Shut up and sing!

Friday, January 30, 2009
In recent years I've come full circle in a lot of things. Growing up in a tradional style church meant hymn sandwiches while youthful rebellion led me to the joys and ecxtasy of a charasmatic worship session with it's multiple songs played repetitively and continueously without interruption. I had always detested any interruption in the 'flow' of worship. More recently I coming round to a more balanced view that we need both the musical 'flow' but we also need to engage brain, be extoled, encouraged through testimoney, hear God's word etc

Kyle did a totally unscientific survey on his blog of what people thought of worship leaders who speak in the middle of a worship set. Over 80% of the small number of people voted said that talking in the middle of worship distracted and annoyed them.

Maybe I should do a blog poll?

Worship Matters: Who needs a Worship Leader anyway?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Continuing in my read of Bob Kauflin's 'Worship Matters - Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God'' as promised a few more thoughts.

In his chapter about what a worship leader does, he comments:

"Humanly speaking, the pastor is the worship leader. He is the one responsible before God for the corporate worship of the church".

The term 'worship leader' has only appeared in the last 30 or so years and has risen with the prominence of the music band. I suspect mirroring secular band's 'front man' singer who more often than not has become the face and mouth of the band.

So if a worship leader leads the music at the start of a church service and then sits down, does that mean we all stop worshipping when the preacher gets up to speak. Have we narrowed the definition of worship by using the term Worship leader? Paul in the Bible was a great if not one of the greatest 'worship leaders' but there's only a couple of occasions we see him leading musically.

A great quote from D.A Carson:

"I would abolish the notion of a 'worship leader'. If you want to have a "song leader" who leads part of the worship, just as the preacher leads part of the worship, that's fine. But to call the person a 'worship leader' takes away the idea that by preaching, teaching, listening to and devouring the word of God, and applying it to our lives, we are somehow not worshipping God"

I grew up in a more traditional church where worship was led by the preacher/pastor while someone played the music. This has been the tradition in the church for hundreds of years.

So should we do it old school and let the musicians know their place or should the musicians be encouraged to take a step forward and indeed help the pastor/elder/vicar to lead worship

Is God bored of modern 'Worship Music'?

Monday, January 26, 2009
It's official, worship music is boring!

Outgoing UK Evangelical Alliance leader, Joel Edwards has commented on the current state of 'worship' and 'worship music' as boring. Here's the full quote thanks to Musicademy:

"There is something about the charismatic movement which brought something new and fresh. It came out of something new God was doing.

I am thirsty for something new again. I have to confess to you that mostly on a Sunday morning I am bored! And I wonder if one of the reasons why people are not singing is because they too are bored.

It may be a good thing to discover what you would write down if you spent two months noting what songs are sung on a Sunday morning. I cannot believe that so much of our repertoire has become so narrow. So predictable. That the formation of what we do on a Sunday is so utterly predictable. And I think to myself, how come the God who has formed the constellations and put the stars in place and has a new idea every second, doesn’t have something new for us for a Sunday morning? I wonder whether he might not be vaguely bored too.”

This is something I've posted on in the past, 'Worship Music' becoming consumerist, individualistic and narrow. Though the very idea of worship being boring is a very consumerist mentality in itself. But I suspect Joel was getting at the lack of variety and dependence on a certain form of worship.

I do like how he describes God as having a new idea every second.

I suggest maybe part of the solution to Joel's comments is too change 'Worship' from being a self absorbed activity of me and God to more of a community based activity. In simple getting people involved, expecting contributions. If everyone on a Sunday morning somehow contributed to the service I'm sure we would have countless different types of expressions of worship to God.

This is something our church has been trying to do over the last six months or so. This happened due to the need of a more family orientated worship to include everyone from from the youngest child to the older generation. The spin off from this is that we've become slightly more creative in how we do worship. We still have a way to go. I, myself, still have more stepping out and taking risks to do.

Indeed we still use music which I suspect will be the bulk of our worship activity on a Sunday morning for the near future. Though I have tried to reach back and find old songs instead of grabbing the newest, latest songs. Mainly because the past holds a variety of music styles from hymns to choruses and an ever greater spectrum of topics.