Just imagine – every seat in the sanctuary is full. Standing room only! Isn’t that something we all strive for as we prepare our worship and its many parts? We want people to come to worship and experience the presence of God. We want people to come to worship and feel that they are part of the family of God – the body of Christ. We want people to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior and to live a life of service. That is the reason we do what we do – to further the kingdom of God through our music and our worship.
When it doesn’t happen – when there are empty seats in the sanctuary we wonder why? Where is everyone? Why aren’t they here? How can we change their hearts? I don’t think we can – that is the work of the Holy Spirit. But all is not lost – there is much we can do to plant a seed or light a spark in someone’s life.
Our first point of contact with visitors is our worship service. What happens during that hour will have an effect on how that person experiences the presence of God. The songs and hymns we sing, the prayers we pray, and the readings we share will have an impact on those who gather. Scripture tells us we are to “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs” (Psalm 100:2). We also need to come before him with a servant heart – one that seeks to plant a seed or light a spark in someone’s life through our songs, readings, and prayers.
There may be room in the pews for more people but lets concentrate on who is sitting in the pew today. Let us worship with so much gladness that those who gather will feel God moving among them.
Organ: Masterworks for Organ Arranged by Robert Lau,#10527501. This collection of pieces by Bach, Gigout, Boellmann, and Mendelssohn is very useful. The setting of Psalm 19 is especially festive. Intermediate level.
Piano: Everlasting Praise: 10 Arrangements of Enduring Hymns by Cindy Berry. This collection of early advanced pieces has something for everyone. Titles include “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” “Praise to the Lord,” and “To God Be the Glory.” Useful for prelude, postlude, communion or personal improvement.
Choir: Every Knee Shall Bow by Lloyd Larson, SAB, #10956073. A wonderful setting of Phil 2:5-11 with a flowing melody and limited ranges. There are plenty of opportunities within this song for working on pitch, blend, and interpretation.
Handbells: Keep It Simple 3 by Lloyd Larson. This collection of Level 1 pieces are quick to rehearse and ready for worship. Titles include “America, the Beautiful”, “Were you There?” and “Amazing Grace.”
Don’t have a full choir? Only have 5 ringers? Then Bob Burroughs’ Five or Less offers settings of familiar tunes for worship. There are a number of volumes in this series that provide music for small groups and/or ensembles.
Praise Team/Worship Band: Check out the recordings of Jadon Lavik. Quite an accomplished guitarist, his arrangements of familiar tunes are fresh and interesting. Also check out worshiptogether.com. This website has free songs available as well as a paid area. Videos highlighting certain songs are also available.
Remember – if you want to talk worship, give me a call at 414-531-0717.