expressive worship

An Open Arrangement

In a perfect world, worship events would have worship leaders who could implement every live music technique to draw the congregation in and help them worship.

But that’s a perfect world…so where do we start?

Two things are really important: the arrangement of the song, and leaving space for the Spirit to move. Not just singing the songs and playing the songs.

So much revolves around “the arrangement” and how it’s developed.

Sometimes when people arrive at church their head is not into it. So I try to develop the song in a way that helps everybody get “with us.” The introduction, setting the song up, can engage the congregation. It can “buy the time” until everyone is gathered together and ready.

The arrangement is massive (in importance). It allows us to leave space for God to move instead of just having us sing a song.

Another example: some of the songs that are out there you sing and you think…that’s a cool bridge. Well, I don’t want to just play it and move on. Often the bridge is one the best parts to mess with. I will milk it! Bring it up – down – acapella.

This is where I often tell the band, “guys, watch me – we may do this once – we may do this five times depending how the Spirit moves.” It is a place we could really “hook” the congregation – engage them in the worship.

Too often, we let the song be in control. But if the leader is in control, they can sense or feel what is happening…”no reason to move on, it’s not time”…listen…”sense” when it’s time…listen to your instinct. The band knows after the first chorus – “I’m going to hang out on the 1 chord (the tonic) to say something”…leaving that space…having the freedom to blast through a song or not. If something is happening – what’s the hurry?

It’s not about playing songs, but digging in a little deeper. And if I find a moment that really connects, I may play hunches to help deepen that connection.

Listen to the musical instincts God gave you, and leave yourself an arrangement that is open to that.

This is one of the key concepts we’ll be discussing at our upcoming Expressive Worship Live event. Bring your team and learn how to do this in your own rehearsals!

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Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson, world renowned Live Music Producer, helps musicians and worship teams develop songs into “unique worship moments.” His Live Music Methods help create freedom in the room so your congregation can express their worship more freely and passionately than ever before! Tom has worked with nearly every genre from rock to pop to Christian Gospel, impacting major artists and worship leaders such as Jars of Clay, Casting Crowns, NewSong, Sidewalk Prophets, Chris Tomlin, Francesca Battistelli, Todd Agnew, Phillips, Craig & Dean, Parachute Band, The Martins, plus a multitude of independent artists.

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  1. Christina says:

    Thanks for sharing! It was nice to meet you at Immerse. Hope to attend a workshop or bootcamp soon.

  2. I agree completely Rich! I love that way of describing it: As leaders, let’s make sure that WE are in charge of the timing and not let the song structure get in the way. Let’s make sure the leaders lead not the song!

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