Worship Pastor / Composer Travis L. Boyd and his wife, Cynthia, provide inspiration and resources for the worship community and all believers through sharing the blessings of worship, faith, family, ministry, music, love, & life. We also share information about Worship Sounds Music, which can be found on our Worship Sounds website at worshipsounds.com ~ Downloadable Choral Anthems * Solos * Orchestrations * Worship Songs * Accompaniment Trax

Posts tagged ‘worship God’

Worship Ministry Team Top 12 Tasks

An Essential “To Do” List

For All Worship Team Members

 

What is needed for effective ministry from each member of the Worship Ministry Team?

Whether you serve in a Worship Band or Rhythm Section, Praise Team, Choir, Orchestra, or as an Accompanist, the essentials are the same:

Those who seek the LordIn order to glorify the Lord, lead God’s people in worship, and allow the Lord to use your gifts to speak to the hearts of others through His Spirit, you need to apply prayer, passion, preparation, flexibility, clarity, commitment, faithfulness, and authenticity!

Here are 12 ways to become most effective

as a member of a worship ministry team.

1. Pray for your Worship Pastor and for all of your ministerial staff. Pray for their families. Pray for the congregation at your church (church family) to worship the Lord and serve Him with all of their hearts. Pray for your own testimony and spiritual walk. Pray for other worship ministry team members and for the worship ministry as a whole. Pray through the order of worship, and pray during the worship service.  Be real (authentic) with the other members of your worship ministry team.  If you are struggling in some area, ask for prayer.

God is Faithful sunrise photo2. Be faithful in attendance at rehearsals and in every congregational worship service. Unless your are too sick to go or out of town, be there. We all understand that seasons of life occur, such as when you are caring for a loved one who is ill. However, if there’s nothing keeping you from being there, please be faithful!

Your passion for the Lord and for serving Him through worship ministry is the thing that makes you a worship team member. Others sit in the congregation every week who could be an asset in worship ministry, and yet the lack of passion for serving in this way prevents them from making that commitment to the calling. If your passion has begun to wane, ask the Lord to revive it within you so that you may contribute week by week, worshipping with passion in spirit and in truth.

KEY TRUTH ABOUT  FAITHFULNESS:

Your presence,

more than anything other than your prayers,

allows your worship ministry to effectively reach up to glorify the Lord

and reach out to encourage and inspire others.

Especially for Chor and Orchestra members:
Be aware that many churches are eliminating choirs and orchestras.  If you want your church to still have these groups as a regular part of worship ministry leadership a year from now, 5 years from now… 10 years from now, make it your priority to be there!

If you say that you love singing in the choir or playing in the orchestra, love having these groups as a contributing part of worship ministry, and love the sound and the impact they can make, you need to be one who will be there faithfully. When the choir and/or orchestra suffers from low attendance week after week, the level of excellence suffers. The director has difficulty choosing what to sing or play, not knowing who may be there. The overall sound is less than it could be without you and others there. After weeks and weeks of low attendance and less than stellar sound due to the low numbers, how much support can we expect from church members and leaders for the continuation of choir and orchestra ? In other words, if you want to have a choir and orchestra , you MUST be committed to it.

give God the glory3. Be spiritually prepared. Do all that you can do to walk closely with the Lord. Abide in Him. Spend time in private worship. Learn all that you can about Him and about what true worship really is. Listen to worship music often. Love the Lord and find joy in His presence.

4. Be musically prepared. Attend every rehearsal that it is possible for you to attend, and be on time if at all possible.  It is great to have everyone in place with music ready and instruments and voices warmed up if possible (sing with the radio on the way there!).  If that is not possible due to your work schedule or some other factor, please do the very best you can to arrive ASAP.   

* Even if the choir or orchestra is going to be sharing music that you know well, your presence and participation can help others to learn the music. Having the full group present helps with things like balance, interpretation, and choral tone, as well as with division of parts, marking any changes in the music, and unifying vowel structure.

* If your director sends out an e-mail with links to the music you will be singing, spend 15 minutes listening to the demos a couple of times during the week.

Sing praises with understanding*  With new technology have come new tools for worship ministry. We can listen to demos on our computer and do so almost anywhere with wireless technology. We can look up sample pages to a choral anthem and even be able to see the music as we listen to a demo. We can hear several different versions of the same worship song at ccli.com or other sites. Many worship teams have their own website, facebook page, or blog to keep everyone informed. Sometimes e-mails are sent to worship team members with listening links. There are worship conferences, worship blogs, and “how to play” videos online. All of this means that we have more resources available than ever (and fewer excuses for being unprepared).

* For choir members:  If you know there’s a part that you’re not getting during rehearsal, speak up and ask the director for help. Often, as your section (Altos, Sopranos, Basses, or Tenors) sings through a passage a couple of times, the re-inforcement of hearing your part played will help everyone.

If you have a piano and can play a tricky part yourself, take your music home to spend some time working on those hard to hear parts.

* For orchestra, praise band, or praise team members:  If there is anything that you struggle with in rehearsal and are not confident about, spend some time working on your own before Sunday.

Speak up if something sounds “off” in rehearsal, even though it appears everyone is playing (or singing) what is written.  Sometimes you may help to find a mistake in the music.

*  For All Worship Ministry Team Members:Love is patient  with heart  cropped

Remember that what we are doing is very important and sometimes very difficult.  Patience is required in order to work up an entire “worship set” of music for congregational worship each week, often with very limited rehearsal time.   We must all be as diligent as possible and patient with each other and with ourselves.  We are confronted with our own humanity when preparing music; and there is no better time to thank God for His patience and grace with us, even as we choose to employ patience and grace with others (and with situations that are out of our control).  You may be doing all that you can do and wish that others took their opportunity to serve as seriously.  However, we always need to remember that we never know what others are facing and the challenges that may keep them from being as faithful or as prepared as they would like to be.  We just need to pray for one another and employ a lot of grace, continue to be faithful, and encourage others as much as possible.

5. Remember that every Sunday’s worship is important. The special programs can be a wonderful time of worship, but every Sunday   needs to be just as important.

The Lord is the same year-round,

and

He deserves our best every week!

Give Him your best (in terms of commitment, passion, faithfulness, and effort). Make it a priority to be there, be prepared, pray through the service as you worship, and do your best to bring glory to the Lord in every service of congregational worship that you are able to attend. Pay attention when your director goes through the order of worship for next Sunday’s service during rehearsal. You can help with leading in worship most effectively when you are able to share with clarity because you know what is going on.

Never forget that God is the one who created music,

gave you musical gifts, saved you,

and gave you some incredible and eternally glorious

reasons to make musical praise!

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart: I will tell of all Thy wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in Thee, I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.” ~ Psalm 9:1 & 2

Never take the opportunity

to use your voice or instrument

(and your faithfulness and availability) 

to glorify the Lord within the congregation

for granted!

“Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
Let them exalt Him also in the congregation of the people, and praise Him in the assembly of the elders.” ~ Psalm 107:31 & 32

Love the Lord calligraphy6. Support the worship ministry through your own giving. You can give financially as well as giving of your time for rehearsals, personal prayer time, and worship times. You can give and redeem your time in worship ministry when help is needed in preparation for a special program, ministry opportunity, or mission trip. You can give time to working with worship ministry groups for children and youth, investing in the lives of these future worshippers and worship leaders.

7. Be well groomed. Here, I am not talking about the cost or name brands of your clothing. Just make sure that your appearance is well-groomed and not distracting. (Well-fitting clothing and well-groomed hair are a must.)  Your own worship ministry may have additional requirements for appearance that are more specific.

8. Invite others to come to know the Lord, to come to church, and to attend services and special programs. Encourage the faithfulness of others through your own faithfulness (which is a silent witness) and through verbal encouragement, letting them know that you are glad to see them and that their presence is important.

9. Invite others to participate in approriate areas of worship ministry when you know that they have the special gifts to contribute both spiritually and musically. Take some time to talk with them about the blessings of serving in worship ministry and how much it means to you. When new members come, welcome them! Don’t be stuck in a rut as far as who you have to sit beside. Make sure the new member feels comfortable.

10. Don’t fossilize! Be flexible and open to change when it is needed.

* If a change in schedule (such as letting the choir leave the loft to sit with families after the musical worship portion or your service is over) allows more people to participate, be open to that change.  This would include changes in rehearsal schedule.  If you have an unavoidable conflict, let your Worship Leader, Director, or Music and Worship Minister / Pastor know as soon as possible.  When you know that you will be out of town, please let them know your schedule.  Advance notice of absences allows for better planning.

sing a new song to the Lord* When new music is introduced, be open to it. You will likely grow to love it! Even if a song is not your favorite, worship the Lord as you sing and/or play it!  Be open to new styles and new musical techniques as well.  It’s always a good thing to keep learning and growing as a musician and as a member of the worship leadership team.

* Be open to wearing robes or not wearing robes (depending upon what works best for all of the considerations at your church).  You may be asked to wear a certain color.  Please help your group to follow worship ministry leadership in this area by cooperating fully.

* Be willing to sit or stand anywhere that you are asked to be, in both the worship center and in the rehearsal room (unless you need to be seated for physical reasons).

* Be willing to let go of traditions and procedural routines that may no longer be effective.

11. Communicate visually as well as musically. Remember that only part of your worship team’s presentation of any song or participation in worship is the sound component of ministry. The other component that can be observed is visual.

Praise   Lets just praise the Lord* In order for the messages that you are proclaiming to be as effective as possible, choir members, praise team members, and others who sing need to communicate through their facial expression and posture as well. Even those who play instruments need to support the message of what is being shared through appropriate facial expression and/or posture.  People want to know that you are authentic in your beliefs and that you are passionate about your beliefs and your relationship with the Lord… passionate about Him! Your face should reflect the message that you are singing or playing (especially for non-wind players). Your posture should not look stiff and formal.

* If your Director or Worship Pastor wants you to memorize a song in order to communicate it most effectively, do it! (Hint: being there at every rehearsal and listening to demos or working on your own a little bit helps!)

* If you are holding a music folder or looking at music on a stand, hold it high enough (or adjust your stand) so that you can see your director just over the top of the music. Get your head and your eyes up as much as possible. No one wants to look at the tops of everyone’s heads or at a platform full of worship ministry personnel whose eyes appear to be closed because they are looking down all of the time.

NOTE: Our choir sings from memory as often as possible so that we can communicate visually and musically with more effectiveness, and we have recently begun utilizing an on-stage monitor with lyrics. Although we have used screens at the back of the worship center for the lyrics to congregational music and anthems for many years, we can include information on the on-stage monitor that it not meant for the entire congregation to see. We utilize a different color of print for cues to the choir that precede a section of lyrics. These on-screen cues are often very brief and include: “Men” when only the tenor and bass are singing (could also use “TB”); “Women”; “Unison”; “4-part”, “2-part”, “2X”, “3X” or “4x” to show the number of repeats; and even cues for dynamics. Notes that are held for a long time can be indicated by using a line after the word (Example: “love___”)

Lift up His name!

Lift up His name!

12. Participate and worship in the entirety of the congregational worship experience. Remember that you are not there just to “perform” a “special” piece of music. You are there to worship! You are a believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and and worshipper of Almighty God! Every song, scripture reading, testimony, and message is important! Seek to bring glory to God in all of it. Come to worship ready to give to the Lord the praise and thanksgiving of your heart, the honor and glory He deserves, the obedience and open-ness that are a sweet offering to Him, and the entirety of who you are. Seek His face and reflect His joy.

 

“Whatever you are doing, let your hearts be in your work, as a thing done for the Lord and not for men.”
~ Colossians 3:23 (Weymouth New Testament)

 

SUGGESTED  READING   FOR  WORSHIP  MINISTRY  TEAM  MEMBERS

1.  Our Worship Scripture page is a very comprehensive worship resource, with scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments in Biblical order.  Our bold key words before the beginning of each scripture make it easy to search and find particular passages.  This is an excellent resource for worship scriptures.  Also, try the key word or topical search features at Bible Hub or Bible Gateway.

Here’s the link to “Lift Your Voice”, our worship scripture page:  https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/lift-your-voice/

1. “The missing piece…What Every Christian Should Know About Worship”
https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/the-missing-piece-what-every-christian-should-know-about-worship/

2. “31 Days of Praise (Scripture Devotions)
https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/31-days-of-praise/
This post has been recommended on Worship Links @ http://www.worshiplinks.us/2013/09/devotions-praise/

3. “Walking in Worship”
Note:
This article has also been published in the online magazine, “ChurchMag” with its original title
@ http://churchm.ag/walking-in-worship/
and on churchleaders.com , using the title, “What Worship REALLY Means” @

http://www.churchleaders.com/worship/worship-articles/163955-cynthia-boyd-worship-really-means.html

* found on this blog @ https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/walking-in-worship/

OUR OTHER POSTS ABOUT WORSHIP: (Our pages, like the one on Lifestyle Worship, have titles that are always visible on the blog header. Our posts are categorized, and all of the posts on worship can be found in our category called “Worship…with Wonder!” (and the sub-categories in that topic). Here are links to 7 of our most widely read posts about worship.

Music is a gift…Worship the Giver!
This article was also published by TheWorshipCommunity.com @ http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/music-is-a-gift-worship-the-giver/

Worship Planning and Preparation

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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New Anthems and Solos for Spring, 2014

At Worship Sounds Music, we are constantly working to add new music to our Worship Sounds Music Website.  Our two newest songs are “I Can’t Explain” and “Into His Hands”.

“I Can’t Explain”

“I Can’t Explain” is a worship ballad with a reflective message about the wonder of God’s great love, demonstrated in the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Written by Worship Pastor and composer Travis L. Boyd, this song is available as an SATB Choral Anthem, as heard in this demo, and as a Vocal Solo, in 3 keys for Low, Medium, and High Voice.

