Why your church doesn’t sing… and what you can do to fix it! (Part 2)

Last week we kicked off a new series about what has become one of the BIG issues facing worship leaders and churches today: the decline of congregational singing.

And whether or not you believe your church is experiencing this right now, the recent trends point to the fact that more and more congregations are singing “less and less”.

Over the next few weeks I want to tackle THREE BIG REASONS for this decline in congregational singing.  The good news is it is within our power as pastors and worship leaders to correct all three… if we’ll get honest about the cause and be willing to make some small (but important) adjustments to our worship leading.

So, let’s look at the first reason your congregation isn’t singing, and what you can do about it…


Recently in the Worship Leader Gold Network Monthly Leadership and Strategy Call I talked about this topic of congregational singing and taught 7 important lessons from John Wesley for how to encourage your congregation to sing.

Gain access to that Leadership Session and instantly receive $813.20 in FREE Bonus resources when you join Worship Leader Gold TODAY!  Plus, receive additional coaching sessions, dozens of Ministry and Leadership Book summaries, and much, much more in your personalized Worship Leader Gold Hub. I’ve put the complete details in the PS below, so keep reading to learn more!


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Too soon to sing Christmas music? Not according to this…

When is it “too early” to start singing Christmas music?

If you ask my wife the answer is, “It’s never too soon!”

But what about in your church?

That’s been a “hot topic” this November as retailers have more than encroached on Thanksgiving and Halloween to put us in the Christmas (i.e. buying) spirit earlier than ever. 

Black Friday is now Black November. Every major online retailer already has ongoing Christmas sales. And some stores and restaurants started playing 24/7 Christmas music as soon as the trick-or-treaters fell asleep on All Hallow’s Eve.

It’s enough to drive the people in your church and mine crazy!

In fact, a recent survey found that 55% of people think it’s too soon for Christmas music.

All of this hub-bub about Christmas coming too soon has many worship leaders asking…

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Why Your Worship Set Doesn’t Flow (and how to fix it!)

For the last few weeks we’ve been talking about the importance of developing your Music Plan… Specifically the FIVE QUESTIONS you should ask each week in preparing your worship set.

And today, we’re going to talk about one of the most important elements of your music plan — one that we ALL DO EVERY WEEK.

But first . . . a quick reminder that selecting songs is only part of the music plan you need to build each week.

We’re talking about creating a plan for how the music that you have selected is going to fit into the overall flow of the worship order, help create moments of life transformation, empower members of your team to step up to new levels of leading, and engage your congregation in passionate worship.

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Ask this Question Before You Finalize Your Worship Set for Sunday

Developing a Music Plan is one of your most important roles each week.  I’m not just talking about selecting the set list. That’s only part of it.

I’m talking about creating a plan for how the music that you have selected is going to fit into the overall flow of the worship order, help create moments of life transformation, empower members of your team to step up to new levels of leading, and engage your congregation in passionate worship. You know… the easy stuff – ha!

The songs are important, but it’s your Music Plan that will pull all the pieces together and make for a powerful worship set each week.

At The Journey, we ask Five Questions each week to help us develop our plan, and over the next few weeks we’ll dive into each of these (and the system and purpose behind them).

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What You Can (and Can’t) Do to Help Your Team Members Grow

Summer can be a dangerous time for spiritual growth! 

Summer brings with it a tendency to glide, to take it easy and not work too hard at anything. Unfortunately – that can be true for the spiritual growth of our worship team members as well. 

As worship leaders the spiritual care of our worship teams is central to our calling, and to the health of our worship team members.

Let’s face it . . . We all want to see the members of our team walking closely with God, making wise decisions at all times, never falling into sin, and overall just being 100% holy in all they do this summer. 

Want? Yes.  Possible? Of course not!

I can’t do that, you can’t do that, and neither can our team members. 

Sometimes as Worship Pastors, however, we live with a burden of guilt because we feel those expectations should be met and it’s up to us to make our team members meet them. 

Let me share with you one of the most powerful secrets of Spiritual Growth. 

Ready? You can’t force anyone to grow spiritually.  It’s true.  By God’s design it’s up to each person to decide to grow. 

So take that weight off your shoulders and let’s talk about what we can do to help your team grow spiritually this summer.

