December 29, 2017
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise from the ends of the earth,
Isaiah 42:10

Last week I shared with you that in 2018 our Praise Team will be introducing us to new, fresh music to sing as a congregation. I reminded you that Scripture reminds us often to sing new songs to the Lord, and I invited you to be praying with me for God’s grace as we do this together. Today I would like to share with you: 1) how we went about selecting our new music, 2) how we will introduce it, and 3) give you an opportunity to start listening to the songs we will be introducing throughout the year.

How we chose our new songs
We had several criteria for the new music we selected. Let’s call it a rubric. As we considered songs, we asked these seven questions about it:
  • Does it use phrases/verses directly from Scripture, and does it use Scriptural categories to describe God/the Christian life?
  • Does it make good theology/doctrine easily accessible to the average person and not clash with our theological tradition?
  • Does the song focus on God more than me?
  • Is the song needlessly repetitive?
  • Can the average singer sing the tune?
  • Does the song suggest, prompt, or elicit active engagement?
  • Does the song sound appropriate for our congregation?
Each of us who worked on selecting the new music addressed different questions from different perspectives. As we worked through this process we learned that in the majority of the cases we were on the same page, which I believe was evidence that God’s Spirit was leading this process.

How we will introduce our new songs
As has been our practice, new songs will be introduced slowly and with intentionality. The process will not be identical every time, but here are some of the tactics we will engage:
  • We will strive to introduce music no faster than 1 song every 4-6 weeks, depending on how quickly the congregation takes to new music.
  • Once a song has been introduced, we will sing it 3 weeks in a row (on average).
  • A song will first be sung as special music before asking the congregation to sing it.
  • The praise team will sing the verses and ask the congregation to just sing the chorus.
  • We will start by singing an abbreviated version as a congregation.
  • We will give the congregation opportunity to listen to and begin learning the songs before we introduce them in worship.

How to begin listening to our new songs
We explored making CDs available so you could begin listening, but we found that due to copyright matters, this endeavor would cost too much. So, we created a page on our website where you can view the list of new songs we plan to introduce throughout 2018. Presently the list takes us through summer (with two Christmas songs also listed). As we plan more introductions, we will add them to the webpage:

If you are a Spotify user, you can access the playlist here.

Beloved, it can be difficult to sing new songs that we do not know. It’s easy to feel like we are not worshipping because while the songs are still new to us, we may stumble over the words or sing the wrong notes. That’s OK. God wants worshippers who worship in spirit and truth. As we begin to learn these new songs, my prayer for you is that your spirit would be led by God’s Spirit, and your heart would be drawn anew to the wonders of God’s glory!

You are loved!
pastor earl
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