Have you ever downloaded an App that records song lyrics and then, tells you the name of a song?
Have you ever been in a Church (or a concert, etc…), sung a song (or listened), and then thought, “I love that song, but I have no idea what the name of the song is?!”
Me, too! Great minds must think alike.
This all happened to me not long ago. I left a service – where the songs lyrics were projected on a screen – asking myself,
“What is the name of that song?” So, I asked around… finally got the name, listened to the song, and learned the words. It has become one of my favorite worship songs. But, that was a lot of work! I had to make an effort to KNOW that song. It would have been so much easier if the name of the song had been put up on the screen.
I’m a music person, and put in the extra effort, but what if I wasn’t a music person? What if I was just a regular church member? Would I have made the effort to look for that song? Maybe. Maybe not. But here’s what I think:
I see articles all the time on, “Why aren’t they singing anymore?”. I think there’s a ton of reasons, none of which are simple in nature. But, I do know of one thing that might help a little – What if we did a better job of telling people the titles of the songs they are singing?
Now, before I get comments saying, “We already do this,” just read me out…
Years ago, before lyrics were projected, church bulletins listed the hymns to be sung that day (along with the page number of the hymn). At the same time, everyone would open the hymnal, to a certain page number, and sing the hymn on that page – titles were listed. Words were there to be read over and over and over again. And, later, if you didn’t know the words, you could just find a hymnal, look up the song title, and read the words.
Today, it’s different.
We might put the title up on the projection screen, but only for a few seconds; We might mention the title before we begin singing, but with so many worship songs and hymns being “mashed-up,” it’s confusing to those that didn’t grow up singing in church; We might even put the titles in church bulletins, but project the lyrics, which means people aren’t using hymnals.
I get it! It’s kind of a no-win situation for Worship Leaders.
So, what can we do to make it easier on those in the pews? What can we do to help them ultimately know the songs, learn the songs, sing the songs and worship with everything they’ve got?
I say we go back to the basics.
- Name the songs… Don’t be afraid to make those titles large and in charge on the screens. In the bulletins. On the monitors. Wherever you can put them. Newsletters. Emails. Social Media. A minimum of six places every time.
- Use songs regularly… The more they sing it, the more they’ll get to know it. Not only know it by name, but also, SING! it.
- Mention the songs by name… Let them HEAR you say the names. Really HEAR you. Over and over and over again.
- Break out the hymnals… If you have hymnals, but don’t use them regularly, don’t be afraid to go back to the basics. It might just be a Sunday they’ll never forget.
Let’s help our members have an amazing worship experience — at church and at home. Even if that means going back to the basics and naming that song!
Chasity Phillips is the Marketing Strategist for LifeWay Worship. She’s also a choir member at Brentwood Baptist Church AND an EVERY Sunday nursery worker. She loves being creative. Her “Happy Place”: Worship Music + Creativity (add a palm tree, and that’s how she imagines Heaven). She also loves social media… so BEWARE, you might find yourself on the pages of LifeWay Worship’s FB page or Twitter feed. Outside of LifeWay and Church, she can be found at a baseball field somewhere… watching her three baseball-loving boys (husband, Brent and two boys, Peyton & Palmer) play baseball OR cheering on her Alma Mater, The Florida State University Seminoles. Psalm 143:8