Thinking Out Loud

January 16, 2009

Nobody in Your Small Group Plays Guitar? No Problem!

Last night I watched worship song clips from two of the latest in the iWorship @ Home series from Integrity Music.   Volume 9 is the last of the “old price” DVDs at $14.99 US, while Volume 10 signals a 33.3% price jump to $19.99 U.S. with virtually no change in format, content, or quality.

iworship-vol-9These DVDs consist of animated song lyrics projected over constantly changing textured backgrounds and colors.   That’s it.    But if nobody plays keyboard or guitar in your small group, or even if you attend a church that is “instrumentally challenged,” these are good resources to consider, as long as — on many of the songs, anyway —  you lean more towards the Pentecostal or Charismatic model of many repetitions of the verses and chorus.

We used these a couple of times in our church’s morning service.   The response wasn’t great.  My oldest son said the people felt they were “watching TV” and didn’t feel the need to sing.   I think the problem was, and is, that to use these in church you’ve got to have a sound person who can find the volume “sweet spot” for congregational singing.   Too quiet and people won’t sing over the recorded soundtrack.   Too loud and the contemporary arrangements can be overpowering.

The same is true when using them at home.   You’ve got to turn up the TV sound to that same “sweet spot” level that encourages singing but doesn’t allow for passive viewing.

I guess my biggest disappointment with Vol. 9 and Vol. 10 in this series is that I held out very high hopes after seeing a much more creative direction with Vol. 7.     Some of the songs on that DVD, such as, “I Am Not Forgotten,” and “Love the Lord” really had an edginess to them, while slower songs like “Revelation Song” were produced with style and class.    I was hoping for more along the lines of those songs, but alas, the production has moved in a more conservative direction.

Still,  I think this is a great product line of resources to know about; and realized that an additional excellent application — maybe the best application– for these is just what I was doing last night:  Simply watching.   It was wonderful to be aurally and visually focused on these great songs of worship.  Maybe that’s the key to “I Worship at Home.”

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