Why your church doesn’t sing… and what you can do to fix it (Part 4)

vpvxucowi3ado33aqozn_400x400Today’s guest post comes from Jason Hatley, Pastor of Worship Arts at The Journey Church in Boca Raton, Florida. Jason is the Founder of WorshipLeaderInsights.com and author of two books as well as over a dozen worship leader personal and ministry growth resources.

I admit it… I may be the most un-hip worship leader on the planet.

This became immediately clear when I stopped by a local high school recently and I saw up-close what pop-culture looks like. If that’s hip, then I’m not!

Hip is a hot topic in worship circles these days and most of the new music coming out for churches reflects it. Worship Leaders are wrestling with the question of whether certain styles of music for congregational worship are just keeping with the times, or creating a culture of congregational onlookers and worship team performers?

Recently I kicked off this new series about what has become one of the major issues facing worship leaders and churches today: the decline of congregational singing.

Let’s face it… more and more congregations are singing “less and less”.

We’ve already talked about music being to high and too hard. And today we’re going to look at the third reason your congregation isn’t singing…

REASON #3: THE MUSIC IS TOO HIP I grew up in the 80′s, so that puts me on the back side of thirty-something. I’m married with two kids who roll their eyes at my jokes. I have a full-time job, a yard to mow and a shaven head by necessity rather than stylistic choice.

And while I am a musician, and desperately trying to hold on to some of the “cool” I think I once had, I find more and more that I’ve become… normal. And guess what… so are most of the people in my congregation. I would venture to say that’s the case for most worship leaders. There’s nothing wrong with being hip… I wish I was more hip.

But being too hip, especially in your music choices on Sunday, can make your congregation feel like I did that day I stepped foot on the high school campus: on the outside looking in.

So… how to do you remain musically relevant while not alienating the people you’re reaching?

Simply stated: Design your music to reflect who you are and who you are trying to reach.

When you understand who you are and who you are best able to reach in your community, you will select songs that the congregation can (and wants to) sing. And you will do your part to help the church fulfill this command and sing worship to the Lord.

Click here to read the full article.

Your partner in ministry,

wli-ea3c80fd-e837-4706-a2cc-036bc190192e-v2PS – This series of articles on Congregational Singing was inspired by a leadership talk that I gave to my Worship Leader Gold network recently called, Seven Ways to Help Your Congregation Sing (Lessons from John Wesley)”.

AND THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO SECURE IT! Opportunity ends Friday, October 31.

You can have complete access to this exclusive leadership session, AND receive additional Coaching Sessions, two Equipping Interviews, over $813.20 in FREE bonus resources immediately, plus much, much more (click the link to see the exhaustive list of what you’ll receive in this new network) when you join Worship Leader Gold today!

Posted On: October 30, 2014
Posted as: Worship Planning
0 Comments

Preaching Calendar Webinar – First Chance to Register!

A few weeks ago at The Journey, we had a two-day planning retreat with all of our teaching pastors and our worship pastors from our various campuses.

At the end of the planning session, we walked away with a preaching calendar.

Out of that two days, literally and somewhat surprisingly, we had all the titles for all our series next year and most of the individual titles.

I want to share them with you (more on that below) – but most importantly I want to help you do the same thing.

Why? Three big reasons come immediately to mind:

1) Planning reduces your stress. Most pastors plan week to week, which can easily pin you in a corner if something unexpected comes up. I don’t like the stress of wondering on Thursday, what I’m going to preach on Sunday.

2) It’s very hard to be creative at the last minute. When you give yourself time to plan, you give yourself time to pick up great ideas along the way – and time to implement those ideas at their maximum potential. My worship leader tells me that all the time. He’s like, “I can be very creative in the services, I just can’t do it on Saturday night.” I’ve got to give him time to prepare.

3) A preaching calendar maximizes your impact, especially on Big Days. We all know the pain of regret after a Sunday is over and you look back and you think, “Boy, I could have done this. I should have been able to do that.” Planning allows you to make sure that every Sunday is exactly what it needs to be.

What I’m telling you is, there’s a better way to live, there’s a better way to prepare, there’s a better way to plan.

