Tag Archive - matt thompson

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Top Posts of 2015 #6: “5 Reasons People Don’t Sing at your Church”

I was really excited that this post came in at #6 because it was a guest post written by a friend of mine! Check it out!

I’ve been hearing a lot of concern about the fact that people are singing less and not engaging in the corporate time of worship at church. Most of the talk I hear seems to be finger pointing and critiquing the current culture of American churches rather than providing solutions that are within our control.

We all want people engaging in worship, but what is really in our control and how can we help people connect through the music? Here is a list of factors that contribute to how people respond and engage during worship in our churches.

1. Personal

Where are they at spiritually? Obviously if they don’t know Jesus they won’t be led to worship Him. But, on the other end of the spectrum, Jesus said that the person who has been forgiven much will love much. It’s all too common for a church person to forget how much grace they have received.

What circumstances are currently affecting their mental, emotional and physical health? There could be a crisis in their life. They may have just gotten in fight with their spouse or kids or friend. They may harbor bitterness toward the church or someone on stage.

 What is their church background? Some people grow up in churches where raising hands is forbidden. Others speak in tongues and jump wave flags.

 How do they prefer to connect with God? God has crafted us uniquely with different passions and personalities. Not everyone connects to Jesus by standing and singing songs. See “Sacred Pathways” by Gary Thomas.

2. Environmental

Does the space they are gathered in help or hinder? So many of us react to our surroundings and allow them to influence our emotions and thoughts. The lighting, size, temperature and smell of the room can all be a factor in whether or not someone chooses to engage, be distracted, overwhelmed, claustrophobic or even disgusted.

3. Relational

Do people feel welcomed and accepted? If I think the people around me are going to judge me based on how I respond in worship then my focus isn’t on God and I’ll play it safe.

Are others engaged? Nobody wants to be the only person with their hands up or singing at the top of their lungs. Most of us would rather fit in and do what everyone else is doing.

4. Musical

How well do they know the songs? If every song in the worship set is brand new then it’s likely the congregation won’t engage. If the average person attends church once or twice a month it’s likely they won’t know a lot of the music even if it isn’t new.

How much do they like the songs? Musical tastes vary. It’s subjective. Not every person that attends our church on a regular basis would choose to listen to the music we play on a weekend.

Is it excellent? This is about the musicianship, volume, mix, EQ, etc.

Do the lyrics make sense? If I have to consult with a theologian or English professor about the meaning of lyrics then I’m not singing. If the lyrics are too mushy or romanticized then most dudes won’t sing.

5. Visual

Are the worship leaders engaged? This is huge. Authenticity is as important as excellence. If the people on stage look like they’re not into what they’re doing then how do we encourage the people in the seats to engage?

Are there any distractions? Lights, moving graphics, people, lyrics being incorrect, camera angles, etc.

I don’t think this list is exhaustive. The point is this: there are many factors to whether or not someone will engage in the corporate worship music we sing at church on a weekend. Some of them we can control – the environment, the culture and the production. We are responsible as church leaders, not just the worship leaders, to create an environment where people can see Jesus and let their guard down; then we trust God to do what only He can do.


 

This is a guest post by Matt Thompson who serves as the Creative Arts Pastor at Fountain Springs Church. To keep up with Matt you can connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.


Posted in Creative Arts, Leadership

6

5 Reasons People don’t Sing at your Church

I’ve been hearing a lot of concern about the fact that people are singing less and not engaging in the corporate time of worship at church. Most of the talk I hear seems to be finger pointing and critiquing the current culture of American churches rather than providing solutions that are within our control.

We all want people engaging in worship, but what is really in our control and how can we help people connect through the music? Here is a list of factors that contribute to how people respond and engage during worship in our churches.

1. Personal

Where are they at spiritually? Obviously if they don’t know Jesus they won’t be led to worship Him. But, on the other end of the spectrum, Jesus said that the person who has been forgiven much will love much. It’s all too common for a church person to forget how much grace they have received.

What circumstances are currently affecting their mental, emotional and physical health? There could be a crisis in their life. They may have just gotten in fight with their spouse or kids or friend. They may harbor bitterness toward the church or someone on stage.

