Over the last few years I have had a growing amount of pastors from around the country reach out for help with congregational music specifically - around 10 just within an hour of where we live alone. A pastor in Texas described his area to me as being in a famine for worship leaders in music - many churches are struggling with it.
It highlights a shift in recent years of people's expectations regarding church. The leading factor in people joining churches used to be the preaching; then childcare, then music. Now, it's the other way around.. Music first, then childcare, then preaching.That's a stat I don’t like, but it is the reality we’re dealing with.
The challenge is, there are a lot of churches that do well just to pay a pastor, and have little to no budget for music… and when they don’t do well with that, they don’t grow. Even when the preaching is good.
And it's those churches where the preaching is good, yet struggle musically, that I want to help. They often have people who are capable; they just need help in organization. So I want to get more focused on meeting that need through a system I’ve utilized in the past, that worked really well... I stepped in at a church a number of years ago when their music director left, my goal was to work my way out of a job, and get them up and running without me. So to do that, one of the things I did was utilize my recording equipment. I recorded all the songs we used, ran off each part individually (tenor by itself, alto by itself etc) and then required everyone on the team to listen to the songs in just the same way they would listen to a regular recording, and learn their part in their own time - so their part became their "melody.."
Then, the rehearsal actually turned out to be less of a rehearsal and more of a worship/Bible study/prayer time. We didn’t have to go over and over the parts - they already knew them. And it sounded great; I did the same thing for the choir. We met once to go over the music for Easter Sunday, on the day before, and they nailed it. LOUDLY! It was a blast. It wasn't for the purpose of doing a "special" - not that I'm against that per se - it was for the purpose of leading the congregation in worship. No one was focused on sheet music - there wasn't any - and because everyone was confident of their role musically, it left us all free to focus on the content of what we were singing about (celebrating Christ and His Gospel, and the salvation He has brought us to).
Anyway, I’ve since thought it would be cool to build a library of songs to make available for churches to use, and now that these churches are reaching out for help, I’m seeing it more as a necessity than just something I'd like to do some day. My engineering is better now than it was back then, so I'm starting over - and my conviction is we can help multiple churches get on their feet musically in a relatively short amount of time, and thereby make a considerable impact in carrying out the Great Commission.
There are some organizations which do a similar thing, but it's done as a service, and it costs an arm and a leg, and I’m dealing with churches/pastors that simply can’t afford it. So I want to put something together that follows the biblical financial model - giving and receiving as an act of worship - and help our struggling brothers, and sister churches, get off the ground.
There is more to it than that, but I've taken up enough of your time for now! That begins to give you the idea. I’m now working on building a team to partner with us in prayer, financial support, and networking.
Will you join us? We need folks to to get involved, and work with us as we do our part in making disciples. Reach out to me if you'd like to know more details of the strategy we're putting in place - I'll be glad to talk with you.
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