“Daily encouragement, inspiration, FUN, and real talk about the #WorshipLife. By worship leaders/musicians for worship leaders/musicians.”

Yet Not I

One of my favorite bands on the scene right now is Cityalight.

They are just so thoughtful in every aspect of the worship experience they create both for their church and for their listeners.

Their lyrics are Christ-honoring, and the music is really good, all while being minimalist enough to stay out of the way.

You get the sense that the band has tremendous talent…and yet is almost more talented in their creative approach than their musical chops. It’s really fun to watch.

One song that really put them on the map is Yet Not I.

Of course, the song is using the Apostle’s Pauls true and eloquent reflection that everything we are, everything we have, and everything we do is only because Christ is living within us.

As Christians, we’re in this beautiful union with Christ…

What Christ makes possible in us and for us goes beyond ANYTHING we could possibly imagine for ourselves.

This is true in worship!

How about that for amazing thought! Christ—the one to whom we give our worship—puts his Spirit in us, who in turns makes true worship possible!

Let’s remember, friends, that everything we do—including our God-given abilities to play music in worship toward him—is only possible through Christ in us.

Can other people play music who don’t have Christ in them? Sure…

But that entirely misses the point.

Our music, though Christ, has the opportunity for eternal impact. There’s no investment you could make anywhere else with a better rate of return than that!

That’s one reason we think it’s so important to put your best foot forward in learning worship music.

We created Worship By Numbers to help you feel more confident than ever and help you grow as a worship musician.

Here’s the link to get started for free: www.WorshipByNumbers.com.

Steve Schramm

More important than the music…

At choir practice yesterday, Matt was encouraging us through a time of prayer and bearing the burdens and needs of others.

He made the observation that, as many troubles, trials, and problems were represented in that space, it was just a small fraction of that which in is in our church as a whole.

And he’s SO right.

The Lord really convicted my heart…

Look—it’s so easy to that the music is the “chief end.”

Sitting there as Matt was sharing, taking prayer requests, etc., I whispered to myself, Man…this sure is taking a lot of time out of practice.

And it’s like I could hear the Lord telling me in that moment—This is what you’re here for!

Obviously, I LOVE music and, when I’m holding an instrument in my hand, find it difficult not to be playing something.

But it would behoove us to intentionally think beyond that every once in awhile…

It’s about way more than the music.

Steve Schramm

P.S. The music is still important of course, which is why we created www.WorshipByNumbers.com.

Transfer Your Enthusiasm

Did you know that worship is a lot like sales?

Now…hear me out.

I am not talking about anything you associate with the words:

  • Sleezy
  • Slimy
  • Forceful
  • Hassleling
  • Pushy
  • ETC.

That’s the wrong definition of sales…

When the late Zig Ziglar would conduct sales trainings, he’d often say something roughly like this:

Selling is nothing more than the transfer of enthusiasm

Enthusiasm. That’s all? Really?

Yes!

As you and the rest of the worship team work to create the worship experience and inspire those you serve each week, you must remember that a huge part of your job is transferring enthusiasm.

There are some SUPER practical ways to do this…

  1. Smile.
  2. Keep your head up.
  3. Don’t space out.
  4. Be present.
  5. Show emotion.
  6. Sing along.
  7. Oh yeah, smile.

You may be surprised at how different you feel after a few weeks of doing nothing more than the above.

Maybe we’ll write something on one or more of those postures in the coming days. I realize some of them may be a little hard or a little confusing.

But if you can really get them down, you will be AMAZED at the difference in makes—both in you and those around you.

By the way, right now’s a great time to get in our Worship By Numbers program that helps musicians and worship leaders like Y.O.U. become a more well-rounded musician. Here’s the link to try it out FREE today: www.WorshipByNumbers.com

Steve Schramm

Be (More Than) Okay with Going Old School

Sometimes, as I mentioned yesterday, you have to call an audible in the worship service.

What I mean is, you have to improvise last minute and change things around.

Yesterday, I mentioned how part of being able to accomplish this was to introduce versatility into your worship team.

Now, we talked about this through the lens of musicianship, but there’s another lens to look through as well:

The music.

Imagine that.

So what do I mean?

Well, for us, it meant going old school.

Apart from the choir openers, we sang nothing but traditional hymns; plus, Jason played the guitar for this part instead of the piano, so the music (guitar, bass, and cajon) took on a more old school, bluegrass flavor.

You’d think it sounded empty…but you’d be wrong.

The music and the singing was full and lively. Almost felt like an old camp meeting.

Actually, it was a great time. The songs were chosen wonderfully, and the music as we played it complemented them so well.

