I don’t know how many parts this series will be, probably ongoing because church culture is always appending new dumb rules to the existing list of dumb rules, so I’ll try to keep up. First dumb rule I’d like to challenge:
Well intentioned as it may be, it’s completely arbitrary and unhelpful and here’s why.
1. It presumes every song’s story is best served the exact same way, and that’s to quickly get to the point.
This is the primary reason this dumb rule is arbitrary. It’s an attempt to apply a stylistic preference and particular arrangement utility to every song in every context. Futile.
2. It presumes that your instrumentation is at the minimum a distraction and disservice to the song and at worst worthless.
Now this may very well be true for terrible bands, but shorter intros aren’t going to do anything to help this. Which is why I’m much more a fan of a good worship rule that many churches don’t observe and that is: “Don’t suck” . But for bands that don’t suck and are actually thinking about their arrangements, their sets, their songwriting and the story they all fit in, can we agree that perhaps a long intro could quite possibly actually make a song better? If not we might as well just have a hand full of songwriters all arranging for us and us all play the same songs the same way across the country….oh wait…that sounds a lot like what’s happening. Bummer.
3. The rule doesn’t acknowledge that space in songs is as important if not more important than the notes you play or sing.
If you think of a song as a canvas, and a selection of paints as your different instruments and voices. If you start painting it with every color you have all over, it’s going to look a lot like a big black piece of paper. Nothing anyone would find very interesting or good. But if you want a color to stand out, you accomplish it through providing it negative space and complimenting it with other colors that work with it.
Song intros and instrumentals are negative space, they aren’t the subject of the song, but that space exists to amplify the subject, to make it more attractive and for it to be heard more clearly. Use it wisely, but please, don’t listen to folks who think they’ve found the worship formula that all should follow. It’s paint by the numbers and it sucks.
The following is an excerpt from a sermon I gave on Worship Truth and Expression. This is all dripping with Jonathan Edwards obviously.
It’s not sufficient or acceptable to God that we merely believe these to be good and true or be moved in spirit in such a minor degree that we’re barely beyond indifferent.
“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:11-12 ESV) <- this is a powerfully affected heart
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 10:12 ESV)
“And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:6 ESV)
“The Spirit of God, in those that have sound and solid religion, is a spirit of powerful holy affection; and therefore, God is said ‘to have given the Spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,’ 2 Tim. 1:7. And such, when they receive the Spirit of God, in his sanctifying and saving influences are said to be ‘baptized with the Holy Ghost, and with fire;’ by reason of the power and fervor of those exercises the Spirit of God excited in their hearts, whereby their hearts, when grace is in exercise, may be said to ‘burn within them;’ as is said of the disciples, Luke 24:32.” -J. Edwards
The scriptures make it clear if our holy affections are weak, are not fervent, are not exhaustive, are not burning in our heart that we not alive in Christ.
My band’s Sunday morning may bit a bit unique because of the way we’ve chosen to operate. We all are very busy during the week with other commitments both church related and not and Saturday’s for me are a non-negotiable family day. We all live spread out over the broader Phoenix area, 30-40 minute drives. So there’s really not good opportunity for us to practice during the week. BUT, we also are constantly in some phase of creative development of an arrangement for each song, we’re introducing new ones, we’re writing our own etc… So we take each Sunday as a chance to iteratively improve on each song’s arrangement. Sometimes that means throw out the old and bring in the new from scratch, other times it means just changing a few parts here and there. Rarely if ever does it mean, everything exactly the same.
We have 1 service at 10:15 am and we basically start practicing at 6:30am for that service. After setup we typically get in about 2.5hrs of practice over 4 songs before service. We’ve been operating like this for a few years and it works for us. Here’s a 4 part vine diary of what the morning looks like. (Would have be 5 parts had Vine not crashed right before service start time)
Step 5 which you’ll have to imagine(fun!), final tune-ups, final arrangement walk throughs, wait for the bell to ring.
3 beloved members of my band Our Rising Sound, also play in a shoe gaze band Bear State. Fronted by the very talented (and attractive) Caleb Dailey, they just released today their first tape release “Strange Feeling” through Snorin Desert. If you’re into shoe gaze, then you’ll love this album. It’s a feel good vibe and a great soundtrack for the day.
I’m super happy for my dear friends, take a listen and support their stuff if you dig it.
The publishers of Creature of the Word were nice enough to send me a couple copies to give away to you nice folks. This book is an invaluable resource for church leaders in evaluating what they do and why they do it, which is a very healthy thing to do. I’m going to make the giveaway pretty simple, just do the following:
That’s it. I’ll pick someone a couple folks at random and send ya the book. Here’s a the trailer for the book to wet your appetite.
This tune is off Citizens incredible self titled album. If you haven’t yet seen the music video for it, go do it now! We did this for the first time this Easter and it was a joy to sing and play. I’ve modified the feel some as well as the instrumentation, but the vibe is very similar(see arrangement below).
Remember to vote on the loop below, this really helps me get a sense of what folks find useful. Also it is used to calculate top loops widget in sidebar for people to quickly see the better loops.
Song: Made Alive by Citizen
Bpm: 192 (4/4)
Section: Time (bar)
If you download this loop or you’ve benefited in any way or are appreciative of the service, I’d ask that you please consider donating whatever you feel the loop is worth. The amount (including $0) I leave up to you. If you don’t have Reason and would like changes made to the mix (instruments muted etc…) just request it in the comments and I’ll respond. Note: If a donation is made then I may respond to the request much faster
This work by Kyle Campos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
© 2013 Our Rising Sound. All Rights Reserved.
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