A few weeks ago, I was working my way through a series of links in search of good online resources for electric guitar players who play in congregational worship settings. The author had provided a brief description of each website and when I happened upon the link for Guitar For Worship, I knew I had found the right place.
How was the site described? Satirical, fun, and practical. You better believe I clicked on it.
In fact, I loved the site so much that I contacted its owner, Karl Verkade, for an interview. He was gracious and honest with his answers and I think you’ll enjoy reading.
“Guitar for Worship was started almost as a joke. I was working as a music director at a church, and my boss, the executive pastor, had a real thing for blogging. Thought it changed the world. I disagreed, as I tend to do. Nevertheless, he told all of us at the church that one of our job requirements was to blog. So I started the blog, thinking I was going to show him how pointless blogging was. (Unfortunately I can have a real passive-aggressive streak sometimes. haha) But then (and I’m still not sure how this happened…I blame my constant quoting of U2 so that search engines had no choice but to point people to my blog) people started reading. I had stats showing actual visitors. Then comments. Then requests for demo’s and tutorials and advice. It was at that point that I had to admit I was wrong (the worst) and started to see perhaps the point in blogging, and that this could actually be used by folks.”
“It’s been just over six years now, and much to my surprise, it’s still going.”
How has the blog changed over the years?
“It really has taken on a life of its own. When it first started to be read, I had to admit to myself that maybe somewhere deep inside I did want to write, but needed an excuse to start, so that if no one read it, it wasn’t my fault. (Yay me.) Because I was excited. I blogged almost every other day, spent too many of my waking (and sleeping) hours thinking about it, and pontificated on things that looking back, I really knew nothing about. Eventually, I calmed down a bit, and really started to see this blog as a place to be completely open and honest about my struggles as a worship leader, the temptation to see the stage as your own personal platform, and the questions and failures with which we as Christians wrestle. I feel that as a western church culture in general, we’re so worried that honesty will lead to a lack of trust. And I think it’s the exact opposite.
“So the blog for a time, I think, really became a haven for people to feel they could honestly express themselves, and be responded to without judgment by other readers. And with many posts exceeding 80 and 100 comments, I’m so incredibly stoked to say that I have never deleted a comment. The love with which my friends and readers interact with each other over there I think is something pretty cool.
“This past year, I have blogged less and less, as God has really been pulling my focus into some new (and a little scary and controversial) ideas about which to write. Sort of taking that honesty thing a step further, and a little more out of the constraints of guitar and worship music. But yet the blog continues on, with or without me almost. It will probably continue to morph (it’s morphin’ time! …sorry) over the years in ways I can’t predict, but I think it will always be around.”
“I have, at times, gone too far, and allowed cynicism to be the end rather than the means. That’s when I then have to try to find the balance again. Cynicism is a great tool to ‘test everything and hold on to the good.’ But it is merely a tool. And the minute you start loving the jokes more than you love the purpose of using them to show something in ourselves that we need to work on in order to glorify God better, you’re sunk.”