50 Choir And Praise Team Songs For Thanksgiving

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So Thanksgiving is upon us already! And if your music department is anything like ours you must be thinking “isn’t there anything else we can do for Thanksgiving besides Thank You by Walter Hawkins?? I’m glad you asked! The family over on the Fan Page has done it again, creating yet another fantastic list of great songs.

This time I asked for songs great for Thanksgiving. You’ll see songs tagged as good for choirs, praise teams or both. As usual I like to embed the actual post here in the article, because these lists have a tendency to keep growing over the next couple of days.

So click on the like button of you’re not connected yet, then click on the comment button below to go straight to the live post on the Fan Page. If you don’t see the post below right away give it a couple of seconds to load. May not work in Google Chrome.

3 Kinds Of Songs Every Group Must Have In their Repertoire

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I know I’m stating the obvious here, but when it comes to our choirs and praise/worship teams, things are constantly changing from week to week. Despite our best efforts, the truth is you never know for sure if everyone you need will be there or not. We’ve all found ourselves in situations where we just can’t think of ANYTHING we can pull off with the people we have present.

But regardless of who’s here or who isn’t, we must go on. We have to be on our post regardless. That said, it should also be obvious that we should have songs in our repertoire that we can do in any situation, no matter how temporarily crippled we are. Unfortunately it’s not something we think about until it’s Sunday morning and 80 percent of your choir is missing.

So today I’m going to give you 3 kinds of songs every choir and praise/worship team should have on their song list ready to sing at any time. They are as follows:

1. Songs In Unison

Many times it’s one section that’s crippled, making it tough to sing many of the songs on your group’s list because of the harmony challenges this scenario causes. Having songs on your list that you can sing in unison eliminates this concern. The obvious one we all think about in Gospel music of course, is I Need You To Survive, by Hezekiah Walker. But there are quite a few others that are either entirely in unison or mostly in unison. Even some songs that do have harmony can be done well in unison and sound good. Be creative!

2. Songs A Cappella

Sometimes it isn’t the group members that are missing, it’s the musician! But even if nobody shows up but the drummer, you can still go on and do a great job if you have a few good a cappella songs on your list. All you need is for someone in the group to know the key of the song.

3. Songs With No Leader

The third most common scenario we find ourselves in is when we have plenty of group members but none of our leaders are present. Having a few songs with no leader in your repertoire eliminates this one instantly. There are tons of songs that either have no leader or that do have one but can easily done without one. This one should be an easy one to fill.

Now, your first inclination might be to simply find one of each and be done with it. However, if you do that those songs will become known as crutch songs that you only do when you’re in a bind. Your group’s attitude towards these songs will soon change for the worst, trust me. That’s why I suggest having two or three really nice songs in each of these categories. That way you always have something fresh to sing and sound good singing, not matter what life is throwing at your group at the moment.

Do you have songs on your list that fit any of these categories already? Please share in the comments box below!
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10 Songs Your Choir/Praise Team Can Sing When You’re Short-Handed

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Every group has them. Those times when you’re just short on people for whatever reason. Choirs and Praise Teams are organic. They’re constantly changing because the lives of their members are constantly changing. But regardless of how many people we have available on any given Sunday we must still be on our post. With that in mind every group needs songs you can do well no matter how short-handed you are.  And since the biggest deciding factor of how well your group can do a song is usually how well you can do the harmony with what you have, I thought it would be great to have a list of songs that are either completely sung in unison are mostly sung in unison with very few sections that need harmony.

So I put the question to the family over on the fan page. These are the 10 best entries they came up with.  Add several of these to your list and you’ll always have several songs to choose from that you know your group can do well no matter how short-handed any one section is. Some of these may be better for choir and some for praise team. For the most flexibility though I’d teach any song you choose to adopt to both groups if you have both. That way you’re never without a song you can sing no matter which group is short-handed.
Listed in no particular order, they are:

1. I Just Want To Praise You – Maurette Brown Clark
2. I need You To Survive       – Hezekiah Walker
3. Every Praise                        -Hezekiah Walker
4. Only You/How Great Is Our God -Jonathan Nelson (These can also be treated as two separate songs)
5. Not Forgotten                     -Isreal Houghton
6. Your Presence Is Heaven  -Isreal Houghton
7. The Reason Why I Sing     – Kirk Franklin
8. And We Are Glad                -Joe Pace
9. Precious Is The Blood        -Joe Pace
10. Press In Your Presence   -Shana Wilson

Be Blessed!

