Andy Chrisman: Storytelling Thru Worship
If you’ve been around the Christian music scene for any amount of time, there’s a good chance you know the name Andy Chrisman. Since 1990 he’s been a quarter part of the group 4Him (see what I did there) and in 2005 he stepped into the role of worship pastor at Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK. Church on the Move is known for putting a HIGH emphasis on storytelling in their services. In fact, they share a story – whether on video or live – almost every weekend. (If you’d like to watch one of these COTM services, click here).
Because those stories are a part of the worship experience, it takes a worship pastor and team of creatives to intentionally choose the right songs and flow around the stories. Ultimately, the story becomes another part of the worship experience. In lieu of that, we thought we’d sit down with Andy and ask a few questions about how to choose songs and a set to support your story. Enjoy!
Adam: Andy, why is it important to even THINK about the songs that play before and after a story? Can’t we just pick anything?
Andy: It’s about setting the mood. You should try and set the table before your video plays with a song that parallels the mood of your video. For example, don’t sing a happy, lyrically shallow song before a serious video piece, or vise versa. Just as the score in a movie sets up the scene to come, the music just before the video should set the mood for what the audience is about to experience.
Adam: What’s one of the biggest pitfalls you’ve learned to avoid?
Andy: Don’t tell the story BEFORE the story. Don’t overthink it. It can come off as manipulative or heavy-handed to program songs with similar lyric ideas before the video plays. Think of your set up song as a smart segue into an interesting conversation. “That’s interesting…that makes me think of…” In other words, think more of your audience than to spoon feed them.
Adam: How important is the song or moment after the story plays?
Andy: The CRUX of your video story should telegraph the song that follows. Science tells us that the human mind thinks ahead, anticipating – and hoping for! – logical results. Your audience WANTS to sing the obvious song that should follow your video. Hopefully you’ve moved them with your storytelling and visuals. Now give them an easy pitch right over the plate! For bonus points sing the song in the same key as the music from the video which will promote a feeling of seamlessness.
There are so many conversations to be had about implementing your stories within your worship set, and I think this post helps to get us started thinking about how stories can be PART of our services. Big thanks to Andy for talking to us. If you’d like to hear more of Andy, you can listen to his radio show: Worship with Andy Chrisman by visiting AndyChrisman.net.