The Early Years
PraiseCharts began in the heart of a small-town worship pastor back in 1998 when the internet was just starting to take flight. Ryan Dahl, PraiseCharts’ founder, had been serving at North Langley Community Church as Worship Pastor for four years. Ryan had a band full of gifted musicians (including guitar, saxophone, trumpet and clarinets), and an unquenchable thirst for fresh music. Hillsong had just released ‘Shout To The Lord’ and those songs cried out to be sung by churches and played by musicians.
Business and Ministry
Every great business venture starts with a problem. Ryan had two problems: one, he was a worship pastor, not a businessman, and two, Ryan needed music and he needed it yesterday!
Ryan’s first point of connection was with a local worship pastor, Mark Cole. Mark had been leading worship locally and around the world, with a unique advantage - he knew how to write charts that could enable his band to help him lead worship. Mark didn’t have time to wait for mail-order music, and the local bookstore didn’t carry the right kind of charts. It’s all about timing, and great worship songs are like fruit - worship pastors want them when they are ripe, fresh, sweet and nourishing to the soul.
Ryan could sense there was a fundamental shift coming to the world of Christian music publishing. After wrestling through his options, and for this dream that had caught fire in his heart, Ryan decided to jump ship and become a trailblazer. Now, leading worship was not just about leading songs, but about feeling the heartbeat of every worship pastor around the world that needed a new way to find timely, new worship music.
A New Model Of Publishing
The next challenge that Ryan faced was to realize this dream of a new model of Christian music publishing in the midst of the well-established world of the Christian music industry and copyright administration. As might be expected, some were sympathetic to the entrepreneurial spirit, some were cautiously reserved and others outright opposed.
Rather than focus on those who were more reserved or even opposed, Ryan decided to paddle where the river was flowing. Integrity music became one of the first major music publishers to open the doors of permission for Ryan’s new model, and gave him the license to start building a catalog with the arrangements of Mark Cole.
Besides the issues of arranging and copyright administration, Ryan had to reconcile his own identity as a worship pastor with that of an entrepreneur running a business that simultaneously served as a ministry to a growing collection of worship pastors around the world. More than being just any business, PraiseCharts was in the business of selling worship music. How could one give up the noble calling of pastoral ministry to enter the world of business, selling - of all things - worship music?
This was a deep struggle for Ryan that proved to produce a culture in PraiseCharts that would honor Christ and serve the church, even as a business. Ryan discovered that worship was about a way of life much more than a contemporary song. A worship leader was a worship life leader - and the world of business needed those kinds of leaders just like the church.
Building The Team
The odds were against PraiseCharts to survive the dotcom bomb of 2000. The worldwide grid did not shut down after Y2K, new Christian artists continued to write amazing songs, and new arrangers started to join the network.
In 2001, Dan Galbraith found PraiseCharts while doing an Internet search for guidelines on copyright permissions for digital publishing. He had recently been impressed by the Lord to pursue distribution of his own praise band arrangements on the Internet, but wasn’t quite sure how to begin. Dan was a diamond arranger just waiting for the right light to shine on his yet undiscovered gift. Ryan and Dan struck up a long distance relationship sharing a common vision, even with a very different skill set and musical background. Ryan was not an arranger, he was a worship leader and dreamer who had vision for the wide expanse of opportunity in PraiseCharts.
Dan decided to join the pursuit eventually giving himself wholeheartedly to building out the catalog alongside what Mark had already established. Dan had a close eye for detail as he developed his vision for a praise band product that combined the original vibe of an existing popular song with an appropriate orchestration, all to enable praise bands around the world to participate in the latest wave of worship music.
Now, Dan has become the premier arranger at PraiseCharts, having penned or edited more than 1000 full orchestrations. Dan also arranged and produced a series of nearly 50 contemporary hymns and carols that have been used year after year with great enthusiasm by worship pastors around the world.
Around the time that Dan took interest in PraiseCharts, another young woman also came alongside Ryan to support him with both his family and his ministry. Since then, Natasha Fogg has faithfully served as Ryan’s chief administrator and customer support manager. Today, Natasha oversees the customer support as well as the day to day business management of PraiseCharts from her home in Portland, OR. Natasha has become a lifeline to thousands of time-crunched, desperate worship pastors around the world. She is the calm voice of assurance from PraiseCharts that you will make it through another Sunday with everything you need.
The Future Is Bright
PraiseCharts has become more than just a resource or a store, it has become the voice of worship leaders around the world. PraiseCharts was the dream of a worship leader, for worship leaders- to eventually become a loudspeaker for their voice – their platform.
Today, PraiseCharts is no longer just Ryan’s dream. It is a Team of Dreamers -- people living the worship life and loving the opportunity to serve churches all around the world. Through this innovative platform we share a diverse set of skills, but a common passion. We live all around the world but we connect with just a few clicks. We live our lives to serve our families and in doing so, we function like a family. We are serving the cause of Christ through PraiseCharts, fueling something that has momentum – a momentum that hopefully will carry on into eternity.