For Keith Lancaster, it’s all about harmony. The attunement he pursues, however, is more about human relationships in God’s Kingdom than musical intonation. Yet, what better way to engender godly unity than with the instrument God Himself gave us all, the human voice, which Keith insists is the greatest instrument of music ever created. For Keith, using this instrument for God’s glory is nothing short of the highest calling for human beings.
Keith’s passion for singing has afforded him rare opportunities. As founder of the singing group, Acappella, he has sung, written, and produced music that has reached hundreds of thousands all over the world. Acappella’s success led to additional groups and a wider variety of music, but these days he’s spreading the harmony in another way. Since 2005, he’s been steadily delivering Praise & Harmony Workshops across the globe. With the help of his wife, Sharon and his home congregation, Park Plaza Church of Christ in Tulsa, OK, he is able to share his most valuable lessons from nearly 40 years of worship-leading experience.
What’s the aim of this endeavor? To encourage 100% participation in congregational worship. When that happens, we are, he suggests, spreading the “song of the universe.” Keith envisions four-part harmony as the tool to bring God’s people together because no other form of worship better mirrors the “body” metaphor of Romans 12:5. Each part has its place, and the whole thing only works when the parts work in – you guessed it – harmony. Every session of the Praise & Harmony seminar is designed to equip congregations with the skills and principles to make worship gatherings flourish.
Keith sees a great need for the Praise & Harmony undertaking, having visited hundreds of churches. Each year, he sees worship services incline more and more toward a passive, vicarious, spectator experience. And, as he sees it, this shortchanges both the church and God Himself. “God has invited everyone to be in His choir,” he says, “Why would anyone opt out of that?” To bring God the most glory, Keith seeks to mobilize each member of the body to sing, regardless of musical experience.
There’s more to Keith’s strategy for marshaling the whole assembly to praise than just workshops. The Praise & Harmony worship album series, recorded with hundreds of singers, features arrangements streamlined for easy learning. In fact, the learning couldn’t be easier because, in these albums, Keith has incorporated an innovative training CD in which the harmony parts are isolated using stereo panning. All you have to do is listen and learn. No music reading required.
Also integral to Keith’s plan is his Worship Leader Institute. Keith states in all his workshops that you can’t have great participation without great leadership. He maintains that a worship leader sets the bar for every service. For Keith, it’s simple psychology: followers do not flow where leaders do not go. To best equip leaders to “go,” WLI takes them through a challenging, weeklong boot camp that mixes classroom with practice seamlessly. Keith has recruited the best faculty from all over the country – and even Australia – to make the Worship Leader Institute a must-have experience for advanced worship leaders.
To keep up with Keith, check out his blog at www.KeithLancaster.com, where he posts regularly. You can also find Keith on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Youtube. Stay tuned to these resources for the latest updates, content, music, and, of course, harmony.
-Interested in a Praise & Harmony workshop? E-mail Bill@Acappella.com.
-Interested in the Worship Leader Institute? Contact Bill@Acappella.com .
-Interested in Acappella? Check out their website at www.Acappella.com.
-Interested in singing on a Praise & Harmony album? E-mail Auditions@Acappella.com
-Interested in purchasing CDs, sheet music, or slides? Go to www.TheAcappellaCompany.com
-Interested in getting involved in this ministry? Head over to www.Acappella.org and look for the “get involved” tab.