What Season Is It Again?

Sometimes worship leaders get seasonal whiplash from planning ahead. You might be singing Christmas carols on Sunday, but you’re already thinking about Easter.

Katie Roelofs calls this “Liturgical Confusion”:

I’ve only been in worship ministry for 11 years, which I know is likely less time than many of you. But each year, I feel a growing sense of what I call “liturgical confusion.” Our job requires working ahead – often several weeks or even months in advance. Our worship calendars with preaching schedules, choir anthems, guest ministers, special missionary presentations, accompanist schedule, instrument involvement and so on are laid out before us with Sundays flying at us like fast balls in the batting cage. And the working ahead makes me feel liturgically confused. When the congregation is celebrating Christmas, singing their “Joy to the Worlds,” I’m already glowing with the light of Epiphany and dabbling with the “L” word. Then when the big “Lent” rolls around, I’m already into Holy Week and beyond.

Do you experience liturgical confusion or seasonal whiplash as a worship leader?

Check out Katie’s full post here.

Were You There?

As Christians, we live in the victory of the resurrection, but Good Friday is an excellent time to remember the suffering that made our salvation possible. This song has long been one of my favorite songs to sing on Good Friday.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble
Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?

Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Were you there when the stone was rolled away?
Were you there when the stone was rolled away?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble
Were you there when the stone was rolled away?

Here’s a video of Johnny Cash and the Carter Sisters performing “Were You There?”

O Come And Mourn With Me A While

Easter is about Christ’s resurrection and victory over death, but there’s a time to remember the cross and mourn. This song is a great reflection on Christ’s time on the cross.

O come and mourn with me a while
O come ye to the Savior’s side
O come together, let us mourn
Jesus our Lord is crucified

O love of God! O sin of man!
In this dread act Your strength is tried
And victory remains with love
Jesus our Lord is crucified

Seven times He spoke seven words of love
And all three hours His silence cried
For mercy on the souls of men
Jesus our Lord is crucified

O love of God! O sin of man!
In this dread act Your strength is tried
And victory remains with love
Jesus our Lord is crucified

O break, O break, hard heart of mine
Thy weak self-love and guilty pride
His Pilate and His Judas were
Jesus our Lord is crucified

O love of God! O sin of man!
In this dread act Your strength is tried
And victory remains with love
Jesus our Lord is crucified

A broken heart, a fount of tears
Ask and they will not be denied
A broken heart love’s cradle is
Jesus our Lord is crucified

O love of God! O sin of man!
In this dread act Your strength is tried
And victory remains with love
Jesus our Lord is crucified

This is a nicely animated video of Jars Of Clay’s version of this song.

Post-Easter Team Care

The music is planned, the videos are queued up, and the lights are ready. But how is your team?

Greg Atkinson reminds us how important it is to take care of your team before and after a major service:

But here’s the real question: How do we still have a team going forward after such a stressful and busy season as Easter?

Here are some thoughts:

We live in a digital world. Texting, IMing, Facebook pokes, Instagram posts and daily tweets – it’s truly a whirlwind when it comes to communicating these days. Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve found that a personal touch still goes a long way (yes, even in 2016).

Greg shares three ways to make a personal connection with your team and show them their value after a big production, although it’s good advice any time of year. Check it out here.

Not Just Another Week

David Mathis explains why celebrating Holy Week is a great opportunity, even if it’s not mandated in scripture:

In one sense, there’s nothing special about “Holy Week.” Just another sequence of eight days each spring — nothing is intrinsically holy about this Sunday to Sunday that moves around the calendar each year.

We have no mandate from Jesus or his apostles to mark these days for particular observance. Paul, for one, would be quite happy for us to partake, or not. “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).

Clearly, the celebration should not be pressed upon the conscience of others. “Let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath” (Colossians 2:16).

Celebrating Holy Week is not an obligation, but it is an opportunity…

As David points out, even though there’s no Biblical command to celebrate Holy Week, the Gospel of John alone devotes nearly half of its space to the final week of Jesus Christ’s life. Read the whole post here.

Surviving Easter

Easter is one of the biggest Sundays of the year for worship leaders. Jon Nicol has some thoughts on how to survive it:

Let’s face it, worship leaders, it’s our Super Bowl. Easter Sunday is THE “big game” for many of us.

But with so much preparation and so many moving parts, sometimes you can feel more like the tackling dummy than the starting quarterback.

So as we count down the last three and a half weeks before Easter, let me give you seven ways to get through this season with at least a smidgeon of your sanity remaining.

He lists seven ways to get through the lead up, planning, and execution of the Easter service. Check it out here.

Easter Songs

Easter planning usually calls for a couple of old classic hymns, but there are some modern worship songs you can use as well. Kenny Lamm writes:

There are many great modern worship songs that your church can use in the weeks leading up to Easter, as well as your Resurrection celebration on Easter Sunday. Here are nine songs (in no particular order) for multi-generational worship you should consider as you plan these powerful services…

Kenny lists nine great Easter songs that can be used in a variety of church contexts. Check out the list here.

Free Easter Worship Music

Here it is, mid-February, but Easter is closer than it seems. As of this writing, Easter Sunday is just over one month away. That means you should be hip-deep in Easter planning by now.

If you still need an Easter worship song to complete your plan, or if you just want to spend some time in personal worship with a focus on the resurrection, We Are Worship is giving away thirteen Easter worship songs (MP3s and chord charts) for free. You’ll need to register with We Are Worship to download them, but that’s a quick and painless process.

Two of the songs, “Victory” and “You Have Won,” are brand new, never released before. “Victory” is a high-energy anthem with a very modern feel, while “You Have Won” is one that your church will be belting out at the powerful refrain.

To find and download the songs, just click on the header at the top of this website.

Many thanks to We Are Worship for providing these songs to the worship community!