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Question: I am trying to pick out songs for our very first ICF. We have some very low-level English speakers in the group. What songs have you found worked well? I'm looking for something with not too many words and not a lot of Christianese. Suggestions appreciated.
Answer #1: I like your question a lot. A couple of things that come to mind;
*Current, popular contemporary Christian songs may not be a good fit for your group. Don't assume that what you personally love or what your church/house of worship love will be loved by students.
*After over 20 years in the Music Therapy profession, and after 20 years in a local ICF, the songs that the students have loved best (and still do!) are "As the Deer," "Lord, I Lift Your Name On High", "IN His Time", and some of the more known hymns...but they can be complicated.
*Music and songs for worship are good springboards for English language tutorials and explanation. It is helpful for students to know what they are singing!
*On the other hand, the Holy Spirit touches hearts even if they don't know what they are singing very well.
*There are a few current songs that our students have enjoyed, "Our God", "How Great Is Our God", and even a few more contemporary things. Choose songs that don't have tricky melodies for the newer student. Songs that encompass the Scriptures and key elements of salvation can be good picks for the newer student.
I hope this is helpful to you. I could go on about this for a long time but I won't unless you want me to. I dont' know everything..but I do know a lot!
Answer #2: Sara Mitchell who I think is still there in Philly played the piano and had a number of songs that she used. I remember she said they had sung “God Bless America” and there was some discomfort. They then sang it again, “God Bless China” and for every country represented.
We have not used songs here. Part of it is that my voice has the tendency to empty rooms. Part of it is that we don’t do a traditional ICF.
There is a church, Austin International Fellowship (AIF) that follows the CPM model. I send students there rather than bringing them to the church that we go to that has 6,000 on a Sunday. They of course sing hymns. One of the struggles they have is what songs speak worship to the various “rotating” nationalities..
This is a book by a friend of mine for his PhD thesis on Music Ethnocology … developing worship songs for churches being developed in new ethnic groups. http://www.amazon.com/All-World-Singing-Frank-Fortunato/dp/1932805818/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378494828&sr=1-1
Answer #3: One of our fall favorites is “He Knows My Name”. We joke about no one being able to pronounce their names so for some of them they are drawn to the thought that there is a God who does know their name and cares for them.
We also do a light hearted version of Country Roads (South Dakota).
Answer #4: We don't have an ICF, and we don't use songs that much. However, our church has a thriving children's ministry, and Seeds Family Worship was suggested to us in the past. They pretty much take Bible verses and set them to (generally contemporary/rock style) music, which is great for helping children (and adults) remember them. I have been wondering if they would work for international students for a while now. Perhaps you can try some of them out and let me know how it goes?
Here's the link: http://www.seedsfamilyworship.net/
There are a few samples here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=seeds+family+worship+channel&oq=seeds+famil&gs_l=youtube.3.1.0l10.192.5807.0.74188.8.131.52.184.108.40.2064.6379.1j0j3j6-5j0j1.10.0...0.0...1ac.1.11.youtube.NCvep8_B9ZY
Hope that helps! Dan
Answer #5: Check these out (attached). Words only, you could find music I suppose, for a few you like most. Music Book 2 has guitar chords, but only a few are usable.
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