It’s funny how it can seem that coffee houses, seminary dormitories, and even urban street corners seem to never be short of musicians, but all of a sudden when the invitation is put out in front of a church to form a worship band . . . crickets.
But don’t worry. It’s not you; that’s just the way we sheep behave sometimes. And while the encouragement and invitations to help lead your worship time in this way should not cease with one round of rejections, in the meantime you have a worship service coming up this Sunday and you’re pretty sure your congregation doesn’t want to: 1) hear you singing or even strumming the guitar you haven’t picked up since you were courting your future wife, or 2) listen to you preach for an extra thirty minutes to help fill the time.
Thankfully, there are other options. Plenty of them, in fact. Listed below are several different options and resources for helping your church lead worship this Sunday without any live musical assistance.
Worship Backing Band – www.worshipbackingband.com/dvd-page
Whether you have no instruments or no singers or at least no volunteers, Worship Backing DVD are a simple and inexpensive way to provide worship for your church. One neat feature for these is that you can set the vocals on mute or all the way up to full blast, depending on whether you have a confident lead singer on stage or one who’s singing for the first time outside of the shower.
Lifeway Worship – www.lifewayworship.com
Here you can quickly and easily download charts, tracks, and individual orchestrations for worship. The site offers worship sets that allow you to plan and find songs that fit together both thematically and stylistically, and instrumental series that offer praise bands, orchestra music, jazz ensembles, and concert band solo music.
Worship Downloads – www.worship-downloads.com/
At this site, you can find all the contemporary, traditional, children’s, and seasonal worship songs you need to help lead worship this week. What’s especially nice is you do not have to subscribe or purchase anything gigantic and costly. If all you need is one children’s song, or one particular worship song that would close out your sermon perfectly, then just a couple of bucks can purchase your one-time need.
Worship House Media – www.worshiphousemedia.com/
This is a slightly more expensive option if you’re just looking for tracks to worship to, but this site does provide along with the song a professional lyric slide video for the congregation to follow along as they’re worshiping. You can also find all your worship media needs here as well, including mini-movies that complement the sermon, countdowns, motion backgrounds, and even small group resources.
Fly Worship – www.flyworship.com
Do you have one or two musicians but would love to ramp it up and have that “big band sound”? Fly Worship has a gigantic catalogue of tracks and instruments to help you out in a clever way. Do you just want to add some drums, or maybe an electric guitar? The Fly Worship software can give you whatever it is you need to accompany your sparse worship band. What’s especially incredible is that it allows you to prearrange exactly how you’re going to sing the song—fading out whenever you want, dropping instruments whenever you need, looping and repeating choruses, whatever you want!
Worship Service Resources (piano accompaniment) www.wsrpianocds.com/
Worship bands aren’t for everyone, and that’s okay. Maybe you want to stay simple but can’t seem to find a pianist to help. At this site you can find all the worship music you need set to piano so that your congregation can worship and sing loud to the traditional songs and sounds they have grown up with.
m.a.c.: Musical Accompaniment for Church – www.churchmusiccompany.com/index.html
This gives you the piano music as well, but no CD player is needed. The m.a.c. is a digital sound system, equipped with the can’t-beat-quality of Bose, with hundreds of recorded hymns housed in a custom podium ready to use for congregational and choir singing.
Hymnal Plus – www.hymnalplus.com/
Does your congregation still love the good old-fashioned organ but organists are even harder to come by than a guitarist or pianist? The Hymnal Plus may be your solution. The HT-300 Hymnal Plus provides music for thousands of traditional hymns and modern worship songs, plus music for weddings and funerals, all with the beautiful sounds of the much-loved organ. However, this would be only recommended for long-term use, due to the cost of the highly-advanced and immaculate sound of the device. Still cheaper than an organ, though!
AllWorship – www.allworship.com/
Maybe you’re not missing a worship band but you would love a simple way to provide background music before and after the service that doesn’t require that you remembered to charge your phone last night. Allworship.com is a Christian radio station on the Internet that provides commercial-free worship music in four formats: contemporary worship, praise and worship Spanish worship, and instrumental worship.
Atypical but Effective Helps for This Week’s Emergency – www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2012/08/07/5-ways-to-still-lead-a-worship-service-without-musicians/
Maybe for whatever reason you simply need short-term but immediate help with your worship music. Here is a helpful article about five different ways perhaps you haven’t yet thought up to help you lead a worship service, either without musicians entirely, or without your usual musicians who may be sick or out of town.
Kevin Harvey is the author of two books, his most recent being All You Want to Know about the Bible in Pop Culture. He also writes at BibleInPopCulture.com and can be found on Twitter under the handle @PopCultureKevin.