One Year Blog Challenge

A Big Huge Canadian Update

To the day, it’s almost exactly a year and a half since I left my British life and countless routines behind for what would be quite an adventure. At this point, I have the exciting privilege of having friends all over the world, but that brings a variety of challenges; one of those is keeping up to date with everyone. After more than a full year in Canada, it’s about time I posted an update.


I’m in my second year at Millar College of the Bible studying for a degree in Biblical Studies. The college is a special place; the small student body (of around 70ish) live on the campus, which, by summer turns into Sunnybrae Bible Camp, I have learnt a huge amount, with subjects covering things like the Torah, Acts, Hermeneutics, Homiletics and Man of Sin (amongst many others too). Currently we’re deep into Isaiah (one of the books I was most looking forward to studying when I enrolled at the college), Romans and the Old Testament historical books, and over the course of the last year I’ve had the chance to write research papers on a variety of topics such as the meaning of ‘worship’, the Holy Spirit and the various positions on creation. Basically, it’s been pretty cool!

I have had the opportunity over both academic years to be on the touring worship team at Millar, which has given me the opportunity to serve churches in the area and see a little bit of British Columbia (the province I live in) too which is nice! This year, I have the privilege of helping to oversee the four worship teams here under the oversight of Jorin Green, a professor here. He gives me a huge amount of freedom so it’s really nice to have that little sense of my previous life here. Last week I taught a class on music theory which I find hugely exciting…even if the other students don’t!


I’m in the final module of my part-time degree in Leadership and Management. I started it way back in 2009 so I’m looking forward to finishing it in March and finally having my first degree! My current module is all about innovation and entrepreneurship which is interesting, but time consuming.


I was assigned a church in my first few weeks (as I didn’t know any of them), and now I can say with confidence that Dallas Barnhartvale Baptist Church, a small community in the neighbouring city of Kamloops, is home. I get to be a part of the worship team there which is really exciting! The team is made up of some seriously awesome people who have gone to great lengths to make me feel at home here in Canada. The Elliason family (the children of which form a large part of the worship team), along with the Jones family (in Olds, Alberta) have really made me feel like I have a sense of family here. I appreciate them hugely.


Over the summer, I was asked to work at Sunnybrae Bible Camp as the Chapel Coordinator and the Head Guy’s Councilor. The chapel coordinator role was very similar to what I did back in England, so I felt fairly comfortable with it but the councilor role was quite different from anything I’d done before! My job was to look after the cabin leaders each week, make sure they were fully supported and make sure everything was running smoothly. Honestly, I found it quite difficult to learn the role and but after a rocky few weeks, I think I finally started to get the hang of it. Despite getting to drive boats on the most beautiful lake imaginable as part of my job description, the biggest privilege by far was getting to see countless young people make decisions to follow Jesus. It was an incredible summer.


At around Christmas time (ish), my mum was diagnosed with cancer and after an operation in late January things were starting to get a bit scary for the family. It was clear (and understandable) that mum was feeling the strain considerably, so thanks to the incredible kindness of some very special people in my life I was able to fly home and surprise her. It was one of the best moments of the year…I actually recorded it:

In July I went back to England again to be best man for my best friend which really cool! I’d never been a best man before so was terrified, but the wedding was amazing and I got to catch up with people too which was great. Unfortunately I was only back for a week as things were super busy at the camp but it was great to be a part of it.

Over Canadian thanksgiving weekend, I went on a road trip with two other Millar students that covered Seattle, Portland, Redding (and Bethel), Los Angeles, Palm Springs Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, and Salt Lake City…in four days. It was super intense but a once in a lifetime experience for sure. Another video below:

Finally, on Saturday we leave for a two week missions trip to Mexico. The way that God provided for the trip was just amazing (see financial stuff below) and I can’t wait to experience Mexican culture, learn more about missions and hopefully help the community that we’re going to be a part of.


This is a really important part of the update for me. One of the values I really appreciated during my time at Kerith Community Church is transparency with finances and I want to make sure that I’m the same way, especially in a season when I am so dependent on God’s provision to be at school. And really, this is all a wonderful story of God’s provision:

Ok. God had provided everything I needed for my first year of Bible school, and during my ‘GoFundMe’ season I was very open about the fact that that money would also provide for my flight to England for the Hulme wedding (around £1200).

In February as I was worried about flying home to be with my mum, I was hugely blessed by friends financially, and actually had to send back money as I’d been given too much! What an honour!

I needed around $6,500 for the first semester of my second year at Millar. As well as being paid around $4,000 by Sunnybrae for the summer of work, I received a bursary from both Sunnybrae and Millar of $1,000 each. The rest was made up with music composition ( and graphic design work.

The road trip would be hugely expensive were I to travel from England, but because we drove our friend’s little Golf (diesel), lived off of Mr Noodles ($0.40 each) and Macdonalds and slept in the car (or not at all), the whole trip cost a total of £100 each (more than the £65 we initially calculated). Pretty exciting!

