Finding the right tools for churches with limited instrumentalist resources
Churches with limited musician resources seem to be occurring in epidemic proportions. Also, many churches want to be able to utilize modern worship songs in their times of worship, but find it difficult to do so without proper instrumentation. Today, we have technologies available that provide great solutions for churches that need help. In this series of posts, I will be talking about many great solutions for churches of all worship styles–whether you need just a pianist or an entire band to assist in your times of corporate worship. This post is about one of the best resources available to worship musicians–LifeWayWorship.com.
LifeWayWorship.com is an incredible online source for worship resources. Audio and print materials are available for every hymn in the Baptist Hymnal plus most every contemporary worship song being sung by churches throughout the world. Music is purchased a la carte—you only buy just what you need. For the church with limited musician resources, I have found LifeWayWorship tracks to be one of the best solutions. They have over 2600 songs accessible from over 200 countries!
WOW! I felt like I’ve found a gold mine! Not to mention, the price was so affordable and I only had to buy what I needed.
Great features of LifeWayWorship.com:
- Congregationally-friendly keys. As I often mention, one of the biggest killers in worship is singing congregational songs in keys too high for the average singer. LifeWayWorship is careful to arrange all their songs to fit the congregation and encourage active participation in singing.
- High quality tracks. LifeWayWorship offers tracks (usually in two keys) for your use. They offer stereo tracks (no vocals) and split tracks (vocals on one track and instruments on the other). The tracks are recorded with high quality studio musicians.
- Companion print products. Every track also has print music for any band or orchestral instrument you may have in your church that follows the audio track perfectly.
- A la carte purchasing. You only have to purchase the products you want, so it is VERY affordable. Audio tracks cost $0.69 to $2.09 depending upon your prepay discount.
- Wide variety of songs. You will find everything from music centuries old that is tried and proven to worship songs that were just released in the last weeks. Something for every church.
- Awesome website. The site allows you to preview and listen to music before you make your purchases. Also, all your purchases are stored in your personal music library for future access and cloud storage.
- Great contemporary hymn arrangements. Many hymns have several arrangement options that set the great old hymns in new, contemporary musical styles. Works great for bringing together the old and the new in contemporary worship.
- Unbelievable pre-pay plan. You can bank some money with LifeWayWorship and get up to 70% discount on all products. That makes songs extremely affordable. Your banked money doesn’t expire in a year like some other services.
- It has a wonderful interface to WorshipPlanning.com and PlanningCenter. Once you buy your music, your downloads can seamlessly flow into your worship planning platform for your use. This saves considerable time of downloading, renaming, creating a song and uploading the files. It is all done for you!
- Scriptural references to every song. Passages link to MyStudyBible.com. You can even search on scriptural passages.
- Great staff. Just wanted to add that the staff at LifeWayWorship.com has a heart for church worship musicians and they desire to equip us with all we need to help our congregations worship well.
This year we took an even greater plunge; pre-paying our needs for the entire year of Lifeway worship music gives us far greater purchasing power than a church our size normally enjoys. You can’t beat 70% off everything!
What this means for the church with limited resources:
I consult with churches so often about finding the right solution for the problem of having inadequate musician resources. The majority of these churches find that LifeWayWorship.com is the perfect solution for them, especially when just beginning to venture into technological enhancement of worship by adding pre-recorded band tracks.
When I lead worship without a band, I utilize LifeWayWorship tracks quite often. I will use them alone or I will play keyboard with them for added variety.
I encourage churches that have one or more musicians to buy the accompanying parts and play along. For instance, if you have a student who is a great alto sax player, give them the alto sax part to play along with the track in worship. Add any instruments that seem appropriate for the song. (You do need to make sure you don’t add an instrument that will be in conflict with a lead instrument on the track, however).
The cost for utilizing LifeWayWorship tracks is minimal when compared to other options. You do not need a computer or a tablet. You can use anything that will play an mp3, or you can burn your files to a CD. This solution is very budget friendly when you have limited financial resources as well. You can select a core of songs for your congregation to get you started and add to that list along the way.
Here is a tutorial from our friends and the SC Baptist Convention to help with navigating the LifeWayWorship site to make purchases. You can download that here.
LifeWayWorship.com is hands down the BEST resource for the local church’s congregational singing with its amazing variety of products for most any church situation at a great price. All of their products were developed specifically for congregational singing with keys that are appropriate for average voices. There music is attainable by the average church musician. The tracks are high quality. They have every hymn from the 2008 Baptist Hymnal plus HUNDREDS more, representing most any song–traditional or contemporary–that your church would want to do. You can utilize the instrumentalists you have in your church by purchasing the parts you need a la carte for each song. The Prepay and Save up to 70% discount helps your budget go a long way. Their new interface with WorshipPlanning.com is another lifesaver for me.
LifeWayWorship does not provide simple piano or organ accompaniment of hymns in the form of audio files. The preceding posts in this series pointed to some excellent resources in these areas if that is what your church is needing.
Future posts in this series will discuss options that give you the ability to fill in with instruments that you do not have while your existing instruments continue to play. Some of these options will utilize LifeWayWorship’s great multitracks. Stay tuned. I will also be outlining some additional video and mp3 options in future posts.