Earlier we talked about what worship is, so today we’re going to unpack some practical ways to implement elements of worship into your ministry. We know that worship is more than just music but what we want to talk about here is in fact, specifically, music. When we’re dealing with Wednesday night services and student bands, what do we do? How do we go about it? How can we build those teams? Maybe we don’t have the resources to make that process easy. What do we do? For many of us we would love to have a great thriving rocking type Wednesday night and a church that can bring in a guy on staff that can lead and spearhead that, but for many of us that’s just not a reality of what we have. We’re dealing with volunteers. We’re doing the best that we can with the resources that are given to us. So, what are some simple, practical ways that we can go about building that within our ministries?
One of the first things that I want to stress to you, and I think the best thing that we can do, is do something live. Do something live. What do I mean by that? I mean that, yes, while the live big band may not be a reality for you on a week to week basis, you can still do something live. Do something with a guitar and a vocal, or keys and vocal, or maybe just a couple musicians that are live. Live always seems to have just a little bit better feel, a little bit more intimate. You can feel and sense the energy from the musicians and the leaders on the stage and it begins to develop leaders within your ministry as well. So, do something live.
But for many of us in our churches and our ministries even that’s not a reality and we just don’t have someone with the musical or the leadership skills to do something live. What do I do? Where do I start?
Do something live is number one, and let’s shoot for that, but at the same time, do something. Let me repeat that: Do something! For many of us, we say, “I don’t have that with my church, it’s not available and maybe I can’t compete or do what the guy down the street is doing and so maybe I’ll just avoid any musical aspect in my service, period. Even so, I think that it is important to do something. We’re training up folks who get to college and adulthood and they really don’t know how to worship, because the only thing that they’ve seen is maybe hymnals and pews on Sunday morning and then they decide that later on they want to go to a contemporary style church because that’s what they love and they just don’t know how to worship because we haven’t effectively placed them in on a regular basis in that environment. So, do something is a big deal.
I want to give you a couple of resources online that you can go to, research on your own and maybe begin to build something for your ministry that is effective and will help you start on the ground level. One place is worhshiphousemedia.com. They have a lot of different resources for movies and motion backgrounds for lyrics, but they also have a section on there that’s basically music videos. You can just press play on a computer and flash it up on the screens. It has the music and the lyrics all in that video. So, by pressing play you have everything that you need in one package. This maybe is the ground level of where you might start to implement some form of worship. Then remember that it is our responsibility as leaders and as ministers to model worship within that.
I hear this question all the time: What’s a great place to go to find songs? I think there are several different places but I want to point one out to you: worshiptogether.com. Worshiptogether.com is a great source because it has songs laid out, it has a video of an interview of the artist who recorded the song and they give a little bit of the background of why they recorded this song and the heartbeat behind it. They also have a chord chart on there so you can check out where the chords are. Say you have a musician who you want to begin to play a song and you’re wondering what the chords are. It includes that as well. But here’s the part that I love – along with each song comes a scripture reference so you know where biblically that song has been pulled from.
Another resource for you is theworshipintiative.com. You might be familiar with Shane and Shane. They have some amazing stuff out there. Theworshipintiative.com is a place where they’ve picked the most popular Christian contemporary songs and recorded them. They give you a chord chart, and they talk about the song and what it means. But they also have tutorials for instruments. Say you have an acoustic guitar player or an electric guitar player or drummer or bass player or a keyboard player that needs to play parts within the song. They have videos that break all that down for your musicians. It is a fantastic resource and at the same time gives you a song selection that is completely relevant with what’s going on in today’s contemporary Christian worship world.
The last resource I want to mention is one that a lot of people are turning to. It’s called multitracks.com. This is a place where you can go and you can pick any song that’s out there that you’re hearing on Christian contemporary radio stations today and they break out the individual tracks. So if you have something along the lines of Ableton, Protools or even Garage Band, you can import this into those. If you want to build your band and you only have a couple of musicians, they break out on an individual track. You have the bass guitar. Another track is the drums. Another track is background vocals, then acoustic guitar. So, what happens as I add a musician, say I add a bass player, I go into those tracks and I can mute the bass guitar and now my live bass player is playing to a click track which helps us with the tempo and a guide track that tells us within the song. As you add musicians, multitracks.com will allow you to mute the tracks that you have musicians and keep the musicians you’re yet to have and maybe soon will have in the future.
I hope that this a help for you as you begin to implement some practical tools of worship and music into your ministries.
Ryan Snell serves as the Contemporary Worship Leader at First Baptist Church, Opelika.