Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Word of Thanks

As Worship Arts Team Leader, my primary focus is to encourage worship through the arts. During the 2009-10 program season at Saint Matthew, we’ve experienced an incredible amount of music from folks here at Saint Matthew and beyond. And throughout it all, my hope is that the people of Saint Matthew have been encouraged by the musical diversity that is offered in worship through the amazing dedication and hard work of the many, many volunteers who’ve given of their time and talents.

Worship Team (directed by Jason Bendickson) – Thank you for being the workhorse music team of our church! Your dedication, energy, talent and time are tremendously appreciated.

Choir & Men’s Ensemble (directed by Geoff Carter) – Thank you for an amazing season of incredible music! Our community is tremendously blessed by your musical offerings and worship leadership.

Bells (directed by Geoff Carter) – Thank you for all the hard work you put in this year! Every offering of music from the bells this year was absolutely incredible!

Brass (directed by Jason Bendickson) – Thank you for making those Saturday morning rehearsals and offering your talents on Easter Sunday. There is much more for us to do! I’m looking forward to it.

Kids Praise & Cherub Choir (directed by Laurie Van Buskirk and Jason Bendickson) – Thank you all for your enthusiasm and joyful spirit as we sang songs of thankfulness, service and love to God!

There are also many people who volunteer their time behind the scenes on Sunday mornings to help make Saint Matthew the welcoming and friendly place it has become; if you stop to think about it, it’s actually kind of mind boggling.

Prayer Ministers (coordinated by Laura Hoy) – Thank you for your commitment offering up prayers with and for people during communion and following worship. Your openness to the Holy Spirit in prayer is changing this congregation from the inside out!

Communion Assistants (coordinated by Dolores Niccolai) – Thank you for your presence in worship as we receive the good gift of God that is the body and blood of Christ. Hearing the words “…for you” each Sunday reminds us of God’s amazing love for us.

Greeters (coordinated by Grala Warren) – Thank you for offering the first smile and handshake for all who worship at Saint Matthew! Nothing says “you’re very welcome here” like a warm greeting when you first walk in the door.

Ushers (coordinated by Ed Jerome) – Thank you for guiding us in worship from the back of the worship center.

Readers (coordinated by Kathy Frattini) – Thank you for consistently leading our congregation in prayer and the reading of God’s Word.

Acolytes (coordinated by Kathy Frattini) – Thank you for bringing the light of Christ into our worship time each Sunday!

Welcome Center Volunteers (coordinated by Nancy Pierce) – Thank you for being a consistent point of connection for people who are interested in finding out more about Saint Matthew.

Coffee Volunteers (coordinated by Nancy Pierce) – Thank you for masterfully working those coffee pots to ensure that no one will be in want (for coffee, anyway).

Projection Ministry Volunteers (coordinated by Kathy Frattini) – Thank you for what I think is one of the most difficult worship leading roles on Sunday morning. And thank you for your grace as things inevitably get changed spur of the moment. Y’all are rockstars!

Promiseland & Impact Volunteers (coordinated by Angie Kavert, Kristi Carlton, David Dykes and Melinda Armonstrong) – Thank you for ministering to the youth of Saint Matthew with such consistency, grace and love. Growing disciples is a life-long journey and y’all are at the forefront of that road.

For all the volunteers who serve in the areas mentioned above, and even the ones that I left out, THANK YOU! And as the summer heat begins to settle on the valley and we look forward to long lazy evenings, impromptu barbecues and memorable vacations, I want to encourage you to give thanks to God for the amazing gifts we’ve been given as a community here at Saint Matthew.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Concert! May 2 at 4:00pm

The Saint Matthew Music Department invites you to attend our Spring Concert featuring musical selections by the Saint Matthew Choir, the Men’s Ensemble and Bells of Saint Matthew. It promises to be an uplifting and encouraging evening of music.

Concert begins at 4:00 p.m. in the Worship Center at Saint Matthew. There will be a potluck dinner immediately following in Fellowship Hall. All are invited. This is a great opportunity to bring friends. Childcare will be provided.

Monday, March 29, 2010

As We Forgive

Ken shares with us his thoughts on " we forgive others"

As We Forgive Others from Jason Bendickson on Vimeo.

Monday, March 15, 2010

He Knows My Name (Song Story)

We sing a lot of music at Saint Matthew but we don’t often get to hear from the folks who write the songs that we sing. Tommy Walker has written many of the songs we sing on Sunday mornings and I wanted to share an excerpt from an interview with Tommy about how the song “He Knows My Name” came to be written.

- Jason

"He Knows My Name" by Tommy Walker

The first time we went to the Philippines we stayed in an orphanage and there was this little boy who came running up to me and he introduced himself as Jerry. About an hour later he ran up to me again and he said, “What’s my name?”

