We’re looking at answering the question: How can we introduce new songs well? We started by acknowledging the need to teach the congregation the songs.
The bottom line from this thought is that teaching a song helps give the congregation a stronger foothold in a potentially uncomfortable situation. Today, we’ll be looking at part 2 of our discussion about introducing new songs to our church families.
Another Football Analogy
Back to football. Lets talk about the ’11 Broncos for a moment. When John Fox decided to go with Tim Tebow as his quarterback, he had to understand what this did to his team. Tebow isn’t a traditional, 5-step drop and throw kind of quarterback, like the typical NFL quarterbacks.
Essentially, doing what they had done with other quarterbacks wouldn’t work with Tebow. Fox had to know his team well enough to structure the new playbook around the new identity of his team. Fox’s knowledge of his team was the difference between a disappointing season and a potential playoff run.
Do you see the parallel?
If we (Coach Fox) don’t know our churches (the football team), then we won’t pick the songs (plays) that will best engage, encourage, and disciple our congregation.
It is so easy to allow our own preferences and musical taste to dictate the songs that we choose to introduce. However, doing this can render our efforts useless and we could be doing great harm to the theological understanding and health of our churches.
Know Your Church
How do we begin to know our church? Well, what has helped me is spending time before and after services walking around and meeting people. Get out of your green room and into the seats. Get to know people and who they are.
I’m not saying we should solicit song requests, but I’m not saying we shouldn’t listen when people share them. Also, understanding the culture and history of your church will greatly enhance your knowledge of your church.
Talk to people who have been around, ask questions, and most importantly, listen. Some people may have been around for the majority of the life of your church, and they will have a huge understanding of they hear of your church.
However, there are some people that are just always going to be critical. No song you pick or hymn you teach is going to make them happy, so these are people we need to limit our exposure to.
Also, if there are comment cards coming in after a Sunday about the songs, band, music, anything, and they don’t have their name or contact info on them, immediately throw them away. These are grandees thrown by people who don’t care enough to attach themselves to their whining. A wise man taught me to throw these away without reading them, they do us no good.
One last thing that will help us is choosing songs with a team. It may be annoying or frustrating at times, even seeming like a hinderance, but it will keep you from picking the same kind of songs all the time. Having a healthy dialogue about the songs we’re using as a team will always help the best songs rise to the top.