2015-Preaching-Calendar-buttonThat’s why you’re invited to join me for my BRAND NEW 90-minute Planning Your 2015 Preaching Calendar webinar.

You can choose from six convenient times, November 11, 12 or 13. These are the same webinars, just repeated on different days and times.

In this webinar, I will walk you, month-by-month, through the specifics of the 2015 calendar, and help you plan what you’re going to preach next year.

Important – Must register by Thursday, Nov. 6th to receive four FREE bonus resources on the webinar!

Will you join me for this time-saving event? Just 90 minutes of your time with this webinar will save you HOURS of planning time!

Your partner in ministry,

Nelson

P.S. – Reduce stress, maximize creativity and honor God all year! Join me for my BRAND NEW 90-minute Planning Your 2015 Preaching Calendar webinar. PLUS, if you register by Thursday, Nov. 6th, when you attend you will receive FOUR BONUS RESOURCES including my actual 2015 Preaching Calendar from The Journey Church! Click Here to Reserve Your Spot Now for my BRAND NEW Planning Your 2015 Preaching Calendar Webinar PLUS Bonuses! 

Hurry – Must Register by Thursday, Nov. 6th to receive your webinar bonuses! 

Posted On: October 28, 2014
Posted as: PreachingStrategy
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The Real Disciple – A Saturday Quote

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“The backslider likes the preaching that wouldn’t hit the side of a house,
while the real disciple is delighted when the truth brings him to his knees.”
- Billy Sunday, American athlete turned evangelist

Posted On: October 25, 2014
Posted as: Preaching
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A Refresher on Storytelling 101

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Today’s guest post is written by JD Schramm, a Lecturer in Organizational Behavior at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He offers a seven-part formula for storytelling success, which has direct application to our weekly preaching and how we engage our audiences. More on my secrets to preaching prep in the P.S. . . .

At bedtime, I tell stories to my godchildren, Anna and Noah, when their parents invite me to care for them. Their capacity for stories amazes me. They beg for “just one more” and then “just one more.” It seems we are wired to enjoy a well-told story.

And as we grow up, we do not lose our thirst for stories. I work with future leaders at Stanford to help them develop compelling stories that achieve their management goals — and I’ve developed a seven-part formula for storytelling success in presentations and business meetings.

Parachute in, don’t preamble. The best storytellers draw us immediately into the action. They capture our attention and set the tone for a unique audience experience. Avoid opening with “I’d like to tell you a story about a time when I learned…” Instead, drop us into the action and draw the lesson out later.

Follow the “Goldilocks” theory of details. Give us “just the right amount.” If you give too many details, we get lost, or worse, bored. If you don’t give us enough detail, we may lack the context to grasp the story fully or to see ourselves inside your tale.

Focus your delivery on “one person with one thought.” When speaking to a group, focus on one person at a time, for four to seven seconds. As you tell your story, try to connect with each individual if possible. Don’t wash your eye contact over the crowd like a lighthouse, but actually connect with individuals. Consider even “casting” a member of the audience as a character in your story as you tell it.

Use silence for impact and emphasis.. When a composer writes the score for a symphony she places a rest in the music when silence is called for. That rest is as much a part of the music as the notes. Silence is a powerful and underutilized storytelling tool. Matt May elaborates on this point in his recent HBR post. Intentional silence draws emphasis to what was just said or what is about to come – and allows others to contribute their own interpretations.

Click here to read more on the other three strategies.

Your partner in ministry,

Nelsonunnamed

P.S. - Stories can definitely make our messages more memorable. And we want the most memorable and impactful message possible to help people come to know Christ and be fully developing followers. Beyond storytelling, there are specific steps you and I can take to literally double (and even triple or quadruple) the effectiveness of our preaching! Today is the last day to pick up my new Double the Effectiveness of Your Preaching e-book where you will learn proven methods to increase your effectiveness exponentially. Click here for your FREE download now – last chance! 

