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Worship Uniting Young And Old?

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  • Worship Uniting Young And Old?

    Hello!

    Are there any worship leaders here who have had extensive experience playing for an environment that is both young AND old? Usually one would find all the youth/young-adults congregating together, and all the elderly congregating together, and never would the 'twain meet. I am curious if there are any outliers here, and what a worship leader does when playing songs for two very different generations.

    Anybody? Any response is welcome!
    Nick Alexander
    Host, The Prayer Meeting Podcast
    Worship that is Contemporary, Traditional, Charismatic, Contemplative, Spontaneous, based on the Church calendar, play it whenever you want.
    Find out what Nick Alexander can do for your conference, retreat or workshop.

  • #2
    Well, I've experienced it a lot and in a couple different environments.

    Currently my church is pretty well mixed. Our team has 3 generations, from late 50s and over 60 all the way down to junior high.

    In the church, we have a fairly diverse congregation- multiracial and multi-generational as well as mixed social class. We have business owners to blue collar to corporate career to just out of jail last week. We have MBAs to ex potheads. Even ex potheads that turned their lives around and now have MBAs. We almost have more kids than adults. It really is a melting pot of people who are after Christ. And, all things being equal, we have relatively low drama. This includes 'young' music versus 'old' music.

    We do it really by a mix of culture/tone that is set by the pastor (culture focused on growing disciples that represent Christ, not growing a religious country club), authenticity (WSYIWYG), and maintaining a consistent message.

    The church as a whole maintains a culture centered around not getting caught up in petty things, especially relating to appeasing people. The authentic part is we are who we are. This is our style. We do what we do with excellence, how we are led to do it. The message for music is that we will stay relevant to our time while avoiding shticks and gimmicks focused on trying to appeal to one group over another.
    If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

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    • #3
      Our church is really well mixed. Lots of young families, and just as many who could be the grandparents, and several great-grandparents. We don't worry much about playing songs that might please the older crowd...we've discovered, the older generation who are in love with Jesus want to be involved in a church where their kids and grandkids can be in love with Jesus...some might admit the music isn't their favorite, but most would tell you they have grown to appreciate and enjoy it.

      Nate

      Nate
      Practical Worship

      Please Pray For My Wife

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      • #4
        Originally posted by milepost13 View Post
        Our church is really well mixed. Lots of young families, and just as many who could be the grandparents, and several great-grandparents. We don't worry much about playing songs that might please the older crowd...we've discovered, the older generation who are in love with Jesus want to be involved in a church where their kids and grandkids can be in love with Jesus...some might admit the music isn't their favorite, but most would tell you they have grown to appreciate and enjoy it.

        Nate

        Nate
        I love this Thread I do not have any word of wit just enjoying the responses please keep it going I need all the help I can get and I will be praying for your wife Nate . Thanks everyone have a great day. Phil

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        • #5
          Hi. OP here.

          Perhaps some clarity is in order. Ready for a history lesson? Got it.

          I have been heavily involved in something called the "charismatic renewal." This began in the 60s when both those in mainline denominations and some in the Catholic church began to embrace more free worship forms like that of those in Pentecostal circles, and integrating such into their own churches.

          It started among college students and quickly spread, reaching its nexus in the mid-70s, and then began a slow decline afterwards. There are many factors that go into this, and this is all tangential to my subject.

          When I started becoming involved in this, I was in my early 20s, and it was the 90s. Except for a few pockets here or there (one of which was at my college), the charismatic prayer groups had become overrun with... no way to delicately say this... those of another generation altogether. Again, I have my own theories as to how this came about, and I am not interested in going into detail here.

          I still support the charismatic renewal, and there are signs that it's not going away soon, despite the paltry appearances in the U.S. Pope Francis, and a large segment of Argentinian/South American Catholics, is but one example. Nonetheless, what we have here is a whopping over-percentage of participants who are of a certain age, who have been a part of this movement since the beginning, and are quite entrenched in the ways things are supposed to be.

          I wasn't there, but I heard stories about one of the last national conferences where the leadership was able to bring in musicians who could help... only these musicians were unfamiliar with the songs that had defined the charismatic renewal in the U.S. (in fact, each passing year these songs have drifted off the Top 2000 list). Their repertoire was almost entirely new to the group, which never heard "Came to My Rescue" and "The Stand" before.

          I am wondering if I can create a resource that could be of help for musicians in such groups; and this was one issue that, at root, is deeper than the remedy of a WOW WORSHIP 2013 disc and a single afternoon can bring. The issue is that a lot of these groups have become so separated from the generations that have come after them, that it is almost an impossible barrier to cross.

          I would like to be positive and help find a solution that can bring about renewal in some of these groups--if, in fact, God desires such--and I believe to do so would require some tactful approaches that would cross generations. Youth can be as fickle as the retirees that desire outreach, but they have no understanding of each other.
          Nick Alexander
          Host, The Prayer Meeting Podcast
          Worship that is Contemporary, Traditional, Charismatic, Contemplative, Spontaneous, based on the Church calendar, play it whenever you want.
          Find out what Nick Alexander can do for your conference, retreat or workshop.

          Comment


          • #6
            We have a very wide spread of demographics in our church. I think one of the reasons we don't have any pressure from any age group for a different selection of songs to suit them is because we really don't "cater" to anyone with our selection of material. It may be easier to understand if I give you a bit of a background.

            We have a fairly unconventional church. It's primarily a biker church, although a significant number of our congregants don't ride bikes. The church is a result of a vision our Pastor had for many years. Because he developed this idea over many years of prayerful consideration, he pretty much knew all of the elements he wanted in the service. Naturally his vision has expanded over the years, it's mainly stayed true to the key elements he'd imagined.

            One of those elements was a signature band as a worship team. As an amateur musician and songwriter himself he invented the concept of "The Posse Band" based on the idea of a posse being sent out into the world to retrieve the lost. I believe the Lord himself had a lot to do with bringing together the people within the band that represent a cross-section of people and ages. Our drummer is 24 and an ex gang-banger. Our 68 year old male singer is a convicted murderer who spent 38 years in prison. Our middle aged pastor who is a retired cop. Our two middle aged female singers who came from a fairly traditional church setting. The Bass player and myself are in our early 60's with both of us not coming to the Lord until our mid 50's.

            It is this band of "misfits" that define the music based on where we felt led and what we think will be inspiring to the congregants. And believe me when I say the selection of music is as eclectic a selection as is the membership of the band. But it works. No single demographic group is catered to because NO ONE is catered to. The music ranges from old gospel hymns and southern spirituals, to the early "Jesus Movement" works of people like Darryl Mansfield, Larry Norman, and Keith Green, to more conventional material from Casting Crowns, Kutless, Chris Tomlin, and Kathy Troccoli, as well as a number of original songs written by our Pastor. All of this is done in our "style" which is fairly high energy and passion-filled. Our congregants love the band. But more importantly so do many other audiences, both secular and non-secular crowds. We are often invited to play at outside events..both Christian events and secular.

            The reason I bring this up is, after a number of months on this forum, I see a lot of similar discussions regarding the music. It appears to me that many worship teams "chase their audience" rather than letting the Lord lead them in defining who and what the worship team is and what they do. One of the reasons we are so often asked to appear at other churches on special occasions is because we ARE unique, and their membership appreciates and are invigorated by the difference in our approach to praising the Lord through our music.

            Over the years there have been very few changes in personnel to the Posse Band. Of the seven people in the group, 5 are original members from 8 years ago. That's because we are a family serving the Lord with our talents and letting him lead us in our efforts. Although I might be considered the "Worship Leader" I'm really nothing more than the project manager who makes sure all elements are coordinated and are in place so the group can focus on doing their best work Sunday after Sunday, or at outside events.

            I'm not saying that this is for everyone. But I do think there are things here that can help overcome some of the worries and impediments many worship teams seem to have. I think there is a difference between being sensitive to the needs of the congregation as a whole, and "catering" to specific groups within that congregation.
            Last edited by DunedinDragon; 03-26-2014, 06:32 AM.
            The Posse Band live performance tracks can be heard by CLICKING HERE

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            • #7
              I am wondering if I can create a resource that could be of help for musicians in such groups; and this was one issue that, at root, is deeper than the remedy of a WOW WORSHIP 2013 disc and a single afternoon can bring. The issue is that a lot of these groups have become so separated from the generations that have come after them, that it is almost an impossible barrier to cross.
              Not to over-generalize, but I think they come by it honestly. Thinking about the '60s and '70s, it was a time of very high geopolitical instability. Picture a generation coming of age in the middle of that. There was pandemonium on every front. They had to get tough and be tough quick. They had to band together and find their own voice.

              I personally think it would be helpful to develop a resource for the younger generation to understand it and how the music tied into it. It has to be more than the statistical lists and charts. It's playing those songs with the same kind of feeling and sentiment of the culture they represent. It would have to be a holistic approach from the perspective of what was going on in the world and what these songs really represent. Granted it's not 1972 anymore, but the music represents a time in their life where they were coming of age and in the high uncertainty and instability of the times, it was an anthem for them. The newer generation(s) don't really understand why, but part of that is painting the cultural and historical backdrop and 'placing yourself there'. That's something I don't see much of with people from worship leader school.
              If we want to go places we haven't been, we will have to do things we haven't done.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mike on Bass View Post
                Not to over-generalize, but I think they come by it honestly. Thinking about the '60s and '70s, it was a time of very high geopolitical instability. Picture a generation coming of age in the middle of that. There was pandemonium on every front. They had to get tough and be tough quick. They had to band together and find their own voice.
                I absolutely agree with you on this Mike, but I would also add that a lot of that passion and energy came from a generation that was "searching". And in the midst of all that searching they came across something that had been right under their noses all the time, and the "Jesus Movement" was born. They were empassioned by this new "discovery" and sought to exclaim it in THEIR music and THEIR way. This is one reason I personally believe that "message songs" can be far more effective at reaching across generations than can traditional "worship songs". If you think about it, the key to the appeal of the music in the 70's was more message based. Artists like Larry Norman, Darryl Mansfield, and Randy Stonehill painted stories (many of them personal testimonials or observations of life) with their music that contained some startling messages in many cases. Maybe that's one part of the answer.
                Last edited by DunedinDragon; 03-26-2014, 02:50 PM.
                The Posse Band live performance tracks can be heard by CLICKING HERE

                Comment


                • #9
                  I love Larry Norman and Randy Stonehill's songs too (and Daniel Amos, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Michael Omartian, and the Electric Prunes), but I think there is a considerable difference between "Sippin' whiskey from a paper cup..." and the Maranatha songs ("Seek Ye First","Lord, Be Glorified", "Our God Reigns") and Gaither/George-Beverly-Shea songs that I was alluding to.

                  The generation I referred to is actually an older generation (greatest and silent) than that of boomers movement. Granted, not too many greatest gen's left, but they were more in abundance when my story started, and still speak to my concerns.
                  Last edited by NickAlexander; 03-26-2014, 03:06 PM. Reason: added Gaither/George Bev Shea
                  Nick Alexander
                  Host, The Prayer Meeting Podcast
                  Worship that is Contemporary, Traditional, Charismatic, Contemplative, Spontaneous, based on the Church calendar, play it whenever you want.
                  Find out what Nick Alexander can do for your conference, retreat or workshop.

                  Comment

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