So it’s not only okay to go old school…it’s MORE than okay! It’s downright awesome, actually.

Never be afraid to go that route. In our church, we sing a LOT of traditional hymns. We love them. But, we also sing many newer songs in the rotation as well.

This all goes back to the notion of versatility and flexibility. You need these in your worship band.

Also, if you’re interested, we can help you become a more flexible and versatile musician by teaching you how to play by numbers. Want to see how it works? Start here: www.WorshipByNumbers.com

Steve Schramm

Introducing Versatility Into Your Worship Team

This past week, our feared and revered worship leader, Matt Baker, was absent from church.

Fortunately, our church has the luxury of flexibility and versatility in the worship band context, and that is something needed now more than ever before.

So what that does look like, and how can you achieve it?

First of all, the worship leader needs to be a team builder.

Matt understands the value of putting together a good team of musicians, and it pays off each and every week.

In his absence, our cohort, Jason, was tasked with leading the worship.

Like myself, Jason plays a variety of different instruments. We can each hold our own across bass, guitar, and percussion. And, we each have keyboard/piano experience as well.

Jason and his family are wonderful singers, so it worked really well. Jason stepped up and, really, things went off without a hitch.

But it STARTS with the worship leader. It didn’t go that way because Jason has talent, or because I have a talent or whatever.

NONE of that would matter without a solid, team-building leader.

Second, the worship musicians need to be team players.

It was about 8:45 this past Sunday morning. Church starts at 9.

We had finished practicing the hymns we were going to be singing that morning, church started at 9, and we had not yet gotten to practice the choir opener.

Why? Well, the piano player who usually plays for choir openers had not quite made it there yet.

I can play piano by ear a bit, and I knew how to play the song.

So I jumped up to the piano, and started to make sure I could play it. We were just about to start running through it, when, lo and behold, she was there! Just in time!

The only unfortunate part of this scenario is now folks know that I know just enough about a piano to be dangerous…lol.

The point is—I would have been TERRIFIED to actually do it. But, I’m a team player.

The options were:

  1. Play it.
  2. Find a new song.
  3. Pray she showed up without a backup plan.

Given the time constraints, option 1 was best for the worship experience, putting aside my own fears and insecurities.

Here is the moral of today’s story: If you’re a team building worship leader who can find team players for worship musicians, you will dramatically cut down potential for Sunday morning woes and worries.

Steve Schramm

P.S. Our worship education program, Worship By Numbers, will not teach you how be a “good” worship leader, whatever that even means—however, it will show you how to unify your band with a system that will change EVERYTHING about the way you play music. (You can even use this method to CREATE versatility in your band if you don’t have it yet.) Here’s how to get started for free: www.WorshipByNumbers.com.

Togetherness in Worship

I was listening to an episode of To the Choirmaster (a worship podcast) yesterday, and MAN did the message hit home.

The host was trading on the notion that what we experience in worship together transcends anything we could possibly hope for in worship alone.

So, here’s the context:

There has been questioning over the past few months as to the real value of corporate worship.

After all, COVID-19 has forced many churches out of their corporate environment, forcing pastors, worship leaders, and other regular teachers to get creative about how they meet for worship and instruction.

It’s a fair question, right?

Is there really any value in meeting corporately, if it’s possible to learn and worship individually?

The host’s answer was an EMPHATIC yes!

The reality is, the worship music experience is more than just being in the same room with others and singing the same song.

You get to see the reaction on the faces of those singing.

You get to take part in the experience of others being blessed by a particular word or line of the song that can take on new significance for you.

As an example, it’s one thing for me to sing It Is Well With My Soul. It’s quite another thing to watch that family going through cancer sing it.

That’s a fairly simplistic example, but don’t you see the point?

What we experience in worship together just cannot be replicated on our own.

Togetherness in worship is a huge theme in the content we create, including within our Worship By Numbers program.

If you are trying to be a Lone Ranger, it will never work.

People will notice. You will be a distraction, rather than a blessing.

Sign up today to get started with Worship By Numbers and learn how to integrate into your church band instead of take something away from it.

Here’s the link: www.WorshipByNumbers.com.

Steve Schramm

Worship Music is Intensely Theological

One of the great joys of being a part of the worship experience is that we are actually teaching theology.

For some reason, many worship leaders don’t view their role as one of teaching and instructions, but nothing could be further from reality.

Some church contexts have a “minister of music.” While I am not prescribing this, I do think this title gives proper dues to the role.

In other words, the minister of music understands that his role in the worship service is not as a “song leader,” but as an individual who has a role in preaching and/or teaching itself.