The SATB Choral Anthem can be performed with live instruments or with the Anthem Trax heard here (purchased separately, as an Mp3 download).  The Anthem is found on the General Use Anthems page of our Worship Sounds Music website.  It could also be sung on Palm Sunday or one of the other Sundays leading up to Easter.

The Vocal Solo versions of “I Can’t Explain” (Low, Medium, and High Voice) each have an Accompaniment Track, which comes as an Mp3 download, with a PDF lead sheet.  In addition Solo Sheet Music is available in each of the 3 keys.  Solo Music can be found on the “Solos / Worship Songs” page of our Worship Sounds Music Website.

 

“Into Your Hands”

Into Your Hands is a moving power ballad with choral accompaniment.  This song is a musical prayer of total surrender to the Lordship of Christ.

This SATB anthem with Solo throughout can be found on the “General Use Anthems” page of our Worship Sounds Music website @ http://www.worshipsounds.com

Click the photo above to go to our Worship Sounds Music website.

Click the photo above to go to our Worship Sounds Music website.

Thank you for your worship ministry and your interest in Worship Sounds Music.   We intentionally keep our company costs as low as possible so that we can offer downloadable Choral Anthems, Anthem Orchestrations, Vocal Solos, Worship Paks for our Congregational Worship Music, and Accompaniment Trax for both Anthems and Solos. All of our music is designed to be practical for worship ministry, Biblically sound, musically memorable, lyrically meaningful, and very affordable.

Blessings to you in your life and ministry,

Travis L. Boyd
Worship Sounds Music

 

ALSO  AVAILABLE  FOR  SPRING / EASTER / PALM  SUNDAY:

1.  “Early in the Morning”

2.  Our “Songs of the Cross” playlist of Easter and Palm Sunday Anthems

3. Our “Anthems with Hymn Lyrics” playlist

All of the Above can be found on our Worship Sounds Music website (see information above).

*<*><*><*>*<*><*><*>*<*><*><*>*<*><*><*>*

In Addition, several of our Published anthems would work very well for Springtime, Easter, or Palm Sunday. 

These include:

FROM  LORENZ, INCOPORATED  (LORENZ  MUSIC)

( A )  “Amazing Grace!  Eternal Life!”  Published by Lorenz (Monarch Division)
An SATB power ballad, this anthem contains a whole gospel message, with a bridge section that is a lyrical paraphrase of John 3:16 & 17. The anthem steadily builds in intensity to the victorious ending.
* Listening link: http://www.lorenz.com/med/sample/10_3228M.mp3
* Sample pages link: http://www.lorenz.com/med/pages/10_3228M.pdf (Use back arrow to return to blog after viewing!)
* A Full Orchestration is available, as heard in the Studio Demo. A Performance/Accompaniment CD is also available.

(NOTE:  See the blog post entitled “Blessings Through Worshipping Together” for information about the CD and DVD recordings of this piece by The Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma, The Singing Churchwomen of Oklahoma, and The Oklahoma Baptist Symphony).
This anthem has also been recorded by the evangelistic group, The Farrells, as the title song of one of their CDs; and many videos can be found on YouTube and Vimeo of this anthem being sung in English, Mandarin, Korean, and Italian.  “Amazing Grace! Eternal Life!” has also been published in the Mandarin language in a book for Chinese Choirs.

( B ) “All the Praise”… An upbeat SATB anthem of praise with lyrical verses and a rhythmic chorus:
“Holy, holy, holy
You are God Almighty.
Holy, holy, holy
Holy is Your Name.
Only You are worthy
Worthy of all honor.
All the praise belongs to You!”

* Listening link: http://www.lorenz.com/med/sample/10_3033M.mp3
(minimize Listening link & click Sample page link to view & hear)
* Sample pages link: http://www.lorenz.com/med/pages/10_3033M.pdf
(Use back arrow to return to blog after viewing!)
A Brass & Rhythm score + parts set is available. A performance/accompaniment CD is also available.

( C ) “God is Faithful”… SATB with solo throughout

God is Faithful blue anthem coverLorenz product page link for “God is Faithful” http://www.lorenz.com/product.aspx?id=10_2978M
* Listening link: http://www.lorenz.com/Med/Sample/10_2978M.mp3
* Sample pages link: http://www.lorenz.com/Med/Pages/10_2978M.pdf (Use back arrow to return to blog after viewing!)
(See our blog post entitled “Blessings Through God’s Faithfulness” for more information about the story of this song & recordings by both The Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma and The Sons of Jubal)
* Performance video link: (TTBB arrangement, recorded at a Sons of Jubal concert in September, 2010) http://vimeo.com/15390308
A full orchestration is available for this piece, as heard in the studio demo. A performance/accompaniment CD is also available.

 

( D ) “Magnificent Praise”… An SATB mix of traditional style and contemporary rhythms, this anthem has a message about giving our best to God as we praise Him and “tell of His excellent ways.”
* Listening link: http://www.lorenz.com/Med/sample/10_3445M.mp3
* Sample pages link: http://www.lorenz.com/Med/Pages/10_3445M.pdf (Use back arrow to return to blog after viewing!)
A Brass & Rhythm Score + parts set is available. A performance/accompaniment CD is also available.
“With all that is in us, we give You magnificent praise!”

( E ) “The Great I Am”… An SATB anthem with a bold declaration of faith.
* Listening link: http://www.lorenz.com/med/sample/10_3281M.mp3
* Sample pages link: http://www.lorenz.com/med/pages/10_3281M.pdf (Use back arrow to return to blog after viewing!)
A Brass & Rhythm Score + parts set is available. A performance/accompaniment CD is also available.

FROM SHAWNEE PRESS / HAL LEONARD

Children of Light anthem cover( 1 ) “Children of Light”… 2 & 3 part, S(A)B
Here’s a great recording with the full orchestration: http://www.salvoaudio.com/audio/music/mus_2515.mp3
This youthful, vibrant recording was made by the Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters.
For the story of this group & recording see our blog post entitled “Blessings Through Testimony.”
* The Shawnee Press Studio Demo recording (with rhythm section only) can be heard at this link:
http://www.pinelakemusic.com/Results.aspx?search=Travis+Boyd (click listening link for “Children of Light”)

“Children of Light” is still available through several music distributors and from Hal Leonard/Shawnee Press on a print-on-demand basis.

 

Give Thanks to the Lord anthem cover( 2 ) “Give Thanks to the Lord”… SATB
This upbeat, rhythmic song of thanksgiving provides a joyful reminder of many reasons to give thanks.
Be sure to listen for the descant and for the verses, which give a call to thanksgiving for faithful hearts (with a quiet intensity, contrasting the energetic chorus). “Give Thanks to the Lord” was also recorded, in a special TTBB arrangement by Travis, on the “God is Faithful” CD made by The Singing Churchemen of Oklahoma, then under the direction of Dr. Bill Green. (The audio of the TTBB recording can be found in our SoundCloud set of “Recordings made by BGCO groups” (Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma).


Original studio demo of the Choral Anthem by Shawnee Press

( 3 ) “Jesus, My Redeemer”… SATB
*Hear the original studio demo for this beautiful anthem on our Sound Cloud or on our BoydbrainMusic.com HOME PAGE in the red sidebar at left. Just click on the title to hear “Jesus, My Redeemer.”
This anthem utilizes the beautiful hymn tune known as “Slane” (“Be Thou My Vision”) with a completely new text. The lovely, flowing piano accompaniment features a recurring motif. There is a Song Story about this anthem on our Worship Sounds Music blog. (Song Story for “Jesus, My Redeemer”)

Praise God! anthem cover( 4 ) “Praise God”… SATB
* “Praise God” features a beautiful new melody and setting for the traditional “Doxology” lyrics, with a portion of the hymn “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” added to this amazing arrangement. You’ll love this inventive and meaningful new tune and setting for the Doxology! Hear the entire studio demo for this majestic anthem on the sound cloud below.
Or, hear a portion of the original studio demo at: http://listeninglab.stantons.com/title/praise-god/269877/

( 5 ) “Sing a Song to the Lord”… SATB
* Hear the original studio demo for this joyful, upbeat anthem of exhortation at http://listeninglab.stantons.com/title/sing-a-song-to-the-lord/335710/

( 6 ) “Tender Mercies”… SATB, with Solo
This gentle, lyrical anthem features a solo on the first verse, which continues as a descant later in the piece, along with the SATB voice parts.
* Listening: “Tender Mercies” can be heard at this link: http://listeninglab.stantons.com/title/tender-mercies/354831/
* Info: The publisher’s info page for this anthem can be found at : http://shawnee.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.do?itemid=35022627&lid=620&seriesfeature=&menuid=10984&subsiteid=204


( 7 ) “Walking by Faith”… SATB, with Solo
This lovely ballad features a solo and was performed by The Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma, written for soloist Royce Brown. The original studio demo can be heard at:
http://www.jwpepper.com/8065838.item

FROM CHURCH STREET MUSIC (LIFEWAY)

(1) “You Are a Spring”… SATB, with Solo or unison section
This lyrical piece about our need for the refreshing of God’s Spirit is available at: http://www.pinelakemusic.com/Results.aspx?search=Travis+Boyd

“You Are a Spring” was recorded on The Singing Churchwomen of Oklahoma’s CD entitled “The Lord is My Light.” This recording can be found in our Sound Cloud set of BGCO (Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma) Groups recordings. (See the blue Sound Cloud logo on our blog’s sidebar. It is a link to these BGCO group recordings made by The Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma, The Singing Churchwomen of Oklahoma, and The Oklahoma Baptist Symphony.)

The demo recording for this anthem can be heard below:

There are several additional pieces published by Lifeway in their periodical publications for Childrens Choir, Senior Adult Choir, Adult Choir, and congregational praise. These are listed on our facebook page, along with contact information for re-printing these songa and anthems. http://www.facebook.com/WorshipSoundsMusic
We have not yet tracked down all of the studio demos for these publications but will do so as time permits.

(2) One of the additional Anthems published by Lifeway is “More Than a Cross”

This anthem explores the true significance of the cross, with the lyrics of the refrain stating, “More than love and mercy, life and hope, on a hill called Calvary…More than a cross, it was God reaching out for me.”

“MORE THAN A CROSS” was published in the Winter 2005-06 edition of ‘Glory Songs’ SATB, pages 27 through 32. This anthem can be reprinted with permission from Lifeway. Use this link: http://www.lifeway.com/PermissionsRequest/ to contact Lifeway. Then, choose the option “to use or publish music”. You will then be given the opportunity to enter all pertinent information in order for your request to be sent to the right individual at Lifeway for processing.

In this case, you would enter the following informationGlory Sounds, Winter 2005 – 2006
“More Than a Cross” by Travis Boyd
Page numbers 27 through 32

NOTE:  There are links to Publishers and Distributors of my music in the right sidebar of this blog.  Each link takes you to a page listed all of my Anthems offered by that publisher or distributor.

How to Help Keep Church Choirs from Becoming Extinct

An Effective Ministry

FBC Snellville Choir

FBC, Snellville Church Choir, Christmas 2009

Church Choirs can minister very effectively in any worship setting if they are properly prepared to contribute to the ministry of worship.  Although there are some people who consider a church choir to be an out of date relic, a group of Christian singers with a desire to bring glory to the Lord through the ministry of worship can be a blessing to the entire church family.  Here are seven ways that choirs can joyfully serve as worship leaders to strengthen and bring life to the ministry of worship.

* 1 * 
A Choir can help to support congregational singing
, allowing the congregation to sing more confidently and join their voices with those who are already singing, helping to lead God’s people in worship.

* 2 *
A Choir will help the congregation to know when they are supposed to sing.

When arrangements for the congregational singing are lead by a praise band, worship leader, and praise teams, sometimes people in the congregation become uncertain about when they are supposed to sing along.  A well prepared choir helps to prevent confusion as they assist in leading the service.  Since the choir will know when a verse or chorus is supposed to be sung as a solo and when everyone is supposed to sing, the congregation will begin to take their cue from the choir.

* 3 *
Choirs provide spiritual encouragement and inspiration to the church family.

When the life stories and faith journeys of the people who make up the choir are coupled with their faithful commitment to praising the Lord and leading in worship, the choir serves as a collective testimony of walking by faith.  The presence and praise of a choir member who is walking through a trial, remaining faithful as a choral worship leader, can be a powerful message in itself.  Since choir members are often some of the busiest church members, serving in many ways and being vitally involved in church life, their ministry and testimony has personal significance for a large percentage of the church body.

 “O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him; talk of all His wondrous works. Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice.”  ~ Psalm 105:1 – 3

The 280 voice Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Brooklyn, NY, under the direction of Carol Cymbala, recorded 2 CDs in 2013,

The 280 voice Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Brooklyn, NY, under the direction of Carol Cymbala, recorded 2 CDs in 2013, “Redeemed” and “Love Lead the Way”.

* 4 *
Church choirs can share messages of praise, reverent worship, testimony, exhortation, encouragement, comfort, thankfulness, and perseverance 
through the songs (both anthems and congregational worship songs) that they sing.  Since choral anthems often have lyrics that are full of scripture and of Biblical truth, the choir can share a message in song that is full of meaning with even more impact than the spoken word because of the marriage of music and lyrics that amplifies the truths being shared.  The choir’s ministry is one of proclamation, praise, and encouragement as they and the congregation “speak to one another in Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs”.

  “I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the Lord.”  ~ Psalm 104:33 & 34

* 5 *
As worship leaders, the choir can also help the church to learn new songs and worship choruses. 
 It is possible to find choral arrangements of new worship songs that are in congregationally friendly keys, which also have chord and rhythm charts and even full orchestrations available.  These can be prepared as an anthem and introduced by the full worship team (choir, praise band and / or orchestra, praise team).  Later, as the congregation becomes more familiar with the song, they can be invited to join in singing the worship song with the same arrangement.