Posted On: October 24, 2014
Posted as: LeadershipPreaching
0 Comments

Why Your Church Doesn’t Sing… and What You Can Do To Fix It (Part 3)

vpvxucowi3ado33aqozn_400x400Today’s guest post comes from Jason Hatley, Pastor of Worship Arts at The Journey Church in Boca Raton, Florida. Jason is the Founder of WorshipLeaderInsights.com and author of two books as well as over a dozen worship leader personal and ministry growth resources.

Want to know a sure-fire way to keep your church from singing this Sunday?

I didn’t think so :-)  But the truth is, if you’re making one of these THREE BIG MISTAKES you in fact are keeping your congregation from singing.

Recently I kicked off this new series about what has become one of the major issues facing worship leaders and churches today: the decline of congregational singing.

And whether or not you believe your church is experiencing this right now, the recent trends point to the fact that more and more congregations are singing “less and less”.

Today we’re going to tackle the second reason for this decline in congregational singing, as well as what you can do about it in your church.

REASON #2: THE MUSIC IS TOO HARD

Have you ever been to a church service where the band is fully engaged in worship, but a significant percentage of the audience is sitting back, watching, checking their phones and wondering when the set is going to end?

The band may be well-rehearsed, musically excellent and have genuine hearts for the Lord, but if the songs they’re leading are too complicated the congregation is going to check out.

Remember… the average person in your church is not a trained musician. What comes easy to you does not come easy to them. So, do your best to exclude songs that require large interval jumps or complex rhythmic, melodic and harmonic lines.

And watch your language, too (no… I don’t mean it that way).  Be aware of the phrasing and type of language used in a song. If the song is completely me-focused, it’s likely not a good corporate song choice. If the lyrics are overly specific about certain life experiences, you may alienate a significant portion of your congregation who can’t relate.

If the lyrics are difficult or feel more like a solo than a congregational song you’re likely to create spectators rather than worshipers.

The truth is many of the songs being written and released for churches today are wonderfully written and theologically sound, but they’re simply too hard for the average person in your church to sing.

Does this mean they shouldn’t be written… that God doesn’t use them… or that we should not purchase any music that isn’t “congregation friendly”?

Of course not!

But it does mean that as worship leaders we must choose wisely the songs we lead on Sunday. Just because a song is on a “worship” album doesn’t mean that it’s right for your congregation.

When we select songs that the congregation can sing we are doing our part to help the church fulfill this command and sing worship to the Lord.

Click here to read the full article.

Your partner in ministry,

Jason's Signature

 

 

 

 

 

PS – This series of articles on Congregational Singing was inspired by a leadership talk that I gave to my Worship Leader Gold network recently called, Seven Ways to Help Your Congregation Sing (Lessons from John Wesley)”.

Now – you can have complete access to this exclusive leadership session, AND receive two additional Coaching Sessions, two Equipping Interviews, over $813.20 in FREE bonus resources immediately, plus much, much more (see below for the exhaustive list of what you’ll receive in this new network) when you join Worship Leader Gold today!

Jason Hatley is the Pastor of Worship Arts @ The Journey Church and the Founder of WorshipLeaderInsights.com. You can receive his free weekly “Tuesday Morning Insights” by clicking here.

 

Posted On: October 23, 2014
Posted as: MiscWorship Planning
0 Comments

Never Preach a Message Once

Double The Effectiveness Of Your Preaching E-Book iconOne of the first rules actors learn is to speak the words of a script out loud before they go into an audition room.

Why? Because no matter how many times they run through their part in their head, no matter how well they’ve committed it to memory, no matter how clearly they can see their delivery in their own mind’s eye, they understand this truth: Things sound differently when spoken aloud. Though you and I are not performers, the same rule applies.

Your message should not leave your lips for the first time on a Sunday morning – EVER. If it does, you will have missed an incredible opportunity to strengthen your delivery and your overall craft.

When I began teaching in venues other than The Journey, I noticed something interesting. I had figured out that I didn’t need to prepare a fresh message every time I spoke. Instead, I would teach a message that I had already taught on a Sunday morning. Oddly, I started noticing that I did a better job when I was speaking outside of my church.

