Chord Progressions

Worship is an integral component of our relationship with God. Longtime NCF member and musician, Laurie Kaufmann reflects on this aspect of her faith journey. May her words bless you with the creativity of the Lord’s gifts to us. -Renée

Singing and playing music has always been one of the most natural and accessible ways to worship God in my life. Being part of the New Covenant Fellowship worship choir has been a blessing for me over the last 20+ years. I began playing bass guitar at NCF about 23 years ago when Judson Chubbuck was worship leader, and in the last few years I have had the privilege of branching out into guitar, singing and leading worship at the church.

I took up songwriting about 3 years ago, after a long hiaitus. For a few years I had been aware that I believed in God in my head, but that my emotional expression/connection with God was lacking. At that time the occurrence of different events in my life, though sometimes stressful, inspired me with creative energy for songwriting while pushing me to develop an increased emotional connection with God and with other people. Hence, becoming more involved in music and songwriting has been an important part of my more emotionally connected faith.

In my experience as a musician and sometimes a songwriter, I have tended to pay more attention to the chord progressions, melody, rhythm, and dynamics of a song than the lyrics. At times I have felt sheepish about this, assuming that, particularly with Christian songs, there is a consensus that the real “gist” of a song is in the words and the religious truths or relatable experience they express. Certainly these are important, but for me it has also been essential for the mood and images evoked by a song’s other components to blend with the meaning of the lyrics, creating a kind of gestalt.

In the creation of human beings and the world, it seems that God has allowed for incredible complexity in the expression of language, and a comparable level of complexity in the area of musical expression. I believe God can communicate with us and draw us to deeper spiritual levels through experiencing the musical elements of a piece along with the verbal message. It is perhaps a little more of a mystical experience. At times in my life I have sought out particular songs to soothe my emotional/spiritual angst, or to satisfy my need for a deeper level of experience, without necessarily being able to pinpoint what is happening. Words do not come as naturally to me as they do to many people I know who create. When I write a song, I always begin with a chord progression, which invites certain words and meanings to join it, and then I continue, with perhaps hundreds of edits, until it seems acceptable to share with others. Along the way I pray for God to bless my songs.

I have felt very honored to be able to write music and worship songs and generally to be involved in the worship choir. I am often hoping and praying it is a way for God to bless others, since it has very much been a blessing in my own life.

Laurie Kaufmann
July 22, 2019
Bulletin: 7/21
Order of Service: 7/21
Sermon: Our Father, Abba
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