What’s in Your Toolbox? Part 1

A weekly blog of Ideas for Leading Creative Worship

What’s in Your Toolbox?

This is the first of three Worship Outside the Box posts focussing on how to assess, acquire, nurture and use your talents and skills when leading creative worship services.

Part 1 – Identify your skills

In New Zealand, a common cultural trait is to be self-deprecating about our skills and abilities. We are modest about our talents and achievements because we don’t want to be seen as uppity or putting ourselves above other people.

When it comes to leading creative worship this attitude is unhelpful. We need to change.

Below is a list of some of my skills - the stuff that’s in my toolbox that is useful to me as a worship leader.

Some things I’m good at are at an amateur level and others are to a professional standard. Some skills I have developed over decades, others I have learned recently.

Sound recording

I have been messing about recording sound since my teens, starting with recording 45s and LPs onto cassette tapes - “Mix tapes.” I used analogue turntables, amplifiers, radio cassette players and tape decks.

In the early 1990s when computers arrived, I learned how to record and edit sound files on computer. I started out using software like Goldwave, and currently use Audacity.

I have a good quality Tascam digital audio recorder that I use to record our choir’s concerts and my son Chris’ jazz band sessions.

I can also record services via the church sound system onto a laptop for later editing.

Video recording

From the late 1980s I started recording TV shows to video tape.

Today I can film video on my smart phone or a digital camera, edit videos on computer, and upload them to the internet for other people to watch.

I’m currently learning to create square product promotion videos on Canva.

Singing & playing musical instruments

My parents were good singers. My mum was a piano teacher.

I took guitar, piano and flute lessons in my late teens and early 20s. Music is one of the things that brought Heather and me together.

Today I’m good at fingerpicking on guitar accompanying myself and OK accompanying others singing.

In the 1980s, I was a member of the choir at church, conducted initially by Malcolm Rickard, and subsequently by Ross and Mary Becker. The weekly pattern of rehearsals on Thursday night and singing an introit, anthem, psalm and the hymns every Sunday was fantastic training.

I’m an average sight singer, but I’m loud and generally in tune. I love singing in harmony.

Composing and typesetting music

I can write words and melodies for them, along with basic chords for guitar.

20 years ago I learned how to typeset music, to produce sheet music for our congregation’s Singing Group. I’m still doing this today using Noteworthy Composer software.


I published my first book in 1999 and have since published 65+ books.

I take an author’s manuscript, work with them to edit the text, design and typeset the book, get it printed and create eBooks, and list the various editions for sale on the internet.

I use professional Adobe Photoshop and InDesign software for print books and Jutoh to create eBooks.


I read a lot of books, at least 70 a year.

Many are thrillers and spy novels, but I read at least 10 theological and Christian books a year too.


I wrote and typeset instructions manuals for BNZ in the 1990s.

I did further training in instruction manual writing in 1997.

This taught me to write clearly and logically, to convey information to a reader.

Public speaking

I joined Drama Christi in 1979 and as I grew in confidence, was given speaking and then leading roles.

This gave me confidence to stand up in front of people and speak. I still get a bit nervous.

Websites, Facebook and online marketing

I created my first website in 1997.

I read books about how to create websites and tried things out.

I have learned how to use Facebook and other online marketing tools to sell books, recordings and concert tickets.

I recently created an e-Commerce website for my business. I am steadily learning new techniques for email marketing, and how to understand and use the data that my customers’ orders generates.

People better than me

For all of the individual skills I have mentioned I know people who are better than me.

I’m the second best sound and video recorder and editor in my family.

I’m the 3rd equal best musician and 2nd best singer in my family.

While I can compose songs, Heather is better than me at harmonising them and setting guitar chords for them and setting the time value of notes.

Roger Steele, my publishing mentor, will always be a better publisher than me.

I have recently joined a Canadian and US based marketing group “The Social Sales Girls” and am using their online training modules to increase my online marketing skills. The group’s coaches all have successful online businesses, which I’m trying to emulate. They are way better at this than me.

• • •

Your homework

This week, write (on paper or computer) a list of the skills and talents you possess that might be useful when it comes to leading creative worship services.

Think broadly, like you do when brainstorming ideas.

• • •

In next week’s post I will discuss developing a learning disposition.

4 April 2023

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