I have a dilemma. My Pastor forbids the worship team to sing any new songs on a Sunday morning (this is when most people come to church so I think we could learn the new song together). When we teach new songs in the evening not many people come back (?) so only a handful know the new songs. Help!!!!
I would say that a pastor has as much authority as the congregation and/or credentialing body is willing to extend to him/her. "Final human authority" has a good tone to it -- though many churches establish that the Pastor's decisions (especially regarding finance or major changes in church direction) are ratified by a Board, also selected by the congregation, and occasionally even the assembled Body (or at least discussed).
The "fivefold" ministry pattern (apostles, pastors, prophets, teachers, evangelists) was not given in the Scripture to be a bureaucratic pecking order or an excuse for a talented person to throw one's weight around. It is a description of God's desire - his will for us - to value and respect one another, and to conduct our affairs and organizer ourselves so that we are working together rather than fighting for our own interests. God did not send Timothy down in a glowing spaceship to pastor the church referenced in the epistle. Timothy was chosen, selected, from among various possible people to have the responsibility of overseeing the Christian body in his region.
As worship leaders, we have a type of pastoral authority to our fellow musicians (some of us are even titled "pastors") -- but we all know what happens if we start playing the Authority Trump Card any time we feel like it.
Good thinking Nigel. I thank you for your suggestion. I have a lot to try now.
Thanks for all the posts on this question. I shall be putting some of these suggestions to my Pastor and see where we go from there.
Blessings to you all.
As for the new people we are presumably trying to reach -- most all of the songs are new to them, no matter which service they attend. In fact, visit a church, even in your own denomination, and you will likely hear one, two or more unfamiliar songs. If presented well, they will fly.
As for old folk, in "traditional services" they sing typically two hundred different hymns a year, rarely repeating one during the course of a year, or at least a season (I remember waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and bursting out with joy when they sang "Holy Holy Holy").
What on earth is so weird about singing a song that is not totally familiar?
You should invite your pastor to this discussion and let him read through some of the comments. Maybe that would help him to understand your position.
Wow, how did I miss this one? A "no new music ban" - now that's something new to me!
I'm curious as to what you mean by "only a handful come back(?)". 1) Does essentially the same congregation attend evening service as morning, and 2) do they stop coming back because of your teaching new songs? Is the music situation symptomatic of the congregation in other areas of life, or are they sweet Christians who just don't happen to like to sing the oldies?
With patience, you can eventually get a foothold in the evening service.
Is there an antecedent for this? Did some previous director constantly introduce new songs so the people never got to really appropriate them (i.e., turn them into "oldies")?
Do you have any outlet for new songs in the morning service -- offertory, special music time -- so people can at least hear their message, and eventually ask, "That's a really good song -- could we sing it?"
Probably all of us worship leaders face, in one form or another, the dilemma: How do you have powerful, energetic congregational singing when you need to rotate and introduce songs to keep the music fresh? There will always be some folks who are afraid of anything new, just like when I got our cats a new food dish they circled around it warily before getting hungry enough to force themselves to eat. It's tough when a congregation goes feral and resists anything new; musicians spend so much time in their music that even 'new' gets old in a hurry. It's easy to get impatient for change.
I wish I had some "really-works" advice. I think, mostly, pray earnestly as you know best, with love for your people in your heart.
I agree with the people who say, "Introduce the song in a prelude or postlude or offertory (if you can- I heard what someone said about doing familiar songs while the offering is "received"- an offering should never be "taken.")
I once read a idea about teaching a new song. Have the little kids from Sunday School learn it and sing it for the congregation. Hopefully, you get a response like, "What a strange song! But weren't the children sweet?"
In regard to a song for which you cannot get permission. You are allowed to teach and sing any song by rote. I know, they have enough trouble learning songs with printed words and music. But the copyright law allows a song to be used in worship as long as nobody is using illegal copies. The piano player needs a copy unless they are improvising. The song leader(s) need copies unless they are singing from memory. "Performance" at a worship service is covered by Paragraph 110. So you are allowed to sing a song learned by rote.
And you can go one better. If your church has the old style opaque projector and a legally purchased copy, you are allowed to "display directly or by projection" your "possession" in one place only (like a projection screen) without permission from the copyright holder. (Section 109c). Helps if you have a small sanctuary or a really big projector. This does not apply slide or transparency projection; the making of a slide or transparency infringes on the rights of the copyright holder. Only works with an opaque projector.
(References are from the copyright act of 1976)
So THAT'S why my college used opaque projectors! No law against holding something up in a big bright mirror.
I'm curious about the fine line you establish between receiving and taking. Actually, the ushers can't receive an offering, at least a traditional-style one, unless the hold out those plates or soft things on a handle. At the end of the aisle, they do actually take the basket from the one passing in it. Besides, without "take" you couldn't say, "Let's take an offering". Then where would you be?
Personally, I'd say, while "receive" is nicer and gentler sounding, either word would be dictionarily correct.
You're right, of course. And everyone knows that when you "take" an offering you are not really "taking" it. As you say, it is just a gentler word. Other alternatives that better characterize what an offering is all about are things like, "Let us worship God with our tithes and offerings," or, "Let us now return to God a portion of what he has given us."
Then again, there was a time when some churches did, in fact "take" offerings. They assessed members a certain amount, and would "conveniently" come to your home to collect it if, for some reason you were not able to bring it to the church. ;-) Other practices, like posting a list of names with their annual contributions, create a sense of "taking" also.
My opinion is that our practices and words should reflect the words of St Paul who wrote, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
But I have hijacked this thread long enough. If anyone wants to discuss this further, I would recommend a new thread.
This isn't really discussing it further, just a memory: One of my less happy times in ministry was when my second "hat" to wear was that of church secretary, and I knew what each and every member was giving. Except there was a guy on welfare who was the fourth biggest actual-dollar giver in the whole church, and somehow thinking about him made me happy.
If we introduce a new Song we tend to play it as people come in before the service starts and or after the service so that people start to learn it with out realizing it.
Or we do it as the first song and then sing again later once people are more familiar with it.