10 Ministry Tools for the Non-Musically Inclined Pastor.

YouNot all of us pastors have the luxury of having a full worship band, pianist and an ear for music. Let’s face it, some of us reading this article right now can’t carry a tune in a bucket…and that’s okay. We don’t all have to have the gift of music. Scripture even points out the various gifts that we are all given and appointed with (Eph 4:11, 1 Peter 4:10-11), and just as the focus on speaking in tongues can become an issue, so too then use of music. Don’t get me wrong, music in worship can be most beneficial to the body of Christ, but it should be viewed as a conduit to deeper worship, not the desired end result.

Today, let us focus on this element of worship with the non-musical pastors in mind. If you fit this mold, then take note. My wife is very, very talented in other areas of ministry, but she will openly admit that music is not one of those talents.

There are many, many pastors in small churches or corps that do not have a musical bone in their bodies, and that’s okay. I want to help you find some tools to use within worship that will assist you and your congregation within and even around the conduit of music on Sunday.

1) YouTube Videos/YouTube Video Downloaders.
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If you are not musical at all, you might utilize a plethora of Christian worship music on YouTube. There are even Youtube downloaders that you can use to have the videos accessible in places of worship where WiFi and the internet are sketchy or nonexistent. Using a video on YouTube could include modern top 40 Christian songs, a movie clip, or numerous other topics other than just music.

Don’t neglect the power of videos and or worship songs in your Sunday services. Feel free to be creative and intentional in the planning of your service theme too. Caution: This will take time, so don’t just throw everything together on Saturday night and expect amazing results…intentional planning takes time and hours. We are all busy people, but not taking the time to find the appropriate videos and/or music, is noticeable in our services (I’ve been guilty of this too).

2) iSing Worship (app)
This is a great app that does cost a little bit, but is a tremendous tool if you have a portable device like an iPad or iPhone. The app is free, but the songs will you about $3 a piece, which is only a dollar more than what you would pay for songs you currently buy on Google Music store or the apple iTunes Store. When you buy these songs, you then have the ability to include all of the elements of the song (i.e lead vocals, guitar, drums etc.). So, for instance, if you wanted to lead the song you could turn the vocals down and sing with the music like it was Christian Karaoke hour. Or iSing worship could become your worship band in a box by simply hitting play. Be sure, however that you plan the songs you are going to sing ahead of time and have the words either printed or displayed on the screen for the congregation to sing along.

Just some of the songs I have purchased and used in my services.The nice thing about iSing Worship is that once you select the songs you want to present on Sunday, it comes up on the display in front of you with the Lyrics as you lead the song.I highly recommend this app if you are willing to invest a little bit of money for the songs.  It adds an element of intentionality into your worship, even if you’re not musically inclined.
3) Recruit & Delegate
One of the challenges for many pastors, regardless if they are musically inclined or not is the use of other people in worship services.   Do not be afraid to ask other people to help out, or lead elements of the service.   In fact, a shared worship experience with other people leads to a better all around worship service.  If you’re at all like me, perhaps you are a control freak and you want to ensure everything goes according to plan, perhaps we have to come to the conclusion that we must trust the Holy Spirit as well as other people.
When we share the worship experience with other people, we share ownership.  Be picky when you select, recruit and delegate people to these tasks, make sure you are selective and intentional.  Find people who have potential as future leaders or already established leaders.  It’s okay to fail or have rough worship experiences with these individuals, that’s a part of the learning & discipling challenge!
4) Utilize your Youth
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The apostle Paul told Timothy not to allow others to look down on him because he was young (1 Timothy 4:12)…the same can be said about young people in our churches and in the worship setting.  Use your young people, don’t discount their willingness and abilities to lead.  Teach them, disciple them as the future leaders by investing in them now within your worship services.  Have them help by reading a prayer, or scripture verse, a skit, or even by leading a song.  Some of your young people might be more musically gifted than you are – so cultivate that gift and use it in your worship service!Also, don’t let older people in your congregation overly criticize your young people.  We do not want to discourage their growth as future leaders, we want to encourage them.  Unfortunately most churches have the old grouches who grumble at anything new – even young people.  Don’t tolerate that behavior from any member of your congregation.  We need to disciple our youth, and this is a great way to begin to do that!5) Set the Stage (don’t neglect this!)


