God wants you to be a Worshiper/Leader

I Chronicles 16:29

Central Theme:  God wants you to be a worshiper/leader.

Introduction–Leadership is important.  I like studying leaders.  (Show a book or magazine that talks about leaders.)  A good definition of a leader is that a person that other people follow.  You cannot lead someone to do something that you are not doing yourself.  I believe that God wants each of us to be worshiper leaders.  That means that you must first worship to be a leader in worship.

       I.     Have a member Read I Chronicles 16:29.

              A. Tell the story of David and God’s holy box coming back into Jerusalem.

              B. David led the people with singing and dancing.

              C. David was a worship leader because he led the people in worship.

           II.     Worship must come from the heart as it did with David

              A. A part of worship for you may be raising your hands, clapping, singing and listening to the sermon.

              B. But that is not the most important part of worship.

              D. Worship is reaching out to God in love, praise and adoration.

              C. Worship is extending yourself to the Lord wanting him to notice you and wanting him to know you love him.

     III.     David was a worship leader.

              A. People followed him in worship, like people follow some of you.

              B. God wants you to lead in worship by being an example

              C. At The Special Gathering every rule apply to everyone, members, teachers, deacons and elders.  We are to lead by example.

Conclusion–God wants your worship and he will help you to worship him and to lead others into worship.

Over the year in various entries, I’ve recommended music that we use in our praise and worship at Special Gathering, which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  While many of SpG in Melbourne and Vero members have a home church they attended and still attend with their parents, their array of musical knowledge is pretty limited.  Basically, they know what I’ve taught them.  There are a couple of people who listen to Christian radio.  Their knowledge is broader and leans toward the contemporary side.

Because I play the piano badly and no other musical instruments, I’m restricted to using the orchastrations that are prerecorded.  The problem I find with almost all of the music that is being recorded today, especially the music that is “contemporary” is that songwriter have taken the admonishion of their critiques and they are now writing teaching songs.  These songs are long and quite complicated.  While I applaud them for taking every effort to teach the truths of the gospel, I find that they are too complicated for our members to understand.  In addition, if a song goes over four minutes, it loses most of our members.  

 This week I received four more recommendations for possible additions to our musical repotiore:

  1. How we Thank You found at www.consumingworship.com.  Use coupon code ADUK.  It is a two disk set with 20 songs.  The company boasts:  “The digital songbook + trax contains reporducible lead sheets, chord charts, group vocals, lyric text files as well as split-channed accompaniment CD for practice of performance.”  The cost is $79.99 (plus shipping and handling).
  2. http://wholeheartedworship.com/cwk/index.html

 Special Features

  • Great singable songs from Integrity, Maranatha, Vineyard, Scripture in Song, etc.
  • Singable keys for ordinary folks.
  • Available in standard stereo mix for listening enjoyment as well as accompanying small group worship; or in split tracks mix (voices & instruments separated on right & left channels) for performance and accompanying worship in larger settings.
  • “Mix and Match” capability for changing the recorded order of songs or the length of the worship time.
  • Each Volume has four complete “mini worship services” (each about 18 minutes long) with a mix of faster songs and slower songs that perfectly fit into a youth group, new church or outreach ministry format.
  • High quality production with skillful and anointed musicians, including Randy Rothwell, Marty Nystom, Bob Fitts, Lynn DeShazo, Lenny LeBlanc, Joey Holder, and Jamie Harvill.
  • WordSheets booklets available. These are words-only handouts which come in packets of 15.

        3.  Praise and Worship for Small Groups to which the link above takes you.

         4.  Worship Digest (which is more current songs)

In reality, we haven’t reviewed any of these albums but they have been ordered and I’ll give you a review when I have it.  I went ahead and posted this because praise and worship that is good for our members seems as scarse as a 30 foot tape measure.

What do you do with praise and worship?  Are you able to use the current music or do you find it too complicated?  What seems to be a good lenght for songs to be for your members before they stop singing?

