | We commit to push the envelope of creativity & are not content with staying where we are or following after the latest creative trend the world offers, but desire to lead the charge toward greater ideas & originality. We do not place value in change for the sake of change, but value greater ideas over the status quo. We know that whatever the risk, the Holy Spirit’s leading will always be worth it.

DEPENDENT ON PRAYER

We believe it is vital to devote time individually & corporately to developing intimacy with & guidance from God through prayer. The worship leader who doesn’t pray & worship during the week is ineffective in a corporate worship time. Remember: you cannot lead someone somewhere you haven’t been.

We believe prayer is the lifeblood of our creative community. As a team, we take time to pray for the needs of the people we serve with & celebrate each others’ victories, giving thanks to God.

ORGANIZED WITH EXPECTANCY & EXCELLENCE

Timeliness | We are committed to start & end on time. Please plan to arrive to team functions EARLY, especially if you have gear to set up, in ears to clean, makeup to fix, etc... We recommend a 15 minute buffer to make sure you are ready to START on time. The time our team members are giving to serve our church is of high value to us, & your timeliness to team functions best honors others’ time!

Preparedness | As a team, we are committed to knowing the music! “Don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you can’t get it wrong” - unknown. Team rehearsals are not the place to learn a guitar lick, work on timing with a click, or learn the lyrics of a song. Music is posted with at least two weeks lead-time on Planning Center. Practice on your own with excellence so that our times of team preparation are fruitful!

Instrument and Vocal Maintenance |
Band: Make sure you show up to rehearsal with your gear in working order! No one can anticipate a string breaking or stick snapping, but a pedal board with buzzy patch cables, a keyboard sound that’s not leveled, or a 1/4 inch jack that pops out are all problems we can prepare for ahead of time! Doing this is a part of excellent preparation!

Vocalists: Take good care of your voice! Arrive to rehearsal with enough time to warm up & properly hydrate. Your voice is your instrument- be a good steward to the gift that God gave you!

FAITHFUL IN OUR TEACHING

We are committed as a team to only select songs that are faithful to scripture. It’s not just the preacher who teaches on a Sunday morning! We are teaching spiritual truths as we sing. Team, let’s saturate our lives with scripture so that the songs we sing are in line with the written word of our God! A good rule of thumb if you are planning a worship set for any ministry at Word of Life, schedule only songs that have been approved to use. You will know if a song is approved based on it being listed in Planning Center with an “approved” tag. If you have a suggestion for a song outside of that list, reach out to your Core Leader! From a communications perspective, our media content is consistent with scripture & is used to build up our church.

LOVING & COMMUNITY BASED

We believe that loving relationships should permeate every aspect of church life, that lost people matter to God & therefore ought to matter to us.

To put it very bluntly, this team is not about you. This team is about your co-worker who hasn’t stepped foot in a church in over 10 years, but knows that you work on our website. It’s about your waitress at Chili’s who drives past Word of Life on the way home every night wondering what all this is about. It’s about the guest who gets to park close to our building on a Sunday while our team walks from the overflow spaces. Our VIPs are those who don’t yet know God. Let’s be a team that looks out more than we look in.

INVOLVED IN MINISTRY

We believe that the Church should operate as a unified community of believers stewarding their spiritual gifts.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 1 Corinthians 12: 12-14

Take a moment & think with me about a grand symphonic orchestra. You might picture violins, flutes, maybe a trumpet section. Now zoom in all the way to the back to the dude sitting in the corner of the percussion section holding a triangle. His ONLY note in the whole piece comes at the very end of the last movement, but he is just as alert as the first violinist. Each player is indispensable to the whole & each serves a specific purpose they are uniquely gifted in. Resist the temptation to think of yourself as any more or less important than someone else on our team. Each person has unique giftings from God that we can’t function without!

FAMILY FOCUSED

We believe that family comes first. A healthy balance between serving & resting is crucial. We encourage you to work closely with your Core Leader to make a schedule that allows for rest & family time! We do our best to create the monthly schedule so that each team member has at least one Sunday off per month to rest & sit with their family or friends in service.

ESTABLISHED IN A SMALL GROUP CULTURE

We strive to make this team feel like family. It is our desire that you would build relationships with those serving alongside you. Your design teammates are a small group. Your vocal team is a small group. Not only is serving more fun together, it is also a call from scripture that we enter into community together.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24–25

We encourage our team members to lean on & be accountable to each other as we grow together in our walk with God. If you desire a 1:1 spiritual coaching experience, check out our Learning to Follow Jesus resource. This is an incredible way to grow your relationship with God in a 1:1 coaching environment. More info can be found here!

