Happy 2016, worship leaders!
It’s a new year, full of new potential, new opportunities, new emails from that one person in your congregation (you know who I’m talking about), and new songs that will be old and forgotten by 2017.
I will be adopting these worship leader new year’s resolutions in the months ahead, and I (cue the octave jump) STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU DO THE SAME.
1. New song sandwiches
In order to accommodate the high volume of new worship songs being released every week, I am going to begin introducing two new songs at once, but pretending it’s just one new song, when in reality, it’s a new song sandwich.
– Beginning: New song A (part 1).
– Middle: New song B.
– Ending: New song A (part 2).
– Optional reprise: Intermingled blend of new song A (part 1), and new song B (part 2).
It’s not enough to shine lasers on the worship team. And it’s not enough to shine lasers on the congregation. Those lasers need to be smart enough lasers to shine directly into the hearts of people who just aren’t into it and wake them up. Shine, lasers, shine.
3. Explore the space
Every song needs at least a four-minute instrumental break. At least.
4. More shofars
Speaking of instrumental breaks that will usher in unparalleled revival, it is time to reclaim the shofar and give it it’s deserved prominence in every single song. Sho far? So. Good.
5. Stage extensions
Ever seen how Taylor Swift has that cool stage that lets her walk out into the middle of the audience in her shows? That’s got “congregational engagement” written all over it. Droopy-eyed early service? Tuned-out teens? Dance out onto that stage extension and shake it off.
6. A new approach to octave jumps
You will not find a greater advocate for the absolute necessity of an octave jump in every song than me. I don’t think a song without an octave jump is even worth singing. But simple octave jumps are just not enough anymore. They have lost their power. It’s time to embrace a new approach to octave jumps. Follow me here, and follow me closely. I am copyrighting this approach as “The FaceMelter”:
– Step 1: Start first verse down an octave.
– Step 2: Jump octave on the SECOND WORD. This will surprise people. Excellent.
– Step 3: Third word? Back down to original octave.
– Step 4: At the very first beat of the first chorus: Initiate a half-step modulation.
– Step 5: Next verse, modulate another 2.5 steps.
– Step 6: This is when you step on the gas. Jump octave.
– Step 7: Jump it again. Can’t do it? Try harder.
– Step 8: Back down to original key.
– Step 9: Drummer modulates a whole step. Tell him to ask the pianist what this is.
– Step 10: Sho-far solo. Recharge lasers.
THIS RESOLUTION SPONSORED BY DRUMMERS:
7. Put the flutists in a plexiglas cage
For too long, flutists have had SUCH an easy time. They’re polite, they’re unobtrusive, their instrument can fit in their pocket, and in the event of a water landing, their instrument can also be used as a snorkel. It’s time to surround them with plexiglas, absorption panels, plexiglas extenders, an absorption ceiling, and a little more plexiglas just for good measure. Throw in a little fan to blow their music off the music stand. And stuff their flute with two pillows. Control those rebel flutists!
8. New catchphrases
Worship leader: do not underestimate the power of an effective catchphrase. Suggestions:
– Opener: I’m here… you’re here… it’s singing time!
– Song transition: And now let’s break it down.
– Ice breaker: Find that person next to you and hug em’ real good.
– Before the sermon: And now let’s put on our listening ears.
– At the dismissal: Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!
– Classic (one of my faves): You are now free to move about the cabin of praise!
There is never a good excuse for a worship leader not to growl at least four times during a worship set.
10. Conga lines
The worship renewal of the 1970s was characterized by the prominence of conga lines. Time to bring those babies back. Conga lines + new song sandwiches + shofars + lasers + The FaceMelter + catchphrases + growling + stage extensions? You’re a good good worship leader! It’s who you are.
Happy new year! Go hug a flutist.