Introducing new music to your program is always a challenge.  And it doesn’t matter if your members are musically advanced or developmentally delayed.  At the Special Gathering of Indian River, which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community, we do classic ministry–discipleship and evangelism. 

We call your worship times–chapel because we desire to be subordinate to the local church.  The definition of a chapel is a time of  worship that is somewhat less than a worship service.  However, we do many of the same things that you would do in a worship service.  Praise and worship are an important part of what we do.  

While all of our members enjoy some form of music, many of them have not been taught or encouraged to sing for most of their lives.  Therefore, teaching new music can be an especially difficult concern.  After several decades of trial and error, this is the method that I find works best for me.

From the beginning, I teach new music to the choir.  These are my best singers and they are the people who are most enthusiastic about singing during worship time.  I try to encourage my choir members to understand that they are part of the worship leadership and they will lead others into worship by their example. 

Occasionally, I find a member who comes into choir because he or she feels it will be great to be able to go to other churches and sing.  The choir sings special selections during our worship time.  Being up front appeals to them.  They learn quickly, however, that choir is hard work and I expect them to put forth the effort that getting up front requires.  In this way, they either become enthused or they leave the choir.

Second, about a year ago, I began using the new music as a before-worship funtime.  I will often sing along with the members in a silly kind of way.  Or I’ll let people come up front and show off.  In general, it’s a relaxed, happy time of learning.  I’ve found that this helps me to connect with our members.  It gives me about 15 minutes of playful time with them before worship begins. 

In this way, I also find out what songs the members like.  I can also figure out which songs may be too difficult.  “Big House” is a great, fun song that our members love.  However, it is too hard for them to sing.  I still throw it into the mix about every six months because they love it.  Yet–and this is an interesting observation–as much as they enjoy “Big House” during the “fun-time,” many of them show frustration on their faces during the praise and worship time.  Perhaps the reason is because they understand the seriousness of praising God and they want to be able to participate during the worship time.

What about you?  What are the ways you have found that make learning new music fun and exciting for your members?   

Over the past few weeks, I’ve observed that several people have reached The Special Gathering blog after googling “music for mentally challenged people.”  Therefore, I decided to do a couple of entries about music. 

Over the past 20 years working within the mentally challenged community through the ministry Special Gathering, I’ve found that our members’ taste in music is varied and complex.  However, there are some songs that seem to hit their praise and worship buttons. 

First, let me explain.  I’ve had years of formal and informal musical training.  But I also have the worst eye-hand coordination known to mankind.  Therefore, I don’t play any instruments.  I don’t play them even badly.  That means, that I have to depend on someone else to play the piano or guitar. 

When we lost our piano player about 15 years ago, our executive director suggested that I begin to use CD’s with musical accompaniment.  He even bought me a CD.  (He had heard me play the piano.)  I wasn’t happy about the CD’s that I found.  They seems too simplistic and terribly outdated.

There is a pattern to the songs that I find works well with our members.  Reviewing quickly, the selections are singable songs with simple but very melodic  melodies.  (I remember the first time I heard “The Sound of Music.”  I know that song was my immediate reaction. Of course, I didn’t know that song but I could sing it anyway.  That’s what I mean by melodic melodies.) Second, these are songs with words that have lots of repeating phrases. 

The CD’s that I’ve depended on for years are  All the Best Songs for Youth (split-channel).  It is published by Lillenas and the product number is LILLENAS DC-9214S.  It is a four CD set with 98 songs.  Almost all of the arrangements are excellent.  Some of them (“Pharaoh, Pharaoh”) are too silly for our members and somewhat childish.  However, when you want to have fun, they fit in perfectly.  Most of my members only know the songs that I teach them. Consequently, they are happy with the oldie goldies because these ancient favorites are new to them.

I’ve purchases perhaps 50 other CD’s but I keep returning to All the Best.. when I’m frustrated because nothing else seems to fit.  If you’ve looking for something new and you don’t have this set of CD’s in your collection, it’s a must have. 

What is a CD that seems to minister to your members?  Maybe you don’t use CD’s.  What musical instrument do you think works best for them?