So far, most of my articles have been geared toward church pianists, but what if you're a pastor or other church leader who is starting a church or who has been left without a regular pianist for some reason? Don't worry—this article is for you.
Be sure to include music in your service. You don't have to skip it just because you don't have a “normal” type of accompaniment available. Worshiping God together is one of the most important things His people do, and part of this commanded worship includes singing. In a situation like this, you have several options:
Consider carefully any musical talent you have in the church. Guitar is a perfectly valid accompaniment and does NOT limit you to contemporary music. It can provide excellent accompaniment for traditional hymns as well. Any pitched instrument can provide a tonal basis to help keep your congregation singing in the same key (more or less). “Pitched” means that it plays more than one note. Some examples might be flute, clarinet, oboe, violin, or cello. The point of musical accompaniment is not to distract from the singing, but rather to aid it; so that people do not worry about whether they are in key, but can focus on the object of their praise: their heavenly Father.
Singing a capella (without instrumental accompaniment) is very difficult; however, many congregations do it well, and many in the church have been doing so for centuries. Psalm 33:1 says, “Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.” It does NOT say, “Only beautiful praise is acceptable,” or “Only sing if you have had voice lessons.” Don't be afraid to jump in, and encourage others to sing enthusiastically, too.
What about recorded accompaniment? In some situations, this may be a good option. There are many different recordings available. Try to use them as a last resort, though. The genuineness of live music in worship cannot be duplicated from a cd, even if the musicians are believers and recorded the songs specifically for such situations.
What other topics would you like to see addressed? Leave your comments and suggestions!