Everything about our worship indicates our reverence, zeal, and love toward the Triune God; or alternately, our flippancy and indifference. Hearts aflame for God cry out for men to preach the Word, read Scripture, pray, and sing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with zeal. Sadly, though, worship today is aimed at the mind or the heart. It's intellect or passion--never both. When there is zeal, it's rarely "in accordance with knowledge." And those claiming knowledge make a principle out of their absence of zeal.
Five hundred years ago, John Calvin worked to reform every part of the Church's worship. We must give ourselves to this same work today.
That's why I'm very thankful to announce ClearnoteSongbook.com. The men behind the Songbook--Jody Killingsworth, Philip Moyer, and the Good Shepherd Band, along with Ben Crum, Joseph Bayly, and Lucas Weeks--have put together a site that is a call to reform our worship. The Clearnote Songbook is jam-packed with goodies to help in that work...
First, of course, the Songbook itself. It's great! The men have launched the site with 58 songs, many accompanied by full-length demos. For many, listening to the music they've recorded and made available (for free!) is likely to be the most appreciated part of the site. But the site was not built for individual consumption. It was built for the church, her officers, and her musicians.
Most of the music used by churches today is copyrighted. Anyone who wants to play or sing in front of a group has to pay licensing fees under threat of a lawsuit. Christians threatening to sue other Christians? For singing worship songs? Yes, dear reader, that is the sad state of worship music in the church today.
This sets Clearnote Songbook apart from the worship music bizness. The men behind the Clearnote Songbook are committed to making the music available to the church at no cost. Free.
In addition to recording their music for people to listen to, our musicians have produced high-quality PDF files of everything a worship leader needs to use that music in worship. You'll find lead sheets, chord charts, scores… Even the powerpoint slides to put the lyrics up on a projector! There are hymns, children's music, instrumental pieces, choir pieces...
Every song our musicians have written is copyrighted and then freely shared under a very permissive Creative Commons license. In short, anyone may download anything they find on the site and share and remix to their heart's content. The only requirements are:
In other words, your churches are free to use this work to your heart's content. No licensing fees required, no threats of getting sued...
Another aspect of Clearnote Songbook is the War Horn Blog. Jody has kicked things off with a post explaining the rationale behind Clearnote Songbook. Solid teaching about worship is necessary in our churches and in the weeks and months and years to come, you can expect good stuff to come from Jody, Phil, and other men.
The Liturgy section has much useful content: everything from a nicely formatted Westminster Confession of Faith (cross-indexed to the Westminster Larger Catechism) to calls to worship and assurances of God's mercy and forgiveness (from both Old and New Testament). Those who help plan worship services will want to bookmark the liturgy page. It's not just for worship planners, though: it's spiritual food for all Christians. Use it for your personal and family worship.
If you like what you've seen, would you please take a look at the Support Us page and make a donation? These men have been working hard, they're dirt poor, have tons of children--with more on the way! Clearnote is a hand-to-mouth work and we need your support to keep it going. We hope and pray God will bless this labor of love, and that many other churches will be built up by this, our service to the Lord. If you have anything to contribute other than money, please let us know. We're always looking for more workers.
So now, root around and tell us what you think.