There arrives with raising a family that one day where your child discovers a profound truth. My teenage son in passing mentioned how he loved Frank Sinatra. “What!” Then I queried with barely contained excitement. “How did you find out about one of the greatest singers in history?” My son then, with a typical teenage eye roll, “Youtube, of course.” In a moment my world was shattered, my mind was blown, and expectations destroyed. You see, how does a 21st Century teen discover amongst the noise of the web such greatness? How does one filter clips of kittens, video game memes, and feats of stupidity to find the gem of Frank Sinatra’s music? As my pastor reminds us, faith is caught–not taught. More precisely, you cannot tell your son who the greatest singer in the history of the planet is, he must find his way there. Truth rises to the top. Even when it comes to the church music of yesteryear. How much “new” church music can we truly handle? In a world where church music is built on moments, catching anything is looked at as a disease rather than a blessing. Anything in worship music before 2012 is officially forgotten! The idea of singing “Oceans”–written in the ancient year of 2013–is frowned upon. Even Brian Houston declares that the song that made the Hillsong brand many millions…
From time to time I indulge in sharing music that many of you might not hear about in the main industry. Indie worship projects are as good or better than anything produced by major labels. Here is an example of a recent release. I have to say I love the new album Songs in the Key of the Congregation by Rick Muchow, worship coach, songwriter, and former worship pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Rick’s music company is named appropriately “Encouraging Music”–a label easily attached to the years of encouragement dished out by Rick to worship leaders and congregations all over the hemisphere. Encouragement isn’t always the easy words one gives. Rick pulls us deeper with this project just as he does in his mentoring. Beyond all that Rick brings to the table, it is musically produced with excellence and the tones and sounds are as modern as anything out there. With the modern worship flavored hymns such as “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and “How Great Thou Art” as well as “Building My Life On Your Word (Solid Rock)” we find an appreciation with passing on to new generations timeless songs of our faith. These hymn arrangements are approachable but fresh. It is not hard to see my church using all of them this year. What is even better are the originals. “Do What…
A few years ago, a young adult very openly expressed his frustration with worship at church. “Rich, why is it that I feel closer to God at a Coldplay concert than I do at church?” This was a stunning admission, because it represented not just his experience but that of many and perhaps spoke to some doubts in my own mind. However, what came from this conversation changed how I viewed worship in church. Worship at church should either be made more like the secular music out there, if that is truly more spiritual. Or, there is something missing in the worship at church that needed to be changed. I tried the first, making relevancy a goal, but I think that hand has been overplayed. So, I am left with the second idea. What is missing?
I get asked a lot about keyboards in modern worship, as I have played in worship teams as well as been a worship leader for many years. So, I thought I’d give away some practices that have allowed me to succeed in that role. Whether you use a traditional keyboard like a Nord, Korg, or Yamaha or a soft synth from your laptop or iPad, these tips should apply. By the way, I have written a couple other posts specifically on the differences of using these: Modern Worship Keyboards: Laptop vs. Traditional Synth or Modern Worship Keyboards: My setup for loops, clicks, and keys with MainStage.
There are so many choices these days when addressing your keyboard needs for modern worship. Shell out say $3,000 for a synth by Nord, Yamaha, or Roland. Or, use your laptop and a controller like Axiom Pro or Studio Logic. I get a lot of questions about this topic, so I thought I would give you my thinking in hopes it aids in deciding for you the best option.
When an acoustic guitarist can spend $3,000 simply on a nice professional Taylor or Martin to lead worship with, the range in price is such that $500 might sound terrible while $5,000 terrific when you talk about wood, manufacturing, and the pickup electronics. I am here to say that you might feel less cool using a controller, but the geeky-ness of a laptop/iPad setup means for about $1,500 you can sound as good as a $3,300 workstation. If you already own a laptop, it might be less than that!