The Psychology Of Loudness

If I had to guess, I’d say that the top two complaints that most worship leaders hear are song/style choices and volume. “It’s too loud” is something every worship has heard or will hear at some point.

Dusty Wallace writes:

Our dB readings that first acoustic Sunday were the exact same as the dB readings as every other Sunday with the full-band. BUT, those same people who had complained in weeks prior stopped me after the acoustic set and said how much they loved the softer volume.

Now, besides feeling like I wanted to laugh-cry right as they told me this, it illustrates my earlier point: there is no universal standard for loud.

There are several things people may call loud that have nothing to do with your overall volume/dB reading, because loud is the only word they know to describe their discomfort.

Dusty lists three important things to keep in mind when the volume complaints come in. He also explains why some people think the music is louder than it actually is. Check it out here.

Weekend Links

Worship leaders, pastors, and everyone serving this weekend: know that I’m praying for you! I pray that God will bless you and stretch you and use you to grow His kingdom and expand His family.

As usual, I found lots of great links this week that I wanted to share with you but that didn’t quite fit into a post. When you get a few minutes this weekend, check them out and be encouraged and challenged. Maybe even learn something. 🙂

Remember, these are just excerpts, but I strongly encourage you to click through and read each post in its entirety.

Paul Wilkinson shares some thoughts and predictions on the future of Christian music:

I realize that this opinion may not sit well with Chris Tomlin fans. I’m just sayin’ that if you have a choice between guitar lessons and piano lessons for the kids and you’re a forward-looking parent, I would go with the piano. As a keyboard player who never once got to play at a campfire, I realize the instrument has some limitations, but I think the next generation is looking for something completely different than G, C, Em, D7 or its many variations.

Dave Grim explains why, how, and when you should clean your guitar (I’m terrible about this):

Like any other piece of equipment or tool, if you want your guitar(s) to perform properly, then you must take proper care of it. Now some folks seem to have some strange fascination with never cleaning their guitar, and I personally think that is deranged. ?

Not only is it a great way to grow a guitar bacteria garden, it can and will eventually interfere with the proper functioning of the instrument itself. Quite literally I have seen guitars that were left uncleaned go so long that the hardware was frozen in place, corroded, and beyond saving. Meaning you cannot make the necessary periodic adjustments to bridges, saddles, necks, etc.

Matt Tullos describes four awkward prayers that you sometimes hear in church:

Public prayer is an awkward experience in most churches. It’s really a strange set of circumstances. Someone comes up to the microphone and is speaking to God and we are praying along. Hopefully. Sometimes, if you think about it, it would sound a little weird from God’s perspective. Prayer should be the ultimate spiritual communion between God and man, but like most things we have a tendency to make the sacred things seem rather human. So I submit to you these lower forms of public prayers along with their scientific classifications.

This is why I often “forget” my guitar in situations like this:

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA—A local group of college students was reportedly ambushed at their fire-pit Sunday evening, when one of their number, Matt Jenkins, a worship leader at Sunrise Community Church, remembered he just happened to bring his guitar, converting a pretty good bonfire into an impromptu worship session.

“It was so chill, but then we were all kind of trapped…”

What To Do When Your Best Player Leaves

Whether you’re on a worship team or just in a band, you’ll lose your best player someday. Todd Wright explains more:

We’ve all had THE PLAYER.

THE PLAYER is that person who shows up who has astounding God-given talent, can play whatever you ask and instantly gels with you and the rest of the team.

With a player like this, you might sometimes think to yourself, “Wow. I think we’re, like, a GOOD band now.” Songs come faster and the congregation responds. Your whole sound changes with a player like this because you’re able to chase ideas never before attempted.

So, what do you do when a player like that leaves?

It can really demoralize the team to lose a great musician, but it doesn’t mean ministry stops. Todd shares four things to keep in mind when your best musician leaves the team. Very encouraging post. Read the whole thing here.

Volunteer Recruitment

If not for volunteers, most churches wouldn’t have much of a worship team. How do you find players?

Travis Stephens on volunteer recruitment:

You don’t have to be a pastor to realize that a church needs volunteers. Whether it’s to play music, watch kids, or mow the lawn, you have to have volunteers. Most of the time you need a lot of them, but how do you go about finding them?

Chances are they’re not going to be lined up outside your office door, so you’re going to need to recruit them. There are several ways to do this. We’ve tried just about everything, and in my experience here are some of the best and worst ways to go about it.

Travis lists six methods for getting volunteers and how effective each one is. The winner probably won’t surprise you. Check it out here.

What’s been your most successful method for recruiting volunteers?

The Dichotomy Of Christian Worship

Jarrod Cooper explains two major factors at play when Christians gather in corporate worship:

Worship leading is a difficult thing, especially if we are longing for powerful times with God. Glory, passion, intimacy, the presence and the power of God moving among us are things many of us desire in our meetings.

As many church services can at times be much less powerful than all that, we can quickly become frustrated, unless we realize there are two things at work in any group when we come together as Christians to worship…

As Jarrod points out, sometimes these factors seem to be at odds, but your job is to balance them. Read the full post here. Great advice on leading God-honoring worship that’s sensitive to your congregation’s needs.

The Beehive Hack

Gangai Victor shares a great tip to help you introduce new songs to your congregation:

We know that using new songs of worship is good.

However, engaging the congregation is better.

But, what if you could do both and be a superhero worship leader of sorts?!

