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Africa

We have some exciting news to share! Emily​ and I are planning to travel to South Africa this April with Gap Community to work in the township of Kayamandi (pictured above). As part of this mission opportunity, we’ll be working in a primary school with 12-13 year olds and telling them about the vision God has for their life and the love of Jesus. One goal is to adopt the math classroom, upgrade the floors, windows, chairs, desks and paint an inspirational mural on the walls so the students are continually reminded of their value. Emily is especially excited about the opportunity to paint, and I’ll be able to play and lead worship. We’ll also be helping develop leaders amongst high school students and women (which is an abnormal opportunity for them) and teaching some basic self-defense in other areas.

I’ve already had a generous fellow worship leader donate a guitar, strings, picks and a capo for me to take, with the understanding that I’ll find a teenager there who can develop worship leading gifts and leave it for him!

As you might expect, these types of trips can be expensive, but we fully believe this is an opportunity God has given us for His purposes. It’s a little bit rare for us too, because we have to raise double the amount since we’re both going. Together we need $6000 to make this happen. We’re asking for you to prayerfully consider supporting us in this trip. If you’d like to, there are a few ways you can do so:

1. You can give online via gofundme.com (http://www.gofundme.com/m3w9ik)
2. You can donate money by sending either cash or check directly to us, with Africa in the memo line.
3. You can make a tax-deductible donation by making a check out to Gap Community, with “Keith and Emily” in the memo line.
4. Pray for our trip and our fundraising efforts.

 

If you’d like our address to donate, please message me.

Or you can mail to Gap Community at:

GAP Community (West Coast Headquarters)
1315 Pacific Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

 

We love you,
Keith

 

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

So yesterday, Emily and I were minding our own business shopping for an ugly Christmas sweater. I swear I don’t seek this out, but naturally this is what happened…

 

Jammin Java

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Thanks to everyone who bought tickets and came out to Jammin Java last week. I can’t explain to you how amazing it is to shine the hope and light of Jesus in a place that doesn’t typically host Christian artists/worship bands.

Our vision for the night was to impact the community and build a relationship with this premier venue, which happens to be 3 miles from where we live and 2 miles from our church campus. Jammin Java was unbelievably supportive and thankful for the friendliness and respect their bartenders and servers had from the band, other musicians and all those who were there. The manager could hardly believe that we nearly sold it out and said he’d love to have us back.

Stay tuned…

Know Your Why

Yesterday I preached at my church, Vine Church. The sermon was called, “Know Your Why” and we discussed how to align what we do with our why. You can check it out below.

Relational Leadership Principles

RELATIONAL PRINCIPLES FOR CHURCH LEADERS

For the past few years, I’ve been on staff at Vine Church, a new church community right outside of Washington, D.C. At the same time, I have my own band that travels to play music or lead worship at conferences and venues in the Eastern U.S. As time has passed, our church community has evolved; Our worship team has expanded; Our community involvement has increased; I’ve received more notoriety as a musician; We’ve played on bigger stages; And so on. But I’m constantly asking myself how true success is measured or attained.

I keep coming back to vision and relationships.

I’m not sure if there is a term as “relational leadership” as it relates to this, but that’s the type of leader I want to be. And that’s the type of leader Jesus was and is (and is to come?)

Over the past year, I’ve been keeping notes of things I learn as a leader. Not all of them will apply to everyone in everyway. But the ideas and concepts are important, whether you’re a church leader, CEO, quarterback, lead singer, office manager, doctor, etc.

 

1 – KEEP THE VISION IN FRONT.

Know who you’re called to be (both as a leader and as a church community) and it will make decisions and actions easier. I don’t think anyone is called or sets out to be a big jerk. And I don’t think anyone sets out to get off line from where they’re headed. But it can happen easily if you aren’t constantly recalling the vision to yourself and your team.

[You may have to pass up on good opportunities or ideas.]

 

2 – KEEP PEOPLE FIRST.

Of course when you’re the leader there are times where you have to lead/make tough decisions/hold people accountable. But if they are important to you they will feel important to you. If you set out to make them feel important so that they will work harder, they will sniff that out and know that they are just cogs in your church machine. That is not only offensive, but counterproductive to the vision. Instead – actually care about them and what’s going on in their life and they’ll likely want to be on your team. Then together you can pursue the vision.

 

3 – MAKE OTHER PEOPLE’s PURPOSE YOUR PURPOSE.

