Leadership Guidelines for Not So Churchy Musicians and Worship Leaders

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Language, meaning how we name God and our experience with the sacred, is extremely important and liberating for our Not So Churchy community. It is our goal to use language that reflects the broadest possible vision of God, a God who celebrates love, justice, and creativity in our lives. Our vision of the world is reflected in the language we use for the sacred in our lives and so we encourage a wide range of linguistic exploration at Not So Churchy. We look forward to hearing about how the sacred moves through your life and what sounds and words and visuals capture your imagination. 
That said, there are other reasons why language around God and humanity are so important at Not So Churchy. Many of the folks who are part of this community are highly skeptical of “religious language.” for many of us it rings as hollow. When we use religious language it is important that we explain the root of its meaning and how we intend on using it at present.
It is particularly important for us to use inclusive language when it comes to gender—both of humanity and also of God. If we do use gendered language it is critical to talk about why before hand. For instance, the word Lord is powerful, but only in context—that by calling Jesus Lord it means that we are not calling the Emperor or the President lord. But on its own without any context can be damaging.

Finally, as we name humanity, we acknowledge that God cannot be defined by a gender and that as people, our gender identity and expression is fluid. In order to provide hospitality to all participants, we strive for language that is inclusive of all humanity and not limited to male and female. Therefore, when we sing, we try and avoid the “brothers and sisters” dichotomy. 

The use of churchy music

At Not So Churchy we especially encourage picking songs that are not at all “churchy,” that might be seen as “secular” but connect us to God and some experience of the sacred. We are a creative community, and our creative DNA is not particularly traditional. We love to play with words and music. So, we reach beyond traditional religious music to express our religious and spiritual experience. God is huge and let our music reflect the diversity of our sacred experience. Help us look towards a world where that grandness is reflected in each of our steps!

Invitation to use our bodies

We love to get up and sing and clap at Not So Churchy! We are used to incorporating body movement, such as chi gong, into our regular services. We also enjoy invitations to move our bodies in sync with music or readings. If you would like to lead music through movement, please invite us to do so.

As you lead us into experiencing the sacred through our whole bodies, know that we all have differing levels of comfortability and needs. It can be helpful to include an opt-out clause in your invitation, something like: “if you are willing and able, make eye contact with someone you don’t know around the circle,” or “please join me in these hand movements if they work for you.” we find it best not to insist on eye contact or touching. If community members are uncomfortable with this, they just won’t engage, and that is fine!. We welcome people to do what they are comfortable with, and in order to live into this we allow people to respond as necessary.

Thank you for agreeing to share your gifts with this special community. We hope that you find this helpful as you enter the community!