I just spent tow days at a conference / workshop singing paperless music and I am wondering if any of you have had any experience with this. It seems to me to be about empowering our congregations to engage in worship through singing, really singing! These conferences are put on by a group known as All Saints Company out of San Francisco and if you go to Youtube search for Music That Makes Community  here is a  link   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI7qcqvcm6I 

I was in the minority coming from a large evangelical church for most of the participants led choirs and played organs but I would love to see the mega church model try this on for size. Can you imagine a thousand + voices sing a layered song a cappella? 

Views: 516

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

It looks like a choir workshop for a specific genre of music. What's the point of going without overheads? I guess it's cool when you memorize, but I don't sing any better without.

Getting people to really sing - it seems to be about engaging them and opening them up so they're comfortable not focused on the week's activities.

Hey a capella's cool too - in measured doses. We are also instrumental musicians and want to play for God much like David and Asaph did when they worshiped. I don't know, but I think just playing your instrument is a form of worship. Not only that, it really enhances things AND keeps us in tune. It takes a tremendous amount of skill to stay on key when singing a capella.

I can imagine 1000+ voices singing a layered song - back in 1985 in Dallas Seminary chapel, all the men were singing "Holy Holy Holy" and other hymns. So awesome. (I'm not sure how many usually attended, 400? 500? 1000? At least 400 if not 1000.)

I've been at a couple of events where songs have been taught like that. You need a skilled and confident vocalist to lead it but you are right that it is awesome to participate in if, between the person at the front and those who are good at picking things up in the blocks of the congregation, you can keep the parts going.


As well as the lesson of being part of a harmony rather than an insignificant extra to the band, I think it is helpful to internalise some songs so that you can draw on them without relying on having the words around.



I've not heard of paperless music before, but I would always encourage people to learn songs instead of just reading them. As well as making the truth they're singing (assuming the songs are actually of any weight) easier to bring to mind outside a church context, it will enable them to participate more fully than if they're slaves to the overhead.

there is a school of thought that is very much against overheads, that we have turned our attention to too many screens in our lives. I am in half agreement but I think screens are better than holding a hymnal.  It definitely had some choir overtones to it but I think the real hope of this was to teach us how to teach our congregations to REALLY sing. To let them hear themselves succeed. To give them the freedom to sign a harmony.  Nothing too wordy but some beautiful stuff.

There was alot of chanting going on and it was very liturgical we had a mass everyday and ended with evening prayers that may have been the single most beautiful worship service I have ever attended in the 20+ yrs of following Christ.

Pretty interesting video there Bizzy. Not exactly my thing but nonetheless, a great teaching tool. I have to learn a harmony. It doesn't come natural to me. But if I learn it, I have no problem singing it afterwards.

  There are a couple of churches I know that are against chord sheets on the stage. I can't play there. My medication would prevent that from happening. lol   I for the most part just use chord sheets as a crutch 'in case I forget', at least I can look down real quick and prevent a mistake from happening. I have a hard time remembering all of the lines to the songs I wrote. You know I'm not going to remember somebody else's stuff.

Elman, I too lean on chord charts and can't remember squat!! I blame it on the brain surgery I had 3 years ago but the truth be told, it's probably due to being over 50!

I really can't adequately describe the sheer beauty of the worship I encountered at this workshop. 

One presenter asked the question, "if the congregation walked out would the "worship" just go one without them?" If I answer honestly, I think the answer is yes, the music would be able to continue no problem. I can count the number of times I can actually hear the congregation sing every time I lead on one hand.

I would love to try this with the congregation I currently lead worship for and let them hear themselves sing!! maybe do a round or a layer song or at least a call and response.

I am not suggesting giving up on the tried and true things we know and have grown to love but rather adding this into the mix. 

There used to be a "club" years ago where these men would get together and spend a whole day together and just sing - and eat - and read scripture - and sing. Does anyone know what that was called?

here  is another example of the simplicity and beauty of this kind of music

just singing the line "open my heart" over and over with a group of people in wonderful harmony


Bizzy, I've just discovered this conversation, so come late, but loved what you've written. 

To Stevo's question, my own limited experience of worship with overheads (five months filling in as pastor in a congregation that used screens for their two main services) is that screen projection does free people's hands and eyes from books, but fixes everyone's eyes on a point or points outside the gathering of people.  It felt to me like trying to have important communion and fellowship with someone in a bar where the TV was on.  Again, I'm speaking from limited experience.

My hunch is that we actually gain something significant in the 'how' of our worshiping where the worship /music leader's voice, face, and body invite people to mirror, where we use short-term memory as our aid to getting people the place we want all worship music to go - people knowing it by heart, and that there's something scripturally profound at work if we consider startling statements on imitation like Paul saying, 'imitate me as I imitate Christ.'

That's for sure. I find it hard to keep everything going at once and having music in front of me helps free me from having to remember one more thing, but I can say that the more eye contact I have with the congregation, the more they participate and seem to benefit from the worship experience. I have been able to eliminate the music stand at times and it really makes a difference.

I opened this thinking it may be about the use of iPads or some such technology. 

However back to the plot:

I assume that Charles Wesley's songs were sung a'cappella without hymn sheets at John's outdoor services.

I've been to a small meeting where the the song books were forgotten and we agreed on what most of us  knew and sang those songs.

I was also on a Tube during Soul in the City London where well over 1000 Christians started singing that was amazing. 


Great for people who know the songs, the regulars, but what about new christians! Can't worship until you are part of the in crowd?



© 2022       Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service