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Author: Chris Denning

The Balance of Visibility and Invisibility in Worship Leading

Balance is a funny thing. The inherent assumption with balance is that there is a finite goal. That things will be in “balance” once everything is set perfectly, then we have to keep that balance. While that’s true, balance in the real world is a dynamic issue. What I mean to say is that because things are constantly changing, shifting, and evolving, balance can be really trick. Everyone likes to talk about the home/work balance, but anyone who’s struggled with this issue knows that it’s never a “set it & forget it” solution. Things change on a weekly, maybe...

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3 Tips for Speaking During Worship

You’ve taken the time to plan out a great set of music, helping to prepare a time for your church family to worship together – even crafting moments where you’re going to share your heart or teach about one of the songs you’re singing. But have you thought about what you’re going to say? Worship leaders seem to have this weird assumption that just because God has gifted them as a musician, they are going to be a great orator as well. While that natural talent can translate for some people, most of us have to grow the skill...

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How to Make Worship a Refuge for People

There is a trap set for anyone who programs a worship gathering. It’s a sneaky one. It’s the strong desire to create an amazing experience – something to blow people’s minds or something so creative that they can’t help but be drawn in. Let me be clear: I love this stuff. I’m a fan of it. I think Jesus is glorified by crafted experiences and they can absolutely amplify and paint a picture of the Gospel. I’ve been personally impacted by some incredible creative elements in a service. But they also aren’t the point of our gatherings. There are...

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3 Ways to Prepare People for Worship Before the Service

Have you been to Disney World recently? Disney is so good at so many things, but one thing they do especially well is preparing people to expect an incredible experience when they make their trip to Florida. When you book your trip, they don’t just email you some tickets to print out and you’re good to go. Nope. They send you a box with magic bracelets that will serve as your key to the kingdom – and they are even personalized with your family member’s names on them. Then, once you start to drive on to the property, you...

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Steps to Prepare a First Time Worship leader

I remember the first time I led worship. I was young and nervous. In truth, I likely had no clue what I was doing and just did my best. Fortunately for me, I had a few people in my life to lead and guide me into my first time leading worship. These guys were intentional about how they helped me and I’m grateful that I had them there to place my feet on solid ground. You can probably remember what it felt like the first time you led worship. You’ve probably been responsible for helping new worship leaders get...

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4 Ways to Make Worship Support the Message

I can remember when I noticed it. I can remember sitting in service with my parents and my brother. It happened to be one of those days where I was paying attention to what was going on at church. I was listening to the songs (definitely not singing though, because singing’s for girls). Then the pastor started speaking, and during the last song I had a thought: The music before and after the message was about the same stuff that the message was about. It just made sense. Everything seemed to be working together to say the same thing....

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What to Do with Auditionees Who Don’t Make the Cut

We’ve talked before about how to have a great audition process and how to get the best people possible on your teams. While this is important and definitely worth nailing down a great system, we can’t forget about what we should do when someone doesn’t quite make the cut. Let me start by saying that I’m going to speak here pastor to pastor, music director to music director. I’m probably going to be blunt, but I believe that frankness with compassion is the best option in this situation. Don’t be too scared to be honest with someone. Don’t be...

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How to Choose Between Great Ideas

Have you ever been at the ice cream shop and felt that nagging tension in the back of your head? Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough looks perfect, but that Peach also looks real good, but then again there’s always Coffee, or Mint Chocolate Chip, or Strawberry, or any of the million other flavors available. How can you possibly choose between all of these awesome flavors? I believe this is the same problem we face when we’re in a creative planning meeting. The meeting is the ice cream shop and all of our great service element ideas are the flavors. We...

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How Do You Really View Your Team Members?

Our view of people can dictate how we treat them. Think about it. If we’re honest, we tend to treat people who can’t help us less favorably than others we view as valuable to us. The person who just washed your car? They get a casual glance and a half-hearted “thanks,” because anyone can wash a car. The person who you kind of know at church? They get a handshake if you’re sitting close during the meet and greet, but you don’t really care to know them. But what about the person that can help get you into that program, or...

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Help! My Congregation Doesn’t Clap

Are you frustrated every weekend with how your church doesn’t want to engage with the music? “Why aren’t you clapping? Throw me a bone, here!” For the purpose of this article, let me start with two assumptions: Let’s focus on the musical aspect of what we do. Let’s assume you’re normal. It’s normal as a musician to want a musical response to the music you’re playing. When you go see Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, or any artist, you’re going to see people enjoying the music by clapping along. However, on a Sunday morning, you’ve got a handful of faithful...

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5 Planning Center Hacks for Worship Leaders

Want to get the most out of your favorite service planning app? Check out these 5 simple hacks to help you plan and program better than ever before: 1. The Matrix The Matrix feature in Planning Center is simply an expanded view where you can see and edit several services and service types at the same time. Basically, you can observe all of your main service plans, your night of worship plan, and your youth services. There are really no limits of what you can view in the Matrix. (I’ll refrain from the Neo jokes.) Not only can you...

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