If you are interested in how people can serve your purpose, you and they will be frustrated. If you help them figure out their purpose (both personally and as part of the team), they will be loyal and you’ll both end up fulfilled. And this unity will propel the vision forward and draw other people in.

 

4 – LEADERS ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THEIR TEAM.

It might sound a little cliche, but we have to constantly remember that leaders are only as good as the team around them. Nobody can do things completely alone. Everything is a team effort. Make sure you continually remember that and state it to everyone. Look at someone successful and 100% chance they have a team around them.

[Think of famous athletes we know by a single nickname: RGIII or Lebron. Or think of an athlete that competes alone – like Tiger Woods. Or a solo musician – like Johnny Cash. They are mentioned by name, usually by themselves and many times are in front of people by themselves. But RGIII wouldn’t be who he is without his family, coaches, offensive line, etc. Lebron didn’t win a ring until he teamed up with Wade and Bosh. Tiger has coaches, doctors, caddies, etc. Johnny has a band, producers, promoters, etc.]

 

5a- RECEIVE CRITICISM.

5b- DEFLECT PRAISE

Take the criticism and deflect the praise. That is part of leadership responsibility. Give criticism to your team privately but give them praise publicly. When someone tells you a song or event missed the mark, take responsibility. Whether you planned it or not is irrelevant. When someone comes up after the worship service to talk about how great you sounded, be thankful, but give a simple reminder that it has a lot to do with the guitar riff and bass groove.

[This was never more apparent to me than during Kevin Durant’s MVP speech. He reached the individual pinnacle of his sport, yet he spent the entire 27 minute speech deflecting the praise onto everyone but himself. See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxVAOoQeNJ8 ]

 

6 – IT’S BETTER TO DISCUSS THAN TO DISCOVER.

My friend Brandon said this to me one time and it was revolutionary to my relationship to my leadership style. If you have discussions up front about things, people won’t have different expectations. The responsibility is on you to be honest, as the leader. If you are not, and somebody has unmet expectations, and therefore is hurt/angry/upset, you can blame yourself. When you set expectations up front and make sure people are on the same page from the beginning, it will set you up for success in the long run.

[It will also make #7 and #8 easier]

 

7 – BE OPENMINDED.

People are different, have different experiences, etc. Have an open mind as a leader. Or you’ll only attract people like yourself. You might like it, but it’s not what the world needs and will not breed success. Life is a continual journey. We will never stop being refined. People are dynamic so leadership will be dynamic. So staying openminded is the only option.

 

8 – BE PATIENT.

Waiting is key. Quick reactions to solve problems are sometimes necessary, but making the right decision outweighs making the fast one. It might not be fun or feel good to have something hanging over you, but experiencing that over a short period of time is far better than making a decision that temporarily lifts the weight, but causes more trouble in the future.

 

9 – BE PRESENT.

The future is now. Yes God holds the world in His hands. Yes Alpha and Omega, but the Kingdom is at hand now. The Kingdom is present. We cannot control everything external going on around us, but we do have control over our present attitude and therefore reality. We always look forward to where we see the vision taking us, where the strategy will work, reaching the next goal, etc. But if we aren’t present, none of that will matter. How does the now relate to the future? How am I being shaped today in this moment?

 

10 – KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Many times we make leadership too complicated and overthink it. This list might even confuse you. Keeping it simple (#1 – knowing who you’re called to be and #2 – prioritize people) will not diminish importance, just confusion.

 

 

Are there some I’ve missed? What have you learned that you can share?

KingsFest

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Beginning today @ 10am, through next Tuesday May 13th, we need your help! You can help us win a spot on the main stage at KingsFest on June 26th. We’d play that night with TobyMac, Rend Collective and more. If you visit kingsfestival.com, you can vote once a day, per device, for the next week. That will help the KingsFest peeps narrow the 50 semi-finalists to the 5 finalists, from which they’ll select the winner.

Here is a pre-made image you can post on instagram/twitter/facebook etc. to invite people to vote along with us.

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right click to “Save Image As”

 

Please help us spread the word!

Thanks friends,
Keith

Awards

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In March 2013, I was notified that I was named 2012 CCM Network International Songwriter of the Year. That was such a great surprise and very humbling. I won radio promotion, amongst other great things.

In February, I won the 2014 WAMMIE (Washington Area Music Award) for Gospel Vocalist of the Year. I had been nominated a few times before, but I assumed I’d come up short again. Emily and I didn’t even attend the awards. However, I won! So exciting.

