Introducing A New Song in Church

As we begin the new year, you may have some new songs in mind that you can’t wait to introduce to your congregation. There are so many great corporate worship songs out there these days, but how you introduce them to your congregation can make all the difference in the world!

Here is veteran worship pastor, Paul Baloche, sharing how he typically introduces new songs to his church.

What have YOU found works best?

v4.2.2 Update – Sending Messages to Teams and New Calendar Feed

wpLogo-version4.2.2

Happy New Year!!!  We have a couple new WorshipPlanning.com  updates we’re excited to share with you!  These were rolled out this morning.

Sending Messages from WorshipPlanning.com

While there has always been a way to send messages to various groups of people, it hasn’t been as easy as it should be.  So, today we are introducing a new “Send Message” window that does a few features we think you’ll really find helpful.  We’ve even put together a brief video on how it works – http://www.screencast.com/t/ZWDUrgpJK .  With this update, you can now send a message…

…from the Worship Flow

To send a message from the worship flow page to a specific team, all you have to do is click on the new “email” icon in the team assignments panel.  This will open the Send Message window and pre-populate the “To” section with those scheduled to serve (pending, accepted, or tentative).

Send a Message From Worship Flow

…to an individual, team, or arbitrary list of people

When you access the Send Message window from the Worship Flow, you’ll have a list of options as to whom the recipients will be, based on their serving team, assignment status, and service times.  You can modify these options or manually add or remove people using the “Manual Selection” section.  You can also remove anyone from the “To” section by clicking the “x” icon next to their name.

If you are accessing the Send Message page using the navigation menu (which now resides under the “People” navigation heading), you’ll still be able to select team and individuals using the checkboxes.

Sending a Message

…using previously sent message text

If you’d like to resend a message, or simply use a past message as a starting point, the new “Past Messages” option allows you to select a message you’ve sent in the past.  We’ll keep track of up to 10 unique messages for you to reference.

Send a Message - Message History

Calendar Feed for Assignments

Our new “assignments feed” allows you to integrate your WorshipPlanning.com assignments into the calendar of your choice via a real-time feed URL.

Calendar Feed Dialog

People Scheduling Made Easy

Does your drummer ever show up late (or not show up at all) on Sunday morning because he says he didn’t know he was scheduled?

If your church has a worship team, most likely there is someone in charge of scheduling and managing that team. Whether you have 5 people on the team or 50, having the right tool to coordinate and keep track of everyone’s schedules is a big task. WorshipPlanning.com is here to help!

With WorshipPlanning.com you can easily schedule your volunteers, not only for your worship team, but for any ministry in your church. And, we’ve made it super easy, so you can spend less time scheduling and more time investing in people. You can schedule individuals one at a time, or an entire team with a single click-and-drag.

Once scheduled, people are notified via email or text message, and are asked to respond to the “assignment”. This system ensures that YOU KNOW everybody knows what is expected of them. We also have video tutorials, so you can easily train others if/when you need to delegate the scheduling responsibility.

We are here to answer any questions you have about WorshipPlanning.com, so don’t hesitate to contact us! As far as what to do if your drummer comes late to soundcheck again this week…well, let’s save that for another post!

Your Visitor’s First 7 Minutes

I’ve heard about a recent study that showed that most visitors decide within the first 7 minutes of their initial visit, whether or not they will come back to your church. That’s starting from when they drive into your parking lot. If you’ve ever visited another church before, you can probably relate.

This is pretty significant. So, how you can use this information? In the next few weeks, try an experiment. Go to a worship service at your church with the point-of-view of the 1st time visitor. Better yet, convince someone you know who hasn’t been to your church to do it for you. Maybe give them a questionnaire to fill out.

As you drive into the parking lot what do you see? Does the parking lot look crowded? Unkept? Or even unsafe?

Are there any parking lot volunteers to help guide you? How far did you have to walk from your car to get to the church building?

