10.16.11 Worship Confessional

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).

Today as we continued our One.Life series we were reminded that God has the wisdom that we need and that God is also willing to share it with anyone who asks. And so I ask you – where do you need the wisdom of God right now? Why not pause and ask for for it right now?

We introduced a newer song to the congregation today called “All Glory.” This song, written by Tim Hughes, Nikki Fletcher and Martin Smith is based upon Psalm 57:5:

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.”

I picked up the song from Worship Together’s New Song Cafe. This is a great resource for new music as each week the people at Worship Together feature a worship artist, the story behind the song, an acoustic performance as well as a brief tutorial on playing the song. You can watch Tim Hughes’ version of “All Glory” here.

Question for worship leaders: what is your source for new songs?

Our complete worship flow:

  • O This God (Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin)
  • Reading from Philippians 2
  • Your Name (Paul Baloche and Glenn Packiam)
  • Forever Reign (Jason Ingram and Rebuen Morgan)
  • Reading from Psalm 57
  • All Glory (Tim Hughes, Nikki Fletcher and Martin Smith)

You can learn what other faith communities experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.

Stay connected…

Comments

  1. I listend to Tim Hughes’ new song, and it is pretty catchy and the content is fairly good. Though I’ve been feeling like a lot of the well-known worship leaders are using similar themes in most of their songs, so it sounds like a lot of the same. I was curious, what do you do to help bring variety of content not only at each of your church’s services of worship but as you pick and introduce new songs as well? I saw this post (not many others), so I don’t know what you do on a regular basis.

    As for how I find new songs, it is always a variety. I look through Worship Leader magazine for possible ideas, Worship Together’s New Song Cafe sometimes, but also keep up to date on artists through iTunes and Amazon. However, a lot of my song choices come from conversations with friends/worship leaders or as I look at other leader’s song lists, and look up the songs they used (like I did here with “All Glory”).

    And awesome that you use Scripture as you lead. So essential.
    Adam Ranck recently posted..Songs and Worship, September 11, 2011

    • Adam,

      Thanks for stopping by and engaging in the conversation. You raise some important issues.

      First off, it’s hard work finding the right songs for corporate worship. My process is similar to yours and involves listening to a ton of music. What do you think you ratio of songs listened to and songs that make it into worship is? 1:10, 1:50, 1:100? I’m not sure what mine is but my guess is it is close to 1:100. I doubt people in our congregations have any idea of the big time investment worship leaders put into song selection.

      I’m with you on the cycles of themes and sounds among mainstream worship leaders (that’s one of the reasons why I love the new Gungor project; it certainly expands the sonic spectrum of “worship music”). That said, I think most congregations develop a particular sound and feel that works for them and that is most conducive to their community connecting with God through song. As a musician, at times I want to stretch people musically; as a pastor, I have to be sensitive to not stretch people to the point that it become a distraction and hindrance to worship.

      How do you deal with that tension, Adam?

      Stay connected…

  2. Hmmm. My guess with the ratio you’re asking is probably closer to 1:50 to 1:30. I use this ratio intentionally though, because I listen to music all the time, but I’m not always listening for the details of lyric content and sing-ability for congregational use. However, when I do, I will often first listen to a song because it’s either from an artist I already know is good, heard about it from a friend or trusted source, or heard it randomly somewhere and heard the content was good already. So I’m already considering the likelihood of how well it will work.

    To follow up then, thinking partly with the tension question you asked me, I’ll give the song a go a couple times to see how the people respond to it, how well they learn it, and if it truly seems to help them connect with God and express themselves to Him. I understand that not everyone will be able to connect with every song, but I agree with you that every community has a style of music and form that they connect more with. And I also agree with the need to stretch them musically, but to also keep the balance of new and familiar .. but actually keeping more tilted towards the familiar.