Do you see the difference?

But the actual individual with this title need not see himself as the sole person with this responsibility.

As I harp often, every musician is a worship leader. I’m only extending the argument a hair further to say that every worship leader is a music minister.

I don’t care if your current role in the worship service is to play the triangle.

If you’re there, you’re ministering in music.

By the way—even triangle players can benefit from what we teach in Worship By Numbers. Don’t believe me? Sign up today for free and check out “Secret #3.”

But only for a second! Then, go back and start from the beginning.

So whether you play the triangle, trombone, or the telecaster, there’s something for you. Start here: www.WorshipByNumbers.com.

Steve Schramm

How Music Sets the Tone

As I write this, I am on the way home from a visit to the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, KY—a Christian attraction by the folks at Answers in Genesis.

If you have never been, I highly recommend a visit.

One of the most noticeable things to me while I was there was how the music they played set the tone throughout the entire attraction.

What do I mean?

Well, essentially, they have speakers strewn throughout the property—each playing the same Arabian-esque tune on repeat—the entire day.

I get the sense that this feature of the attraction is usually met with one of three responses:

  1. Annoyance. It would not surprise at all that some would take notice of the music, and then take notice of it again….and again, and again, and start to become annoyed by it. Why can’t they just play something different, for crying out loud?
  2. Appreciation. Others, by contrast, will notice the music with the same heightened awareness. And they will actually appreciate why this has been done, and possibly even enjoy it and/or be thankful for it.
  3. Apathy. Others will remain consciously oblivious to it. Someone might ask them, “What about that music?!” And they might say, “Eh, it was okay I guess…didn’t really notice.”

So what is going on here? Who cares about this?

My only point is this: The music was intentionally designed to set the tone of the attraction.

If one sat down to think about it, a list of adjectives might emerge that would help describe and/or make sense of the “vibe” given off by the music. Here are just five of many “vibes” I got from the music today:

  1. Ancient
  2. Inspiring
  3. Adventurous
  4. Daring
  5. Eastern

Probably this already helps you picture the music in “your mind’s eye.”

What’s interesting is that even those who fall into the “apathetic” group from above were affected by the music, even if they didn’t know it.

Subconsciously, the music had an effect on them! It “set the tone” for their visit and helped placed them within the context desired by those who designed the attraction.

Music has this kind of power. This is why music can be used in mind control situations to help put audiences in a trance so that illusionists can use it to their advantage.

It should go without saying, then, that being a part of the music during worship is a tremendous responsibility.

We are setting the tone—for the annoyed, the appreciative, and the apathetic.

In fact, it’s so important that we devote the entire 4th “secret” inside of Worship By Numbers to working together with other members of the band to help create the atmosphere and set the tone for the worship experience.

Here’s the link to get started (for free) today: www.WorshipByNumbers.com.

Steve Schramm

Messed Up Worship

Do ya ever just feel unworthy to worship?

It’s interesting…have you ever thought about what a pastor goes through?

News Flash: Most pastors realize they are not perfect.

This may be a shock to some…but the truth is that the very people who have been called by God to speak into the lives of his people week in and week out…are themselves messed up and in desperate need of God’s help day in and day out.

Being a pastor or preacher does not except you from needing the Lord.

Btw, neither does leading the worship.

Maybe the reality is that, on any given Sunday, you should be at the altar confessing sin or drawing nearer to Christ personally rather than leading others in the worship experience.

Here is my encouragement to you: Don’t let leading the worship come before doing the worship.

Hear me: The only time you’ll “fail” in the context of worship is to fail to worship.

Fixing that, more than anything, should be your goal.

While you’re working on that…

I know, more than anyone, what it’s like to feel like you are failing at worship music. I deal with folks all the time just like you who feel that way, too.

There is a remedy for that, called Worship By Numbers.

We created it to help people like you ditch the fear and anxiety you experience every Sunday. Interested? Check it out for free here: www.WorshipByNumbers.com.

Steve Schramm

Pride and the Worship Musician

One of the things that is hard for me to deal with is the issue of pride…

Can you relate?

Arguably, getting into music in the first place was a matter of pride for me.

Don’t get me wrong…I’ve always loved music.

And—to be sure, God has blessed me beyond measure through music.

But I am ashamed of the many times I have knowingly done something from stage merely for the purpose of “showing off.”

The fact is, it should never be about showing off! Who cares how many hot licks you can play on the piano or the guitar. Or, how many toms you can hit during one phrase of music.

It’s not just about that.

As I say nearly every day on this blog, it’s about creating the worship experience.

In lesson #7 of the Worship By Numbers course, we teach you that “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.”

