Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Worship Leader Toolbox: YOUR MIND, Part 2

Last week, we started talking about the role of your mind in the ministry of leading worship. (You can click here to read Part 1, if you so desire.)

Today, we're continuing to offer ways to engage your mind in your ministry to make you a more effective, thoughtful, successful leader.

We all aspire to sound great when we're up there singing, and this often means we try our best to match what we hear on the original versions of these songs. To be sure, nailing a song just like the original feels pretty great, but what happens when those arrangements start going stale? Do you abandon the song entirely? It's certainly an option, but there are ways to use the mind God gave you to breathe some freshness into what you're leading. You've got to mentally experiment. how do you do that?

It's a simple approach, but it does take time. Here's what you do - think though the songs as they normally proceed and then throw a wrench into it. It doesn't have to be anything amazingly creative...the point here is to embrace the challenge. Try this example:

Song #1 is "Beautiful One" by Tim Hughes and song #2 is "Your Grace is Enough" by Matt Maher. Both have very specific arrangements, but because you're experimenting, you give yourself a challenge. In your head, you start with this idea...what if drums started the second song? You start thinking through this in your head. How would it work? What beat? When would the other instruments come in? Run that in your head for awhile, mentally composing on the fly. (Wait! Bass should stay on a C note! Maybe piano playing intro chords up high?)

You see, now you're experimenting and investing some time in arranging before you ever even get to rehearsal. A lot of your ideas will end up in thee trash, but that's okay because you're thinking and creating and I promise that eventually, you'll get pretty good at it.

The goal isn't to impress anybody with your arrangement skills. But didn't a lot of us grow up in churches where the music guy phoned it in Sunday after Sunday for years? I think that's because they didn't experiment in their heads. They came to rehearsal with absolutely no ideas. Just the same song, the same way with the same fancy ending that they learned in the church they grew up in.

I don't believe in reinventing the wheel...lots of songs are awesome and need no improvement (you hear me, Passion Hymns?) but if you want to do something fresh, you've got to practice at it.