I grew up listening to Christian music, mostly Amy Grant and Kids Praise. Gotta love Psalty the Songbook! I didn’t even start to listen to music radio until I was in junior high and rode with friends who begged for it in the car, or attending skating parties (Wang Chung always makes me think of roller skates and disco balls as a result).
I find it strange how the music has changed over time. For a while it was a handful of artists on the fringe of the music scene, filling a void for people who refused to listen to secular music. Then artists began popping up who were cleaner imitations of the ones on the radio. Now we’re into this mix of those and a whole host of worship music that has sprung up in conjunction with the praise worship services that are taking over so many churches.
I struggle with figuring out worship context. Traditional hymns weren’t always old-fashioned. In fact, many of the songs Martin Luther wrote were words set to popular bar tunes. The movie “Sister Act” was all about trying to attract people through more modern styles of worship. But I wonder sometimes if we just flounder with copying other churches instead of listening to where God would have us go.
I know the style of worship we had at our last church worked for that congregation in that community. Still does. But duplicating it here in this community and congregation might not be right. However, the fact that our praise services sometimes feel over-rehearsed doesn’t always feel right, either. I like the idea of striking a balance between rehearsal/planning and allowing for the Spirit to move. Of course, I said that last night during rehearsal and got a couple of weird looks. It’s something I’m still trying to figure out for myself.
Another piece to this is the question of the worship team simply singing a song without the congregation. I don’t know if I’m actually opposed to this idea or if it’s leftover from our former praise team leader who was adament about not giving a performance but leading worship (meaning that we invite the congregation to be a part of every song).
I guess the answer lies only with God. Rather than listening to popular wisdom or other writers or pastors or churches or people, I need to pray and listen to what God is telling me. Assuming I will continue to lead the team, that is. We’ll see what happens.