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Worship Singer

Recently we have started to attend a new church. This 'new' church regularly has 'special music' (at least one each week). My initial thought when visiting was 'Is Special Music still valid for current Worship Services?'

If you're younger and don't know what special music is, it is basically a solo or ensemble piece that is included in the 'body' of the worship service.

Although I've been involved in a church for several years that has only had 'special music' on a very rare occasion (possibly during Advent or Good Friday) it was a bit of getting used to again. This wasn't in a bad way, just re-aclimating myself to having music that I wasn't always participating in (i.e. I wasn't singing).  For some that just doesn't make sense - why would you have music that isn't 'congregational'; however, having this as a regular part of worship now for a number of weeks I can say that I've been reminded that some times we just need to 'be still and know', and sometimes that 'knowing' comes through just listening.

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performing arts lighting

I've had this growing thought that we need to reclaim the performing arts for Christ.

It started about 15 years ago when I was working in a public school theatre program. It's stereotypical that you see some of the most 'anti-bilbical' stuff in the theatre program (even in a public high school), but definitely very true*. That is the 'obvious' place where we can see the need, and where we can see Satan trying to take over an entire part of creation.

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four stars

If you don't carefully study worship, and more specific - worship leading, you might think "worship is worship is worship". However, if you are a worship leader you do need to be a bit more specific in your understanding of worship. Just as the saying 'medicine is medicine is medicine' is not completely accurate, esp. if you are a doctor, so too is the statement about worship.

marching band

This past week we wrapped up a week of kids music camp. Before that I was directing a summer marching band. The week before that it was starting up our summer sports program. And before that it was planning for our scouting program.

I'm still amazed at how many 'worship ministers' (and church leadership teams) discount arts (and sports/activity) programs, thinking that they don't have a place within the church today. I must say ... these people are VERY short-sighted.

drummer

Looking around the platform this morning I realized it ... almost all of our musicians are percussionists.

There's the drummer - obviously a percussion instrument.

There's the pianist - which is actually a percussion instrument, even though many think it is a string instrument).

Bass and guitar players, although technically string instruments, are really just like the piano and playing more like a drummer than a traditional string player (i.e. violin, etc.)

And for most of western contemporary evangelical worship, that's what you have. There's an occasional melodic instrument; however, it rarely plays what the congregation is singing. And in many congregations (if not most) these 'percussion instruments' are amplified and a lot of times the sound of the instruments drowns out the one to four vocalists.

The problem is that, in additional to providing a lot of loud percussion instruments, we are expecting the congreation to know (or learn) lots of songs without any aid to what the melody is supposed to be - other than trying to follow the lead vocalist.

And that often leads to a congregation that just doesn't sing out, or doesn't sing at all. Which then leads to non-musician church leadership trying to determine why the congregation isn't participating in worship, which often leads to replacing the worship leader, but doesn't deal with the problem.

The piano (and other 'percussion' instruments) are great accompaniment instruments, but are not designed to help people sing. They are designed to augment the singing. They don't do a good job of helping the singing process.

When the worship is flat on Sunday let's stop blaming the congregation (their hearts aren't in the right place), the worship leaders (for not picking the right songs) or the weather (too hot / too cold). Let's start fixing some basic musical issues and turn our congregation loose to worship with full heart and voice by removing the distractions that we (as worship leaders) are putting in their way.

 

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