10 Great Worship Team Questions

Are you a Worship Leader or Music Ministry leader? Asking your team the right questions really sets the right tone for your leadership. Asking the right questions will give you insight into any blind spots you might have. And asking the right questions will help your team and the people serving in it go to the next level. Here are 10 great questions to help you in your leadership.

1. How can I help you? The greatest leaders are really servants. If people sense that you are there to help them, they will buy into your leadership much faster.

2. What is the biggest challenge you have to being successful here? Our goal should be to help the people around us to be successful. Seeing life from their perspective really helps get past many barriers.

3. Do you understand what I’ve asked you to do? Or, what is your understanding of the vision of this music ministry? Clear communication and vision is so important. These are a great questions to get everyone on the same page.

4. What am I missing or what would you do differently if you were me? Leaders don’t always get it right. Getting advice is a key to leading with wisdom.

5. What do you see that I can’t see? In most organizations it is really difficult to clearly see all the moving pieces. Getting great feedback from other perspectives is huge.

6. How can I improve as your leader? We all need to be improving as leaders. Being humble enough to search for advice and then apply it, is real wisdom.

7. If we had authority to do anything – and money was no barrier – what would you like to see us do as a team/organization? We often have barriers in our mind that are imaginary and really hold us back. This kind of ‘blue sky’ thinking really helps breaks down those barriers.

8. Where do you see yourself someday and how can I assist you in getting there? Developing new leaders and helping your team members reach their God-given destiny is part of our job. We need to be teaching our people to be future leaders.

9. What are you currently learning which can help all of us? Learning from the full team will only help us all develop and learn faster.

10. How are you doing in your personal life and is there any way I can help you? Everyone has stuff that they are going through. We all need to love and support each other. This kind of personal interaction can help your team go to the next level.

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

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Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving, a time to reflect and give thanks for all the good things in our lives.

I want to say a special thanks to God for the journey so far. I want to thank Him for how rich my life has been. I come from a wonderful Christian family with a great heritage. I’m the oldest of six kids who all love and serve God. And I married a wonderful Italian girl who has a great family that loves God.

I have loved the Lord since I was a child and I have felt His guiding hand throughout my life. God’s blessings in my life have allowed me to travel around the world multiple times and see hundreds of thousands of people come to know the Lord. His rich blessings have given me a godly wife, great kids & grandkids and faithful friends.

God’s hand in my life has led me to see countless miracles, write hundreds of musical arrangements and songs that have been used by thousands of churches. His blessings have also enabled me to train and mentor many young musicians to use their gifts to glorify God. It has been an incredible journey, a great adventure and I believe some of the best is yet to come.

So I just want to pause and say ‘Thank You, God’. You have been faithful. You have supplied all my needs. Your love and presence has changed my life. I thank You for health, direction and purpose. Thank You for all You have done so far and for all You are still going to do. With all my heart, I love You!

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure’ available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

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Going from Song Leading to Worship Leading

Leaders, how do you go from just leading songs to leading worship? How do you get a congregation to get past just singing songs to actually worshiping God? Let me suggest some insights to help you grow as a worship leader.

Signs that you are a Song Leader:

  1. You pick nice songs to sing but the congregation never arrives at worshipping God
  2. You are not sure about what to do when the introductions and endings of songs are being played
  3. You don’t have a worship destination in mind when choosing the flow of your worship set
  4. You mostly just sing the notes on the page
  5. You don’t encourage the congregation to engage in the attitudes and actions of worship
  6. You are not sure what the attitudes and actions of worship are
  7. You just sing the songs and hope everyone sings along

See: Attitude Is Everything (The Attitudes of Worship) & Actions Speak So Loud (The Actions of Worship)

Signs that you are a Worship Leader:

  1. You love to worship God at home when nobody is watching
  2. You worship God during rehearsals
  3. You understand what the attitudes and actions of worship are
  4. You engage in the attitudes and actions of worship in private and in public
  5. You memorize the music so you can focus on God
  6. You have a worship goal in mind when you plan your church worship set
  7. You encourage the band and congregation to engage in the attitudes and actions of worship

Years ago I attended a conference with an internationally known worship leader. It was inspiring. It was evident that this leader had memorized all the music and was intent on doing the two main jobs of a worship leader:

  1. They were worshipping God personally
  2. They were leading and encouraging the congregation and band to worship God.

How did they do this?

