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Old March 8th, 2012, 02:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Give me your best congregational involvement songs

Lately we’ve gotten some comments from the congregation and our priest that our music is hard to follow and doesn’t encourage singing from the congregation. They are correct in their observation.

Give me a list of your most well-received songs—you know, the ones that everyone sings along to. I think we should simplify our song list (currently over 100 songs and growing). I think if we played the songs more than once or twice a year, people would become more familiar with them. We currently do 5-7 different songs each week. I think if we repeated some of them from week to week, people would also become more familiar and more likely sing along.

Songs that I can think of off the top of my head:

Mighty to Save--Hillsong
How Great is Our God--Tomlin
God of Wonders—Third Day
Holy is the Lord--Tomlin

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Old March 8th, 2012, 03:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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We have been getting a lot of congregational involvement with high energy songs. Here are a couple we get the people singing...

Go - Hillsong
All My Fountains - Tomlin
Beautiful Things - Gungor
Great I Am - New Life Worship
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Old March 8th, 2012, 07:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Jesus, Friend of Sinners. Where the congregation provides a series of three claps. But your church has to know the song to know that there are expected to clap here.

While the song needs to be familiar it is not really the song but the energy and commitment by the worship leader/frontman and back up singers
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Old March 8th, 2012, 10:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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We have been getting a lot of congregational involvement with high energy songs.
Ditto. when I was in a worship band slow songs were met with statements like: "Its good thing we serve coffee," "why are there so many slow songs?" That fast one really had me going, I was really feeling that fast one!"

Personally on my contemp. christian pandora station I thumbs down most of the slow ones. Not all, but most.

I think a lot of it depends on age and influence. 20 and 30 somethings want it upbeat and older folks tend to feel like slower is more expressive. In my experience, 50 year old worship leader = un-engaged 20 somethings. and vice versa, 20yo worship leader = un-engaged older folks who can't worship with a young whippersnapper on stage.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 10:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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to answer the OP,

Newsboys - I Am Free,
Stellar Kart - Me and Jesus,
Hillsong - One Way,
Fee - Rise and Sing,
Tomlin - You Lifted Me Out,
Tree63 - Joy,

to name a few.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 10:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Lately we’ve gotten some comments from the congregation and our priest that our music is hard to follow and doesn’t encourage singing from the congregation. They are correct in their observation.

Give me a list of your most well-received songs—you know, the ones that everyone sings along to. I think we should simplify our song list (currently over 100 songs and growing). I think if we played the songs more than once or twice a year, people would become more familiar with them. We currently do 5-7 different songs each week. I think if we repeated some of them from week to week, people would also become more familiar and more likely sing along.
Repeating can be effective and/or dangerous. Yes, its good to have a static list, meaning every week one or two from of a certain list is always in the mix, but rolling a song from week to week becomes numbing. (Ex. A few years ago there was a WL who used Newsboys Blessed Be Your Name 5 times in 7 Sundays. It wasn't even a new song to the congregation.) Definitely most songs should be used more than a couple times a year, but even a couple times a month can be a drag.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 11:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Lately we’ve gotten some comments from the congregation and our priest that our music is hard to follow and doesn’t encourage singing from the congregation. They are correct in their observation.
Sorry for 3 posts in an hour! I just had this thought: how much instrumental and/or vocal activity is going on?? Is it hard to follow because the melody is getting buried by guitars and/or keys and/or horns and/or strings and/or vocal harmony? Or are the songs just too complicated and/or not catchy enough? Rule #1 - musicians hate space and will overplay every change they get. good singers hate bland and will harmonize everything they can.
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Old March 9th, 2012, 01:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Mighty to Save and The Stand....both are very popular w our congregation, and they actually *really* sing these!
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Old March 9th, 2012, 05:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I totally understand - we've cut down from doing nearly 150 songs in a year to working from a setlist of 20 songs (now grown slightly to 22). That seems to be enough to have familiarity without boredom. We chose songs that work well already with the congregation and then carefully choose new songs that have both strong melody and lyrics - when a new song comes in, an old one that's starting to get tired goes out. The exact songs would vary from one church to another, but these are our current songs:

Agnus Dei
Arms Open Wide
Beautiful Exchange
Everlasting God
Evermore
Forever Reign
From The Inside Out
Holding Nothing Back
Hosanna
In Your Freedom
Mighty To Save
My Future Decided
One Thing Remains
Our God
Run
Saviour Of The World
Take Heart
The Lord Is My Rock
The Stand
The Time Has Come
This Is Our God
With All I Am
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Old March 9th, 2012, 06:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I totally understand - we've cut down from doing nearly 150 songs in a year to working from a setlist of 20 songs (now grown slightly to 22). That seems to be enough to have familiarity without boredom.
interesting. How many songs per service? at 5-7 per week, you're looking at 18-19 of the same songs every month, with the new one or two replacing the other two. Not bashing, but that seems dreadfully uninspiring.

5*52=260 song slots per year; 260/20=13 times per year some songs may be used. I don't know that could serve in a worship team with that much repetition. FWIW, I also couldn't stand a pastor who said to do a new song every week because the Bible says to sing a new song and after the first week its not new any more.
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Old March 9th, 2012, 07:07 AM   #11 (permalink)
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tonight for the 'younger' guys were playing "Awaken me" by Jesus Culture it really gets people jumping.

i love the fast ones but slow ones have their place too. i especially like "like incense" by hillsong for a slow one
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Old March 9th, 2012, 08:12 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Just a query, how many of you are using hymnals? Our local church is a bit old school, every seat on the pews has a hymnal in front of it, and we pull three tunes from it. Occasionally (maybe once every two months) something else gets a gig.

