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Practical Worship Podcast

Christian Rock

The Practical Worship Podcast is a podcast for the everyday worship leader, designed to help you lead a worship band and be a leader of people. Every month, Dave Dolphin interviews thought leaders in the area of worship, creative and production ministries. New episodes release the first Friday of every month. For more great advice, check out and

The Practical Worship Podcast is a podcast for the everyday worship leader, designed to help you lead a worship band and be a leader of people. Every month, Dave Dolphin interviews thought leaders in the area of worship, creative and production ministries. New episodes release the first Friday of every month. For more great advice, check out and


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The Practical Worship Podcast is a podcast for the everyday worship leader, designed to help you lead a worship band and be a leader of people. Every month, Dave Dolphin interviews thought leaders in the area of worship, creative and production ministries. New episodes release the first Friday of every month. For more great advice, check out and






Delwin Eiland on starting over at Mars Hill from Willow Creek and what he’s learned so far nine months into the process

Starting over at a new church can have its own unique set of challenges. It’s something I’ve done recently, and it’s what Delwin Eiland is doing right now. After being the worship pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago for almost eight years, he’s now starting over at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In this conversation we talk about figuring out a new church culture, earning trust with your people and finding that balance between not disrupting the identity of...


Brent Milligan on arranging Sunday morning worship songs and working with your musicians to sound amazing

If you feel like your church worship band sounds a bit mediocore but you don’t know what to tell your musicians to fix it, this episode should help you. Brent Milligan has worked with dozens of bands and played on hundreds of tracks, and in this conversation we talk about how to work with our bands and arrange the songs we play on Sundays. Many times it isn’t a talent issue—even with volunteers. We just need to teach our band members HOW to play together. Find show notes to the podcast...


Andy Chrisman on being an older worship pastor and providing valuable leadership at every stage of ministry

Sometimes worship ministry can feel like professional sports in that if you’re older than 30, you feel like it’s time to retire. What does being a worship pastor in your 40s or 50s look like? Andy Chrisman has been the worship pastor at Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK for over 15 years, and in this conversation we talk about how his stages of leadership have changed over the years, what it looked like for him to grow as a leader and the importance of making space for new leaders to emerge...


A panel discussion on producing worship services for an online world and cultivating community as we stay at home

The recent events with the COVID-19 pandemic and “shelter at home” orders have forced a new normal for churches to do their worship services online. With a few Sundays under our belt, I hosted a panel discussion of sorts with two other worship pastors—Brett McDonald and Ryland Russell—where I’ve seen their churches doing well navigating this new “normal.” In this conversation we talk about what our services look like online, how they differ from a normal in-person gathering, how we’re...


BONUS: Dave Dolphin on doing church online and what I've learned so far during the strangest two weeks ever

With the recent pandemic with the COVID-19 virus, self-quarnenjining and social distancing, churches across the United States and beyond are scrambling to figure out how to hold church without actually physically meeting together in one space. We’re having to become experts overnight in the area of live streaming and church online. In this bonus podcast episode, I share all the things I’ve learned over the last few weeks—things that have succeeding and things that have failed—plus a bunch of...


Stephen McWhirter on songwriting, authenticity as a worship leader and leading people out of your overflow

It’s a story about addiction to redemption, from meth addict to worship leader. Stephen McWhirter has an amazing testimony but even more amazing is how God is using that testimony to mold and shape him into the worship leader he is today. It affects the kinds of songs he writes or how he leads a group in worship, whether that’s a part of Iron Bell Music or now on the road under the name of Stephen McWhirter. In this conversation, we talk about his story, authenticity in worship and the...


Kurt Von Eschen on creating moments in services for people to engage and have an authentic encounter with Jesus

We want people to engage in the worship services at our church and have a real encounter with Jesus, and part of the puzzle is creating moments within our services for that to happen. Kurt Von Eschen is the Experience Leader at Battlecreek Church in Tulsa, OK where he leads the worship, production and creative teams to craft services with intentionally that lead people through a journey. We talk about how to have the end in mind when you’re planning a service. We talk about their process...


Tommy Iceland on preparing and leading through spontaneous moments and what it’s like writing songs with strangers

Spontaneous worship is leaving space within a worship set to move in a direction that wasn’t specifically planned ahead of time, but there is planning that needs to occur in order to do this well. Tommy Iceland is a worship leader and songwriter that has experience leading worship in various countries and venues big and small, and in this conversation he shares how he prepares the worship band to be ready for moments that aren’t necessarily on the script as the Holy Spirit leads. We also...


Brian Wahl on playing electric guitar in church for worship, preparing for the weekend and playing well with others

The electric guitar has become a dominant instrument in worship music over the last 25 years, and Brian Wahl has been creating YouTube content for guitar players for almost half that time. Being the creator of Worship Tutorials, a worship leader and one of the main electric players at his church, Brian has a lot of wisdom for both the guitarists in a worship band and the worship leader who is working with their electric players. This conversation covers everything from preparing for the...


