The WHY and HOW of ProjectWOW

IMG_0252PROJECT WOW, OR PROJECT WOMEN OF WORSHIP,
EXISTS TO PROVIDE A PLACE OF
CONVERSATION, COMMUNITY, AND RESOURCE
FOR WOMEN IN WORSHIP.


Earlier this year, I wrote a blog titled “Being a Female Worship Leader is Hard”. At the time that I wrote it, I was simply getting some things off my chest and at the same time providing a few resources for women who might be encountering the same difficulties. In the blog, I talked about being the first full-time female worship leader hired at my church. I talked about being the only woman in a department of all dudes. I talked about the lack of song selection available for female worship leaders vs. male worship leaders. But most importantly, I tried to provide resources to help counteract some of these things. I wanted to be a mentor from afar to any female worship leaders who might stumble onto this blog.

My heart has always been for women in worship. When I first stepped into the door of worship leading, I was blessed to have a male mentor who took me under his wings and started developing my skills. He saw potential in me and took the time to invest in that potential. Unfortunately, he couldn’t help me when I came with questions and struggles about being a female worship leader. I longed for a female mentor who could teach me her ways. But unless I was living in Australia with Darlene Zschech, I wasn’t going to find anyone around here. This generation is the first wave of prominent female worship leaders in the church. And so my passion has turned to leading others up, and being the female mentor that I never had.

As this year began to fly by, I kept getting emails and responses to my blog. Women from all over… Oregon, Kentucky, even Australia. The messages were unique but all the same… I AM GOING THROUGH THE SAME THING. The more responses I got, the more convicted I became about this project. I feel called to do this project, so much so that if I don’t do it, I will feel like I am being disobedient to God’s calling on my life. It pumps me up to know that I can be a help to other women in this way.

Before you hear a bit more about the project, take a look at this video…


As you can see, there is a need… there is a yearning for community and resource and mentorship. And as I began to realize that I was not the only one going through this, I began to brainstorm how I could remedy the need. And after much prayer and discussion and advice from many people that I respect, I came up with a plan… something practical that could provide a solution… DRUMROLL…

The plan of action is to create a website… a hub… a place where women can go to be empowered for service. As I mentioned before, ProjectWOW, or project women of worship, exists to provide conversation, community, and resource for women in worship. The three areas of conversation, community, and resource would be the main focus of the website.

IMG_0256So let’s start with CONVERSATION. This area of the website would be a place to talk about and bring up topics such as loneliness… dealing with insecurity… how to lead a team of all guys… how to gain buy-in from your congregation… etc. The conversation would be fueled by 2 things: a blog and Q&A. The blog would be written by myself and a few other women who have a heart to teach and encourage women in their journey as worship leaders. The readers of this blog would have a chance to respond and converse about the topics presented. The Q&A section would be a place where women can ask any question they want. The question would then be answered by a panel of trusted women in worship either through a direct message or in the form of a blog. Again this section would simply be a place to discuss… ask questions… and start conversation.

IMG_0257The next area of the website would be COMMUNITY. This area would be a place where women in worship can meet each other and begin to form relationship. On the website, women will have the opportunity to sign up to be in a WOWconnect Group. This group would be facilitated through google hangouts, and once a month women would be able to get together online to talk, encourage, and pray over each other… even if they are located across the country from one another. One of the things that I think is so beautiful about this is that women can connect with people outside of their own environment. It is a safe place, and it is a place where women can walk alongside each other in their journey. Love this section and I really believe it is going to create some beautiful new connections between women in worship ministry.

IMG_0258The third and final area of the website is RESOURCE. This by far is going to be the largest section and ironically will be the place that will require the most resource to create. It will have 3 sections, the first being: READ. This will be a place where we can post great books and articles for women to help them grow in their journey as a worship leader. Second: SING. This will be a place where we can point women to great songs and arrangements already meant for a female to lead in church… female-led songs such as Oceans or Revelation Song. Although mostly ballads, there are some really great songs out there already and I want to provide women with a place to find some of these great songs. And thirdly: TRANSPOSE. This is the section that I am most passionate about, but might be a bit more difficult to understand if you are not a musician. So put your musician hat on for a second. I’m going to give you a bit of a music lesson…

Because there are not a lot of female-led songs out there, female worship leaders have to take male led songs and transpose them to the appropriate key. For example… in the song Mighty to Save by Hillsong, the original range of the song is from E to E , but in order for women to comfortably sing the song, they have to move the range of the song from C to C. Unfortunately, many of the resources associated with those songs are only found in the male range which makes sense because the songs are written for guys. Now when I talk about the resources available, I am talking about a few things: the Recording (or the song itself), the Music Charts (which are not much of an issue because we now have programs that transpose music for us), and the Tracks to the songs (which are basically the instrument and vocal parts of the song).

