Worship Leader Glossary Of Terms

I originally saw this printed by a friend of mine – Phil Christiansen. This so inspired me that I decided to tweak some of his definitions and add a few of my own… feel free to get creative. I’d love to see the list grow…

ACAPELLA: The practice of singing without instruments. Particularly difficult with modern worship leaders who rely on drums, loops, guitar effects and large PA’s to pull off a song. It’s also a great technique to use when changing the capo on your guitar.

ALTOS AND BARITONES: People who complain that the songs are too high until they learn to harmonize.

AMP MODELING: (1) This is what happens when guitar players get together and show off their amps. (2) The belief that you can make the sound of a VOX amp by plugging your guitar into a computer when it’s just as easy to go and get a real VOX amp and mic it.

ANOINTED: Anything that people say they like a lot. It can apply to songs, worship leaders, bands, pastors, food and starbucks!!! Did I forget to add Kirspy Kremes?

BALLAD SALAD: A worship set of quiet songs that generally have the same chord progressions with different words intended to foster a gentle flow of worship and meaningful encounter with the Lord. The Ballad Salad generally follows the up-tempo moments of celebration. (See also Rock The Flock)

BLENDED WORSHIP: The confused result that comes when the worship leader approaches corporate worship with the goal of avoiding any criticism.

CHOIR: A strategically placed community for singers who do not fit in the worship team. Choirs provide a convenient solution for worship leaders who are too nice to say that you really can’t sing. Can you say awkward moment?

CHORD CHART: A document that contains lyrics and a few vague musical suggestions. May or may not indicate the proper key, time signature or even exact moment of the chord change, but it does give musicians something to look at while the song goes by. Particularly frustrating to pianists, who prefer being told exactly what to do. Ideal for guitarists. (See also Sheet Music)

CLICK TRACK: A mechanical device that simply serves to remind you of how badly you fail at playing in time.

DRUMMERS: People who worship God by hitting things. Churches often keep them in Plexiglas cages.

EARLY SERVICE: A service in which attendees may appear zombie-like. While confusing to worship leaders and teaching pastors alike, the event is generally harmless until coffee is served.

ELECTRONIC DRUMS: Do you remember powdered milk? Do you remember when the government said powdered milk was better for you than real milk? Did your mom believe them? Electronic Drums are the powdered milk of percussion.

ELEVEN: A mythical belief that there is a guitar volume that is louder than ten. Most intelligent people just make ten louder.

GROOVE: A gene that is found in gospel musicians and singers that give them the unique ability to effortlessly clap on 2 and 4 while singing and moving from side to side… all at the same time.

HAMBURGER: The painful result on hands of carrying musical gear through a narrow doorway and not paying attention.

HOT SEAT: A chair placed in the center of the room for a member of the worship team who needs prayer. It is often used as a communication tool for choir members who aren’t cutting it.

HUMILITY: The beautiful quality in a talented artist of considering others more important than him or herself. Closely associated with servant hood. Very rare.

HYMNS: Books of songs that were popular with your parents or grandparents usually found in antique bookstores and characterized by an overabundance of words making them nearly impossible to memorize. Written by guys who are generally dead therefore making them royalty free for recordings and publishing rights. There is, however, a movement amongst modern hymn writers to continue writing dead music.

IN THE POCKET: The subtle groove created by musicians who actually listen to each other and play in time.

JAM FOR THE LAMB: The art of incorporating Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton or Rolling Stones guitar riffs into the arrangement of a worship song.

MANLY WORSHIP: Worship stripped of feminine girlie themes such as visiting gardens, kissing the Son and Jesus as lover (difficult concepts for manly men). Approved themes include God as Conquering King, Majestic Warrior or generally kicking the devil’s hindquarters.

OPEN/ROOTLESS VOICINGS: A stylistic practice of both guitarists and keyboardists in which primary notes of a triad are substituted or dropped altogether to create versatile textures. Can be puzzling to novice musicians who wonder why a C chord would contain only a D and a G.

PASTOR: The visionary leader in a local congregation whose primary function is to interpret the Word of God and care for those whom God brings into their sphere of influence. The Pastor is not the messenger of Satan sent to buffet the Worship Leader. That is the sound guy.

ROCK THE FLOCK: The effect of an up-tempo praise song on a congregation.

SELAH: The pause occurring in the middle of a verse or between the chorus and the verse that often happens when the person projecting the lyrics forgets to put the next words up.

SEVEN-ELEVEN MUSIC: Praise songs that repeat the same seven words eleven times, or some similar configuration. These are generally enjoyed by youth, but annoying to older adults. (See also Hymns)

SHEET MUSIC: A document containing detailed instructions for a musical arrangement. Perfect for keyboardists. Particularly frustrating for guitarists, who 1) hate to be told what to do and 2) usually can’t read it anyway. (See also Chord Charts)

SIGNATURE: A musical phrase that helps define or set up a song, most often heard in the introduction. Well-known signatures include the opening 6 piano notes of “Shout to the Lord.” The signature often forms the “turn-around” for the piece and the closing notes, as well.

SOPRANOS: Female singers who love to sing the high notes at the end of the Easter Song or O Holy Night.

SUPER NOVAS: People in the congregation who visibly connect with God during the worship events. Not a dependable indicator of their maturity, but impossible to miss and a joy to observe.

TALK BACK BUTTON: A special button installed by sound engineers that gives them to power to talk to you like your teenage kids.

TEMPO: A concept of time that is usually lost with most drummers.

TESSITURA: An Italian term that refers to a melody that is consistent within a certain range. If the melody is too high, then the tessitura is said to be high and men don’t sing. If the melody is too low, then the tessitura is said to be low and the ladies complain. Basically it’s another fancy way for people to criticize your ministry.

THE THRONE-ZONE: The place we’ll spend eternity, and therefore the place we should spend every possible moment on planet earth right now.

VIBE: The general practice of playing together without chord charts or sheet music. Usually occurs when the worship leader forgets to bring the charts, is unprepared or doesn’t know what he or she is doing.

VIBRATO: A technique used by singers to help hide pitch issues.

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