I initially couldn’t go on the Mexico trip, but kept praying that God would provide the finances if it was His will for me to go. That continued until the final day for signups, and I prayed one last time for finances. Within an hour or so I received an email from the Hulme family. Dave’s parents asked if they could pay for half of my flights to England for the wedding…which worked out as almost exactly the $980 I needed to go to Mexico! I strongly believe that God used the Hulme family to provide the finances I needed to go on the trip.

So that leaves me looking to next semester. Currently, I have around a third of the finances that I need to pay for next semester. Around $1000 came from a gift from Kerith Community Church in England, while the rest is a result of my position working for Millar to oversee the worship teams. Honestly, I don’t know where the rest of the finances are going to come from, but in the last two years God has continually provided in amazing ways and I don’t believe He is about to stop now, as long as this is His will for me. So, if you pray, I would hugely appreciate your prayers for the next semester!

My final Open University course (as with the entire course) was paid for by a combination of my own finances, previous savings from my full-time job (that was always put aside), a bursary from the Open University itself and parental support



I appreciate that many of you will not have made it this far, but if you have, thank you! I know that I’m exactly where God wants me to be and I’m excited to see Him continue to move in my life over the next season. Again, if you pray, I would hugely appreciate your prayers for me to be diligent with this heavy workload, with my finances, and provide opportunities for me to share the Gospel with people (it can be difficult when living in the college bubble!). Thank you!!


Emotional Weightlifting: Laying Down a Marker


It’s in the trials that we often find our strength.

We hear those sorts of statements regularly and all too often, write them off as trite or unrealistic, but in the following paragraphs you will find a marker; a call to arms; a stand. Not only do I believe in the opening statement with every fibre of my being, but I refuse to accept anything less.

2014 has not been straightforward. I have experienced more rejection over the course of the year than any other in my lifetime. Some days have been excruciatingly lonely. Many others have been filled with the stress of the unknown. Still others have seemed to overflow with a sense of dejection and helpless agonising over the decisions that got me to this point. After all, it’s too late to go back! There is a good chance that the majority of people reading this will relate to one or more of these feelings I’ve experienced this year – and more than likely to an even greater extent.

I like to think of it as emotional weightlifting. Almost exactly a year ago I found out that I was going to be made redundant. A huge emotional weight was placed onto the bar I’m holding and I’m grateful to be able to say that though I struggled, I did not buckle. It made me stronger. With each trial throughout the year, I felt the emotional strain increase, but remained firm. In true British fashion, I was determined to keep calm and carry on. Due to a number of factors in the last few weeks, the weight became almost too much to bear. It forced me to my knees. There are, and I imagine will always be times when the strain feels insurmountably great. But thankfully, it is not my strength that I am relying on.

You see, I serve a loving God who has a plan and a purpose for me (Jer 29:11; Eph 2:10). When my trust and delight is in Him, He will make a way where there seems not to be one (Psa 37:4; Pro 3:5-6). This God; my LORD, is my strength (Psa 28:7; Neh 8:10; Phi 4:13), and therefore where these weak, buckling knees would fail on their own, with the Lord I can stand firm! I will not relent under the emotional strain of the personal trials I face, but revel in the joy of who He is, what He has done for me, and what He continues to do in every day of my life. Though I may be weak, my God is strong and I will stand firm.

There will be times where, like Job, I will struggle. There will be times where I will want to hide and times where I toy with the idea of giving up…but I will not. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed,but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

There is a Kingdom to strive and more importantly, a King to serve. As such, I will not give up. I will not be afraid or discouraged, for in a glorious juxtaposition, the Lord I serve supports me while I strive to do so (Josh 1:9). I will push for faith in the presence of adversity, tenacity in the face of troubles and prioritise gratitude for immense blessing over sorrow in struggles. This is a call not just for me but for all of us not to give up.

Despite this year of trials, I simply cannot and will not overlook the dozens of wonderful families who have invited me into their homes, the overwhelming kindness of strangers, the exceptional generosity and insight of friends, the opportunity to learn full-time and see the world, as well as the excitement of an adventure forged out of a decision to stop focusing on my will and to start focusing on God’s. A year of emotional weightlifting has made me all the stronger in Him and I am ready push forward in 2015. Bring it on!

One Year Blog Challenge

Four Steps To Creativity


One of my passions in the church and as a general rule is that we learn how to get creative well. Too often we settle for less when God deserves our best. It starts with this statement: we need to be learners. Here are four steps that I believe are crucial to learning how to be creative:

Step 1 – Inspiration

Of course, in order to progress in any creative field, we need to be inspired to do so. I was inspired to learn the guitar by the shellbacked acoustic my step-brother left in the living room of my dad’s house once, combined with a Green Day song called “Time of Your Life”. Two creative geniuses back in England, Andy White and Lee Rowbotham inspired me to learn about graphic design because I wanted to replicate the amazing work they were creating. I learnt how to record music because I was inspired by some more friends: David Cottee and James Hosker. Whether it’s a song, a friend, an ambition or a frustration, we need to be inspired!