10 Places To Find New Music For Your Choir Or Praise Team

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One of the things you MUST do to keep your music ministry fresh and interesting, both for the audience and the members, is introduce new music regularly. However many of us may not look beyond our local radio station for new material. And that’s fine if you happen to have a great local Gospel radio presence where you live. Many people don’t. In fact in a city as big as Dallas Tx you might be surprised to know that we don’t have a single 24 hour F.M radio station playing Gospel music.

So I asked my Fan Page family to share their main sources for finding new music for their choir. I took their best answers and added a couple of my own. Because I have an international audience I thought it was important that all of the resources on this list be available on-line so just about anyone can access them. Also keep in mind that all of these resources are great for finding material for your praise team too. That said, here is the list, in alphabetical order.

1. DonnieRadio.com

Donnie McClurkin has a nationally syndicated gospel radio show. You can listen to content from the show here.

2. Gospel Flava.com

This is kind of an “all things Gospel Music” magazine-type website. A great resource for industry news, new releases and charts.

3.IheartRadio.com

Iheart radio works a lot like Pandora. Both are listed because they do a great job of introducing you to new artists that may not have hit mainstream radio yet. Create an account and then usie the preferences to set up a gospel station.

4. Local Radio Station websites

Even if you do have a great local radio station playing Gospel music, it’s a great idea to simply jump online and do a search for gospel radio stations in other cities and states. Often different markets play different songs and artists. Sometimes music is released and in rotation in one market way before others. A great idea if you’re looking for something different than what’s hot in your area.

5. NuthinButGospel.com

This site definitely lives up to it’s name, in that you won’t find much there but Gospel music. It’s a pretty sparse, rather empty-looking page when you first hit it. But if you click on the little “boom box” icon on the right a little window will open up, and there in front of you will be lots and lots of Gospel songs, all listed with title and artist. Click the play button and go to town! I thought this one was one of the easiest to use that I visited, simply because many other radio station sites don’t give you that option. You kinda have to push play and just listen live. This one is great for speed, ease of use and readily available song title and artist info.

6. Pandora.com

Pandora works a lot like Iheartradio. Both are listed because they do a great job of introducing you to new artists that may not have hit mainstream radio yet. Create an account and then use the preferences to set up a gospel station. Both Pandora and Iheart can be accessed several other ways besides physically going to the website. Both have apps for most mobile devices, which make it possible for you to listen through your home or car stereo or portable boom box is that feature is available.

7. PraiseCharts.com

This site focuses more on Contemporary Christian Music. It’s a great resource for praise and worship teams, but it also includes much more than the other resources I visited on the list. Here you can not only download music, but you can actually find chord charts, lead sheets and orchestrations, all available for download and print-out.

8.TheJamesFortuneShow.com

The website for James Fortune’s gospel radio show.  If I’m not mistaken James’s show is a local show, not a nationally syndicated one. That could make it a good resource for finding great songs not being played in your area.

9. TheYolandaAdamsMorningShow.com

The Yolanda Adams Morning Show is nationally syndicated like Donnie McClurkin’s show, so you may find the play list similar. But it’s definitely worth having on your list of music resources.

10. YouTube.com

YouTube goes without saying. Not only is it a great resource for finding new music, it’s a great resource for getting music out to key personnel for learning purposes (rather than making illegal copies). YouTube does require a bit more work though, that’s for sure. But it’s the most vast resource on the list since pretty-much everything can be found there. You can type in search terms according to season, occasion, genre and pretty-much anything else you can think of. That’s something you can’t do with any other resource on the list.

Why I’m Worried About Your Praise Team

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Some people call them “Praise Teams”, some call them “Worship Teams”. I even saw an article not long ago where the author’s sole purpose for writing it was to prove why they should be called one and not the other. I personally don’t think that’s nearly as important though, as understand and maintaining a certain level of integrity and standard in the songs that praise teams and worship teams choose to bring to the people.