 What is their church background? Some people grow up in churches where raising hands is forbidden. Others speak in tongues and jump wave flags.

 How do they prefer to connect with God? God has crafted us uniquely with different passions and personalities. Not everyone connects to Jesus by standing and singing songs. See “Sacred Pathways” by Gary Thomas.

2. Environmental

Does the space they are gathered in help or hinder? So many of us react to our surroundings and allow them to influence our emotions and thoughts. The lighting, size, temperature and smell of the room can all be a factor in whether or not someone chooses to engage, be distracted, overwhelmed, claustrophobic or even disgusted.

3. Relational

Do people feel welcomed and accepted? If I think the people around me are going to judge me based on how I respond in worship then my focus isn’t on God and I’ll play it safe.

Are others engaged? Nobody wants to be the only person with their hands up or singing at the top of their lungs. Most of us would rather fit in and do what everyone else is doing.

4. Musical

How well do they know the songs? If every song in the worship set is brand new then it’s likely the congregation won’t engage. If the average person attends church once or twice a month it’s likely they won’t know a lot of the music even if it isn’t new.

How much do they like the songs? Musical tastes vary. It’s subjective. Not every person that attends our church on a regular basis would choose to listen to the music we play on a weekend.

Is it excellent? This is about the musicianship, volume, mix, EQ, etc.

Do the lyrics make sense? If I have to consult with a theologian or English professor about the meaning of lyrics then I’m not singing. If the lyrics are too mushy or romanticized then most dudes won’t sing.

5. Visual

Are the worship leaders engaged? This is huge. Authenticity is as important as excellence. If the people on stage look like they’re not into what they’re doing then how do we encourage the people in the seats to engage?

Are there any distractions? Lights, moving graphics, people, lyrics being incorrect, camera angles, etc.

I don’t think this list is exhaustive. The point is this: there are many factors to whether or not someone will engage in the corporate worship music we sing at church on a weekend. Some of them we can control – the environment, the culture and the production. We are responsible as church leaders, not just the worship leaders, to create an environment where people can see Jesus and let their guard down; then we trust God to do what only He can do.

 


 

This is a guest post by Matt Thompson who serves as a Worship Leader at Sun Valley Community Church. To keep up with Matt you can connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.


Posted in Creative Arts, Leadership

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3 Ways Leaders Lead at their Best

Over the last 15 years I’ve been blessed to lead worship with many talented musicians and singers. I’ve led at camps and retreats. I’ve led for different generation, for different gatherings, for different churches. I’ve led in large venues and small venues. And through it all I’ve discovered three principles that allow me to lead at my best…truth is, these principles apply to anyone who leads a team.

1. Trust Your Teammates

If I’m focused on whether or not the drummer is staying on time or if the bass player is playing the right notes then I’m not focused on leading the church and engaging the crowd. As leaders we need to equip and empower our teams and then trust them to do what only they can do so we can do what we’re called to do.

Key Question: Do you have confidence in the people you lead with?

In worship ministry, we audition. Then we train and equip. I provide whatever the musician needs in order to set them up for success. When they feel confident I feel confident and I can set my attention to leading the crowds.

2. Like Your Teammates

I’ve noticed that when there are people leading with me that I genuinely like to be around it is more fun to lead the church. When it’s fun I do better. There are certain people that I connect with more so than others. These are the people I want to do ministry with. Chemistry is a must in order for me to be at my best. This sometimes means I’d rather lead with less talented people in order to lead with people I like.

Key Question: Do you look forward to leading with the people who are on your team?

When working with volunteers this doesn’t always happen. There are certain roles to fill and we can’t always fill them with people we instantly connect with. But, when possible I try to have someone I consider a friend on every team I lead.

This leads me to the third principle…

3. Know What Gives You Energy

In order to lead with people you like you can’t surround yourself with people that drain you of your energy. I don’t care how talented they are.

In addition, like most artists I’m an introvert. Standing around making small talk with strangers sucks the life out of me. If I do that right before I go on stage I might not have the energy I need to lead worship. This is why artists have “green rooms.” It is being intentional about preserving energy for when it is needed the most.

A green room should be stocked with food, coffee and anything else that combats the early call times and the energy drainers. It is a safe haven that needs to be protected.

