How a discussion that isn't so deep...Anybody know anything or have any guesses on what the future trends are for worship music?

In the 80's it was an era of Maranatha coloured coded books and Vineyard. Very basic piano parts with acoustic guitar. I think in the 90's it was a very UK influenced, Christian British Rock invasion. Artist like Matt Redman and labels like Worship Together ruled Sunday worship. In the new millennium, I think  the major influences were actually from 'down under', with Hillsongs United, with their big, full band sound (although Rueben Morgan and Darlene Z had made the label quite well know already. Multiple guitarists, keyboard, bass, drummer, back-up vocalist, basically 10-12 ppl worship teams.

Christian Worship music seems to emulate secular music, just a few decades behind. For me, I'm listening to secular bands like One Republic and LIGHTS (aka the girl version of Owl City). One Republic reminds me a 'rockier' Jars of Clay, with strong string parts, as most songs have distinctive cello parts (but with heavy heavy, strong drum parts). The strong beats and beat alliteration seems to reflect influence from rap and hip hop music.

Whereas LIGHTS (and Owl City) are bringing back electro-pop, with the era of Keytars and heavily synthesized music. LIGHTS also uses a vocoder for some songs, the same effect that Cher and rappers have been employing for the last few years.

 At my church, I'm trying to encourage some classically trained youth to stick to violin and create parts for them (so we're not just stuck with piano players, guitarist, drummers and bassist). We're also slowly adding in keys/synth to complement electric guitar and electric bass (which was already a bold move years ago, along with drums). We have a Korg Triton that is starting to get more use, and I break out my Virtual Analog microKorg Sundays as well. I'm pretty bold with my POD XT Live guitar effects board, aiming for full U2 Edge type of sound. There is less of the "Eric Clapton Unplugged" sound, and definitely a conscious focus to move away from piano lead music, at least for the team I play with. More people, better coordinated multi-part worship.

So what trends are you seeing? Seeing any changes? Anything you're trying to champion?

** Note: I know music is somewhat subjective. Trends are also probably very localized at first. If you reply, can you also add where you're responding from? I'm from Toronto, Canada.

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Hi Wayne,

I have to admit, trends of music never occur to me personally. I have noticed one thing though from being on the site, and that is, people in the US seem to be doing more or less the same stuff as us in the Uk, but seem to be doing it that much earlier. You may get comments saying otherwise, so please don't shoot me down, this is only how I am seeing it. I am from the North East of the UK and one of the guys I do worship with was saying that he had recently been down south and that their music was far more dynamic than ours, and more up to date.

Most of the worship I do is lead by keys, mostly spontaneous and never really practiced. It literally developes naturally, I'd say we do a song differently every time we do it, no set structure or style. Please let's not get into any arguments about this method in this thread, because it works beautifully for us and our worship situation, and without a doubt (through lots of prayer) I feel this is what the Lord is asking of me, and I feel so blessed. Oh, there is so much I would like to say, but not the place for it. God Bless Lorraine
Hi Bruce,

I haven't said anything wrong about the Yanks, have I? What I mean is, when I see set lists etc. etc. on here, they are more often than not, songs I have never even heard of, let alone am using. Sometimes people talk about songs being oldies, when I have just begun to use them.

Technical, my idea of technical is a capo! Am I stirring or what? :)

God Bless. Lorraine
Lorraine, you are TOO funny!! hahaha...
I have a little doll that looks like you. I'm clipping a capo on it's ankle, can you feel it?
Hi Bruce, you may well have accidently stumbled on a whole new trend here - no props, or technical wizardry of any sort and not even a hand free to put on a capo on : ) Come to think of it, your preference for not using a capo will have stood you in good stead on this occasion, as it would have been almost impossible for you to put one on whilst standing up!

