expressive worship

Songs Outside the Box

I love seeing God show up in unexpected places. There are times when I am awed by a piece of art, or a meaningful conversation, or an unusual bird landing close by…as if God is telling me, ‘I’m here. Just wanted you to know!’

I also love hearing a song that’s unexpected during worship….something I haven’t heard before, at least in church.

I know it’s a challenge for worship leaders to continually find great songs, and great songs that fit your sermon topic or theme. This is where we need to open our ears and get out of our rut of going to the same stuff we hear on Christian radio.

Recently I saw a movie called ‘Once’, which was written around the songs of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. A song in the film called Falling Slowly, caught my ear. The haunting melody just grabbed me. I knew I’d heard it before but couldn’t place it. (I later remembered that a Christian band I worked with had covered it.) When I asked our worship leader if she’d heard it, she said she had and that she really wanted to use it some Sunday morning. A few weeks later, she had worked it into our worship service as a special… and I was smiling ear to ear!

Even though the lyric came from a specific experience by the writer, it leaves room for your own interpretation The song fit so well into our service that was focused on hearing peoples’ stories…where they came from, what they’ve been through, where they are with God. Here’s a partial lyric:

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can’t go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I’m painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It’s time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice

You’ve made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I’ll sing it loud

The lyric was put on the screens so the congregation could connect better with it and the 2 singers sat on stools. It was a pure, simple, meaningful moment. No, it’s not a blatant ‘Christianese’ lyric, but it paints a picture of life and hope that many people can relate to.

So, open your ears. Jog your memory. Go to the movies. Grab on to what hits you. Don’t limit your music set to just ‘vertical’ songs. ‘Sing your melody…sing it loud.’

I’d love to know where and how you find your new songs! Is it a challenge? Do you have a particular source you re-visit?

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Amy Wolter

Amy has vast and varied experience in music, from keyboardist to lead singer, from songwriter to producer. She fronted a nationally touring Christian rock band that garnered some top 10 CCM hits. Playing in a variety of venues and churches gave her a real understanding of what audiences and congregations connect with. As a member of her church’s worship team, Amy understands the challenges that come with this, and enjoys helping Christian artists and Worship Teams create freedom in the room to truly express their worship.

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  1. Dan says:

    Hi Amy – We just covered a song in worship called Run To The Water by LIVE. Even though it’s not a “Christian” song, it has christian meaning to it. We had people come up to us afterword and ask about the song, they loved it and felt the passion in the song.

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