1. They had a worship destination in mind

They were intentionally picking worship songs that helped people focus on singing directly to God. By the end of the set they weren’t singing songs that just talked about God. They were singing songs that caused people to sing directly to God. They picked songs that helped people worship God, not just sing about Him.

Different songs have a different focus. Some songs are about God, some songs are about the theology of God, some songs teach us. Some are fast, some are slow. Some songs challenge us and some help us express our feelings. And some songs are personal prayers directly to God. Understanding the purpose of the songs you are choosing is so important.

It was evident that this worship leader’s goal was to get people to move people from general corporate singing to encountering God personally and singing directly to Him.

2. They had done the necessary rehearsal to move past the music to worshiping God

It is so important to know the music so well that you rarely have to think about it. And it is important to have great rehearsals with your band and singers so they can do the same. If all the people on the stage haven’t done their ‘due diligence’ in learning the music then the congregation gets the sense that were just going through the routine of singing songs.

3. They flowed well from one song to another

When they planned their worship set they also were also intentional about how to transition from one song to another. They didn’t allow changing songs to break their focus on worshiping God. They had worked out the logistics of what player started the next song so they could keep their heart focused on worshiping God and leading the congregation to do the same.

4. They kept their focus on God and leading people through the whole worship time.

There can be a lot of distractions when you are in front of a congregation: people coming in late, media problems and a myriad of other small details. But a strong worship leader keeps their focus on worshiping God and leading the congregation to do the same. A strong worship leader knows the main thing is keeping their heart, mind and worship set on God and helping the congregation to do the same.

What other suggestions do you have to help leaders move from just singing songs to worshiping and leading the congregation to worship God?

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Four Behaviors of a Thriving Worship Ministry

Lessons From Churches from 50 and 5000.

By Mike O’Brien

Over the past 18 months, I have served fifty-plus churches as a worship team trainer and guest worship leader. I’ve noticed some interesting trends in worship ministries that are healthy, growing, and happy. This post has little to do with the quality of liturgy or congregational worship experience, but it’s more a peek under the administrative hood. It is not exhaustive, it’s just a list of markers I have noticed.

FOUR behaviors of thriving worship ministries:

1. THEY CONSISTENTLY (and uniformly) SCHEDULE THEIR VOLUNTEERS 

Most churches have multiple worship leaders. If you have three worship leaders and three different ways of administering bands, you will drive your volunteers crazy. There should be one system that everyone adheres to. If possible, try to implement the SAME system across the board for all volunteers so families can serve in multiple areas of the church without confusion.

  • Pick a System – There are several ways to let people know when they are serving at church. Planning Center Online is the king, however, you can also look at worshipteam.com and others. You might use a mix of online tools and simple PDF attachments to email. Your system should have a way to communicate seasonally (1-4 months at a time), weekly (hey, you’re on this week), and the day of service (hey, you’re on today). Provide schedules at least 1 month before the start of the schedule. (i.e. the January schedule is emailed November 30th etc…).
  • Do not avoid creating a system because one volunteer doesn’t use email or Facebook. Those people either need to yield to the agreed method or you can build a secondary system for them. Either way, there should be a system to reach everyone.
  • Once a healthy method for communication is in place, don’t constantly change your methodology. You will build trust with consistency, which is measured in years, not months.
  • Raise heck when your system is ignored or amended by well-meaning, creative people. Consistency breeds faithfulness (and more drummers).

2. THEY HAVE  SYSTEMS FOR SONGS

Every local church is marked by the songs they sing. In this day and age, the song is the most prominent means of gospel delivery and discipleship. There is a virtual sea of thousands of worship songs for the choosing. Instead of pulling from that potential sea, great worship leaders work from a pool of songs. New songs are added with care and intentionality and are not adopted via the affections of one particular worship leader. Your pool of songs can live on a Google Doc or similar online database. It should be editable and list active, potential, and retired songs.

Churches that sing the same songs over and over again have a more active engagement in worship than churches that have no congruent songs week-to-week. If worship leaders and musicians are bored to tears with songs that means the congregation is just getting to know them. Keep in mind many people only come to church once a month!

3. THEY HAVE COMPELLING + ORGANIZED ENVIRONMENTS  

Where is a sharpie? Are we seriously out of 9 Volts? My mic stand is holding on by a prayer.

The stage, backstage, and soundboard areas should be clean and labeled so a variety of workers can function with ease. Growing organizations are constantly inviting new people to “play” and there should be physical spaces that are hospitable to newbies. Your faithful volunteers too should have what they need to do what has been asked of them.

