Worship Musician Magazine October 2021 | Page 52

The only way that works well is if you plan to use them multiple Sundays of December .
Now , new Christmas songs can become part of your church ' s tradition . For example , we performed Sidewalk Prophet ' s Oh What a Glorious Night one year as a special . Our church loved it so much that we rotated it into our Christmas worship sets for the next several years .
And since we ' re talking about that ...
5 . NO REINVENTING THE WHEEL EACH YEAR Let ' s go back to the plethora of new Christmas albums that drop each year . It ' s tempting to do one artist ' s version of O Come All Ye Faithful this Christmas and then find one you like better for next year .
Don ' t .
Be OK recycling the same arrangements for several years in a row . It ' s been at least eleven months since your congregation last sang that song . They won ' t even notice ( or care if they do ) that you ' ve been using Crowder ’ s version of O Holy Night for the last four years .
And even though it ' s been eleven months for your band , relearning an arrangement from last year is still easier than figuring out a brand new one .
And this recycling includes those ' hybrid hymns ' I ' ve mentioned earlier . I ' m almost embarrassed to admit this , but my last church rocked Chris Tomlin ' s Joy to the World ( Unspeakable Joy ) for at least six years . The church liked it , the band knew it , and it ' s a great song .
So , don ' t fall into the temptation of " reinventing the wheel " each Christmas . Instead , each year , replace one or two arrangements that you ' ve been doing for a while to keep things fresh . But try to recycle a majority of the same songs year after year . That will help maintain your ( and your team ' s ) sanity .
And speaking of sanity ...
6 . NO ASSUMING YOUR TEAM IS ON BOARD We worship leaders are a myopic bunch at Christmas and Easter . We assume since this particular season is crazy-important for us , our worship team must feel the same . They don ' t . They have work , family , school functions , and their own holiday traditions .
So , long before you reach Thanksgiving , begin to solidify your team schedule for the Advent season . Double-check with each person to make sure they aren ' t traveling or have plans that pull them away , especially as you get closer and closer to Christmas Eve .
And since we ' re talking about how big a deal Christmas is for worship leaders , I need to remind you of this big Noel-NO ...
7 . NO MARTYRDOM Several years back , I was coaching a worship leader , and he had to cancel our monthly oneon-one in early December . Why ? Because he was building the 24-foot tall " living Christmas tree " choir stand . ( If you ' re scratching your head right now , Google it .)
As much as I tried to get him to say no to things , he wouldn ' t . The pageantry and peoplepleasing possibilities of seasons like Christmas and Easter eventually found him working fulltime at Home Depot . ( Where coincidently , he bought all the lumber for the ' living Christmas tree .')
At Christmas , worship leaders arguably have the most demanding job in the church . Because of that , you have to be all the more diligent to maintain healthy boundaries , both for your sake and your family ' s sake . They want a spouse / parent who is present and joy-filled this season , not burned-out and short-fused .
To help with that , let ' s talk about the last NO to keep in Noel ...
8 . NO NO WONDER Christmas is a time for wonder . Think about it - God became man . BOOM ! That ' s huge ! You don ' t need cool Christmas songs and highly polished choir pieces to extol the wonder of Jesus Christ , conceived of the Holy Spirit , born of the Virgin Mary .
More often than not , a simple , well-recited passage of scripture underscored with some soft music can help us experience the wonder . ( Parts of or all of Luke 2:1-20 , or John 1:1-5 work well .) And simple Christmas hymns , wellaccompanied but not over-produced , will do the same . So look for ways to accentuate the wonder without being left to wonder if all the planning and production was worth it .
Keeping Christmas simple and sane takes more work upfront . But when you get to December 26 , your spouse and your soul will thank you for keeping the NO in Noel .
Jon Nicol Jon ’ s the founder of WorshipWorkshop . com and WorshipTeamCoach . com , two sites that help worship leaders build strong teams and lead engaging worship . He lives and serves in Lexington , Ohio with his wife Shannon and their four kids . WorshipWorkshop . com WorshipTeamCoach . com
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