After a few of these experiences, I figured out what was going on: I had already practiced delivering that message. I had taken it for a test flight. And it always sounded a lot better the second time around than it had the first. Without even meaning to, I had made my preaching more effective.

Now, one of my mantras has become, “Never preach a message once.” And preaching it in multiple services during the same weekend doesn’t count! Your first service is not your trial run. If you want to increase the effectiveness of your preaching, you absolutely must develop the habit of doing a weekly message run-through.

I’d like to show you how today with my new FREE e-book, How to Double the Effectiveness of Your Preaching! You’ll discover the process of the run-through – and other specific steps you can take to exponentially increase your effectiveness! Click here to download my e-book, How to Double the Effectiveness of Your Preaching – a $29.95 value – yours FREE!

Don’t put this off – you can start implementing the 9 steps outlined in this e-book THIS WEEK and see improvement as soon as this Sunday! 

Your partner in ministry,

Nelson

P.S. – When you download this e-book, you’ll also receive a special invitation for my BRAND NEW 90-minute Planning Your 2015 Preaching Calendar webinar. 

In this webinar, I will walk you, month-by-month, through the specifics of the 2015 calendar, and help you plan what you’re going to preach next year. PLUS, when you show up, you will receive FOUR BONUS RESOURCES including my actual 2015 Preaching Calendar from The Journey Church! 

Click here to download your FREE Double the Effectiveness of Your Preaching E-book and learn more about this special webinar opportunity!  

 

Posted On: October 22, 2014
Posted as: PreachingWorship Planning
0 Comments

FREE E-book: Double the Effectiveness of Your Preaching

Double The Effectiveness Of Your Preaching E-Book iconPreaching is personal, right?

I mean, we all wrestle with a little pride when it comes to our preaching skills and the impact they have each week.We adopt the “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” mindset when in reality we are ALL works in progress and have gaps and bad habits in our preaching that we’re often blind to.

But if we take off our rose-colored glasses, the reality is there is always room for improvement. Without an intentional effort to improve your preaching, you run the risk of spending week after week preparing and delivering messages that could easily be forgotten.

In fact, numerous studies over the years have shown that people forget the majority of the information they hear from a communicator within 24 hours!

But we aren’t delivering your average message, are we? We do what we do week in and week out to cooperate with God in creating transformed lives.

So how can we rise to this challenge more effectively?

There are specific steps you and I can take to literally double (and even triple or quadruple) the effectiveness of our preaching. And I’d like to share them with you today in my new e-book, How to Double the Effectiveness of Your Preaching ($29.95 value) – Yours FREE!

So don’t put this off – you can start implementing the 9 steps outlined in this e-book THIS WEEK and see improvement as soon as this Sunday!

Click here for your FREE download now!

I hope you’ll take advantage of this practical help to grow as a communicator and impact even more lives for the Kingdom.

Your partner in ministry,

Nelson

P.S. – Go even further in your preaching preparation – when you download this e-book you’ll also receive a special invitation for my BRAND NEW 90-minute Planning Your 2015 Preaching Calendar webinar.

In this webinar, I will walk you, month-by-month, through the specifics of the 2015 calendar, and help you plan what you’re going to preach next year. PLUS, when you show up, you will receive FOUR BONUS RESOURCES including my actual 2015 Preaching Calendar from The Journey Church!

Click here to download your FREE Double the Effectiveness of Your Preaching E-book and learn more about this special webinar opportunity!

Hurry – this FREE Preaching e-book with bonus webinar opportunity ends this Friday, October 24th!

 

Posted On: October 21, 2014
Posted as: MinistryPreaching
0 Comments

No Excuse – A Saturday Quote

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“Think not the bigotry of another is any excuse for your own.”
- John Wesley 

 

Posted On: October 18, 2014
Posted as: Misc
0 Comments

New Confidential Pastor Help Line (Write Down This Number)

searchToday’s post comes from Focus on the Family, a global Christian ministry dedicated to helping families thrive. Recently, they’ve focused on helping pastors by providing biblically-based counsel through a toll-free pastor care line.

“When people face a crisis, they immediately turn to their pastors for help. But when pastors are struggling themselves, many of them feel there’s nowhere to turn.”