All areas (seen and unseen) should be stripped, cleaned and reorganized throughout the year. Old moldy cups of coffee and nests of cables communicate that you don’t care and you will repel some creative personalities.

The quality of the church drum set and vocal mics will tell me all I need to know about the value of worship in any given church. Great gear attracts great servant artists.

4. THEY SAY “THANK YOU” IN A VARIETY OF WAYS

In the heart of every volunteer (and staff member) is the question: “Does what I do matter?” Great leaders are consistently encouraging and rewarding those that are serving on their teams.  EVERYONE has a different language of love and you might need to ask your volunteers directly, “How can I say thank you?”. Here are the essential methods:

Public Praise (from the pulpit, from a Facebook post) FREE
A Written Note FREE
A Thoughtful Gift
A Gathering (quality time and/or fun)
A Specific Word of Encouragement FREE

Healthy volunteer cultures are immersed with recognition, thanks and encouragement.

The original post is here

My name is Mike O’Brien and I am passionate about teaching and mentoring through music. My calling is to use my experience as a producer, worship leader, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist to come alongside musicians, helping them more fully worship God with their instrument and lives. Find out more how I can help your worship leaders and teams HERE.

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How To Last In Ministry

By Pastor Rick Warren

Ministry is a marathon: it’s not how you start in ministry; it’s how you finish.

If you look at 2 Corinthians 4:1-18, Paul gives seven suggestions for finishing the race:

Remember God’s mercy (v. 1): God has given us our ministries. We don’t have to prove our worth through our ministry, and we don’t have to wallow in our mistakes. You don’t have to earn your place as a pastor or leader in the church.

Be truthful and honest in all you do (v. 2): Maintain your integrity because integrity produces power in your life, while guilt zaps your energy. You need to finish with your character intact. Your integrity includes how you handle the Word of God. Don’t distort it or make it confusing.

Be motivated to work for Jesus’ sake, not out of selfish desires (v. 5): We need a right motivation. A lot of guys start off as servants and end up celebrities. You need to learn to live your life for an audience of one, and that one is Jesus Christ.

Realize that Christians are only human (v. 7): We must accept our limitations, and the quickest way to burn out is to try to be Superman. Humility is being honest about your weaknesses.

Develop a true love for others (v. 15): Churches thrive, grow, and survive when love endures. You must love people or you won’t last in the ministry.

Allow time for inward rejuvenation (v. 16): I have a motto – Divert daily, withdraw weekly, and abandon annually. You need to take time for recharging. In the Air Force, they’ve mastered the art of mid-flight refueling. You can, too – you don’t have to land every time you need to refuel.

Stay focused on the important things, not distracted by momentary troubles (v. 17-18): Keep your eyes on the goal, not the problem. Only he who sees the invisible can accomplish the impossible. To be a winner in the marathon of ministerial service, Christians need to realize great people are just ordinary people with an extraordinary amount of determination. If we run from problems, we’ll never be able to become what God wants us to become.

The world needs you to last in ministry! God wired you and called you to the task, and you can do it in his power and under his grace.

The original post is here.

 

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Worship Leading: 4 Keys To Improving

Leading people in worship to the Living God is an awesome privilege and really involves four major areas: music, worship, leadership (people) and your relationship with God. The more you understand and grow in each area, the stronger your worship leading should become.

I have been leading worship with congregations ranging from 70 to 7000 people for over 25 years, and I am still learning. Here are the main areas to consider for growth in your own personal journey. I’ve also put in links to help you go into more depth in each area.

1. Develop your music skills

2. Develop your worship skills

3. Develop your leadership skills

4. Develop your relationship with God

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

This blog is part of my goal to train over 100,000 worship leaders around the world. If you would like to support this vision you can help by giving any amount via PayPal here.

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Worship Ministry: 12 Keys To Growing

I love to help worship leaders and worship pastors grow and become all that God has called them to be. I hope these 12 keys challenge you like they challenge me. I have been leading worship and pastoring for over 30 years but I still go back to this list to see what I need to work on!

12. Develop your administrative skills

  • Are you creating timely schedules for your musicians and planning ahead on the church calendar?
  • Are your worship sets and services well-organized?
  • Do your worship teams get their music well in advance so they can be excellent?

11. Learn to run highly effective rehearsals

  • Are you spending enough time with the music to get past it and worship?
  • Are you giving your team all the tools they need to be successful?
  • Are you and your team memorizing the songs?

