How To Plan Engaging Christmas Worship Services

I found this article on ChurchLeaderInsights.com. It’s one of several sites I’ll be telling you about in a future blog post that I believe can be really beneficial to you as you strive to grow and improve your worship team. What I love about this article is that while the title suggests it will include content specific only to Christmas, the content really covers the one thing most worship teams struggle with all year ’round; getting our audiences engaged in worship. I’ve never seen someone explain WHY they aren’t engaged as well as Jason does in this article:

 

…the congregation doesn’t experience the worship set the way you and I do.

They aren’t hearing what we hear (or should I say feeling what we feel).

We’re actually playing the music, feeling the connection with other musicians, onstage and amplified.  In short . . . we’re fully invested.  Whereas the congregation can oftentimes feel like bystanders, simply observing what’s happening onstage.

Ever heard it explained that way? Me either, but that makes so much sense doesn’t it? So anyway, check out the rest of the article here. I think it’ll bless you!

Music Ministry 101: The Structure of Music Ministry Leadership

If you are new the music ministry leadership, you may not know what your role is or what it entails.

The structure of a church’s music ministry will be based on a few factors:
1. Tradition- What’s already been established in the church.
2. Team Capacity- The qualifications of the current music ministry leadership.
3. Resources- How much money is allocated to the music ministry.

Here are the different roles of music ministry that I’m familiar with. Feel free to add other roles in the comment section:

1. The Minister of Music (MOM)– aka Worship Pastor is the head of the entire music ministry department (which includes all performing arts ministries- all choirs, dance/mime ministry, and musicians). This person should be qualified to teach choir parts, write chords/charts for musicians, and provide counsel to all ministries under his/her supervision. The MOM should also be qualified to handle administrative tasks, which include accepting/declining/scheduling ministry opportunities, establishing rules and procedures, and resolving conflicts. The MOM reports directly to the pastor.

2. The Music Director(MD) is over the musicians and reports to the MOM. The MD normally works with or is over the sound dept. Additional duties of the MD will be at the discretion of the MOM.

3. The Choir Director is in charge of leading the choir during Sunday service. This person will be 2nd to the MOM in teaching parts (if qualified to do so). Any additional tasks are at the discretion of the MOM.

4. The Worship Leader- The Worship leader is responsible for leading the congregation in singing, normally at the beginning of service. It’s common for the worship leader to have a dual responsibility in another music ministry leadership role.

5. The Section Leader– The section leader is normally the strongest singer in a section. If the MOM needs someone to sing a part for others in a section, this would be that person. The section leader would be the next person to teach parts if the MOM or choir director is unavailable. In most music ministries, the section leaders assist the worship leader in leading congregational singing (aka the worship team).

6. Music Ministry Officers– The music ministry officers assist the MOM in administrative tasks and maintaining order within the ministry. If conflicts arise in the ministry, the officers would settle issues before escalating them to the pastor. These offices include choir president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and parliamentarian. These positions are still active in some churches but are phasing out in most churches.

If positions 2-6 aren’t available, all responsibilities fall on the MOM. If a MOM isn’t assigned, then these taks will be delegated amongst the other leadership positions. I’ve never seen all roles active in one church; however, it is possible. Most churches will only have a MOM and that person is in charge of everything; at best, you may have a MOM and choir director.

In part 2 of Music Ministry 101, I will discuss the administrative tasks of the music ministry. These tasks are small but daunting and one person shouldn’t have to do all of the work. Delegation is key to an effective music ministry.

If you would like to hear this topic on the Worship Builders Podcast, click here:
Episode 37: Music Ministry 101-The Structure of Music Ministry Leadership

Sonja R. Jones is a wife, mother, educator, author, and a Virtual Worship Pastor. Her assignment is to spiritually cover music ministry leaders, help churches develop and retain music ministry leaders, and equip and send music ministry leaders to churches. Connect with her online at www.sonjarjones.com

12 Steps To Discovering Your Call To Music Ministry

If you’re a regular around here you know I try to share information that offers information to help take your music ministry to the next level. That’s really my only requirement for content here. It needs to teach something. Offer some advice, or some tips. Some kind of how to.

Many people who know they’re called to music ministry still find themselves searching for their specific calling within music ministry. I realized at an early age that mine was teaching and directing.  But if you’ve been struggling to really nail down what your specific calling is in music ministry you’ll love this great article I found on Churchleaders.com .