Seriously though, I think you did really well to keep the worship going in that way, it couldn't have been easy at all, but that's professionalism for you - and I do mean that. May God Bless you for keeping His worship alive.
I'm going to apologize upfront that I know very little UK geography. Mike Pilivachi and Matt Redman started Soul Survivor in what I believe is Watford, which I think is just outside of London, right? I thinking that London counts at Southern UK.

I look at all the things they have done at Soul Survivor, especially with Youth targeted ministry. For a while it seems all the new songs were coming from Matt Redman, Paul Oakley, Tim Hughes etc. Very interesting that you suggested there is a difference between 'Northern' and 'Southern' UK. That's probably only less than 300 miles between London and Newcastle? =) Neat... In Toronto, we're over 3000 miles away.

(My company has an office in Bristol and Maidenhead. I always wanted to finagle a trip out to the UK!)
Hi Wayne,

Yes, Watford is just outside London which is in the South. Yes, only a short distance away from Newcastle in actual miles - which is where I do alot of my worship (or around that area). I sometimes feel we are very much behind in the North - I am trying to be very tactful in case Phil Holburt reads this : ) and at the moment I am trying to do my bit to bring Catholic Renewal in the North East (which is part of what I am involved in) a bit more up to date, which is no easy task. I have been in touch with a guy from London who has been great and sent me some of the songs they are currently doing down there. Here's hoping.

Hey, I am reading this and there's no need to be tactful, we are behind and overlooked in the north, that's not an opinion, it's a fact ;o)

The way you lead worship is very much like the way I love to lead. No song is out-of-date as long as it is beautiful. What makes things old is when our ability to perceive shrivels, when we become unable to look ahead or backwards or sideways, but only at the feed bag the market puts before us. I'm glad you have the courage to cultivate a living art, and glad that you have a congregation that is open to respond to it.
Was at Christian Musician Summit in Seattle, WA last fall, and the church band led music on one occasion (Jesse Butterworth, Overlake Christian Church). They have a very large youth orchestra on stage, mostly plugged in violins and some cellos. A very unique sound, and well put together. Lots of arranging and practicing, though. I enjoyed it and even bought their CD.

Here in BC Canada, I could see that format taking hold. Just finding enough talented musicians could be hard, though, unless you're in the larger centres. I'm not, and have a hard time keeping a bass player on stage. I'd go to a good keys player adding bass, but can't find those either!
The trends you refer to in the original post seem to imply that churches copy whatever Christian radio does; which I feel can be problematic. Here in N.Carolina, we have a very diverse church (Kings Park Intl Church), and we play a wide range of material, from old and new, hymns, rock, funk, gospel, Hillsongs, Israel, Fred Hammond, Winans, Jon Owens, our own originals and more. We're not really tuned in to following trends; just feeding the flock.
Maybe I didn't go a very job of communicating it this in the original post. To be clear, I think there are two trends I talk about.

#1 - Trends at a Macro level. Unless your church is one of the few that lucky enough to have an army of songs writers who write and lead their own songs, and basically be an island to themselves, the main source for new songs is Christian Recording Labels. In a way, the songs people write (and record) today are sung in churches tomorrow.

(A quick poll at CCLI for song usage or even some PW chord sites will probably back this point up. It was amazing to see how fast Chris Tomlin songs were absorbed into regular use at churches once his 1st CD "Arriving" hit the shelves.)

#2 - Trends at a Micro level. These are trends you see at your own church. Has your church *always* been so diverse? Are you guys singing the same set of songs since day 1 of Kings Park International? Never changed at all? I guess that would be a trend too... Trends are a pattern of change (or lack of change).

At least at our church, feeding the flock means adjusting to their needs and staying relevant. Paul adjusted his preaching to reach the local crowd. He didn't alter his message, just the delivery to be most effective. We're seeing our flock is wanting more from worship, a more well planned, more parts, multi-instrumental worship time. They seem to really respond to that.

Besides, this is in the 'just for fun' category. It's meant to be fun and imaginative...

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