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Issue 2     25 February 1999

Welcome to the second Family Worship newsletter. Nobody unsubscribed after
last month, which means one of two things: 1. nobody read it,  or 2. I have
your implicit approval to continue with the (allegedly) humorous items
in-between every section. You have been warned...


FW Site stats
Recent additions
Coming soon
How to get, and keep, attention in a church service
Story behind the song
Songwriters' encouragement
Check it out...
Newsletter information

FW site stats
Visits to the site are averaging over 50 per day, with a total of 2,600
visitors since Jan 4.

New nations represented by visitors include France, Switzerland, China and
South Korea.

The highest number of visitors come from: UK, USA, Netherlands, Canada,
Australia, South Africa...and Tonga (still puzzled by Tonga!)

Newsletter distribution is currently around 130 people.

Top pages are Songs,  Lyrics (a new entry this month),  How to... and  Kids
Only (the jokes get better because children are sending them in themselves

Thanks again for visiting, and please keep sending feedback - it's very much

Humour spot
What's the difference between a drummer and a drum machine?

You only have to punch the information once into a drum machine.

(Now there are hundreds of drummer jokes - it's a cruel world, and some of
my best friends are drummers - no really, or at least that's what I tell
them, which doesn't really matter because they don't understand anyway, but
in the interests of fairness, guitarist and keyboard player jokes will
follow in equal proportion to drummer jokes. OK?!)

Recent additions
The free "Song by e-mail" service is now available for one selected song
from each album (plus one new song from each album will be added every

You can use the simple on-line form to request  any or all of the following:
Song lyrics, guitar chords, full piano score, RealAudio file, Story behind
the song.

Give it a try

Two more songs have been added in MP3 format, which has proved very popular
for the clarity of the sound. Details are now also available of where to
download a free MP3 player - see -
and how to "stream" the MP3 files using MS Windows Media Player (also free)

Guitar chords are now available for free download for the songs from "Teach
us to pray"  and will be available by the end of March for the other
albums - see

Writer profiles have been added for Dave Bankhead - (check this out if you need a
recording studio anytime!) and Tim Moyler
( this profile contains ideas on
helping children to have a go at writing songs themselves.

The tape (£4.99) and music, plus acetate masters (£2.49) for "Teach us to
pray" are available now -

Feedback on the songs and tape (which includes children and teenagers
praying their own prayers) has been very positive and encouraging - check
out the songs for yourself on-line

Humour spot
How do you get a guitarist to turn their amp down?
Give them some sheet music to read.

Coming soon

The teaching booklet for children to accompany "Teach us to pray" will be
released in April (price £1.99) and will also be available for children to
read on-line, along with teaching notes for children's workers and parents -
you can place an advance order now.

Prices are absolutely as low as possible, to be "pocket money" level for
children to be able buy their own tape and booklet, or for churches to buy
in bulk for their Sunday Schools and children's groups. (e-mail for details
of bulk discounts -

We would like to add a "demo corner" page of worship songs from writers at a
grass-roots level in the church, regardless of nation or denomination. If
you have written songs that have been used in your local church effectively
then we would love to hear them, to consider putting on the website, and
using in future recordings. E-mail for
details of how to submit songs.

Humour spot
Children's Sunday School wisdom:

Noah's wife was called Joan of Ark
Solomon had 300 wives and 700 porcupines
A Christian should only have one wife - this is called monotony
The 7th commandment is: Thou shalt not admit adultery
Lot's wife was a pillar of salt by day & a ball of fire by night
Unleavened bread is bread with no ingredients

How to get, and keep, attention in a church service
Maybe you lead services or worship, or teach in a children's group, and find
yourself asking the question: "How do I keep people's attention", or, to use
a current buzzword, "How do I keep them engaged?"

Why is it that children (and adults) will sit glued to the television for
two hours or more, yet after 20 minutes or less in a service, their minds
are wandering?

Is it the leaders' fault, or is it the people's fault for not recognising
the importance of self-discipline and concentration?

There are no easy answers to these questions, but there is one key factor
that can make a huge practical difference to keeping attention focussed, and
it's this:

the VISUAL factor.

Like it or not, we live in a predominantly visual age, where the art of
listening and reading is demoted by the use of the sound-bite and the précis
summary. Particularly for children and young adults, visual stimulation is
considered essential to communicate in an effective way - ask the
advertisers (and some of the brightest and best minds in the world are in
advertising because
it's where the money is)

Therefore, when we present people with services and classes which depend
primarily on audible content only (ie. talking, singing, preaching,
praying), we greatly reduce the chance of keeping attention for more than a
few minutes at a time. What can we do? One discipline that I impose on
myself when preparing a service or time of worship is to write down a list
of all the elements, and then ask for each one: how can I make it visual?

The worship can include dances, or banners, or pictures, or symbols
(candles, etc.) that will not detract from the importance of focussing on
the Lord, but rather point to him. Think how vivid and visual the worship in
the temple of the Old Testament was, with blood spraying everywhere, and
reluctant doves and goats making a last bid for freedom. (If this is a
picture of your church service today, then perhaps you're in trouble!) The
point I'm making is that worship can involve our whole beings: mind,
spirit - and body.