Regardless if you are musically inclined or not, we can become more creative in our church decor.  Don’t neglect the aesthetics of your worship space!  Take into account the seasons, the topics you are preaching on and use your worship space to reach all of the senses of the worshipper.  Use smells (plug ins, or spices, candles – but don’t let it become over-powering.  Use sites – place artwork up, or banners, build sets out of styrofoam and paint it…there are many links of Pinterest and other websites to explore and tap into our creative sides.
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Use worship songs at the beginning of the service through cd/mp3/computer…set the stage with song (even if you aren’t musical).
When we actually plan the scenes of worship within our worship spaces we introduce our congregations to a living and moving God.  The stages and worship places are concerts or performances, but there is something to be said about being intentional with the sights and sounds (and smells) or our spaces for the purpose of ushering our congregants into the very throne room of God.6) Worship Band in Hand (app) 80F2AEDA-13F8-4F91-9073-5EC1C971B0E4
This app also costs some money in terms of purchasing the songs that you want yo use, but it comes with a lot of features and abilities.  You get one free song included upon installation of the app, it gives you the opportunity to try in it out and see if you like it.7) Auto Pad(app) DB7C4580-E865-4E70-90EB-D6A043897404
This app will cost you $2.99, but there are many features that this ambient sound pad contains that could set your worship onto a new plain.  Perhaps you use this during your sermon and the use of tone and ambient sounds can deepen the worship experience.   Using such a tool might require you to include/recruit others to help you operate the app while you preach or read scripture.  Give this app a try and experiment with its use in your worship service!8) Lead a Messy Church instead!  messy church 2
Do you want to break up the monitany of the worship experience?  Do something different.  Some have begun to do dinner church, while others have started to incorporate Messy church into the worship experience.  Messy church can be a great way to reduce your music phobia by utilizing stations through this very practical, teachable methods.here is a link to a few that we have done over the years – https://pastorsponderings.org/category/messy-church/9) Conduct A Quaker Service7256EF73-FB9D-41F8-A2CB-50ABA8C4E724
A Quaker service generally is not focused on music, but instead the recitation of poetry, prayers, and the element of silence.   This type of service might be a stretch to many of your congregants, even more so than Messy Church because of the use of silence.  Despite the drawbacks, using this type of worship setting, but be just the thing your church or corps needs in order to have everyone dig a little more deeply into their hearts and minds.

Here is a link for more information on the Quaker service

10) Prayer Stations/Artistic Approach
20A21EF5-8630-4240-9045-86461F35EDE7Conduct a prayer service with stations.
If you want to get creative, you can go onto Pinterest and explore the many ideas expressed there when it comes to Prayer Stations.  This approach takes the focus off of the use of music and onto a hands-on prayer service.  You could quietly play worship music in the background through your sound system and encourage everyone to spend the next 45 minutes at the many prayer stations that you have intentionally set up in your sanctuary.  Here are some links to help guide you in this:
Prayer Loom
Thy Kingdom Come
Scrabble Pieces
More Pinterest Ideas

These are just 10 suggestions to help the non-musical and musical pastor a like, for the purpose of creating a deeper, more meaningful worship service.  These are not exclusively ‘it’ for worship ideas, but just a primer for more exploration and worship developement in your corps & churches.

Please tell us what you use in your churches that help to make your worship experiences more meaningful and helpful to you and your congregation?  Post your commends below, we want to hear from you.

Something more for all of us to Ponder today.
To God be the glory!

Dear Salvation Army, 10 – Salvationists That Have Inspired Me…

Paul had Barnabas to inspire and encourage him even if they didn’t always get a long in the end.
Paul became Timothy’s mentor who inspired a new generation of the early Christian church.
Throughout history there have been those who have stepped up to lead by example.  They have been mentors, accountability partners, strong godly leaders, examples of holiness.  Despite all of these things, none of them (and most will freely admit this) were perfect or had it “all together”.

getGet this:
Our Army needs more inspiring leaders like the ones I am about to list!
Perhaps this is you…perhaps you are the next generation of leaders about to step up and take this mantle.  This isn’t some sort of popularity contest, or ego trip…this is leading and serving as a godly example for others.   Many do this without any fan fare.
Most simply want to be like Christ and so they strive daily to humbly serve and become living examples of Him to the rest of us.  We certainly need more of these inspiring servants in our Army today!

Scriptural Reminders for us today: 
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.-Ephesians 4:2
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ…”  1 Corinthians 11:1
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved [a]you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God [b]as a fragrant aroma.”  Ephesians 5:1-2

This is not an exhaustive list, and I know that as I share my personal list with you, you will undoubtedly have others that come to your mind.   Also do not be offended (I will get my self in trouble with family and friends…sorry) if I do not list people that you know, or if I do not mention you…as I have already said this is not an exhaustive list.  There are many more!

uniform10 Salvationists That Have Inspired Me…
This isn’t some sort of ranked order, rather this is simply a list that I have currently compiled.
(sorry I may not have pictures for everyone)

1.  My Mother and Father – Colonels Dennis and Sharon Strissel
Dennis
My parents have exemplified godly living to me.
I have witnessed their impact on this army both in the United States as well as in Africa.  They have always been servants first. Both my mother and father have been advocates for those without voices and have stood up for the marginalized.  I count it an honor to have these two as my parents.  They are faithful soldiers even as they head into retirement.  They have inspired me to be better, to make the army better, and to never settle for mediocrity when we can, in own selves, do more.

cox2. Majors Bill and Betsy Cox
If I were asked who exemplifies holiness to me, these two loving people would come to mind.  They have been mentors to my wife and me, and like second parents in the army to us.