Then in April, I was notified that Made for More won the 2014 KCCM (King Cat Christian Music) Song of the Year. With that award, I won some recording gear, a MIDI guitar, cash and other things.

***Added June 2014 – Turns out I also won the 2014 KCCM Live Performance Award for Dance Dance Dance from Our Hope [Live]! You can see the trophy above.

In February 2015, I won a WAMMIE for both Gospel Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year, for Our Hope [Live]. We also played live at the WAMMIES and played Dance Dance Dance, mashed up with Beat It and 25 or 6 to 4. Great night!

I continued to be very humbled by the opportunities and recognition I’ve received recently. I 100% know that God gave me the gifts I have, so I’ll continue to use them to impact people for Him. However, just because God gives us gifts, it doesn’t mean they’re handed to us. I have and will continue to work hard at playing guitar, singing, songwriting, etc. It’s important for me, and you, to remember that God may give us things, but we are the stewards of them.

Angel 95 FM

Hello amigos,

In February I got an email from Angel95fm in Manhattan, KS asking if I’d be interviewed for a feature on unsigned artists called “Off the Grid.” So a couple of weeks ago, we recorded the interview (before I found out about the recentl KCCM Song of the Year Award) and the show aired this past weekend. You can listen to it here.

 

 

Let me know what you think by commenting below!

Thanks,
Keith

 

[Guest Post] We’re Back

This is from a guest post today on my wife’s blog. Go check it out here: emilyelgin.com

 

Well we’re back in Chicago. And it’s go-time. The last few months have felt like go-time, but this really is go-time.

After a much-needed quick trip home for Thanksgiving, Emily and I arrived back 6 days ago. 5 of them, she’s been in the hospital. She just finished her 4th (and last) day of chemo yesterday. Her last ATG treatment was overnight last night. ATG is a heavy-duty immunosuppressant found in rabbits. (Happy Easter!) And today is the big day where the 32 million stem-cells will be reintroduced to Emily’s blood. From there, the docs will monitor her blood count, give her transfusions as needed, and wait for her nearly non-existent immune system to show some life again.

The main thing people have asked is, “How is she doing with the chemo?” I’m thrilled to report that outside of some fatigue, she hasn’t experienced many side-effects. She’s had very little nausea, which has been quickly treated by meds (and Queazy Drops from Tamara). The docs say that the chemo affects everyone differently, and no doubt God’s grace has been shown by how it’s affected, or not affected, Emily.
 
 
Two last things before I go:
1 – Emily is handling everything like a pro. There is a lot of resting and sleeping, but as you might expect, her joyful attitude and wackiness (in a good way) have brought smiles to all the nurses and patients we come in contact with. Her enthusiastic attitude has also kept her spirits positive in situations where most people’s may not be. We know this is because of God’s peace and strength, and through the prayers of our friends, family and even strangers.
 
2 – If you know us well, you know that Emily and I are both talkers. We like to have fun and are never short on words. But honestly, when it comes to the support and love we’ve been shown by everyone, we really don’t know what to say. We have talked many times about how amazing it has all been. From the outpouring of financial gifts…to the hourly prayer times…to the texts just saying she’s being prayed for…to simply reading this blog…we know that it’s all provision from God and because we are well loved. So thank you.
 
Please keep praying that Emily would respond well to the rest of the meds, transfusions, treatment, etc. She already has some ideas and plans for blogging once she feels better. Comment on her blogs and let her know that you are reading.
 
Thanks!
Keith

The Windy City (and by windy I mean freezing)

It’s cold here. Emily and I have been to Chicago a few times now for multiple doctor visits and tests, but typically it’s in the Spring or Summer. I’ve heard this 25 degrees with ice cold wind is nothing compared to December – February. We take a cab when we go out together, but when I’m out TCB, I just walk. It’s cheaper and it gets me a little extra exercise carrying the groceries through the streets of The Windy City. So yeah, the chapped lips won’t quit. But overall, it’s been great to be here with Emily, being a support and encouragement to her.

As for the medical stuff…Emily is handling everything like a pro. Her first dose of chemo wiped her out, energy wise, as she slept for almost two days straight. But for the most part, she avoided the worst momentary side effects. She has been herself everywhere we’ve been, and people love that. It seems that most people at a hospital are grouchy or depressed. She might have some anxiety but is generally joyful and you can tell it brings joy to all the people that meet her.

She’s started her blog and you’ll get a peek inside what it’s like for her if you want to check it out. She already has posted some great stories and photos. Check it out HERE and comment to show her some love!

Thanks for reading and loving us!
Keith

 

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