* 6 *
A choir can help to break down generational barriers in worship.
The fact that choirs (and praise teams, rhythm sections, and orchestras) are often made up of young, median, and older adults (and sometimes students) communicates the message that the new song is a vehicle of praise and worship for the entire congregation, regardless of age.  As members of the worship leadership team, choir members have invested time in preparation for worship, both musically and spiritually as they have learned the new music.  Because they have rehearsed and lived with the lyrics of the songs being shared (both Anthems and congregational praise), choir members have the opportunity to internalize these messages of truth and to communicate them meaningfully, as a group that is visually representative of the church body (in age range and other factors) rather than just as professional musicians.

KEY GOAL:  Ideally, the worshipping choir will be both spiritually and musically prepared to praise the Lord and to encourage and inspire God’s people.  Because of this investment of time in preparation and their heart for the Lord, a choir can be a living, vibrant team of worship leaders,  messengers of hope and praise. 

The Mount Pleasant Christian Church Choir in Indianapolis, IN, directed by Brian Tabor, September, 2013.

The Mount Pleasant Christian Church Choir in Indianapolis, IN, directed by Brian Tabor, September, 2013.

* 7 *
There is nothing else like the sound of a well-prepared choir
,
and the secular music industry often employs a choir to maximize the impact of a powerful ballad or to visibly and audibly celebrate with an upbeat song.  Choirs are often seen in the music videos and television appearances of pop stars, on music specials, and at events where the entertainment is an extravagant production, such as an Olympic opening ceremony or even a Super Bowl halftime show.  If secular entertainment still values the impact that a choir can make, those of us who love and worship the Lord should realize that choral singing can be a an effective testimony of God’s goodness that can touch the hearts of a congregation (and of others who hear them when they sing in public places).

 “O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the strength of the hills is His also. The sea is His, and He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”  ~ Psalm 95:1 – 7a

* 8 *  There is Biblical support for choral worship ministry.

A.  Since there are many Biblical accounts of choirs, and since 55 Psalms are written to the Choir Director or Director of Music; there is certainly a Biblical precedent for choral worship.

The First Baptist Concord Choir, Knoxville, TN, directed by Jeff Lawrence.

The First Baptist Concord Choir, Knoxville, TN, directed by Jeff Lawrence.

B.  In addition, the Biblical exhortation to use our gifts to honor and bring glory to the Lord calls for opportunities for those who are a part of our congregations and who have musical gifts to serve and contribute to the ministry of worship.
What these service opportunities may be in an individual congregation depends upon the musical gifts that are present among members who are willing to faithfully serve in worship ministry.  A smaller congregation might have a choral ensemble rather than a full choir, in addition to their praise band or accompanists.  Larger churches may have a full choir and perhaps an instrumental ensemble or orchestra in addition to their rhythm section, praise band, and / or accompanists.  Some churches may use a choir to help serve as worship leaders, but the choir may sing a choral anthem only occasionally.  Some churches also use choirs only seasonally (for a special Christmas program, for example).

Every congregation is different, and no one can prescribe what your church should be doing in musical worship from the outside.  Your ministerial leadership is more in tune with the musical and spiritual gifts of your congregation and to the music that speaks to the hearts of your congregation as well as to the visitors and seekers that your church can reach.  This article is not being written in order to bash churches that don’t have a choir but rather to encourage the ministry of choral singing in those places where it can be shared effectively to praise, encourage, inspire, lift up, exhort, challenge, and worship.

“Above, the hosts of angels sing praise; below, men form choirs in the churches and imitate them by singing the same doxology.  Above, the seraphim cry out in the thrice-holy hymn; below, the human throng sends up the same cry.  The inhabitants of heaven and earth are brought together in a common assembly; there is one thanksgiving, one shout of delight, one joyful chorus.”  ~  St. John Chrysostom

First Baptist Church of Duluth Adult Choir, Duluth, GA, directed by Travis L. Boyd

First Baptist Church of Duluth Adult Choir, December, 2013, Duluth, GA, directed by Travis L. Boyd, singing the upbeat final song in the Travis Cottrell Christmas worship musical, “Joy of Every Longing Heart”.  Note:  Many of the choir, orchestra, and praise band members are out of the frame in this photo, taken by a member of the congregation.)

KEY:  Church choirs can stil minister and serve and bring glory to the Lord when they have the commitment, support, and prayers necessary to do so.

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 
~
I Corinthians 10:31  NASB

Although choirs have been eliminated in some congregations, existing choirs can strengthen their ministryNew choirs can focus on effective ministry from the beginning.  Below, you will find some suggestions for helping to keep church choirs alive and serving in the 21st century.

 “Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wonderful works to the sons of men! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His deeds in songs of joy!”  ~ Psalm 107:21 & 22

For Members of the Congregation

If you are a member of the congregation in a church that has a choir, here’s how you can support and encourage their ministry:

1.  Pray for your church choir.  Pray for individual members if you know them.  Pray for unity of spirit and faithfulness to the commitment of singing in choir.
* Pray for God to use them as they seek to minister and lead in worship, and pray that God will speak to their hearts as they prepare spiritually and musically.
* Pray for them as they stand to sing and for the congregation as the choir is singing.

2.  Worship and praise the Lord as you are listening and praying!  If your church’s worship ministry has a facebook page, “like” the page so that you will know better how to pray for your church’s overall worship ministry as well as for the choir.

praise and give thanks to the Lord3.  Listen expectantly when the choir shares a message, whether that is a Choral Anthem or a worship chorus that is being introduced by the choir.  Remember that everything your church does in ministry is constantly being evaluated for effectiveness.  Therefore, one of the best ways to support a choral ministry in your church is to allow the choir to minister to you and to praise the Lord in your heart right along with them.

Thank you music notes4.  Encourage!  If a message shared by the choir was particularly meaningful or worshipful to you, let that be known.  Speak an “amen!”, share a word of encouragement, or send a note or e-mail to the choir, Worship Minister, and / or Pastor expressing how the Lord has used that ministry in your own heart and life.   The people who sing in choirs are not seeking accolades.  (If that was their motivation, they probably would have given up long ago!)  Choir members would rather hear about the spiritual impact of their ministry than about the beauty of the music.  They love the beauty of the music as well, but they mainly want to know that what they are doing makes a difference for the Kingdom!

5.  Be faithful in your own attendance in congregational worship.  Not only are you being faithful to the Lord when you worship along with His people, your presence is also an encouragement to others.  In addition, your presence allows for everything that is done in worship to be done more effectively as you are praying throughout the service that the Lord would be glorified  and personally worshipping Him.

6.  Attend any special presentations that your Choir and Worship Ministry have prepared, and invite others to come as well.  At most churches, there are special musical worship opportunities such as Christmas and Easter programs and worship musicals only a few times a year (usually 2 – 4 times annually for the Adult Choir).  These events are wonderful opportunities to invite your neighbors, friends, family, and co-workers.  Invite the clerk who checks out your groceries.  Invite others at every opportunity.  Your worship ministry team members have been preparing to share messages of hope and faith and praise to the Lord for several weeks leading up to any special worship event.  Attend these events expecting a glorious time of worship, pray for those involved, and bring others with you.  Put these special events on your personal calendar as soon as they are announced, and make them a priority.  If you want your church to have worship events such as these and to continue to have a worship choir, your presence must testify that this is important and meaningful to you.

7.  Support the worship ministry at your church through your giving.  There are expenditures that are necessary for a vibrant and effective worship ministry.  Sound and lighting equipment, media equipment, sets and seasonal decorations, music for worship ministry participants, musical instruments, piano tuning, CCLI (the service that allows your church to legally put song lyrics on screens), and salaries for paid personnel such as your Worship Pastor and accompanists, are all a part of the financial cost of worship ministry support.  Your faithfulness allows all of the ministries of your church, including worship ministry, to function and to minister within the congregation and to reach out to your community and beyond.

8.  Let grace abound!  Don’t expect musical and technical perfection.  Give your worship ministry team the grace of realizing that they are human and that they are participating in this ministry as volunteers rather than as professional musicians and technicians.  Music and productions that you hear on the radio or see on TV and in the movies are very highly produced and involve much expertise, equipment, and time that is not available for local church ministry.  Many times, the sounds that you hear on radio or TV cannot be produced at the same level of perfection in live performance, even by the pros.  One recorded song may be a result of dozens of “takes” and hours of recording and re-recording.  In addition, remember that every worship song, hymn, or choral anthem may not be your personal taste; but it is still your joy to worship the Lord through all that is spoken and sung.  Pray for others.  Look around you.  What may not be your favorite worship expression may be ministering to the hearts of others.  Pray for those around you throughout the worship service.

* IMPORTANT  NOTE:  For greater understanding about the importance and meaning of worship and for help with preparation for teaching about worship, see our Addendum at the end of this blog article, where you will find links to articles on worship found on our blog and on TheWorshipCommunity.com , on the online magazine, ChurchMag , and on ChurchLeaders.com (or recommended on WorshipLinks) .

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
~
Colossians 3:17

The Adult Worship Choir anchors the worship ministries of Bell Shoals Baptist Church, Brandon, FL, directed by Dr. Doug Crawley.

The Adult Worship Choir anchors the worship ministries of Bell Shoals Baptist Church, Brandon, FL, directed by Dr. Doug Crawley.

For Pastors and Ministerial Staff

Here’s how you can help to support the ministry of the Worship Choir at your church.

1.  Pray for and encourage the worship team members and Worship Pastor at your church.  Pray for your congregation and for yourself as worshippers.

2.  Live a life of worship, seeking to intentionally give God glory in all that you do.

* NOTE For greater understanding about the importance and meaning of worship and for help with preparation for teaching about worship, see our Addendum at the end of this blog article, where you will find links to articles on worship found on our blog and on TheWorshipCommunity.com , on the online magazine, ChurchMag , and on ChurchLeaders.com (or recommended on WorshipLinks) .

3.  Whatever your responsibilities and concerns may be during a worship service, make an intentional effort to let them go (as much as is possible) and personally worship the Lord.

4.  Attend special worship ministry programs, and invite others to do so as well.  Speak with enthusiasm when sharing announcements about upcoming Worship Ministry events.

5.  When doing calendar planning, recognize that each ministry decision impacts every ministry.  Remember that above all, every Christian is (or should be) a worshipper, and do what you can to strenthen all of the ministries of your church, including worship ministry.

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
~
 I Peter 4:11

For Choir Members & Worship Team Members

What is needed?  Prayer, passion, preparation, flexibility, clarity, commitment, faithfulness, and authenticity!

1.  Pray for your Worship Pastor and for all of your ministerial staff.  Pray for their families.  Pray for the congregation to worship the Lord and serve Him with all of their hearts.  Pray for your own testimony and spiritual walk.  Pray for other worship ministry team members and for the worship ministry as a whole.  Pray through the order of worship, and pray during the worship service.

2.  Be faithful in attendance at rehearsals and in every congregational worship service.  Unless your are too sick to go or out of town, be there.  We all understand that seasons of life occur, such as when you are caring for a loved one who is ill.  However, if there’s nothing keeping you from being there, please be faithful!  Your passion for the Lord and for serving Him through worship ministry is the thing that makes you a choir member.  Others sit in the congregation every week who could be an asset in worship ministry, and yet the lack of passion for serving in this way prevents them from making that commitment.  If your passion has begun to wane, ask the Lord to revive it within you so that you may contribute week by week, worshipping with passion in spirit and in truth.

KEY:  Your presence, more than anything other than your prayers, allows your worship ministry to effectively reach up to glorify the Lord and reach out to encourage and inspire others.

If you want your church to still have a choir a year from now, 5 years from now… 10 years from now, make it your priority to be there!
If you say that you love singing in the choir, love having a choir, and love the sound and the impact of choral music, you need to be one who will be there faithfully.  When the choir suffers from low attendance week after week, the level of excellence suffers.  The director has difficulty choosing what to sing, not knowing who may be there.  The choral sound is less than it could be without you and others there.  After weeks and weeks of low attendance and less than stellar sound due to the low numbers, how much support can we expect from church members and leaders for the continuation of choir?  In other words, if you want to have a choir, you have to be committed to it.

3.  Be spiritually prepared Do all that you can do to walk closely with the Lord.  Abide in Him.  Spend time in private worship.  Learn all that you can about Him and about what true worship really is.  Listen to worship music often.  Love the Lord and find joy in His presence.

4.  Be musically prepared.  Attend every rehearsal that it is possible for you to attend. 

*  Even if the choir is going to be singing music that you know well, your presence and participation can help others to learn the musicHaving the full choir present helps with things like balance, interpretation, and choral tone, as well as with division of parts, marking any changes in the music, and unifying vowel structure.

*  If your director sends out an e-mail with links to the music you will be singing, spend 15 minutes listening to the demos a couple of times during the week.

*  If you know there’s a part that you’re not getting during rehearsal, speak up and ask the director for help.  Often, as your section (Altos, Sopranos, Basses, or Tenors) sings through a passage a couple of times, the re-inforcement of hearing your part played will help everyone.

*  If you have a piano and can play a tricky part yourself, take your music home to spend some time working on those hard to hear parts.

5.  Remember that every Sunday’s worship is important.  The special programs can be a wonderful time of worship, but every Sunday  needs to be just as important.  The Lord is the same year-round, and He deserves our best every week (in terms of commitment, passion, faithfulness, and effort).  Make it a priority to be there, be prepared, pray through the service as you worship, and do your best to bring glory to the Lord in every service of congregational worship that you are able to attend.  Pay attention when your director goes through the order of worship for next Sunday’s service during choir rehearsal.  You can help with leading in worship most effectively when you are able to share with clarity because you know what is going on.