By this, we mean that the most important part of the crafting the worship experience (in terms of music, anyway) is your contribution to the bigger picture.

Notice that, by its very nature, a contribution adds something—it does not take away through distraction.

If you are ready to learn more about how to make your contribution, join here today for free: www.WorshipByNumbers.com.

Steve Schramm

Drums in Church

Well, this is the white elephant in the room for so many, isn’t it?

Now, some of you that read this will be thinking…

Yeah, so what?

Others of you are thinking…

Has this guy lost his mind?

Let it be known—

  1. I have not lost my mind.
  2. I am a fan of drums in church.
  3. …with some caveats.

I have been a drummer for the last 16 years of my life, which is a bit depressing to admit.

Having travelled a lot playing music, I have seen my fair share of church drummers.

I’ve really seen it across the spectrum. Some fit the “church drummer” stereotype…and many more do not.

Here is one thing I do know: Bands need percussion.

And, not every church has a pool of awesome drummers just waiting to take the stage. So, I think there is a way to introduce percussion into the worship band, even if you’ve never had it before, and even if you don’t have anyone in your church who is a drummer yet.

Stage 1: The Cajon

It’s really hard to go wrong with a cajon, and a person with some interest in playing the drums.

If you don’t know, the cajon is a sweet little box that a person sits on and plays with their hands or a pair of brushes.

Some of them even have snare drum sounds built in. So you have the basics: A kick sound, and a snare sound.

You can take a person with no prior experience and have them begin practicing with this at home…and they will probably be ready to join the band live within a matter of weeks.

Stage 2: Electric Drumset

Nothing can be more distracting than a drummer whose volume cannot be controlled.

Over time, good drummers will be able to control their own volume…and will know when do so…and will do it automatically.

But maybe your drummer is ready to graduate from the cajon to the kit. Electric drums would be a great stepping stone.

Your sound guy can control the volume; the more confident your drummer gets, the more he can blend naturally into the rest of the band.

Stage 3: The Acoustic Drumset

Personally, I don’t think you can beat the sound of an acoustic drumset in the live worship band—or any band, for that matter.

The sound is richer, fuller, and is able to be manipulated to fit the musical context in a way that neither a cajon nor an electric set can.

But as Uncle Ben Parker said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Truthfully, acoustic drums/drummers can get a bit unwieldy at times. I know, because I am one, and I do… 🙂

There is an art to playing drums well; and, especially, in a way that complements the rest of the music.

One thing you can do to ease the transition a bit is get a drum shield off of Amazon or an online music store.

This will allow the sound from the drums themselves to be dampened for the people in immediate proximity, and, once again, give the sound men more control over what the majority of folks in the room are hearing.

It’s a really great transition piece. Many churches even use a little soundproofed “box” for a more permanent solution.

So, do I think your church needs drums? Maybe.

It definitely needs percussion. What it adds to the music cannot be understated.

By the way, these are exactly the kinds of questions and discussions we have inside of Worship By Numbers. It’s more than just about how to play music by numbers…

It’s about how to create the worship experience, and how to bring the band together in a way they never have been before…even the drummers! 😉

Here’s the link to get started for free: www.WorshipByNumbers.com

Steve Schramm

Worship Through Tears

Years back, Laura Story wrote a beautiful song about her time of trouble…when her husband had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Her insightful chorus asks…

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops

What if Your healing comes through tears

What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

There is MUCH to love about this song…

But here’s what I like the most: It questions God in confidence.

What do I mean by that?

How often do we, when tragedy strikes, ask God, “Why me?!”

I understand being in the midst of tragedy. Just 19 years ago this past Saturday, when I was 12 years old, I lost my dad to a combination of Leukemia and Pneumonia.

It was a painful time…and yet, I never drifted away. Today, I hear story after story of tragedy leading to the abandonment of faith.

But I knew the world didn’t care about me. I ran to Jesus…the only place I could run.

Life does not always make sense. But Laura’s questions suppose we think about it differently.

We all want blessing, we all want healing, and we all want God’s mercy. She’s exposing our shallow desires…many of us want those things, but are not willing to endure the trial before.

It’s a hard-hitting—and very biblical—message. We are promised the nearness of God in the midst of suffering. It is not the absence of suffering we are promised.

Here’s what we, as worship leaders and musicians, must realize: When we are creating the worship experience on Sunday, there are multitudes of people in the room walking through various stages of their trial.

They need peace.

They need hope.

They need worship.

It is up to us to do the very best job we can in creating a safe atmosphere for them to lift up Yahweh in praise and adoration…even through their tears.

