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Absolutely right Mark,
we use SongSelect all the time. It's is totally worth the investment. That way you can also download the Hymn Sheets too.
We have recently started using Google Docs to lay out the worship orders, bulletin, etc.

I don't know anything FREE like you are talking about Dan. I know that when we used Song Show Plus in our other church, you could collaborate with it if it was on a network in-house. It lets you do the same thing as the website you mentioned, but you own it outright and it does all you projection and keeps track of CCLI usage. It's the big kahuna of Worship projection software.

Hey Dan.....

Have you considered bundling a few free internet resources to try collaboration? We use a combo of Google Docs (for the order itself), Google Calendar for scheduling, (now bought out by MySpace) for the free mp3's and CCLI's SongSelect for the chord/lead sheets. You can also print the chord/lead sheets onto PDF's and make them downloadable/emailable. That is essentially most of what PlanningCenterOnline does.

I have to say, CCLI SongSelect is BY FAR the best thing available for worship team development if you can't afford anything else, in my opinion.

The BIG thing that I'm struggling with right now is finding a good, and INEXPENSIVE (read: "free is best") resource (software or online) that I can use to plan worship services in a collaborative way. I'm a pastor at a church of about 100 families in an area hit relatively hard by the economic times we live in. I would love, love, LOVE access to a CRC-hosted worship planning sight that actually allows people from our church to work together on planning, scheduling, etc.

Something like, except for CRCs especially, and free (or really cheap!).

I'd love to hear more from you, Sandra, about what you're looking for and what you find lacking in RW. Is the challenge in the area of music only? Or are there other elements in the liturgy that you are wrestling with as you strive to stay connected to our Reformed heritage while also connecting to today's community?

I would just like to respond by saying ditto to Mark and Allen's comments. I'm a Worship Coordinator of 8 years and have turned to the Reformed Worship Magazine for worship idea's and that has been helpful at times however it's often just a jumping off point for us as I often have to revise the services to fit our worship style of incorporating a good blend of traditional hymns and more contemporary music for our worship bands. I've attended the Worship Symposium a couple of times and really enjoyed it but did not find the workshops overly helpful with assisting us in the transition of developing in the area of modern worship. The cost of attending from Ontario Canada just wasn't justifiable.
I long to keep our worship “Reformed” and theologically sound as we practice a style of worship that is culturally relevant to our community.
I’m very excited about this new initiative of having a place to network with others that serve in Worship Ministries. It sometimes can be a lonely world out here and after eight years of serving some fresh ideas would certainly be appreciated.

Between Allen and I, it appears that the beta testing for "The Network" is heavily weighted in favor of Classis Rocky Mountain. Represent!

Allen brings up a good point here, especially with respect to the topic of worship. There are, of course, divergent preferences for worship style within the CRC from traditional to contemporary to modern to post-modern to what I like to call "CRC neo-traditionalism", which is the seeming desire of folks in our camp to let the worship revolution "fad" pass over. I agree (with lament) that the CICW & Worship Symposium seems to cling to the latter style. This has, in effect, alienated those of us in the CRC who want to do modern worship in a way that is both theologically reflective and culturally relevant. Unfortunately, we've been forced to look to other places for resources and support. What's really sad is that a fantastic network of CRC-modern-worship-practitioners already exists under the radar and is not being tapped as a knowledge base for the betterment of the CRC as a whole.

For instance, I spent this past weekend coaching CRC churches in Iowa and Michigan on moving towards contemporary worship. They called me, some hack guitar player in Texas, because they don't know where else to go. Its amazing how basic the questions are and how easy they would be to answer!

To the point of this "Network", however, it seems to me that the type of people who will use this sort of technology are also the type of people that are probably involved in modern styles of worship. So, if we're going to make this useful, we need to start getting real about nuts and bolts and real about the fact that modern worship is not a "fad". It is, in fact, an evolution in music and we seem to be choosing extinction over adaptation.

I say we do this - lets encourage our cronies to get on here and lets get some information available for the churches that are pining for it. Let's give them a reason to log on!

Hey John,
I think this has great potential if enough people get on board. I hope you guys promoted it at the symposium. Couldn't make it this year.

Anyway, I think that the worship end of this site would best be served if it included discussions on resources, best practices, developing a balanced worship ministry. I think people are also looking for how to do contemporary well. My only concern with CICW is that it seems to promote a more high church model for worship which doesn't fit every context well. I think it would be helpful to people who haven't a clue about getting started with contemporary to have discussion on how to pick songs with good theology and biblical content, how to develop worship teams with all the instruments, training for techies whether sound or projection. I think we lack this in the CRC so it is being done quite poorly, especially in rural places.

Just some thoughts.