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Posted on Mar 10, 2014 in Featured Slider, Worship Ministry | 5 comments

The Surmountable Challenge Facing Churches Using Hymnals

The Surmountable Challenge Facing Churches Using Hymnals

Let’s face it. Our society has changed drastically in a few ways over recent decades. I suppose technology is the most obvious and dramatic change. I mean, who would’ve dreamed in the 90’s that cell phones would become what they now are? Another change that may only seem obvious and dramatic to those of us living in the blue collar worship ministry world is the shift in musical know-how. The art & science of music was once widely taught in our culture: in schools, in homes, and in churches. From an early age, a person could be expected to understand at least the rudimentary concepts of notes and singing. Today, the only folks who know anything about sight-reading are those who volunteered to take electives in middle & high school like choir, orchestra, or band. Everyone else learns to sing in their car or with their big, shiny headphones on. In other words, listening for a melody and singing it out is the most we can hope for from the younger...

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Posted on Feb 3, 2014 in Featured Slider, Resources, Worship Ministry | 6 comments

The Truth about Teaching Your Church New Worship Songs

The Truth about Teaching Your Church New Worship Songs

The image contained in this blog post is a free resource you can access at CreationSwap.com. You’ve probably read a lot of advice about taking your time with teaching a new song. There’s a lot already out there.  So why bother adding my voice to the mix? Partly because I don’t think we take the advice seriously enough. But also because I try to tailor this blog’s focus to a specific group of worship leaders–blue collar worship leaders–and our ministry context is a little different than the context of the average worship advice-giver. For starters, we generally lead worship in churches of 500-ish or less people and those folks often have a higher median age. Reality Checks about Our Churches: They aren’t Tomlin concert attenders. They aren’t listening to the latest worship music in their car every week. They don’t learn these new-fangled melodies and rhythms very fast (or sometimes at all). Their attendance is very hit or miss from week-to-week. So to assume they’ll pick up a new...

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Posted on Nov 21, 2013 in Featured Slider, Tools, Worship Ministry | 9 comments

Electric Drums: Gold or Fool’s Gold?

Electric Drums: Gold or Fool’s Gold?

Cracked me UP… — Worship Sound Guy (@WorshipSoundGuy) October 15, 2013   I‘m coming to believe electric drums are, in fact, fool’s gold to the average blue collar worship leader. Blue collar worship leaders serve in small-to-midsize congregations and face many obstacles that a quality electric drum set could overcome. So in that sense, they’re true gold. For instance: Small room or bad acoustics? Electric drums get it under control. Can’t afford a nice drum room and mic set-up (aka, one that actually helps)? You can get some great sounding electric drums for reasonable prices these days…especially if you scour your local Craigslist ads. Have more than one drummer and they all play crazy different? Electronic modules allow you to program and save settings for multiple users. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Perfect volume every week. No more complaints from the peanut gallery.  No giant, ugly drum cage to mar your stage. Right? Wrong. Because electric drums are fool’s gold. A few years back, I was faced with the kind...

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Posted on Nov 14, 2013 in Featured Slider, Resources, Worship Ministry | 0 comments

A Veteran’s Day Prayer

A Veteran’s Day Prayer

I recently blogged about patriotism’s place in our worship services, most importantly asking that we be very thoughtful and purposeful about what we do/say/sing on those certain Sundays that fall near patriotic holidays.  Having posed some very difficult questions for all of us, I found myself wrestling more than ever this week with how to approach the worship service before Veteran’s Day at my church. Ours is a very multigenerational congregation and we have a lot of folks who are very accustomed to bold expressions of patriotism being an integral part of such church services.  I wanted to be sensitive to them while, at the same time, being sure to keep the focus firmly planted on Christ and His Kingdom. The thought occurred to me that Sunday’s such as these might serve as perfect opportunities to engage in the kind of prayer Paul once urged Timothy to pray regarding governing authority. I tried to keep my remarks conversational rather than reading it straight off the page, of course.  Feel free to steal...

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Posted on Nov 9, 2013 in Featured Slider, Worship Ministry | 4 comments

Conduct Rehearsals like a Pro with These 4 Essential Ingredients

Conduct Rehearsals like a Pro with These 4 Essential Ingredients

As worship ministries have evolved over the past few decades, so have rehearsals. The evolution of rehearsals at my church is probably something you and your church can relate to. Once upon a time–if you can imagine it–folks would show up on Sunday AM, the director would pick some hymns out of the hymn book and away they went with an organ, piano & choir leading the way. Fast forward a few years and the planning process became more refined, as did the Sunday morning rehearsal time. As the ministry continued to evolve, the huge leap was made to a mid-week rehearsal; they tucked it away in a time slot right after Wednesday night programming. That’s where our worship ministry was when I arrived. One of the first changes we made was to move our mid-week rehearsal to a dedicated night…a night when no other regular church programming was going on. For us, that was Thursday. This leant a greater sense of importance to mid-week rehearsal and helped people...

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Posted on Oct 31, 2013 in Featured Slider, Worship Ministry | 4 comments

What Is Patriotism’s Place in Our Worship?

What Is Patriotism’s Place in Our Worship?

When was the last time you heard someone request prayer for an American soldier? Ok, now when was the last time you heard someone voice similar concern for our foreign brothers and sisters facing persecution for their faith? If you serve in a church that emphasizes Kingdom over country, count yourself blessed. Many American Christians have struggled to distinguish between country and Kingdom. Our struggle in that regard has greatly influenced the worship practices of our local churches. The following are observations, not arguments: Many of our church worship facilities boast American flags inside and out. I don’t believe that’s common Christian practice. Not in the early Church and not even in the international Church of today, by all accounts I’ve heard & read. Feel free to correct me if you know differently. Our churches celebrate Christian events that America recognizes as national holidays. But we also celebrate distinctly American holidays. Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Veterans Day to name a few. The hymnals I grew up with...

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