Worship Reflections 07.06, 07.13, 07.20

As the worship leader in our church, I like to write occasionally about our Sunday worship experiences.  Having just begun a new worship service schedule & configuration, my musings are multiplying. Exponentially.

In the shift we’ve just made, there are a few interesting factors that have become important in the health of the transition.  Today’s topic: song selection

Here’s what  the ‘contemporary’ side of our new worship world has looked like over the past three weeks: July 6: band, vocals

  • Sing to the King (Foote)
  • Unchanging (Tomlin)
  • Hallelujah to My King (Brown/Baloche) 

     The message this week encouraged us to take time to worship. So we did:

  • Be Still and Know 
  • Unashamed Love (Ten Shekel Shirt)
  • My Jesus I Love Thee
  • You are My King (Amazing Love) (Foote)

July 13: band, vocals, worship choir

  • Joyful, Joyful:  worship choir arrangement with brass & band
  • Cry Out Your Name (Moore): older, but a solid hook & great theme
  • Hallelujah to My King (Brown/Baloche)
  • Your Name (Packiam/Baloche)
  • I Surrender All: beautiful 4-part accapella vocal arrangement (sung by 8 person ensemble from the back of the room) used as a response to sermon

July 20: band, vocals

  • You Are Good (Houghton)
  • Cry Out Your Name (Moore)
  • You Are (Roach) 
  • How Great is Our God (Tomlin)
  • May the Words of My Mouth (Hughes): great response song

Prior to this transition, about half our congregation attended our contemporary service, and about half attended our ‘blended’ service.  The blended service included a few newer style songs, plus a few traditional style hymns each week.  Because of that, and because of the culture of that service, we did not use the same ‘library’ of new songs as the contemporary service.  Now that we’ve upset the proverbial apple cart, probably 1/3 of the people in the room for each of our contemporary services aren’t familiar with our standard, use-them-whenever, hit-the-ball-out -of-the-park worship songs.  So, two things become important:

  1.  intentionally using 1-2 songs each week that are well-known to everyone (at least for a while)
  2.  thoughtfully choosing the songs that will continue to be used (hopefully, new songs are always thoughtfully chosen…)
Walking the line between familiarity and innovation, comfort and creativity will be the trick over the next month or so.  But that’s ok.  The change in our team’s schedule, how we communicate (thanks to Planning Center, which is quite possibly adding years to my sanity), and even how we are arranged on the platform has energized us and has reminded all of us of our primary directive: we are called to provide opportunities for this church family to worship. I hope we’re doing it with a great amount of sensitivity, as change is not always easy for everyone to embrace.

If you are a part of our church, I’d love to know how you’re responding to this set of changes.
If you are not a part of our church, how do you usually respond to change?  Do your heels dig in, or do your arms embrace it?

8 thoughts on “Worship Reflections 07.06, 07.13, 07.20

  1. I hope the water didn’t soak in too far. In Florida we would call a family in the water “gator bait”.

  2. Thank you so much, aunteem. I just sent you an email. Somehow I didn’t know you had surgery! Thank you so much for always being so encouraging.

  3. Kim….keep it up…I’ll keep praying…it is good! Very good! I am so glad for the move in worship we are experiencing.I am still at home recovering from knee surgery and just wish the worship time was included in the audio before Brent’s sermon! Hope to be there life this week!

  4. mandy… great leaders think alike, I suppose. :) thanks for the comment. NEIL??!?!?! SERIOUSLY??!? I LOVE it when you show up here. I’ve heard of a support group for spouses of worship leaders that sponsored, actually, by Planning Center. :)

  5. it would be fun to ask the spouses of worship leaders everywhere what the effects of Planning Center are…..let’s just say… planning center – good.Beth… God is speaking.as for change…. are you kidding? we’re Mennonite.

  6. 1. intentionally using 1-2 songs each week that are well-known to everyone (at least for a while) 2. thoughtfully choosing the songs that will continue to be used (hopefully, new songs are always thoughtfully chosen…)YES YES YES!!! we’ve been introducing more contemporary songs in our “blended” service as well, but we very carefully think through what we are teaching them, because we want to know we will stick with the song… and we can’t introduce too many at once, or they can’t participate.

  7. beth. my kindred worship leading friend. :) You are absolutely right about change being horrible and then leading to growth spurts in the most unexpected places. I admire your ‘deliberately shaking up the system’ thing… I haven’t had to do that deliberately yet, as it seems to keep happening on its own. Planning Center. I’ve made myself use it exclusively for scheduling & planning for 3 weeks now. Band members and vocalists love it. The only drawback at this point has to do with my learning curve. It isn’t difficult to use; it just allows for a different approach to scheduling and communication than we were using before. So it feels like everything takes me longer than it used to. It is time intensive in the start-up phase if you want to take advantage of attaching pdf files and mp3 files to songs. Which is one of the most helpful features. I would highly recommend it!

  8. Girl, I’m so glad you detailed this – great stuff…Change, I find, is often horrible, awful, difficult, stressful – and then leads to great growth, particularly relationally and spiritually. We keep things pretty steady in our services, although we try to vary the format somewhat weekly – but I deliberately shake up the system with our musicians about every 6 months. They hate it – and they love it.Tell me about Planning Center – this is the second time it’s hit me tonight. God must be speaking…..what level do you use? Any drawbacks?

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