Ending on the 4 Chord

Jimi Williams —  October 16, 2008


 A really simple way to dip your toe into free worship is to end a song on the 4 chord. If you are playing in the key of G, that means ending on a C chord, or better yet a C2 chord, which is a C chord with an added D note.

Continue to strum the chord and encourage your congregation to speak out the names of God. You and your worship team may have to help get them started – “Almighty”, “Everlasting”, “Jehovah Jireh”, “Prince of Peace”, etc. This will hopefully create an atmosphere in which the congregation feels more at ease to speak aloud. During this time of free worship, you can even alternate back in forth between the 4 chord (C) to the 5 chord (D) for a little variation.

While listening, try and pick out one of the names that seems to fit what the Holy Spirit is doing at the time. Begin to sing that name of God back to your congregation making up a melody on the spot. It may feel a little awkward at first, but you’ll get better at this the more you do it.

As you try out this new technique, it might take a few tries to get your congregation on board, but after awhile it will become a meaningful part of your worship. As with any worship element, try not to do it the same every time. Try and mix it up. You’ll find some things that work and others that don’t. Don’t be afraid to try out new forms of worship and learn from what works best with your congregation. Overall, just remember that the goal is to direct our thoughts toward God and recognize Him for who He is.

Let’s worship!

Jimi Williams

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Jimi is VP of Worship Resources for Capitol CMG Publishing, overseeing all Worship Together initiatives and resources. He also leads worship at his home church and at various events and conferences.

4 responses to Ending on the 4 Chord

  1. I’ve been leading worship for years and would say this: If we pray with the Spirit and with understanding, wouldn’t it make sense to worship God in the same way? We should have our total being engaged in worship. Sometimes our mind, sometimes our spirit, sometimes our body, sometimes all 3 simultaneously, or a combination of them. What God wants is our passionate, unreserved, love and worship. whatever you have to give to Him, give it. We shouldn’t be tied to a form, method, or style. As sure as there a billion different personalities, there are at least that many personal ways to worship God. Need we remember Carman’s song “7 ways to praise?”

  2. lets see saying over and over holy at the throne of God, wonder where this is found, could it be this is a hobby horse,
    think not
    lets remember in Spirit and Truth and what it means
    our hearts need to be engaged, in the prepared or spontaneous, and just singing crafted words can also be done with the brain switched off
    spontaneous can be great when the heart has been engaged with God thru His presence and word

  3. Give me a break!
    Why is this any more worshipful than singing and meditating on deep and passionate words that a composer has spent considerable time crafting? Or singing a melody he/she has laboured over (equally with the help of the Spirit)?
    Why is the Spirit more involved in spontaneous things than prepared things?
    This seems to run the risk of sharing each others hobby horses, and droning monotonous melodies and mantra-like phrases, rather than worshipping in Spirit and truth. We don’t switch off our brains when we worship God (Rom 12:1-2; 1 Cor 14:14-19)

  4. thanks for writing this. it’s small elements like this that we often forget to tell leaders about as we teach. good stuff!