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November 18, 2011


No, the worship team at my church haven’t found out my true identity and stolen my laptop to stop me blogging!!!

March 29, 2011

I just found my life full of other stuff.  No apology, no guilt, no problem!


Still want to direct as many people as will go there to read my friend Matt Blick’s blog on worship (also songwriting) – also, his blog on the Beatle’s music is pretty epic: I’m amazed he has the time to do all he does – I may ask him one day!!!!


Will return to the series on ‘How to help the congregation to participate in corporate worship‘ when I work out the time to – the blog will then be turned over to the subjects of a worshipping and prophetic lifestyle.  Should be fun!!!

Practice spontaneous contributions over and over again.

October 18, 2010

Matt Blick did a series on his blog on the subject of helping the congregation participate in our meetings, and I want to spend some time interacting with each of his twelve suggestions and see if I can squeeze out some more value from his ideas and share them as widely as I can.  This is number five of twelve. (some more of my own may follow, depends on how many people are still reading at the end of the series!!!)

Practice spontaneous contributions over and over again

Ok, so I know you can’t squeeze out prophetic songs on demand at rehearsal, but how about getting the singers to start singing any random scriptures and try to jam along. You can get them to start a song without telling you which one they’re going to pick. You can even get ‘em to try to start it really out of key. You’re trying to practice the mechanics of it so that when it happens for real on a Sunday you don’t freak. All you’re aiming for is to be relaxed enough when the Spirit does start kicking off you can actually still strum a few chords.

This one was short enough to copy and paste – and I haven’t got much to add to Matt’s suggestions!!  (Shock, horror!!!)

I especially like the idea of having someone start a random song at band practice, and just working out how to play along.  It is vital to lock away the music books at this stage!

If you do go for this option, here are a couple of tips for starters – please feel free to add your own!

  • Work out the key first – try singing what sounds like the root of the chord and work out the key
  • First one to nail the key – tell the others!!! Sounds really simple, but I see so many bands miss this one – no need to leave the rest of the band floundering in the wake of your ninja skills, tell them so they can join in!
  • Simply provide a framework for the individual or congregation to sing around. You are not trying to support this kind of contribution in quite the way you support congregational singing of a hymn or song – at least, not to start with.  And bringing too much by way of ‘music’ early on is actually a great way to kill the contribution (along with any chance of others stepping out in this area) as ‘forcing’ a favourite chord structure on the person bringing a prophetic song can stifle the creative flow of the gift; and a musician setting a wonky tempo for a song that they don’t actually know (but the congregation are picking up OK from the person who started it) can really bring a meeting to a juddering halt.  By a framework, I mean things like – guitarists choosing a very chilled strumming pattern of first beat of the bar only (to start with); keyboards, wait until you know how the contribution is building before you choose a funky synth or chilled string pad; drums, avoid playing a ‘beat’ until you know where this is going, but please play your instrumentsensitively until then; vocalists, if it is a prophetic song, please listen to it and remember key phrases so you can lead the congregation in joining in and responding.
  • And my previous post on rehearsing is helpful in this area too.

I’m really interested in finding out how people practice these type of things at the moment, or any other ideas you may have – please comment!!!

Next – a post about song choices and releasing the pressure of aiming for an epic Sunday!


He said, that he said, that he said something challenging about worship

October 17, 2010

So, a convoluted link from my blog here to Al Metcalfe’s blog on which Matt Blick wrote a guest post that really hits you in the gut.

Please read it with an open mind and a heart ready to be challenged – it’s called “Charismatic flavoured worship” and is written to those of us who could sometimes be accused of preaching congregational involvement in worship and use of spiritual gifts more than we practice it.  May it never be so!


Chop your worship leader into little pieces!!!

October 14, 2010

Matt Blick did a series on his blog on the subject of helping the congregation participate in our meetings, and I want to spend some time interacting with each of his twelve suggestions and see if I can squeeze out some more value from his ideas and share them as widely as I can.  This is number four of twelve. (some more of my own may follow, depends on how many people are still reading at the end of the series!!!)

Chop your worship leader into tiny little pieces!!!



