From Transpositions comes a nice essay: The Challenge of a Blended Music Worship Service. I dislike the label “blended” for various reasons, but regardless of how you refer to it there are challenges. We really like the folks at Transpositions, and this essay is no exception and well worth the read.
Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in a small, dark stuffy room (er, well, actually most of the time I am, but that’s a different story). When planning worship, I can sometimes get shortsighted and feel cut off – so finding posts like this one from Kirk Ward at New City Fellowship is great. Kirk lays out some of the songs they’re doing, and talks about them and how they work in his church.
Can I use some of these songs?? Possibly – some might not work, just due to the context, but some probably will. Mostly however it’s great to read this and remember I’m not alone in planning and leading worship. God has called thousands of us around the globe, and hearing what other brothers and sisters are doing reminds me of this and keeps me from too much navel gazing.
Read what others are doing, post what you’re up to (and yes, I’m guilty of not doing this often enough). Open the window, let some fresh air in, and remind yourself of what God is doing around the world.
Love this post, as it’s something I’ve always forced myself to do. Whether I’m planning to use a well-known recorded tune, or one of my own, I always try to ask if there’s a different way to do it:
But just because you heard a song a certain way on the recording, or just because your sheet music is written out a certain way, or just because you’ve always done it a certain way, you shouldn’t feel like your hands are tied.
Modifying arrangements, changing keys, looking for different “hooks” and even changing time signatures challenges us in several ways – it forces us to rethink our assumptions, and makes us take a closer look at what we’re singing and playing.
Paxson Jeancake, the Director of Worship and Arts at Valley Springs Presbyterian Church in Roseville, CA and the author of The Art of Worship: Opening Our Eyes to the Beauty of the Gospel, is working on some new tunes, and recently sent out a couple of mixes; they hope to get an EP out in 2013:
Breath of God, Breathe
Holy, Holy (God Are You)
He’s also got charts available if anyone is interested!
UPDATE: Got the song titles wrong previously, thanks to Paxson for the correction! Also, Paxson says he’ll be getting charts to me later this month (he is out enjoying some vacation!).
You may be familiar with Steven Altrogge, and his blog Blazing Center is one that we follow regularly. He just announced this week he’s got a new e-book on creativity. He writes about it:
… creativity is hard work. It takes work to create a poem or garden or car engine or piece of furniture or blog post. It requires killing our laziness and working faithfully over extended periods of time. It requires a willingness to receive criticism with humility. It requires sweat and elbow grease. It requires diligence and faithfulness. It’s easier to not make anything at all. To be a consumer. To suffocate the creative gifts that God has given us
That’s why I wrote this little book. It’s meant to be a divine kick in the pants, of sorts.
We’ve mentioned Everyday Liturgy before, and one of the things we really like about them is the focus on prayer (especially as I have started trying to write prayers ahead of time, both to focus my own heart and to utilize in a service). If you’ve never thought about writing your prayers out beforehand, it can be a great practice:
Prayer for the Second Week of Pentecost | Everyday Liturgy.
We’ve long been an advocate for pushing folks to learn from hymns and begin writing their own texts (and yes for the pastors out there, this means you as well!). Michael Van Patter writes a number of different things, and this week he released An original hymn: For Your Glory.
Go check it out!