Thanksgiving has come and gone. And, the biggest shopping day of the year is also over…for 2013 at least. I heard there were some great deals out there! For me, personally, I like to stay home on Black Friday and just relax and enjoy some family time.
When we shop for things like Christmas, which is just around the corner, most of us try to find the best deals. That’s why Black Friday is so huge! We consider not only what the person likes, but also how much money we have to work with. Interestingly, in a way, we also look at how much that person is “worth”. Are they worth spending $20 on? $50 on? $100 on? Most of us don’t spend as much money on our friends or co-workers as we do our family members…because our family is “worth” more to us.
In the midst of this busy season, with all the shopping and festivities, I’d like to challenge you with a question that I recently came across: “What is God worth to you?”
In the book The Way of A Worshiper, Buddy Owens (Teaching Pastor at Saddleback Church) writes, “When we worship God, we declare His worth. But in order to declare God’s worth, we must first discover His worth.”
Then he presents the question: “What is God worth to you?”
What a powerful question! As we enter into this Advent and Christmas season, consider that question. It’s a question that all of us must ask ourselves.
If you’re a worship leader, you’ve probably struggled at one point or another with the comparison game.
You compare your guitar with the other guy’s…’His guitar looks cooler than mine. I bet it cost at least $500 more! I’ve gotta have a better guitar than that guy!’
You compare your church with the other guy’s…’Man, how big is his church? He leads worship for 4 services!? I wish my church was that big!’
You even compare your family with the other guy’s…’He has 5 kids!? We only have one. We are so behind! His family even seems more happy!’
It’s also easy to compare ourselves and think the other way:
‘I can’t believe he can’t even sing that song in the original key!’
‘Did his church even audition him before hiring him? I would never hire that guy if I was a church.’
‘His church is so small. I must be a better worship leader since I lead worship at a church twice the size of his.’
The comparison game is a very dangerous game to play. We can either get discontent with what we have and where God has placed us, or we can get prideful in what we have and our abilities. We must protect our minds from the comparison game.
Social media doesn’t help either. Most of us only post the highlights…the things that will make us look good. We like to show off and brag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If social media causes you to struggle with comparing, maybe it’s time to delete your account, or at least limit your use.
Comparing yourself with others can lead to jealousy, coveting, pride, or even bitterness. God doesn’t want us to compare. He calls us to live in contentment.
Prayerfully ask yourself: What’s something I can do this week to protect myself from the comparison game? (Feel free to share in the comments below.)
Here at WorshipPlanning.com we are dedicated to providing you a top-notch resource for your church’s planning needs. So, we are thrilled to be recognized in this year’s Best of the Best issue of Worship Leader Magazine!
We were honored with Editor’s Pick AND Readers’ Choice Awards, under the category of Planning Resources. So, thank you for voting for us! And, thank you Worship Leader Magazine for the recognition!
We are looking forward to unveiling more new features and updates soon! Stay tuned!
If you are not yet using WorshipPlanning.com, we invite you to give it a try for 30 days absolutely FREE!
Here’s a very helpful and practical video tutorial for worship keyboardists that we came across:
The Digital Age (the former David Crowder Band, minus David Crowder) recently released an album called, Evening:Morning.
This is a very fun, creative music video for one of their songs – “Captured”. Enjoy!
I’m sure you’ve heard the jokes from male worship leaders saying they need to tighten their belt a few inches before singing a Chris Tomlin song. Tomlin, who happens to write many of today’s most used congregational worship songs, tends to write them in keys too high for most congregations to sing.
I’ve noticed that other worship songwriters are following suit. They write in a key that would give the most impact and dynamics to the song. However, that key may not be the best for your congregation to sing along to. In fact, even Tomlin has admitted to taking some of his own songs a whole step down from his recordings when he leads them live.
Have you ever been in a worship service where the worship leader was singing his heart out, but it was too high for most of the congregation to sing? Instead of leading the people in worship, it causes the people to stand there a bit frustrated and just watching the worship leader go for it for 20 minutes.
What? You can hit the same notes as Tomlin?! Great! More power to you! However, as worship leaders, we must remind ourselves that most of people in the church are not trained singers. And, they may not be able to hit the notes that you can.
So, what’s the right key for your congregation? Of course, it depends on the song, but I would suggest picking a key that most men in your church could sing comfortably in. Most women in your church will sing no matter what key you sing a song in. Women tend to be more comfortable singing along, even if it means having to find a harmony because the melody is too low or too high. However, if the song is too high, most men will not sing or they will get frustrated in their attempt and stop singing.
Kenny Lamm, senior consultant for worship and music for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, highlights ideal keys for some of today’s most used corporate worship songs in this post. He also gives these tips:
Criteria for determining congregationally-friendly keys:
The range should fit an average singer. The highest note should be a D with an occasional Eb allowable. The lowest note should be an A.
For songs with a small range that could be sung in a wide range of keys, the character of the song and the composer’s original key were considered to preserve the intended feel of the song.
Songs with a high tessitura may be pitched a bit lower even if the top note is a D.
A few songs on the list have ranges beyond the scope of an average singer. Those key suggestions are noted in parentheses with the best key(s) possible with the understanding that there are outliers in the melody.
Congregational worship is not a time for you to show off how wide your range is and how awesome you sound singing the latest worship song from the radio. It’s a time you are called to lead your church in worship through music. Don’t let your congregation be left behind. Make it as easy as possible for them to engage in worship.
We’ve update worshipplanning.com to include a new feature that we know many of you worship leaders will love:
This new tool allows you to easily map out the order of choruses, verses, intros, bridges, and more. Each song can have a “default” mapping that is defined in your song library, and then it can be easily changed in the worship flow.
The mapping you set for a particular worship service is accessible by your team members via MyWP and many of the worship flow print options.
We’ve also create a brief video tutorial on how to use this feature. You can view it here:
Improved Text Message Notifications
Text notifications from WorshipPlanning.com is nothing new (here’s how to do it if you didn’t know). But in the past WorshipPlanning.com sent text messages using email-to-text gateways run by cell phone carriers. And not all carriers were consistent about messages being delivered when sent this way (especially carriers in Europe and Australia).
With this update to WorshipPlanning.com, we’ve begun using an SMS expert service call Twilio. If you already have text notifications set up and working for your account, you shouldn’t have to do anything for this new SMS service to start working. But if it has not worked for you before, try re-setting up your text notifications in WP and it should work a whole lot better.
Privacy Info Defaulting to “Most Private”
When creating a new Helper or Planner account, the default setting for “Contact Info Privacy” has been changed from “Visible to all helpers at my church” to “Hidden from all helpers”. This setting has always been accessible to Planners creating the account and the person whose account was created. But in the age of increased privacy concerns, it makes more sense to default it to the most private setting.
By the way, accounts that were already set up were not modified with this update.
The tool used to export worship flow to Word and Excel has been updated to work better with Mac OSX based computers.