For more information on our Church values & beliefs, visit wordoflifeag.org/about


CREATIVE ARTS TEAM CONDUCT

We require as a serving member of Word of Life AG that you have read through and agree with the membership covenant found in LIFE Path. A copy can be found here!

In addition to church-wide expectations, as a team member of Creative Arts, you are looked up to as a leader in our community. The following is conduct we hold for everyone on the team. In line with what is taught in scripture, we are not expecting perfection, but rather a willingness to turn away from sin & towards a gospel-centered lifestyle fully in love with the person of Jesus Christ.

AVOID UNWHOLESOME TALK

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Unwholesome talk is damaging to a healthy team culture. Gossip, slander, profanity & the like effects our worship. Imagine this for a second: Tuesday night, a vocalist has an issue with the lighting engineer & talks about them/the problem throughout the week- then the two of them are scheduled to serve together on Sunday morning. That tension gets in the way of both of those individuals worshipping God on Sunday. Use your words to build up, not to destroy.

AVOID SEXUAL IMMORALITY

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God. 1 Thessalonians 4: 3-5

Team, let’s see to it that the enemy does not even have a single foothold into our lives in this way. Any type of sexual relation outside of marriage is sinful according to God’s word. We take this seriously as a team, especially as leaders & worshippers.

PRACTICE HUMILITY

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4

This is one of the most difficult verses out there. Sure, you could just glaze over this passage and think nothing of it, but let’s dig a little. What does this mean on our team? Here are two major ways to practice humility on the Creative Arts Team.

CELEBRATING THE VICTORIES OF OTHERS

Did another vocalist get scheduled to lead YOUR song? Was someone else featured on a project that you were not a part of? Was someone given a leadership role that you desired? Try & get a pulse on what happens in your heart in these situations. If we are the body of Christ, then someone else’s victory is YOUR victory as well!

BEING RIGHT

How important is it to you to be right? Do you find yourself needing to have the last word? The assumption that you are always right is one of the fastest ways to derail creativity. What would it look like to value some one else’s opinion over your own? This is super relevant in our rehearsals where two band members have conflicting views on interpreting the music. Practice starting with the other person’s idea. We have found many times when we do this we often end up liking the other person’s idea better! When you’re designing a poster & someone jumps in with feedback, practice honoring their thoughts & preferences before pushing your own.

One thing is for certain “…all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, & those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11

STANCE ON DRINKING & SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:18-20

It’s so interesting that not getting drunk & singing worship songs are so closely tired in this scripture. While we do not prohibit our team members from legal drinking in moderation, we do uphold this scripture. We also prohibit the use of illegal substances by members of our team. Let’s desire the presence of God over the buzz of a drink or drug. It’s so much sweeter.


This is how we live our lives, not just how we present ourselves on a Sunday morning. Make it your goal to be the same person on a Friday night out at Destiny mall or on a Thursday afternoon on social media that you are when you stand up to lead worship on a Sunday morning. God, give us the strength to make this so!

If you are reading through this list & are struggling in any area, we encourage you to reach out to your Core Leader & ask for help. We LOVE our team members & prioritize your spiritual growth over your service & skillset. One misstep or mistake is not enough to disqualify you from serving, but in cases of habitual sin, we may ask that you take time off the platform to work through the struggle. We encourage you to walk through this in community & are here to help support you in your walk!


EXPECTATIONS

TUESDAY NIGHT REHEARSAL

Creative Arts Team rehearsals take place on Tuesday nights from 7-9 PM. It is an expectation that band & vocal team members are present at the Tuesday night rehearsal in order to serve on Sunday mornings. If you are scheduled for Pro Presenter or Audio Engineer, you should prioritize being at practice. All other Production & Communications Team members are welcome to attend practice to pray with the team & worship through practice together, but attendance is not mandatory. We understand that there are situations that can prevent you from being present for rehearsal. If that’s the case, please reach out to your Core Leader. Please be on time, warmed up & ready to START @ 7 PM. It is expected that you have prepared the music ahead of time to help make rehearsal a fruitful time of worship! Each week, we will post rehearsal mixes from Tuesday night. Please listen though the mixes, & review the music director’s notes as you continue to prepare for Sunday.