Step 2 – Imitatation

Regardless of the creative avenue you long to explore, I’ve found that one of the best things you can do is copy those that are ahead of you.


The idea is not to publish it and breach various copyright laws and so on; but rather to dissect and analyse the work of someone with more experience than you. Writers – study an excerpt of an author you admire – why do they choose those words? Designers – note the fonts, spacing and the use of colour in a design you love. Songwriters – what effect does that octave jump in the melody have on the song, why did they use the chord progression that they did and how does that impact the song? How does the electric guitar fit with the keyboard in the arrangement?

…I could go on.

Dissecting a piece of work is like lifting up the bonnet (hood for my north American friends) of a car and taking a look at its inner workings. We can reverse-engineer it, learn what makes it tick and in doing so, try and understand what steps to take to recreate it ourselves (at this point, recreating the piece is basically a game of ‘spot the difference’ between your work and theirs).

An example for me personally was in my guitar playing a few years ago. I just couldn’t understand why, when I played the same notes that the members of Hillsong United played on guitar, it sounded totally different. I spent hours trawling the cyber-space until I learnt about some of the effects they used to get their ‘sound’. It was then a case of researching, practicing and experimenting until I could understand how they achieved the tones they did. Another musician I studied lots was John Mayer – to me, he’s the best guitar player in the world, so I would learn his songs as note-perfectly as I could to try and understand the theoretical concepts that underpin his style.

 Step 3 – Implementation

The next step in this process is to take the concepts that you like and apply it in your own creative space. For example, as a designer you may spot that the background of your chosen study piece isn’t simply a block of colour – rather, it gets darker around the outside. This is called a ‘vignette’. Where appropriate, this technique can be distilled from a larger piece of work and applied to your own future work.

Going back to my guitar example, I learnt a huge amount about how different sounds create different feels. Emulating other bands helped me to learn about what sounds my guitar was capable of so that when we came to write our own songs, I had a larger toolkit at my disposal. For example, there is a particular electric guitar part that comes up again and again in 6m-4-1-5 progressions. No, you don’t need to know what that means. The same is true of the chord inversions that John Mayer frequently uses. 

Step 4 – Imagination

With a toolkit filled with the techniques used by the people that inspire you, now is the time to put your own creative stamp on whatever it is you’re interested in. This could be a time to deviate from previous models, tweak, mould and pull together various ideas to create a rather more beautiful Frankenstein’s monster of creativity with your name on it. Or perhaps it’s a time to break new ground, to try something previously unseen or unheard of – but this is a well-informed and deliberate choice rather than an unaware and unwitting one.

In the last year or two, I’ve finally feel that I’ve created a sound that I’m comfortable with as a guitarist – a sound that’s ‘me’, and not a cookie-cutter imitation of another. When asked, I usually find it easiest to describe it as the middle ground between John Mayer and Hillsong United but in truth, there are far more influences than that. Shapes or positions on the fret board, pedal uses and sounds and various other techniques have collected over time. This is certainly the hardest step and be under no illusion – it takes time. I’ve been playing guitar for eleven years and am only just finding my own sound! It may be quicker for you; it may even be longer!

Originality is our ultimate destination, but please don’t take that to mean that you should ignore the mountains of fantastic work that has gone before you. Learn from the people that have paved the way for you!


A Canadian Update

2014 has been quite a whirlwind. Nine months ago, I was in the midst of planning New Year’s Resolutions for a precarious trajectory that was due to shatter at any moment. However, God knew that and there were other plans afoot. I last posted on this page from Singapore following a life changing three-months of theological training. The memories linger but time, as ever, marches inexorably forward. Following a month back in England and a week celebrating the marriage of two of my closest friends in Lithuania, I arrived in Canada to study at Millar College of the Bible. This is my home now – at least until April. Who knows what the future holds after that?

So, given the prolonged nature of my stay here and following a number of requests, I thought I’d send out a brief update as to where I am, what I’m doing etc. If you find this boring, I don’t blame you. Scroll to the bottom and there’s a video that might be a little more interesting…but only a little.

The School

Almost all the students live on the stunning campus, facing a gorgeous lake and next to Mount Bastion. There’s an indoor gymnasium, outdoor football pitch, volleyball and basketball courts and various places to relax which is fantastic – though when the cold weather sets in the students probably won’t use them so much. As for my room, I’m sharing with three other guys – each of us have a bunk with a desk underneath (where I’m currently sitting) and the bathroom is attached.