The first post in Matt’s second section is provocatively titled: the fact that he does not advocate this as the means of disciplining worship leaders who hog the mic or try and get their churches doing crazy Hillsong-type octave leaps in the bridge of every song may disappoint some of you, but he is a man of Grace!

He is actually encouraging worship leaders (and those who look for new ones) to remind themselves of their rightful place – no biblical pattern or model or authority for that thing they do on a Sunday.  And he is reminding them that there are men who do have a biblical pattern, model and authority for the meeting – they’re called elders.

To take the idea of delegating and releasing further, there are some other things a worship leader could think about doing to reduce his or her responsibility so that they may in the long run actually do a better job.

  • Ditch your instrument (if you play one) and let someone else in the band concentrate on leading the music.  By this I mean appointing a lead musician to co-ordinate the dynamic, instrumentation, music played between songs and to accompany spontaneous songs etc releases you to concentrate on actually leading worship instead of leading the band.  You still pick what song we sing next (unless the congregation gets more involved!), what verse, etc and the lead musician should submit to your leadership if you direct the dynamic or instrumentation in some other way, but once you have released this to another person, you can now be free to worship and look like you are worshipping; you can be released to actually talk with the elder in charge about what is going on or what should happen next; you can be considering how to respond to a particular contribution or flow of gifts while the lead musician takes responsibility for ensuring the band support the contribution that is currently being made; you can actually use your body in worship and, oh  my goodness, dance or clap! (You’ve been telling your congregation to do it plenty long enough, now you actually can!!!)) and you can demonstrate that the leading worshippers in the church do not have to play an instrument, thereby giving hope to those in the body who feel called but not musically qualified.  I feel strongly that anything we can do to break the mould of a model worship leader that says the guy needs to be in his twenties or thirties with a guitar, cool t-shirt and hair gelled just right, we should do.
  • Worship leaders should be banned from singing prophetic songs when they are leading. (They should also be encouraged to sing them lots when they are not)  I find the act of singing a prophetic song when you already get to choose all the songs we sing that Sunday, how they will be played, and whether or not anyone else will get a look in on the meeting to be massively counter productive.  It only feeds the thinking in the congregation that goes along the lines of “I don’t need to bring anything, he can carry a meeting on his own” or “how cool, isn’t he great” (said about you, not Jesus) and they are two attitudes we should be doing all we can to chop off at the knees.  If you can just wait until the week your mate is leading instead, you are now modelling congregational worship, stirring faith in the congregation and blessing your mate who was desperately hoping someone would contribute! (Matt’s feelings here go along the lines of “Even if you can carry the whole thing I still think you’re setting a bad example.”)
  • If you have backing singers, you could encourage them to do more than just back your singing. In fact, your whole band can do this, and it will do great good to your church.  Encourage them to bring a contribution other than their instrument!  ANd I don’t necessarily mean on a week when they’re not playing!!! Last Sunday, our drummer got up and brought a wonderful encouragement to the body of how God had spoken to him through the refrain “If our God is for us, who can be against us?” and his gift of faith really spurred us on in praise, even more than his excellent drumming tends to.  It sets a great example to wannabe musicians in the congregation that this is what we expect from you, it models to the church how there is more to worship than music and songs, and it is something you can prep your band for in the days before the meeting when you are leading together.  (“Dave, I know you’ve been enjoying reading the Psalms lately – can you bring one on Sunday to help us in our worship?” – “Suzy, that word you brought in band practice was really powerful – can you bring it on Sunday too? I think it would really speak to many people and help them see how Jesus thinks about them and how they should think about Jesus” – “Paul – I know you speak in tongues.  Please bring one on Sunday, we haven’t had one in ages!”)
  • Take a string of Sunday’s off from bringing your pearls of wisdom and encouragement before the worship starts. Whittle it down to something like “Isn’t it amazing? The Bible says that God’s heart to meet with us far outweighs our desire to meet with Him today – so let’s worship Him!” rather than reciting Psalm 119 or reading from the whole of Isaiah.  And you don’t even have to say anything if the elder starts the meeting with any kind of encouragement – so don’t!!!

And I suppose, if the threat of physical violence works, I’m not sure I’m opposed to it all that much!!!


(Next time, Practicing Spontaneity!!!)

