It's been a hugely long time since I posted anything. Apologies to any who may have been wondering if I'd ever write here again. If you're wondering if this is perhaps my long-awaited return to the blog, the answer to that wondering is yes... and no.
Yes, because I am here and writing. No, because the purpose of this post is to direct you to another. A seminary friend of mine named Russell Cravens has written some thought-provoking words about music in corporate worship that I thought were worth passing along. Here's a link to his blog, and below is the text of his article. I'll be back soon with my own thoughts, I promise.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Thoughts: Music in Worship
I like church. I like music. It is an important tool in church life to help Christians approach God with a solitary voice in worship. I have random thoughts about music in worship.
Here are few:
1. Worship, generally speaking, originally involved slaughtering animals (Leviticus). It was bloody and smelly. It required long waits in line before watching the worship leader (priest) take your best animal and kill it. It seems possible that we have lost an element of that in our worship today; that is, I wonder if our worship is way too easy and entirely too clean.
2. The greatest worship songs every written (Psalms) came out of struggle, despair, and a big view of the mysterious God. If a group of worshippers does not seem that they are worshipping, the last thing we need to focus on is “better songs” or a “better leader”. We need to pray more. We need to pray that our people are gripped by a big view of God (Go Here). Dare I say, we need to ask God to bring struggle to our people. I guarantee that the people that sing the loudest are those that have the greatest need (think: prisons, mission field, broken hearted).
Excursus: Worship Leaders! If people are not singing your songs, please do the following:
1. Ask a non-musician if they make sense. They may make sense to you, but if they don’t make sense to the average person then you should not use them to lead the average person in worship. Your songs can be cool and entertaining, but if they are not leading people in “spirit and truth” to worship God then you have become an entertainer. The church doesn’t need any more entertainers.
2. Check your theology. Your first responsibility as a worship leader is to be a theologian. Turn off your apple computer and pick up your Bible. Commit to some classes where someone spends the entire time telling you what God says in the Bible. It is not enough to listen to the preacher’s sermon, because it is filled with filler so that people don’t get lost or bored or annoyed by all the theology and doctrine. This requires that you read books that are hard to understand, were written hundreds of years ago, and will not interest your average worship leader who knows a few cords and everyone else’s songs.
3. Sing less. The remedy to songless Christians is not more songs. Songs will spring up among Christians when they stand speechless and wanting before Yahweh. They will not stand speechless and wanting before Yahweh until they feel deeply the gravitousness of their sin and the limitless nature of God’s love. This will not happen with your songs. It happens with the proclamation of the Scriptures. I am sorry that we have relied so heavily on you to make our people care about hearing from God.