I’m a ‘freshman’ in the school of around sixty students. My weekday routine usually involves waking at 5:45 and after showering, studying for an hour before breakfast which, with every other meal, is served in the campus dining hall. Lectures begin at 08:00 and finish at 12:30, with a brief break for chapel at 10:00. So far, we’ve covered ‘Bible Overview’, ‘Essentials of Discipleship’, ‘Written Communication’, ‘An Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels’ and ‘The Torah’. I’m thoroughly enjoying it, though much time is taken up with assignments and required reading. This is partly because I have two Open University modules (one in marketing and one in introductory Mandarin Chinese) starting at the weekend so I want to cover as much as possible before that! The teaching is phenomenal, as is the wider staff in general. It’s a fantastic school to be a part of.

The Outdoors

As well as the aforementioned outdoor opportunities, we also have the privilege of being able to grab a kayak or canoe whenever we want and take to the lake, which is by far been one of my favourite things to do. A few weeks ago a group of us crossed the lake and back, which took us about two hours. I loved every second!

One of the optional modules I signed up for was ‘Outdoor Edge’, a class that incorporates theology with the outdoors. As part of that course, we’ve been able to go rock-climbing, waterfall traversing and last weekend we went on a mandatory camping trip to Clearwater Falls. Although it was incredibly tiring (and very cold), the scenery made it totally worth it. Also, the men managed to fit thirteen guys in a ten-man tent, which, believe me, is no small achievement!

The Worship Team

Having been almost six months since I finished my job at Kerith Community Church, it’s also been that long since I served regularly in a worship team context. Although I had the opportunity to lead at a conference in England as well as the Kerith youth camp, I’ve been itching to serve in a regular capacity again. I’m hugely grateful to be on one of the chapel teams at Millar, as well as getting the opportunity to serve in a music director capacity for ‘Emmaus’, a team put together with the intention of doing external ministry. For my long-term followers and friends, you’ll understand how excited I am for this opportunity as it reminds me of the Ethos era that holds such a prominent place in my heart. I’m serving as a keyboard player for both teams, which I’m sure will amuse my friends back home – but I get to play with my techno-geekery so I’m extremely pleased with this opportunity!

Other News

As with Singapore, I feel settled remarkably quickly. One of the most amazing things about the global church is the sense of community wherever you go and that has certainly hugely blessed me. Of course, I miss my family and friends, but I feel totally confident that I am exactly where God wants me to be for this time. I’m currently making plans for the breaks – the first in October and of course, Christmas. I’m not 100% sure what I will do but I’m sure it’ll be an adventure!

Finally, thank you so much for all of your messages and encouragements over the last month. I hugely appreciate hearing from you and although the time difference is a bit of a nightmare, it really means a lot.

I will be posting video updates at periodic intervals, but because of the level of routine and the fact that I have only left campus five times in three weeks, there is simply not enough to post every week! For now, I hope you enjoy this second video update! Thanks again,



Leaving the Singapore Ward

Technically, I’m an actor.

Yeah, that’s right. I got into the business a long time ago – in fact, I have to be honest with you. I think it was purely for my looks.

As a premature twin, my brother and I were very small babies. Leaving the comfort of the space we’d been renting (our contract ran out, or something like that…it was a little cramped for two of us anyway – very cheap though and free food), we found ourselves spending the first few days getting to know this new world by being stared at in special incubators. Excuse me if my memory is a little hazy on this, but I believe this is where we got our big break. I don’t remember how, but somehow but we ended up butt-naked at the end of what I can now tell you was an extremely mediocre movie. Not that I cared. I was still adjusting to the light; still getting used to the feel of the air around me; still a long way from figuring out what on earth was going on.

Ok, so that was as far as my acting career got. Now I’m twenty-five and I’ve just finished a three-month stay in Singapore to attend the School of Supernatural Ministry (SSM). During this time, we studied who God desires us to be, how He is at work today and how to step out in faith with the gifts God has placed in us. I’m a few hours from flying back to England and that picture of me as a baby keeps coming back to me. Why?

When I was nineteen, I had an encounter that prompted me to choose to follow Jesus for the rest of my life. That decision is one that I have not regretted, even for a single moment. The Bible says that I became a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17); that I was born again. Although that may be true, in some senses I feel like I didn’t leave the womb immediately. I’d inadvertently stumbled into Kerith Community Church in the search of friendship, and I found Jesus. Or rather, he found me. I adored the community and passion for God at that church and my very first moments as a new creation were amongst the people that formed this particular expression of faith. Kerith Community Church nurtured both me as a person and my relationship with Jesus to such an extent that I will never truly be able to express my gratitude. They were the womb in which this new life was able to grow, protected and supported. They were my harbour; but as a wonderful lady prophesied over me a few years ago, ‘a ship is not meant for the harbour, it’s meant for the high seas.’

Kerith Community Church is a phenomenal place that I do miss considerably (and am super excited about returning to for a few weeks), but it seems that God didn’t intend for me to be there forever. In April, I left the Kerith womb and just as in my first moments in this world, I found myself heading for the incubator: The School of Supernatural Ministry.

