All we local church worship leaders feel the sinking feeling in our gut when we see another church doing something cooler, hipper, better, more modern.
How can we make our worship experience more “up-to-date?”
What do we need to change?”
How can we do what we’re doing better?”
I hear this question a lot – “How can we modernize our worship?”
And I believe that’s the wrong question.
“Modernize” can be a dangerous word. When you “modernize” something you make it current, new, follow the trend. But that actually may be the opposite of what you really want, especially if your efforts at modernizing alienate the people you serve.
Modern doesn’t always equal better.
I’ve noticed this at my church over the last year. As we’ve added more production elements and pushed the boundaries of our sound, not everyone has been on board. It’s an interesting test. We could do the same song in two different ways – one garners a lot of congregation engagement and the other produces blank stares.
Your goal as a worship leader isn’t to be creative to the exclusion of engagement. Participation will always win the day. Always.
A better question is, “How can we make our worship fresh?”
5 Ways to Keep Your Worship Fresh
“Modern” feels like we’re trying to keep up with the times, comparing ourselves to what is happening around us.
“Fresh” says, “What do our people need? What will help engage them in worship on a deeper level? What will help them see their place in the story of God a little clearer?
Here are 5 ways to make your worship services fresh:
1. Create a Rhythm of New Songs – When it comes to new songs, pick the ones that appear to have the most upward, declarative, engaging qualities. Not too wordy, yet substantial theology. Catchy, but not shallow. And with that, create a strategic rhythm, agreed upon with your lead pastor. Too many new songs and your church won’t have the time to engage. Not enough and services can start to feel predictable, quickly.
2. Introduce a New Style – If your church is used to the same sound, week in and week out, it helps to try something new. Frame the Gospel story in a new way. If you’re used to a big guitar sound, try something piano based and ambient. If you’re used to acoustic worship, try using a more elaborate loop. Sometimes adding a single new instrument can make a huge difference.
3. Be More Patient – I don’t mean you need to do 20 minute songs and worship for over an hour. Most worship leaders seem rushed. And this has nothing to do with leaders limiting the worship time to 10 or 15 minutes. No matter how much time you’re allotted to lead, you can lead with presence and patience. Being present and not rushing through your songs allows people space to connect with God.
4. Simplify – My favorite moments of corporate worship are when you can hear people singing. Not when the band is killing it. There’s something about the raised sound of praise that is so moving. In my opinion, it’s probably the greatest sound in all the world. Whenever you lead, don’t just rock out – create space for people to sing and lead them in lifting up their voice.
5. Dig Deep Into Tradition – Freshness can come in unique forms. Some times it’s not “new” techniques but “old” traditions that make your worship more real and fresh. The best worship times, for me, aren’t when it feels “new” but when ancient realities come alive in new ways.
- Rather than doing a new song, revive an old one.
- Rather than introducing a new loop, try an ancient responsive reading.
- Rather than a louder song, try a Scripture spoken word.
How do you keep your worship fresh for your church?
When you’re in a rut, how do you get out of it? Let us know in the comments. You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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