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In our last post, ‘Why we do what we do’, Helen gave a fantastic insight into the motives behind what we do on a Sunday. Today, I wanted to share a little about the some of the things we’ve been experimenting with in order to create a setting where people feel free to meet with God in a powerful way.

If you were at church a few weeks ago, you would have heard the worship team play a song called ‘Hallelujah’ from the latest Kerith Worship CD, ‘This Is Love’. What you may or may not have noticed was the heavy use of orchestral instruments within the live version of the song…but with a real lack of orchestral instruments on the stage. What’s going on?!

We knew from the first time Matt played the song to us that it had to be stylistically different to anything else we’d done before. We consciously made the choice to push the boundaries of what we were capable of with this song to create a feel that actually reflects the word ‘Hallelujah’; joyful, thanksgiving, celebratory. Our song arrangements are often very guitar driven, which suits the faster styled songs but is not always quite as well suited to songs with a slower tempo. Whilst a standard ‘rock band’ set up suits us for the majority of what we do (at the moment), we knew that we had to tweak things a little in order to do the song justice.

On the track (Click to Download), you can hear that we used only one very sparse guitar part. Guitars are fantastic instruments to create a sense of ‘bigness’ in a song; as is the typical drum groove you’d hear in most rock music. Having removed both, our challenge was to create an ‘epic’ feel to accompany our proclamations of ‘hallelujah’ in a way that’s even close to fitting of our God. Since March 2011, we’ve been working on ways to translate those orchestral sounds to the stage.

This has prompted hours upon hours of research and conversations – and we’ve learnt a huge amount along the way. One of our tests was at LIFE, our youth event. We experimented with what we dubbed ‘Electro Worship’…attempting Hillsong United’s ‘With Everything’ (our version was heavily influenced by Elevation Worship). This was the result:

Essentially, the solution we arrived at was the use of backing tracks and ‘loops’. Now, I know what some of you are thinking (I’ve heard this a number of times): “but that’s not live music!! Heretic!” To that I’d simply say that it should be irrelevant whether the band is live or pre-recorded; it should actually be irrelevant whether there is any music whatsoever when we come to worship God. Our focus as a worship team is help our congregation connect with God and we’ll do whatever it takes to get there. Having said that, we are very much using the technology at our disposal to supplement what we do on the platform; visually, you won’t notice any difference!

These are exciting times as we look to find new ways to worship our Lord in spirit and in truth. There was a day when the organ was a modern tool for worship; one day we will move on from the use of electric guitars and even from the use of laptops. One thing is certain though – our purpose for worship will never change, for our God will never change.