Ever try a Country Music #worship environment? We did. Here’s how it went. #sundaysetlist #sundaysetlists

We’ve all been asked the question before, “What kind of music do you like?” Music preference gives someone individuality. Some like country music. Some don’t. Then there’s the difference between modern country and Country & Western. (If someone can clearly define the difference between the two, please comment.)

The fact is, everyone is wired differently when it comes to music — which makes designing a worship environment all the more difficult. What works for Person A may or may not work for Person B. At any worship environment, we’ve got everyone from A to Z. So how do you plan for it? One solution is to periodically pick a genre of music and go to town on it for one week. There are pros and cons to doing it this way.

Pros

  • Those that enjoy that music preference, really engage that morning
  • Others who may not enjoy that music preference may come to connect with one or two songs
  • There’s a little bit of ribbing and joking that goes on, that can be healthy for a church
  • It gives your musicians something to chew on and expand their playing/singing

Cons

  • If someone simply dislikes the music or has a very bad association with the music style, they can simply be too distracted to worship
  • Not all of the church’s musicians can pull off a particular style of music
  • It takes a lot more planning to pull off a music style not typical to your church or region

If you are wondering if “Country Music Sunday” was successful this past weekend — the best question to ask is, “Did worship of God happen?” It’s the most difficult question to answer. Why? People, really, one can’t tell. You can see bi-products (singing, hands raised, movement, no one sleeping, etc.). But whether or not they are do those things because their heart is actually worshiping — that’s between the “worshiper” and the “Worshipee” only.

Musically it was successful for a number of reasons. We added a pedal steel guitar and violin to the band. Adding these instruments is almost a must if Country & Western music is being played. Playing the style of country is more of a challenge — there’s different changes and turns to learn, and most did a good job of owning the charts before rehearsal.

Technically it was successful for a number of reasons. The lyric backgrounds were “country-ish” — so that helped. And the audio engineer spent several hours perfecting the mix and EQ from Thursday’s rehearsal (recorded from DAT and played back on Saturday). It took work, but it paid off to hear my wife say, “good mix” later on.

Spiritual success — that’s something too difficult to evaluate here. But would be beneficial to attempt sometime. That’s for a whole other time.

As expectations shift from “let’s worship God” to “what’s the coolness factor / are we going to like it” — our worship becomes less focused on the One we are really there for.

The trick, though, is that the bar gets raised when we pull off a “theme” weekend of music. We’ll most likely do Country Music Sunday again in the future.It means that worshipers might expect a variety of styles. The only problem is we can get into a consumer mentality. A consumer mentality says, “What are you going to WOW me with this time?” As expectations shift from “let’s worship God” to “what’s the coolness factor / are we going to like it” — our worship becomes less focused on the One we are really there for.

So let’s keep changing it up, as long as we avoid changing it up solely to make people happy, smile, or be the “church that can do any style well” and potentially lose focus on Who came to worship.

Setlist from June 27, 2010

  1. ___ TEST AND SOUND CHECK TRACKS BELOW
  2. Test – click LEFT and loop RIGHT
  3. Sound Check – Full Band
  4. Sound Check – Vocals
  5. ___ WORSHIP SETS BELOW
  6. Set 1 – June 22, 2010
  7. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  8. ___ Spacer (10 minute silence)
  9. Set 2 – June 22, 2010
  10. Greeting – revised Ring of Fire
  11. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  12. ___ END click here (cue)
  13. ___ SINGLE CLICK TRACKS BELOW
  14. I’ll Fly Away (Country) – loop and click 100 BPM
  15. Joyful Joyful (Country) – loop and click 104 BPM
  16. You Are My King (Amazing Love) Country – loop and click 70 BPM
  17. Anywhere with Jesus (Country faster section) – loop and click 100 BPM
  18. Revive Us Again – loop and click 98 BPM
  19. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  20. ___ END click here (cue)
  21. ___ FULL SONGS BELOW
  22. I’ll Fly Away (A)
  23. Joyful, Joyful (We Adore Thee) (D)
  24. [Amazing Love] You Are My King (D)
  25. Anywhere With Jesus (C)
  26. Revive Us Again (E)
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One Response to Ever try a Country Music #worship environment? We did. Here’s how it went. #sundaysetlist #sundaysetlists

  1. John B. says:

    > Then there’s the difference between modern country and Country & Western. (If someone can clearly define the difference between the two, please comment.)

    In my opinion, when someone refers to “Country & Western” they are referring to a genre of music that is “traditional C&W”….think Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, etc. Think singing Cowboys from the early film days, Western Swing, and elements of Bluegrass and Folk….but not “Rockability” which emerged later in the 50s.

    Modern Country – during the 60s there were many acts which were pushing the boundaries from both radio markets C&W and Rock; …each looking to “cross-over” into new radio markets….think Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Flying Burrito Brothers, Willie Nelson, The Byrds, and then Linda Ronstadt’s back-up group which became known as “The Eagles”…modern country has contemporary elements of pop, jazz and rock n roll.

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