Leadership Guidelines for Not So Churchy Musicians and Worship Leaders

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We collaborate 

At Not So Churchy, we aim to create a space in which people can reclaim their creative power and authority.  For example, after the scripture presentation and sermon, the congregation has time to share experiences of their own.

In this spirit, guest artists in our space are not so much performers as they are leaders in group creativity.  We ask guest artists to engage, include, and challenge the congregation in the making of the service, the music, the movement, and any other creative activities that take place.  By engaging each other, we engage and experience the divine.

Language

Not So Churchy use strives for language that that reflects the broadest possible vision of God, a God who celebrates love, justice, freedom, and creativity in our lives. Our vision of the worldW 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 and look forward to hearing about how the sacred moves through your life and what sounds and words and visuals capture your imagination.

Many of the folks who are part of this community are highly skeptical of “religious language.” For many some of us, it rings as hollow.  For others, it calls to mind damaging church experiences, which live in the memories of the communities we serve.  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.  Removed from its original context, however, the word may reinforce Christianity’s woefully authoritarian and patriarchal history.

Thus, when we use religious language, it is important that we explain understand the root of its meaning and, how think about how we intend on usingto use it at present, and consider what might be necessary to reclaim language that has, in the past, been used to harm.
 
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 understand and talk about why before handit in advance.

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

not so churchy music

At Not So Churchy we love music that is not so churchy, that might even be heard as secular but still connects us to God and the Sacred. We are a creative community, and we love to play with words and music. So, we reach beyond traditional music to express the diversity of our spiritual experience. The music our guests have brought to our services includes jazz, folk, classical, plainchant, spirituals, new music, paperless church songs, music from other religious tranitions, rock, soul, pop songs, and much more. We love expanding our range!
 

we use our bodies

At Not So Churchy we love to get up, sing, clap and dance! 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, abilities, 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!