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Contemporary Music/Band HELP!

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  • Contemporary Music/Band HELP!

    I have recently come on staff at a church as their associate pastor of music. They are an older church that has been mostly traditional. They have decided that if they dont change then they will die. So my job is too plan and implement a 2nd service..a contemporary one. I am on a limited budget but very flexible. I play the guitar but I need other instruments. I know once we grow the Lord will lead talented musicians to us but in the mean time its just me. I know there is something out there where I can use prerecorded instruments, either software or hardware. Please any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you have to have the other "stuff" to have worship (contemporary or otherwise). Sounds like what you need to do is take your guitar and arrange a modern set-list led by you acoustically. Maybe even add some bgvs. Make it substantive and authentic and it will grow. If you had all that you think you needed in the immediate, you would find there would be some sever growing pains and pitfalls that you probably would never see coming, wouldn't be prepared for, and for which slow growth maturity will preempt or overcome.

    You would obviously need to let the leadership know what to realistically expect within this mentality (as of now, they may expect you to come out like Hillsong your first Sunday out). If they are wise and have vision, they will grant you the space and freedom to implement this the right way rather than flash-pan-sizzle-fade.

    Weeds grow fast. Plants of value take time, energy, effort, work, blood, sweat, and tears to cultivate and last.


    • #3
      I agree with moosic man

      I would suggest sitting down with leadership and finding out exactly what they have in mind. Get together a plan and get their buy in. I say this because I have run into situations where people say they want a 'contemporary' service but it meant playing the hymns on guitar or modern songs on the organ with a few flashy posters hung up... so make sure everyone is on the same page. Define what 'contemporary' is and what's expected up front.

      Ping the church body- you might have musicians there that aren't playing now because it's a traditional service. At the least, they might know some people. On a related note, don't exclude the current piano/organ players- they might want to play or at least help get it off the ground.

      Consider making it a church wide project- having buy in is easier if you let people be a part of the process.

      One thing to be aware of- this has to be done and communicated in a way that is inclusive- meaning, older churches tend to not deal well with change, and it's made worse by poor communication and roll-out. It can make the older generation feel like they are being put out to pasture. This is always a touchy area, because many of these folks have supported the church for years and years through thick and thin and if they feel like they are being ushered out and that can backfire. But, there is also the reality that people, regardless of age or other factors, need to be flexible and willing to do things different. There is a certain amount of patience and finesse that goes into blending these things. There is a high potential for issues relating to a division in the church- people try to present almost two different faces of church, the 'traditional' and 'contemporary'. If not done carefully, it creates problems. The meaning of 'division' is two visions. You can create problems relating to a 'competition' of sorts if the services are not integrated into a complimentary ministry under one leadership structure. It can easily turn into an 'us v. them' (the two visions) between the older and younger and blow up.

      That's not to say it can't be done, but it has to be carefully and deliberately set up as one comprehensive ministry program.

      Other thoughts-

      Check out some of the other discussions here for some more recruiting ideas- it's come up a few times lately.

      Prepare to staff accordingly- sound techs, child care, etc.

      Another thing to avoid is a 'me too' approach. It's ok to get ideas from others, but make sure it represents and reflects your church's 'personality' and not coming off as a copycat or phony, if that makes sense.

      Hope it works out for your situation, and let us know how it goes

      If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.


      • #4
        Our church has recently gone to a two service format; the first is fairly traditional (they have been singing choruses from the 80's and 90's for years,) the second is more contemporary. Currently, we use piano, organ, and acoustic guitar in both services. We are in no big hurry to get a band, but that will happen at the right time.

        There are good resources that have piano scores for contemporary songs, although the curve on this isn't really fast, because it takes much longer to write a piano score than guitar chords.

        Word Music has the more songs for Praise and Worship series with chords and piano scores, and there are others both printed and online that can do this. Lifeway and CCLI both offer music for guitar and piano, so it is not like you have no options.

        But one thing that is certain is that change, even in adding a new contemporary service, must happen slowly, carefully, and prayerfully.


        • #5
          Hi, All great advice from the guys above but in addition, just wanted to let you know about iSingWorship. It's a new app we have created for just this type of situation. It runs from the iphone and can provide you with a flexible backing track for worship when you have limited musicians. You can turn the guitar and vocals on and off if you want to play along. We've only just released it so we are still really looking for feedback and to see if it works for people. It's free to download from the app store so we'd love to know if it's helpful for your situation. www.isingworship.com if you want to find out more. It's not trying to replace live musicians, but for those times when they aren't available for any reason maybe it would be helpful.


          • #6
            My 2 cents is "always opt for quality". One quality dude and a guitar trumps a band of sub par musicians. Having said that, there are "virtual bands" out there - you just need to determine how "karaoke" you want to go. It's not bad, but it doesn't fit everywhere all the time. Maybe doing one song with a virtual band, and then going with what ever you have for the rest of the set. Here are some resources I've used:

            praisecharts.com - charts & backing tracks - there's some good stuff here