10. Learn to pick great worship songs

  • Are you teaching your congregation the great songs from around world?
  • Do you ever go outside your preferences in musical styles?
  • Are you developing a balanced repertoire of fast, medium and slow songs?

9. Develop a strong team

  • Do you have a system for bringing along new musicians?
  • Are you developing multiple musicians for each position?
  • Are you helping your team grow spiritually?

8. Be a great worshipper

  • Are you keeping it real? Be authentic, are you the same on and off the stage?
  • Are there areas in your life that are holding you back from God’s richest blessings?
  • Do you love the Lord with all your heart and are you a passionate worshipper?

7. Never stop growing

  • Are you practicing your singing and playing on a daily basis?
  • Are you taking lessons and improving your craft and leadership?
  • Are you changing and growing with the new trends, styles and songs?

6. Keep your heart soft and pliable before God

  • Have you learned to forgive and forgive again?
  • Do you have good friends who can speak into your life?
  • Do you have safeguards to keep you from falling into temptation?

5. Develop a good relationship with your pastor

  • Do you have a weekly or bi-weekly meeting with your pastor?
  • Are you supporting your pastor in private and public?
  • Have you ever had your pastor and his wife over for dinner?

4. Mentor the next generation of leaders

  • Are you looking for and developing the potential leaders on your team?
  • Are you giving room for new leaders to lead a song or worship time?
  • Jesus spent over 3 years developing His team, are you following His example?

3. Love the church like Jesus loves the church

  • Are you building God’s kingdom or yours?
  • Do you love the people you are leading?
  • Jesus laid down His life for us, are you willing to lay down your life?

2. Love your spouse and family

  • Are you carving out regular time in your schedule for your spouse and family?
  • Are you taking one day off per week?
  • When is the last time you had a date with your spouse?

1. Love and spend time with God daily

  • Are you reading your Bible daily?
  • Where is your secret place to meet with God?
  • How is your daily prayer life? Are you praying and obeying?

Here are some related posts:

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

This blog is part of my vision to help train 100,000 worship leaders around the world. If you would like to support this you can help by giving on this PayPal account.

Posted in Church, Family, God, Jesus, Leadership, Music, Wisdom, Worship | Leave a comment

12 Things That Can Discourage Congregational Singing

I love it when congregations sing so loud that the soundman has trouble hearing the worship band over the people singing around him. Worship leaders – if the congregation is not singing, we are not doing what God has called us to do. Here are a few things that I’ve learned that can discourage your congregation from singing.

1. Frequent and long instrumental solos

The goal is to get the congregation to be involved. If you have too many solos and they are too long, it can cause the congregation to disengage and become spectators. In certain situations, a well placed solo or short 4-8 bar instrumental works well. But be careful not overuse them. I generally use them only as short transitions to the next section. I also find short song intros are generally the best (4-8 bars is ideal).

2. Doing too many new songs

I love new songs and the band loves learning new songs. But, the congregation doesn’t get tired of songs as fast as we do. They haven’t put in hours of listening to and rehearsing the songs or playing the same songs in multiple services. They just hear it once on Sunday morning and maybe on Christian radio. A congregation can only learn so many songs. Be careful about how often you introduce new songs.

3. Having too many songs in your worship rotation

There are hundreds of thousands of worship songs and hymns. I recently read that CCLI has around 300,000 worship songs in their catalogue. But, how many songs does your congregation really sing in a year? Probably only 40-50. My advice is to continually edit your overall top songs list and repeat songs on a regular basis.

4. Using songs that aren’t the best of the best

There are great songs and there are average songs. Learn to pick the best of the best. SongSelect has a ‘most popular’ list that really is the songs that congregations love to sing. Some worship leaders avoid ‘popular lists’ because they think that is unspiritual. But I believe the Holy Spirit is speaking to worship leaders all over the world and one of the results is a consistent list of top songs that most churches are using.

Here is my list of top songs. PlanningCenter.com also has a great ‘Top Song’ feature that shows what songs all their churches are using that week.

Side Note: That doesn’t mean that other people’s Top Song list are the best for your congregation. Each congregation has its own culture. Top Song lists also don’t include your locally written songs and songs that God is personally speaking to you about. But, it is a great place to start.

5. Putting songs in too high or too low keys

Your average person does not have a huge singing range. The ‘Rule of D’ (top note is around a ‘D’ i.e. C-Eb) is a great guideline for choosing the best key to sing in. If you pitch songs in comfortable keys the congregation is more apt to sing-along.

