Many believers understand the need for church music and have a good idea as to how they will implement it in their new congregation. Still others, however, formed their group centering on doctrinal reasons and 'making a joyful noise to the Lord' may be the furthest thing from their minds. Any plan to start a new congregation should make praising the Eternal an integral part of service.
Church music must utilize the kind of praise that those who attend are capable of producing. You must start with what is available. Many congregations prefer to use overhead projectors or computer projection to provide song words to their congregation. Others prefer hymnals. Even with projection equipment, a certain number of copies of hymnals are usually needed for choirs or musicians. A new congregation must also decide what will be used for the source of congregational music. At the very bottom of this article is a list of some FREE songs that can be used to worship God during services.
If most of the people forming a new congregation are from a previous group, the simplest thing is to keep using the same music. However, it can be quite a problem. The old denomination may refuse to sell hymnals to independent groups. Musicians and leaders of the congregation will simply have to make a decision to procure the most appropriate materials available to begin praising God at the new services.
A worship team with a choir and instruments is the best. Make the most of whatever talent you have - do not try to imitate some other group. Accept imperfect musicians as long as the overall effect is enjoyable for most people - they do get better over time.
Lacking a choir or band, a piano accompanist is probably the most flexible. Finding a piano is not the problem it once was. Electronic pianos that sound and feel much like the real thing are in music stores at a reasonable price. The smaller keyboards may need an external amplifier - a portable home stereo can work. If your congregation does not have a piano player, most songs can be played by someone with a guitar, accordion, or auto-harp.
Lacking live musicians, many hymnals have matching CDs, featuring either piano, small group or full orchestra accompaniment. CDs specifically designed for accompaniment do not have the main melody voices recorded, which is good. The most important part, the singing words of praise, must be supplied by the congregation. There are some massive DVD-based systems for church accompaniment that have 5000+ songs, options for projection of words, transposition into any key and a host of other features for about $1000. Christian stores s usually sell them.
Encourage everyone to get involved in music and praise. Those who can play instruments should be encouraged to do so. Since no instruments are specifically condemned in the Bible, we conclude that we may use any of them. If someone sings or plays an instrument poorly, do not shut them out, but every few months or so encourage them to do something that they have learned well.
Anyone can buy or borrow pre-recorded songs, listen to it, and bring the best to play during the church music section of services. Part of the listening job is to listen for words that have an acceptable message. Accept a wide variety of styles. While some styles may be too devoted to destruction and negativism to be useful in a service, most popular styles can be used for positive, uplifting praise. The musical tastes of parents and children can often be united around an energetic praise song with a good message. Hand-clapping, foot stomping and rhythm instruments are great ways to involve almost everyone.
Use wisdom in trying not to offend others with church music that they are not used to. It should be a force for unity, not for division. If you have visitors that like only older hymns, that is not the day to bring out your most energetic songs of praise. Paul clearly instructs that services should be conducted "decently and in order" (1Corinthians 14:40). People should never be wild and "out of control" no matter how excited they are to praise God.