Resources for Worship

One of the beautiful things about our district is the diversity of our churches and servant-leaders. This is also expressed through the various contexts for worship in our local churches. This month, I’ve asked four worship leaders from different sizes of churches for their favorite resource for new songs, essential piece of gear, and the one thing they try to keep in mind for leading worship in their context. Each of them welcome continuing the conversation with you, so feel free to contact them with any questions or comments! 


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Michael Bratun| Worship Pastor – The Connection, Lake Forest CA
(michael@theconnectionoc.com)

Best resource for new worship music?

My favorite resources for new worship music is SongSelect (http://songselect.com) and Multitracks (see below in Tiffa Garza’s contribution). Both provide videos and resources to equip you and your worship teams.  From free downloads via song of the month or chord charts and current top 100 songs, both that are already out or are coming out.  The videos range from tutorials to special performances, as well as "behind the song" so that you really get a sense of where the writer and the song are coming from! Both of these keep up with various resources and the most current songs and tracks being released! 

Favorite piece of gear/resource to facilitate worship?

Ableton is one of my most valuable pieces of gear/resources.  It is by far the best program for running all your tracks live (including metronome and guide tracks) while simultaneously having dozens of instruments plug ins that can be used in a live setting.  it is the most versatile and easy to use program to running backing tracks and guide/click tracks in a live situation. I use Ableton every Sunday to run our tracks and extra pads that help fill up the sound of our musical worship. (For an introduction to how to use Ableton in your church worship context, visit - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGPzqGH3PzU)

The one practical thing you think about when leading worship in your context?

I think its important to being constantly aware of where the focus is supposed to be. We need to have a balance of "God" focused songs to "I" focused songs. Who is the REAL focus of our favorite worship songs? Are the songs we choose ascribing worth to ourselves? Or are the songs ascribing worth to God? So many of the songs we use focus on how great my life is because of God.  While these true and important to sing, if our ENTIRE set revolves around ourselves (me, I) then  we are missing the most crucial aspect of our services...ascribing worth to/worshipping God!


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Tiffa (Tiffany) Garza| Worship Pastor – C4 (Christ Centered Community Church), Hololulu HI
(tiffagarza@gmail.com)

Best resource for new worship music?

When it comes to finding “New” worship music my go-to is www.multitracks.com.  The founder, Phillip Edwards says, “We're always creating and innovating towards a simple goal: to build an ecosystem of products for worship leaders that helps them lead their teams well.”And they truly do just that! I can see when new songs are added and can listen to the latest, most newly released, current worship music. I also follow various worship leaders on social media. Bands like CROWDER, BETHEL, ELEVATION and HILLSONG UNITED usually give a heads up on any upcoming release. I pre-order the album and then when it’s ready and downloaded I listen to every, single song and see if there are any songs that could resonate with our church family. Currently, we’re loving HILLSONG Y&F’s song, HEART OF GOD. Our Church has connected to that song in 2019. 

Favorite piece of gear/resource to facilitate worship?

My favorite piece of gear is the wired, Neumann KMS 105 microphone. It’s like taking the quality of a studio mic to the stage. I LOVE IT. Dynamic range, from a whisper to a roar, shows clarity and vocal definition through the sound system. ANY vocalist will hear a big difference with this mic. 

The one practical thing you think about when leading worship in your context?

Over the years I have learned how to simultaneously lead worship and engage in intercessory prayer during a worship set. This is something we are teaching our worship team. There’s a spiritual warfare element to leading worship and I think that we’re aware of that as worship leaders but we must never forget the battle before us. It’s as simple as, during the instrumental intro of a song – (usually under my breath or in my head)I praythat the burdens of the people walking in would be lifted. I pray that any distractions, fears and the weight of whatever has happened this week would dissipate and that people would connect to the living God. I pray that they would experience healing and breakthrough through the power of Jesus… It’s this constant intercessory prayer that happens even when I am leading a song. And this is not just for the vocalists… I encourage our band to intercede through every note played, every chord strummed and every single hit that is beat on the drum… 


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Paul Sahyoun| Worship Pastor – Cornerstone Church, Anaheim CA
paulsahyoun@gmail.com)

 

Best resource for new worship music?

This may sound funny, but one of my best resources for new music is the circle of people around me.  Oftentimes, I'm introduced to new songs by my wife (who is ALWAYS listening to new worship much) or those with whom I serve.  We have taken a team approach to finding new music for our congregation.

Favorite piece of gear/resource to facilitate worship? 

There are so many great resources out there to help facilitate worship.  One of my favorites is Worship Online (https://worshiponline.com/).  This website makes it so easy and convenient to learn new songs and to really refine every team member's ability to learn and play specific parts within a song's arrangement.  Any vocalist or band member will benefit from creating an account here and making this part of their regular practice and preparation for leading worship.

The one practical thing you think about when leading worship in your context?

I always have a goal in mind when leading worship, which is that we want to take people somewhere as we lead them in worship.  We don't just want to aimlessly or flippantly spend time singing songs, but rather we want to be intentional in leading people into the presence of God and having a transformative encounter with Him.  I personally have used the term "Destination Worship" to signify that intent of leading people into a specific place in our corporate times of praise and worship.

 

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Grady Williams| Co-Pastor – Harbor Light, Costa Mesa, CA
(pastorgrady@gmail.com)

 

Best resource for new worship music?

Renewing Worship is an all-in-one site, offering resources and events, as well as aggregating the 20 most used songs from each week in church worship. (https://www.renewingworshipnc.org/top20/) Plus, my daughter, Carina Greer, is my ‘go to’ resource for what’s singing well in congregational worship.

Favorite piece of gear/resource to facilitate worship? 

Favorite piece of gear/resource to facilitate worship: ONSONG App(https://onsongapp.com/) and AirTurn Bluetooth Pedal, which advances songs and turns pages (https://www.airturn.com/products/categories/Bluetooth+Pedals). Since using the ONSONG App on our iPads, our worship team has completely gone away from all printed music. This versatile app holds our complete Library of songs and you create individual sets for each occasion, which can then be saved, synced and shared with each team member. (Songs are easily downloaded into the app from various sources.) There’s simply too much the ONSONG App will do to list here, but in my opinion it's a MUST for worship leaders and worship team members. Also, as a guitar player, my AirTurn Bluetooth Pedal has become indispensable to me. It is synced to the iPad and ONSONG and advances or reverses the music via of a foot pedal. I never have to take my hands off the guitar to advance a song or turn a page. 

The one practical thing you think about when leading worship in your context?

I think it is important to consider the “flow” of worship - how songs fit together by the elements of key, dynamics, and theme. My greatest desire is to bring people into God’s presence, not just sing a set of individual songs. I seek to do this by connecting and transitioning the songs from the beginning to the end of the set, applying all the elements listed above.