Worship Leaders – How often are you on duty?

October 13, 2010

Many churches do things differently here – some have one worship leader, some have bands, some have a rota of two weeks on and two weeks off…


Jamie Brown has a post that will hopefully make you think about your answer a little more carefully next time you are asked.

Read it here.


Turn it down!!!

October 11, 2010

Matt Blick did a series on his blog on the subject of helping the congregation participate in our meetings, and I want to spend some time interacting with each of his twelve suggestions and see if I can squeeze out some more value from his ideas and share them as widely as I can.  This is number three of twelve. (some more of my own may follow, depends on how many people are still reading at the end of the series!!!)


Matt asks “How loud is too loud?” and gives some a really good suggestion for overall sound level in your meeting.

“If someone in the congregation can hear your voice perfectly but can’t hear the person singing on either side of them, you’re too loud. If they can’t hear themselves singing, not only are you too loud, but it’s possible you may be the single biggest reason for the lack of contributions in your church. May it never be.” May it never be, indeed!

I used to serve on the PA team (note to all aspiring worship leaders and musicians – this is a vital part of your learning and if you do not already serve on this team in your church, you really really should!!! It will do you lots of good in terms of learning  a servant heart when doing a thankless task, and it will teach you much about how the body works when it gathers to worship!) and learnt a lot about corporate worship, stood at the back seeing what was going on, learning to worship with my eyes open and trying to make the musicians sound good.  One time, one of the elders came back to see me  and had a word in my shell-like orifice.

“It’s too loud” he said.

“You what?!” I said.

“I can’t hear God” he said.

“You double what?” I said.

Bear in mind this dude is one of those uber-prophetic types (where’s my umelaut gone?) and so it was a real surprise to me that he would speak in those terms.

“If I can’t even hear what the person next to me is saying, how do you expect me to hear God? How do you expect the anchor to help anyone contribute? How do you expect him to communicate with the worship leader? And, strange as it may sound, I can’t hear the voice of God if the music is too loud. Turn it down!!!” he said, in love.

Turn it down I did, in fear and trembling!!!

Long story short, that is the impact the music can have on the meeting.  Why would anyone who can make a difference in this area wish this kind of effect on the body? (I can think of several reasons, but they tend to come across as thinking poorly of worship leaders, so I’ll keep them to myself for now!)

  • Turn it down until worshippers can hear the worship of those around them and be inspired to worship more.
  • Turn it down, so it is clear that you do not consider yourself the main attraction.
  • Turn it down, so that there is room for it to go louder when it will help matters.

Yes, you can turn it up sometimes as well!!!!   This is where my prayer for tech guys who know the Spirit of God and are worshippers at heart is worth praying long and often.  There are songs and times in a meeting when bringing the levels down quickly and sensitively is really helpful – someone is praying, singing a new song, giving a tongue or interpretation or a song has just ended and you can’t hear the congregation to know if they are lost in wonder or just lost.  And there are times when the volume will help matters – when the spirit of praise is rising, when some brave soul has started dancing (people don’t dance to quiet music, just like they don’t dance to slow music, or music that varies greatly in tempo), when the entire congregation is singing or shouting in tongues (giving the body the sub-conscious cue that this time of tongues is a group of individuals each expressing their praise to God for themselves rather than a tongue offered for interpretation – theology debate alert!).  A really good PA guy (or girl) will also be able to tell where the anointing is on individual musicians and adjust accordingly.  I have seen the effect of raising the guitar level up slightly when the band consisted of just an acoustic guitar and keys – the guitarist was playing in a particularly rhythmic style, the congregation began to clap and then to dance, then someone started “Celebrate in the Lord” and the place took off!

A Spirit filled PA leader will be alert to these tools, and use them to help a Spirit filled worship leader lead God’s people in Spirit filled praise of our great God.  That same worship leader will coach the PA guys in how they can best help the gathered church in their worship: and that same PA guy will do this anyway, even if the worship leader doesn’t know about it, and especially if he is one of those who wants it ramped up loud “so the Spirit comes” or “so I sound really good”.

Next time – “Chop your worship leader into tiny little pieces”  – oh, I can’t wait!!!!

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