Kim Robinson, Focus on the Family board member and senior assistant to the president for the North American Mission Board, announced a new confidential outlet for advice and encouragement. “The pastor care line at Focus on the Family gives them a safe place to receive a wide range of support – from prayer to crisis counseling.”

Focus President Jim Daly echoed Robinson’s sentiments: “We recognize the sacrifices and hard work of Southern Baptist pastors. Many of them give up their own time to be there for their flock – giving up holidays to visit with sick people at the hospital, counseling couples through the tough times in their marriages, and helping their congregants pray through milestone decisions.

“This commitment not only takes time, but it also takes its toll on pastors – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Because they have always been there for others, it’s our privilege to be there for them. Our licensed counselors are eager to provide an ear and biblically based counsel that will help and give hope.”

Pastors will receive referrals for local counselors and recommendations for resources from Focus’ Thriving Pastor outreach and other Southern Baptist materials. 

The toll-free pastor care line for Southern Baptist clergy can be reached at 844-PASTOR1 (844-727-8671). 

Click here to read the entire article.

Your partner in ministry,

Nelson

Posted On: October 17, 2014
Posted as: Ministry
0 Comments

Why your church doesn’t sing… and what you can do to fix it (Part 2)

vpvxucowi3ado33aqozn_400x400Today’s guest post comes from Jason Hatley, Pastor of Worship Arts at The Journey Church in Boca Raton, Florida. Jason is the Founder of WorshipLeaderInsights.com and author of two books as well as over a dozen worship leader personal and ministry growth resources.

Last week we kicked off a new series about what has become one of the BIG issues facing worship leaders and churches today: the decline of congregational singing.

And whether or not you believe your church is experiencing this right now, the recent trends point to the fact that more and more congregations are singing “less and less”.

Over the next few weeks I want to tackle THREE BIG REASONS for this decline in congregational singing.

So, let’s look at the first reason your congregation isn’t singing, and what you can do about it…

REASON #1: THE MUSIC IS TOO _______ HIGH!

If you’ve been around Worship Leader Insights you know that I am a bit of a contrarian when it comes to worship ministry leadership. I believe we can learn lessons of leadership from the world around us, and this is a lesson we can learn from politics (and Saturday Night Live).

In the 2010 New York governor’s race, candidate Jimmy McMillan gained fame (and an SNL spoof) with his slogan, “The rent is too ____ high.”

The same can be said for much of the worship music being led in churches these days (minus the ____ of course).  The songs being released on worship albums and Christian radio are perfect for professional artists, but too high for your congregation to sing

The average person can sing only about an octave, and cannot readily sing anything over a D.  Yet, almost all of the songs being written today push the melody to E and way beyond. While it may sound great in your voice, the men and women in your congregation are struggling to sing along in a key that simply doesn’t fit them.

THE SIMPLE SOLUTION:

Since the people in your church aren’t professional singers with a wide vocal range, you need to lower the key so they can sing it.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… Does this mean we can never sing above a D?

I don’t think so. In fact, in a high energy song you can “bump up against” E or F a few times because the congregation is singing out.  However, in slower songs where the energy is lower, it’s much more difficult for the church to reach those same notes.

If you make it easier for them to sing, even if it’s a little lower than you like, the congregation will respond by lifting their voices in song.

And then you’re ready to tackle the 2nd reason people aren’t singing in church anymore. More on that next week…

Click here to read the entire article.

Your partner in ministry,

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PS  – Recently in the Worship Leader Gold Network Monthly Leadership and Strategy Call I talked about this topic of congregational singing and taught 7 important lessons from John Wesley for how to encourage your congregation to sing. 

Gain access to that Leadership Session and instantly receive $813.20 in FREE Bonus resources when you join Worship Leader Gold TODAY!  Plus, receive additional coaching sessions, dozens of Ministry and Leadership Book summaries, and much, much more in your personalized Worship Leader Gold Hub. Click here to learn more and join today.

Posted On: October 16, 2014
Posted as: LeadershipWorship Planning
0 Comments

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