May we never take for granted the seriousness of that calling.

Steve Schramm.

P.S. By the way, if your heart’s desire is to be a great worship musician…but you are struggling with the practical side of learning new music, gaining confidence on stage etc., we invite to try out our training program—Worship By Numbers—for free today. Here’s the link: www.WorshipByNumbers.com.

What is “Worship” Music, Anyway?

Worship music is something that transcends genre…

It transcends preferences…

It transcends time…

Recently, I wrote about “contemporary” worship vs “biblical” worship…

I think it’s extremely important to understand how the term “worship” is not something we can simplify to a genre.

Growing up, I would often hear pastors say something like, “Praise and Worship music is Wrong” (I’m toning them down a bit, here…)

So—let me get this straight:

Music that “praises” and “worships” God is…….wrong? How can this possibly be true?

And here, friends, we’re back to the heart of the matter.

The heart of worship deals with:

  • Attitude
  • Motive
  • Spiritual discipline
  • Relationship to God
  • Reverence and adoration of God

We do God a disservice by associating the term “worship” with a particular style of music.

Do you see the point?

Question: Why do you think we called our blog/podcast The Worship Guys?

Is it because we only teach how to play one style/genre of music?

Of course not.

In fact, we teach how to play music by numbers with hymns (both traditional and modern) and even southern gospel songs, in addition to what one might call “contemporary” worship.

…Again, we all know what the term means, but do you see how the terminology itself is lacking and unhelpful?

What do you suggest we do about it, Steve?

Frankly, I haven’t the slightest idea.

Much of the time, I raise more questions than I do give answers. Oh well.

Regardless, I am going to try to work this out…slowly but surely…

If we’re still calling Awesome God a contemporary song—even though it was written and first performed in 1988—our terms are flawed.

Anyway…

Regardless of what style of music you like to play, we can help you play it faster and better than ever before…that is—if you can count to 7.

Think that’s doable?

Click here to find out: www.WorshipByNumbers.com

Steve Schramm

P.S. — Perhaps we just start calling it ALL “worship music.” In which case, looks like The Worship Guys was the right choice 🙂

Worship Music That Inspires the Soul

One of the things we talk about inside of Worship By Numbers is the importance of creating a worshipful atmosphere.

It’s a pretty big job, if ya think about it.

I mean…

Not only should we show up confident, prepared to play, ready to do our best, etc…

But we’re also tasked with being worship leaders!

“Wait…Um, Steve. I’m not the worship leader. That’s so-and-so’s job.”

See…that’s where you wrong.

That attitude is precisely the opposite of what our attitude SHOULD be!

Why?

People take their cues from those on the stage.

You may not be directing the worship; make no mistake, though—if you’re on the platform, you are helping to lead it.

SO many things can take away from the experience:

A bad attitude…

A lack of confidence…

Fear of standing in front of others…

Overwhelm at the idea of being a leader….

These are things we ALL deal with at one time or another.

I used to get so nervous playing on stage it would wreck me.

My first ever performance at a bluegrass festival was like this (it’s not “worship music” I get it…but hear me out…).

These things are high pressure. The BEST of the BEST are there.

And me? Well……let’s just say I was not one of them.

I stuck out like a sore thumb, frankly.

Worse? I had developed Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease just days before, which meant….

All the skin had pealed off the end of my fingers, leaving them with no calluses and totally fresh skin.

Now—if you’re a guitar playing reading this, you’re probably screaming in agony at the thought.

I mean, it hurt. BAD.

And yet, it was my responsibility. I couldn’t let them down.

No matter how nervous or scared I was (only made worse by my missing callouses!), I had a job to do.

The same is true for the worship musician.

But, you don’t have to feel that way. I was not given a choice—I developed the skin condition and had to deal with it.

You?

You do have a choice.

The simple fact is, Worship By Numbers was created to give people just like you a system that can destroy your anxiety and help you become a better player than ever before.

If you have confidence in yourself, that translates so well into the worship experience!

You’ll play with more authority, you won’t be a distraction, and best of all—no shakin’ in your boots.

Join for free today: www.WorshipByNumbers.com

Steve Schramm

Making A Song “Yours”

Raise your hand if your church has a full time staff songwriter. Yeah, didn’t think so.

There are a few churches that have that luxury, and they are blessed to have it. The rest of us however, are forced to use the great songs written by songwriters from near and far, old and new.