It seems that as praise teams (that’s what we call them where I’m from) become more and more prominent- even completely replacing the traditional church choir altogether in some churches- they are exercising more and more “leeway” in their song selections. I suppose that’s coming from a perceived need to include more diversity because of the increased demand for more songs to sing. Some seem to be gradually becoming more interested in entertaining than really helping lead the audience in praise and worship and creating an atmosphere conducive to making that happen. Some have begun taking secular songs and just changing some of the lyrics, which I confess I find disturbing.  Others just take the secular song and sing it just like it is, which is another trend I’m concerned about.

More and more, songs are being sung by praise and worship teams that are neither praise nor worship. And while I feel like I’m really stating the obvious here, I thought if there was one rule everyone understood was the fact that praise teams and worship teams are supposed to sing praise songs and worship songs. But over the last few years of writing this blog and just talking to people serving in music ministries all over the world, I find that many praise teams- newly formed ones especially, seem to struggle with understanding what constitutes a praise song vs a worship song.

More importantly, some people struggle with identifying songs that don’t really fit either and thus aren’t really something a praise team should sing. Some people boil it down to something as simple as tempo: praise songs are fast, worship songs are slow. They do often tend to have that in common, but the difference between praise and worship is far deeper than that.

I think if praise teams better understood the difference between what praise is and what worship is they would at least have a more solid foundation to use as a guide when choosing appropriate songs for their teams.  The best place to go for that of course is the word of God. While searching the internet today I came across an article I felt really really explained that difference well. What I love about the article the most though, is that the author, whose name isn’t listed on the article, really does a great job of explaining clearly what makes praise praise and worship worship. But it’s all the scriptures included in the article that you’ll find an invaluable resource.

If we hold every song we’re considering to the scrutiny of scripture we can’t help but make better choices, simply because many of them won’t qualify when held to that standard. First getting a clear understanding about the difference between praise and worship and then understanding what scripture says about both will set your praise or worship team on the right path to choosing songs that are truly praise and worship songs and are scriptural in their lyrical content.

The article I mentioned can be found on GotQuestions.org and it’s called What Is The Difference Between Praise And Worship?

For even more articles to help you with your praise/worship team ministry check out Praise Team 101.

The Most Overlooked Reason Congregations Don’t Sing Along With The Praise Team

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I saw an article recently that talked about what he referred to as “the death of congregational singing”. One of the main reasons he sited for this is how much more complicated songs have become in this day and age than they were before. It’s true, even of some praise and worship songs.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “a song the angels can’t sing”. Well unfortunately I believe many praise teams are often choosing songs the congregation can’t sing. Something most of us don’t consider when we’re choosing songs is the most obvious consideration of all: Will the audience be able to sing this?

Often in our zeal to choose powerful, popular songs that we feel will create an atmosphere of praise, we choose songs that are, quite frankly, intimidating for the audience. Don’t get me wrong, the audience may be really enjoying the song. Yet they don’t actually participate in the worship experience. Instead most congregations simply stand politely and watch the praise team; because that’s what they’re supposed to do. That’s protocol. Here comes the praise team, better stand.

But when it comes to actually joining in and becoming an active participate in the praise and worship many congregation members find the songs simply too intimidating to sing along. They may feel it’s too high, too many words, the format or flow of the song is complicated- you get the idea.

We often fail to catch this because we’re singers and musicians. This is pretty common stuff for us. So when we hear that hot up-tempo song with the awesome chord progressions and the great harmony arrangement-the one that modulates 4 times and just works us into a frenzy-we think “Oh man, this is gonna be great! We goin’ IN when we sing this!”

We fail to understand that the people in the audience aren’t “music people” like us. So while modulations, high notes and directional changes are all familiar to us, they tend to leave audience members thinking “I can’t do that” (COUGH “Chasing After You” COUGH). So they stand and clap and enjoy the show, but they don’t join in the praise.

So it’s really important for praise team leaders and members to never lose sight of why we even have a praise team in the first place. Our primary goal is to create an atmosphere that encourages corporate praise and worship. That only happens though, when the audience begins to join in and sing together, rather than watch our “praise show” from the sidelines.
For more articles and help with your praise or worship team’s ministry check out Praise Team 101.