Nine Key Components to Introduce a New Song, Part 1
By Jon Nicol
Last year, my wife’s laptop was pooping out. I decided to get her an iPad for Christmas. When it arrived, I didn’t just throw it into her lap and say, “Here. Merry Christmas.”
First of all, I was a tad giddy when I ordered it, because I knew she wanted one. (OK, I wanted one. But I knew she’d love it, too.) When it arrived, I took great care to hide it from her. And I knew better than even attempt to remove it from the packaging to "test" it. I wanted it to be perfect.
One day in mid-December, her computer was giving her fits. Knowing the iPad was in the other room, I had two choices. I desperately wanted to give it to her. But I knew it would have more impact on Christmas morning. So I opted for the latter and waited. And then did what any good husband would do:
I messed with her head.
“Shannon, I’m so sorry your computer’s not working. You know, we should probably budget some money to buy you a new one this next year. We could probably afford to get you something by this summer.”
I thought she might fling her lemon-of-a-Toshiba at my cranium.
A few days before Christmas I wrapped it. I even put it in a bigger box so she didn’t have a chance of guessing what it was, and I placed it under the tree. Christmas morning went by and she opened only a few presents. Finally when most of the kids’ stuff was opened, I grabbed it and said, “Here, open this one.” I had the video camera ready.
Yes! (It was a good cry, mind you.)
All that preparation to give that gift was so worth it (even the head games). But why do I tell you this story?
Because I think we need to introduce our new songs like that. New songs are a gift that we give to the people in our churches to encourage them to worship God. The introduction to a new song needs to be as thoughtful and deliberate as giving that iPad to my wife. But maybe skip the head games.
Think about everything that's involved with giving a gift:
The Expectation of Enjoyment.
I know. I never really thought about how much went into a gift before that either. Let's look at preparation.
1. The Preparation
I would never put a half assembled bicycle with missing parts under the Christmas tree for my son. (OK, I would, because I'm inept at anything mechanical. But at some point, my wife would take over and I would assist her by handing her tools and making her cocoa.)
But the way we prepare to introduce new songs often resembles that half-finished bike. Too often, we have the mindset that the first few Sundays can be subpar till we "get to know the song" (see #3).
Here's something I need to hear as much or more than you: Prepare like you're presenting the song for a royalty. Because you are.
2. The Contents
In the fall of 2007, Mattel issued a recall on over 10 million toys that had been made in China. Why? They were possibly coated with lead paint, as well as a few other "minor issues” (that could cause death and permanent disfiguration).
Imagine a parent who had purchased some of those toys as Christmas gifts for their kids. After hearing of the recall, how many moms would have said, “Ah, my kid really wants this. He won’t know the difference.” Mom then wraps it up and sticks it under the tree.
Nope. Not happening. That talking "Mater the Tow Truck" went back to Toys R Us faster than it could say "git r done."
The content of the gift is really the song itself. We can have all the other components "right." But if it's not the right song, you're giving your congregation a lousy gift.
As the worship leader, you are the gatekeeper of songs in your church. It’s your job to make sure songs are life-giving to the church. Not just shiny and fun.
And you aren’t just on the look out for heretical stuff. You want to make sure that your church is also getting the songs they need, not the just songs they want. For more on this, here are eight questions you can ask to help select the right new songs.
Up next in part 2, The Box & the Wrapping.
Discussion/Comment: Since this will be going into a new book I'm working on, I'd love to hear your suggestions on what you like, what could be added, and any other thoughts you have on this subject.
November 30, 2012Tweet