Never forget that God is the one who created music, gave you a voice, saved you, and gave you something incredible and eternally glorious to sing about!

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart: I will tell of all Thy wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in Thee, I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.”  ~ Psalm 9:1 & 2

Never take the opportunity to use your voice to glorify Him within the congregation for granted!

 “Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
Let them exalt Him also in the congregation of the people, and praise Him in the assembly of the elders.”  ~ Psalm 107:31 & 32

6.  Support the worship ministry through your own giving.  You can give financially as well as giving of your time for rehearsals, personal prayer time, and worship times.   You can give and redeem your time in worship ministry when help is needed in preparation for a special program, ministry opportunity, or mission trip.  You can give time to working with worship ministry groups for children and youth, investing in the lives of these future worshippers and worship leaders.

7. Be well groomed. Here, I am not talking about the cost or name brands of your clothing. Just make sure that your appearance is well-groomed and not distracting. (Well-fitting clothing and well-groomed hair are a must.)

8.  Invite others to come to know the Lord, to come to church, and to attend services and special programs.  Encourage the faithfulness of others through your own faithfulness (which is a silent witness) and through verbal encouragement, letting them know that you are glad to see them and that their presence is important.

9.  Invite others to sing in the choir or to participate in some other area of worship ministry when you know that they have the special gifts to contribute both spiritually and musically.  Take some time to talk with them about the blessings of serving in worship ministry and how much it means to you.  When new members come, welcome them!  Don’t be stuck in a rut as far as who you have to sit beside.  Make sure the new member feels comfortable.

10.  Don’t fossilize!  Be flexible and open to change when it is needed.

*  If a change in schedule (or letting the choir leave the loft to sit with families after the musical worship portion or your service is over) allows more people to participate, be open to that change.

*  When new music is introduced, be open to it.  You will likely grow to love it!  Even if a song is not your favorite, worship the Lord as you sing it!

*  Be open to wearing robes or not wearing robes (depending upon what works best for all of the considerations at your church).

*  Be willing to sit or stand anywhere that you are asked to be, in both the loft and in the rehearsal room (unless you need to be seated for physical reasons).

*  Be willing to let go of traditions and procedural routines that may no longer be effective.

11.  Communicate visually as well as musically.  Remember that only part of the choir’s presentation of any song or participation in worship is the sound component of choral ministry.  The other component that can be observed is visual.

*  In order for the messages that you are proclaiming to be as effective as possible, choir members need to communicate through their facial expression and posture as well.  People want to know that you are authentic in your beliefs and that you are passionate about your beliefs and your relationship with the Lord… passionate about Him!  Your face should reflect the message that you are singing.  Your posture should not look stiff and formal.

*  If your director or Worship Pastor wants you to memorize a song in order to communicate it most effectively, do it!  (Hint:  being there at every rehearsal and listening to demos or working on your own a little bit helps!)

*  If you are holding a music folder, hold it high enough that you can see your director just over the top of the music.  Get your head and your eyes up as much as possible.  No one wants to look at the tops of everyone’s heads or at a choir whose eyes appear to be closed because they are looking down all of the time.

NOTE:  Our choir sings from memory as often as possible, and we have recently begun utilizing an on-stage monitor with lyrics.  Although we have used screens at the back of the worship center for the lyrics to congregational music and anthems for many years, we can include information on the on-stage monitor that it not meant for the entire congregation to see.  We utilize a different color of print for cues to the choir that precede a section of lyrics.  These on-screen cues are often very brief and include:  “Men” when only the tenor and bass are singing (could also use “TB”); “Women”; “Unison”; “4-part”, “2-part”, “2X”, “3X” or “4x” to show the number of repeats; and even cues for dynamics.  Notes that are held for a long time can be indicated by using a line after the word (Example:  “love___”)

12.  Participate and worship in the entirety of the congregational worship experience.  Remember that you are not there just to “perform” a “special” piece of music.  You are there to worship!  You are a believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and and worshipper of Almighty God!  Every song, scripture reading, testimony, and message is important!  Seek to bring glory to God in all of it.  Come to worship ready to give to the Lord the praise and thanksgiving of your heart, the honor and glory He deserves, the obedience and open-ness that are a sweet offering to Him, and the entirety of who you are.  Seek His face and reflect His joy.

* IMPORTANT  NOTE:  For greater understanding about the importance and meaning of worship and for help with preparation for teaching about worship, see our Addendum at the end of this blog article, where you will find links to articles on worship found on our blog and on TheWorshipCommunity.com , on the online magazine, ChurchMag , and on ChurchLeaders.com (or recommended on WorshipLinks) .   http://www.worshiplinks.us/2013/09/devotions-praise/

“Whatever you are doing, let your hearts be in your work, as a thing done for the Lord and not for men.” 
~  Colossians 3:23  (Weymouth New Testament)

University Presbyterian Church Choir, Seattle, WA, directed by Dr. David Gardner

University Presbyterian Church Choir, Seattle, WA, directed by Dr. David Gardner

For Choir Directors, Ministers of Music & Worship, 

and Worship Pastors

What is needed for you?  The same priorities for worship as your worship team:  Prayer, passion, preparation, flexibility, clarity, and authenticity!

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn! I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples, I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth.”  ~ Psalm 108:1 – 5

1.  Pray for your fellow ministerial staff members, the congregation, and all of your worship ministry team members. 
Pray that people will understand the importance of worship as a way of life (Romans 12:1 – 2, I Corinthians 10:31 ).  Pray for personal passion for ministry and worship.  Pray for holiness and obedience, both personally and collectively.

2.  Make personal worship a top priority.
Seek to lead as a fellow worshipper.  Let your passion for the Lord and for worshipping Him be clearly evident.  Every word, every song, and every moment should be focused on the eternal:  worshipping God, praising and thanking Him, and testifying of His goodness, grace, mercy, love, and faithfulness.

Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever more! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised! The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory is above the heavens.”  ~ Psalm 113:1 – 4

3Function as a Pastor whose primary responsibility is worship ministry. 
People are more important than notes and rhythms.  Minister accordingly.

4.  Function as an equipper. 
Teach and equip your worship ministry team.  Teach them about worship and discipleship.  Teach them about music and techniques.  Teach them about effectiveness as worship leaders (spiritually, musically, visually).  Teach your choir that true worship is giving (giving praise, honor, glory, blessing, our hearts, and all that we are). Build excitement about the ministry potential of choral worship.

*  IMPORTANT  NOTE:   For greater understanding about the importance and meaning of worship and for help with preparation for teaching about worship, see our Addendum at the end of this blog article, where you will find links to articles on worship found on our blog and on TheWorshipCommunity.com , on the online magazine ChurchMag , and on ChurchLeaders.com (or recommended on WorshipLinks) .   http://www.worshiplinks.us/2013/09/devotions-praise/

5.  Be a good steward of your time. 
Plan and prepare effectively, praying for guidance as you do so.  You can make the most of your limited rehearsal time and allow team members to be well prepared for congregational worship when you have:
a.  Made sure that the order of worship is clearly understood by all participants in worship ministry, providing each person with a copy containing all of the information needed.
b.  Prepared a weekly newsletter, poster, or white board with the order of your rehearsal so that music will be ready and you can make the most effective use of the choir’s rehearsal time.
c.  Made sure that all music is available to your choir and that they have sharpened pencils to mark anything necessary in their music.
d.  Made sure that your accompanists have all needed music in time to play through and prepare themselves for rehearsal.
e.  Made sure that your tech team has all needed lyrics and any media or videos that you intend to use, as well as orders of worship with any special notes they may need.
f.  Made sure that your ministerial staff has copies of the order of worship (not just the bulletin, but your expanded version for worship ministry that specifies such things as the number of verses or repeats for a given songs, which staff member is doing the welcome, etc.).

6.  Encourage your choir and other worship ministry participants.
Make rehearsals as fun and joyful as possible. Try to keep the mood light and yet focused on preparation for worship as well as on worshipping even as your rehearse. Let your choir and accompanists, praise teams, praise band, and tech team know that they are loved and valued by you and by the Lord. Use the rehearsal time very wisely so that your choir members and other worship ministry personnel do not feel that their time is being wasted (this communicates value as well). Share any positive comments or notes you’ve been given about the choir with the group.

7.  Expand your Choir’s vision of their role in worship ministry.
Help them to see that they are there to do more than just produce an anthem each week. Teach them that they can serve as worship leaders for congregational worship.

8.  Keep a realistic timeline in mind.
W
hen you are preparing for rehearsals, don’t try to cram too much music into one session. Confusion and poor preparation will be the result. Do allow several weeks of rehearsal on any new music that requires some time to “settle in”. Plan an adequate number of music rehearsals and tech rehearsals when preparing for any special program. Our choir often has Sunday afternoon rehearsals in addition to our Wednesday night rehearsals to help us prepare in the weeks leading up to a Christmas, Easter, or worship musical. We usually rehearse about an hour, beginning at 5:00 p.m. That’s the time which seems to work best for our group, but your group may have a different preference depending on factors like other schedule considerations and how far away they live from your church.

9.  Provide and encourage training opportunities for your choir and all worship ministry personnel.
Make sure that your tech team has adequate knowledge, and provide periodic training for them (bring in a specialist to teach and work with them for a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon). After all, your choir could share an anthem beautifully, but it’s the tech team who will make sure it can be heard. Take worship ministry team members to conferences and concerts when possible. Encourage your worship ministry team to listen to contemporary Christian radio (at least occasionally). If you want to inspire multi-generational worship and a greater open-ness to new music, do what you can to introduce new music that can unite the generations in worshipping the Lord.

10. Use media to enhance the worship experience.
If your church has screens, make sure that the lyrics of your anthems are on screens as the choir is singing. Use scenic or spiritually meaningful background photos for the text, and make sure that the text is in a color, size, and font that shows clearly all the way to the back of your worship center. After all, you have carefully chosen this music because of the message that it conveys. Whether your anthem has a message of praise or testimony, encouragement, affirmation, or exhortation, the words are important. Let’s be honest. Sometimes the most beautiful choral settings can make the text difficult to understand.Seeing the lyrics visually on screens employs the sense of sight to imprint the message your choir is sharing on the minds of your congregation more vividly. Your congregation is more likely to take away from the service something that has meaning to their walk as a Christian when every means has been utilized to enhance the worship experience, simply but effectively communicating visually as well as aurally. If you have the capability to make videos of lyrics that can employ photos as background for lyrics and perhaps snippets of video (something like a few seconds of video of a running stream when singing a message about living water), do that. However, keep in mind that it can be very difficult to stay with a video tempo-wise without a click track for the director and in-ear monitors for him or her and for key personnel such as accompanists or praise band (rhythm section) members. If your church does not have media capability, make sure that your anthem choice reflects this fact and that lyrics are as clearly understandable as possible. Use low tech but effective visual means to communicate what your choir is singing visually when possible (perhaps a banner proclaiming “Jesus is Lord” could be displayed when you are singing about the Lordship of Christ). Employ some talented people in your congregation to form a banner ministry and create visual representation of the names of God / Jesus that can be used for regular as well as special services to visually re-enforce the messages being sung and shared.

11.  Choose music carefully.

Here are two of the most important considerations when choosing music.
   a.  Keep the capability and number of your singers in mind.
b.  Know your congregation. 
The choir certainly seeks to glorify God in their ministry, but it is also important to encourage God’s people through music that is carefully chosen to reflect the make up of your congregation.  In most churches, it works well to chose anthems which reflect a variety of styles.  For example, you might choose a ballad style or more reflective anthem for one service and a more upbeat and celebratory anthem for the next.  You might occasionally include an anthem that has a more southern gospel type style.  Don’t neglest newer, more contemporary choral arrangements.  You may be stretching your choir’s preferences when you introduce choral arrangements of contemporary worship songs, but this is one of the very things that will allow your choir to be more relevant to the hearts of all generations within your congregation.  Remember that when God inspires new songs for His people and His church, they are often a revelation of truth or a truth stated in a new way.  New songs are God speaking to hearts just as the new songs of 50 years ago did.

  c. Pray for wisdom, and procede with care in every decision about music choice.

  d. Make sure that the music has a clear message and is not too difficult.
In making the difficuly decision, consider more than just the capabilities and confident vocal ranges of your Choir.  Consider the difficulty of the accompaniment and the tech capabilities for making your choir heard.

  e. Avoid “big ending syndrome”.
Some Choral Anthems would not be as effective without a big ending. Just make sure that every single anthem does not end that way. Look for some anthems that fit your choir and have a great message with a more reflective ending. Have you heard the one about the little boy who asked his Mom, “Why does every song the choir sings end like this…?” (He demonstrates, with mouth open wide, tongue hanging out,…”AHHHH”)

  f. Support any special emphases at your church with your music selection when possible.
(For example, a special emphasis on prayer would be a great time to sing an anthem that is a prayer set to music or an anthem that talks about God’s faithfulness in hearing our prayers.)

  g.  Be open to newer music yourself, recognizing it as a sign that God is still at work in the hearts of His people, young and old.  Remember that both your choir and your congregation represent a variety of musical tastes.  Continually stretch your own musical tastes and those of your choir and congregation by including new music in your repertoire that may be more contemporary in nature but has a message that will speak to the hearts of everyone who is there as a true worshipper.  Worship should unite the generations.  If your focus is on giving glory to God, using the best of more traditional music in various genres and the best of what is new as well, your choir will be more likely to grow, to include younger singers, and to minister more broadly to your congregation as they bring glory to God through their worship and praise.  There is a lot of wonderful, God-honoring and exalting music out there in a wide variety of musical styles.  If your choir sings wholeheartedly, no matter how many years (or months) ago God inspired the writing of their music, worship wins!  God is honored when His people place worshipping Him and consideration for others above their own preferences.