While the quick and dirty solution suggested all the time is to reduce the number of new worship songs (and btw, that’s not bad advice), I think there’s a way out to make everyone happy.

Here’s how:

It’s called The Beehive Hack.

Click here to read the whole thing. Don’t let the name of this process scare you. The Beehive Hack is a really solid method for getting your church excited about learning music.

Seven Signs You Shouldn’t Be A Worship Leader

Not everybody is cut out to be a worship leader – you have to be wired in a pretty unique way. Just being a musician or a Christian – or both – doesn’t mean that you should be up front leading people in worship.

Here are seven signs that you shouldn’t be a worship leader.

1) You think that worship is mostly about music

Spoiler alert: it’s not about music. Music can certainly be an aspect of worship, but it’s never the whole thing.

2) You don’t like music

Worship isn’t all about music, but music is a pretty major part of being a worship leader. If you don’t like music, don’t bother applying. It’s a big part of the job.

3) You don’t like people

Being a worship leader is a pastoral role. You’re not just leading music – you’re leading people. If you don’t like people – if you don’t LOVE people – you won’t be an effective team leader or worship leader.

4) You can’t take criticism

If you’re leading worship (or any ministry), you will be criticized. Sometimes it will be deserved. Sometimes it will be personal. Sometimes it will be completely unwarranted. But it’s coming. If you can’t take criticism, this is a journey you probably don’t want to take.

5) You are terrified of confrontation

Being a worship leader usually means managing a team of musicians. There will be times when you have to make someone unhappy. Whether it’s letting someone know that they didn’t pass their audition or asking a team member to take a season off to deal with personal issues, you’ll have to have some tough conversations.

6) You’re afraid of change

From new music to new technology, there will be always be change. Your team members will rotate in and out over time. Your elder board will change. You may even have to start working with a new pastor. If you can’t handle change, you won’t last long in worship ministry.

7) You don’t believe in Jesus

You can’t lead people somewhere you haven’t been. If you haven’t experienced the life changing power of Jesus Christ in your own life, you can’t expect to help people encounter Him through worship.

What did I miss? What would you add to the list?

Collaborative Worship Planning

Emily Barlow explains why a team approach to worship planning can be a great thing:

When the worship service I help plan started, one thing I insisted on was that the Sunday morning service elements would be planned by a team of people and never by just one person. Though I couldn’t articulate it clearly at the time, I knew that a team approach was going to enhance the creative process. I now believe that this is only one of several good reasons to plan worship together. The people on our worship planning team may change from time to time, and the planning process may evolve, but a team has given us an effective and consistent approach to planning worship.

Emily lists three benefits of planning worship as a team instead of on your own. Check it out here.

NoiseTrade Roundup 04.20.2016

There’s always lots of good worship music on NoiseTrade, and more is being added all the time. Here’s our weekly roundup of the newest worship music available on NoiseTrade.

What great worship music have you found on NoiseTrade lately?


Sayitha – Deeper

Come alive in a new way as you experience an honest and vibrant collection of heart-felt anthems that form this well-anticipated debut worship project.

Hymns On Piano – Hymns Of Worship, Vol. 2

Hymns of Worship, Volume 2 once again allows listeners to experience instrumental piano renditions of hymns of faith, worship, and adoration.

Chris Renzema – Chris Renzema Noisetrade Sampler

In celebration of the release of his new project, Chris Renzema is sharing two favorites off his debut EP, “Age to Age” and two favorites off his new record, “Chris Renzema & the New Nature Choir” (released April 8th). Hailing from Grand Rapids, MI, Renzema writes and sings from a poignant place of honesty and hope. The songs of this sampler take the listener on a journey of yearning and returning, of truthfully looking at all things between us and our Maker – and turning our affections back to Him. With folk/rock influences, this is triumphant, refreshing worship for both the quiet place and the congregation.

Slade And Dave – On The Mountain

Comprised of 2 songs, the theme of Slade and Dave’s album “On The Mountain” is how to live in a dark world full of depravity and sin in light of God’s spoken word. “So Brothers and Sisters” is a song inspired by 1 Peter about living a holy life, being prepared for action, and having our hope in Jesus Christ who is the “spotless lamb” sacrificed for His people. “Beatitude” puts you in the crowd where Jesus Himself spoke the Sermon on the Mount reminding us, as Hebrews 2:1 would say, to pay close attention to his word.

Erik Nieder – The Narrow Sea

The Narrow Sea is a collection of songs that speak to the journey we are all on in this life as followers of Jesus. It also points to our final resting place where we truly come alive when we’ve crossed into eternity.

Keeping It Fresh

Chris Horton explains a few ways you can keep your church’s favorite worship songs from growing stale:

As worship leaders, we all have our “go to” songs that we use regularly in our services. These are the songs you probably use once every 4-6 weeks. These songs speak to the season our churches are walking through. These are the anthems where we always see hands raised and hear voices sing out the loudest.

So how do we keep them fresh? Now don’t get me wrong, the Holy Spirit is the one who does the work in the hearts of the people and He is the reason those songs speak so powerfully to our congregations. But as musicians, lets be honest… We can play/sing that song in our sleep, whatever those songs are for you!

Here’s 3 easy ways to keep familiar songs fresh for our teams, our congregations and us!

These aren’t terribly difficult things, like writing a whole new arrangement or changing it to a different genre. They’re just some small, simple things you can do to keep those “worship standards” fresh and new. Check it out here.