What We Really Want To Say

If you’re a worship leader, you’ve faced your share of criticisms. Sometimes it’s subtle. Sometimes it’s openly hostile. Brendan Prout explains how we want to respond but probably shouldn’t:

Let’s be clear. I would never actually say any of these things to a church member whom has come to complain that the music was too loud. But I’ll be completely honest: I’ve thought every one of these things in my head and kept them to myself… and I suspect a great many pastors, worship leaders, musicians, and sound techs have also had these thoughts.

What we might say if we had no filter and paid no attention the books of James or Proverbs in how we responded to worship complaints…

Check out Brendan’s full post here.

I think we’ve all had these thoughts without daring to say them out loud. How about you?

That Awkward Moment When…

Jed Smith shares a couple of the awkward moments that all worship leaders have at some point:

But we didn’t play the intro as well as we did in practice. The drummer came in confidently, while the keyboard player and the bass player were a little hesitant. It was the first song of the first service so maybe there were nerves to work out. The electric guitar was nowhere to be heard, but it’s an acoustic based song so that didn’t ring any alarms.

We start the verse and my vocals weren’t as strong as they sometimes are. That happens. I’m really not the best vocalist and sometimes I have off days.

Then I see it. Out of the corner of my left eye. My Kaiser spring-loaded capo. The capo was on the fourth fret. Why was it on the fourth fret? Why would I ever put it on the fourth fret?

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Read Jed’s full post here. Guaranteed to either bring back some memories… or prepare you for the future.

Being A Worship Leader And Having Little Kids

I laughed out loud at Laura Blankenship’s post about being a worship leader mom. I’ve never been a mom (and likely never will), but I could still relate to a bunch of these. If you lead worship and you have little kids, you’ll find something here to chuckle at. Read the post here.

Resolutions For The Trendiest Worship Leaders

In the spirit of the new year starting, Jamie Brown shares some resolutions for only the trendiest, most dedicated worship leaders:

It’s a new year, full of new potential, new opportunities, new emails from that one person in your congregation (you know who I’m talking about), and new songs that will be old and forgotten by 2017.

I will be adopting these worship leader new year’s resolutions in the months ahead, and I (cue the octave jump) STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU DO THE SAME.

These are not for the faint of heart or weak of will:

Stage extensions
Ever seen how Taylor Swift has that cool stage that lets her walk out into the middle of the audience in her shows? That’s got “congregational engagement” written all over it. Droopy-eyed early service? Tuned-out teens? Dance out onto that stage extension and shake it off.

Check out the full list here.

For the record, Jamie’s list of resolutions is becoming one of my favorite New Year’s traditions.

Laugh And Learn With These Worship Videos

Tim at Worship Deeper has compiled ten really funny worship videos, presented to help you become a better worship leader:

I thought I would throw together some of the funniest, most awkward and mortifying worship videos on youtube.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s not right to poke fun at worship leaders. But I only laugh because I have been in a similar situation at one time or another.

We have to laugh at each other, learn and improve. May these videos help us become less distracting, more skilled worship leaders!

Remember, we’ve all had our embarrassing moments onstage, so we’re all laughing together here. There’s no judgement here.

Click here to view the videos.

Worship Leader Nightmares

Marc Daniel Rivera takes an amusing look at some common fears of worship leaders:

The number one fear in the world is public speaking. But singing in front of people is even scarier than that. So it makes sense that worship leaders have real fears. And those fears frequently come true.

So in an attempt at a bit of catharsis, I thought it would be helpful to identify those fears, and maybe poke fun at them a bit. We’ve all had things like this happen to us. After they happen, move on. It’s not the end of the world.

How many of these worship leader nightmares have happened to you?

Read the whole list here.

The Worship Songwriting Secret

Barnabas Piper finally exposes the top-secret formula for writing a popular worship song:

I don’t actually write songs of any kind. But I can say without a shadow of a doubt that what follows is the formula for the perfect worship song. And by “perfect” I mean the one that K-Love will play endlessly, worship leaders will rush to add to playlists, and might even win you a Dove award.

This may be the best worship songwriting advice I’ve ever read. Check it out here.

