Find out what musical artists Shane & Shane are up to now—and how it can help kids worship.
Shane Barnard and Shane Everett—also known as the Christian praise and worship duo Shane & Shane—bring tight harmonies and expert guitar playing to their music. Now, after more than a decade of constant touring, they’ve shifted the focus of their ministry from making music of their own to discipling and training other musicians in their craft.
We spoke with Shane Barnard, one half of the Shane & Shane duo, about the group’s new direction teaching Christian musicians, called The Worship Initiative.
CM: How do you lead people into worship?
Shane B. We’re absolutely, 100% dependent on the Lord for that. I’m not interested in leading people in songs. You’re talking about facilitating something that’s so powerful and mysterious—it’s leading prayer. You’re leading people in a time where they actually speak to the One who created the heavens and the earth. How to do that? With fear and trembling, and dependence on him; begging him to cause people’s hearts to see him and be willing to fellowship with him in this moment.
CM: How is worship different—if at all—with children?
Shane B. It’s totally the same. The best real-life example of that is how my girls and I sing every night. I just pray that God would make something happen in their hearts that’s more than a song. We sing a lot of Scripture. We can sing cute songs all day long, but if he doesn’t make his way into their hearts and if they don’t actually talk to him, then it doesn’t mean anything.
CM: Tell us about The Worship Initiative, which Worship Leader Magazine named one of its 2014 Editor’s Picks.
Shane B: A year and a half ago we started really moving into more of a discipleship role in regard to worship leaders, songwriters, and musicians. We’ve done a songwriting class at our studio, and on the road, we’ve met a lot of worship teams. God lined up the stars in a way that we could stay home a little bit more and create an online resource that accomplishes a handful of things for worship leaders and musicians.
So online under “Craft Training,” we have the top 110 worship songs that are being done right now—everything from the new ones like “Oceans” and “All the Poor and Powerless” to old school, “Open the Eyes of My Heart” and “Shout to the Lord” to hymns. And we’re adding to that all the time.
Then we bring a band in. We pick our favorite musicians from across the country. We video every part, so we have HD cameras on everything. For every song, we create seven to nine videos. Then we add motion graphics on there with all the chord changes. Any worship leader who has a band can go to the site and learn how to play all sorts of songs. We created a unique version of these songs. Some of them have a country Mumford & Sons folksiness to them, and some of them are “rocky,” and some are a little bit more chill.
We have another section called “Boot Camp”. It’s an instrument training for guitar, drumming, bass guitar, electric guitar, drums, vocals, and all of that.
And then we have “University Classes,” training people in the Word. So we have a lot of options for, say, a firefighter who has three kids and leads worship at his little church, who doesn’t have time to get trained. We’re coming alongside and pouring into them, training them in the Word and training them in their craft.
CM: Your tagline is “Empowering musicians to lead.” Tell us what you mean by this.
Shane B: It’s more than just playing your instrument. Obviously, you have to be able to do that. But it brings the scriptural, spiritual calling into that. You’re equipped and empowered and informed by the Word of God. So what you’re doing is no longer just an outlet to play the drums. It goes a lot deeper now when you look at your calling. It’s a lot more urgent and important when you consider what’s really happening.
CM: The Worship Initiative also mentions “Genuine Heart Training.” Tell us about this.
Shane B.: Another pillar of the initiative is called “Heart Training,” which is our core passion—to walk alongside musicians and worship leaders and ask them to consider their calling. One of the practical things we did was have our favorite writers create a devotional Bible study for every worship song, so we can look at the scriptural meat behind the song.
Heart Training really is “Let’s walk through the Bible together and see what we’re called to do.” We look at who God is and who we are and who he says we are. Then we ask him for grace to walk in those things. We want to be, as a music culture, people who are informed by the Word of God. If we’re not following our spiritual calling, being teachers of the Word, we’re really missing out and so are our people. Music falls way beneath that, so if we’re just going to lead a song, that’s just a time slot we fill without coming into it thinking, Let’s be preachers and pastors in those moments.
CM: How can children’s ministers benefit from the Worship Initiative?
Shane B.: We’re in the process of really simplifying music and music theory in a way that an untrained person can jump right in and play, whether it’s acoustical guitar, or piano, or keyboard—they can find some really good, ground zero. This is where they can start.
We have versions of so many worship songs now, and we’re going to do easy versions of all of them. So children’s ministers can go to the site and learn to play any one of the songs. If they’re doing “Holy Is the Lord” for their children’s group or “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” they can also dive into the Bible study and use that material.
CM: In terms of instrumental craft training, how would you say this is different when leading children?
Shane B.: That’s one reason we’re going to do super-easy versions of all our songs, So if I’m starting with an 8-year-old and teaching him the guitar, I’m going to say things like, “These are strings, and this is a fret, and this is a pick—you use it to drag over the strings and create noise.” We’d be a great support for an 8-year-old who’s taking lessons because all the child would have to do is learn four chords and he could play most of every song.
CM: What are you most grateful for that children’s ministers have invested in your kids?
Shane B.: My kids are 5, 3, and 8 months, and they’re all girls. We’ve had such wonderful people pour into our girls. They’re taking such good care of them. They’re super engaged, they’re making awesome crafts, and they’re sharing Jesus. The being engaged part is such a huge deal—my kids are all in. That’s a blessing.
Kristi Rector is a mom and freelance writer in Colorado.
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