I said, “You’re name is Jerry."

He said, “We’re friends, right?”

An hour later, he comes up to me again and says, “What’s my name?”


“We’re friends, right?”

“That’s right buddy, you got it.”

The next morning he runs up to me and says, “What’s my name.”

I said, “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry. You know I know you’re name.” Then I said to him, “We’re friends, right?”

I realized that Jerry, one of the forgotten people, one of the poorest of the poor, was literally abandoned by his parents on the streets as an infant. I don’t think he even knows his last name. He just wanted somebody to know him, to know his name. And it was so important to him that I knew his name. And then I was able to tell him, “Jerry, it’s great that I know your name, but your Heavenly Father, though you have no earthly father, knows your name and He’ll never forget you.”

I get to share that story all over the world because there are so many people who feel so alone. Alone in their marriage and their family and their job…in their life! God just lets me remind people that in this moment He knows your name. He’ll never forget you, He’s seen every tear and every time you call, He hears you.

Visit this URL to hear Tommy tell this story

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spiritual Life Survey | Begins March 13

In the movie “The Grinch That Stole Christmas”, there was an X-ray machine that could measure the size of the Grinch’s heart. The machine showed us his heart growing bigger. What if we had a way of seeing the size of our own hearts – a way of measuring how much we love God and love people? What if we had a way to understand which things we do together have the most positive impact on our spiritual growth?

Willow Creek has developed a survey that will help us understand Saint Matthew better. The REVEAL Spiritual Life Survey provides a vivid picture of the “unseen” hearts of our congregation an
d their spiritual growth. It utilizes state-of-the-art research to capture not just spiritual behaviors, but also attitudes, beliefs and felt-needs of churchgoers. The Spiritual Life Survey is a proven way to benchmark and track spiritual growth in a congregation. It moves beyond measures like attendance and financial giving to determine if a church is really making a difference in helping people become more like Christ.

The Spiritual Life Survey is an anonymous, congregational online survey that is easy to understand, simple to administer and repeatable over time to monitor change. We will take the survey at Saint Matthew from March 13 to 27. Late in April, we’ll receive a customized, comprehensive report in presentation form that benchmarks and analyzes Saint Matthew’s spiritual profile. No individual responses are revealed. We’ll see what’s going on as well as how our spiritual attitudes, practices and beliefs compare to the REVEAL survey database of over 500 churches and 150,000 congregants.

We will share the results of our survey and reflect and discuss together what we learn and how God is calling us to move forward. We look forward to this adventure together.

Watch the website and the online Good News for directions to do the survey. We will send emails out with directions, so make sure we have your current email address.
(You can update your contact info online at

Monday, February 8, 2010

Kairos Moments in Music

In mid-December I purchased Sara Groves' new CD, Fireflies and Songs. It's a great disc. I remember when I heard her first album, Conversations I felt that her songwriting style was a little to meandering for my taste, but I listened to that whole album several times in a row. Something about it was compelling to me and drawing me into her stories.

The new CD demonstrates a maturity in her songwriting and and even more raw honesty as she sings about hope, love, disappointment and struggle. I find myself transported to a place of inspired reflective peace as the music and words swim around in my mind as I try to imagine the settings and details of these three-to-four minute song-stories.

Then, something happens. I've just realized the what Sara Groves is writing about, apart from the specific details of her experiences, are all kairos moments. Defining moments! Moments of significance that have an impact on the way she journeys through life.

That gets me thinking. I believe that most, if not all music (and art) are rooted in experiencing a kairos moment and then working through this circle (the learning circle - more on that later) that we've been talking about at Saint Matthew since the beginning of January.

Life > Kairos Moment > Observe > Reflect > Discuss > Plan > Account > Act = Aamazing Music by Sara Groves (or any other artist for that matter).

One of the things artists do is take the "moments" in life and stretch them out (over canvas or over time) and create a meditation on that moment. The result is an act of creativity that becomes a part of their journey.

Wow. Maybe this is a simple thing, but for me it has become a defining moment.

- Jason

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ash Wednesday & Mid-Week Worship

Join us for Ash Wednesday Worship on February 17 at noon and 7:30 p.m. in the Worship Center. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent, the forty days preceding Easter. Our observance of Ash Wednesday includes receiving communion and the imposition of ashes on the forehead. Genesis 3:19 invites us into a penitential season with the words, “For you are dust and to dust you will return.”

Our sermon series on “The Lord’s Prayer” will begin at this service, and a Lenten Devotional written by people of Saint Matthew with a focus on the Lord’s Prayer will be available.

During Lent, we will have mid-week worship on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. in the Worship Center. Join us for a reflective and meditative worship incorporating the Taizé style which uses simple songs, scripture and prayer. Our first service will be February 25.