I really love articles that give specific steps. In his article “Discovering Your Call To Music Ministry” Minister Michael Dottin not only gives us 12 specific steps, he also includes specific scriptures related to each one.  This piece is a quick read, but full of great information I know will bless you if you find yourself in this place. Click the title or image below to read the full article.

article_images/discovering_call_music_ministry_188517085.jpg

The Benefits of an Excellent Drummer in Gospel Music

The benefits of an excellent drummer in gospel music in Gospel Music are second to none. Drummers are an essential part of your church or ministry music department. Drummers provide tempo, time and texture to the overall music presentation for churches and ministries. If there is no drummer, there will be difficulty keeping tempo, difficulty staying on beat and very little complement to the overall musical presentation. It is important that we give the drummer some in our respective ministries and churches.

Good drummers provide tempos which do not drag, nor place the respective song in overdrive. This is critical, because good drummers place the tempo of the song exactly where it needs to be. Good drummers also recognize that their purpose is to keep time, period, the end! Good drummers do not play a solo all throughout the song, good drummers do not play so loud that they drown out the choir and praise team. Good drummers complement the music and complement the service in a way which glorify and praise the Lord in the spirit of excellence.

Drummers are interesting creatures, so if you have a excellent drummer who is mindful of what you are trying to accomplish as a music department, in relationship to the overall mission and vision of the church or ministry, you must be thankful and learn to be appreciative for the drummer you have. In musical circles, there’s a saying which states, “Good drummers are a dime a dozen.” This statement is true. But for us in the Kingdom, we are to do things in excellence. So with that being said, I would like to coin a new phrase, and this phrase is: “Excellent drummers are called by the Lord.” In our music ministries, we are to operate and function in excellence!

Drummers who operate in excellence make a joyful noise to the Lord. When playing, you can tell the difference between an excellent drummer, verses and drummer who is just hitting a snare and bass drum. Drummers who operate in excellence create music and produce an excellent sound with each strike of the snare, cymbals and toms. Drummers understand that there is a difference between noise and music.

Noise aids in distraction, but heavenly music aids in the driving out of any and all things not of the Lord! In the Gospel Music presentation, having an excellent drummer will enhance and increase the quality of the overall music presentation. A mentor of mine would always say presentation is ninety (90%) of any battle. When we as musicians are offering our talents to the Lord, we are in a battle! It is critical that ALL components/departments of the army are accounted for. Drummers are an essential part of the army of Levites, and excellent drummers realize they are Levites and will prepare for battle through the development and enhancement of their respective skill.

In conclusion, be appreciative of the excellent drummer, or drummers the Lord has blessed you with, and always remember to give the benefits of an excellent drummer! Learn to appreciate all the musicians in your music department. Yes, the drummer is a musician as well! Be well, be blessed, and keep rendering service to the Lord!

Cavell Samuels is a man of integrity, honesty and hard work, who has the passion and desire to see things done in the spirit of excellence, and a defender of absolute Bio Pictruth. Cavell’s main desire is that the will of the Lord be done in all areas of his life, and in the lives of others.

Three Ways to Avoid Musical “Drowning Zones”

Cavell Samuels is back this week with another blog post for us. This time he’s addressing a somewhat touchy subject among musicians and members alike; the subject of playing too loud.  Take it away Cavell!

********************************************************************************************************************************************

When something is drowning, it is overwhelmed by a large amount of something. In the following paragraphs, I will list three ways to avoid drowning zones. The establishment of “No drowning zones” in our churches is key in the overall musical presentation of the church choir. What do I mean by “No drowning zones?” I am glad you asked! These “drowning zones “ are times in the worship service where musicians play so loudly that they drown out the message of what the choir is communicating though song.

These “drowning zones” are usually prevalent in churches with less seasoned musicians, or seasoned musicians who have placed the message, mandate and mission of Jesus Christ on the back-burner in exchange for them being the center of attention. It is critical that we as musicians not create drowning zones for our churches and ministries, but that we create atmospheres for freedom of worship and proper articulation of the gospel message though song.
As a musician, I know the pressure of wanting to execute the latest chop, latest fill, run, or chord progression you learned while attending the musical workshop earlier in the summer! However, we as musicians must realize that all we do must properly accompany the choir, praise and worship team or soloist, and secondly, we must realize that we as musicians are rendering our talents and skills “Unto the Lord.” Psalm 95:1 declares “O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”

This making a joyful noise does not mean we as musicians are to drown out the choir, speaker, praise team leader, or anyone else in the service. This joyful noise is a calculated noise, this joyful noise is done in concert with everything else going on in the worship service! This joyful noise is not only to be joyful to the musicians, but this noise must by joyful to the Lord most importantly!