Some of those songs are very personal in the stories they tell. Most of the time, they’re about the writers’ or the artists’ life experiences. But we all want to sing those songs. But how do we make a song like that “ours”? After all, we’ve all seen enough people just getting up on stage and singing a song. They rarely put any emphasis in it. They don’t worship along with the song. I’m not talking about nerves. That’s something that can be worked through. I’m talking about simply parroting what someone has heard. I was so guilty of this for years. I would hear a demo and because I could play by ear, I could pretty much replicate almost exactly what I heard in the song. But I wasn’t making that song mine. So how do we reach deep, and own the lyrics and music that someone else has been gifted to write for the church?

1. Find content that you identify with.
The tell tale sign that you’re singing the wrong song can sometimes come from simply looking at your face. Do you believe what you’re singing? Just as importantly, Do you LOOK like you believe what you’re singing? Other times, it becomes more practical. You don’t often hear a male vocal on a song about being “Daddy’s Little Girl”. Some songs are clearly written with a specific vocal in mind. Finding content you identify with can be as simple as a line in a chorus, or a verse that hits home with you. When it makes a difference in you, it can make a difference in someone else THROUGH you.

2. Arrange the song to fit your voice.
This happened a couple of weeks ago for me. I was singing a song in church, and the bridge of the song just simply went a little bit out of my range. Let me remind you that we have two morning services on Sunday mornings, the earliest one beginning at 9AM sharp. 9AM is a little early to be singing period, much less singing a song that jumps out of your range. So, what did I do? I simply adjusted the melody on the bridge a little bit. It’s taking some liberty for yourself to make the song work for you. Sometimes it’s as easy as changing the melody; other times it may require completely singing in a different key. This happens all the time in studio settings. An artist will take a demo that they’re going to record, and nearly every time there are some changes that get made to the song. You have the ability to make the song fit you.

Look at it like this: you go to a store, looking to buy a new suit. Now, 9 times out of 10 there are alterations to be done. The pants need to be taken up some to fit your height. The jacket needs to be altered to complement your build. The same principle applies when you take a song and prepare it to be sung. Don’t compare yourself simply to the demo artist that’s singing it. If you’re picking a song for church, identify with the content of the song, and if you’re committed to singing it, find some easy ways to make the song fit your voice even better.

Just like a suit, there’s a basic makeup to all songs; it’s the chording. The key may change, the melody may change, but those chords are the foundation of the song. How do you learn to adjust on the fly and change keys, chords, and still play proficiently? Take a look at www.worshipbynumbers.com and take the next step in your playing today!






The #1 No-Nonsense Trick to Amp Up #TheWorshipLife

What if there was one thing you could do that could make SUCH a big difference in your life…

That it would eliminate the need to do lots of other things?

While I could use this thought to jump into a blatant sales pitch for Worship By Numbers, that’s not my goal….at least not yet. 😉

I’ll give ya the answer…

But first I need to set it up.

There’s both a Bible verse and a song that each make my point for me:

Oh, what peace we often forfeit. Oh, what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer (What a Friend We Have in Jesus)

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matt. 6:33)

Each of these teach a REMARKABLE truth.

What is that truth, you ask?…

We make life way too hard.

Now, I’m not downplaying the trials of life.

For certain, things go wrong, things go bad, we mess up, we need grace…

It’s a daily process…

But it’s like my pastor often says: “The most arrogant thing you can do is fail to pray.”

Why? Because you’re telling God, “I’ve got this, I don’t need you.”

Ouch…

That always hits me so hard.

But as the wise songwriter echoed from the heart of the Matthew’s gospel, we’d do well not to spend our time burdened with the cares of life, when simply spending time in prayer will often bring resolution in itself.

I am trying very diligently to carry this thinking into all aspects of my life: “What’s the one thing I can do, such that all other things become either unnecessary or irrelevant?”

As one of my marketing mentors asks, “What’s the ‘Big Domino’ that knocks down all the other dominoes?”

I would challenge you to ask this question in your personal/prayer life—however, I’d be remiss not to challenge you in regard to your worship music as well.

Is there one thing you can learn, or one new belief you can adopt that will so radically transform how you approach music it will make all other challenges seem easier, irrelevant, or unnecessary?

Frankly, this was the mindset we used to develop Worship By Numbers.

The core belief we have that we want you to share is this: If you can count to 7, you can play great worship music.

That’s it…

If you believe that—frankly—there’s no telling how high you could soar.

Give our belief a test drive here: www.WorshipByNumbers.com

Steve Schramm

Just Who’s Doing the Worship, Anyway?