The Five Kinds Of Congregational Singers

If you’ve been leading worship for any length of time, you’ve no doubt encountered some interesting folks in your congregations. Barnabas Piper lists the five different types of singers you find in a church congregation:

You see some funny stuff in church. That’s what happens when a group of people most of whom aren’t musically inclined gather together to make a joyful noise (or just a noise) to God in “musical” fashion. Some people aren’t comfortable but feel an obligation sing. Some people are really comfortable – maybe too much so. Some people scoff. Others join in with sincerity (hopefully most land here).

I’ve been around churches my whole life and have observed five main types of singers in church (other than the normal, healthy kind). Here they are.

Click here to have some fun and read the whole list.

Epic Worship Resolutions

I posted my list last week, but this may be the best list of new year’s resolutions for worship leaders – ever.

Jamie Brown (tongue firmly in cheek) suggests ten ways to make your worship way more epic in 2015. Here’s a sample:

Use reverse octave jumps
We’ve pretty much exhausted the octave jump supply of all of its awesomeness. Last year I suggested the “octave MONSTER jump” but that’s run its course as well. Now it’s time to kick that octave jump train into reverse and ride it for another solid decade. Here’s what you do. Step one: start the song in a singable range. Everyone is happy. Step two: build the second chorus. Everyone knows something is coming. Step three: drop down an octave into the sub-bass range, in which only the big/old dudes in your church can sing. Who cares if it’s awkward? It’s epic, man. If people can’t keep singing along it’s their problem.

Okay, this list of worship leader resolutions is better than the one I made. My suggestions were practical, not epic like these. 🙂

And let us not neglect the Rend/Mumford sound:

Throw in some more “hey!”s
No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from his hand. Till he returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand. HEY!” Cue the four-on-the-floor kick drum beat, mando/banjo solo, foot-stomping, and beards, and you’ve got yourself a hit.

You can never go wrong with more stomping and hollering, right?

Click here for Jamie’s full list. It is, appropriately, epic.

Retweet The Sounding Joy – Your Christmas Service Stories

We’ve been collecting your Christmas service horror stories, and here they are. I was surprised by how many people submitted theirs anonymously, but anyway, here are the top three. May your Christmas services go better than what you’re about to read.

Silent Night, Holy Night, Please Dial 911

submitted anonymously

I was onstage to close out our Christmas service with “Silent Night,” which we usually sing by candlelight. As I sang, I watched in horror as a rather large candle on a stand in front of me began to tilt. I was already into the song, so I couldn’t stop without derailing a very intimate, introspective service, so I just kept watching.

By the second verse, it was inevitable that the candle would fall. In my mind, I saw visions of the church burning to the ground and general chaos ensuing.

Instead, to my relief, it went out in mid-air, right before it hit the carpet.

Retweet The Sounding Joy

submitted by Zac Baker

This may be wrong of me, go ahead and judge, but I’m not a fan of most Christmas songs that get played in churches. As a worship leader, I actually have a “Do-not-play list” which started out as a joke, but has grown pretty lengthy over the years. Quite a few songs that some would expect me to play around December are on it.

I do have many Advent songs that I love, and include in my lists, but I have also found some ways to have a bit of fun with them.

A few years ago I convinced the media team at my church (New Life Assembly in Brantford, Ontario) to change a word on the screen for “Joy to the World.” Every year since, we sing:
“Retweet the sounding joy”

Looking forward to it again in a few weeks.

The Alternate Arrangement

submitted anonymously

I tried to warn him, but he wouldn’t listen.

I had been mentoring a younger worship leader on my team, and my pastor and I decided to have him close out the Christmas Eve service by leading “Silent Night.” He told me he wanted to try an alternate arrangement of the classic carol, and I recommended against it.

“You don’t want to mess with that song, dude,” I told him. “It’s close to sacred.”

“It’s just a couple small changes to modernize it,” he replied. “The melody is still the same. Most of the changes are just rhythmic.”

We went back and forth, but I eventually yielded. Because I knew what would happen.

When the Christmas Candlelight service neared the end, he approached the mic and started a very different strumming pattern to open “Silent Night.” And when he opened his mouth to sing, the congregation as a whole completely disregarded his weird rhythm and sang “Silent Night” the traditional way.

As he stood on the stage and the congregation overpowered him, he made eye contact with me, but I just shook my head. I tried to warn him.