Now to let you in on a little secret… at the weekend services at CCV, we actually use tracks when leading worship. So say we don’t have a second electric player on the team, we will actually play the second electric part through a program, and our band plays along with that track. Now you know!!! But unfortunately, if that song is originally in a guy key, the tracks are not available in the female key. Sometimes we are able to transpose, or slide the notes up to the new key, but it usually doesn’t have the same quality or professionalism in the sound. For example… This past weekend I led out on the song, Mighty to Save. On Sunday morning, one of our guy worship leaders led the song in the key of A. But for Sunday night, I led out on the song in the key of F#. Instead of creating a new arrangement, we just transposed the tracks (or rather slid the notes to my key). Unfortunately, the piano lead line in the song ended up not sounding as great and didn’t have as much impact, because ultimately that song was not written for that key. So to sum it up, let’s just say this: Women don’t have very many songs to choose from, and they are in need of arrangements that are specific to them in a range that is comfortable to sing.

Another note worth making is that because there are so many male led songs and resources available, it really is easier and less time consuming to choose a male-led song for the set. To put it in perspective, it would take my music director 20+ hours to create a new female arrangement for me. Many times, there is not enough time during the week to do this.

So the solution… I want to provide this resource for churches by going through the top 100 worship songs, finding the male-led songs that would translate appropriately to a female range, and create new female arrangements for the songs. I want these new arrangements to be a resource that women AND MEN can use in their church setting to lead worship. When I was first brainstorming and dreaming through this website, one of the questions I asked myself was… As a female worship leader, what resources do I wish were available? Transposed songs and new arrangements for females was one of the biggest things that came to my mind. And the more I talked to other women in worship, the more I realized they wished for that too. So this section holds the most weight for me, but unfortunately costs the most money to create. To create a new arrangement for one song, it costs appx. $1000. Because essentially, myself and a team of musicians would be creating a new song… and recording new parts. It is a lot of time and a lot of resource required, and you can imagine the cost of just this section alone. It is a big dream, but something I believe will revolutionize the way women are equipped to lead worship.


So to recap… projectWOW, or project women of worship, exists to provide conversation, community, and resource for women in worship, and the avenue with which I am providing these things is through a website.

IMG_0253


In conclusion, think on these things… The worship experience in church should represent God’s kingdom. It should be beautiful and diverse. Unfortunately, women are the minority in leading the worship experience. And we as women in worship need a place where we can grow something that is a vital part of the church. ProjectWOW is that place. It is a tool that will help women to fulfill their calling in life. It is a place that will provide community, conversation, and resource. I am asking that we come together, whether you are a female worship leader or not, and help start something that will give women the proper tools they need to thrive. And ultimately, our worship experience in church will represent true community and God’s kingdom at it’s best.


35 Hours to $50,000

I a writing this blog with 35 hours left in my fundraising campaign. We are down to the last hours!! But in the midst of all the stress that a fundraising campaign can bring, I had a very lovely wake-up-call this morning. I received an email from a female worship leader who was encouraged by my blog:

Hi! Just wanted to drop a word of encouragement. Stumbled across your blog this morning and immediately connected with your words! I never even knew I could sing until last year, because I was always doing harmonies for the key of A (or another male key). Worship has always been a huge part of my heart (I play piano and have been on a team for years!), but I just started leading worship songs at my church. Our church is currently all male worship leaders (five male leaders across three campuses). I have been encouraged to step up by these leaders and more people, but I don’t think anyone realizes just how different male and females lead – everything from communication with the team to music style to song key. (I especially don’t think that our leaders understand the key difference of male and females!) Anyways, we have a women’s conference coming up, which is making me (freak out!) look into more resources of how I can be a stronger, more effective worship leader – specifically as a female for females! I can’t wait to dive deeper into your blog and YouTube videos. I will be following you on social media and looking forward to all that will come from you! I think your recent goal to empower female worship leaders is BRILLIANT, and I can’t wait to see what is to come from you.