When we pray, we speak as the person we are, but the Savior to whom we are united represents us in heaven. The Father hears our prayers, not as the petitions of the fault-ridden persons we are but as the pleas of the infinitely holy and eternally loved Son, our Savior. Our union with Christ influences every dimension of the Christian life. When we worship, Christ is not only the audience of our songs, but through his Spirit he is also the singer (Eph. 5:18–20). When his servants preach, he is not only the witness of the sermon but the proclaimer (2 Cor. 4:5–7; 5:20; 2 Tim. 4:1–2). When we serve, he is not only the object of our service but the enabler (Phil. 4:13). When we pray, he is not only the Lord whom we seek but the One who speaks. – Bryan Chappel, Praying Backwards

So I’m currently reading this excellent book by long-time pastor and author, Bryan Chappell.

Biblical theology is so interesting to me.

On some days, things just make sense to me.

Other times…it’s not always so easy.

Admittedly, this is one of those areas where I struggle.

It’s like…..wait, I’m saying the prayer…but actually Christ is communicating on my behalf?

…And, the Holy Spirit is praying things FOR ME that go even beyond what I could hope to pray for myself?

And notice how Chappell goes beyond his subject matter to make the point even stronger: Since we worship in the name of the Lord Jesus (Eph. 8:20), he is not only the object of our worship, but the VOICE of it!

That’s INCREDIBLE!

And it totally has implications for everything, from…

  1. What songs we choose.
  2. How we view the worship experience.
  3. Our attitude of heart in the moment we worship.
  4. Our spirit toward preparation for worship.
  5. Our demeanor the moment we step on the worship stage
  6. …and lots, lots more.

Perhaps there’s no more important observation than this: When we don’t “feel” like worshipping, or when we think we are not in a spiritual state conducive to worship, we can—and we must—press on.

Why?

Because the worship—like prayer—does not depend on us.

Indeed, the message of Scripture would seem to be we worship through Christ, and in his name.

The same mountain-moving power that can accompany a prayer offered in his name can accompany worship offered in his name!

I don’t know about you, but this brings me tremendous comfort, because I often feel unworthy to worship.

I feel like my sin is bigger than the worship I can offer…

I feel like my hurriedness gets in the way of the worship I bring…

I feel like my character of heart is inconsistent with who I am when I worship…

And what’s amazing is that, maybe if it was up to me, worship would be impossible.

I dare say that for some, who go through unimaginable pain and horrific circumstances, it really would be impossible…

…if they were doing it alone, that is.

But they aren’t!

Genuine worship toward our God and Father is only possible because we are united to Christ!

And, therefore, our worship enjoys the benefits of that union: Access to God through Christ, the groaning of the Spirit for words we could never utter under our own strength, and the miraculous advocacy of Christ on our behalf, though we come before him so unworthy.

I just want to encourage you today. It’s not always about the skill.

It’s not always about the talent.

It’s not even always about the music.

It’s about a heart of worship made possible in Christ alone.

And frankly, what more reason could there be for putting our best foot forward in the worship experience?

This really is the “heart” behind Worship By Numbers™. We realize the “worship hour” is one of the most important times of the week, where we dedicate intentional time to the adoration of our Lord.

And while the heart of worship is one that can only truly be cultivated through time alone with Christ, The Worship Guys are committed to helping you show up confident, prepared, and excited to make your contribution.

Here’s how you can get started in our program today, for free: www.WorshipByNumbers.com

Steve Schramm

Short-Staffed Worship

Music is an interesting thing, no?

Music played with the right kind of power and authority behind it has the ability to bring a room ALIVE.

On the other hand, music that is lacking even one element can be close to powerless…

Yesterday, a significant constituency of our worship band was absent for one reason or another.

To be honest, it felt REALLY empty…

Don’t get me wrong—the music was good, the choir sang wonderfully, and Christ was honored!

In terms of worship, you can’t ask for much more than that.

But it’s no less true—when people are missing, the music suffers. Bottom line.

By the way, there’s a miniature lesson here. NEVER believe the self-talk that you don’t bring anything to the table, they could just do it without you, the worship band doesn’t “really” need you, etc…..

You would probably be surprised at the level of difference your being there makes.

Okay but what if the shoe is on the other foot. People are out, there are no “second fiddles” around…what do you do?

Well the answer depends so very much on your context.

However, there is a basic principle to follow: Do what is necessary to create the maximum amount of rhythm possible.

Here’s just one example…

In our context, I can play any instrument in the rhythm section needed—bass, drums, and rhythm guitar.

Last night, Matt and myself were the only musicians.

Now—disclaimer—we did not do this last night, but in hindsight, my suggestion would have been for Matt to split the keyboard into keys (right hand) and bass guitar (left hand) and I would have jumped on the cajon.

Would things have been missing? Sure!

