December 11, 2018

 in Ministry

How to Handle the Unexpected

With any live performance, there's always the possibility of something unexpected happening. I was reminded of this once again last week during worship. The tracks/click we were using went wacky during the first song. I had no option but to kill the tracks and click. After the tracks went down, the whole band was on edge having to adjust. And of course that led to a mistake. Me, the keyboard player, started a song while still transposed a half step down. I didn't realize it until the singer came in. That's the worst feeling in the world - trying to decide between two equally awkward options.

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There are big differences in starting a band and building a worship team:

  • A band picks members that all fit together. A worship team picks members to represent the body.
  • Image is really important in a band. Image is not important on a worship team.
  • A band is typically the same people all the time. A worship team should be different people a lot of the time.
  • Bands pick songs that make them sound good. Worship teams pick songs that the church needs to sing.
  • A band always works toward the better gig. A worship team serves faithfully every week regardless of attendance.
  • Bands pick songs that they know will get a response. Worship teams pick songs that sometimes say things we don't want to hear.
  • Success to a band is the applause of the crowd. Success to a worship team is the applause of one.

What are you building?

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December 11, 2018

 in Ministry

The In-Between Songs

There are stages of every Christian life: Justification (salvation), Sanctification (working out our salvation) and Glorification (heaven).

Working with worship songs and songwriters, I hear a lot of songs about salvation and heaven, but not as many about sanctification. I believe there is certainly a need for songs that address all three. We need to praise God for salvation, even singing to the lost how God has saved us. We also need to look ahead at times to heaven when we will finally worship Jesus face to face.

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Yes!

Okay, that would a pretty boring blog post, so allow me to digress. I've been in church pretty much my whole life. Admittedly, my church experience, as with most of us, is limited to a pretty narrow stream. But why is it that most of the time when I worship at church, the band looks like they are either mad or bored?

Now I don't believe for a minute that most of the people in the band are mad or bored. My hypothesis is that we have issues with having fun while playing church music. That somehow we are more "spiritual" by appearing melancholy. I also think 50% to 75% of the people on stage are scared out of their minds to be in front of people, but that's a different discussion.

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This question was asked at a conference where I was a guest on a panel on worship music. Honestly, at the moment I had a bit of a loss for words. The flow of new worship songs is essentially endless. I chuckle when I hear people say, “There’s just not any great new worship songs!” Depending on your definition of great that may be true, but there certainly isn’t a shortage of contenders.

So when the guy asked, “Should I be writing songs for my church?”, my first impulse was to shout, “No! Please don’t! We have plenty already!” But after thinking about it for a few moments, I said, “Maybe.”

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