When you get to the building is there anyone greeting you with a smile? Or, are the greeters too busy having a conversation amongst themselves? Or even worse, is there no one at the door?

Once you’re inside what do you see? What do you smell?

I recently heard that there are companies overseas that blow the smell of fresh, new cash into their vents and it actually increases the workers’ productivity. I am certainly not recommending blowing the smell of cash through the vents of your church, but we often dismiss the importance of smell. Yet, it is such a powerful sense that all of us have.

There are so many more questions we can pose. But, for the sake of keeping this from becoming a book, I would like to end with this thought:

When is the last time you got together as the church leadership team to discuss the first time visitor’s experience?

It is a valuable investment of our time and resources to do all that we can to make the first time visitor feel at home. Whether they are non-Christians or Christians looking for a new church home, God is giving your church the opportunity to reach out to them. And, we are called to be good stewards of that opportunity.

-article by guest blogger, Wisdom Moon
Wisdom is the Founder of AllAboutWorship.com

WorshipPlanning.com Update – New User/Song Info Windows, Helper Filtering and More!

WorshipPlanning.com Version 4.2.0 Released

We are excited to share with you that WP4.2 has been released, which includes these great features:

  • Updated User Info window with an informative graph of serving history
  • Updated Song Info window with a similar graph of performance history
  • Easy search/filter tool for the Helpers page
  • SongSelect search improvements
  • More Songs in our “Top Songs” Library

New User Info Window

When you click on a person’s name in WP, a new window appears that provides an array of information and options.  In addition to the standard contact info, we’ve added a tab to show the teams and skills of the person, as well as a nifty “Assignments” tab that shows…well, just have a look at the screenshot below.

User Info Dialog

The lower part of the screen that isn’t full shown is where all past assignments can be seen.  There is lots of great info about the person that can be found with just a single click, from just about anywhere in the site!

New Song Info Window

When we created the User Info Window, we naturally thought how that same type of information would be very applicable to songs. Thus, the new Song Info Window was born!  On this new dialog (which replaces the small pop-up menu that appeared when you clicked on a song title), we have all the possible song data you could want, PLUS another nifty graph of the song performance history.

Song Info Dialog

When you click on the icon in the Assignments column, a small window opens that shows who was serving on worship flow sensitive teams for that service.

Searching/Filtering Helpers

Backed by popular demand, we’ve made the Helpers table much smarter.  You can use the easy “filter” field to key in a few characters and the list of Helpers will automatically refresh to display matching results.  Additionally, the column headers can be clicked for sorting.

Helper Filtering

We plan on applying this intelligence to other areas of the site, including the Planners and Teams pages.

SongSelect Search Improvements

Our SongSelect search window now allows you to enter the CCLI number for a song.  It will be found and displayed more quickly than searching by key word.

More “Top Songs” Entries

Since we rolled out our updated Top Songs list, (with Spotify and SongSelect links), we’ve been continuing to research and add more songs.  The list is now over 500.  That’s 500 of the most popular songs in WorshipPlanning.com that you and your team can easily:

  • Stream the audio (with a free Spotify account)
  • View/print the chord charts (with a SongSelect account)
  • Watch/listen to the music video on YouTube
  • Buy the MP3 from Amazon
  • …all from your WorshipPlanning.com account!

Are You Too Satisfied?

In church ministry it is normal to have ups and downs. You may go through a seaon where the attendance is low, giving is even lower, and there are a lot of people going through crisis.

Sometimes you go through a season of celebration where you’re seeing a lot of new visitors, families growing, God blessing your finances, and every week you’re seeing people come to Christ. There is a lot of excitement in the air and it just seems like the Lord’s hand is on everything.

Hosea 13:4-5 say, “But I have been the Lord your God ever since you came out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me. I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of burning heat.”

Verse 6 goes on to say, “When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.”

Often it is easy to call on God and fully depend on Him when your ministry is going through challenging times. Sometimes you just have no other choice BUT to cry out to God and put your trust in Him. However, as verse 6 talks about, when God blesses us and we have plenty, and we are satisfied, it is easy to fall into the trap of becoming proud and forgetting about God.