When our corporate sound as musicians glorifies the Lord, the people in our services will be edified and the Savior will be glorified. There have been many instances over the years where the message of the music has been drowned out and all together forgotten during worship service or worship services. As musicians, we must be mindful to not overpower, but to aid and assist our choirs and those who are rendering song selections and other services during worship. Here are a few suggestions on how to avoid drowning zones in our worship services:

1. If you have microphones on your instruments, coordinate with the sound technician to ensure you are not overpowering.

I have seen in smaller churches the Hammond B3 being piped through the house and this causes for the organ to be way too loud. The same applies for the drums as well. If these instruments are going to be loud, please work in concert with your sound team.

2. Keep in mind it’s not about you!

Humility is required in this because let’s be honest, if you are a somewhat skilled musician, people will take notice of your skill. However, this is no reason for you to be the center of attention. Remember, Satan was kicked out of heaven for this very thing! Pride is very destructive, and will cause you to create drowning zones more often than not.

3. Communication between directors, song leaders and musicians.

This is critical, especially if directors and song leaders have expressed concerns that the music has been loud previously. It is extremely critical for musicians to work with everyone to ensure there is the right blend of vocals and music. If this is achieved, the individuals who attend your worship services along with your choir directors and song leaders will be appreciative!

In closing, this was not an all-out assault on musicians in churches and ministries, just a friendly reminder not to create drowning zones in your respective worship services! Musicians, we are a vital part of the overall worship experience. Let us keep in mind that all we do is unto the Lord and what we do as musicians should complement the entire worship service. Remember, work toward achieving “No drowning zones” in our services, be blessed!

 

Cavell Samuels is a man of integrity, honesty and hard work, who has the passion and desire to see things done in the spirit of excellence, and a defender of absolute Bio Pictruth. Cavell’s main desire is that the will of the Lord be done in all areas of his life, and in the lives of others.

4 Ways To Bridge The Spiritual Gap Between Your Music Ministry And Your Pastor

Today I’d like to welcome a guest blogger to The Music Ministry Coach.com . His name is Cavell Samuels. Cavell brings many years of experience working in music ministry to the table and I hope to have him as a regular contributor. In this blog post Cavell will be sharing with us 4 steps that will help us close that spiritual gap that sometimes exists between the music department and the Shepard of the house. Please make Cavell feel welcome by offering your comments. Also, be sure to visit Cavell’s website, which you can find in his bio at the bottom of the article. Take it away Cavell!
**************************************************************************************************************************************************************

This article is a new direction that Kingdom First will be branching off into, as this also deals with the administrative function of churches and  music ministries. The direction I am referring to is the relationship between pastors and musicians. We begin to take steps toward eliminating the gap between pastors musicians, and ministers of music which exists.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 states “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not easily broken.” When the lines of communication, or the cords are broken between the pastor, musicians and ministers of music, this has the potential to cause chaos in a church or ministry and destroy relationships. This is why we that serve in these areas must make all efforts to eliminate all gaps!

If you are reading this post, the first question that comes to mind probably is where do I start in the addressing or preventing of this from taking place? I will provide a few tips to aid and assist in firstly, having this conversation, if the problem exists, and two, to place some parameters in place in an attempt to prevent this from taking place. We , as musicians, pastors, and ministers of music cannot afford to have division in our services, division in our ministries, and division in our churches!

1. Have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ

Why are you putting this as a part of this article? I thought that all who are musicians, pastors and ministers of music are already saved? Contrary to popular belief, this is not always the case. I have ran into many musicians, ministers of music and even some pastors who do not have a relationship with the Lord. I John 2:17 declares : “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

The will of the Lord is found in His Word! His Word declares in Romans 10:9-10-“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Acts 4:12 puts it like this: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

I could give many other scriptures, but the bottom line is ALL that serve in ANY area of and in ministry should have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the #1 prerequisite, even above talent. Total commitment to Christ is essential for service to the Lord! If you are not serving the Lord, you are serving yourself! The key to relationship with the Lord is for you to be in second place, not the Lord! Relationship with the Lord involves placing Him first!

