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Worship Leader Magazine Discussion from Blogs

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  • Worship Leader Magazine Discussion from Blogs

    Hey Everyone,

    Over the last few weeks, there have been multiple blogs posted re: Worship Leader Mag and SongDISCovery. Julie Reid, the Editor (a wonderful person, by the way, though we've never met personally, but probably will this Summer at the NWLC) actually popped in and posted some comments in a few of these blogs asking for input from Worship Leaders.

    So this is our opportunity to speak out ... as regular, every day worship leaders, musicians, and technicians out there ...

    So, I'm adding a poll to this thread ... please do the poll, and leave your comments. Ask questions ... if you aren't a subscriber, you can still participate!

    Finally - and this is very important. Our natural tendency when asked for input is to only give critical, negative input. I'd encourage you strongly to also share your positive input and support as well. For example, one of my FAVORITE parts of the magazine is the "Song Stories" segment, where we learn about the stories behind the songs that are written.

    So ... if you have some constructive criticism, share it in love, but at the same time, please do be an encourager and share the positive as well!

    For the Kingdom,

    Original blogs with ongoing discussion re: Worship Leader that I saw:
    Live to Worship
    I'm not a subscriber, so I cannot comment.
    I subscribe, but don't read it.
    I subscribe, and LIKE IT, and will subscribe again.
    I was a subscriber, but cancelled.
    I subscribe, but will NOT be subscribing again.
    Last edited by fmckinnon; 03-25-2008, 05:17 PM. Reason: added ref. blogs
    Fred McKinnon, Pianist/Composer/Worship Leader
    blog: www.fredmckinnon.com

    Please check out my piano/instrumental music at:

  • #2
    I use to be a subscriber at another church I was at, but did not continue. It's been a while since I read it, but most material, articles and such were not relevant (sp?) to the smaller church type worship situations. That and most of the songs offered to be honest were not very good. We only used one of them I think if I remember right in all the issues I received.


    • #3
      Perhaps you should separate the magazine from song discovery. I subscribe to the magazine and really enjoy it, but have never perceived a value in song discovery.



      • #4
        Good idea ... but was trying to keep the poll simple, plus, I think they come together as one resource, right?

        Anyway - feel free to start a separate thread re: SongDISCovery in this same area if you'd like!

        Fred McKinnon, Pianist/Composer/Worship Leader
        blog: www.fredmckinnon.com

        Please check out my piano/instrumental music at:


        • #5
          Song Discovery


          I subscribed to SongDiscovery since Vol 13...

          Originally LOVED The music HATED the magazine.

          Then about 2 years ago the magazine got really good.... I LOVE the Mark D Roberts, Matt Redman, and Brenton Brown articles as well as the song stories. I looked forward to reading them each time. Too bad it is not a blog.

          In California with taxes, gas prices, etc going up (I'm just a regular 40-hour-work-week person who is the WL at my church) and the fact that I've used only 1 song (HE IS HERE: AWESOME!) from SongDiscovery over the last 1.5 + years, I have to decide NOT to renew my subscription. $60 a year for maybe one song is hard to justify.

          I think Song DISCovery has lost their way. The songs are nice, but they've forgotten that we need CONGREGATIONAL (non arrangement-dependent) songs that can be used in church and possibly with only one instrument (the bulk of worship leaders being very very small bands to only themselves).

          I'm torn up about it, but $60 a year has become hard for me to keep paying when the songs aren't that great.

          Last edited by girlworshipleader; 03-25-2008, 06:34 PM. Reason: I LEFT out the WHY I love the magazine part.


          • #6
            Our church has subscribed to SD for a long time and we've used songs on the average maybe 2 or 3 a year. I started subscribing recently myself but before I would always pick up an issue of Worship Leader at the local Christian bookstore. It's probably the best "niche" resource that we have even though it's difficult to be all things to all music leaders. If you don't like the CD, though, you CAN just subscribe to the mag.


            • #7
              Just the mag...

              Originally posted by alhilgendorf View Post
              If you don't like the CD, though, you CAN just subscribe to the mag.
              That is a wonderful idea! I didn't know you could do that.


              • #8
                I subscribed the mag for a year this last year (my sub. ran out about 2 months ago.)

                I found extremely little value in the magazine. Very little that was thought provoking or challenging. Almost no practical insights or suggestions that I could use in my ministry.

                I don't even think I bothered to do more that skim that last 2 or 3 issues the previous ones were all so trite.

                The alternative?

                I believe blogging has given me way more value than the magazine.


                • #9
                  I'm subscribed, but i find myself always just skimming the articles. It's interesting to get a quick glance over what seems to be happening in the worship community at large, but honestly, I have rarely found any article that's really helped me in a practical sense.

                  I agree with dave97402 in that products in our worship "industry" don't seem to be very applicable to the smaller churches. Many of the big worship companies now seem to think all churches are now big or use a lot of multimedia and are completely current with contemporary worship. But in fact, many average churches are STILL trying to figure out the contemporary worship side, being in congregations that are still very rooted in tradition.