Here’s my Top 3: 

#1 – Demonstrate your own pursuit of God.  Just as Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ”, your team needs an example of what it means to grow spiritually.  They need you to lead in this area. So – let your team in on what God is doing in your life this summer.  Share with them your Bible study plan and what books you’re reading.  Remember, we don’t reproduce what we want; we reproduce what we are. 

#2 – Teach spiritual disciplines.  At The Journey I take time to teach on expectations for spiritual formation to our team as a whole twice a year in our New Season Kickoff.  But that’s hardly enough.  Look for opportunities (especially this summer) to invest in their spiritual growth. Send an article for your team to read.  Raise the value backstage on Sunday. During one-on-one’s ask how things are going in their spiritual life.  Look for ongoing ways to challenge them. 

#3 – Ensure they sign up for a Small Group Bible Study.  This is one of the expectations of serving on our Worship Arts Team at The Journey.  I know I can’t personally mentor the spiritual lives of everyone on our team, so by making sure they are in a Small Group Bible study I know that they are making their spiritual lives a priority.

BONUS – Ensure they are attending services, even on the Sunday’s they aren’t serving.  And make sure that they don’t just hang out backstage, but that they hear the message on Sundays when they are serving. Remind them — “God doesn’t just want to work through you.  He wants to work in you!”

There are a lot of things you can’t do to make your worship team grow spiritually.  But by working on these areas, you can create an environment for growth, and inspire your team to deepen their commitment to Christ this summer.

Your partner in ministry,


PS – What is your plan for growth this summer? Register for the new Worship Leader Gold membership network, let me serve as your coach this Summer, and receive your FIRST MONTH FREE as a reader of the WLI Blog. Just go here to learn more and register today (LIMITED TIME ONLY):  https://nelsonsearcy.infusionsoft.com/app/storeFront/showProductDetail?productId=2129

How to Beat the Summer Slump

A worship leader told me once that the summer was the worst time of year for him and his team to grow. He explained that because of this, he took it easy during the summer, didn’t challenge his team (or himself) to grow and just coasted through until fall arrived.

He called it the “Summer Slump”.

What I told him next was hard for him to swallow, but absolutely true.

Because he “took the summer off” from focusing on the growth and health of his team, he stumbled into the fall with the same team, the same challenges, and unfortunately, a full 25% of the year wasted!

A “Summer Slump” indeed. Read more

A Dangerous Trend for Worship Leaders

Have you ever met a “squatter”?

If you’ve ever lived in New York City (where I spent nearly a decade of ministry), or any other urban area you’re familiar with the term.
A squatter is a person who occupies an abandoned building (that they don’t own or rent), lives there and refuses to leave. They hunker down, and even though the promise of something better could improve their life situation, they choose to stay right where they are.  Content that they no longer live on the street, they don’t look for anything more in life.
(Believe it or not this has A LOT to do with you… so stay with me for a moment!). Read more

Startling Statistics

Have you heard this startling statistic?

33% of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.

And what’s worse . . . 42% of college graduates never read another book!

Incredible isn’t it!  (By the way, the fact that you’re reading this means that you’re far above average – way to go!).

Whether it’s our “entertainment over enlightenment” culture, or just that people think they have it all figured out, somehow as we grow older, we grow less and less teachable. Not a good trait in life, and certainly not a good trait for Worship Leaders.

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The “One Hour Early” Principle – Time Management for Pastors and Worship Leaders

What would you do with an extra hour today?  

That’s the question I posed last week as we began this 3-part series on how to best manage your time as a pastor and worship leader.

If you think about it, an extra hour today is the difference between…
…Going home at rest or going home stressed.

…Making it to your daughter’s basketball game, or making another excuse for why you couldn’t get away.

…Enjoying the work of ministry, or succumbing to the pressure of ministry.
An extra hour can make a BIG difference… wouldn’t you agree? Read more

Your 2014 personal growth plan?

When is the last time you read the story of Samuel anointing David as the future King of Israel (see 1 Samuel 16)?

It’s one of the great stories of the Old Testament, and even now as 2014 begins it has powerful meaning for you and I as worship leaders… 3,000 years later!

Let me explain . . . Read more