2. Proper, Biblical Conversation

Psalm 19:14 says“Let the words of my mouth and words of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” This is not just a thing pastors and preachers pray before teaching or preaching, but something that we should live by. On many occasions people do not have a problem with what was said, but have a problem with how things are said! We, as units (musicians, ministers of music, and pastors) that are working in our churches must keep in mind that we are to talk to one another in a civil and appropriate manner. I have learned through many years of experience that talking to people the right way goes a long way in building strong relationships. Asking the Lord to frame our words, speech and presentation works wonders. So we must always keep this in mind and ask the Lord to frame our words when dealing with others.

3. Fellowship, fellowship, fellowship

This is key in eliminating the gap between pastors, musicians and ministers of music. Many times you can learn many things just by being in the same room and being connected with others. I would recommend for fellowships to take place outside of the church or ministry. For those of you who are on salary at your respective church or ministry, this is fellowship outside of work. Psalm 133:1 states “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Fellowship fosters friendship and friendship foster unity! It is extremely vital for musicians, ministers of music and pastors to be united! Our worship services depend on this unity, our families depend on this unity, and our communities at large depend on this unity! Regular fellowship is essential for great relationships between the musicians, pastors and ministers of music.

4. Prayer

Luke 18:1 states “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men aught always to pray, and not faint.” Prayer is key in our respective walks with the Lord, and is no different in our functions as musicians, ministers of music and pastors. There is an old saying that states the family that prays together stays together. This is true for us in our service as musicians, ministers of music and pastors. Prayer with each other is key and should take place often. Prayer should always take place before any meeting, rehearsal sessions, and before any services you may be participating in.

Personally, I can tell the difference in my playing when I pray, verses when I do not pray. Prayer is essential in breaking down and spiritual walls, breaking down anything going on in the spiritual realm, and essential in our hearing from the Lord regarding the flow and direction of our lives and our worship services.

Keep in mind prayer is a dialogue (The Lord speaking to us and our speaking to the Lord) and not a monologue (Just us speaking). When we are praying, we must allow time for listening in our prayer time. If we are to be ready at all times, we should pray at all times. This will help in our service to the Lord!

Again, these are just a few tips to aid and assist in the eliminating of the gap which may be evident with musicians, ministers of music and pastors. In these days and times, we cannot afford for any gaps to take place in our ministries and in our churches! Our churches and ministries need for us to be strong! The only way we are going to be strong and eliminate any gaps is only through the Lord’s help!

 

Bio PicCavell Samuels is a man of integrity, honesty and hard work, who has the passion and desire to see things done in the spirit of excellence, and a defender of absolute truth. Cavell’s main desire is that the will of the Lord be done in all areas of his life, and in the lives of others. Visit Cavell’s website at KingdomFirstConsulting.com

The Real Reason All Gospel Singers Should Take Vocal Lessons (It’s Not What You Think)

By far the biggest challenge I face daily in this ministry is convincing naturally gifted singers that they too need to invest in vocal lessons.

But that’s because so many people think vocal lessons are about teaching you how to sing. Well if I already know how to sing, and I was born into a family of singers, why would I need lessons, right?

But let me ask you for a moment to think about the last time you sang. Probably last Sunday. Whether you sang lead or background doesn’t matter. What matters is how you felt. Think back. Was there ever a time your attention shifted from the message you were singing about to the task of singing itself?

Think back. Did you at any time start to feel discomfort? Did you find yourself at any point just kinda wanting the song to be over?  If you did, you must understand that in moments like those your mind, heart and spirit are no longer available to God.

Physical and mental limitations become a hindrance to your ministry when they take your focus away from the message. You really can’t be a proper conduit for the Holy Spirit to flow through if the connection is broken.

That is the real reason all singers who proclaim the Gospel through music should invest in vocal training. It’s not so you can hold a note until the audience starts clapping in celebration of how long you’re holding the note. That’s about YOU. It’s not about being able to sing notes so high that they become almost irritating to the listener. That is also about you.

