Introducing a new song at church – Part 2

When we introduce a song at church, we usually start by playing it before a service once or twice.  Everyone’s order of service differs, but we usually have some music going on before everyone is seated – this is a great opportunity to play a new song so that the congregation can start getting used to it.

After doing this for a week or two, we start introducing the song during the offering.  In our church services, the offering is a time where, as a member of the congregation, you can choose to sing along or not.  Also people are fiddling with money etc. during this time, so the focus is not completely on the song – a great opportunity to get people used to it.

Finally, after 3-4 weeks, we will use the song as part of the main praise and worship part of the service.  By this time most people in the congregation have at least heard the song 2-3 times, and while they may not be able to sing it fully, they will be able to follow along and sing most of the chorus parts of the song, depending on the complexity.

Introducing a new song at church – Part 1

“Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord, all the earth.” – Psalm 96:1

New songs can be a contentious subject in any church. There are quite a few things to keep in mind when choosing songs to introduce.  As worship leader (or a member of the worship team) you have to be acutely aware of the congregation’s needs, balancing that with the theme of the sermons and also keeping in mind what the song is trying to convey.  Sometimes this means listening to the spirit of the song rather than the words.

This reminds me of a song that I really enjoyed, from Hillsong, called Healer. When I suggested this song to our worship leader at the time, she did a bit of research to find the origins of the song and stumbled across some disturbing history, and controversy to boot.

Now we as Christians know that we should not judge, and really, I don’t (and to this day I still enjoy the song) but in reality some of your congregation will also be aware of the controversy surrounding it. Therein lies the problem- they will be thinking about the controversy rather than letting the song lead them into worship, taking their focus off the true purpose of the song.

Unfortunately this is just one of the aspects of the human mind that we have to contend with when choosing appropriate worship songs.

Worship planning with non-technology users

Luckily we don’t have this challenge at our church, but it is not uncommon for some band members to have infrequent (if any) access to the internet and any systems that you might be using to plan your service (hopefully you’re using MindMyMinistry!)  In fact, as I’m writing this blog entry I am out of cellphone coverage and with no internet!

When your service schedules are complex or you have more than one group of musicians (whether they are organised into separate bands or not), rostering and communication with these people becomes quite important.  When some people don’t readily have access to technology this gets pretty tricky.

We’ve found that a pretty effective way to keep connected is via SMS messaging.  MindMyMinistry can send out bulk SMS messages to everyone so you can keep in touch with people anytime.  When you send out event and rehearsal reminders, these team members can then go online at their convenience and print off all the detail they need.  (Remember, every screen in MindMyMinistry is print-enabled – just click the Print link at the top right of your screen)

Still planning worship using email and Excel sheets?

Are you organising your church worship using good old fashioned email?  Let me be the first to commiserate with you – this is no easy feat.  Worship planning can be an extremely complex task due to the distributed nature of most worship teams, the fact that many of the team members may be volunteers, and also the fact that any combination of people may not turn up for a rehearsal or service.  Trying to keep tabs on everything can be a nightmare.

Why worship planning with email is a bad idea…


 

1.  Managing changes to the roster

When you send an email out to everyone, unless there was a discussion beforehand, they would have to reply to you with any alterations to be made.  In an ideal world these replies will get to you straight away and you can update your roster immediately.  In reality though, people reply days or even weeks later, sending through an “updated copy” of your roster which you then have to review to find out where the changes were made.

More often than not you may get quite a number of replies from people, and you have to merge each reply into your “master” roster sheet.  When you’re done you send the sheet out to everyone again.  Rinse and repeat!

2. Communicating changes to everyone

How do you send changes out to everyone?  You have to send them all a copy of the sheet.  Unfortunately not everyone has Excel so not everyone can open the roster to view it.  MindMyMinistry gets around this problem by sending everyone off to a central online location where they can easily and securely view rosters – without having to install any extra software.  It also supports multiple modes of communication – both SMS messaging and email.

3. Sending out reminders for rehearsals and services

Without some software to help you, you have to send out reminders to all required people for every rehearsal and every service.

4. Where do you keep your chord charts and MP3s?

If you manage to get the roster side of things in check, there is still the problem of keeping chord charts and music data somewhere accessible to everyone.  We’ve seen churches use online storage tools like Dropbox, but with these tools it is crucial to have an organised folder structure.  Even so, getting everyone on the same version of a song (especially when there are multiple keys or structures) can be difficult.

Enter MP3’s and other forms of audio clips – and suddenly there is the platform issue again where Mac users may not be able to play WMA (Windows Audio) files, and Windows users may not be able to listen to the iTunes equivalent files.  MindMyMinistry sorts this out by having YouTube and Spotify integration, as well as allowing users to play the files right there on the web, from any device they like.


With manual rostering when you start adding multiple venues or more than one worship team, things get more complex in order of magnitude.  Suddenly you have to maintain several different roster sheets, send out hundreds of emails every week and deal with heaps of emails flying back and forth – all while trying to keep sight of the overall goal of your service structure.

MindMyMinistry makes all of this plain sailing.  Get your 30 day free trial today.

Song choices for a worship team

This is quite a tricky one and is dependent on so many variables…your church and its traditions, language(s), available band members, special occasion, theme of sermon. Our church is a colourful mixture of all of the above and more. Sometimes I wonder, “Did we get it right today?” and wish there was a ‘Like’ button hovering over every song, so that the congregation could give us an idea if they liked the song. At the end of the day, I think we become so entangled in our worries that we stray from the true purpose of a worship team, and that is to lead a congregation in praise and worship to themselves make a connection with the Holy Spirit.

Our church in quite interesting: it is a non-denominational church consisting 99% of immigrants. Because it is non-denominational, we have people from all ends of the ‘worship spectrum’-very traditional churches to very contemporary. All fun and games, until you try to accommodate everyone’s likes and dislikes when it comes to song choices. At the end of the day, a good mixture of the traditional and contemporary sprinkled with a generous helping of enthusiasm tends to keep everyone satisfied.

Where it all began…

Let me start from the beginning. D and I have been involved in our church’s worship band for several years now in various capacities and I take my hat off to the coordinators, because it is a mammoth task keeping track of band members, their schedules, song lists and chord sheets etc.

So out of the frustration created by constantly sending emails, updating excel sheets, resending said excel sheets, miscommunication and ‘stuff’ getting lost in the internet-o-sphere, the need was there to have a centralised system. However, the 1st system that was tried, although working well as a central system, did not meet all the needs. And what does a true engineer do? He builds his own system!!! And that was the birth of MindMyMinistry.

MindMyMinistry is an online system designed to take the stress and hassle out of coordinating the worship section of a church service. All church members involved with the worship- from the pastor, band members, media to the ‘sound guys’- can create their own login and password, check when they are rostered on, download sheet music, listen to tracks and update their availability without sending emails backwards and forwards.