I can't read music, so out of the 500 or so hymns, I'd say I have chord sheets for maybe 70?
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Old March 9th, 2012, 10:07 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Just a query, how many of you are using hymnals? Our local church is a bit old school, every seat on the pews has a hymnal in front of it, and we pull three tunes from it. Occasionally (maybe once every two months) something else gets a gig.

I can't read music, so out of the 500 or so hymns, I'd say I have chord sheets for maybe 70?
Check Cokesbury and other sources. Depending on your hymnal, there may be various accompanyist versions. I carry a couple of hymnals on my tablet - alas, NOT the current Methodist hymnal. We do have orchestral accompanyment for the Methodist hymnal. BTW, if you want to hear hymns, check out cyberhymnal.org.

Now back to the thread - favorite participation songs?

Undignified
Happy Song
Say So
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Old March 9th, 2012, 12:09 PM   #14 (permalink)
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interesting. How many songs per service? at 5-7 per week, you're looking at 18-19 of the same songs every month, with the new one or two replacing the other two. Not bashing, but that seems dreadfully uninspiring.

5*52=260 song slots per year; 260/20=13 times per year some songs may be used. I don't know that could serve in a worship team with that much repetition. FWIW, I also couldn't stand a pastor who said to do a new song every week because the Bible says to sing a new song and after the first week its not new any more.
More like 4-5 per week. And if we take special services (e.g. Easter and Christmas, where we'll mix in some different songs) and guest bands into the equation, then the numbers change. But lets say we do a song 13 times in a year. That works out to once every 4 weeks. I can certainly stand to play a song every 4 weeks. Add in variations in the band and singers, maybe a different key, playing with some different effects or changing a riff or solo, and that's plenty variety for me! It's very helpful in bringing new people into the team as well, as they're not having to go from zero knowledge to 150 potential songs.

Another factor to add into the maths is the congregational aatendance angle. They might sing a song once a month (which I think most would are fine with) but that assumes that everyone turns up every week!

But to each their own. I'll say that what we were doing before didn't work at our church, and what we're doing now does in terms of congregational involvement.

(I'm saying this as the guy who would always try and do a new song when I led worship, preferably alongside any other new songs that had been done recently. My smugness and musical self-satisfaction at doing the latest songs blinded me to the fact that hardly anyone was singing... )
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Old March 9th, 2012, 01:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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More like 4-5 per week. And if we take special services (e.g. Easter and Christmas, where we'll mix in some different songs) and guest bands into the equation, then the numbers change. But lets say we do a song 13 times in a year. That works out to once every 4 weeks.
My church never had guest bands. I was up there EVERY Sunday, minus 3, for 4 years and 7 months, I never considered guests a factor.

I guess a song once every 4 weeks isn't so bad...

if you roll a new song into a list that you try to hold around 20, and you introduce 2 new ones a month, that means from beginning to end of the year the list is entirely different. So the actual repertoire or catalog for a year is really 40-50 songs plus advent and Easter special music? I could deal with that better than the same songs to the same congregation every month for a year or more. (It would be like being on tour with Hillsong but the audience is the same every week. Like I said earlier, that much repetition would be numbing.) As far as attendance, it held fairly steady, with very few guests. Again, not much music variation + not much congregational variation = numb.

another question: do you have to choose songs that lyrically fit the message, or do you do general P&W and the chips fall where they may? Such a limiting catalog would make the former rather difficult.
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Old March 9th, 2012, 01:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Don't laugh, Father Abraham, Deep and Wide, If you are happy and you know it, The wise man built his house upon the rock, etc. All the classics.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 12:52 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Our WL just implimented a new rule for us musicians who aren't singing with a mic......


"If we're not playin', we're singin"


I started doing it during rehersal on Wednesday. I felt more involved myself.


If the band isn't having fun, smiling and singing (and moving around a bit)......into it.....then nobody else will be either. We're really trying to get the congregation involved. I could become dangerous.....I tend to get into the "get people involved" and I run completely wireless, so I can roam anywhere I want while still playing.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 05:55 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Our WL just implimented a new rule for us musicians who aren't singing with a mic......


"If we're not playin', we're singin"


I started doing it during rehersal on Wednesday. I felt more involved myself.


If the band isn't having fun, smiling and singing (and moving around a bit)......into it.....then nobody else will be either. We're really trying to get the congregation involved. I could become dangerous.....I tend to get into the "get people involved" and I run completely wireless, so I can roam anywhere I want while still playing.
We definitely encourage this. Rightly or wrongly, the congregation watch what you're doing and take note. If they see musicians without mics singing and praising, they start to think you believe in what you're doing rather than just playing a gig. I'll always sing as much as I can when I don't have a mic (i.e. when playing lead or bass). This Sunday will be a whole new experience in freedom though - wireless mic, wireless IEM pack, no guitar. Literally no strings attached!
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Old March 12th, 2012, 12:47 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Our WL just implimented a new rule for us musicians who aren't singing with a mic......

"If we're not playin', we're singin" .
Sometimes, I even lift my open hands. Pretty heady stuff for a Methodist...
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Old March 12th, 2012, 01:59 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Just get them clapping. Or raising their arms.

Get them to do SOMETHING with their hands. Humans use their hands to control other things- let the music control their hands. That's pretty much it. After they get into it, the real connections with the worship start happening.
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