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Hi I'm Edward from NC

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  • Hi I'm Edward from NC

    I have been performing in worship bands since 1997 and now help with the worship band during service. My favorite instrument is the 5 string bass guitar, but, recently since I have not been in a traveling band have started playing the acoustic and singing lead.

    Since I am new to this site???? I have a question for the worship leaders. How do you transition a traditional church into a modern worship service to better reach the younger adults(who outnumber the +55 group). The current worship leader is still hesitant to move into the contemporary songs.

  • #2
    For us we have two services one classic and one contemporary. It works great for us. If that is not an option for you then I would recommend caution and a gradual change introducing a few contemporary songs as you go. However, the worship leader and Pastor have to be on board.


    • #3
      I have done this transitioning work in more churches than I care to remember! Here are a few thoughts from my experience, for what they're worth:

      First, I would never try to transition a church without taking the people along on the journey. If the church changes and they're not ready or committed to the change and its reasons, they'll leave. It's important to start a conversation in the church that allows people to express their views and fears (if any), and that also allows the leaders to express their reasons for wanting the change. If this can be done through questioning, rather than telling, this is even better.

      What I mean is this. In my current church, when we began the transition, we asked the people what they felt the biggest need in the church was. 93% said bringing in young people. When we asked them how they thought we could do this, 85% agreed that changing one of our services into a more contemporary style would help (and this was a congregation that was 90% oelderly folks). Then we used this to have the conversation about how to actually make this change happen. All in all, the conversation took about 6 months.

      Second, often the issue is not the actual songs that are used, but the instruments they are played on. Transitioning is a process. So I would begin by introducing some newer music, but leading this music with the traditional instrumentation (I assume that would be organ and choir). Then slowly add more contemporary instruments into the accompaniment. Piano usually works well as the first instument to add, because it still has a traditional "vibe" about it. Then I'd add acoustic guitars. Electric instruments can come down the line, but they can be the first major point of resistance for some people. I'd leave the drums to last, and ensure that when they are first used, they are played really softly and gently.

      Lastly, I would take a long view of the process. It isn't usualy a good idea to change things too quickly. Give people time to get used to the idea, train them in being open to change, create channels of communication so people can express how things are going for them, and if they have any concerns, and keep the vision that is the reason for the change right up front in people's minds. If this is done effectively, the process gains momentum until you can change things much more quickly with far less resistance.



      • #4

        Thanks, folks for the insight and help...it is GREATLY appreciated. Peace


        • #5
          As someone who has done this before I agree with John. Good stuff, John.

          I would add also that for some churches transitioning simply wont cut it. You have a situation where sometime the DNA and spiritual culture of the church are just in opposition to change no matter how gradual. In those situations, a decision has to be made by the leadership as to what direction to go.

          You many either have to walk away or shut that congregation down for a time and restart.


          • #6
            Thanks for this addition, Seacoastworship. It's important to acknowledge that in some situations change just cannot happen, no matter how carefully it is managed.
            Or perhaps I should say, positive change can't happen - because the truth is that even in situations where people are resistant to change, change is happening anyway - poeple joining, or leaving, pastors moving on, people growing older...


            • #7
              Edward, unless you did some type of restart, this could likely be a slow, gradual transition. I'd love to challenge you to come back here at least once per week (maybe after your Sunday services) and update us on the status and flow of how things are going.

              This thread could potentially become a GOLD MINE for the kazillions of other WL's out there who will be (or are already) in the same situation. You could journal the decisions, songs, setlists, reactions, etc., and we could all see how it goes ... and join with you in prayer and support.

              Just an idea!?
              Fred McKinnon, Pianist/Composer/Worship Leader
              blog: www.fredmckinnon.com

              Please check out my piano/instrumental music at: