Introducing New Songs To Your Congregation

Matt Brady describes a nightmare scenario for teaching the church a new song:

We were a little nervous, but it was more excitement than nerves. We dropped right into the song, plowing through the verse, chorus and so on. It felt really good to be singing a new song, but something just was just not right.

When I looked at the congregation, they were all standing there, with their arms folded and a blank stare on each of their faces. Even the six year old boy on the front row had his arms folded! It was appalling!

Thankfully, I woke up from this dream and realized it wasn’t real.

We have had some interesting experiences introducing new songs, but nothing quite that drastic!

Matt goes on to share seven different ways to bring new music into your church’s worship catalog. Not every method will work for every church, but that’s okay. Check out the list here.

Don’t Sit Back And Relax

Karl Vaters explains why you shouldn’t encourage your church to relax and enjoy the show:

It sounds so inviting and innocent.

“Sit back, relax and enjoy the service.”

But that may be one of the most dangerous sentences regularly uttered in church.

I expect promises of great customer service in a restaurant, an airplane or a store. But the idea that church is a place where we pay others to do ministry as we sit passively, consuming and passing judgment on the product being offered, may be the greatest single reason for the anemia of the modern, western church.

We want our congregations to be active and involved. Check out the full post here.

Maybe This Is Why They’re Not Singing

If your church consistently and reliably doesn’t sing in worship, there are some questions you need to ask. Jamie Brown explains more:

Every worship leader has the experience from time to time of a service that just seems to fall flat. The songs didn’t work, or the musicians didn’t gel, or the technology didn’t cooperate, or the congregation didn’t respond. Whatever the reason(s), even in the most passionate of congregations, there are times when the singing isn’t exactly robust.

But when that’s the regular pattern, and when the congregational singing is consistently paltry, what is a worship leader to do? I would suggest that if a worship leader is observing (over a period of months or years) his or her congregation isn’t singing, that some difficult questions need to be honestly asked and answered.

Jamie lists fifteen questions to ask if your church just isn’t singing. Great list. Check it out here.

Worship Leader: Title And Position

Jonathan Aigner explains why we should reconsider the title – and maybe the position – of worship leader:

When I was a good little Southern Baptist kid, which was not that long ago, we had “Ministers of Music” and “Music Directors.” At some point between then and now, the contemporary worship movement ushered in nearly universal use of a new title: “Worship Leader.”

Recently, I’ve noticed the title being called into question, which I think is a very good thing. Most of the criticism can be boiled down to one foundational problem, and it has to do with our understanding of the function of the worship service itself.

Specifically, I think the widespread use of the term “worship leader” in reference to a lead singer reflects the pervasive conflation of music and worship, as well as a misunderstanding of the purpose of corporate worship in the church.

He also lists four pieces of good advice for anyone up on the platform leading corporate worship. Check it out here.

Two Ways To Get Off Course

David Manner explains why constantly looking back and only looking forward are both ineffective ways to plan and lead worship:

Nostalgia is sentimental remembrance of previous times or significant events that continue to stir happy or meaningful personal recollections. Nostalgia in reasonable doses can provide a sense of comfort. But too much can have a negative effect perpetuating the belief that an earlier time is preferable to present day conditions…

Novelty is the quality of being new, original or unusual just to be new, original or unusual. A novelty entertains for a short period of time until another novelty surfaces.

Excellent things to keep in mind as we select songs and plan services. Check out the whole thing here.

Autism Awareness And Corporate Worship

I’m a special needs dad. Among my son’s many diagnoses is autism. Having autism doesn’t mean he can’t worship, but it does call for some accommodations.

Since this is Autism Awareness Month, I wanted to share this piece by Barbara Newman about autism, patterns, and worship:

Many people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) find joy, security, and comfort in familiar patterns. As we notice and delight in our brothers and sisters with ASD this month (April 2016 is Autism Awareness Month), it seems we can also take great delight in the perfect match that exists within many of our corporate worship patterns. Take an individual who delights in patterns, structure, and “sameness,” and you have a recipe for a joyful worshiper.

Barbara shares five things to keep in mind when designing an autism-inclusive worship space or service. Really interesting information. Check it out here.

Going Deeper

Zac Hicks on grammar, flesh, worship, and Galatians:

Why do I bring all this up? Because if we are to pursue Christ-centered worship, we need to plumb new depths of meaning. Usually, the conversation on Christ-centered worship begins around content: Do our lyrics and prayers talk about Christ and his saving work of life and death? Great question. Great start. But we need to go deeper.

Really great post about going deeper and making our worship more Christ-centered. Check it out here.

Why We Repeat

One common complaint about modern worship songs is all the repetition, but is that a fair criticism?

David Mathis takes on the subject of repetitive worship songs and why they’re nothing new:

But do we know what our unprecedented access to novelty is doing to us? All indications are that it’s threatening to make us shallower, not wiser and more mature. Running our eyes across the page and mouthing words to a song are not the same thing as experiencing the reality in our hearts. Our hearts simply don’t move as quickly as our eyes and our mouths.

Which makes corporate worship such an important elixir for what is increasingly ailing us today.

Take Psalm 136 as a flashing red light from the divine that our newfound intolerance for repetition is out of step with what it means to be human.

For the record, “our newfound intolerance for repetition” just became one of my new favorite phrases.

Read David’s full post here. It’s a powerful counterpoint to the repetition complaint.

Myths We Believe About Worship

Last week, I linked to Chris Creech’s excellent post about worship leader myths. This week, he expands his focus to include four dangerous myths about worship in the church, not just worship leaders:

Last week, I wrote about busting some common myths about worship leaders. Those can be some pretty dangerous myths as they can erode confidence and trust in leadership, but I think there is a more dangerous set of myths out there. A myth about worship can easily cause bad theology, a lack of true worship in the local church, and fights about worship styles. Let’s take a look at some of these.

Some of these worship myths can really tear a church apart. Read the whole post here. Definitely worth checking out and sharing.

Three Ways To Create A Culture Of Worship

Matt Brady on creating a culture that reinforces that worship is our response to God:

If we take as our definition of worship that it is a response to who God is and what He has done, then the phrase “culture of worship” takes on a much greater meaning than just a habit response in a musical setting. Instead, it becomes our habit response to who God is and what He has done for us!

What kind of response does a “culture of worship” create?

If we want to create the kind of “worship culture” that generates Godly thoughts, actions and behaviors (the kind of things our good habits do for us), then we need to focus our energy on three specific criteria. These three create something of an equation for us, and when taken as a whole create the kind of “culture of worship” we should all strive towards.

Matt shares three things you can do to build a worship culture in your ministry and church. Check it out here.