To me, it is very apt to describe SSM in this way. At Kerith, I was protected and nurtured and when I left, the school didn’t seek to undo anything that had been done or un-teach anything that had been taught. Rather, as an incubator continues the growth process, so did they. I have gained a much deeper understanding of God and of his Word, the Bible. My faith for breakthroughs, miracles and powerful encounters with God has never been higher. My confidence in the things of the supernatural – of healing, prophecy and words of knowledge to name a few – has increased more than I could have imagined and what’s more, I feel fully assured of who I am in Jesus.

In this incubator I am not alone. I have been hugely inspired by phenomenal staff and teachers, pushed and encouraged by the best classmates I could have hoped for and blessed by countless others along the way. As I prepare to be reassigned to a Canadian incubator in September, I know that there are friendships and bonds here that will not be easily broken. I do not say that lightly or flippantly! It really was simply that impactful a time.

In this incubator I have been exposed to a totally new culture and fallen just as totally in love with it. Singapore is a wonderful country that I am reluctant to leave. Morten T. Kelsey said that ‘The church is not a museum for saints but a hospitable for sinners’, and I believe that right now, I’m simply moving to a different ward. I have the privilege of studying more about Jesus over the next year but I do believe that at some point in this indiscernible future we are perpetually striding towards, I’ll come back to the Singapore ward to help in the wonderful work that is happening here. What an exciting thought.

It’s been an incredible adventure and one that I wouldn’t change for the world. I’m so grateful to everyone that has made this time learning about the King of Kings so powerful. Thank you.

Besides, I would’ve made a terrible actor so probably best that that ship sailed without me!

One Year Blog Challenge, Uncategorized

Thoughts On Untold Beauty

In the last year I’ve had the immense privilege of seeing some of the most beautiful places on earth. From the sprawling skyscrapers of Singapore to the awe-inspiring Alps in Europe and Rockies in Canada. I’ve witnessed the majesty of both the Taj Mahal in India and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Then of course, there’s Albania and Estonia; two of my favourite nations…and others besides. It’s been an honour.

I know what you’re thinking; and yes, this is a boastful post – but not because I’ve been able to travel. The single thread that connects every single one of these places is the wonder of our creative God. So often I’ve been dumbfounded by the intricacy and splendour of his glorious creation that I can do very little else other than fix these overwhelmed eyes on the Master Craftsman. The One who moulded the mountains with his own hands, caused every blade of grass to push up from the soil, set the waves in motion  and inspired the placement of every single brick by human hands. When I look at the beauty of the world, all I see is the Designer. I can’t help but boast in him!

Over the last few days, I’ve been drawn to this verse in the Bible:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn among creation. For by him, all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

– Colossians 1:15-16

Of course, the passage is talking about Jesus, but as I focussed on this verse, I realised something that’s as obvious as it is astounding: God created the visible and the invisible! So often, I am almost moved to tears by the phenomenon that is the earth – the physical, visible realm. I can do little else but worship upon seeing such beauty – and yet it’s only part of the wonder of our God! How much more untold beauty is hidden from our eyes?!

For some reason, something else I keep thinking about is the iconic scene from one of my favourite childhood movies, ‘Hook’, in which Robin Williams (as Peter Pan) can’t see the food that everyone else is eating. It’s not until he engages his imagination that he’s able to see the outrageous feast before him. As Christians, one of our mandates is to bring the magnificence of Heaven from the supernatural realm into the natural – the more we allow ourselves to be open to the work the Holy Spirit, the more we will begin to become aware of the unfathomable beauty of Heaven. The invisible will become more and more visible – and the world will never look the same! What a wonderful thought!

One of the privileges of studying at this incredible school in Singapore is that I have had the opportunity to experience what was previously invisible to me. I can’t wait to experience more!


Furka Pass, Switzerland

Furka Pass, Switzerland

Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal, India

Hagia Sofia, Istanbul

Hagia Sofia, Istanbul

The Rockies, Canada

The Rockies, Canada


Marina Bay, Singapore


One Year Blog Challenge, Uncategorized

Thank You Kerith Community Church

In two days, I’ll be flying to Singapore where I’ll have the privilege of being able to focus on studying. I’m hugely grateful for the opportunity, but naturally a little sad to be leaving the church that I’ve called home for the last six years. I’ve given my all for this local church – for this small expression of the global movement in which God is doing some truly spectacular things. God, indeed, is not dead. Someone asked me why I was so ‘into’ the church the other day and I think all I can do in response to that question is highlight, purely selfishly, what Kerith Community Church has done for me as a person in the last six years:

I am a better friend


I have experienced true friendship in a way that I’m not sure I ever had before.  My friends love me for who I am, not what I can offer them; they’ve taught me to do the same. My friends go the extra mile to show me encouragement, support, loyalty and patience even when I don’t deserve it; they’re teaching me to do the same. They’ve taught me that no one is fundamentally bad; rather, they are simply good people who make mistakes sometimes. I used to have a deep mistrust in people. My friends have shown me that people are worth taking a chance on.

