Updated: Jun 19, 2020
"We can't sing in church?!? But I miss it so much!"
I know many church music directors have heard similar sentiments expressed to them lately. It's a hard time, for sure, and while I don't want to gloss over the difficulty here, I do want to give some practical ways that you can help lead your congregation toward worshiping with music at home. (Need a website to send your congregation to? Here's a link to a webpage that I made especially for sharing these ideas with your church members.)
Online playlists of songs that you regularly do in worship can be really helpful for folks that want to continue with the songs they are familiar with, but might not have access to them easily. For fun, I've found a few playlists below in different styles that might get things started for you:
Particularly for families with kiddos, DIY instruments can help you make music with things you have at home. Here's a Pinterest board full of ideas.
Write your own psalm. Psalms are a literary form, and with some guidance, you can write out your own psalm of praise, lament, or a mix of the two. Here are some resources that can help folks write their own psalms.
Sing familiar songs from childhood. This is a great time to remember songs that carried you through your formative years. Those simple songs contain a lot of truth, and remembering fond things from our early days can be healthy and cathartic. I still remember the first solo I sang in church as a very young child, and that song brings both comfort and happy memories.
Ask friends and family what their favorite songs are and learn them! This is a great time to learn new things. Perhaps you will find a new favorite!
These are just a few ideas for ways that church members can use music in their own homes. It can still be incredibly daunting for non-musicians to make their own music, though, so I suggest you might also consider telling stories to your people about your early days as you were learning how to play or sing, and your early days as a worship leader. We can often forget that those who have been leading us were once beginners, too.
As you continue to lead in these trying times, I hope that you are also using music as a means to lament and worship as you need. Those two things can seem disconnected, but when our laments are connected to worship, they help us to hand over our sorrows to the God who can carry them.
You, my ministry colleagues, are continually on my mind.