Monday, September 25, 2006

A Greater Song

As the pastor of a small congregation I wear many hats. One hat that I wear is leader of our worship teams. I love this part of my ministry—it is also the most difficult part of my ministry. Leading the worship teams is easy (we have wonderful folks on both teams). The difficult part is finding new music.

Music for our Sunday mornings needs to have a full music score (Saturday nights our piano player can play off of a guitar chord sheet). That use to be a problem, but not so much today thanks to Integrity music. They are now selling their new worship music books with a CD that makes it possible to transpose the piano scores to any key. Way cool! The two books that they currently have on the market with this capability are “Next” and “No Boundaries.” We are using numerous songs from these books (and the worship CDs with the same names).

There is a new songbook on the market that is a MUST BUY. Paul Baloche writes wonderful worship music. His new CD -- A Greater Song -- has many worship songs we will be using. The piano scores are not transposable; however, most of the songs are in a key that most of us can sing in.

Our Presbytery has a clergy/spouse retreat every February. One of our pastors is a very skilled guitar player and leads our singing. He tries to have to good blend of hymns and contemporary worship songs. Each year I am shocked and amazed at how few of the pastors know the contemporary worship songs. They know the old stand-bys: Shout to the Lord, Open the Eyes of My Heart, The Heart of Worship, etc. Very few of the pastors knew the songs by Chris Tomlin, Jeremy Camp, Paul Baloche, etc. Someone asked me how I knew all of the songs that we were singing! It’s simple; I try to keep current on worship songs. I believe that every pastor should at least make an effort to keep current on some of the new worship music that is available today. There will always be a place for hymns in the church—but the 21st century church is going to demand that we also know contemporary worship songs. Our lack of knowledge of contemporary worship music communicates that we don’t like, or care, about that style of worship music.

It is too bad that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) offers almost no support for contemporary worship. I believe that every church in our Presbytery that is growing offers either a contemporary or blended worship experience. Since we can’t depend on Louisville to help our churches in this area it is up to us to help each other. If you have found other helpful contemporary music resources please post them in the comments section.


At 9:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 45 years old and become more set in my ways every day. I was a church musician (part-time) most of my earlier life. If contemporary worship and its music styles are acceptable to God then you really need no other justification for employing it. Since I don't know the mind of God on such matters then how can I say?
The fact of the matter is that I don't like and don't care about that type of worship and music. In fact from my person tastes goes I would even go so far as to say that if I had to go listen to that
on Sunday (Saturday, whatever) that
I would rather skip church altogether. My experience with contemporary churches is that they tend to tout a lot of words about being "seeker friendly" when in fact they are divided in to more cliques than other churches. They claim to be bible oriented but in order to be "seeker-friendly" it has been almost eliminated from the sermons. And the lyrics to much of their songs is certainly weak. It seems to me that even if
contemporary hymns/songs are used
(or no music at all) then the content of the hymns/songs and of that type worship in general should be Christ-centered rather than "seeker-friendly".

At 9:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever used anything from Soverign Grace Ministries? They are a Reformed charismatic group of churches. They publish many of their own resources, that are Reformed in theology and new in design:

I would be curious to get your opinion, as most contemporary stuff is downright Arminian.

At 9:13 AM , Blogger Pastor Lance said...

I would agree that great care has to be taken on choosing music based on the "words" rather that the "style" of the music. I also agree that many churches have gone too far in trying to be "seeker friendly."

At 9:14 AM , Blogger Pastor Lance said...

Thanks for the tip on sovereigngraceministries! I will check them out!


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