 I am more skilled


I arrived as a musician. I’ve learnt so much about recording, graphic design, leadership, teaching, video editing, touring, songwriting, theology, communication and many more skills besides.

 I will be a better husband


I’ve learnt so much about how to relate to people; in particular, how to build a loving, honouring, trusting relationship. There are so many couples in our church whose relationships totally inspire me. As a result of my time as Kerith and the stunning examples around me, I will be ten times the man I would have been for my future wife. That’s genuinely life-changing!

I will be a better parent


When I first came to Kerith, I was thoroughly uninterested in working with anyone under the age of 16. Working with Ethos, the youth band at the time was a stretch. Working with Revolution, the even younger youth band was a struggle. Every rehearsal for weeks, I’d leave with a headache. Slowly, I began to feel a real passion for young people – the opportunity to contribute to a young person realizing the immense potential that is inside each and every one of them is a staggeringly exciting prospect that I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about now if I tried!

In the earlier years at Kerith, I also tried my hand at babysitting –

I figured I’d have to get good at looking after children at some point! I distinctly remember people laughing at me about it; they just couldn’t imagine me with children. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work with every age group at church and got to lead the 5-11s group a number of times…I love it! In fact, on the day I return from Singapore I’ll be heading straight to the ‘New Wine’ conference to lead worship for hundreds of 3 and 4 year olds. What a shift!

In fact, one of the most heart-warming moments of the last few weeks was saying goodbye to two of the children who ran up to me and gave me a big hug. How cute is that?! I couldn’t imagine looking after children/young people before I came to Kerith – now I’m really looking forward to having my own (although I must admit that I’m not in any great hurry)! I’m so grateful to Kerith for all I’ve learnt about parenting from the incredible opportunities and countless brilliant parents that have taught me so much.

 I am a Christian


Of course, I am so grateful to Kerith for providing the environment in which I could encounter God for the first time. I was a pretty staunch atheist when I first set foot inside the Kerith Centre. Slowly, I began to realise that God was not as ridiculous a concept as I had thought it to be. Believing in God didn’t mean renouncing science and better yet, I could have a personal relationship with him. I chose to follow Jesus in 2008 and since then, he has thoroughly transformed me from the inside out. I am grateful that He leads and directs me, comforts and sustains me. I am proud to say that God is all I need and as I start this new season of adventures, it is solely in pursuit of Him, nothing more.

How could I not be passionate about a place that has been so influential to the last six years of my life? For every person that has impacted my time at Kerith, whether great or small, thank you so much. I really will never forget it!

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(P.S. If you’ve never been to Kerith Community Church before, I thoroughly recommend going along on a Sunday to take a look. You’ll be so welcomed! Click here for Kerith’s website)



Hi everyone,

Aside from two posts on acoustic guitar and music theory, I haven’t written much on here for a while; to be honest, I think I was pretty exhausted after writing a blog post every day for a year, so it has been nice to take a bit of a break! But I’ve not been idle. In fact, some of the biggest changes my life has ever seen will take place in the coming months – I’d like to share with you a little about what’s happening. The easiest way to do that is to quote from my ‘GoFundMe’ page (which I’ll explain a little more shortly):

The Past and the Present

My name is Dave Betts. In 2008, shortly after a powerful encounter with God, I started volunteering for a fantastic church in Bracknell, England…Kerith Community Church. After a year, I was given the position of Music Director and after two years of volunteering, I was able to work as part of the paid staff team.

It’s been an immense privilege; I’ve had the opportunity to play, write, arrange, record and teach music with an incredible team of adults and young people both in the UK and overseas, as well as working in recent months with the graphic design team. I’ve learnt an awful lot, both humbled and hugely grateful for such a brilliant five years. Unfortunately, however, I was made redundant with four other staff members in January. This is due to financial issues and whilst I’m naturally disappointed, I truly believe that Simon and the Eldership team at Kerith have made the best decision for the good of the church in the long term. I finish working in mid-April.

The Future 

I was on a ministry trip in Canada with Michael and Esther Ross-Watson when I received the news, which turned out to be a real blessing as I had lots of time to think, talk and pray about what would be next. I believe that even today God speaks to us and while I was away, I believe God spoke very clearly about the direction He wants to take me in. I believe He wants me to spend some time studying the Bible, in order that I would be more effective for Him. I began serving in ministry so quickly after choosing to follow Jesus that I very much had to learn as I went. After five brilliant years as Kerith, I believe studying at a Bible college is the next step for me.

God has already opened doors in astounding ways; providing all the finances, accommodation, flights and living expenses for a short course at the School of Supernatural Ministry in Singapore from May to July.

I’ve applied for a Bible College in Canada that I spent some time in while with Michael and Esther. It was an exciting place that I have no doubt will stretch and grow me in new ways.