    The importance of bringing new songs (and elements of worship) is very high, because otherwise, people will not be engaged to look outside themselves much, and it will make it easier for people to selfishly look at their familiar “worship style” as the only way. When I talk with people about how traditionalism (different than tradition) has crept into people’s hearts, I feel it may be because a form(s) of worship was continued without regard to looking outside our local church culture. Aka, a bubble. So, when people are all about bringing in “contemporary” music (the new music will ALWAYS be contemporary), I’m not about making that new style of music our only style, but rather helping people engage with several styles of music and forms of worship so they are continually engaged and are more accepting of change then those who sold themselves to traditionalism.

    But as for the tension, I will tend towards the side of familiar songs and styles that the people of my local church are accustomed to, while intentionally engaging them with styles and/or forms of worship that are a little out of the norm to help them see diversity in worship. However, with people’s preferences now-a-days, I wonder if variety in style of music is essential in helping multi-generation churches stay multi-generational. We can still do the same new and familiar songs, but change their musical style for our people. Realistically, our music shouldn’t shape our people, but our people should be shaping the music. The music is just an accompaniment (though magnificent and beautiful and should be done skillfully) to our voices and hearts and lifestyles of worship. Even for the musicians, the music is the heart extolling the LORD in external ways.

    Did I answer the question? How about yourself? Is there a certain approach you take to handle the tension?
    Adam Ranck recently posted..Are We Offering Polluted Worship? Part 1

    • “Realistically, our music shouldn’t shape our people, but our people should be shaping the music. The music is just an accompaniment (though magnificent and beautiful and should be done skillfully) to our voices and hearts and lifestyles of worship.” This is a rich statement, Adam – brilliant in fact. I am pretty sure I will reference this idea in the days ahead (and will be sure to give you credit!).

      One of the ways we live in the tension is by using different band formats – about once a month we use a scaled back band. maybe acoustic guitars, bass and djembe or cajon. or two weeks ago we simply used two acoustic guitars and vocals (no percussion). This results in a couple of positive things: people focus on lyrical content more and people can hear themselves and others sing (which can also be pretty intimidating as well).

      T

      • Thank you for your kind words Terry. And your idea is a good one. I also love the idea of scaling back with more of an “unplugged” sound (I’m not sure that is the right usage of unplugged, but I think you understand). And yes, it’s intimidating! Haha. That large wall of sound that we create with a full band really brings some sense of security (not just for us but also for the people sometimes). But it helps us belt out our songs too.

        Have you ever considered going a cappella for a service? I haven’t tried it yet, but will in the future. Just as long as we don’t hit a note on an instrument to see if we’re still in key 😉 haha.
        Adam Ranck recently posted..Are We Offering Polluted Worship? Part 2

  3. Actually, in regard to traditionalism with music styles and people getting stuck thinking they can only worship God one way, I do believe style of music has a part to do with that, but actually, I think the main problem is priorities. That is why I believe in challenging people with new and different styles of music and forms of worship to help them see there is more than what they are familiar with and look outside themselves. However, my central reason for doing that is because our priority should be unity and love with each other centered around and exampling Jesus. We need to join together to worship God, not be split by our preferences. And music style and forms of worship (outside the sacraments of course) are only preferences, though beneficial. I’d rather lesson corporate musical worship for a time (to remind people of the importance) than cause disunity among my local church. Unity is more important.

    What do you think? (my reply is soooo long O_o)
    Adam Ranck recently posted..Are We Offering Polluted Worship? Part 1

    • Your comments bring to mind Paul’s words in Philippians 2: “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

      Learning to defer to one another in love is key to unity.

      T

  4. I have been reading and praying Psalm 57 all week; what a rich passage. Really appreciate the way you incorporate Scripture into the worship liturgy. In fact, it’s a part of the service I look forward to each week as it helps shape my reading & prayer for the coming week.

    • Thanks for the feedback Dianne. I am glad these Scripture readings are fueling your reflection throughout the week – the power of liturgy (the work of the people)!

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