Death of Congregational Singing

Friday, September 05, 2008
On a recent blog post by John Piper he refers to an article by Michael Raiter on the 'The Slow Death of Congregational Singing'. It's a must read for all Worship Leaders. Part of my reason for blogging about this is to record this piece for later use.

The premise of what Michael talks about is the death of true singing in the church caused by determining that singing or music is old covenant with little mention in the New Testament and thus worship is broadened in the new covenant to solely lifestyle and obedience. I love the way he dispels this view by explaining Ephesians 5:18-21:

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"
Ephesians 5:18-21

"So the first thing to notice is that when Paul talks about singing together, he's not giving us commands. There is only one imperative in the passage, and that is to be filled by the Spirit. Then, when you are filled with Jesus, certain things will naturally and almost spontaneously follow. When you are drunk with wine, there are inevitable behavioural consequences; similarly, when God's people are filled with Jesus, among other things, they will spontaneously and inevitably sing."
Michael Raiter

Second and even more challenging point that struck me from his article is that the modern phenomena of worship or as he calls it "Hillsongization" is killing worship. Globalisation has allowed the modern worship phenomena to spread across to all corners of the world where a worship has been standardised and packaged for the mass market. Worship should be a lateral dimension, encouraging and spurring on of the people around us, not a concert where the band is cranked up to 10 .

"I liken the ministry of song leaders to that of John the Baptist. They must decrease as the people of God increase (John 3:30). When the song begins, we may hear the voices of the leaders and the sounds of the instruments, but by the end of the song, it is the voices of the people of God that should dominate. But sadly, in most churches, the very opposite is happening: John the Baptist won't leave the stage."
Michael Raiter

I think we are all in a danger of this , its the very root of sinful man's desire to be god and bring glory to himself. I know myself I get caught up in the need of improving musical skills, acquiring new musicians with new types of instruments to play the latest songs and often forget the real purpose. These things are good and we must do the best with the gifts God has given us but we can't let the beauty of man's creation over take the beauty and glory of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

What does your favourite music say about you?

A few weeks ago I did an acoustic night were I played some of my "non-churchy" songs. On the night I realised for the first time that my songs are quite depressing, not ideal for a lighthearted youth evening. Thank goodness my diction's not great when I sing. So it got me thinking that maybe I have some depressive tendencies and I've got to write some more happy songs. My wife does say she always wants to kill herself after listening to my music though maybe that cause its so bad :)

Anyway the BBC reported on a study of music style tastes being linked to personality which was carried out by the university I studied at. According to the study I am creative, not hard-working, not outgoing, gentle, at ease, not gentle and have low self-esteem (my favourite styles being Indie/Rock/Metal). No comments please!

BLUES - High self-esteem, creative, outgoing, gentle and at ease

JAZZ - High self-esteem, creative, outgoing and at ease

CLASSICAL MUSIC - High self-esteem, creative, introvert and at ease

RAP - High self-esteem, outgoing

OPERA - High self-esteem, creative, gentle

COUNTRY AND WESTERN - Hardworking, outgoing

REGGAE - High self-esteem, creative, not hardworking, outgoing, gentle and at ease

DANCE - Creative, outgoing, not gentle

INDIE - Low self-esteem, creative, not hard working, not gentle

BOLLYWOOD - Creative, outgoing

ROCK/HEAVY METAL - Low self-esteem, creative, not hard-working, not outgoing, gentle, at ease

CHART POP - High self-esteem, not creative, hardworking, outgoing, gentle, not at ease

SOUL - High self-esteem, creative, outgoing, gentle, at ease

Wordle: More Jesus

Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Thanks to the simple pastor I've now wordled my blog. Basically its a website that shows you what words you use the most in a cool design. 'Worship' features strong as you would expect and so does 'God' but I don't see no 'Jesus'

Ok I need more 'Jesus'.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, JesusJesus, JesusJesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus

I'll try again