It’s all go! I finish working at Kerith on the 11th April and fly to Singapore on the 2nd May. After a month back in England in the Summer I’ll catch a one-way flight to Canada where, if everything goes to plan, I’ll stay.  But who knows what God has in store!
I’ve been working pretty hard to get everything in order before I leave; from ensuring that I’ve done all I can to support the guys at Kerith (in particular, Revolution) to systematically selling anything that I don’t need anymore, it’s been a busy time. There are few things I’d love to share with you in particular though:



Unfortunately, I can’t afford to go to Canada without God seriously breaking in. Fortunately, I truly believe that he will! GoFundMe is a place where, should you feel an urge to support me in any way you can financially, you can. I would be unbelievably grateful, but as I’ve said before, I trust God to provide so please don’t feel any pressure!


YouTube / Soundcloud

I took a few days off a couple of weeks ago to film some YouTube tutorials on music theory and how to play the guitar. It was an intense week but I managed to film over 50 tutorials covering everything from the very, very basics of guitar to some much more advanced principles such as the CAGED system. My plan is to release two videos a week for the majority of the year! There are also some new songs that I’ve written both for church and secular – the latter I got to write with Marija Kamarauskaite, one of my closest friends which was a real privilege. I’ve also put a ton of compositions up onto Soundcloud too – see the links below.
Why am I doing this? Well, I’ve had the immense privilege of meeting many people from many churches around the world who have asked for help with learning to play the guitar and traditionally haven’t been able to help them. By recording these tutorials, it means that I can teach people from wherever I am in the world – including those guys in Revolution. One of my greatest passions is that they continue to do as well as they are doing. However, it’s also just a great place to be able to showcase what I’ve been up to over the last few years; an  ‘online CV’ of sorts.
It would really help me if, should you so desire, you could subscribe to my YouTube or Soundcloud channels:






SO. That’s all that’s going on in my life right now. I plan to use this blog as a journal over the next year as I explore this totally new and exciting season. As ever, I’d love for you to join me along the way! I’ll leave you with a video of one of the songs that Marija and I wrote last week:

How to Nail Acoustic Guitar in Less Than Three Months

Learning to play the guitar is much easier than people think it is.

Yes, I said it. Of course, there are seriously advanced techniques and skills to be acquired, but it is one of the simplest instruments there is to get to a basic competence level. By using the information below in tandem with my previous post on music theory, I believe you could play along with at least 90% of contemporary music today. Maybe you won’t be shredding those crazy solos yet but if you’re looking for a starting point, this is it.

Step 1 – Learn Some Music Theory

Music Theory is not ‘sexy’. I get it, you’re one of the 100,000 beginner guitarists I’ve heard trying to play that Metallica solo or that AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses and even John Mayer line before you understand the basic principles surrounding the construction of music. Steady now, young padawan. First, you should understand the force before you can use it…and never, ever wear a top hat. You are not Slash.

I recently wrote a post that covered all of what I would consider the basic principles of music theory – these are particularly relevant in a church setting, but they are useful for many other settings too. I strongly suggest that you read, bookmark, practice, read again and keep coming back to that post until you really understand it. Whilst it doesn’t cover improvisation for solos and so on, it will build strong foundations that will help make it much easier in the future. For now, we’re sticking to being rhythm guitarists anyway.

Step 2 – Learn the Note Names of the E and A Strings

For total beginners, you may have noticed that there are six strings on your guitar. From the lowest sounding string to the highest sounding string, the notes progress as follows: E  A  D  G  B  E. It is often written on guitar tablature (a form of notation using numbers and often abbreviated to ‘TAB’ – find out more here) as follows:







Learning the note names from fret 0 to fret 12 (exactly an octave higher than fret 0) on the E and the A string is often overlooked, but vitally important exercise. The knowledge of these strings will enable you to play almost any song in any key with only a handful of chords under your belt. We’ll look more at this later.

What’s more, by knowing the note names of the E and the A string, you can very easily learn the note names of every other string. Skip this part if you aren’t interested (as it’s not relevant to acoustic guitarists just yet) or already know about this.

Every note name on the guitar with ease:

D string

Same as the E string when played two frets higher. Eg, E fret 3 is G. D fret 5 is also G.

G string

Same as the A string when played two frets higher. Eg, A fret 3 is C. G fret 5 is also C.

B string

Same as the A string when played two frets lower. Eg. A fret 3 is C. B fret 1 is also C.

High E string is obviously the same as low E. It should however be mentioned that whilst these are they same notes on the various strings, they are not always the same octave.


Step 3 – Nine Chords to Rule Them All

 If you’ve looked at the music theory notes I mentioned earlier, you’ll know all about keys and the Nashville system. If so, great. If not, don’t worry about it just yet – this part will still be useful but won’t be as useful without that knowledge.

