Have you ever been frustrated that when your congregation sings Amazing Grace, the accompaniment for the first stanza ("Amazing grace, how sweet the sound") sounds just like the last stanza ("When we've been there ten thousand years")? Shouldn't they sound different? The instrumentation and arrangement of the final stanza should swell along with the triumphant words of the text. And, if you had about 15 more hours this week, you could write something that would accomplish that goal. But between rehearsals and meetings and emails and phone calls and lunches and PowerPoints and setlists and piano tunings and...... finding 15 hours to write something yourself is never going to happen.
This is where the Lifeway Worship Project comes in. The Lifeway Worship Project is a set of tools that includes physical hymnals, instrumental parts, accompaniment tracks, and media. The physical hymnal comes in two, nearly identical versions: The Baptist Hymnal and The Worship Hymnal. The accompaniment tracks and media are of high quality. However, the component that I have found especially helpful - the component that solves our Amazing Grace frustration from above - is the instrumental parts.
The instrumental parts available through the Worship Project are fully arranged and orchestrated, and can be used with pretty much any combination of instruments. If you have a full symphony orchestra on Sunday mornings, parts are available. If you have vocals, piano, guitar, cello, and penny whistle, there are parts for your instrumentation as well.
As seen here, the parts can be searched by tempo, style, and key and many songs are available in multiple arrangements. For example, the hymn Come, Christians, Join to Sing is available in six different versions:
- Traditional Hymn
- Two arrangements in a Contemporary Hymn style
- An anthem for choir, orchestra, and congregation
- Jazz Band
- Concert Band
For comparison purposes, here are excerpts from the piano parts of two of the versions of Come, Christians, Join to Sing.
The songs Lifeway has included are very diverse. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Martin Luther), 10,000 Reasons (Matt Redman), and After All (Dave Crowder Band) are each available.
One note; not every choice that the arrangers have made will align with your personal taste. However, the parts are laid out so that you can pick and choose which portions of the arrangement you want to use. So, if an arrangement includes a modulation that isn't your favorite, you can just stay in the same key.
Lifeway has priced these instrumental parts very reasonably. The piano part for the Contemporary Hymn version of Come, Christians, Join to Sing listed above is $1.49. Most of the other parts for individual instruments are the same price. Lifeway also offers a prepayment model that lowers the already reasonable price even further. This would be a good option if you plan to buy regularly.
Take a few minutes and visit the Lifeway Worship Project. It may be exactly what your worship ministry has been looking for.