I forgot to mention that we have announcement slides rotating on our screens before the service begins as well.
For announcements on Sunday mornings at Soma someone on leadership does them at the end of the service from the stage. We have corresponding slides for each announcement and occasionally show a video for bigger events. We also pass out small 3x5 sized b/w announcement slips to everyone with the same announcements on the front and our small group times and locations on the back.
Throughout the week we post blog posts on our website and tweet information regarding events or general announcements and new podcasts. Internally we use The City to create events and major announcements for all our people (since not everyone is on Twitter).
I agree that writing music takes more skill than just strumming a guitar. I also agree there needs to be more training in this area and that most modern churches in America are skimping on the arts. However, I don't believe you have to have musical training to write songs or lyrics. I think it takes practice, time, and input from others as well as an active relationship with Christ. Maybe worship leaders can write lyrics or poetry and have their guitarist or piano player put it to music. I simply would love to see/hear more worship leaders writing worship songs.
One of the problems with most worship leaders today is that few of them are actually writing worship songs. Instead they are consuming songs that are radio friendly, written by the top 20 CCM artists, few of which are worship leaders. This is one reason our corporate worship songs are so shallow and empty.
I think worship leaders, including myself, should take this as a challenge to write songs. Better songs. Songs that come from worshiping hearts. Songs that come from hearts engaging with God's Word. Songs that come from hearts serving God's people. Songs that rejoice and songs that lament. These songs then should simply overflow from our already worshiping hearts. If they are not, then I'd ask you to dig deeper into why.
I've challenged myself to write a new song for every sermon series we do at my church, in addition to the other songs I'm writing or hymns I'm rewriting. It's been a hard process, but a rewarding one. I challenge other worship leaders to try this as well.
Other good resources include: Sojourn Music, Jon Foreman's EPs, Matt Boswell, Aaron Ivey, and Hillsong. Also, Michael Bleeker from The Village is recording a new worship album that should be stellar.
If there's anything we can learn from all of this, it's that there are clearly artists in the Church who have been hurt greatly by it. If you are one of those artists, I encourage you, as a brother in Christ, to seek reconciliation with your pastor or church leadership, even if they are the one in the wrong. If you are a pastor, I highly encourage you to seek reconciliation with your artists as well, even if they are in the wrong. It's clear just by reading these comments that there is some anger and bitterness in some of you and these things must be addressed. I'm sorry that you have been hurt, but I plead with you, for the sake of the Church and your sanctification, please seek reconciliation and forgiveness with one another.
Thank you for letting me know about the "story" video. I honestly did not see what was actually going on, but now I realize my mistake. I've removed the video from the post and will try my best to not let this happen again. Thanks.
Sorry Brian, the $4 deal is only for new subscriptions. However, you can renew your digital subscription if you like for the same $4 price.
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Thank you for pointing that out. I can assure you we proofread everything that we write and post. I can also assure you that we make mistakes.
Thanks John - we got a Snuggie in the in office and thought we'd try it out.