As acoustic guitarists, I personally believe that G and C are the most important keys to learn initially. These keys will allow you to play any song in any key once you’ve learnt the fourth and final step. The links between the two keys mean that there are only nine chords to learn to get going, which makes things much more simple. Start by learning these open chords:

G  Am  Bm  C  D  Dm  Em  F  F#m

I’m not going to tell you how. Between YouTube and Google, I’m sure you can figure it out! Otherwise, this post would be huge! Don’t tell me it will take you more than two months to learn nine chords!!

Step 4 – Get Capo Capable



This is a capo.

It’s going to be your best friend while you start out. In fact, I’ve been playing guitar for twelve years and it’s still my best friend. Maybe I need more friends.

Essentially, a capo can raise the entire pitch of the guitar so that wherever you place it becomes the new fret 0This is where your music theory knowledge comes into play…and where all of a sudden, playing guitar gets a whole lot easier.

Our chords in the key of C are:

1    2m   3m     4    5     6m    7m

C    Dm    Em    F    G    Am    Bm

Our chords in the key of G are:

1      2m     3m    4    5     6m    7m

G    Am    Bm    C    D    Em    F#m

*The astute among you will know that chord 7m is technically a diminished chord, but for the sake of ease, we’ll avoid that for now.

Well, this is fine if we’re playing in the key of C or G – we have everything we need. But what if a song is in E? How can we play this song without having to learn a load of new chords? Simply, by following this process.

Using a capo to play in a different key

When we play a G in the key of G, fret 3 on the E string is our root note ( a ‘G’).

When we play a C in the key of C, fret 3 on the A string is our root note. (a ‘C’)

Step 1 – Choose starting chord, move the chord shape to the desired root note

In this example, our G chord shape rests on a G root note on the E string. By moving the whole shape up the fretboard (G#, A, A#, B) we find that the root note of our G chord shape becomes a B at fret 7.

Note: this wouldn’t work in the key of C for this example, as you can only raise the pitch (not lower it) to use a capo.

Step 2 – Place the capo 4 frets lower

If we were to play the chord as it was, it would sound pretty awful. This is because of the open strings. Instead, by placing a capo three frets lower, the chord begins to sound as it should.

Note: think of it as ‘current fret – 3 frets’. In this case:

fret 7-3 = capo on fret 4.

Step 3 – Play in the key of G or C

In this case, we are playing in the key of G. However, although chord 1 is still ‘G’ as far as what we play, the chord that is produced is actually a B. Likewise, chord 2m is still played as an Am, but the chord that is produced is actually a C#m.

This is very easy with the Nashville system as you never look at specific chords – you simply place a capo and play the song as if it was always in G. However, it is good practice to learn the theory as it is very likely that you will be given a chord sheet with the original chords in and have to transpose on the fly. Be prepared to do this!

A few examples for good measure

 The same principle applies to the key of C, only using the A string as our reference point (‘ahhhhh, I hear you say’). Let’s look at a few examples using these steps:

Example 1 – Song in the key of E

Step 1

We would technically use a capo for both G and C, but C wouldn’t be quite so high, which is probably a good thing. We’re not playing the mandolin.

By taking our C shape and moving it up the fretboard (C# D D# E) we find that the root note of our C shape becomes an E at fret 7.

Step 2

Fret 7-3 = capo on fret 4

Step 3

Now when we play the song in the key of C, it will actually sound like the key of E. Perfect!

Example 2 – Song in the key of F#

Step 1

We wouldn’t be able to go high enough to play in the key of G, so we must use the key of C.

By taking our C shape and moving it up the fretboard (C# D D# E F F#) we find that the root note of our C shape becomes an F# at fret 9.

Step 2

Fret 9-3 = capo on fret 6

Step 3

Now when we play the song in the key of C, it will actually sound like the key of F#. Fantastic!


Example 2 – Song in the key of D

 Step 1

We could actually play in both C or G here; at this point it becomes personal preference. Perhaps there is another acoustic guitar player lower down the fretboard, so I’m going to choose to go higher up. G it is.

By taking our G shape and moving it up the fretboard (G# A A# B C C# D) we find that the root note of our G shape becomes a D at fret 10.

Step 2

Fret 10-3 = capo on fret 7

Step 3

Now when we play the song in the key of G, it will actually sound like the key of D. Glorious!


Now to Practice!

 This post, combined with the previous post on music theory should be enough to help you go from total beginner to being competent in a large number of settings. This is by no means exhaustive – you will need to look at strumming, finger-picking and other such aspects on playing the guitar yourself. My intention is not to tell you everything you need to know in one sitting – rather, to equip you with enough skills to be able to play along with (even at a basic level) with almost any of your favourite music. Music is an art, an enjoyable hobby and a gift that should never become a chore. I strongly believe in practice routines, scales and technical development, but only if there is an outlet to truly enjoy what you’re doing too.

I hope that this benefits you; I’d love to hear from you if it does! All the best.