“Lead Me” is such a meaningful song to me. I remember sitting in a room working on the lyrics and thinking I had so much I wanted to say in this song, but I couldn’t find the right words. I opened my Bible to Psalm 119 and began to read and one verse stood out to me; “I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words”. This verse is how these lyrics came to be.

I Seek you at the rising of the day. For you see the things I cannot see. Help my heart to always trust in you. For I know you’re good in all your ways.

So often, we try to determine our steps. We like to be in control of every situation and do our best to always be in the know about everything. I remember reading this verse, stopping, and thinking, “what if I started every day with Jesus? How would my life change? What if I trusted him enough to know that He would orchestrate my day-to-day and that He would take care of me?” God knew me before I was born so why wouldn’t I trust Him to see and take care of the things I can’t control?” My mind began processing these questions and I realized that my issue isn’t necessarily control, my issue is trust. I still sometimes struggle to believe that God will take care of me and help me overcome any issue I may face. I am still learning to completely remove my desire for control and trust instead in God’s control.

Trusting God’s control is a battle many of us face daily. There are distractions and opinions all around us that can sway us to the left or to the right. But I truly believe that when you wake up in the morning and you start your day with Jesus, He gives you the strength to conquer anything. He will fight your battles and He will always be faithful.



2 Timothy 3:16-17 teaches us that, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you look at the history of the people of God, music has always been used to help train people in the ways of God. It isn't just to sing or have music about God, but actually for teaching, reminding, and training. The truth is, people remember songs better than sermons, so songwriters for the church have a huge responsibility in choosing what they write about. 

The congregations I pastor sing a lot about the work of Christ, and I have seen the incredible transformation that that has brought for our church. But with that I believe there are other areas that the people I pastor can grow in. Truthfully, it's because its an area I need to grow in. Recently, the Holy Spirit has been teaching me to love the Scripture. The Bible is an incredible gift that teaches us how to have relationship with God. So I think it is of the utmost importance for us to learn to hear, trust, and obey the word of God. And what better way to learn how to do that than through song? That's really the heart behind "Above All." We want people to learn the Scripture through song.

Colossians 3:16 instructs us in this. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." The word of God dwelling in us richly or as the abundance will cause us to overflow into song. Our job as song writers is to let Christ's word dwell in us and let that flow out of us



This is something I have had to learn over time to see what best fits our band or the youth ministry I am a part of. The way you plan and structure your rehearsal is different in every church, but it is extremely important. This is more of a practical blog for those of you that need some tips in this area.

I have found that more people want to be a part and come prepared when they feel that their time is valued and that they are part of a community, not just a “band”. Whoever the designated worship leader and youth pastor is should first begin by establishing culture and who you are as a worship team within your youth ministry. Here is a basic outline of our youth practice on Wednesday Nights:

  • 3:00 - Media people arrive to make sure everything is set and ready to go on the stage
  • 4:00 – Band arrives and plugs in
  • 4:15 - Sound Check - Encourage your sound tech to lead this part. Having nobody else playing except the instrument he is sound checking. This will help everyone’s patience and help to utilize your time well.
  • 4:30- Rehearsal Begins - Encourage everyone to know their music ahead of practice. COME PREPARED. EW usually run through the whole set and transitions at least two times without stopping.
  • 5:30 - Pray - Put some worship music on and have a moment to set the tone for the night. Encourage some students to lead this part.
  • 5:40 - Dinner together - This is something new we are adding, but honestly I believe it could be the most important after prayer. Community is everything.
  • 6:05 - Service Run through
  • 6:15 - Leader Run through of the night
  • 6:30- Pre- service Prayer - everyone in the band should be at this.
  • 7:05- Service begins

This is how we structure our worship time. Everyone does theirs different, but we have found that this works well for us. Make your rehearsals fun and encouraging. Challenge your students to learn new music and maybe do practices on the weekends for those that are struggling. Invest time into this, it will pay off and affect the whole atmosphere of your youth ministry as a whole.