                  I had a friend who went to an Integrity worship conference recently, who told me a funny story. One of the main Integrity teachers told the workshop that he went to a "small" church. When asked what small was, he replied oh, about 1000 people. Then he took a poll of the class, and found out most of the attendees were from churches - of a couple hundred. Just an example about where the perspective of our worship companies are. What's considered "small" now.

                  And in this vein, I have found a lot of Worship Leader magazine's resources are a bit removed from the realities of the majority of average churches.


                  • #10
                    It's difficult for any worship based company to avoid focusing on large churches; they are the ones who are able to spend money. Seriously, I hear some of you being very conscious of $60 per year - this tells me that you have to pinch every penny. The "big" guys do that and never blink. Forming a business that concentrates on churches with $100,000 or less yearly budgets - including pastor salary - isn't going to be very successful as a business.

                    Just my thoughts in response to the "don't ignore us" problem that we small churchers have.

                    Just another good reason for church associations to be involved in song licensing, etc.


                    • #11
                      I enjoy the mag for the most part but feel that a bit more could be geared for smaller church bodies. There's not a lot of mega churches in the north! I don't use songs from the SD CD's provided, however, I have used a bunch within the SD community. I would say that the selection process for the CD could go beyond what's "hot" on the scene sound wise, and more for practical use. (have used artist like Gary Rea, Wendy Wills, Mike Holholz, Michael Bahn, Matt Boswell) Some of the emerging worhsip leaders that live the everyday worship leader life and writing for their churches have the best material I believe. Real, relavant, heart-felt and usually not overly produced.

                      I would give up getting the CD b/c my needs are met other ways. I also subscribe to Worship Musician which is very helpful for various levels.


                      • #12
                        Going from Good to Great

                        I'm a subscriber and reader. I really enjoy the challenging articles, specifically about songwriting. Here are a few suggestions, based purely on my opinion!

                        I would love to see more practical articles about improving singing/musical technique, chord changes to try, practical guides to transitions etc. I think that a lot of WL's would appreciate simple, practical guides to improving their teams and leading style.

                        How about a review section that doesn't just glow about every single CD??? I feel that the worship "industry" has prostituted itself a lot in the form of endless versions of the same group of songs. Do we really need another "worship" album from a CCM artist? If it's not original material, it's really not that valuable to the community. And who is going to be the voice of artistic integrity to call artists and bands out when they deliver a sub-par product? If not us (the worship community), then who???

                        I remember WL Magazine glowing about the song "Healing Rain" a few years ago, presumably because Smitty and Martin Smith wrote it. Never mind the fact that it had clumsy lyrics, an average melody and was hard to sing along to!

                        I find the Song Discovery CDs to be INCREDIBLY frustrating! It pretty much NEVER features the strongest song from an artists album. For example, instead of featuring one of the 5 best songs from th most recent Hillsong album, Song Discovery will feature on of the "filler" songs that's usually the 7th or 8th best song on the CD!

                        I believe that WL Magazine is in a unique position. They have no real competition to their product. This is why I believe it HAS to be a truly excellent product. The truth is that it would continue to sell well as an average product due simply to lack of competition. But the worship community needs a voice to speak up for artistic integrity. It needs a voice to highlight incredible songs from tiny churches. It needs a voice to push the genre forward instead of falling into the comfortable familiarity of 10 years ago.

                        So PLEASE - be bolder!

                        Let worship leaders know that they shouldn't still be playing "Open the Eyes of my Heart"! Let them know that they SHOULD be listening to secular music if they have any hope of remaining relevant in our culture! Let artists and bands know that they can't churn out cookie cutter songs and expect God's power to be in them!

                        We need a bolder, louder voice in our community!


                        • #13
                          Jeff -
                          Wow - great info man ... just curious, did you submit anything from the CCJ album to SongDISCovery? There was some great material there!
                          Fred McKinnon, Pianist/Composer/Worship Leader
                          blog: www.fredmckinnon.com

                          Please check out my piano/instrumental music at:


                          • #14
                            Are there real worship leaders on staff over there?

                            I wonder if there are real worship leaders on staff there. What I mean by that is they are not in my head. Some of the devotional stuff is good, but really not much "conversation" about things. It does not follow the pulse of worship leaders I talk with regularly in person or on my blog.

                            The issues that keep worship leaders up at night have everything to do from dealing with church structures, leadership, technology and trends. The magazine is too safe to stand out in this fast-paced world. More controversy would be great!

                            Generationally, we need less boomer ideas and more next thing as well. The perspective and voice of the magazine does not get it as far as the movements in worship for emerging generations.

                            The Songdiscovery is too broad and I have moved on to the www.worshiptogether.com stuff and New Song Focus Team they offered me. Also, the www has so much I can find, that it is almost an after-the-fact event to get that CD with Songdiscovery.

                            As far as culture, what the music critiques write about never fits where my ministry is at or would like to be. I am not sure some of the writers have been exposed to the broad nature of music out there.

                            My two cents!


                            • #15
                              I subscribe and will likely keep subscribing but I find the CD to be less relevant than it used to be...at least to me. Years ago, it was way ahead of where we were. A couple years ago, it was right on and now it seems like it is a little behind where we are. I love the magazine and really like the articles but the CDs are too often "prozac" praise.