This message reminded me that my effort to encourage and be a resource to women in worship is truly something I feel called to. I feel as if I am right where God wants me to be and the things that I am writing about are actually making a difference in some people’s lives (even when I think I am not making any dent at all).

So I am writing this update to ask for your help. Will you be a part of empowering these women… specifically the ones that keep reaching out for support and encouragement? I have 35 hours left to raise $50,000 and I need all the help I can get!! Would you consider making a donation and/or spreading the word to anyone and everyone possible? I can’t do this without you!!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

FUNDRAISING PAGE

indiegogo

 

For All The Lady Worship Leaders…

brookeSo I was researching female worship leaders the other day and I came across this hilarious article on women in worship. It was posted on Jon Acuff’s site (For those of you who don’t know, he is the guy who wrote, “Stuff Christians Like”), but this particular article was written by Daniella Summers. It is hilarious and really captures the features of a lady worship leader. Disclaimer: if you are not a lady worship leader, you might not get some of these jokes. Here is a portion of her article:

I’m no expert, but I am a girl and I happen to be a worship leader. From my experience and observation I’ve noticed there are a few fashion rules that most female worship leaders end up falling under, whether intentional or not:

1. Owns at least one pair of large hoop earrings.

2. Even during the warm months, wears some sort of boots over jeans.

3. A tunic or dress is almost always worn over leggings or skinny jeans (and rightfully so…or else she might get stoned. Maybe be mistaken for Fergie. You never know.)

4. Change’s hair styles at least every six months. Multiple shades of highlights/lowlights are a staple.

5. Depending in which region of the country, flip flops are worn and then taken off after the second song, for a more “intimate” setting.

6. Subscribes to Lucky magazine and People’s by monthly Style Watch.

7. Shops almost entirely at Anthropologie, Free People, J.Crew, H&M or Forever 21.

8. Wears more jewelry than all women, combined, sitting in the first two rows.

9. Wears black nail polish.

10. Sports a scarf at least every other week. ..all while still wearing 5 pounds of jewelry.

11. Has a nose ring.

12. Carries a bag of Ricola’s or Altoids in her purse at all times.

13. Drinks Tazo tea.

14. Wears at least two cocktail rings at a time.

15. Has side swept bangs and sometimes attempts the “beach waves” hair look. (This is a delicate balance between using the curling iron, flat iron and lots of Bumble & Bumble or Bed Head brand hair product. You’re welcome.)

16. Can’t say no to pairing Converse’s with skirt or dress, which, must fall at or below the knees.

17. Sometimes takes style inspiration from Sheryl Crow, Miley Cyrus (or is it Hanna Montana?), Fergie (circa 2005, before she started looking like Lady Gaga and Rhianna’s love child), or any girl from American Idol’s top 10. Again, it’s all about which area of the country you reside.

18. Does her devotionals and bible studies at Starbucks.

19. Chooses at least one song from Hillsong per set. Mainly, something done by Brooke Fraser.

20. Sometimes has to pull out the big guns and nonchalantly throw in the fact that the very first worship leader EVER was actually a girl – Miriam, sister of Aaron (go ahead, open your Bible or Google it), and the first person to see Jesus after He rose from the dead was also a woman – Mary Magdalene.

21. May find herself baking cookies or brownies on Saturday nights for the sound and tech guys, the lead guitarist and percussionist because they have more power than anyone acknowledges.

22. And, unlike male worship leaders, ladies are susceptible to shedding a few tears during a song when led by the Holy Spirit. Although, the dude wearing white jeans might possibly be doing the same. It’s ok, Jesus wept too.

23. Really hopes that once in a while someone will approach her after church and say “You have a heart of gold and a voice of a lion. I bust open every time.”

Unfortunately, I fit more of these stereotypes then less. Haha. But I guess that is what I get for being a lady worship leader. 🙂 If you want to read the entire article, click HERE. And if you want to read more on Jon Acuff and his book, “Stuff Christians Like”, click HERE.