By Richard Birk
Where does worship music come from? (If you answered hymnals and the internet, you only receive partial credit.) Composers and songwriters are the wellspring that has supplied worship music over the years. Consider the ELCA’s 25th Anniversary campaign “Always Being Made New” in this context – What can your church do to nurture the creativity of our current and future composers and songwriters?
Here are a few suggestions to help create a safe space for making and sharing music:
- Make your facilities available for rehearsals & performances
- Have an open mic night and invite community musicians
- Have a “creativity fair/ talent show” where original works are presented
- Have a “new music worship service” using original music provided by church members
- Present concerts that feature new music
- Engage in a collaborative group hymn text or songwriting text exercise (Sunday School, Bible Study, Small Group, etc.) then invite church musicians to provide a musical setting
- Commission new works
- Have musical mentors where more experienced musicians work with those with less experience
- Host workshops
- Sponsor a composer-in-residence
- Provide stipends for your musicians to attend workshops
Prayerfully consider these and other ways your church might be called to “Sing to the Lord a new song”.