Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Worship music (heart language)

I've been thinking a lot about worship music lately. I realize "worship" includes more than just music; and that one can worship while listening to music; but what I'm thinking about is the gathering of people to sing together - as one does in a typical Sunday morning church service.

Personally, I like music; I like worship music; I enjoy singing; and I am inspired by times when I truly can worship God in song. I have been a little frustrated with it lately though. It's not because the musicians at our church aren't good, nor is the sound quality poor. I actually feel more frustrated with myself because our worship leaders are very good at what they do and it seems most people really get into it. However, there are a few that would really make it better for me. I doubt that I will ever bring this to their attention, so I'll just write it here.

1. I want to be able to sing from the heart. I remember Reggie McNeal saying something once about the need for people to worship in their own "heart language" (or something like that). I'm not exactly sure what he meant, but to me, sometimes I want to be able to sing with my eyes closed. I want to get lost in what I'm singing. That's hard to do when we are constantly learning new songs, when the words are consistently late or wrong on the screen, or when the worship leader decides they want to change how a song is usually done. So what would help?
  • Don't be afraid to sing some of the same songs over and over. Not everyone spends their day listening to worship music. Familiarity is not always a bad thing. Let us get to know some standard songs.
  • Make your computer person a part of the worship team. Yes, it is important. At least to some people.  Make them practice with the band so they know what to expect.
  • Remember that congregational/group singing is just that - it is for a group of people. We are not there just to watch an individual or a couple people - that's a performance; we want to PARTICIPATE.
2. I don't come to church to hear pop music. I know, I sound old now, don't I? I also understand that many people will be familiar with the pop music they hear over and over and over again on the local Christian radio station. But again, that doesn't mean everyone spends all day listening to it. There is also nothing wrong with music that is popular, or hymns that are new, but being relevant doesn't mean a song has to be popular AT THAT TIME. Don't be afraid to delve into the archives now and then (or regularly).

3. If you're going to lead, then lead. If you are leading worship, then by all means -- LEAD WORSHIP!!! Yes, I know certain songs sound cool on the radio when one person leads one verse and another leads the next (or whatever), but AGAIN, when you are leading a GROUP OF PEOPLE, they need a compass point; a leader to follow. If we don't know who that is, it causes hesitancy. No one wants to blurt out the wrong word or come in at the wrong time. Enable us to sing together.

Eh.... this isn't really how I wanted this to sound, but you probably get the idea. I am really not concerned if the music is new or old, if it's loud or soft, fast or slow... but when I gather to sing with a group - I want to be able to sing with the group! Maybe I'm asking too much. I'm starting to think I'm just too hard to please. So, here's to hoping I get over it soon.