6. Using singers and band members who aren’t worshippers

When your congregation sees singers and band members who are fully engaged and worshiping the Lord with all their heart, it encourages them to do the same. Encourage your whole team to memorize their music. Teach them the attitudes of worship and the actions of worship: standing, singing, clapping, raising their hands, dancing, bowing down, playing instruments, shouting and giving. Teach them to be passionate worshipers on and off the stage. Teach them the importance of good stage presence and the power of smiling.

7. Making the arrangement and rhythms too complicated

It’s easy to lose a congregation if the form and flow of the song isn’t musically obvious. Certain musical forms (i.e. intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, double chorus, tag and end) really help congregations feel comfortable about where the song is going. Don’t create unnecessary complications to solid musical form.

Also be careful about using melodic rhythms that are too complicated. Congregations are learning to sing more complicated rhythms but be sensitive to where that musical and rhythmic line is.

8. Vocal ad libs that confuse congregations

I love ad libs that help congregations know what is happening next. But sometimes overuse or mis-timed ad libs can throw off your congregation. Really practice the use and timing of ad-libs so they help and don’t hinder congregational singing.

9. Having the band playing all the time

Learn when the band and individual instruments should play and not play. Learn to build a musical arrangement and where to have the band or an instrument sit out a section. Some of the most powerful singing is when the band doesn’t play at all. Creating musical layers gives more musical interest and space for congregational singing.

10. Having miscues with lyrics

Put your best media operators on the computer running your lyrics. Double-check the order of your lyrics and the spelling. Have a full run-through with your lyric operator to double-check for mistakes. Slow and mis-timed or mis-spelled lyrics can really inhibit a congregation from singing with all their heart.

11. Using only new songs

I love to learn and use all the great new songs that God is giving to the church. But I have learned that congregations still love to sing the best of the great hymns and older choruses. Learn to include some classics to help all the generations sing with all their heart.

12. Worship leading without proper prayer and preparation

Time spent in private reading the Word, praying and worshiping, really is the secret to effective worship leading. Learn to develop a daily time with God and teach your worship team to do the same. God will honor you in public when you honor Him in the secret place. When the congregation senses God in the house, they will be more engaged.

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

This blog is part of my vision to train over 100,000 worship leaders around the world. If you would like to support this vision, you can help by giving any amount via PayPal.

Posted in Church, God, Jesus, Music, Wisdom, Worship | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Wise Advice For Everyday Life

Wise Advice For Everyday Life

  1. Have a firm handshake.
  2. Look people in the eye.
  3. Sing. Expressing yourself through music is therapeutic.
  4. Smile. A happy face brings joy.
  5. Respect and honour your parents.
  6. Learn to keep your friends secrets.
  7. Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.
  8. Always accept an outstretched hand.
  9. Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
  10. Be honest. The truth will set you free.
  11. Avoid sarcastic remarks.
  12. Choose your spouse carefully. This decision will have huge consequences in your life.
  13. Make it a habit to do nice things for people.
  14. Read through the whole Bible at least once in your life.
  15. Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.
  16. When playing games with children, be gentle with them.
  17. A good laugh is powerful medicine.
  18. Be romantic. Tell your spouse daily that you love them.
  19. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
  20. Loosen up. Relax. Ask yourself: will this problem really matter 10 years from now?
  21. Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for your convenience, not the caller’s.
  22. Be a good loser.
  23. Be a good winner.
  24. Learn the power of a great hug.
  25. Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
  26. Keep it simple.
  27. Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
  28. Don’t believe everything you are told! It’s wise to carefully consider the source.
  29. Be a generous giver.
  30. Be bold and courageous. Fear can hold you back from accomplishing many great things.
  31. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
  32. Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
  33. Take charge of your attitude. Don’t let someone else choose it for you.
  34. Visit friends and relatives when they are in hospital; you need only stay a few minutes.
  35. Begin each day with a quiet moment with God.
  36. Once in a while, take the scenic route.
  37. Send a lot of thank-you cards. Thankfulness is powerful.
  38. Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
  39. Too much talk can lead to problems. Be sensible and learn when to keep silent.
  40. Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
  41. It is not good to seek honors for yourself.
  42. Learn to forgive quickly and often.
  43. When you are in a funk, go back and remember all the good things that have happened to you.
  44. Always compliment the cook whether you’re a guest or at home.
  45. Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
  46. Don’t expect life to be fair.
  47. Love your children no matter what happens.
  48. Spend less than you earn.
  49. A soft answer turns away anger.
  50. Hold your spouse’s hand when you go for a walk.
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Strong Congregational Singing: 12 Things To Avoid

I love it when congregations sing so loud that the soundman has trouble hearing the worship band over the people singing around him. Worship leaders – if the congregation is not singing, we are not doing what God has called us to do. Here are a few things that I’ve learned to avoid in order to encourage the congregation to sing.

