GUITAR UPDATE

shrugEventually, I’m gonna’ get tired of writing about leading-worship-without-a-guitar. But not yet.

I promised y’all I would keep you updated on this month of letting other folks play acoustic during our Sunday morning worship set and since I’m only two weeks in, there’s lots I’m learning.

This week was the second Sunday of this little experiment and I’m seeing patterns emerge after two weeks that make me really interested to explore this type of leading even further.

The experience hasn’t been without its challenges, but all my expectations have been surpassed. It’s definitely grown the musicians in the past few weeks and the effect on the congregation has been overwhelmingly positive. Here are some things that have surprised me.

– Leading vocals-only is noticeably more exhausting than leading with a guitar. Guessing it has to do with normally splitting energy between two elements (voice and guitar.) Without an instrument, every ounce of energy is going into singing. It’s more taxing, both vocally and physically.

– I hesitate to say my praying has been “better,” but I have able able to give much more focus to the things I’m saying and praying since I’m not worried about playing a chord progression or staying with the click.

– Doing this definitely highlights weakness within the band – primarily the heavy reliance on acoustic guitar by musicians. This experiment is teaching our musicians to listen to more of the instrumental setting and not just rely on acoustic guitar.

– I’ve been able to sit out in the sanctuary and listen to the mix as the band plays instrumental stuff. This has shown two things – First, the band sounds “full” regardless of how weak or strong it feels on stage. Second, having the acoustic lower in the house mix allows other instruments to shine more. (Specifically piano and keys.)

– So far, my ability to clap, raise hands, and move more seems to have had a positive effect congregationally.

– After two weeks, only one congregant has mentioned it. This surprised me.
I’ve enjoyed being able to step away from the mic and watch the band play. Makes me appreciate all they do even more!

It is very stressful, however, to hear a song not working and have no way to fix it by playing my guitar. (Tempo, dynamics, etc.)

I’m not sure what to do once this month is over. Is four Sundays enough to let my congregation know that they’re “free” to worship in these physical ways? If I go back to guitar, will the crowd pull back?

Instead of asking for comments this go ’round, I’m opening the post up for questions. If you’ve got a question about why or how or what the heck I’m doing, comment below or find me on twitter.

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One comment

  1. lizreeves

    I hesitate to emphasize how much I love it when you come out from behind your guitar, because it might sound like I enjoy it LESS when you’re playing. That’s not the case at all. I just love to see you sort of ‘come alive’ a little more when your hands are free. You lift your hands, you clap, you just sort of look more like “one of us” (in the crowd), worshiping & singing along. And that’s cool!

    But like I said, I hesitate to make it sound like I really enjoy that part of your leadership because it sounds like I don’t like it when you’re playing guitar. That’s most definitely awesome too!!

    It’s different, but it’s 2 kinds of awesome. Both wonderful in their own ways!

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