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Welcome to the 19th Family Worship Newsletter, 31 July 2000

Previous newsletters are available on the website archives at


With relentless "Humour spots" in-between every item...

FW Site stats
Recent site additions
Coming soon
Should worship music be free?
Showcase spotlight - Steve Gibson
Check out...
Newsletter information

FW Site Stats

Newsletter subscribers are now around 1,500 - a special welcome to new subscribers.

Visitors to the website continued at an average of over 600 people a day through July

Recent site additions

MIDI files are now available for our top 3 songs, and may be downloaded free. Based on the album arrangements, they will work on any PC with a MIDI player and soundcard, as well as on any keyboard or synth with General MIDI capability. More songs will be added over the coming months.

Coming soon

As well as the French translations of a number of songs, we are currently working on German translations of the most popular songs, and will have them available soon. If you are a German speaker and are interested in receiving an email version of the lyrics, then simply send a blank email to

Humour spot

End of term exam answers:

1.  Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert. The climate of the Sarah is such that all the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.

2.  Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada.

3.  Solomon had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines.

4.  The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn't have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a female moth.

Should worship music be free?

The Internet is considered by many to be revolutionising the secular music industry. MP3 files have provided a completely new way for songs to be distributed, and whilst it has been great news for smaller, independent or unsigned artists, the major record companies have been frantically trying to get a grip on the situation. Countless millions of songs have been distributed illegally by sharing programmes such as Napster, and the lawsuits have been flying thick and fast. Many people in the secular environment agree that artists should be rewarded for their efforts, but feel that it's justified to swap songs illegally because the companies and individuals in the business are rich enough already. The same people who would not worry about copying a CD onto tape for a friend will not worry about sharing files via the Internet.

On the one hand, advocates of this "free" distribution argue that so far the Internet has not harmed global music sales - they increased around 10% in 1999. On the other hand, there are stories like the record store near a US college campus that used to sell around USD 40,000 worth of albums a month had to close when it went down to less than USD 1,000 because students were getting all their music via Napster.

What does all of this mean for the Christian music, and in particular, worship music? Many people feel uncomfortable that the Christian music "industry", particularly in the USA, is already fairly indistinguishable anyway from the secular scene: it is seen as big business, with personal and corporate integrity and honesty of motive hard to come by. That is certainly unfair to the many individuals who do work within the industry and certainly have honesty and integrity, but whether they are in the minority or majority is a debatable point. In the UK, the industry is much smaller, but the same worrying symptoms are there too.

There is a tension here for worship music: the "market" is already huge, and every Christian would want it to increase as more people get saved and start to want to worship Jesus! Also, whilst debate often rages about the rights and wrongs of the royalty system for paying songwriters, generally people agree that writers should be paid honestly for their creative output (although the argument that any inspired song came from God so should be given away freely is a common one too, although the same could be said of sermons, books, and so on).

However, it upsets many people that the "marketing machines" behind much worship music seem to treat it as a commodity to be exploited, re-packaged, sold any way possible, and not just a reasonable return on investment, but mega-profits made.

So, in this context, should worship music be free? Well, it's an interesting question, and one that I can't honestly answer without a measure of bias, simply because as a relatively unknown worship writer, who doesn't need to earn a living from my songs, I have chosen to give them away freely. However, in ten years time, my circumstances may be different, and if I'd written a worldwide worship hit, the potential royalties from which meant I would never need to work again, perhaps I would feel differently! However, that for me is one of the key problems: it is possible to make significant money from royalties, and so when an established writer sits down to compose a song, their motives can be rather mixed.

So, the bad news is that the commercial pressures can be intense, and can lead writers astray. However, the good news is that God is still in control, and is able to use songwriters who do have personal integrity and honesty of motive to provide songs that do enable the church to worship, without worrying about the commercial aspects! Three of the biggest songs in the UK, and worldwide, in recent years have been:

Shine, Jesus, Shine by Graham Kendrick
Shout to the Lord by Darlene Zschech
We want to see Jesus lifted high by Doug Horley

All of the writers have subsequently described how they had no idea when writing the songs how big they would become, and I'm convinced that God will always take songs from the most ordinary of places and use them to glorify himself.

