About philslocum

I'm a husband and father to some kids who are way to good for me. I have spent the last 25 years as a worship pastor. I also teach worship at a Christian university and do music copying/arranging on the side.

3 More Thoughts on Getting Worshipers to Participate

shutterstock_385628I spent my first year of little league in the outfield wasteland of right field. I think every novice player starts there. It’s where you pay your dues, where the coach decides if you have ADHD (I don’t think they had invented it back then), and where you learn to daydream. About twice a game I would get a ball hit my way – usually a grounder. I was dependable, showed up for practice, paid attention, and always struck out when it was my turn at bat.

The next year, I didn’t have to play right field anymore. Continue reading


3 Thoughts on Getting Worshipers to Participate

bluemanDo you prefer to watch a performance or be part of it? I’ve always been more of a watcher myself. I remember the first time I saw the barrier between watcher and participant crossed. It was when I watched the Blue Man Group in Las Vegas one night. Whether I was getting doused with paint, or unrolling toilet paper with my neighbor, it became obvious that I couldn’t just watch. I didn’t willingly submit to the chaos, but ultimately it proved to be an unforgettable evening.

We are seeing this transition happening in our worship services as well. Continue reading

Worship Leaders: 3 Reasons To Stay Where You Are


I recently talked with a young man, who was ready for his first full-time worship leading gig. He has a great heart and a load of musical talent. He actually had several churches that wanted him. His final choice wasn’t the most attractive of the offers. It would mean several years of hard work to bring the church to a point of embracing a truly contemporary style of worship. Continue reading

You Just Want To Be A One Talent Worship Leader.

You just want to be a one talent worship leader.

It’s not that you don’t want to have 2,3,4, or even 5 of them. It’s just that you think it’s impossible for you.

You’re just an average guitar player with a passable voice, and to do anything more than simple strumming while singing – well, don’t ask!

You’ve thought about taking some guitar or voice lessons, but you just don’t have the time. Besides, the church says you sing just fine. They never put any pressure on you to do anything more than just lead a 5 song set to get everyone ready for the preacher. The sermon is the most important part anyway. Continue reading

Where Have All the Singers Gone?

When I first came to my current church eleven years ago, the worship teams consisted of the typical bands with three vocal teams of nine singers each.  They were all lined up across the front of the stage sharing 4 monitors with the band hidden behind them. The congregation felt overwhelmed, especially if they were sitting near the front. It wasn’t working, but it took me several years to find the courage to make the painful, but necessary changes.  I now have eight total singers who rotate every 3-4 weeks, having one to three people on stage on any given weekend.

Most modern worship services have a worship leader and 1-2 “backup singers”.  That is the current “cool” look.  But, that brings up the burning question, Continue reading

Planning for our Christmas Services

We have had two planning meetings for our Christmas services.  Today I met with a smaller group over lunch to start bringing some order to the ideas.  I’m very excited to see where this all goes.

The theme will be, “When God comes close.” Based on a couple of scenes from Luke 2, what does it look like when we let God come close and invade our lives, instead of keeping Him at a safe distance?  We are planning on using sounds and visuals that will bring the story “close” to the congregation.  We only need 4 more projectors!