1. Avoid doing frequent and long instrumental solos

The goal is to get the congregation to be involved. If you have too many solos and they are too long, it can cause the congregation to disengage and become spectators. It certain situations, a well placed solo or short 4-8 bar instrumental works well. But be careful not overuse them. I generally use them only as short transitions to the next section. I also find short song intros are generally the best (4-8 bars is ideal).

2. Avoid doing too many new songs

I love new songs and the band loves learning new songs. But, the congregation doesn’t get tired of songs as fast as we do. They haven’t put in hours of listening to and rehearsing the songs or playing the same songs in multiple services. They just hear it once on Sunday morning and maybe on Christian radio. A congregation can only learn so many songs. Be careful about how often you introduce new songs.

3. Avoid having too many songs in your worship rotation

There are hundreds of thousands of worship songs and hymns. I recently read that CCLI has around 300,000 worship songs in their catalogue. But, how many songs does your congregation really sing in a year? Probably only 40-50. Learn to edit your overall top songs list and repeat songs on a regular basis.

4. Avoid using songs that aren’t the best of the best

There are great songs and there are average songs. Learn to pick the best of the best. SongSelect has a ‘most popular’ list that really is the songs that congregations love to sing. Some worship leaders avoid ‘popular lists’ because they think that is unspiritual. But I believe the Holy Spirit is speaking to worship leaders all over the world and one of the results is a consistent list of top songs that most churches are using. Here is my list of top songs.

5. Avoid putting songs in too high or too low keys

Your average person does not have a huge singing range. The ‘Rule of D’ (top note is around a ‘D’ i.e. C-Eb) is a great guideline for choosing the best key to sing in. If you pitch songs in comfortable keys the congregation is more apt to sing-along.

6. Avoid using singers and band members who aren’t worshippers

When your congregation sees singers and band members who are fully engaged and worshiping the Lord with all their heart, it encourages them to do the same. Encourage your whole team to memorize their music. Teach them the attitudes of worship and the actions of worship: standing, singing, clapping, raising their hands, dancing, bowing down, playing instruments, shouting and giving. Teach them to be passionate worshipers on and off the stage. Teach them the importance of good stage presence and the power of smiling.

7. Avoid making the arrangement and rhythms too complicated

It’s easy to lose a congregation if the form and flow of the song isn’t musically obvious. Certain musical forms (i.e. intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, double chorus, tag and end) really help congregations feel comfortable about where the song is going. Don’t create unnecessary complications to solid musical form.

Also be careful about using melodic rhythms that are too complicated. Congregations are learning to sing more complicated rhythms but be sensitive to where that musical and rhythmic line is.

8. Avoid ad libs that confuse congregations

I love ad libs that help congregations know what is happening next. But sometimes overuse or mis-timed ad libs can throw off your congregation. Really practice the use and timing of ad-libs so they help and don’t hinder congregational singing.

9. Avoid having the band playing all the time.

Learn when the band and individual instruments should play and not play. Learn to build a musical arrangement and where to have the band or an instrument sit out a section. Some of the most powerful singing is when the band doesn’t play at all. Creating musical layers gives more musical interest and space for congregational singing.

10. Avoid having miscues with lyrics

Put your best media operators on the computer running your lyrics. Double-check the order of your lyrics and the spelling. Have a full run-through with your lyric operator to double-check for mistakes. Slow and mis-timed or mis-spelled lyrics can really inhibit a congregation from singing with all their heart.

11. Avoid using only new songs

I love to learn and use all the great new songs that God is giving to the church. But I have learned that congregations still love to sing the best of the great hymns and older choruses. Learn to include some classics to help all the generations sing with all their heart.

12. Avoid worship leading without proper prayer and preparation

Time spent in private reading the Word, praying and worshiping, really is the secret to effective worship leading. Learn to develop a daily time with God and teach your worship team to do the same. God will honor you in public when you honor Him in the secret place. When the congregation senses God in the house, they will be more engaged.

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

This blog is part of my vision to train over 100,000 worship leaders around the world. If you would like to support this vision you can help by giving any amount through this PayPal account.

 

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