I just got back from the studio working on a song that we are calling "the clapper." It is only named that because we like to clap to it (you'll understand when you hear it). Anyway, today we were songwriting and I wanted to share a thought that I learned about it. One of the hardest things about songwriting is how personal it is. Kaitlyn, Levi, a lot of different musical tastes and preferences. We each hear melodies and chord structures differently. We each could say the same lyric in many different ways. Music is art. It is expression and there are many ways to express. This is where the songwriting process get's uncomfortable. 

So here is the songwriting tip: hold everything with an open hand. 

Too many times I catch myself going into a songwriting session with closed hands. I know what I want. I know what I want to say. I know what I want it to sound like. I know what I want to hear. But the problem is that very few of the greatest songs ever written were written by one person. Most songs are collaborations; that is how new things are created. The truth is, I am limited by my own preferences, tastes, and experiences. But when I come together with other people the limits come off. We come together and make something new. 

For a control freak like me, it is hard to listen to others ideas at times. But I am learning to hear something in new ways and see it from someone else's perspectives. The only way to make a musical chord is for different notes to be played at the same time. That is what we do when we write songs. We bring different experiences, styles, tastes, and preferences together. When they come together they make something new, beautiful, exciting, and memorable. How much more should we as the church learn how to do that?

So be vulnerable to share your ideas and even more vulnerable to hear others ideas. That's my songwriting tip for the day. 




I have been in this incredible season of learning new things about God. It often seems like just when I am getting a good grasp on things, God shakes me up and reminds me that this is His idea and His plan… not mine. I have grown very comfortable with the idea of being a “worship leader”. I have found myself lately just going through the motions and doing the typical “worship leader thing”. Meaning, listen to the songs, rehearse, think of something spiritual to say during the set and then go out and do it. However, I have quickly learned I am missing some key components like: setting my heart before the Lord, spending time in prayer and thanking Him for choosing me to be an extension of His hand.

When we get comfortable in our surroundings, or comfortable using our gifts, it can quickly become routine. What we don’t realize is that every day there is a chance and an opportunity to see people won for Christ. There are people in the audience who are desperate for an opportunity  to seek God, and the service I get to lead might be the first time they ever seek Him. The worship environment has nothing to do with me or the band, but everything to do with making Jesus the center. God didn’t call me to sing, or to be a great performer…. He called me to lead people to Him through worship.

Alexander MacLaren once said, “Fruitful and acceptable worship begins before it begins.”



If you've been following us on Instagram, you'll know we are in the studio working on our debut EP. Last week we were touring a studio in Seattle and had the opportunity to hear a sneak-peak of a very talented Jesus-loving friend's new record. When we finished listening we had a stirring conversation about song writing, producing, and Christian music. That conversation was such a great reminder to us of why we are doing what we are doing. 

McKinneyDawson is not just another Christian band. Truthfully, we aren't doing what we do just "to make it" or have careers. Our heart is to build and be a recourse to the local church. That is the hope for this project. Kaitlyn and myself are both pastors. We have students who are walking through some serious crap. Addiction, abuse, guilt, shame, fear, hopelessness, not measuring up, legalism, and the list goes on. We have set out not to write songs that are memorable but to write songs that help the people we are pastoring remember what Jesus has done for them. That is our mission. We know that people remember songs better than sermons, so we want to write songs that help people remember Jesus more than anything else. 

I guess my point, is that we have to be mission minded people. What is your mission? What has God give you to do? What has God placed in your hands? Be committed to that and faithful with that. Don't seek promotion or more but just to be faithful. 


WORSHIP by Jared McKinney

You all know that Kaitlyn and I are very close friends, but what a lot of you will never see is that I have a very close relationship with her husband Jared. Jared is an integral part of what we do and truthfully we could not do it without him. Over the years Jared has become one of my favorite people.

Jared is a brilliant minister who communicates the gospel so well. He recently preached a fantastic sermon on what worship is and what it does. It was meaningful to hear the most behind the scenes member of McKinneyDawson talk about worship. 

I hope this message inspires and challenges you to worship Jesus better.



Dr. King

Just a few years ago you would never see a black man and a white woman in a church together, let alone sharing a stage to worship God together. While there is still more work to be done, we are privileged to live in the day we do and hope that we can inspire people to reconcile relationships of all kinds. Today we are thankful for and celebrate the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because without him and so many others we wouldn't be where we are today.