Hymns and Worship Culture

The Gospel Coalition had a great discussion about Hymns and Church culture. I recommend this video as well worth 10 minutes of your time.

Here’s what I took from it:

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Secular Music In Church?

I saw an article on the Worship Links blog about the legalities of secular music in the church. I thought it was a worthwhile topic and since they only talked about the legalities, I’ll try to cover the broader issue. More and more churches are playing “secular music” in their services. It’s happening both with the live band on stage, and in the background music. What was once unthinkable to many is now a common place in churches all across the Western World. What’s going on? Why is this happening? Should we be worried or is it no big deal?

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Comparisons and Dirty Little Secrets

Are you trying to keep up with the Jones? The Jones that go to the “cool church” on the other side of the city. The Jones who go to the “artsy church” in the nearest urban center or college town? The Jones who go to the big, well known church in your tribe or denomination?

Well… Stop it. Stop it right now. Stop it right now, and here’s why…

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The 5 Point Band

Let’s be honest about two things:

1. Church bands tend to “overplay” and step over each other on a regular  basis

2. Church bands are often a hodge podge of who’s available instead of who is needed.

What I’m going to suggest will hopefully unmuddy the waters sonically speaking and give structure to arranging and picking your church’s band for a worship service.

When I put a band together for a Sunday or Wednesday I first look at who is available. It’s all well and good to want a thick analog synth sound on a song but if all your keyboard players are on vacation, you’ll need to rethink your plans. Once I know who is available, I start to fill roles based on my “5 point band”. I admit that I don’t always do it consciously, because I’m so used to doing it. But it’s always there in the background of my mind. So here are the 5 points that I look for to put a band together. I’m going to write them in order of importance.

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Does The Worship Leader Have To Sing?

For someone out there, this is going to be a mind blowing, revolutionary thought. So by all means, feel free to sit down for a moment and catch your breath.

For the rest of you, who hopefully get the playful spirit in which I wrote the above sentence, this is a valid conversation for us to have.

In some church traditions, this is a pointless conversation with an obvious answer: of course not. But for many evangelical churches, the question I posed would mean a complete paradigm shift. The worship leader is ALWAYS the person singing. Whether they sing on their own, or if they are also the piano player, guitarist, or even bass player, the worship leader always sings. I’m going to propose that maybe this thinking is why your church’s music ministry is struggling.

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Can A Non-Believer Be On The Worship Team?

Someone is going to read the title of this post and think to themselves: “Of course not! Who would think that is a good idea”. While someone else will think: “Why not? I know someone who did this or that and it worked out just fine”. The answer to this question really does not depend on what you think, or what I think. As with all things, our answer to this or any question should be ‘What does God think?’ This is why having the Bible, God’s word to humanity, as our final authority is so important. So let’s talk about this. In a day and age when churches hire musicians from outside the church, some who aren’t even christians, does God have anything to say on the subject of Non-Christians and Worship Leading?

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“Let’s Sing That Again”: Vocals Cues In The Worship Service

Last week I was at a Pastor’s Conference where many different worship bands and leaders served leading us in worship before the sessions. Almost all of them fell victim to the trap of overusing vocal cues in their leading. What is a vocal cue? Why would someone use them? How can someone overuse them? Well, let’s talk about it.

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