SUNDAY MORNING SERVICE

Please be on time, warmed up & ready to rehearse by 8:30 AM on the Sundays you are scheduled. Rehearsal will start at 8:30 sharp, so plan to be EARLY! We will rehearse the service from 8:30-9:30 AM then break for a brief Team Devotional in the Green Room. Please be ready on stage around 9:55 AM for our 10 AM service time! When the set is finished, feel free to head into the Worship Center to sit in service, or watch the service streaming in the Green Room. If you are in the Green Room, please be mindful & aware that loud & lengthy conversations can distract others from hearing the message. The message time is for hearing from the Holy Spirit & is just as important as our time leading worship.

CHURCH ATTENDANCE

We believe that church attendance outside of the weeks you serve is a must. Prioritizing time to be fed & filled up is vital to life giving service & worship leading. We also desire for our team to know & be involved in community with those we are leading on a weekly basis. Being present & invested in the body of Christ is a prerequisite for leading the Church in worship.

WARDROBE

One of our goals as a team is to eliminate as many distractions as we can for the sake of our Church connecting to God in worship. This is why wardrobe matters! The easy question to ask yourself is, “Will my outfit bring attention to me?”. If the answer is yes, it is less than ideal. Here are some handy guidelines to follow when you are on the platform.

GUYS | Jeans with rips & hats are not allowed on the platform. Please avoid shirts with text featured on it. We highly recommend darker jeans & a dark or muted color shirt. Earth tones & gem tones are fantastic. Stay away from stripes or tight patterns. Appropriate shoes are expected. Also, crocs are of the enemy.

LADIES | Avoid short skirts & short dresses. Remember that you are elevated on the platform & a length that may be okay at eye level may be inappropriate from a lower angle. Your chest area should be adequately covered. Tube tops, tank tops, & other like attire are not allowed. Ripped jeans are not allowed. We recommend muted, darker colors in earth or gem tones. Avoid tight patterns or super-saturated colors.


First Serve Process

FIRST SERVE CARD

The first step to serving on our team is to fill out a first serve though our website at wordoflifeag.org/firstserve or in person at Guest Services. Be as specific as you can with your interests so that we can properly get you plugged in! Our main areas of service are: BAND | VOCALS | PRODUCTION | COMMUNICATIONS.

From there, you will be contacted by a Core Leader to get the process started.

FIRST SERVE

Each area looks a little different when it comes to your actual first serve experience, but the idea is the same across the board: First Serves are an easy "no strings attached" way to explore areas of service while helping you to discover your interests, passions & how you fit into the Word of Life community. Regardless of the area you choose to serve in, expect to be contacted by one of our Core Leaders within two weeks!

AUDITION

Our VOCAL & BAND teams require an audition before you are scheduled on the team. Our heart behind the audition is to help you plug in to the area of Creative Arts that you are best gifted for. This is not an “American Idol” type audition, so don’t be nervous & do your best. We are looking to see you succeed! Here is what you can expect:

BAND | Please come prepared with one worship song of your choice from the audition list (found below). Be able to play it in a key you are comfortable with all the way through with a click track. We will then play through a surprise song from the audition list to close the audition. Be sure to bring in-ear monitors or headphones with you, & reach out to your Core Leader to chat about what other gear you will be bringing to the audition.

VOCALS | Please come prepared with one worship song of your choice from the audition list (found below). Be able to sing it in a key you are comfortable with all the way through with a click track. Be sure to bring with you:
in-ear monitors or headphones & some water! We will then sing through a surprise song from the audition list to close the audition. We will also spend some time determining your voice part & ability to sing harmony.

AUDITION LIST

Good Good Father
Lion & The Lamb
King of my Heart
Do It Again
Glorious Day
Reckless Love
Unstoppable God
Open Up The Heavens
Yes & Amen

MEMBERSHIP

Membership at Word of Life is required to serve on the Creative Arts Team. If you haven’t done so already, attend all three LIFE Path membership classes offered the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Sundays of each month. You can attend them in any order, but all three are necessary for membership! LIFE path is also a great way to get plugged, in even if you are already a long-time member! More information on membership can be found at wordoflifeag.org/lifepath.


SCHEDULING

Our monthly schedule is handled by the Core Leaders for each team & is posted on Planning Center. Click here to access Planning Center, or click here to download their awesome app!

The schedule is available one month ahead, posted on the first day of the prior month. For example, January’s schedule will be available on December 1st. It is your responsibility to block out dates that you cannot serve before the schedule is created. A reminder will be posted a week or two before. Once the schedule has been posted, you will receive emails letting you know which weeks you are on. Please confirm your requests as early as you can to make things easiest for the team! If the schedule has been posted & you cannot serve on a day you are scheduled, please reach out to your Core Leader & work together to find a replacement for the week.