The real reason it’s important for Christian/Gospel singers should take lessons is to remove any physical limitations that distract you from the message. Physical limitations lead to mental distractions. Now your mind is somewhere other than focused on what you’re singing about.

Training your instrument simply makes you a better instrument for for God. It frees you from things that distract you. Things that keep you from being able to go when doors open. Makes you unable to focus your heart and mind on what you’re singing about. So when you take lessons you are taking steps to eliminate those things so that you can be more effective when you minister in song. Not by holding notes longer or singing notes higher, but by eliminating anything that breaks that spiritual connection to the message that you need to really move from performing to ministering. And that’s about God, not about you.

Listen, I can definitely understand the hesitation many people have to spending the money to take vocal lessons when they aren’t really sure they’ll benefit at all from them. You may have even been told as much by someone who took lessons. But you really can’t rely completely on someone elses’ opinion on things like this. There are too many variables.

Many people sign up but they quit after one lesson. Some continue to take lessons but they don’t practice at home so they don’t see results. So only you can decide if they’ll really improve your ministry, and you can only decide that by trying them.

I know that’s a scary thought for many people though. So I wanted every singer to have an opportunity to try vocal training for themselves without fear or reservation. To do that I created a free 5 day vocal training course. You can get this course by simply signing up for my mailing list. You won’t need a credit card, you will never be charged. It’s simply an opportunity for you to see for yourself what some training can do for your ministry.

You’ll be introduced to some simple, basic vocal lessons and concepts. If you take them seriously and actually do them, in a few days you’ll notice changes. At the end I’ll give you an opportunity to continue your training at a deeply discounted rate. Completely optional, of course. Some people go on to up-grade to the full home study course, but many more simply enjoy the free lessons and go their own way, more educated. Whether they upgraded or not though, thousands of people all over the world have taken this course and raved about it. You’ll see hundreds of testimonials below the video lessons when you join.

So take the the step right now by filling out the simple form below. If you do the exercises I’m going to show you in this course you will fill different by the very next time you sing. The next step will be up to you.

How To Protect Your Church’s Music Department Against Copyright Infringement (part 6 of 6) Copyrights and Royalties

Today Susan Fontaine , Founder and President Christian Copyright Solutions wraps up her 6-part series on protecting your church music department against copyright infringement. This has been really educational and we’ve all learned so much! I’d like to thank Susan and Christian Copyright Solutions for taking the time to do this wonderful series for my readers. Take it away Susan!
*****************************************************************************

They say money can’t buy happiness. But paying professionals to take care of intimidating tasks that would make you very unhappy is pretty much the same thing. I pay an accountant to do my family’s taxes every year. I might be able to figure out how to do it myself, but the time I would spend doing it, not to mention the stress and frustration, would be significant. The accountant doesn’t deliver a manila envelope of happiness along with that tax return, but the freedom from anxiety and extra time to spend with my family is well worth the reasonable price.

When it comes to keeping your church’s music use legal, the same logic applies. You want to do the right thing, but if there’s anything more intimidating than the complex clergy tax code, it might be navigating the world of music copyrights and royalties. You don’t need to panic. Christian Copyright Solutions (www.Christiancopyrightsolutions.com) makes it easy and affordable to get the license you need. CCS offers two blanket one-stop licenses that cover all 16 million songs from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, including all genres of Christian and secular songs.

The PERFORMmusic License provides churches and ministries with a license for the performance of live and pre-recorded music in their facilities, including satellite campuses. With a sliding scale to keep costs low even for small churches, the PERFORMmusic License starts at $199 per year.

If you want to live stream or archive your complete worship services online, the WORSHIPcast license covers webcasting of that same enormous catalog of music. The sliding scale starts at just $500 per year, enabling churches to maximize their global, online outreach for less than it costs to produce and ship one glossy mailing to their community!

The experts at CCS can save you money, time, and a lot of headaches. That may not be a box of happiness on your doorstep, but it’s pretty close.

Want to know more about copyright myths that put your church at risk? Watch this helpful video from Christian Copyright Solutions and download their free downloadable resource to worship ministers – 6 Myths About Copyrights That Put Your Church at Risk.

CCS’s quest is to help churches and Christian ministries “do music right.” CCS is an expert on church music copyrights and our primary focus is providing licensing and clear educational resources to churches, as well as representation, administration and advocacy for copyright owners.