Leading worship at a funeral service comes with unique challenges and opportunities. Music can provide comfort and healing to those who are grieving, but how do we choose the right songs and instruments? Dan Wilt shares 5 best practices for worship leaders serving families in mourning. From recognizing the vulnerable emotional state of attendees, to selecting instruments and songs that create peace, Wilt provides guidance on serving with sensitivity.
PODCAST: David Santistevan interviews Nathan Nockels on his journey as a musician and producer.
Music plays a powerful role during funerals, helping us grieve and find hope in loss. But selecting the right Christian songs for memorial services can be difficult. This article shares the top 20 Christian funeral songs to honor the dead and comfort the living. Covering a variety of artists and genres, these thoughtful picks proclaim the Gospel message while extending grace to the brokenhearted.
In his book Planning Blended Worship, Robert Webber makes some key observations about the nature of worship in many churches. On one hand, he notes that some churches treat worship as a program, planning it as a series of disjointed acts. There may be some singing, a prayer, a sermon, more singing, and then dismissal, but no overarching narrative or connection between the elements.
On the other hand, Webber advocates for worship as an event, specifically centered on the narrative of Jesus Christ. In this approach, worship recounts and enacts the story of Christ’s mighty acts of salvation, looking back on his life, death, resurrection, and ascension, while also looking ahead to his promised return. Worship is thus God-oriented and Christ-focused.
To create an event-oriented flow, Webber outlines four main movements in worship: the gathering, the word, the table, and the sending. The gathering serves to assemble the church before God, directing focus to Him through songs proclaiming His nature and acknowledging His presence. This leads to the word, where God speaks through scripture and preaching, allowing intimate encounter with Him.
Next is the table, partaking in sacraments and Christ’s tangible presence, remembering his sacrifice and anticipating his return. Finally, the sending sends believers back into the world after this time with God, living as His people empowered by His Spirit. Just as we were gathered from our homes and workplaces, we are sent back to continue God’s story.
This parallels a social event like a dinner party. There is a narrative flow from welcome, to discussion, to meal, to goodbye. Worship likewise cultivates relationship and intimacy with God through Christ’s story. It is not simply a string of disjointed acts but an interconnected event uniting us with God’s presence. Evaluating our services with this lens can enrich their narrative quality. Are elements disjointed programs or do they flow to meet with Christ? Crafting an event-oriented worship emphasizes God’s narrative and equips us to live it out as we scatter once again.
PODCAST: The last 45 days of the year present a prime opportunity for churches to encourage generosity and increase year-end giving. But with people bombarded by requests from many causes, how can your church stand out? Podcaster Rich Birch talks with expert Kenny Jahng about a strategic coaching cohort called Best Year-End Ever. It provides churches with a step-by-step process, ready-to-use templates, and weekly guidance to leverage this critical season.
Evaluating your church’s Sunday services can be tricky, but it’s crucial for improvement. Mark Cole shares how he developed a simple 10-question survey to get constructive feedback from church members every week. The results helped identify issues and strengthen their gatherings. Though blunt feedback isn’t for everyone, evaluation led to positive change.
Getting the right people on your worship team is crucial, but a flawed audition process can lead to disaster. Jon Nicol knows—he made every mistake in the book. A pro keyboard player seemed perfect on paper, but fast-tracking him onto the team without proper vetting led to an “epic train wreck” of a service. What are the 8 common pitfalls that allow the wrong people onto your worship team? How can you say “no” more easily to the talented but toxic?
Let’s face it: variety is the spice of life, even in church! It’s important to offer different types of music within our services so everyone can connect with God through their preferred style. By interspersing fast-paced songs amongst other tempos, we cater to all tastes and keep things engaging.
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