Leading Music By Duane Maracle

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Are you called upon to lead congregational singing in your church? Here are some tested tips for improving your song leading skills.

1) Work for variety within the songs chosen. There should be a good mix of songs that are fast, medium or slow. If all are slow people get sleepy. If all are fast there's no time for meditation. The faster songs get attention, help people wake up and allow for energetic praise of God. Slower songs help settle and direct the mind, focus attention and prepare a person to hear God speak.

2) Learn some new songs. There are good reasons why the Psalms encourage new songs. A song sung over and over loses some of its meaning. People's minds start wandering and the blessing to be gained from the song is lost. Learning a new song breaks people out of the ruts. Not only do they think about the new song they've just sung, but also old songs start taking on new meaning.

3) Search out good music. There’s a wealth of music available to churches. Educate yourself on what's available. Don't feel that your singing must be limited to what's in the Adventist Hymnal. Try going to the ABC or a local Christian bookstore for resources. Be aware, however, that not all music is of the highest quality, so...

4) Pay attention to the lyrics. Song lyrics can powerfully affect our thinking, teach a truth, be a prayer to God, or touch someone's heart. But, not all songs do this well. Words that are archaic can obscure the message of the song, while shallow words fail to feed the mind. Look for words that have depth, are easily understood, and help members mature as children of God.

5) Pay attention to the music. Melodies for congregational singing should be easy to sing, in a range that the majority can comfortably reach. Notes that soar too high, melodies that are difficult or awkward tend to frustrate people and distract their minds from the singing to the sore throat that's developing.

6) Lead gently. Change can be exciting when so much good music is in front of you, but it’s threatening to some. Don't be surprised or discouraged if a few people are worried and voice criticism. Be patient and move slowly enough that people can follow without being overwhelmed.

7) Remember to get a copyright license. If you're reproducing the words to a copyrighted song in the bulletin, on a song sheet, or on a projection screen, your church needs a license. Copyright laws protect the rights of songwriters, and Christians should be the first to respect them. Contact an organization such as Christian Copyright Licensing Inc. Phone (800) 234-2446.

Duane Maracle is a pastor in the Carolina Conference. This article was first published on PlusLine/AdventSource. All rights reserved © 2012 VisitInSpire.org. Click here for content usage information.