5 Reasons Your Church Should Add Loops to Your Worship Music

clint-taylorToday we have a very special guest blogging at unSeminary! Clint Taylor is one of the worship leaders at Liquid Church. He’s a sharp thinker and a sensitive soul. He’s also a fantastic musician and pastoral leader in our community. I asked him to write about what he’s learning as we’ve been adding loops to all of our music teams over the last few months.

I’m also honored to be on the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast today. In the podcast, I mention how the church needs to add more EDM beats to worship music. The post below will give you a sense of how Clint is leading the charge at our church. Check out his blog and start following him on Twitter!

One of the biggest accomplishments for my worship team in the last few years has been our ability to pull off some of the most challenging songs. My team is 100% volunteer and it has nothing to do with my own musicianship. The reason for our success is that we play to backing tracks, which are also called loops. That may make some people think of an ostentatious pop diva mouthing a song instead of singing with her God-given vocal cords. Yes, that is an example of a backing track, but it’s nothing like how churches are using them today.

Churches all over are turning to loops to add elements otherwise impossible outside of recording studios. Don’t think of it as cheating. It is using available technology to get the most out of your worship team sonically. Backing tracks augment a team’s sound and allow them to achieve a fullness and variety that may not have existed before. Here are five points to consider:

  • Instantly add EDM (electronic dance music) elements // Most current, up-tempo worship songs have some sort of electronic element that is difficult to pull off in a church service. It may be a bed of synths or a single electronic sound that is pivotal to the song’s feel. Now your band can play along to the original masters. Websites like offer complete master sessions of thousands of songs. Your team can easily extract any part they want from the song.
  • It doesn’t cost much money // Every church is on a budget. The equipment you need to add loops is not expensive, assuming your church already has a computer available. The most common software for adding backing tracks is called Ableton. The entry-level version of this program runs about 99 dollars. You also need two direct boxes and a stereo cable, which you can pick up at a local music store. Add ear monitors to allow your team to play along with a metronome in sync. Now you’re ready to rock and roll!
  • Add instruments that may be missing on a Sunday // Is your team sometimes missing a musician, such as a keyboard or guitar player? You can easily add keyboards, synths or any instrument to your loops. Or single out just the electric guitar audio from a master session for your team to play along with. Even if you have a guitarist, you can add another electric guitar with your backing track.
  • Ear cues keep your band in check // When your team is playing with loops, they’re all playing to a single metronome fed to their ear monitors. With Ableton, you can include vocal cues for every part of each song. A voice counts the team in to each section. For example, when a tune begins, they will hear “Intro 2 3 4” and begin playing as if the worship leader said it himself. Ever since my worship team started this, we have never been tighter!
  • Access to practically every mainstream worship song // With resources such as and your worship team can buy—for a very small price—backing tracks to any song. The key is not overdoing it. Use subtle elements in the tracks to ever-so-slightly beef up your team. If it is done well, your congregation will never know what they hear isn’t being achieved with a live instrument.


  1. Loops can be cool, but they shouldn’t be used for every single song.

    What’s wrong with just a metronome? Why limit your band to loops and tracks? If you’ve hired members for their talents, why not let those shine through instead of some track that isn’t actually a human member of the band? And what about if the spirit calls them to repeat a verse or a chorus – will that call go unheeded because of the voice in their in-ears?

    From what I’ve scene the loops are hardly “subtle” – often times they are the main hook to a song which could easily be played by a keyboardist or guitarist anyway.

    Worship isn’t a rock show. Worship needs more human elements, not computer elements. Let’s connect people through meaningful songs and not just what’s “cool” at the moment.

  2. We’ve been using loops for several years now. I believe in them 100 percent. Not only does it fill in gaps and help enhance the auditory presentation, it also raises standards and provides learning tools for the musicians. As to the human elements, there are more than enough on stage already. And regarding the very necessary influence of the Holy Spirit; we as worship leaders are responsible to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in prayerful preparation at the time we are arranging the songs/tracks and long before we step onto the stage. If we were honest with ourselves, we would admit that anything less is simply laziness disguising itself as spontaneous Holy Spirit guidance. And lastly, loops and tracks are how it works in the pros.

  3. Sorry, but how does using backing tracks help musicians learn? You’re taking parts away from them instead of letting them figure out another way of playing the song.

    If a song NEEDS to have a track to invoke a worshipful response, then there might be something wrong. If your band NEEDS tracks to invoke a worshipful response, then there might be something wrong.

    And I’m not saying you shouldn’t prep. Structure is still a good thing and rehearsal is necessary. I’m just saying that what happens if the Spirit decides to come down on a congregation and suddenly your worship leader needs to change it up a bit? Not leaving room for that seems more disgusting.

    And also, I’ve never heard of “professional worship”. Technology is great and can be helpful to worship. Other times, it’s not so great and can lead to blandness.

  4. We started using loops about 6 months ago along with pads to enhance worship. They have greatly helped our band fill out and have more confidence. We are an all volunteer band so we have missing musicians from time to time but we never replace instruments with our loop but instead use them to fill in with clicks and synthetic and the like. This has added newness to my leading as I have been doing this 13 years. Now I make my own loops for some original songs and it’s a lot of fun. We have never been more free in worship because we mostly use the loop tracks on the bigger songs and just pads as the set progresses. We add to the songs after the tracks ends with just the band, hare prayer, share and many time do another chorus or verse. Loops don’t keeps you from doing any of that. Me and one other guy book concerts for our church and help the band’s setup. We’ve had Big Daddy Weave, Finding Favor, Unspoken, Aaron Shust, Chris August and many more. All used loops and backing tracks. Very worshipful and free if you just learn to use them correctly.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.