expressive worship

Keep the Integrity of the Song

We just finished an Expressive Worship Live workshop here in Nashville. I love working with these praise bands and worship leaders!

After watching the first “Worship Music Makeover” we did with one of the praise bands, a worship leader commented “this has been convicting – we need to think about using more space during worship!”

Now, there have been comments on some of my blogs about movement, and what some people think of as “jumping around onstage.” But that’s not what we’re talking about. In fact, “jumping around onstage” would be the opposite of what I mean, because that wouldn’t communicate a clear message to the congregation any more than standing in one spot and never moving!

What I am talking about is rearranging the worship songs so you find the “moment” in the song, then bringing that song both musically AND visually to your congregation so they can worship freely! So let’s talk for a moment about what needs to happen visually.

First of all, you need to keep the integrity of the song with what you do onstage. Keep it appropriate for the song.

A good analogy for that is to think about movies. If you’re doing an action scene in a movie, there’s going to be a lot of action. If you’re doing a love scene, there’s not much action – it’s tender and gentle. If you’re doing a scene with a lot of dialogue, there’s no running around and shooting guns at each other – but if the dialogue is intense there may be close ups on faces varied with short animated movements from one area to another. The visual will portray the same message as the dialogue.

It’s the same idea with your songs. What you do visually needs to be appropriate for what the song is: what the lyrics are, what the rhythm, melody, and feel of the song is.

Think football. It’s third and one in the fourth quarter, seven minutes on the clock and you’re up by 14 points. Are you going to throw a long pass? No. You’ll run a play and run the clock down, because that’s the right strategy for that time. Now if it’s third and seven, and you’re 10 points behind, that’s when you pass.

If you understand the strategy, you know what to do. You’ve worked on the fundamentals, you understand what the appropriate thing is at the appropriate time in the appropriate place.

Then you can bring your congregation a time of worship through song that will fill them with a message – lyrically, musically, and visually!

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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. Casey says:

    It’s funny you mention Happy Day Jason… I think that’s a great example of how even the guy who originally wrote/performed the song misses the boat on performance. Exhibit A:

  2. Hope says:

    Helpful analogy! Thanks again, Tom (and EW team) for a great workshop. . . . what a huge blessing. it was the BEST skills workshop I have ever attended. I had no idea how beneficial it would be. WOW! (in a grat way.) Folks, if you have the opportunity to attend one of these, don’t hesitate! It was SO worth the time, effort and expense of getting to Nashville. Bring your whole team if at all possible. I wish I had!

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