Jake Gosselin on the three things he sees worship leaders struggle with as they build a ministry and how to fix them

When you work with churches and coach leaders every day, you start to see a pattern of the same issues over and over and over that many leaders seem to struggle with as they build a worship ministry. Jake Gosselin created a company called Churchfront that helps worship pastors lead Gospel centered and tech-savvy worship. In this conversation, Jake talks about the three areas where he see leaders of worship ministries struggle and the advice he gives people every day in his one-on-one...


John Larson on how Church of the Highlands defines ministry culture, changing unhealthy culture and resolving conflict

Every ministry has a culture—how people describe the ministry and what it’s like to be a part of it—and leaders shouldn’t just take a passive approach to the culture of their worship ministry and assume it will all work itself out. John Larson is the worship pastor of Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama where they are intentional about the ministry culture of their worship and arts department. In this conversation, John talks about how they define the culture at Highlands, the...


Mike Keahbone on cultivating a healthy relationship between senior pastors and worship pastors

The relationship between the senior pastor and the worship pastor is a vital one if for no other reason than these two roles work in tandem to create one of the biggest things the church does—the Sunday morning service. It takes both pastors working together to cultivate a healthy relationship which breeds a healthy ministry. So, I want to introduce you to my senior pastor at Cherokee Hills Baptist Church, Mike Keahbone. He shares his wisdom on what it’s like in his shoes as a senior pastor,...


Sara Emmerson on the role of the service producer on your creative team and being a relational leader

A service producer may not be one of the first roles you think of when you think of a worship team or a production team, but it can be a vital role that takes weight off of you as the worship pastor and help shepherd the people on your team and to eliminate distractions within a service. Sara Emmerson is currently the Creative Pastor at Soul City Church in Chicago, but her roots in ministry can be traced back to her time as a service producer at Willow Creek Community Church. Her experience...


Elias Dummer on The City Harmonic, his solo project and his calling as a worship leader thoughout it all

The God-given calling to be a worship leader can take on many different forms. Elias Dummer knows this firsthand as he began his journey serving the local church in Ontario, Canada but soon found himself touring the world in The City Harmonic, a band made up of other worship leaders from other churches in the Hamilton, Ontario area. Today Elias is a part of a church plant in the Nashville area and continues to write songs for the local church. This conversation is the story of the things...


Brian Fuller on what it takes to lead a worship ministry and other things they didn't tell you about being a worship pastor

As worship leaders, many of us got the position we’re in today because we could sing or play an instrument. Brian Fuller had a similar situation when he first started, but after being the worship pastor at New Hope Church in Durham, NC and a regular staple on the Worship Tutorials YouTube channel, he’s spent the past 10+ years training and pouring into leaders to succeed at all the aspects of the role from spiritual, relational, administration, coaching and musicality—even creating what he...


Jon Abel on crafting worship services and leading a ministry as a church member first and a worship pastor second

Watermark Community Church is striving to be a light in the heart of downtown Dallas, Texas. With ministries that serve the community focusing on marriage, addiction recovery and students (just to name a few), at the core of it all Watermark is a church that is discipleship-focused in everything they do. Jon Abel is the worship director, leading worship at the main Dallas campus and leading a team of other worship leaders and staff. In this conversation Jon shares his approach to crafting...


Dave Dolphin on what happened last summer and how to respond and move on from church hurt in ministry

Regular listeners to this podcast and those that keep up with me on YouTube and social media know that something went down last summer in 2018. Almost a year later I want to share my story. It's a story about being hurt in ministry and how to respond when it happens and how to move on past it and heal. The reason why I want to share this story is to encourage other people in ministry. If you've gone through something similar (or you're going through it right now), one of the most encouraging...


Todd Elliott on how to pull off Easter and other big services without losing your cool, your volunteers and your mind

Easter is that one service where we want to do things bigger than we normally do. Our desire is to help create a powerful moment—especially for those that typically only attend church on Easter and Christmas. Todd Elliott is no stranger to big Easter services, having served as the leader of the Willow Creek Community Church production team for over ten years. Year after year, Todd and his team were tasked with pulling off the ideas from the creative team. This conversation with Todd is about...


Chris Kuti on how Life.Church Worship started writing original songs and the power of songwriting in your church

Songwriting can unlock opportunties to wrap a melody around your church’s vision and heartbeat. As a worship pastor and now the central ministry leader of worship arts at Life.Church, Chris Kuti has seen first-hand the power of original songs within their services. In this conversation, Chris shares how to get a songwriting ministry started at your church, the process of how songs get evaluated and chosen at Life.Church and the importance of co-writing and creating with the door open. Find...


Daniel Connell on using lights to support the story being told and why worship leaders should be lighting designers

Lighting design can be a powerful way to add to your worship service, but it needs to be something that supports what’s already happening on stage without drawing attention to itself. Daniel Connell is no stranger to a lighting console with a resume that includes Switchfoot, Steven Curtis Chapman, Bethel and the Passion conference—and even some time on staff full-time at Church on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He shares how he approaches lighting design to compliment the story being told by...