To the Worship Team That I Encountered While On Vacation This Summer
By Jon Nicol
First, thanks. You really did well. I felt your hearts were in the right place as well as your talents. Second, even though you are all fairly young, you led with maturity and worked to connect with a crowd that was older than you.
But can I shoot straight with you about one big issue? It’s your song choices. Let’s start with your opening song:
No one knew it.
That would’ve been OK, but you invited us to stand. Which means we assume we’re suppose to sing along.
Only, no one knew the song (did I mention that already?).
Had you just opened the service with that song and let us listen, it might’ve been a better experience all around. We wouldn’t have stood there like screen zombies and you might not have been tempted to judged us to be people who don’t feel the moving of Holy Spirit.
Then there was the closing song. How can I put this?
No one knew it.
Which is OK. It fit the theme of the message and it was fun to listen to. But again, you invited us to stand. Don’t be afraid to let people just sit, listen and take a song in. Sometimes reflecting is more effective than fumbling.
My wife and I were invited to hang out with some friends last night. They had some other friends over that my wife and I didn’t know. But guess who greeted me at the door? My friend. And guess who introduced me to the people I didn’t know? My friend. And at the end of the night, who walked us to our car? My friend.
We liked the friends of our friends. We got to know them. But they weren’t the ones that set us at ease coming in and helped us exit feeling connected. My friend did that.
Familiar songs are like old friends welcoming us in. Connecting us to less familiar songs. Giving us confidence. Helping us engage. Making one last connection before we depart.
But you bookended the worship gathering with unfamiliar songs. Songs we didn’t know, didn’t feel connected with, but yet felt the pressure to attempt a sing-along. And I’m all for learning a new song. But you used the prime real estate of the service do so. It would have been great to have a familiar friend meet us at the door and later walk us out.
Now the rest of the songs were familiar and AWESOME. But a little too awesome.
Let me explain.
I don’t remember the order, but the line-up included Revelation Song, New Life’s Great I Am, Hillsong’s Hosanna and one I forget. But each song was a big mid-tempo anthem. Each one powerful and moving. Each an apex of worship expression.
And we climbed up and down four of those mountains.
By the middle of the third mid-tempo anthem, I was starting feel a little fatigued. When you kicked into the fourth one, I was looking for something to hold on to. (My wife had already sat down. But the morning sickness might’ve had something to do with that.)
If worship is a journey, you took us right to the Himalayas.
I don’t think we need some worship formula that prescribes two fast songs, a mid-tempo anthem, and a slow intimate song. But a little variety in our journey would have been nice.
It was just too much of a good thing. Like cheesecake or shrimp scampi. Ever had unfettered access to large quantities either one? The results are not good...
So those are my thoughts, dear Worship Team That I Encountered While On Vacation This Summer. Again, you did fantastic job of leading and your heart truly shined through. So take from this letter what resonates with you, and chuck the rest.
By the way, is anyone else hungry for shrimp scampi right now?
Questions: How do you use the “big” songs? What do you move people towards those? And how do you follow those up?
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July 25, 2012Tweet