A very interesting opinion written by Thom Schultz on his blog, Holy Soup at holysoup.com. I would agree with a lot of what he says–lots of people have stopped singing because of the amplification, the spectator atmosphere of it all, and the choice of song. But I would also argue that in many cases that helps me worship God more. When I am listening only to the words that I am singing rather than the people around me, I focus more on the worshipful mindset that I should be having. Now I know this is different for many people but that is just how I have grown to enjoy worshiping.
I play electric guitar in my worship band at my church so I also have experience with the leading of the worship. Through my experiences, I have noticed that it is very easy to focus on the professionalism of creating the music. With my youth band, we practiced for weeks trying to get the same set of songs worked out but we just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t until I realized that I was focusing too much on the music and sound rather than what that music and sound is supposed to be doing. As worship leaders, we are supposed to LEAD… WORSHIP. So it is very important to grab hold of the worship that we are lifting to our God rather than all the noises that we are creating with our voices and instruments. And that should translate into our everyday lives as well. When you wake up in the morning, what is your first thought? I know my first thought is, do we have Froot Loops??? This is very important to me because I love a good (fake) fruity cereal for breakfast. It really makes my day just to have that bowl of Froot Loops. But should that really happen? My entire morning is centered around a bowl of fruity cereal. Why should I focus on that when there is a God filling me with his Spirit every day, hoping that I would grow closer to Him every day?
In a way, the spectator aspect of some worship bands has is the result of a group of excited Jesus followers who are worshiping God with all their heart. I hope that we all see that that heart of worship is really what matters in the end. “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
Looking around the church last Sunday I noticed that the majority weren’t singing. And most of those who were singing barely moved their lips. The only voices I actually heard were those on stage with microphones.
That’s been the case for years now–in churches large and small. What used to be congregational singing has become congregational staring.
Even when the chipper “worship leader” in contemporary churches bounds on stage and predictably beckons everyone to “stand and worship,” the people compliantly obey the stand command, but then they turn into mute mannequins.
What’s behind this phenomenon? What happened to the bygone sounds of sanctuaries overflowing with fervent, harmonizing voices from the pews, singing out with a passion that could be heard down the street? I suspect it’s a number of unfortunate factors.
Spectator set-up. Increasingly, the church has constructed the worship service as a spectator event. Everyone expects the people on stage to…
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