Brand New Bag: Mixing Up Your Style

There are endless resources available to us as Worship Pastors to help us lead our community into a meaningful time of worship. But it can be easy to fall into the same patterns, sounds, rhythms, and routines when leading our churches. Some of these routines are healthy and good, but it’s never a bad idea to switch it up and add new styles into the mix! With a wider variety of musical styles at your disposal, you’ll find greater ways to engage your community.

Below are a few examples of different styles of music that can be powerful to engage your congregation in a powerful time of worship.

Gospel

Now not every church has access to a full gospel choir, though that doesn’t mean you can’t borrow their methods. Classic gospel songs are at their most powerful when the song begins with a slow simmer, setting the theme and chorus. As the verses and choruses repeat, the choir will ascend in volume, while driving the uptempo rhythm of the beat. A call and response evokes crowd participation. A strong build in a song is a sure way to engage with the crowd. Instead of asking the congregation to sing along, give them their own part of the chorus to sing back to you!

Country Western

Country music is familiar and classic. The essence of the music is humble. Adding a shuffle with the drums and simple slide or twang to a guitar is a very tangible and traditional trait in music that makes people feel at home. Looking for a new way to get that folded-arms guy in the back to engage? Give him some country!

Electronic

In the same way that familiar music can be engaging, so can new or foreign styles. Adding electronic or programmed beats and synth sounds can pique interest or intrigue within a vast audience. Electronic music is proven to be more appealing to younger listeners, especially those with more introverted personality types. Consider the impact of attracting new church members when opting into different musical flavors.

Jazz

Jazz is cozy, relaxing, and welcoming. It provides a delicate delivery for an intimate connection with God.  A very simple way to jazz up any song of any style is to add a major 7th chord as your root, and a 6th or major 9th chord to your IV. Using the Nashville number system, try turning a song around, or back to its chorus by using the common jazz chord progression ii V I, found in this example track, Autumn Leaves.

Finding ways to bring new sounds into your church’s worship is an ever-evolving process (and it should be!). We hope this gives you a bit of inspiration to start experimenting :)


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