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Each church needs its own repertoire of songs in which they can express their faith.

How can we do it?

Each church needs its own repertoire of songs in which they can express their faith. It is important that members/visitors can identify with the music. It really needs to become mutual worship, not that one group is worshipping and the other group is watching and then the other way around. God’s glory is being magnified more when the church is doing it TOGETHER and a new shared worship culture is birthed.

Songs2Serve provides:
– resourcing with a database of songs,
– inspiration with a Songs2Serve music band,
– teasers and training for churches,
– coaching for leaders

The musicians in the church are a key factor.

The musicians in the church are a key factor. They know the culture of the church and are aware of what works and what doesn’t work with the congregation. For the church leadership it is best to start conversations about the worship time in your church with the musicians and members from diverse backgrounds. Speak openly together about what blesses them in times of singing in the church, and about what hinders them or what they miss.

In the case of an intercultural church, the repertoire needs to have a variety of rhythms, musical styles and expressions. Each song always has cultural characteristics. The challenge is to compile a repertoire together with musicians and members, that is accessible to many and in which elements from different cultures can be found.

In this repertoire, it is important to look for songs specific to one given culture – songs that are not only accessible, but that have the distinct flavour of that specific culture. And let us not forget the ecclesiastical culture; the old songs and hymns, the solemn chorales of orthodox churches. It is important to involve the actual cultural groups in this – we can never make their music as well as they can. Practically speaking, the best things will happen when you actively involve the musicians and members of the church in this process. 

The journey of Intercultural Worship requires that you:

  1. check out the cultural makeup of your target group (for instance in your area) and the music styles that are popular among the people
  2. check out the cultural makeup of your current church and the music styles that are popular among them
  3. develop a vision as to what would be the ideal situation for your church (not just that which is popular) – do so together with the leadership of the church
  4. check out the current possibilities
  5. make a strategic course of steps to be taken
  6. get to work!

More ideas:

  • Introduce easy, accessible songs at first (e.g. multilingual)
  • Display English meaning as well (to sing or not)
  • Medleys can work well
  • Give known songs a cultural ‘twist’
  • Sunday morning may not be the starting place
  • Introduce it slowly — take easy steps at first
  • Explain why it glorifies God
  • Engage in meaningful conversation across cultures
  • Come as a learner — avoid cultural pride
  • Be determined — don’t give up easily
  • Enjoy the ride!

If so desired, S2S EU could work together with you to coach you in this process and help you to tailor these steps to your own context. Contact us for more information.

Usually using songs from the cultures of your church members is much appreciated, for they hear their own melody and language and feel at home. An important branch of the work of Songs2Serve is that we have these songs translated into English (or another European language) in a singable format, so that we are one step closer to worshipping together. For instance, the whole church now sings the song in Arabic and English! At first this takes some getting used to, but after some time the songs become more familiar and then we can really all worship together out of our hearts.

 In this way the identity of the church will become more intercultural. It reduces the ‘us/them’ culture of the ‘host and the guest’.  The ‘guests’ will not feel like guests anymore, but fully respected participants. Visitors will be pleasantly surprised to recognize their language, seekers will become extra curious as to why a church would make so much effort for them.

Songs2Serve is steadily building up a database of songs which we are collecting and translating from different cultures.

All for the glory of God!