In the last edition of SA Worship Magazine, we introduced our new publication, Salvation Worship. Now that it’s available, we thought it might be helpful to explain a little bit more about the publication and how you can make it work for you.
Publishing for congregations
The focus of the publication is to aid worship in our corps and ministry units around the world. Whether it be audio, visual, written or notated, we want this publication to meet the diverse needs of congregations in the Army. In situations where music ministry is thriving, we have provided a way for contemporary worship teams and traditional music sections to work together in leading worship. For smaller corps that may not have as many options available, we have provided accompaniment tracks and lyric videos that can be used to support music ministry.
We believe that the heritage of music ministry in The Salvation Army is a God-given gift that was not relegated to times gone by. We have gifted and talented songwriters in our Army today that continue to share words and melodies that help us to praise and worship God. We wanted to provide an opportunity for these songwriters to share their music and write the next pages of our song book, so to speak. There have been changes in musical styles that align with the changing times, but the one constant is that God is the only rightful object of our worship. He has called us to be The Salvation Army in 2021, and these new songs reflect the themes of holiness and service like many of our treasured song book songs. We pray that these songs would be the rally cry that God’s Army sings as we go into the world and seek earnestly to be like Christ throughout the different stages and situations of life.
Supporting Worship Leaders
We want to assist worship leaders as much as possible. Along with each song published, we have some additional worship materials on our website. The first is a resource list of suggested Scripture references that are song specific which can be used as you lead your congregation. The second is a devotional thought based on each song. These could also be used for your own personal reflection or when rehearsing the songs as a team.
We are hopeful that in the future, we will be able to publish different languages to make the songs more accessible to congregations worldwide. Some of the work of translating the songs has been done initially at the time of our launch and we hope to include other languages as the publication grows.
How can Salvation Worship work for you?
One of our goals with this publication was to resource corps of any size or with any type of music ministry. We hope that some part of what has been produced will meet your specific needs.
Little or no Musical Support for Worship
Congregational singing is so important to building a sense of community in the church. There is something powerful about singing lyrics corporately, as the body of Christ. We know it can be tough to achieve this when your resource pool is limited.
To help, we have created:
To be used in worship or to teach a congregation a new song, these videos display the lyrics over the song recording.
The full instrumentation of the recording is played but the melody is left out so a leader can sing live.
These are the individual instruments from the recording, split out in a way that can be used with software like Loop Community Prime, Ableton Live, Multitracks Playback, etc. Select the instruments to be heard through the sound system, that will complement the instrumentation.
Some Musical Support for Worship
Lead sheets and chord charts are available to download for free from our website at . You can search the songs by title on the website. If you have a rhythm section and want to add brass from our recordings, you can use the multitrack stems to add instrumentation to your group.
These tracks can also benefit younger players who may not be confident playing their part on their own. You could have your young guitarist rehearse with the track at home and then use the same track in worship, so they feel comfortable. Remember, you will need the software to do this as well as the ability to hear the click track so you can stay in time.
If you have a pianist who prefers to read notated music instead of a lead sheet or chord chart, we have provided a notated piano chart for this purpose. These charts have been written to accompany the congregation alone while also complimenting the lead sheet, chord chart and other arrangements that have been published for each song.
Large Congregational Worship Sections
If you are blessed to have a full worship team and/or brass band, along with all of the resources that have already been mentioned, we have resources that can encourage everyone to play together. Here’s an explanation from Marcus Venables, who arranged the punch brass and brass pad charts.
“Punch brass is modelled similarly to Praise Charts in that the parts are decorative alongside the rhythm section and singing. The level is varied to some degree in terms of range, technique, and rhythm. The preferred instrumentation is two cornets and two trombones. Some mixing and switching of instruments will work but keep in mind that these parts are extra and shouldn’t be doubled up. Using just one or two of these parts is also appropriate.
The brass pad parts are a newer idea and can be considered somewhat unique. Unlike the Hallelujah Choruses where the parts serve as stand-alone accompaniments, the four-part brass pads in Salvation Worship are used as background harmonics that enhance the worship team. For example, if you only had a piano player or acoustic guitar providing the accompaniment, adding in the brass pads with either a few players or the entire band would help build a larger sound. These parts are simple in nature, using primarily only whole notes and half notes, and can be played by standard brass band instruments.
Putting it all together is both easy and challenging! The way in which worship teams, brass bands and choirs read and play music is varied. For example, a worship team might only use a chord chart. Even though the road map may be decided and rehearsed, this may change during live worship. Bands and choirs are a bit more strict due to the number of musicians and precise in-depth arrangements/orchestration being used. Salvation Worship seeks to find a middle ground. The arrangements were developed by honouring the original songwriter’s intentions, and then further developed by the recording artists and arranging team. On the music provided, the full road map is laid out based on the recorded arrangement, but clear indications are labeled for each section of the song such as Verse, Chorus, Bridge etc… This may take some time for bands to get used to, but it allows an opportunity to engage and listen. As they listen to the worship leader/singers and they learn how the song goes, they will become more comfortable with following the sections and jumping around the song as needed.
If you are just getting started, keep it easy and try to stick to what is written on the lead sheet and chord chart so everyone can stay together. Overtime, as everyone becomes more comfortable, if the worship leader/singer wants to repeat sections or if the Spirit moves during a song, everyone should be able to stay on track based on the ease of finding a section by its label. It means that we have more options for blended worship. Often our time of blended worship is strict and stringent so that we all start and end together. It also usually entails a more challenging or overbalanced brass band part. The brass pads exist to enhance and add colour. The level is very simple, you could even have junior band members play along.”
Our hope is that by attempting to cater to all levels of musical support, any congregation can use these songs. Each song is beautifully written, arranged and recorded to assist worship. We believe that this is only the beginning of even greater things for Salvation Army song writing and worship ministry. We are excited to see how God uses this project and how it develops well into the future.