Note:  For further reading on the subject of new songs, see our post entitled, Singing a New Song

Here, we’ll offer a few suggestions of more contemporary choral settings that will be enjoyed and be very meaningful and worshipful, even for more traditional choirs and congregations.

1.  “Blessings”  Try Heather Sorenson’s arrangement of Laura Story’s song, “Blessings”, published by Shawnee Press / Hal Leonard.  http://www.jwpepper.com/10292259.item

2.  “Who Can Satisfy?”  Our choir and our congregation both love a fantastic arrangement of Dennis Jernigan’s “Who Can Satisfy” by Gary Rhodes (Lifeway).  The arrangement has a really strong choral setting of the chorus, “There is a fountain / Who is the King / Victorious warrior, and Lord of everything / My Rock, my Shelter / My very own… / Blessed redeemer, who reigns upon the throne”.  The brief a cappella section during one of the repeats of the chorus is incredibly powerful (when sung well, of course).  Our congregation loves it so much that they are now singing along on the chorus when Travis turns around to direct them.  Here’s a link to the anthem:  http://www.lifeway.com/Product/who-can-satisfy-satb-anthem-min-10-P001220705

There is not a listening link with the anthem info, so here is a Youtube video of the song being shared during a worship service, performed by Riverview Baptist Church Worship Choir, Bixby Oklahoma. ~ January 30, 2011.  (Note:  This is not our choir but just a video we were able to find with the same arrangement we use.  There is also an arrangement of this song by Russell Mauldin for Word.)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3brh8Bjcvc

3.  “We Have Met to Worship”  by Travis L. Boyd from Worship Sounds Music
This is a contemporary, guitar and piano driven, setting of the traditional hymn, “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship”, arranged for worship choir, praise band, and congregation with the addition of Travis’ chorus, “For He’s Worthy”.  There’s also a full orchestration.  Our congregation (all ages) loves it and took to it right away.  You’ll find it on our Worship Sounds Music website’s “Solos / Worship Songs” page (info copied from the website is below).

Serving as a bridge between traditional hymns and modern worship songs, this arrangement features the hymn “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship,” combined with a new, contemporary chorus. 

*  Worship Pak,  $15.00
(includes PDFs for the Choral parts, piano accompaniment, rhythm section parts, and a string reduction for keyboard, with permission to make an unlimited number of copies, as needed for your groups)

*  Full orchestration, $25.00
(Bundled PDFs include Conductor’s score and reproducible parts for strings, winds, & percussion). 

*  Accompaniment Trax, $10.00 (MP3 download)

NOTE:  At Worship Sounds Music, all of our music is downloadable, and there are never any additional “per copy” fees.
The cost for the PDF master copy (and your printing costs) are all that you will pay for as many copies as you need to make.  Our goal is to be an affordable resource for worship choirs, soloists, and congregational worship, helping others to bring glory to God through their worship ministry.  

Our demos can’t capture the live worship experience with the full choir, praise team, and musicians.  Just imagine the choir singing these parts along with you (as worship leader) and the entire congregation.

Here’s the link to the “Worship Songs” tab on our website where you’ll find the purchasing link for “We Have Met to Worship”:
http://www.worshipsounds.com/Vocal_Solos.html#ws

SOMETHING ELSE FOR CHOIR DIRECTORS AND MINISTERS OF WORSHIP TO CONSIDER:

Georgia Minister of Music Greg Burrell (FBC, Barnesville) makes a good point about music selection and about extending the reach of choral worship ministry with this comment and the follow-up conversation from Facebook:

“Wow… comprehensive article! People LOVE a good choir, period! But what I’m learning is that we can’t relegate the choir to the “traditional” service, or it will become extinct.
We have to make a choir work in the service where the younger people are, or it will age itself into oblivion.
If Bruce Springsteen performs with choirs, certainly we can make it work, too.”

  Travis L Boyd  Very true, Greg. There are a lot of great choral arrangements of contemporary worship songs.

  Greg Burrell  And everyone loves black gospel. And once a month [in a more contemporary service, whatever frequency works in your situation], a truly powerful traditional anthem can reach people who never thought they liked that sort of thing… IF it is really done well!  Anything a choir cannot do well, they shouldn’t be doing in worship.  I’m speaking of adult choirs here; I don’t think anyone expects youth choirs to always be wonderful.  (Editor’s note:  Hopefully, most congregations will extend a lot of grace to student choirs who are just learning how to contribute as worship leaders and to sing in a choir, giving the youth an opportunity to grow through the experience.)

Note:  To further clarify the point about the necessity of only sharing with the congregation that which can be performed with excellence… whatever the genre may be, Greg offers this example (paraphrased here):
“If the director loves “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place” and wants to show his congregation “what real music is”, then takes that song [choral anthem] into the worship service and it is only mediocre, he has only hurt his cause, not helped it.  However, if he has time in [choir] rehearsal to play with “How Lovely…” and give his choir the great experience of getting to know the song, the investment of time can be valid, even if the song never makes it to the service.”

(Thank you for the feedback and for your permission to add it to the article, Greg.) 

12.  EXTENDING YOUR WORSHIP MINISTRY INTO THE COMMUNITY

FINALLY, take your choral worship ministry (and other worship ministry groups) outside the walls of the church and into the community and beyond as frequently as possible.  Contact the facility and find out who to speak with about your group.  Possible locations for ministry include:  your State Capitol (optain permission through your Representative), nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehab and long term care facilities (some do regular worship services, and some allow groups to come at other times), juvenile detention facilities, local arts festivals, a shelter or non-profit, a mall or shopping center (with permission – make sure that they will turn off their Muzak), a community or county-wide national day of prayer or patriotic observance, resorts or public entertainment venues (permission must be obtained, and some only permit outside concerts).  Make sure that your music is appropriate for the setting.  Performance is less important than ministry (by far!).  Your choir might sing an anthem or two at the nursing home and then join residents in singing some favorite hymn tunes.

1.  Make sure that the group which will be ministering off-site is well-prepared (confident that they know the music). aware of what to wear and what to bring, and aware of any rules for visitors to the location.

2.  Make a pre-trip to the site so that you can see any logistical or space challenges and then prepare accordingly (bring needed equipment, sing without risers in a room with a low ceiling, etc.).  Make sure that your group is physically able to meet the logistical challenges (bring a cart to help transport equipment, scout the equipment loading entrance and a drop off point for your group).  Make sure there are adequate restroom facilities and that the trip to and from the venue is well-planned, allowing necessary stops for a meal or break at sensible times.

3.  Build some time into your ministry schedule for relating to the people who have listened to your group.   Help with a non-musical ministry task when possible.

4.  Get creative and think of ways to minister in your own community and beyond.  Make this a matter of prayer for everyone on your worship team.

And serve them with all your soul in love, as unto our Lord and not as unto men.
~ Ephesians 6:7  (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

An important note about doing choral anthems with select singers on mics:
A comment was posted on a facebook link to this post which went something like this, “Don’t have the choir’s sound covered up by a few elite singers on individual mics!” 
For so many of us who are choral purists, this is a really tough pill to swallow.  However, we do need to keep in mind that a lot of Directors and Worship Ministers are doing what they have to do in order to allow their choirs to survive.  Given the mandate, “contemporize or die”, most of us would choose a praise team on mics in front of the choir rather than the alternative of choral extinction.  Hopefully, there are many situations out there where this mandate has not yet been spoken.  For directors, my advice would be to choose to contemporize (at a pace and to an extent and frequency that suits your situation, tech capabilities, and musicians) and earnestly seek to speak to the hearts of all generations on your own… before the mandate comes down (perhaps avoiding the mandate altogether).  In addition, my Minister of Worship hubby mentioned that sometimes the reason for having a few singers on mics is to addresss balance issues, especially when there is an orchestra in addition to accompanists and rhythm section.

The Trinity Worship Choir from Trinity Church (Assembly of God), Cedar Hill, TX, Minister of Worship Jeff Sparkman

The Trinity Worship Choir from Trinity Church (Assembly of God), Cedar Hill, TX, Minister of Worship Jeff Sparkman

GENERAL NEEDS:

1.  Make sure that there is a time and a place for worship ministry rehearsal and preparation.  Your worship ministry team will be as flexible as possible, but they do need some consideration.

2.  Make sure that there is an adequate budget for worship ministry.  There are ways to manage a worship ministry as frugally as possible, but the basic needs should be met.

3.  Make sure that there is child care for rehearsals.  If you want to encourage participation in worship ministry, this is a key priority.

4.  Listen and act (as soon as possible!) when your Worship Pastor or Choir Director says that some equipment is seriously outdated and in need of replacement.

The Prestonwood Baptist Church Worship Choir, Plano, TX, directed by Worship Pastor Todd Bell

The Prestonwood Baptist Church Worship Choir, Plano, TX, directed by Worship Pastor Todd Bell

“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”  ~ Colossians 1:10

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
~ Romans 12:1 – 2

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This post was written by Cynthia Boyd, with a great deal of input from Travis L. Boyd

NOTE:  This post is a work in progress.  Travis has contibuted to the content, but there is more work to be done.  Specifically, I am going to have him refine the section on what Worship Pastors / Choir Directors can do and perhaps provide some additional guidance regarding practical matters such as song and anthem selection.  In addition, we are open to the thoughts and ideas of others on this topic.  Please let us know if there’s anything we failed to address in this article.

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Worship Links has posted a link and recommendation for this blog post, “How to Keep Church Choirs from Becoming Extinct”, with brief commentary.

http://www.worshiplinks.us/2014/02/saving-choir/

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Travis L. Boyd

Worship Pastor and Composer Travis L. Boyd

OUR MUSIC

Here’s a link to our listening page for music by Travis L. Boyd of Worship Sounds Music. 
You’ll hear publisher’s studio demos (from Lorenz, Shawnee Press / Hal Leonard, and Church Street), custom recordings, and our own demos for music that is offered only on WorshipSounds.com

https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/listen-to-my-music/

Click this image to go to the Adult Choir tab on the General Usage Anthems page of our Worship Sounds Music website.

Click this image to go to the General Usage Anthems page of our Worship Sounds Music website.

Here’s a link to our Worship Sounds Music website, where you will find downloadable Choral Anthems, Anthem Orchestrations, Vocal Solos, Worship Paks for our Congregational Worship Music, and Accompaniment Trax for both Anthems and Solos.  All of our music is designed to be practical for worship ministry, Biblically sound, musically memorable, lyrically meaningful, and very affordable.

http://www.worshipsounds.com

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*  ADDENDUM  * 

Help for teaching and learning about Worship
For  Worship Pastors, Pastors, and Ministerial Staff
Worship Team Members, and Church Members

KEY QUESTION:

* What should every Minister or Worship Team member (and every Christian) know and understand about worship? *

Here is an excerpt from our post called “Understanding Worship”:

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“So many people seem to think that worship is a 25 minute time of singing just before the preaching begins in a congregational worship service. Others have actually been told that the purpose of congregational worship is to “prepare the hearts of the people to receive the message from God’s word” (preaching).

However, in reality, worship is worship! It is not preparation for anything… except Heaven!

While it is certainly true that God can use any part of a worship service to speak to hearts and to draw people to Himself, and while it’s also true that He can continue to speak through the remainder of the service, that is the work of God’s spirit. He will use whatever and whomever He chooses to use. If we are lifting up Jesus in worship, the Lord will do the drawing of people unto Himself. Remember that we are to give God glory through the way that we live all of our lives, so times of corporate worship should certainly not be the only times that God can use our witness and our surrender for His glory and for our good. However, we are not worshipping God because of what He will do. We are worshipping Him for who He is. His deeds are an expression of His being, but it is who He is that matters most.

Worship is our response to recognizing God’s ultimate worth.

The goal of worship is to give God glory!

We do not worship God in order to prepare for something else or to obtain His favor. He gives His love and His favor freely because that is who He is. He is a loving and giving God… constantly giving life, mercy, love, grace, and our very breath through His sustaining power.

Yes, when we sing praises to God wholeheartedly, that is worship. We are reverently giving to God our praise, our thanks, our prayers, our lives, and our songs.

The preaching of God’s word is worship, too, when it brings God glory!
We worship through the proclamation of the word.

Unfortunately, many people have very wrong ideas about what worship is and how the concept of worship should fit into the everyday life of every Christian.

The primary focus for every Christian should be to relate to our holy God and worship Him, and yet we are woefully under-educated about how to do the very thing for which we were created and for which the church meets together every week. What day should we worship? Every day… not just on Sunday.

In a corporate worship service and in the way that we live our daily lives, our focus should be on worshipping God and giving Him glory. We choose to live our lives in thankfulness and in the awareness of God’s supremacy over everything, constantly seeking to give our best effort in every moment of our lives so that we may bring glory to Him. He is always giving, and we join Him in giving when we live our lives in an attitude of worship. Even as we give, He continues to give His spirit through us so that we can do all things through Christ. He blesses us with assurance and peace in His presence. He never stops giving.

However, when we view God only through the lens of our own lives, what we want Him to do for us, and the blessings we seek, then our focus becomes all about us.

We become more concerned about what we get out of worship and not concerned at all about what we give!

The Bible tells us repeatedly to give God honor, glory, blessing, praise, worship, exaltation, joyful singing, thanksgiving, reverence, awe, and all that we are. Just as He is constantly giving, we seek to give.

THIS IS THE KEY:

Worship (our response to our holy, almighty, and supreme God) is about giving!

It is not about us, or about our preferences, or about what we get out of the experience (although true worship does give back abundant blessings when we give Him the glory due His name!).

Worship is about seeing God for who He is…
the Creator of everything that is,
the Sustainer of Life,
the Holy and Righteous One,
the God of grace and glory,
the Merciful Father who sacrificed His one and only Son out of love for us!