Key Question: Do you have a plan for gaining and maintaining energy?

When all three of these principles are aligned I know I’m getting the best out of me and that usually means a great experience for everyone else. As goes the leader, so goes the team.

Photo Credit: alexcoitus via Compfight cc

 


 

This is a guest post by Matt Thompson who serves as the Worship Pastor at the Tempe Campus of Sun Valley Community Church. To keep up with Matt you can connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.


Posted in Creative Arts, Leadership

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The Why of Leadership

I’ve read a lot about how to lead… how to lead teams…how to lead through change…how to lead courageously…how to lead spiritually…even how to lead like Jesus. Some authors make a very good living on writing this stuff and we’ve benefitted from their wisdom. Great guys like: Patrick Lencioni, John Maxwell, Bill Hybels and Andy Stanley have given us great tools for how to best lead our organizations or churches in any climate.

But why do we lead?  What’s the goal of our leadership?

Ever since I was a kid, leading is just something that came naturally to me. Whether it was in playing games at recess or taking the initiative on a class project, leading was just something I did. I can’t say my motives were always good or that I knew how to get the most out of people, but I never questioned why I should lead.

The answer has to be more than just to get something accomplished. There’s more purpose to leading than getting people to complete a task.

Recently, a statement the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy caught my attention like never before.  He urges Timothy to stay in Ephesus and instruct men there not to teach strange doctrine or pay attention to myths and endless genealogies (1 Timothy 1:3-4).

Then, in verse 5, he says the “goal” of this leading, the purpose, the WHY is:

1. Love from a pure heart

God wants His people to grow in love for Him and for each other.  As leaders we need to inspire and influence the people we shepherd to have a genuine love for each other as well as the God we serve.  We should be modeling for our people what pure motives and selfless love looks like.

2. A good conscience

People need to know the Truth.  And they need to know how to live according to that Truth.  More than ever, in a culture of moral relativism, the people we lead need guidance on how to live a godly life.  This takes courage and boldness on our part.  It may require a difficult conversation.  It may require sacrificing competency for character.

3. Sincere faith

Faith wavers.  We should be an anchor when the storms of doubt come.  As leaders we need to remind ourselves, and the people we lead, of God’s unfailing faithfulness.

I believe that this ought to always be our goal for the people we lead.  No matter what the mission statement, vision, core ideology, process, purpose, etc – we lead to influence people in the direction of these three things. No matter what vision God has given us to inspire our people, we should also be inspiring them to grow in love, to keep a good conscience and trust in God at all times.

 


 

This is a guest post by Matt Thompson who serves as the Worship Pastor on the Sun Valley Community Church, Gilbert Campus. To keep up with Matt you can connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.


Posted in Leadership

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top 10 reasons to go to church on saturday

 

We recently began a new Saturday evening service at Sun Valley Community Church. We were previously doing one 5:00pm service on Saturdays and the new service times are 4:30pm and 6:00pm. Here are a couple of the strategic thoughts behind the shift…

  • Doing two back to back services allows people to come to church one hour and serve one hour. Previously there were people serving in ministry at our 5:00pm service and if they wanted to attend a worship service they actually had to come back on Sunday. That needed to be solved.
  • Doing away with the 5:00pm service time and adding two new service times at 4:30pm and 6:00pm forced everyone on Saturdays to pick a new service time to attend. Otherwise if we had kept the 5:00pm service and simply added another service time, getting people to shift from what they were comfortable with would have been much less effective.
  • Saturday has been our fastest growing service time year over year. In fact this past weekend we were up 36% (year over year).
  • We communicated the change every weekend in the month of July, which led up to the launch of the new service times at the beginning of August. This gave us a couple of weeks to settle into 2 Saturday services before school kicked back in and the crowds were up.
  • For weeks we said, “All of the smart people go to church on Saturdays.” In fact that’s when my family attends. It’s easier to navigate the parking lots, getting the kids in and out of Children’s Ministry, and we don’t have to rush or fight to get the kids ready on Sundays
  • The video above is one of the creative methods we’ve used to communicate and encourage people to move to Saturdays.

 


Posted in Creative Arts
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