Not that God is not being preached at your church or that you’re not singing songs to God, but that in your heart, you’ve become satisfied and don’t feel that desperate need for Him. You get too busy doing the work of God that you neglect the presence of God. You start trusting in your church’s resources, rather than God’s hand.

Whatever season we may be in, in our personal lives and in ministry, in the high’s and the low’s, let us never become proud and forget God. May we always cling to God like He is the only One that matters, because He truly is.

Version 4.1.4 – Security Change and MORE Spotify Updates

WP Logo - Version 4.1.4

We hope you have been enjoying the new Spotify integration with WP!  It truly is a powerful tool that gives you and your team free and instant access to streaming audio for many of your worship songs, without having to upload anything!  If you haven’t tried Spotify, what are you waiting for?  Learn more and create yourself a free account now! Just browse to Spotify.com.

With version 4.1.4 we’ve added even more awesome Spotify features that you will no doubt find indispensable.  We’ve also made a very important security change regarding Helpers on Worship Flow Sensitive teams, so please be sure to read on.

More Spotify Integration

In just two weeks, we’ve taken access to Spotify songs to the next level in WP with Spotify Playlists and Spotify Searches.  On the Worship Flow page (for both Planners and Helpers), we’ve added a Spotify Icon Play Spotify Playlist link that will open your Spotify app and load your service’s worship songs (that have Spotify links) in a playlist.  Access to the audio of your worship set list has never been easier…or free-er!

But wait, I know what you are thinking.  “That’s great if I have the Spotify links.  But I don’t, and it is kind of a pain to search Spotify for those songs to manually copy the Spotify link to my songs library.”  Well, you will be thrilled to hear that we’ve made searching Spotify songs super easy!

Right in the Add/Edit Song window where you would normall see the Spotify URI/id field (on the Web tab), you can click the binoculars icon and “Find Spotify Track” window will open with a list of matching songs.

Spotify search window

With that list of Spotify search results, simply click the Title you’d like to link to the song you are adding/editing.  If you want to hear the song first, just click the little blue “Play” icon and your Spotify app should start playing the song.

Once you’ve selected the song, you’ll see the Spotify URI/id field is now populated.  Be sure to save your changes!

Important Helper Security Change

With version 4.1.4, an important security change on WorshipPlanning.com has taken place and some of your Helper accounts could be affected.  The change puts in to effect the “Worship Flow Sensitive” setting for each of your teams.  For Helpers to see the worship flow related information (worship flow, service files, virtual stage, and printouts), they must be serving on a team that has the “Worship Flow Sensitive” setting enabled.  If they are not, when they go to the worship flow related tabs in MyWP, they will see a message explaining why they can’t see the information there.

For smaller churches that don’t use the team features of WP, we are providing a small loophole.  If a Helper is not a member of any team, he or she will still have access to worship flow related info.

To adjust this setting for a team, log in to WP and follow these steps:

  1. Go to People >> Teams
  2. Click on the name of the desired team that needs setting to be worship flow sensitive
  3. Click on the “Settings” tab
  4. Click the “Edit these Settings”
  5. Change the “Worship Flow Sensitive:” setting to be Yes and click the “Save” button.

teams-worship flow sensitive.png

The reason for this policy change is due to the fact that many churches are using WP to plan many of their Sunday morning ministries that aren’t directly related to the worship service flow (i.e. children’s ministry, parking team, coffee setup).  Many churches have asked us to restrict those teams from accessing information not relevant to their ministry.  Since we’ve had the “Worship Flow Sensitive” team setting in place for a while, hopefully your team is already configured properly.  We are just now finally putting it into use.

If you have any questions or feedback about this change, please feel free to post a comment below.  If you have technical support issues, please be sure to submit a support request.

Spotify is the registered trade mark of the Spotify Group.

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