Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Problem With Worship Music

Here's an excellent article by David Murrow on why men have stopped singing in church. Please read it and then see if you can agree with my comments

David's comments are dead-on accurate, I like having the sheet music available. I may not be able to read it as well as a musician, but I can see that the next note is going to be a half step up or down and it's going to be full, half, quarter, eighth whatever. After a few years of singing out of a hymnal people will eventually learn the rhythm of the hymn from that funny fraction at the beginning of the line. 

But personally I don't believe that doing away with the hymnals or adding more songs to the mix is the real issue, to me (at least) the real issue is the replacing hymns with performance pieces. Hymns are written to be sang along with. What modern worship bands are doing are trying to emulate what they're hearing on Top 40 christian radio, right down to the guitar and vocal riffs that just scream "Listen to me!". These songs are not written for a crowd of weekend songbirds to join in with, but to show off the skills and talents of the band performing them, and sometimes to even praise the Lord. A congregation cannot sing like Whitney Houston (and generally neither can the worship leader) so why is the worship band hitting every note on the scale when the melody only needs a simple step from A to C in an attempt to jazz up the song?

And why are there guitar and keyboard solos in a worship song? The congregation can't sing a guitar solo, they can't join in on a keyboard solo, and if you had them singing and praising the lord why did you make them stop and show off your skills on the Les Paul for two minutes? You just broke up any continuity the congregation was enjoying to emulate a top 40 band on a top 40 station. 

Please, I beg the worship leaders, go through the repertoire and first eliminate any song containing verses taken from the Message, then eliminate any song that's not 100% God centered. Here I'm talking about those love songs that never mention really who loves you or whom you love. We're here to worship, let's sing out loud Who we are worshiping and why we are worshiping Him with every breath. Once that's done review every song as a sing-a-long - can you sing it around a campfire without a band? Definite keeper! If you take the riffs and solos out will the remaining song be short with only a single chorus repeated a few times? Save that for the offering or communion. There are places for performance pieces, but people are there to join in a worship, not stand at a concert.

And lastly, Paul's last sentence in his post is so dead-on right. The first (and unfortunately last) time I actually enjoyed being in a very large congregation the worship band first did a contemporary song, which was accompanied by a small percentage of the congregation. Maybe 10% at best. The next song they did was an actual hymn, How Great Thou Art, all they did was step up the tempo a bit and man! The entire congregation sang with such heart and praise and love for Jesus that they drown out the band! 

Come on worship leaders - I dare you. I dare you to let the congregation join in on the worship.


  1. I worked as a church musician for a number of years, during which time I served both traditional congregations and those whose music preferences ran more towards the contemporary. And the one thing I learned is that if you want to be a church musician you must be adaptable enough to know your congregation and give them what they want. Traditional hymns on a huge pipe organ are all very well if the people like that sort of thing (I personally happen to enjoy all kinds), but if the music isn't appealing you will drive people out of the church.

    When I was working at a contemporary Charismatic church about twenty-five years ago, this was a hot debate, and I am frankly surprised to see it still raging. Change is a constant thing even in the church, and a church that is not changing is a church that is dying.

    I do agree with one of Murrow's points: worship leaders need to introduce new material by teaching it to the congregation. If that is not happening anymore, it's a big mistake, and no wonder if nobody's singing. But in recent years my experience has not been that this is a new trend; worship music is still "invitational," whether with big TV screens, or the worship leader teaching it to the crowd, or a combination of these.

    The kind of music you refer to here seems to be mainly the province of the large, bloated megachurches which are by their very nature more about putting on a show than bringing the church family together on Sunday.

    Traditional, contemporary, or a bit of both; you have to do what fits your congregation. If the people are not being engaged, your music program needs looking into.

    1. I liked the way Chuck Smith did it - some services had contemporary, some had 'old school' hymns. I tried to convince our little church's music coordinator to do an all Country Gospel service. It's a little discerning to have a professional musician of that talent start laughing at you.

      Oh well, that's why God gave us so many worship choices, so we can all love Him in a way that works best for us both.

  2. I am a worship leader, and I dont get it. Why is everyone so focused on everybody singing as though THAT ALONE is what worship is. Hey, God gives us many many ways to worship other than singing a song. If they dont want to, or do not like to sing, dont worry about it and dont try to make worship time a music event only. Read scripture together projected on the screens., Come to the alter and have a church wide large group prayer, Open the floor to allow others to share how they come to know Christ, If still want to do a song, tell the band to take a break, and get in the crowd and lead the congregation in acapella singing of Amazing Grace or any other favorites that dont require screens and bands. Or spend some worship time TEACHING other ways of worship outside of singing. I am sorry guys, I just dont get it with worship leaders, or anyone else in the family of God acting as though worship is just a music thing, and then getting upset because everyone in the crowd does not share that same thought. Our job is not to be just a song leader or performer, it is to lead Gods Congregation in all the ways of worship as the scripture teaches. Music is important, but its not the only way to worship together corporately. .