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Welcome to the February 2001 Family Worship newsletter
Previous newsletters are available on the website archives at
FW Site stats
Recent site additions
Is Family Worship responsible for a decline in UK Church attendance?
With relentless "Humour spots" in-between every item...
FW Site Stats
Newsletter subscribers are now over 1,800 subscribers - a special
welcome to new subscribers
Visitors to the site averaged 700 a day through January 2001
Well, you've heard all the hype for the past few newsletters, now you
can judge for yourself as you can start to hear the music. The first
track from the album has been posted on mp3.com, and it's the title
track, "Rising Generation". It features a lovely solo opening chorus by
a teenager, Sarah, some great vocals from the children's choir, and
strong adult backing vocals and harmonies. This blending of voices
musically reflects the vision behind Family Worship - to see all of the
generations joined together in praise and worship.
To hear the track, visit http://www.mp3.com/familyworship - more tracks
will be added every week or two up to the release the album at Easter.
We're delighted that one of the tracks from FW4, "Whiter than the snow",
has been selected for inclusion in the 2001 Spring Harvest songbook,
the most popular annual source of new songs in the UK.
All-new FW online shop, and an amazing launch sale offer
As promised last month, we're having a massive sale on CD's and
cassettes. Prices have been cut to just £3 for CD's and £2 for
cassettes. The reason for this is simple - FW is non profit-making, and
we're keen to shift as much stock as possible, to make room on the
shelves for FW4. Income from previous albums goes directly to funding
FW4 and future recordings, so by buying now, you'll be helping to fund
More exciting news - having had a very adequate, but
slightly-less-than-state-of-the-art, order form facility on the site
for the last couple of years, we've now rolled up our sleeves, set the
best technical brains to work that we could find this side of Silicon
Valley, and have developed a snazzy new online shopping facility. As
well as making the selection of items a simple, dreamy pleasure, and
adding up the order for you, the system will show you the cost in the
currency of your choice, and will take your credit or debit card
details, on a server so secure that even my children can't hack into
it. (If you prefer, you can still order without a credit card,
requesting an invoice to be sent, and pay by cheque in the traditional,
Check it out: http://www.familyworship.org.uk/shop (and for non-credit
card orders, http://www.familyworship.org.uk/Order.htm)
There was a fire one night at a convent and several nuns who lived on
the fourth floor were trapped by the fire.
They were praying for the Lord to show them a way out of the fire when
one of the sisters screamed, "We need to take off our robes, tie them
together and climb down to safety." They quickly did so and were saved.
Later as they were recounting the event to reporters they were asked if
they were afraid of the improvised rope breaking.
"Oh, no," they said. "You see, old habits are hard to break..."
Recent site additions
MIDI files - a new MIDI file for the Lord's Prayer has been added - this
has consistently been our most popular song in the Children's genre on
mp3.com, and one of the most requested "song-by-emails"
KidsZone - recently updated (as always, by Beckie) the latest additions
include some amazing optical illusions, and a brand new Bible Hero.
There are 3 new writers this month in the Songwriters' Showcase
Our new webmail service has proved popular, providing a free online
email address - email@example.com - that is safer that
Hotmail or Yahoo as it is far less prone to unsolicited emails, or spam,
so is ideal for adults who want an online account accessible from any
PC, and is also ideal for children (parents must sign-up on behalf of
children under the age of 13)
Easter is approaching, so check out our new Easter section at
http://www.familyworship.org.uk/easter.htm which features song
suggestions, and two great free drama scripts, and also check out the
Easter 2001 station at
The pastor was visiting one of the church Sunday School classes: "Now
then, he asked, "who can tell me some of the things that you can find
in your Bible?
A little girl put her hand up: "Yes. I think I know everything that's in
The pastor was impressed: "You do? Tell me"
"OK", said the girl, "there's a picture of my brother's girlfriend, a
ticket from the dry cleaners, one of my curls, and a Pizza Hut coupon"
"Is Family Worship responsible for a decline in UK Church attendance?"
This was a genuine headline in the UK broadsheet daily paper, The Times,
a couple of years ago, which not surprisingly caught my eye! The
premise for the article, by a secular writer, was that the attempt by
many churches to cater for all ages in their services was, in their
opinion, one of the key reasons for the fact that church attendance in
the UK has been in decline for the past several years.
The writer argued that structuring services in a way that was aiming to
accommodate all ages was bound to fail because the tastes of the
different age groups is so different. They suggested that it would be
far better to return to a system where Sunday School was completely
separate from "adult church", because that was how things were at the
end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, when UK church
attendance was at an all-time high.
Given that I spend much of my time and ministry trying to promote
all-age worship and services that can be enjoyed by everyone from the
youngest to the oldest, the article really did set me thinking, and I
spent a fair amount of time questioning and re-evaluating the beliefs
that I had developed over the years about the need for more, rather than
less, corporate worship that involved all the generations together.
I also discussed the issue with friends, other worship leaders and
pastors, and discovered a common feeling that churches should be doing
everything possible to get a sense of unity among the generations, and
particularly to address the conception that many people have in the UK
that "church is just for old people". There was also consensus that it
was often practically a difficult thing to structure services which were
genuinely appealing to all ages, and that the choice of music and songs
was just one aspect that could polarise opinion. Too many hymns? The
teenagers complain that there's nothing contemporary. Too many new
songs? The elderly complain that we don't sing the old hymns any more.
And so on...