If writers and publishers choose to give worship songs away freely, that's great, and the Internet will facilitate and stimulate more of that kind of distribution I'm sure. Equally, if writers feel the need to charge the going rate for songs, then that's their choice, and churches and individuals are free to choose whether or not that represents good value in terms of the usefulness of the songs in serving people in worship!

For more information on copyright and how it affects worship music, check out
CCLI's website:

To download (freely and legally!) the Family Worship songs, visit

In the context of the above article, you may be interested to discover that a number of Graham Kendrick's songs are now also available for free download at

Humour spot

Nine-year-old Joey was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday School. "Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.  When he got to the Red Sea, he had his engineers build a pontoon bridge, and all the people walked across safely. He used his walkie-talkie to radio headquarters and call in an air strike. They sent in bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved." "Now, Joey, is that REALLY what your teacher taught you?" his mother asked. "Well, no, Mom, but if I told it the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it !"

Showcase spotlight

This month, we feature Steve Gibson, a young writer from the UK.

1. Tell us who you are, and where you're from.

I haven't always been who I am today. Confused? In November '99 I changed my name from Steve Gibbons to Steve Gibson. Not a massive change I know, but when you have a class of thirty children sniggering at you something has to be done. At the moment I only do work experience in the classroom but hopefully in a few years time I will be a fully-fledged teacher. I've just taken my A-Levels (I'm 18) and hope to go to the College of St. Mark and St. John in Plymouth, England.

2. What genre(s) do your songs fit into?

When I wrote my first song it was definitely old fashioned Praise and Worship (OLD Mission Praise style). Since then, I've tried to modernise and branch out. I've now written over forty songs in many different styles. Most have been composed on the guitar but genres stretch from Latino to contemporary, children's to traditional. I sincerely believe that as long as I enjoy the songs God gives me, it doesn't matter what they sound like. If others enjoy them too, it's a bonus!

Unfortunately, once you've heard one song by a composer you have a strict image of what that person is about. Sometimes that is true - with me it's not. You really have to listen to quite a bit. I suppose it's like Christianity. A person has to try out everything before he can accept it - just visiting one church for one service isn't enough to get a true picture.

3. What inspired you to start writing songs?

Simple - Jesus.

4. Choosing one song that you have in the Showcase section, tell us the "story behind the song"

My most recent song (at least the one I wrote just before answering these) is called 'Lord I Worship'. I think this was the first song I wrote in bed! I was lying there thinking about how great Jesus is and all of a sudden I started to hum. I think it must be the shortest, simplest song I've ever written but it says it all:

Lord I worship you forever
Lord I love your name

When I see you looking down
I want to praise you forever
My soul leaps a thousand times for you.

Copyright (c) 2000 Steve Gibson

5. What are your hopes and dreams for the future in relation to songwriting?

One hope for the future is that I don't lose perspective. If my songs aren't purely for God, it's not worth me doing it. A second is that one of the songs (one will do) is published and used worldwide. Impossible maybe, but I would love it if a song that I'd written was used by other people to focus on Christ's amazing love.

You can check out Steve's showcase page at and his own site, with several more songs at - along with loads of other stuff.

Humour spot

Six-year old Angie and her four-year old brother Joel were sitting together in church.  Joel giggled, sang and talked out loud. Finally, his big sister had had enough. "You're not supposed to talk out loud in church." Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked. Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, "See those two men standing by the door? They're hushers."

Check out...

The new UK Christian portal site that we've been mentioning for the past couple of months, Solidrock, is now live. Family Worship is delighted to be associated with the site (providing content and newsletters for the Kids Zone) as well as music links, so do check it out. The site features excellent search capabilities.

A new kids site, run by a 13 year old from Ichthus in London, is online. Called "the Big Fish", this site is fairly zany and worth a look!

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 out at

Don't forget that Family Worship, as well as loads of other "grass roots level" ministries are featured in the christian sections of

Newsletter information

This newsletter is written by Mike Burn and is published by Family Worship Resources, part of Ichthus Christian Fellowship, London, UK Copyright 2000, 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' name


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