Our response, then, becomes an effort to GIVE all that we are to Him, seeking to bring Him glory in all of life.

“Honor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts. O worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness; fear before Him, all the earth.”‘ Psalm 96:6 – 9

That is worship… worship as a lifestyle or way of life, seeking to bring God glory through giving Him all that we are… even our hurts and scars.

That’s what Jesus did and how He lived. He lived to bring glory to God through giving every moment as a sacrificial offering to His father, choosing obedience and God’s will over His own.

“When Jesus had spoken these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You, since You have given Him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
I glorified Thee on earth, having accomplished the work which You gave me to do ;
and now, Father, glorify me in Your own presence with the glory which I had with You before the world was made.”” ~ John 17:1 – 5

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(The teaching on worship above is from “Understanding Worship” on the Worship Sounds Music blog)

If you disagree with the teaching that the act and the heart attitude of worship is one of seeking to glorify God as a result of recognizing who He is, giving Him all that we are, please read some of our other articles such as  “A Lifestyle of Worship”. It’s relatively short and is a static page. You will find the title above the header photo (mountain scene) on our blog. The title is a clickable link to the page.  In addition, read “Worship… It’s all about Giving!” and “The Missing Piece… ”  (see info and links below).

Would you like to read some of our other articles on Choral Worship and on worship in general?

Here are some links for you:

1. “The missing piece…What Every Christian Should Know About Worship”
https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/the-missing-piece-what-every-christian-should-know-about-worship/

2. “31 Days of Praise (Scripture Devotions)
https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/31-days-of-praise/
This post has been recommended on Worship Links @   http://www.worshiplinks.us/2013/09/devotions-praise/

3. “Walking in Worship”
Note:
This article has also been published in the online magazine, “ChurchMag” with its original title
http://churchm.ag/walking-in-worship/
and on churchleaders.com , using the title, “What Worship REALLY Means”  @
http://www.churchleaders.com/worship/worship-articles/163955-cynthia-boyd-worship-really-means.html
* found on this blog @ https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/walking-in-worship/

OUR OTHER POSTS ABOUT WORSHIP: (Our pages, like the one on Lifestyle Worship, have titles that are always visible on the blog header.  Our posts are categorized, and all of the posts on worship can be found in our category called “Worship…with Wonder!” (and the sub-categories in that topic).  Here are links to 7 of our most widely read posts about worship.

Music is a gift…Worship the Giver!
This article was also published by TheWorshipCommunity.com @  http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/music-is-a-gift-worship-the-giver/

Worship Planning and Preparation

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Our Top Anthems and Solos for 2013

Click this image to go to our WorshipSounds website.

Click this image to go to our WorshipSounds website.

At Worship Sounds Music, all of our music is designed to be much more than a song.  Each Choral Anthem, Vocal Solo, or Congregational Worship Song is, most importantly, a message of God’s love.  Our mission is to provide very affordable music for worship that is Biblically sound, memorable, worshipful, and meaningful.  Our music is the work of Worship Pastor and composer Travis L. Boyd, written with a heart for local church ministry.

We are blessed to know many worship pastors and worshippers throughout the United States and to have made friends through our website and blog with many others in the U.S. and around the world.  May God bless those who lead God’s people in worship with a heart for Him, a love for God’s people, and compassion for those who need to know him.

Our downloadable music is very beneficial in these times of tight music budgets.

Choral Anthems are priced between $10.00 and $15.00, with no “per copy” fees, allowing an unlimited number of copies to be made for your choir in either Octavo or Full Page format.

*  Our Accompaniment Tracks are $10.00 and come as a downloadable Mp3.

*  Our Full Orchestrations range from $25.00 to $35.00, with the bundled PDFs including a Director’s Score, String Reduction for keyboard, and reproducible parts for all instruments.

Worship Paks for our Congregational worship songs are priced at $15.00.

We strive to keep our prices as low as possible (considering the expenses of our website, shopping cart, and Pay pal); and we hope to be able to share some special offers for our friends who serve in very small churches during 2014.

At Worship Sounds Music, we seek to provide a resource for music that will bring glory to God
and be a blessing to your worship ministry participants and to your church family.
We count it a joy to partner with you in sharing the good news of God’s love and salvation
through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Looking back over 2013, here are our
Top Anthems, Orchestrations and Trax, Worship Paks, and Vocal Solos
(as reflected by music purchases from WorshipSounds.com)

TOP  TEN  ANTHEMS
2013

1.  He Put the Joy

Click to view Video Demo

Click to view Video Demo

(SAB, optional A Cappella, general use anthem for Student Choir or Ensemble)

2.  Early in the Morning

Click thumbnail to view demo.

Click photo to view demo.

(SATB, general use, anthem of praise)
Full Orchestration available, Anthem Trax available

3.  A Mighty God

Link to Video Demo

Link to Video Demo

(SSATB, general use anthem)
Full Orchestration Available

4.  A Prayer for the Saints
(SATB, general use anthem)
Full Orchestration available
Worship Pak available for use in Congregational worship
{Recorded by The Sons of Jubal, under the direction of Dr. Jon Duncan,
for their new CD, “Washed Away”,  during 2013}

5.  Greater
(SSATB or SSAA general use anthem)
Full Orchestration available, works w/ both voicings
{sung by The Jubalheirs, under the direction of Dr. Jon Duncan}

6.  Where You Want Me to Be
(SATB or TTBB, general use anthem with Solo throughout)
Full Orchestration available, Anthem Trax available
{sung by The Sons of Jubal, under the direction of Dr. Jon Duncan,
and at the 50th Anniversary Concert by The Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma,
then under the direction of Dr. Ken Gabrielse and Dr. Bill Green}

7.  A Joyful Doxology
(SATB, general use anthem for Adult or Student Choirs)
Four brief Solos within anthem

8.  I Am Here
(SATB, general use or for memorial service)
Full Orchestration available, Anthem Trax available
{sung by The Singing Churchwomen of Oklahoma, then under the direction of Dr. Bill Green}

9.  O, For a Thousand Tongue to Sing
(SATB, general use anthem with hymn text)
FREE flute obbligato is ordered separately

10.  I Am a Child of God
Easy SATB for Sr. Adult or small Choir

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TOP  ANTHEM  ORCHESTRATIONS  AND  TRAX
2013

1.  We Have Met to Worship
(Worship Pak includes SATB vocal parts, Rhythm Section parts, & String Reduction)
Full Orchestration available, Accomp. Trax also available

2.  Early in the Morning
Full Orchestration, Accomp. Trax both available

3.  A Mighty God
Full orchestration

4.  A Prayer for the Saints
(Worship Pak includes hymn sheet, Vocal / Piano score, and lead sheet)
Full Orchestration also available

5.  O, For a Thousand Tongues
(free Flute Obbligato, ordered separately)

>*<*>*<

TOP  CHRISTMAS  ANTHEMS
2013

1.  O, Come, O Come, Emmanuel
(SATB, Fresh, new arrangement of the traditional Carol)

2.  Christmas Joy
(SATB, joyous 6/8 celebration of Christ’s birth)

3.  Glory to the Newborn King
Bluesy, rockin’ SATB anthem
Anthem Trax available

4.  No Room
SATB anthem about the search for lodging before the birth of Christ

5.  The Praises of the King
SATB, Rhythmic Christmas praise

>*<*>*<

TOP  CONGREGATIONAL  WORSHIP  PAKS
2013

!.  We Have Met to Worship
 (Worship Pak includes SATB vocal parts, Rhythm Section parts, & String Reduction)

2.  A Prayer for the Saints
(Worship Pak includes hymn sheet, Vocal / Piano score, and lead sheet)

>*<*>*<

TOP  VOCAL  SOLOS and SOLO  TRAX
2013

1.  Where You Want Me to Be

2.  Much More Than a Song
(sung by The Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma, then under the direction of Dr. Bill Green)

3.  A Mother’s Love

4.  A Prayer for the Saints
(Vocal Solo is included in the Worship Pak)

5.  The Father’s Beautiful World
A medley of beloved Creation hymns, with a new melody for
“All Things Bright and Beautiful”
and incorporating a portion of, “This is my Father’s World”

Write a Family Praise Psalm

Praise  sing praises speak of His wondersHave you ever considered that your family could write your own praise Psalm? This would be a great thing for your family to do at Thanksgiving or at any time of year. After all, a psalm is simply a heartfelt prayer song to the Lord. Psalms are always honest. The Psalmists speak of times of difficulty in some songs, but they always come back to the fact that God is Supreme over all and that He is good and is worthy of our trust and our worship and praise. Psalms can be very personal, but at the same time they are universal in that the heart cries of the Psalmists of old still resonate with people today.

Living a life of trust and walking by faith are not always easy, so one thing that the Psalmists did was to declare their intention to honor their covenant relationship with God by choosing to be guided by God’s word or to praise the Lord every day. In addition, the Psalmists often spoke of who God is as far as His character. In the Psalms, we read of God’s holiness, righteousness, goodness, kindness, long suffering, His mercies, His everlasting love, His power and might, and His glory. The Psalmists were guided by their knowledge of who God is and their relationship with Him. In Psalms that were written in times of trial, the Psalmists call out to God because of the fact that they know He is good and loving and merciful. In good times. the Psalmists exalt the Lord because of His kindness and long suffering that has been revealed through both trials and blessings.

Psalm 100 scripture memory photo

We all have life stories and faith journeys, just like the Psalmists. Every individual story is unique, and every family has their own journey as well. In order to focus on the element of praise in your family’s Psalm, it is helpful to look at two of the most well known praise Psalms in the Bible. Both are very short (only 5 – 6 verses), and they are a good model for your family’s prayer of praise. So, here are two scripture memory photos for Psalm 100 and Psalm 150. These can be printed in whatever size works best for you and used for your family times of devotion. Perhaps your family can memorize the five verses of Psalm 100 one month and the six verses of Psalm 150 the next. Or, spend some time reading and talking about these two Psalms during a couple of your family worship times. Look at the times that are mentioned when the Psalmist praised the Lord. Look at the attributes and actions of God that the Psalmist praised. Look at the commitments to the Lord that the Psalmist mentions in the verses. What actions or attitudes have the Psalmists chosen for themselves in order to demonstrate their praise to God? How can your family demonstrate your praise and thanksgiving? At what times of day and in what places can your family express their praise? Read through the two brief praise Psalms above and below this paragraph, and then think about what your family’s praise Psalm would say.

Psalm 150 memory help photo

WRITING YOUR FAMILY PRAISE PSALM

Make your family’s praise Psalm as unique and personal as you desire. You can frame a copy for each child’s room or for your family room if desired. Just make sure that it reflects your family’s desire to praise and thank the Lord for who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing in your lives. Your praise Psalm should state your family’s intention to be faithful to God in praise as He has been faithful to you in everything. Most importantly, your praise Psalm should be true to scripture. Have fun working together with your family to figure out what your praise Psalm should say. Below, you will find a set of suggestions for writing your praise Psalm that would be easily understood by most children. This can be printed and used to guide that process of writing if you feel that it would be helpful.

Print this guideline to help your family write a Praise Psalm, or write the suggestions on sentence strips and give each family member one suggestion to work on as their contribution to your family’s Praise Psalm.

How to write a Praise Psalm 2

MY FAMILY’S PRAISE PSALM

Praise   Lets just praise the Lord“Praise the Lord! Praise Him wherever you are.

Praise God when you get up in the morning to get ready for the day.

Praise Him when you go to school or when you run to play.

Praise God when you are with your brothers and when you are alone.

Praise God at church; Praise God at home.

Think of God and praise him all day long.

Praise Him with a thank you song.

Praise God when it is time for slumber;

Count your blessings…what a number!

Praise the Lord! Praise Him everywhere you go,

Praise Him for all of the love that you know.

For our God is so good.

His promises are true.

His love lasts forever. His mercies are new.

Praise Him with your family.

Praise Him with your friends.

His love lasts forever. His grace never ends.

Praise the Lord!”

 

(Your Praise Psalm doesn’t have to be poetic. Ours just came out that way. Just make sure that your Praise Psalm reflects your family’s personal opportunities to praise the Lord, some reasons to praise Him, and your intention to do just that.)

Blessings to you and your family as you walk with the Lord day by day and choose to praise and worship the Lord together!

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.
http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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The missing piece…What Every Christian Should Know About Worship

SOMETHING IS MISSING…

What is the missing piece of the puzzle?

What is the missing piece of the puzzle?

Many Christians try to do what they know they need to do in order to grow as a Christian and become more like Jesus. We read our Bibles, we pray, we attend church, we sing songs of worship, and we try to be a witness for Christ through the way we live our lives as well as by what we say. Some Christians even take responsibility for sharing the good news about Jesus when the opportunity arises. Sadly, for many Christians, there is still a nagging feeling that something is missing. My personal belief, based upon years of learning from scripture, from the writings and teachings of others (through books, sermons, articles, and conferences), and from my own experience, is that true worship is the missing piece.

KEY A:  RELATIONSHIP  THROUGH  WORSHIP
True worship connects us to the very heart of God like nothing else can.