  • When your keyboardist can’t use the full keyboard AS a keyboard, the music suffers a bit.
  • When you’re using any sort of synthesized bass, you lose the human element and expressiveness an experienced bass player can bring to the table.

However—in our case, we would have GAINED the glue—the cajon. The one instrument with the power to keep the time and direct the course of all the others.

So, I believe there would have been a net gain had we approached it that way.

Well, there you have it. We make mistakes. We do things sub-optimally sometimes.

We never claimed to be perfect—only that we’d try to be helpful! 🙂

In much the same way, we have taken the same approach to our Worship By Numbers™ membership.

We don’t claim to be perfect. We don’t even claim to be experts!

But we do have something useful: YEARS in trenches of both professional music (performance AND studio) as well as worship music.

We have taken that experience and tried to condense it into a program that will EXPONENTIALLY level up your musicianship.

Willing to give to give it a shot? If so, we’re going to pay for your first 14 days. We’ll keep the lights on long enough for you to try it out…

If you think it would be helpful to continue, there’s a small monthly fee afterward. (Costs WAY less than going to music lessons…)

Why not give it a try? Here’s the link:

www.WorshipByNumbers.com

Steve Schramm

Pickin’ a Bone with Traditional Music Education

In some respects I am what many would call a “classically trained musician.”

That is, I learned music in the context of reading sheet music, playing with large orchestral bands, etc. For awhile, I thought I might even be a band director.

(Heck, in another life, I might still would!)

So I have traditional music education under my belt. I also happen to have studio music education under my belt, in the form of real-life, hammer-to-nail experience.

For around a decade of my life, I spent almost every waking moment in the walls of a recording studio…

What I learned there truly changed everything for me. I learned things that I could never have dreamt of learning about in traditional music education.

What’s interesting is that the one concept that makes it possible for studio players to do what they do (play a song perfectly after only hearing it once or twice) is barely given a moment’s attention in traditional music education.

Now—okay, I understand why that is. The very nature of classical/orchestral music requires that individual musicians play exactly what is written on the page.

But this experience often robs the classically trained musician of the ability to learn how to play without sheet music.

It’s pretty common to run across someone who has had traditional music education and can read sheet music like nobody’s business, but would have trouble trying to play a fairly simple song by ear.

So while I acknowledge that traditional music education is fine for what it is, I also want to emphatically declare that is is BROKEN if one is going to rely on it to carry them much beyond an orchestral context.

This is what I learned in the studio world that allowed me to become the player I am today. Not that I’m some great musician—that’s missing the point.

Actually, it’s the opposite of my point. I’m really not that great a musician. But there are folks who ought to be able to run circles around me if you look at their education vs mine, but simply can’t.

In this way, I have an “unfair advantage” when it comes to music. I can play by ear. I can improvise. I can play a song I’ve never heard before on the fly almost perfectly.

The reason we created Worship By Numbers™ is to give you the same unfair advantage.

Beyond that, the reason we created it was to give as many worship bands as possible that same unfair advantage.

Think about it—if all it did was boost your confidence and reduced your rehearsal time, what sort of difference would that make?

a big one, right?

Well, here’s the good news. It’s free for your first 14 days! Come hang out with us and let’s see how quickly we can get you playing worship music by numbers.

Here’s the link: www.WorshipByNumbers.com

Steve Schramm

The Transformative Power of a Worship Song

Music is one of the most powerful devices given to us as a gift by God.

Of music, Luther wrote:

Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.

According to Beethoven,

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.

The 17th Century political activist Andrew Fletcher said,

Let me make the songs of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.

It is nothing short of remarkable how much power music has.

Because music stirs the soul, the soul responds. This is why the music we bring into our local church context is crucially important.

It’s why the decision-making about what songs ought and ought not be included in the moment of worship is crucial, and must be biblically-rooted rather than preferentially.

Are you getting this?

The choice of music and performance of music in church is a spiritual responsibility.

And as such, it should be treated like one!

One of the KEY ways to make this happen as a musician is to look beyond the immediate—your own abilities, preferences, stylistic choices, etc.

Once you realize you are a part of a larger spiritual experience, the entire game changes.

It’s easy—quite easy—to get in the groove of a song and become a distraction.

I know because of how often I’ve done it…

One of the core things we teach, therefore, in Worship By Numbers™ is the ability to look beyond your own interests and learn how become a small part of the musical mosaic.

We teach you how to become a better player, of course—but being a better player isn’t always about better chops.

Much of the time, it’s about better listening.

To find out if the program is for you, we’re paying for your first 14 days. Here’s the link if you’d like to try it out: www.WorshipByNumbers.com

Steve Schramm

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