Pulling together the worship team in a church moving from traditional to contemporary worship – Transitioning Part 6

As East City Church transitions its worship service to a unified style of worship, they will need to equip their musician resources to handle contemporary styles of music in addition to the traditional styles that they do so well. Fortunately, ECC already has a worship band that leads worship in the contemporary early service. This will make the journey potentially much smoother than would be the case if all had to be developed from scratch.

Here are some of the points they need to consider:

  1. Determine which of the members of the early service worship band will be willing to serve in the new unified worship service.
    ECC plans to continue its early contemporary service at this time. In order to avoid creating too much additional work, the music in both services could be coordinated to have as much overlap as possible.
  2. Discover other potential instrumentalists who attend ECC but are not currently using their musical gifts in worship.
    Evaluate the potential players to see if they can adequately handle the musical demands. Seek out who God has placed in your church and find ways to utilize those talents.
  3. Determine if any additional players are needed that are critical to your needs.
    Poll existing musicians to see if they know of any instrumentalists that might be interested in becoming a part of the group. Ideally, you will at least have drums, keyboard (your current pianist will fit the bill), bass guitar, and guitar. Incorporating additional guitars, hand percussion, winds, and strings can be a great addition as well.
  4. Provide training for the organist to adapt to new styles. The organ (traditional pipe organ sound, not Hammond B3), played in the traditional way, is not appropriate for most contemporary styles of music. On those songs, the organ can either be silent, OR the organist can learn to use the instrument more like a keyboard pad instrument, providing some underlying colors in the background. (LifeWayWorship does a great job of scoring contemporary songs for the organ in just that manner. Take a look at all their great congregational accompaniments for all instrumentalists.) Musicademy’s range of Intermediate and Advanced Keyboard DVDs also cover the subject in some depth giving lots of experience with playing a variety of contemporary songs.
    There will be times the organ will need to sit out of some songs. Of course, your organist could really make some MAJOR re-tooling efforts. Take a look at Gladys the organist with her Flying V and “Marshill” stack.

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.

Previous posts in this series

Transitioning your church’s corporate worship – part 1

Technology improvement – part 2

Developing a worship leadership team – part 3

Song list creation – part 4

Helping the congregation learn new songs – part 5

You may also be interested in a Facebook post where we addressed the question: “What would your advice be about finding musicians for church? We currently use a cd for praise and worship.”