Jesus said to the woman at the well that God is Spirit and that all who truly worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)  Jesus named only two requirements for authentic worship, and yet there are many Christians who don’t feel that they really understand what it means to worship.  Others may not have spent much time thinking about worship but would admit that their corporate worship experiences seem to be lacking in some way and that their personal worship time is practically non-existant

Remember that Jesus could have spoken to the woman at the well about anything, and yet He chose to talk about worship.  Certainly, acts of service and devotion are vitally important.  So is sharing the gospel, as well as other critical elements of the Christian life, such as discipleship, fellowship with other believers, Biblical knowledge, and prayer,  And yet, Jesus chose to talk about worship   His conversation with the Samaritan woman was life changing for her.  She was confronted with the truth about who she was.  She initially recognized that Jesus must somehow be very closely related to God since He knew everything about her, and she ultimately realized that she was seeing God Himself in the form of a man.  The woman’s response to these revelations of truth (who Jesus/God is and who she was) revealed the change that had occured in her life as a result of her encounter with Christ.  She, who had been such an outcast that she ceme to the well alone at a time when no one else would be there, suddenly wanted to tell everyone what had just happened to her.  She wanted to run into town to tell them about the man she had met and what He said.  She was full of joy and excitement.  She had recognized her need, seen the fulfillment of that need in Christ, said “yes!” in her heart, and was ready to share the news!  That’s what true worship does.  It changes us, empowers us, fills us with wonder and joy, and makes us want to share what (and Who!) we have known and experienced with others.  When we see God for Who He really is, the transformation that occurs as a result of that encounter with the living God is a part of why worship is so important for me, for you, and for every Christian.

Here are some truths about worship and some practical helps for understanding your role as a worshipper.

Key B:   UNDERSTANDING  WORSHIP  BEGINS
WITH  UNDERSTANDING  WHO  GOD  REALLY  IS.

Worship is not some mystical activity that only people who have a Doctorate in Theology can understand.  God is revealed to us through His presence, through the Holy Spirit, through His word, and through the blessings and even challenges of life when we are looiking for His hand at work.

God is ... header

Simply stated, our lives, our thoughts, and the attitudes of our hearts matter to God. If we are going to seek to live a life that uplifts and blesses the lives of others and honors our Creator God through purity of purpose and a legacy of lasting (eternal) impact on the world, God knows that we must first be in right relationship with Him. He longs for us to know Him as He knows us. After we have come into relationship with God by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, this is where worship comes into the picture. When we begin to understand who God really is and catch a vision of His infinite love and mercy, our reasonable response to this revelation of truth is…worship.

Remember that God does not desire our worship so that he can become great. He is already great. He does not need to be elected as “Supreme Ruler of the Universe” by all of humanity. He is already the supreme ruler of the universe. God does not desire empty accolades or flowery speeches of devotion. He desires relationship with us.

KEY C:  THE MINDSET OF WORSHIP
We are never closer to the heart of God than when we

* see ourselves and our need for God

at the same time that we

* see who He is (our all-sufficient Creator, Savior, and Sustainer)

and then respond in true worship.

Worship God in Spirit and Truth

Worship God in Spirit and Truth

KEY D:  THE  REQUIREMENTS  FOR  WORSHIP

1. JESUS  SAID  THAT  WE  MUST  WORSHIP  “IN  SPIRIT”.
How can that happen?

What do we need in order for relationship with God to happen so that we can worship God in Spirit? First, we need a bridge of salvation from God to man so that we can accept His provision for our spiritual need and allow Him to begin to work in our hearts, minds, and souls. Accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior allows God to begin the process of making us holy so that one day we can dwell with Him (without making Heaven unholy). If we are going to be in relationship with Him while still on earth and in the process of becoming like Christ, we must be given spiritual understanding and spiritual life. To accomplish this, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live within us when we come to know Him. Even a child can understand that Jesus gave His life in order to pay the penalty for our sin. It doesn’t take a college degree to grasp the fact that our salvation is the beginning of a process of becoming like Christ so that we may one day dwell with God in a holy place where none of the consequences of sin can exist. However, we must move on from that beginning point of salvation to learning and growing in the deeper spiritual truths, including our understanding of worship, which we can do with the help of God’s spirit, who leads us into all truth when we are seeking more.

So, God has done the initial work of making our salvation and relationship with Him possible. He has done the important work of helping us to grow in Christ through the indwelling of His Spirit, and He has also done the work of fulfilling the first requirement of true worship through the indwelling.  We can worship God “in Spirit” when we have the Spirit of God living within us after accepting Christ as our Savior (as long as we don’t allow sin or the concerns of the world to drown out the still, small voice of God’s spirit).  Remember what Jesus said.  God is Spirit, and when we worship Him “in Spirit”, we are connecting spiritually in a unique way.  Father God who sustains us and who has provided a a way of salvation throught Jesus, God the Son, responds to the Spirit of God within us.

Worship Him2. JESUS  SAID  THAT  WE  MUST  WORSHIP  “IN  TRUTH”.
True worship comes with surrender and getting real.

What about the “in truth” requirement for worship?  What does that mean?

First, as we come to an understanding of who God is and His characteristics as the Creator and Lord of all, at some point we learn that God knows all and that He looks upon our hearts. God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows us more intimately than anyone else ever could. He knows our fears, our failures, our sorrows, our sin, our hopes, our loves, and our priorities. He knows what we worship. Our job is to get real with Him.  We must come to realize that faking spiritual life or pretending to surrender to God or acting the part of a genuine worshipper will never be enough for true relationship with Him.

If we say that we worship God and yet devote most of our energy and thoughts to something else (even to all of the busy-ness of serving God that we sometimes allow to become a substitute for knowing and worshipping Him), God knows it. He does not want us to have divided hearts, and He longs for us to be spared the eventual pain that comes with focusing our lives too much on temporary pleasures or things or human relationships without seeking Him first. Since He knows our hearts and fully understands our spiritual struggles, it does no good to try to fool God with a “show” of worship. He is not fooled. We are only fooling ourselves, and we are falling into the trap of settling for less of God than He wants to give.

All to Jesus I surrender...

All to Jesus I surrender…

Secondly, we need to realize what God’s true nature is in relation to us, His children.  Jesus said that God is a giver who desires to give good gifts to His children. (Matthew 7:11)  We can never out-give God, and yet we try to hold part of ourselves back from relationship to Him, thinking that we don’t want to lose our identity. However, it is only when we are able to let go and give ourselves fully to God that He can show us what abundant life means.  He can then show us our true identity in Him (who He made us to be).  When we begin to understand the revelation of what God will do through us as we surrender to Him, we can begin the process of fully becoming every part of the whole of our true identity.  This is why Jesus said that He that tries to keep his life will lose it. While we won’t lose our salvation if we never fully surrender to God, we will lose the eternal impact that our lives were meant to have. We will lose the fullest meaning and purpose that our lives could have had. We will also lose out on abundant life.

Surrender handsThirdly, we have to get real.  It is only when we are willing to be real and honest with God (and even tell Him about our struggles to surrender fully to Him) that He can begin to work with the truth that we have accepted about ourselves and begin to teach us the joys of a life that is being transformed from the inside out. When we trust God with the truth (that He already knows) and come to Him with real desire to move forward in becoming like Christ, even though we know that we have a long way to go in that journey, that desire to bring God glory with our lives by becoming more like Christ is true worship. Our lives become the intentional expression of our desire to bring God glory through recognizing His infinite worth.* We then choose to allow God to fill us with His spiritual life as we continually surrender our mess to Him. That process is living Romans 12:1-2, our reasonable service of worship. That is living in an authentic relationship with God, worshipping Him in truth, as we continue to give Him our mess and allow Him to make our lives a message of God’s glory through a transformed life.

Romans 12

New International Version (NIV)

A Living Sacrifice

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

KEY E:  GOD  AND  JESUS  LEAD  THE  WAY  IN  SACRIFICIAL  GIVING

Remember these truths:

God is not asking us to do anything that He himself has not already done! 
He gave Himself. 

At a time when we were all takers, He gave.
We continue to take, and He continues to give.

Only true worship breaks the “cycle of taking” in our lives,
As we seek to give Him glory in all of life through living a life of worship.

Restating and expanding upon Key E:
When we worship God, we become part of an endless (eternal) cycle of giving which God began, which He continues in every moment, which He will continue throughout eternity, and of which He is always a part. 
(even when we are not in giving mode)

(i)  God began the giving.

1 Peter 1:20
“He (Jesus) was chosen (as our Redeemer, whose live would be given for all) before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”

John 3;16 (NLT)  “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

(ii)  God continues to give in every moment of time.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  – James 1:17
(Note that God’s nature is that of a giver and that He does not change!)

22The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”…  – Lamentations 3:22 – 24

(iii)  God will continue giving throughout all eternity.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”  – I Corinthians 2:9

“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”  – Revelation 21:23

(iv)  God is always a part of an eternal cycle of giving. 

“If you then, imperfect as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”  – Matthew 7:11 (WNT)

Therefore…

Key F:  WORSHIP  IS  ABOUT  GIVING  OURSELVES  TO  A  LOVING  GOD  WHO  HAS  GIVEN  HIMSELF  FOR  US  AND  WILL  CONTINUE  TO  GIVE  THROUGHOUT  ALL  OF  ETERNITY.

God givesMany people don’t realize that the pervasive attitude of consumerism in society has leached into our mindsets about worship.  If we view worship as something that should be done only on Sundays and only during a corporate worship service, we have not understood the concept of lifestyle worship (worshiping God through the way that we live our lives by seeking to give Him glory in all that we do and all that we are becoming).  If we view worship from the standpoint of how much we are “getting out of it”, then we misunderstand worship completely.  Worship is not about the occasional obligatory 25 minutes of singing that some just endure during a church worship service.  Worship is also not about consuming a commodity.  It is not a cheeseburger or a steak.  It is not about your musical preferences or mine.  It is not about seeing and being seen.  Worship is not something that we do in order to check all of the spiritual boxes.

Instead, worship can become our natural state of being as we learn more and more about our merciful God, our victorious Savior, and our ever-present guide and helper, God’s indwelling and holy Spirit (then choosing to respond to all that He is with all that we are).

THE  KEY  TRUTH:  Worship is about giving.

Giving in daily life…

Lift up His name!

Lift up His name!

If we understand that worship is about giving, we can choose to live with an attitude of true worship (though none of us can accomplish it perfectly in this life).  We can seek to continually express God’s infinite worth* through living in such a way that every part of our lives ultimately brings Him glory.  This is something that we cannot do in our own strength.  In order to continue the process of becoming like Christ as we seek to live a live that brings God glory, we need God’s help in many ways.  He gives us guidance and strength through His word, through His presence, and through dwelling within us in Spirit.  Even as we are sseking to give worship to God through living “as unto the Lord and not unto men”,  He continues to give

Living in an attitude of worship, presenting our selves unto the Lord as a living sacrifice, is our “reasonable service of worship”.  (Romans 12:1 & 2) 

To state this truth in another way.  because of all that God has done, is continuing to do, and will do throughout all of eternity, we choose moment by moment to live in such a way that our lives bring glory to God, even in the small, everyday things.

“Whatever you are doing, let your hearts be in your work, as a thing done for the Lord and not for men.”  –  Colossians 3:23  (Weymouth New Testament)

“And serve them with all your soul in love, as unto our Lord and not as unto men,”  – Ephesians 6:7  (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  – I Corinthians 10:31  NASB

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  – Colossians 3:17

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”  I Peter 4:11

Giving in times of corporate worship

Worship from the heart

Worship from the heart

If we understand that worship is about giving, then we can come to a corporate worship service with a heart that is ready to give!  Whether things in our lives seem to be going well or whether we are struggling or dealing with many trials, the fact remains that both a private worship time and times of corporate worship are about giving.  Even when the cares of life are weighing us down, we can be honest in prayer and tell God that we are feeling drained and exhausted and worn to a frazzle.  He already knows everything we are facing and everything we are feeling anyway, so we are simply coming into agreement with the truth when we admit our status before Him.  Then, we can choose to give the sacrifice of praise by making a symbolic mental, emotional, and spiritual exchange.  We give our burdens to God and exchange the spirit of heaviness that had been pressing the life right out of us for that lovely garment of praise.

When we lift up the Lord, He lifts us up, too!  We can never out-give God because He is constantly giving more and more.  There will always be an infinite number of reasons to praise Him.  When we come into a time of corporate worship ready to give the Lord praise, honor, exaltation, blessing, surrender, our lives and hearts, our focus, our struggles, our longings, and our raw need for God and for all that He is to be reflected in our lives, He will meet us right where we are and complete the cirlcle of giving (of which He is always a part).

WHAT  ARE  WE  SUPPOSED  TO  GIVE?

1.  We are to give God THANKSGIVING and PRAISE!

* Psalm 100:4   ”Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.”

* Psalm 9:1 & 2   “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart: I will tell of all Thy wonderful deeds.  I will be glad and exult in Thee, I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.”

2.  We are to give God GLORY!

give God the glory(or, glorify Him)

* Psalm 86:12   “With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever.”

* Psalm 96:6 – 9   “Honor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.  Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.  O worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness; fear before Him, all the earth.”

3.  We are to give God AWE and REVERENCE, acknowledging Him as the Lord and Creator of all.

(In some verses and some translations, “the fear of the Lord”)

* Psalm 111:10   “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”

* Psalm 86:9 – 12   “All the nations You have made shall come and bow down before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.  For You are great, and You do wondrous things; You alone are God.  Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.  I give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart; and I will glorify Your name forever.”

blessed is the Lord God4.  We are to give God BLESSING.  (Bless the Lord, bless the name of the Lord)

* Psalm 103:22   ”Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!”

* Psalm 28:6 & 7   “Blessed be the Lord!  for He has heard the voice of my supplications.  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts; so I am helped and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.”

