Behind the Praise

By Stephen M. Newman
Founder, ExperiencingWorship.com & Author of Experiencing Worship
November 13, 2011

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Here at EXW we love to bring you resources that will truly benefit your churches worship experience. One of the latest and best resources we have found is called "Behind the Praise". I could go on and on about this wonderful resource for the church but I've asked the founder and owner, Mark Garner, to share the full story with you. I love it so much I have it at my church.

I remember when I first heard the “Revelation Song” and how I was moved by the simplicity, yet depth, of such a simple worship song. I immediately wanted to introduce the song to our congregation, but I had just begun posting the stories behind our songs (Behind the Praise) on a blogspot and had an idea that I wanted to try out on our people. I posted the story behind the song on the website along with links where people could listen or even watch the song. I then sent out a church-wide email encouraging people to visit the site, read the story, and watch a clip of the song on youtube. I put a note in the church’s bulletin for two weeks encouraging people to visit the site: I also encouraged them to forward the information to many of their friends using it as an outreach tool. Two weeks later we were scheduled to introduce the song on a Sunday morning. The week before we were to sing the song, I received several emails from church members who weren’t directly associated with the worship ministry stating how excited they were about singing the song in worship on Sunday. One person was bringing a friend who had listened to the song. It was the anticipation hidden in these emails that birthed a new ministry called “Behind the Praise”.

As we moved into the song following a prayer-time, I noticed an immediate connection with a portion of the congregation who usually lagged behind in their participation in learning new songs. I think it was both the growing anticipation, coupled with the familiarity that caused the immediate jump start. We still had those who weren’t able to listen to the song ahead of time, but the number of people who were engaged that Sunday was directly affected by their time spent in preparation.

I started spending time each week researching the songs we were singing and posting it on my blogspot. I’d post information behind the songs, sometimes the lyrics, along with links to where they could listen online or watch on youtube. If I couldn’t find a specific story about the song I’d post interesting

information on the composer or author. I found it helped me personally to prepare for worship and often I could use some of the background information as segues or for ministry moments. For example, the popular song “Everlasting God” was written by Brenton Brown after he and his wife were diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Knowing that made the phrase “strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord” come alive for our people especially those who also suffer from some form of illness.

I have also discovered that some of the new worship songs are actually readaptations of older hymns. “My Savior, My God” by Aaron Shust uses the verses from the hymn “I Am Not Skilled to Understand,” or Billy James Foote’s adaptation of the hymn “Sing to the King” by Charles Horn. Many think there are only stories behind the old hymns, but I have found that if you dig deep enough there is some special point behind many of the new songs we sing today.

I was talking with a friend about my blogspot and how this new tool was creating somewhat of a buzz around our church and how it was helping people to better engage with some of the newer songs. He asked if I’d be willing to write and post the customized information for his church, (kind-of like a ghost writer). I said yes and things sort-of took off from there. Our office receives an email with the song list including the composer and then we produce an interactive report that can be emailed to a church’s congregation. There is also the option of setting up a blogspot where we can post the stories and information directly to the website. Members are then sent a reminder email on Thursday to go and check out the website. Most of our clients are friends who’ve heard about the ministry by word of mouth. Here are a couple of the comments from some of their church members who receive the information.

We absolutely love your “Behind the Praise” emails! Being able to read some information about the songs and sing along with the videos on Saturday night really helps me prepare to worship on Sunday. I believe the idea is truly inspired and is a wonderful way to prepare our hearts and minds for Sunday's worship.

Sally Ft. Worth, Tx

The “Behind the Praise” email each week makes our worship even better. I have really enjoyed reading the background behind the songs and the people that wrote them. I enjoy listening to the music at home and appreciate it more as we worship. Thank you so much for sending the email.

James, Canfield, Ohio

Our congregation has been using “Behind the Praise” to popularize our worship blog for almost six months now. As the worship pastor, I love the thoroughness and the reliability of what Mark posts each week. My week is busy enough, and the ability to so easily pass along this kind of insight and understanding of the songs we sing is invaluable. “Behind the Praise” enables our members to learn the back story of all the songs we sing and to understand the rich meaning of each of them. I would highly recommend “Behind the Praise” to you and your congregation!

Bill Simpson, Old North Church, Canfield, OH
www.oncworshipfromtheheart.blogspot.com


“Behind the Praise,” is a great way for your congregation to learn new songs before Sunday. “Behind the Praise” encourages daily worship. I have been using “Behind the Praise” for almost 6 months and there has been an overwhelming response from our congregation. I get at least 2-5 e-mails a week thanking me for sending out “Behind the Praise”. As a worship leader, my desire is for people to truly engage in worship. BTP is such a great tool that allows people to be worshipping with the songs you will sing on Sunday all week long. As the Body of Christ gathers it truly becomes a celebration together of what has happened individually all week.

Many families in our church use this as a tool for family worship times. They read the stories together and then sing the songs. Wow! What a great way to teach our children about worship.

Wayne Bartley, Executive Pastor, Celebration, FBC Prosper

Check out samples on the following websites:

www.agreataffection.blogspot.com


www.oncworshipfromtheheart.blogspot.com

www.behindthepraise.blogspot.com

Two report options:
Behind the praise complete:
$90.00 monthly includes complete worship songs each week

Behind the praise lite:
$45.00 monthly includes your choice of three songs a week

For more information or a free sample report to tryout on your people email mark@firsthurst.com
Mark Garner
www.behindthepraise.blogspot.com
mark@firsthurst.com







Stephen M. Newman
Founder, ExperiencingWorship.com & Author of Experiencing Worship
Read more from Stephen M. Newman


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