Say No To Sameness

At our tune-up night in October I asked my worship team ten questions, and in November I offered ten challenges, all aimed at pressing us towards vibrancy and maturity as worship leaders, and away from stagnancy and common pitfalls.

Last night I shared some more areas where we all could use some more “pressing”. Here’s the first part of what I shared:

Why all the pressing?

First, because we naturally slide towards stagnancy and complacency as sinful human beings.

, because that’s one of the best uses for our monthly meetings. We’re all in one place for an hour and a half, and before we get scattered across a monthly schedule again, it’s good for us to get on the same page.

And thirdly, because the “new car smell” always wears off after a while. We can’t just expect our ministry and services to remain fresh and vibrant on their own. As leaders in the church, it’s our responsibility to ensure our passion for leading the congregation in exalting the greatness of God doesn’t wane over time.

There are three areas in which we could all use some pressing.

First, say no to sameness!

The same songs, the same arrangements, the same volunteers, the same equipment, the same approach, the same mix, the same tune-ups, the same kinds of rehearsals, the same problems, etc. Sunday to Sunday, year to year, nothing really looks all that different.

The same skill level, the same kind of bass technique, the same kind of piano playing, the same vibrato, the same acoustic guitar strumming patterns, the same vocal technique, the same kind of sound engineering, the same electric guitar sounds, the same issues with lyric projection. You get the point.

Do we want our services one year from now to look the same? Do we want our level of musical gifting to be at the same mark? Do we want to be dealing with the same speaker coverage problems? Do we still want to be dreaming about the day we get in-ear monitors or subs? Do we want to be arranging our songs like we’re in the mid-90’s?

Living things grow. Dead things don’t.

So let’s keep growing,

– Keep learning, practicing, improving, refining, and maturing your skill. If your musical technique is frozen in the era in which you first started playing, make an effort to catch up to 2010. Download some new CDs, listen to modern music, and practice at home. Three newer worship CDs I recommend to hear a more “modern” sound are: Matt Redman’s “We Shall Not Be Shaken”, Tim Hughes’ “Happy Day (Live)”, and Paul Baloche’s “Glorious”. Carefully monitor your diet of “secular” music, but intentionally listen to things that will stretch you as a musician and keep you growing.

– Whether you’re a singer whose gifting is singing on an individual mic, or a singer who is more gifted to sing in an ensemble setting, are you growing as a vocalist? Do you warm up? Are you blending? Are you controlling your vibrato? Are you making sure you’re not adding “dips” and “scoops” that don’t belong? Are you developing an ear for harmony? Are you working on improving your tone? As vocalists, we can develop bad habits and just go on for years singing the same way.

Sound engineers:
– Put your collective heads together, under Andrew’s wise and skilled leadership, and come up with a master plan to solve The Falls Church’s AV problems. List the solutions. Prioritize them. Schedule them. Budget for them. Implement them. We have a fairly large AV budget and a large pool of dedicated volunteers. We’ve come a LONG way, but still struggle with the same problems year after year. Let’s keep chipping away at them.

– Make sure you’re growing as a sound engineer and improving in your mixing skills. Go to a conference, read a book, ask for input, listen to modern music and work towards getting as good a mix as possible. Listen back to recordings of services you mixed. What could you have done differently?

Lyrics operators:
– Come early, and when possible come to rehearsal and make sure you’re ready to lead people in worship by ensuring they can sing without distraction. You have a difficult, oftentimes thankless job, that just so happens to be one of the most critical to the skillful leading of the congregation. You are a worship leader – not just a person sitting on a stool. Be encouraged, and be intentional about growing in your role.

More tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Say No To Sameness”

  1. I am completely guilty of falling into the “sameness” routine. It really is a lazy way of doing not only worship, but life. Thanks for what you wrote!

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