Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Worship Philosophy

Someone recently asked whether I liked worship music led with a band or single singer or what?

Haha. That’s like asking which of my children I love most. As a music grad and former choir conductor, I like it all. While I am not fond of the amount of time and work it takes to put the bigger groups together, the end result creates lifelong memories for those who are involved.

With music, as with any ministry, relationship with the Lord and with the people is of greater importance than musical style. I must hold loosely my desire for a specific outcome and work fervently to cultivate healthy relationships.

Church-goers sometimes place too high a value on their preferred genre to the point of causing division by erroneously equating certain styles with holiness. That said, there is a time and place for everything, depending on the service theme and intended effect, from acapella soloist (poignancy and intimacy) to choir and orchestra (ethereal and dynamic transcendence) and everything in between.

I find the 5-piece band “Contemporary Christian” sound is wearing a little thin, but once in a while some exceptional songs are still surfacing from that genre from those who are true worshippers and not just performers.

I value the density, harmonies and solid theology of hymns, but if we seek to only placate the hymn-loving seniors through a mish-mash of music compromise, we will lose the future of the church. We need to be looking at what our 13-21 year olds are listening to and consider how the church needs to adjust to keep them connected to corporate faith gatherings. I don’t advocate bringing secular lyrics and style into the church but superb music has God’s glory written all through it.

It is part of our God-created image to also seek connection through all forms of creative expression: visual art, dance, drama, poetry, monologues, dramatic scripture readings, comedy, decorations, video, lighting and so on. These should not be excluded from our corporate worship, as they can inspire a greater, more comprehensive understanding of our great God.

I think part of a Worship Director’s role is to create opportunities for artists within the church to develop and be involved as often and as much as possible (ie. equipping the saints for the work of the ministry) and to build personal relationships with the members of the congregation so there is an eagerness and willingness to work together in helping one another encounter God through all genres in corporate gatherings.

How’s that for a boatload of thoughts to a simple question? Disclaimer: God has given me opportunities to minister through music for many years and I have seen what ministers and what divides. At this moment in my life, God has not called me into leading corporate worship, though he is teaching much about personal worship in my own devotional life.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. Cntemporary gospel and worship music are great forms. As a church musician and liturgical dancer, however, I love sacred music. There's nothing like an anthem, a classic hymn, an old call and response devotional service...all of it has the power to move my spirit (and does).
    Peace and good.