The Bible reading could be dramatised, or illustrated, or read by a number
of different people round the congregation (the change of direction and
focus can stimulate and aid concentration)

Stories which are well told and visually evocative (think of the parables)
will challenge, and stick in the mind.

Even the dreaded notices can be given a visual element - hold up a coffee
cup if giving a notice of a coffee morning, or if you're looking for
volunteers to clean the church loos, hold up a loo brush. (The notice won't
be forgotten!)

What about the art of preaching and teaching? Well, the greatest preachers
through history have been able to captivate congregations for hours with the
sound of their voice and a twitch of their eyebrows alone, such is their
level of animation, skill and anointing. However, ask yourself an honest
question - are you one of the greats, or could you use a little practical
help from some excellent visual aids?!

If you use overhead projections, make sure the quality is good - a few limp
hand-written lines repeating your main points may, at best, slightly
re-inforce the message. However, good illustrations and tangible visual aids
can make a world of difference. There is certainly no substitute for good,
solid biblical teaching, but always ask yourself -  how it could be improved
still further? Visual aids may not always be the answer, but they often can

Ultimately, the reason we want to keep people's attention focussed on a
practical level is so that on a spiritual level, there can be a sense of
unity and purpose, and so that people's spirits can engage in worship, their
minds can engage with the word of God, and their hearts can engage with the
love of God. We owe it to the congregations and children in our care to give
them every assistance in meeting with the living God in our services. Visual
elements can be a key part of that assistance.

Story behind the song
This month, the story behind "I'm so excited", by Audrey Traynor

Audrey, who is married to Matt, and lives in Woolwich, South London, with
their 3 children, says that the inspiration for the song came from doing the
housework one day...

"I can still remember it very clearly - I can see myself in our lounge,
having just had a time of worship on my own, I had a tune going round in my
head as I started to do the hoovering. In fact I started dancing with the
vacuum cleaner (an upright, which made it easier!) and was going up and down
the lounge carpet, in straight lines as if I was mowing the lawn! The tune
stuck with me and the words "up and down I go", seemed to fit...

The lyrics to the song came bit by bit over the next few months, and
eventually I had a complete song. it seemed to take ages, but that's the way
I write..."

In fact, this was the first song that Audrey had written, and she was
eventually persuaded to use it with her own church, where it went down so
well, that it became a natural choice for a Family Worship recording (FW3 -
Fire & Rain)

Songwriters' encouragement

I love Audrey's story above for several reasons: Firstly, it illustrates
that our everyday life and work is worship in every sense (Romans 12), and
that God can and will speak to us in any and every circumstance. Secondly,
this was exactly the kind of "grass roots" origin for a song that is part of
the vision behind the FW recordings. Thirdly, Audrey took lots of
encouragement and coaxing to use the song, from her family, and from the
church, and it demonstrates that it's not always necessary for songwriters
to have to bash down door after door in an effort to get their songs heard:
if God wants to use a song, I'm convinced that he'll find a way!

I know that for many writers, it may take years and many many attempts, and
not everyone will be "discovered" on the strength of their first song, but
there's one prayer that I guarantee that God will answer, whether you pray
it with much faith or not, and it's this one: "Lord, please make me more
humble" It's another way of praying "Lord, please make me more like Jesus".

Many thanks to Audrey for sharing this story. As a further challenge to her
ongoing humility (!) the song has been selected to be included in the
forthcoming "Kidsource" compilation songbook of 400 of the best songs for
children's worship, which will be published in May by Kevin Mayhew, as part
of their excellent new range of  worship resources - details on their

Next month, the story behind "A time to mourn" - a passionate song of
worship based on Ecclesiastes 3; in contrast to the first 2 song stories,
this one contains elements of pain and sorrow.

Humour spot

How many charismatics does it take to change a lightbulb?
3 - one to cast it out, and 2 to catch it as it falls to the floor.

Check out...

The following statistics were taken from the website of the International
Network of Children's Ministry - check it out at

(These statistics are from research in the 1990's in the USA, but are very
similar to results for similar research in the UK)

70% of Christians today accepted Christ during their childhood years

Ages at which people become Christians (according to the individual)

1% are saved before 4 years of age
85% are saved between 4 and 14 years of age
10% are saved between 15 and 30 years of age
4% are saved after 30 years of age

How do people learn?
Method of Instruction   % recalled after  % recalled after
                            3 hours           3  Days

Telling the learner           60                  20

Showing the learner           70                  30

Telling and showing           80                  60

Letting the learner experience
for him/herself                95                  85

Or put it another way,

"I hear, I forget.
I see, I remember.
I do, I understand"

And finally, a statistic from the UK....

The average father spends more than 2 hours per day watching television
The average father spends less than 2 minutes per day speaking with their

(Mind you, when I shared this statistic with my children, they thought,
looked at me, and replied: "Good!"      Oh dear...)

Newsletter information
This newsletter is written by Mike Burn and is published by Family Worship
Resources, part of Ichthus Christian Fellowship, London, UK . Copyright
1999, 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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skipped to the end before hitting delete, blessings to you in Jesus' name

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