Introducing Kristian Ponsford
Elim Sound caught up with worship leader and Elim Minister in Training Kristian Ponsford about life and worship.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m Kristian, 35 years old and married to the amazing Sophie. We’ve two brilliant boys, Josiah 4 and Micah who is 1. I was born in Plymouth and now live in Cornwall but in between I’ve lived in Essex, Manchester & North Wales. My Dad is an Elim Minister and I honestly never thought I’d follow in his footsteps, but here I am!
Alongside my church role I also have the privilege of leading worship at various events including Creation Fest, Spring Harvest (UK & France) and New Wine. And when I find time I train others on the use of technology in worship, specifically Ableton.
You are based at Elim Camborne, tell us a bit about your role there?
I’m on staff as Assistant Pastor and I’m a Minister in Training. My main responsibilities are looking after the communication and creative elements of the Church. This includes overseeing our worship team. We also run a county wide prayer and worship night with the fab team from NCC Redruth and I head up Worship Central in Cornwall too.
You’ve been leading worship for a number of years, what tips would you give to worship leaders in their local church?
Tim Hughes says that “worship leading is taking your private cry and making it public”. I think this is one of the best definitions, challenges and encouragements to us as worship leaders; If we only “worship” when we are on stage then sadly we are robbing our churches, ourselves and more importantly God. So in short, don’t neglect the backstage of your life, lead from the overflow and rest that comes from spending time with Jesus!
You work for multitracks.com tell us a bit about that role?
I’m a bit of geek and I love gadgets and technology so it was kind of natural for me to bring this to my worship leading. Several years ago I discovered a piece of music software called Ableton Live which simply allowed me to use sounds and textures not available in our worship team and play with these to supplement our sound.
The best thing about this software was that we were always in control and it followed us. Ableton became an instrument in its own right and not a backing track player that we played to.
The more I started playing with Ableton the more I found it could do and I stared a little blog to record my experiments. I've used Ableton for keys sounds, running tracks, triggering lyric videos and lyric slides, controlling lights and even changing the pages on our iPad chord charts.
Multitracks.com are an amazing resource to the church and are always creating and innovating towards a simple goal: to build an ecosystem of products for worship leaders that helps them lead their teams well. I was a long time user of their products and when they approached me and asked me to join their team I was delighted.
My title is UK Brand Manager and I mainly have two roles. To increase the number of UK worship artists, their songs and tracks on our site. And Secondly, to help resource and train churches interesting in using this technology.
Did you know that your iPhone has more processing power than the computer that put a man on the moon? So lets say you want to use an Elim Sound track in your church and want to add to your existing sound. Using an app from Multitracks.com, called playback, and an iPhone or iPad you can download the song from the site and then mix the original studio tracks right on the device and use it easily in your church. That’s a professional touring quality solution available to any local church with an iPhone, pretty cool right?
You did a really cool thing at New Wine with mobile phone lighting, tell us about that?
We were invited to be one of two bands leading in Thirst for New Wine 2014, the other band was led by Elim Sound’s Sam Blake. On the final night Sam joined our band for the last session and we wanted do something a little special. I’d previously seen Coldplay use the Xylo bands in one of their concerts and loved the idea. I loved the idea of allowing youth people to use their mobile phones as part of their expression of Worship in a way that acknowledges their love of their devices.
I came across a company in the states called Wham City Lights which allowed me to create a lighting show and play it back on the mobile phones in the room. We got everyone to download a free app and then using inaudible tones through the main speakers we controlled everyone’s phones in the room and our tech joined us in worshipping God.
What’s next for Kristian Ponsford?
Well the start of 2016 seems like another busy year. In February I’m travelling to Scotland to deliver some training on Ableton. I’m also speaking at a training event in Portsmouth in April, then there is also New Wine and Creation Fest later in the year.
We are also busy prepping for Spring Harvest at Easter where we are leading worship in the iScape venue at Minehead week one. I love Spring Harvest and all that they stand for. This year it seems all my favourite people to work with are in one big team and I can’t wait for what promises to be an awesome week.
Of course this is on top of local church work and completing my MIT studies.
In terms of focus for 2016, I would say that God is really asking me to hand over to the next generation a lot of the events I lead at. So I want to continue to pour into a small team of people that can hopefully reach way beyond my limits and dreams.
Question: What creative ways have you used or encouraged others to use in worship? Leave a comment below.