5.  We are to give Him EXALTATION!*  (or exalt Him, exalt His name)

From the www.thefreedictionary.com, here are the applicable definitions:

1. to raise or elevate in rank, position, dignity, etc.
2. to praise highly; glorify; extol
* Psalm 34:3   “Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!”
*NOTE:  The word ‘exaltation’ sometimes gets confused with ‘exultation’, for which the definition is “to rejoice greatly, be jubilant or triumphant (or, as in triumph.  We rejoice greatly in His triumph.)  — same source

6.  We are to give Him SERVICE!
(giving of our hearts, our time, our gifts, and our lives in serving Him)

* Joshua 24:15   ”If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Worship by giving God all of you7.  We are to give Him WORSHIP!
True worship rises up from the people of God, who are choosing to intentionally express His infinite worth! **

**(see note at end of post)

You have probably noticed by now that there is some overlap in the various types of giving to the Lord.  For example, in singing praise to God, we can bless His name.  In the worship category of giving, there is overlap with all other types of giving.  All of these ways of giving to the Lord are worship (lifestyle worship) when we are giving with the purpose of bringing glory to God and expressing His infinite worth through giving our best to God in every area of our lives.

* Psalm 29:2   ”Honor the LORD for the glory of His name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.”

* Phillippians 3:3   “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

8.  We are to give Him our songs (SING UNTO HIM)!

* Psalm 5:11   ”But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.”

* Psalm 30:4   “Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.”

* Psalm 59:16 & 17   “I will sing of Thy power; yes, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning; for Thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.  Unto Thee, O my Strength, will I sing; for God is my defense , and the God of my mercy.”   Psalm 59:16 & 17“I will sing of Thy power; yes, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning; for Thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.  Unto Thee, O my Strength, will I sing; for God is my defense , and the God of my mercy.”

9.  We are to give Him TITHES and OFFERINGS!

* Malachi 3:10   “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

* Exodus 35:29  “The children of Israel brought a voluntary offering to Jehovah, every man and woman whose heart prompted them to bring for all manner of work, which Jehovah, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.”

Honor the Lord10.  We are to give Him HONOR!

* Revelation 4:11   “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

* Psalm 96:6 – 9   “Honor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.  Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.  O worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness; fear before Him, all the earth.”

* Proverbs 3:9   “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first and best part of all your income.”

Just as we would honor a guest in our home by seeking to serve our best meal and prepare diligently so that all will be able to enjoy the best time of fellowship, we choose to give unto the Lord the best of all that we are and all that we have for His honor.   We honor the Lord by giving, just as He has chosen to honor us by seeking fellowship with us and reaching out to us through the gift of His very best.

11.  We are to give Him LOVE!

The words of Jesus Himself in Mark 12:30   “AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.”

* Psalm 31:23   “Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.”

* Joshua 22:5   “But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the LORD your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”

* Psalm 116:1   “I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.”

Give Him your heart12.  We are to give Him OUR WHOLE HEART AND LIFE!

* I Chronicles 28:9   “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”

* Mark 8:35   “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.”

The Final KEY TRUTH:

 THERE  IS  NO  SUBSTITUTE  FOR  CORPORATE  WORSHIP  WITH  GOD’S  PEOPLE.

worship is whereIt is wonderful to have a personal understanding of worship that aligns with what scripture teaches, and it is vitally important that every Christian also begins to follow through and move forward from having knowledge about worship to actually putting into practice the truths that we have learned.  In other words, each of us must begin to view ourselves as not only a child of God, servant of God, and disciple of Christ but also as a worshipper.  The Bible tells us that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  Through worship, we are seeking more than just answered prayers and strength or comfort.  We are actually seeking to bless the heart of God with our own desire to give Him glory.  In choosing to live all of life with an attitude of worship, we are seeking to choose in every moment to do, say, and think in a God-honoring way.  Again, we will fall short, but our effort and our heart for God will not escape His notice.  He will meet with us in those moments of focused worship, and He will bless our efforts to bring Him glory through living in an attitude of worship.

Personal worship and living a lifestyle of worship are wonderful and essential to the life of every growing Christian, but those two elements of growth as a worshipper are not enough without regular corporate worship times with your church family.  Times of worship with the body of Christ are essential for the body and for the individuals who make up the body.  Here is what the Bible says about our need for corporate worship:

“We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.”  – Hebrews 10:25 (God’s Word translation)

Seeing the scripture within the context of other verses, consider the application for such a time as this:

A Call to Persevere
23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.…

Restated:  In order to persevere in our faith, we must not waver in our commitment to be a part of the body of Christ and to worship with the body of Christ.  We must hold on with all of our might to the certain hope we have been given, recognizing God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises.  We must encourage one another and work together to love each other within the church fellowship and to demonstrate the love of Christ to the world.  We must serve together, doing what is good in helping others both inside and outside of the church, in the name of Jesus.  We must learn and grow spiritually through the process of study and sharing testimonies of God’s faithfulness and proclamation of the Word.

And, we should remember that all of these things (corporate worship and all of the loving, serving, discipleship, and fellowship through the body) that can only be done by continuing to meet, worship, fellowship, and serve together as a body become even more important as time moves closer and closer to the return of Christ.

You and I cannot be who we need to be as Christians if we forsake meeting togther. 

If we are going to live in a way that honors and reverences the blood of Christ which sanctifies us, the passage goes on to say, we must demonstrate our love and commitment to the Lord through loving His body, the church, and meeting together with other believers for the primary purpose of worship and for discipleship, fellowship, outreach / missions, and service.  Verse 26 even refers back to the mention of forsaking meeting together and calls such practice “deliberate sin’, going on to talk about God’s judgement for those who have “spurned the Son of God, profaned the blood of the convenant, and outraged the Spirit of Grace” (vs. 29).  God does not take it lightly when those who know Him (and whom Jesus died to save) reject His body, the church.

Remember that we (Christians who make up the body of Christ) are all in the process of growing to be more Christlike, and we are all in different stages of spiritual growth.  Sometimes other Christians will disappoint or even hurt us.  We need to extend the same grace that we have been given to our fellow believers.  They may not have yet reached the point of conviction about something that they have done or are doing that is wrong or has been hurtful (sometimes unintentionally) to the body.  However, we can choose to demonstrate the love of Christ and the grace and mercy of God to them, knowing that love always hopes, always believes, and always trusts You may not be able to trust an individual, but you can trust the God who is at work in your heart and in theirs.

We are a family of brothers and sisters in Christ, and the same principles of forgiveness, moving forward, and talking through problems that you follow with your own family must also be followed with your spiritual family.  This is one of the ways that we encourage one another to good works (one of the reasons given for not forsaking the assembling together of God’s family).  Forgiveness and reconciliation, resulting in spiritual growth for both parties and in greater harmony within the body, are good works!   Don’t allow your “right” to nurse a grudge or hang on to a hurt or misunderstanding to cause you to sin against the blood of Christ.

Remember, there is no substitute for worshipping together with other believers.

May God bless you as you seek to worship Him both personally and corporately, living a life that brings Him glory and discovering that relating to God as a 24/7 worshipper is the missing piece that you have longed to find.

Colossians 1:10   “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”

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* John Piper’s definition of worship. paraphrased.
This definition is found in the devotion titled  ”Bodies, Breakfast, and the Marriage Bed”  and subtitled  “A Meditation on Daily Worship”.
You can read the complete devotion at this link:  http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/taste-see-articles/bodies-breakfast-and-the-marriage-bed

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd

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You may want to read some of our other posts and pages about worship:

OUR OTHER POSTS ABOUT WORSHIP: (Our pages, like the one on Lifestyle Worship, have titles that are always visible on the blog header.  Our posts are categorized, and all of the posts on worship can be found in our category called “Worship…with Wonder!”

Music is a gift…Worship the Giver!

Worship Planning and Preparation

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For further reading, here is a link to an article called,

“What is Worship?
A Survey of Scripture”

http://www.gci.org/God/worship

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Psalm 100: A Prescription for Praise!

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God; it is He that has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good: His mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures to all generations.”

~   Psalm 100 (all verses, 1 – 5)

Make a joyful noiseI love Psalm 100!

These 5 short verses are a prescription for a life of thanksgiving and praise!

Within these verses, we find the “why” of praise.

Why do we praise God?

* 1 *  Because He is good  (verse 5)

* 2 *  Because His mercy is everlasting   (verse 5 ~ some translations use “steadfast love”)

* 3 *  Because His truth endures to all generations   (v. 5 ~ some versions say “faithfulness”)

* 4 *  Because we are His people   (v. 3)

* 5 *  Because He is like a Shepherd to us   (v. 3 ~ He cares for our needs since we are the sheep of His pasture.)

* 6 *  Because the pasture is His   (v. 3 ~ We dwell within His creation, another provision.)

* 7 *  Because He is God   (v.3)

* 8 *  Because He made us   (v. 3)

* 9 *  Because anything we have as far as abilities and gifts (anything good within us) came from Him  (v. 3 ~ We didn’t make ourselves.)

* 10 *  Because He allows us to come into His presence   (v. 4 ~ We can enter His gates, His courts.)

* 11 *  Because He wants to be in relationship and fellowship with us, He gives us the keys to His presence.   (v. 4 He tells us that thanksgiving and praise are the outer and inner gateways to communion with Him.)

* 12 *  Because He wants us to be glad and to be joyful, to have hearts that sing.   (v. 1 & 2 ~ He even wants to hear and share in our joy!)

Did you see those 12 reasons for praise in the 5 verses of Psalm 100 before?  I have read this Psalm hundreds of times in the 35 years since I became a Christian, but I don’t think I saw all of the reasons for praise until I started looking for them.

Isn’t it amazing that our God is so good that we can find 12 reasons for praising Him in only 5 short verses of scripture.  He is amazing!  THAT’S WHY WE PRAISE HIM!

The Lord is great, He is Sovereign, He is personal, He is a loving and caring Shepherd, He claims us as His own, He wants us to know Him, He is a God of truth, He is merciful (FULL of mercy), He is a giver, He is generous (desiring our joy!), He has our best interests at heart, and He is powerful.

He is God.

Knowing the 5 verses of Psalm 100 can be a lifelong reminder of the reasons to praise Him. There’s something else in these verses as well. We not only have the “why” of praise in Psalm 100. We also have the “how”.

So, how are we to praise the Lord?

Praise God as the Source of all blessings* with a joyful noise (v. 1)
* with glad hearts as we serve Him (v. 2)
* with singing (v. 2)
* with the reverent recognition of who He is (v. 3)
* with thanksgiving (v. 4)
* with blessing for His name (v. 4)
* with knowledge that praise is the password to His presence (v. 4)
* with the desire to go deeper in seeking and knowing Him (also v. 4, drawing near as we come into his courts)

Finally, we find that remembering the how and why of praise found in Psalm 100 can help us to live in fellowship with the Lord as we continually look for more reasons to give Him praise and seek to live our lives for His glory.  

There are many benefits to living a life of praise, because praise is good medicine!

Unlike prescriptions for medication, praise has no harmful side effects. The benefits of praise are spiritual, emotional, mental, and even physical.

Here are 10 of the benefits of praise:

Praise   Lets just praise the Lord* Praise focuses our attention on the eternal and causes us to let go of our earthly concerns for a while.

* Praise reminds us why we love and trust our great God. It reminds us who He is.

* Praise helps us to remember that God’s salvation goes beyond meeting our greatest need (for Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior) to meeting our everyday needs through all of the ways that God shepherds and cares for us and helps us to grow in grace.

* When we praise the Lord specifically for all that He is and all that He has done, we are confronted with God’s sovereignty, Jesus’ glory as the only begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit’s comfort and guidance.

* Praise brings peace to our hearts because it reminds us that He is our peace.

* Praise makes us glad as we remember that He is the joy of every longing heart.

* Praise gives us eternal perspective and helps us hold on to faith in God, even when things don’t seem to make sense.

* Praise allows God to meet us where we are and minister to us at the point of our deepest need.

* Praise takes our eyes off of ourselves and focuses them on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

* Praise allows us to give something of eternal value to the Giver of all things. We can give something of eternal value only because God invested Himself in us when He chose to die for us. He can redeem us through the power of His great love and make us into eternal beings who will see His glory and become worthy of His presence through the shedding of His own blood. He gives value to our weakest effort. His strength is perfected in our human weakness. As we praise Him, we recognize and affirm His infinite worth and supreme glory as the God of all creation. He, in turn, lifts us up with the knowledge that He cares for us and values our lives, our souls, and even our human efforts to live in such a way that our lives bring Him glory.

With results like that, this prescription for praise should be administered daily!

See the information below about our most often read blog post, 31 Days of Praise, to give you a full month of praise scripture devotions.

Below, you will find a memorization helper photo for Psalm 100.  Print it in whatever size works for you, and use it as a memory aide to help you learn the 5 incredible verses of Psalm 100.

Use this scripture memory photo for the 5 verses of Psalm 100 to read it aloud each day and memorize this passage by Day 17.

Use this scripture memory photo for the 5 verses of Psalm 100 to read it aloud each day and memorize this passage

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31  DAYS OF PRAISE  

This blog post originally was (and still is) the praise devotion for day 17 in our “31 Days of Praise” blog post (see link below).

Most of the devotions consist of a praise verse, a truth about praise drawn from that verse, and a short, devotional paragraph with thoughts about praise inspired by that verse.  However, this particular devotion is longer…quite a bit longer.  It is the only long-ish devotion in “31 Days of Praise” because there’s just so much in Psalm 100.  The more I looked, the more I found, and the more there was to share about this passage of scripture and our great God.  With this much to share, I decided after I published the 31 devotions that this particular devotion needed to become a separate post as well.  Psalm 100 is even more special to me now that the Lord has revealed so much about it and about Himself through it.  We hope that this post will be a blessing.  Don’t forget to check out “31 Days of Praise” for 30 short devotions about praise + one that is a little long-ish.

Here’s the link to   31 Days of Praise

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd.
This post can be reprinted in an unpaid church publication as long as the author’s name and blog URL are included.  It does need to be printed in its entirety.  We stand by each post on our blog, so we require that no edits be made.  Even the tiniest edit might alter the meaning or original intent of a post.  For a paid publication, obtaining permission is required.

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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