I know that when I talk to either of them, when I have concerns and problems, they always give careful thought and grace in their responses.  They are just genuine people who love the Lord with all of their hearts and it just pours out upon those who are privileged to know them.  They make me want to be a better pastor and follower of Christ.

Colonels Dahl restore historical Will Rogers sign at Camp Wonderland.
Colonels Dahl restore historical Will Rogers sign at Camp Wonderland.

3.  Colonels Marv and Bodil Dahl
Admittedly not the best picture of these two beautiful people, but you must know that Colonel Marv is a painter and despite current physical challenges, he is still a wonderful artist.  This picture is recent and both Colonels Bodil and Marv gave 90 hours each to this amazing restoration project.

Words cannot express how encouraging these two saints of God have been to me in this present appointment!   These two have been Barnabas’ to us.  They are truly servants first and then they offer their wealth of leadership advice!  I am inspired by Colonels Dahl because they operate from a place of compassionate care and concern for fellow soldiers and officers.  They take the time to listen and they are willing to make time for you.

4.  Commissioner Dinsdale Pender
This was years ago.  I was just a small boy with parents living on St. Helena Island.  My parents where the missionary officers there on St. Helena for four years.  I distinctly remember Commissioner Pender coming to the Island for a visit.  As the band welcomed him at the seaside docks with a rousing song, he fiddled with his brief case as if attempting to pull out his cornet to play as well.  For me the reason he inspired me wasn’t so much what he said, honestly I was a small boy and cannot remember much of that time.  But what I do remember of him was his charisma and humor.  He made leadership within the Army look smart as well as fun.  He always seemed to have a smile and brought a sense of whimsical humor with the concept of leadership.

5.   Major Stephen Court and Major Danielle Strickland Court

Both Stephen and Danielle bring a sense of “in your face” kind of Salvationism that’s been missing in our army for a while (in my opinion).  Their ministry has been global, it has challenged me.  I truly appreciate their leadership (albeit from afar).  I can remember going to a commissioning in which they were the guest speakers.   They didn’t hold anything back, and it was powerful.  I’m not attempting to puff anyone up here, it was just something I will never forget and it has inspired me within the ministries I have been privileged to lead.   Both in their own rights are extremely talented writers and communicators and I admire their willingness to challenge our Army onward!
They are a spark within in our army which has become a catalyst for a new generation of Salvationist!

gowans6.  General John Gowans 
I remember his leadership as General.
How he spoke of the three legged stool of Salvationism.stool
His leadership style at times chaffed against some, but I found him to be refreshing.  He was a shot in the arm for the Army.  He had vigor and passion to see a greater army at work in the world.  I admired him and he inspired me to be a better writer and communicator for this army.  He also inspired me to push the boundaries of our “bubble” within the Army.

trans7.  TransMission (Southern Territory, USA)
This is the real deal Salvationist.  They have a passion to minister to the hearts of young people through music.  They are just down to earth guys who love the Lord.  Marty

I appreciate how TransMission have incorporated doctrinal truths into their music ministry and their passion and zeal to lead others to Christ is inspiring!  Being a movement of holiness, the progression and integration of modern styles of music has planted and watered a seed within a younger generation of Salvationists.

Adams8.  Commissioner Clive Adams

Commissioner Clive has been a source of encouragement to me within my officership as well as a writer, contributor and avid fellow blogger that I greatly admire.  He is a gifted leader and communicator and another down to earth Soldier who inspires others…plus he’s a fellow Man-United Fan!
When I read his blog postings I am encouraged and enjoy his humor as well as his candid honesty within our Army.
Read9.  Commissioner Harry Read
In my heart I have a special place of poets and Writers.
Commissioner Harry Read is still an avid poet who conjures up lines of thought provoking honesty within the minds of Christ-followers and Soldiers.  His ‘Heart-talks’ posted on social media as well as in the printed word inspire me to better articulate this holy path we all walk on.  He is a treasure to the army and although I may embarrass him in this post, I admire his ongoing active ministry.  He spurs me on, and I am sure he provides this boost in many other Salvationists around the globe.  Heart_Talk

10.  General Albert Orsborn general

My life must be Christ’s broken bread
My love His outpoured wine
A cup o’erfilled a table spread
Beneath His name and sign
That other souls refreshed and fed
May share His life through mine
(SASB #512 My Life must be Christ’s Broken Bread)

Obviously I never met General Orsborn, but his words within some of the songs that we still sing in our Army strike me at my core.  These lyrics speak to me about holiness, selflessness, servanthood, and what our Army should be all about.  I get inspired every time I sing the above mentioned song among others that he has written.

These are just ten Salvationists that have inspired me in my lifetime.
There are many more and, as I have already said, please do not become offended if you or someone you know isn’t mentioned.  This is not an exhaustive list.

Question:
Who has inspired you?
Please share your comments below, it is wonderful to hear these rich stories as we testify of God’s redeeming love!

Something more for our Army to ponder today!
To God be the glory, and may we aspire to be all that God has called us to be not only to inspire others but because we deeply desire to be like Christ in every way.

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