Helping the congregation learn new songs – Transitioning – Part 5
In our last post on the challenges for a church moving from traditional to contemporary worship styles, East City Church continued its journey to worship renewal by producing a song list of known songs for the congregation and identifying new songs that will be introduced to the congregation. To fast track the worship transition, East City Church will do a variety of things to help the congregation make these new songs part of their worship vocabulary in an accelerated manner.
There are several ways of attaining this goal:
Create a CD of the new songs for distribution. The easiest and most expensive way to do this is to secure copyright permission for professional recordings of the songs on the list. The least expensive avenue would be for the church’s worship team to record the songs themselves. Both projects require securing proper licenses, but the do-it-yourself project would incur less expenses for licenses. The in-house project would also insure that the songs are in good, singable keys, which might not be the case on professional recordings. Your worship team would also give the church a recording that would sound more realistic to what they will experience in worship. No matter which direction ECC takes, they should:
Begin with the first ten new songs from the timeline of introducing the songs in worship to produce the first worship CD for mass distribution. This one should ideally go out at least four weeks before the launch date.
Produce a second CD several weeks later for the next ten songs
Create a web page with a virtual jukebox of upcoming worship songs, using Grooveshark.com or perhaps YouTube videos embedded or linked on the church’s website.
As long as you are using Grooveshark or YouTube videos, you do not need to secure licenses. (sample playlist)
To legally embed your in-house audio files, your would need a license. The cost is greater, but you would have the same benefits as mentioned above.
Begin with only about 10 songs so that people will focus on those first.
Play the audio files of new songs in the sanctuary as people gather for worship to breed familiarity. While people are gathering for worship, let them hear the upcoming new songs without calling attention to what you are doing.
Encourage the learning of new songs in smaller gatherings like Wednesday or Sunday evening meetings. small group worship. or other places that singing is utilized in meetings.
Teach the choir the new songs(ECC has a strong choir – more on that in a few weeks). They will be a worship leading choir and need to know the songs extremely well. Begin teaching the songs a couple of months ahead of the launch date.
Share with us some additional ways to teach the new worship music ahead of time in the comments below.
Next time we will look at instrumentation issues at ECC as they seek worship renewal.
Kenny Lamm, senior consultant for worship and music for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, is a frequent worship conference leader with a strong focus on equipping leaders in North Carolina (USA) and Southeast Asia. His blog, Renewing Worship, features posts that explore ways to renew–impart new life and vigor to–the worship in the local church.