You Can Do It (Too!): Worship Music

pexels-photo-851179.jpegSmall churches are often strapped for resources.  With that, it can feel like they can’t do some of the things they see bigger churches doing, produce what bigger churches are producing and utilize the same quality of tools that the bigger churches are using.  This series is designed to equip the small church ministry to do all of these things, especially in the area of Graphic Design, a Website, Stage Design and Video Work.  Each week we will be adding a post about one of these areas, so check back often!

Youth Worship is a huge part of youth ministry in any size church, but there are some very practical issues with being a small(er) church and trying to provide relevant, youth-geared or youth-led worship.  Music tends to be on the top of that list.  What if you don’t have teens, volunteers or a youth leader who’s a musician?  Does this mean that you’re stuck doing Gregorian chant or avoiding music all together?  Short answer: Nope.

Longer answer…not by a long shot.  It’s not hard to put together a lyric video for a worship service, and in a lot of ways, it’s got some great benefits.  First, it’s always perfect, without practice.  Outside of the time it takes you to make the video, there is no rehearsal or prep time.  If you pick songs the teens are hearing and loving on the radio, they will recognize it and be able to sing along the way it’s sung on the radio, and being able to belt a song out is one of the best things in worship!  You can also use these recordings for mission trip driving playlists in the vans, which transports teens into worship wherever they are.  And speaking of mission trips, you can easily take along a projector and laptop and have worship anywhere instead of packing up the guitar, drum kit and hiring a band to travel with you.  There is an energy trade-off when you use non-live music, but if that’s not an option, this is an amazing alternative.

Putting together a video like this is actually surprisingly simple.  First, acquire the song, so if you have it on CD, rip it to your computer, or buy it on iTunes or Amazon.  Then, if you want a fancy moving background like the one on this video, you can get them for FREE on websites like Videezy.com.  You want to keep an eye out for the phrase “royalty free”, which means you can use it without paying for the rights.  Then, all you need is a program like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie, depending on if you have a PC or Apple computer.  There are dozens of other programs, too, but these two are super user friendly and easy to do!

A few pro tips to making this video: No fancy fonts.  It needs to be easy to read!  The size and shape of the font should be readable from the back of your worship space, so test it out if in doubt.  Include punctuation! Punctuation is crucial when you are trying to read a song you aren’t familiar with, so help your teens out!  Get the words up BEFORE they are sung.  Especially if the song is unfamiliar to some of your teens, they need to know the first words BEFORE they are supposed to sing them.  Give a little time to process.  Give Credit where credit’s due.  At the beginning with the title or at the end, be sure to credit the performer of the song.  Whether or not this is necessary, it’s just good practices and it gives your teens the ability to look the song up at home and download it to worship on their own.  Add new songs often!  The same 6 songs is not going to cut it when it comes to vibrant, diverse worship.  I like to make a new video a week, even if I’m not using it that week.  Then you begin to build up a library for future use, and it gives you lots of options to coordinate the songs with a message.  Plan ahead for Christmas and Advent!  If you are going to do this in the Advent season, start well ahead of time to begin building a collection of Advent and Christmas songs.  Yes, you can sing Oceans or Build Your Kingdom Here during Advent, but if you plan it out ahead of time, you can debut some fun, new Christmas videos too.

This may seem to some as a poor replacement for a band or choir, and admittedly I do prefer live music, but this is doable.  I know of entire congregations that worship this way, both out of necessity and preference.  If you are looking for a way to provide quality worship music that is fun and relevant for your youth, this is a great option to consider!

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