Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a handful of members come up to me and ask me if we were still going for “balance” and “blend” in our worship services.

It’s with some befuddlement that I have responded in each occasion that “Yes” – as a matter of fact I have gone to great lengths to make sure of that…but in “balance and blend” I was understanding that to mean a balance of style – you know…hymn and more “contemporary” praise songs. Fast and slow songs.

…but it quickly became apparent that there was another variable in the mix that I didn’t understand….

Familiarity.

Meaning, “balance and blend” to some folks includes familiarity – songs they know by heart.  (Or just about…)

So, for example yesterday we did 6 songs – 2 of them were from the hymnal and 1 was a “modern” hymn – but I was approached because they weren’t “familiar” and thus the service wasn’t “balanced and blended”?

Anyone else see “familiarity” in the mix of definition of “Balance” and “Blend?”

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4 thoughts on “Balanced & Blended = Familarity?

  1. i forget what you called me…. or those likw me who usually check out your blog but don’t comment… i think it was something like “lurking”… well i think i will weigh in on this question today.

    so your asking?? ok then… this is just one persons opinion.

    if your gonna go to another factor… familiarity, what comes to mind is being able to really sing-out songs we know. gpbc really likes to sing. we love to be comfortable singing loud. so in this aspect of singing i agree with the familiarality factor. believe it or not the song i was really able to sing-out yesterday was the chorus of the new one, Jesus thank you. the chorus really flows and that important factor played in for me yesterday. the other songs either weren’t “familiar” or a new style of it which makes it harder to sing out. yes we know be the center but we want to sing-out these songs and the comfortability factor didnt’ play in so we were left being tied to the slides and band.

    on another note, depending on the song, the key/range factors in with the singing, especially with us females. a couple songs were in a hard range for alto type voices which makes us jumping ranges.

    well i weighed in… and others say i usually say to much… to many words but here it is.

    mr. worship director… i love what you are doing with the intro’s of songs, and the band’s entrances. it’s mixing it up and creating a “song” out of a song and giving personality. praise God. thank you for your acts of worship in worship.

    jeannine

  2. I see Familiarity in the mix of more than just ‘blended’ or ‘balanced’ (if I follow you correctly). At my church we try as much as possible to stay away from labels such as ‘blended’ or ‘contemporary/traditional’ or whatever. If people form an opinion about it one way or another, at least they didn’t hear it from the leadership. That said, Familiarity is important. Any time I introduced a new song (although the new song might be older than the United States…) I intentionally use it more often throughout the next few weeks so that the congregation can become familiar with it.

    It is funny how Familiarity with music = Traditional music in some peoples minds. I continually, week after week, am approached by an elderly lady who wonders why there are no hymns being sung in the service that day. The funny thing is that most of the time the songs we’ll sing are older than her grandmother, but she doesn’t recognize them as “hymns” because they aren’t in the hymnbook right in front of her…

    So familiarity is in the mix in a lot of things and while we shouldn’t submit completely to it and sing only songs we are familiar with, I do believe we must allow our congregations to grow familiar with all sorts of songs that express the gospel and biblical truth and the only way to remember them is to become familiar with them.

    my two cents…

  3. hmmm… some sundays or maybe most, I can just close my eyes and sing. I like that. BUT!!!! that can also get old and stodgy. So, what to do?

    I know there are older folks whose eyes and minds and flexibility is simply limited. I watched the other day as long held verses of familiar hymns started to get lost in the recall of an older brother who LOVES to sing. We do need to welcome them in to our new songs.

    I believe the greatest common denominator is God’s Word. If you help lead young and old to see that the words being sung are straight from the mouth of God… you will see young and old pressing forward to embrace these words. The child of God loves to sing back to the Father his very own wonderful words. Capture their hearts, not with a ‘new’ song, but with an ‘old’ story… the Gospel. Help us see how what we are struggling to learn is worthy of praise to the God we adore!

    I thoroughly love this wonderful gospel-centered worship. I want my older and younger brothers/sisters to love it too. Keep pressing on Mike.

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