For any scheduling switches, conflicts, preferences & questions, please reach out to your Core Leader.


WORSHIP LEADERSHIP

The question comes up often, “How do I get to lead on the team?”. Please consider these thoughts on leadership before we move into details.

Every member of our team is a worship leader. If you are singing, playing an instrument, running pro presenter, or designing lights you are leading worship. Don’t confuse song leading with worship leading. The bass payer is leading worship just as much as the vocalist is. You can make a significant impact on the temperature of the service by the way that you worship. So whether you’re running sound, singing a harmony, or slapping a bass, worship with everything that you’ve got because the WAY that you worship inspires others to do the same.

The process for a vocalist to move from singing harmony or melody to song leading looks like this: All of our song leaders have been personally invited by the Core Leadership Team to serve in that capacity. We view the role not just as a song leader, but as a spiritual leader in our community!

If you are interested in song leading, the on-ramp to serving in that role is to serve faithfully on our team as a vocalist, express your desire to lead sing to a Core Leader, & to grow your relationship with God!


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I’m a vocalist or band member & can’t attend the midweek practice this week… can I still serve Sunday?
We ask all of our team members to prioritize our midweek practice, but understand that sometimes life gets in the way. If you cannot make a rehearsal, please let your Core Leader know. Generally, you will still be able to serve on Sunday, as long as missing practice does not become habitual. The one exception to this rule is song leaders. If you are leading a song, you must be at midweek rehearsal to lead on Sunday, without exception. Sunday morning rehearsal & Team Devotional is mandatory if you are scheduled.

I’m on the Production or the Communications Team… do I have to go to practice?
If you are scheduled for Audio Engineer or Pro-Presenter, you should prioritize being at practice! All team members are invited & welcome to attend practice to share prayer requests & pray with the team, worship together through practice, & use that time for skill training. If you can not make it to practice, please reach out to your Core Leader. Sunday morning rehearsal & Team Devotional is mandatory if you are scheduled.

Do I need in-ears?
Yep! (If you’re on the platform). Our team uses in-ear monitors for all band members & vocalists. Check out our resources section on our website to view some recommendations.

Can I bring my own gear to use?

We have lots of great equipment to use here at church. Specifically, we have a house drum kit that sounds fantastic, drum sticks, guitar strings, & picks. You are encouraged to bring your own gear to use as well, but please reach out to your Core Leader to work with them prior to rehearsal.

What is NNS?
We love NNS around here! It stands for the Nashville Number System. This is the system we use for our chord charts. For more information check out our NNS Tutorial video online.

I currently serve on the team as a drummer, but I want to play guitar on the team too. Do I have to re-audition?
Yes! Talk to your Core Leader & let them know your desire to serve in another area like this. They will set you up for an audition! This also applies if you are wanting to serve in an additional area of the team. If you’re a vocalist, but you want to try Pro Presenter, fill out a first serve card or talk to a Core Leader!

Where can I find announcements for the team?
We post all of our major announcements, updates, & prayer requests on our private Facebook group. Major updates will also be emailed to you. Information relevant to a specific week will be emailed to you through Planning Center. If you are having trouble accessing any of this, give a shout to your Core Leader!

How are the songs picked for each week?
There are many factors that are considered in deciding on a worship set list. Sermon content, flow, speed, & vocalists are some of the factors we think about when choosing which songs to sing when!

I can never hear myself during practice! Help!
Check out our handy Aviom tutorial online to help with any monitoring issues!

When are rehearsal mixes posted?
We post rehearsal mixes typically a couple days after midweek rehearsal. Each time they are posted, you will see an email to notify you.

I did a first serve & I am intimidated. I want to serve but I’m worried that I don’t know what I’m doing.
Don’t worry! We have folks who are experts in their field, & folks completely new to it as well. Wherever you are on that scale, there is a place for you. Just come ready to learn & serve, & we’ll teach you the rest!

Who makes the graphics for service & the website?
This awesome team! If this kind of thing interests you, try a first serve for Communications!

What is the name of the lady who walks us through the song when we use tracks?
Great question! Her name changes depending on the week & is at the sole discretion of the music director. Past names have included: Melva, Henrietta, Merna, Juanita, & Gretchen.

You guys sure do hate on Creed a lot… what’s up with that?
Yes.