A phrase that has become common in the US church scene is "blended
worship" - a description of worship involving an eclectic mix of songs
and styles, aimed at providing something suitable for everyone. I like
this concept, because it is very similar to the vision behind Family
Worship. The very future of the church does depend on retaining the
youth that we have, and attracting new converts, of all ages, and if we
can structure our worship to help that, then we should do so. Of course
worship is all about what pleases God, not what pleases us, so even more
reason to lay down our own tastes and preferences, for the sake of
helping others to express their love and praise to Him.
I think that it has been a clear strategy of the enemy to try to divide
churches in any way possible - along theological lines, cultural lines,
and generational lines. If young people feel that the church is not
catering for them, then they will vote with their feet. We may shake our
heads, tut, and say that they should have more respect and patience, but
in the meanwhile, there is a gaping hole in our churches, that is in
danger of getting bigger.
There are some very encouraging signs in the UK: the Soul Survivor
stream of youth-oriented mission; the wide attendance on Alpha courses;
the realisation by many churches that they need to emphasise and invest
in youth and children's ministry before it is too late.
I do think that the writer of the article in the Times was mistaken -
there may be many reasons for the decline in church attendance, but the
remedy is not to return to the old models and styles of services and
worship, but rather to pray that God would wake us up, help us form new
wineskins, and help us to see a turning in the tide, so that youth and
children, and adults too, start to flow back in to the church.
While taking a routine vandalism report at a school, a policeman was
interrupted by a little girl about six years old. Looking up and down at
his uniform, she asked, "Are you a cop?"
"Yes," he answered and continued writing the report.
"My mother said if I ever needed help I should ask the police. Is that
"Yes, that's right," he answered
"Well, then," she said as she extended her foot, "would you please tie
This month, 1 Kings 19, 19-21
"So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was
plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth
pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then
left his oxen and ran after Elijah. "Let me kiss my father and mother
good-by," he said, "and then I will come with you." "Go back," Elijah
replied. "What have I done to you?" So Elisha left him and went back. He
took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing
equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then
he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant." (NIV version)
In the years following this calling of Elisha, Elijah and Elisha worked
together, before Elijah was taken away from him, up to heaven. Elisha
then went on, inheriting a double portion of the anointing that Elijah
It's been suggested that we are in a season in the church where the
older generation needs to be like Elijah - throwing our cloak on the
next generation, working with them, training them, so that they can see
an increase in their ministries, to win their own generation in ever
In the area of worship, we need to be generous with the gifts and
abilities that we have, and train and disciple younger musicians,
singers, writers, so that they can develop faster and further. I'm very
impressed by the testimony of people like Martin Smith (from Delirious)
and Matt Redman, who give credit to writers and pastors like Graham
Kendrick and Mike Pilavachi who have been generous in encouraging,
discipling and releasing them to develop ministries that are touching a
whole generation. In our churches we need to be doing the same, so
whatever your gifting and experience, be generous with it - throw the
cloak on to the next generation like Elijah did, rather than insisting
on only ever wearing it yourself!
A big, burly man visited the pastor's home and asked to see the
minister's wife, a woman well known for her charitable impulses.
"Madam," he said in a broken voice, "I wish to draw your attention to
the terrible plight of a poor family in this district. The father has
left home, the mother is too ill to work, and the nine children are
starving. They are about to be turned into the cold, empty streets
unless someone pays their rent immediately."
"How terrible!" exclaimed the preacher's wife! "May I ask who you are?"
The sympathetic visitor applied his handkerchief to his eyes. "I'm the
landlord," he sobbed.
One great source of encouragement to me has been the Christian
Songwriters' discussion list at http://christiansongwriting.org
The list allows writers to post lyrics and music for critique, and also
provides great prayer support and encouragement.
Recently, one of the list administrators, Liane, tragically died, aged
32, leaving a husband and young family. The list was shocked, and have
of course been praying for her family. One of Liane's great passions was
songwriting, and she died at the house of a friend, and was found with
notebook and pen nearby, having been writing to the last.
I don't want to be morbid, but death is a reality of life, and as
Christians we don't mourn like those who are without hope, but rather
with an eternal perspective that eventually God will wipe away every
tear. So, if you're a songwriter, then let me encourage you to be as
prolific as you can in your writing, because none of us know when it
might be our last composition. The legacy that we leave of the way we
live our lives, and the songs that we write, may help others find Jesus,
so what greater encouragement than that do you need to write?
If you run a website and would like to check out the hosting options and
costs from the UK Christian hosting company that FW has used for the
last couple of years, then check it out at http://www.rockhosting.net
The all new Make Way Music website has just been launched -
SING LULLABIES - a lovely new album of "relaxing spiritual songs for
children", by Jenny Legg & David Lyle Morris. This really is an
excellent album, featuring two Family Worship songs ("When you pray" &
"Jesus, you're the morning star") as well as a number of traditional,
well-loved children's songs like "Jesus loves me this I know". Check the
songs out at http://www.mp3.com/singlullaby and order online at
If you have a website that you would like us to cover in future
newsletters, please email
River of Life Discount Christian Bookstore, US distributors for the
Family Worship resources are online with a great site featuring an
ever-increasing range of worship recordings, songbooks, etc. Check it
Don't forget that Family Worship, as well as loads of other "grass roots
level" ministries is featured in the Christian sections of mp3.com
Check out the new, free FW Webmail - firstname.lastname@example.org -
This newsletter is written by Mike Burn and is published by Family
Worship Resources, part of Ichthus Christian Fellowship, London, UK
Copyright 2001, Mike Burn.
Inclusion of links and quotations does not imply full endorsement of the
contents. The newsletter may be forwarded or reproduced in full or in
part providing that the source is acknowledged.
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Thanks for reading, and if you've made it this far, or even if you just
skipped to the end before hitting delete, blessings to you in Jesus'
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