There are always conversations on how worship should be done with musical worship in the church. I have seen many different views on it and they have all sounded somewhere between somewhat sane and completely crazy (and that means the bad sort of crazy). I have heard things from bringing in guitars and four piece bands (sane) to having the performers behind a curtain or just a CD (possibly insane). I do understand the value of music in worship and that it has helped many find God in worship. I want to show that the growth of the church has nothing to do with music. There is something more in it. Maybe we should give our congregations more important things to fight for.
God desires mercy over sacrifice (Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13, 12:7).
God desires actions over music.
In his book, In the Name of Jesus, Henri Nouwen leads us in a chapter concerning being relevant. He mentions that being relevant in a culture that demands efficiency and results, and not to mention a smile if it pertains to the Church. There is something that seems comforting in going to a service that has been well tailored and makes us lost in emotion and fuzzy butterflies. To be quite honest, I can point to too many of my events while in youth and even a good number in college that were based in this mindset of the current North American church trying to be relevant to a mistaken culture.
What is our place in this world?
Here is another way of viewing things. What if instead of seeking relevance to the mindset of results, we seek to have relationships? What if we abandoned our fake, miserable smiles and spoke true hope from the Gospel of the Christ? I wonder what would happen if we abandoned the music war, and chased things more important (like the move to make the church a multi-ethnic church or serving the people around you better)?
A few more questions:
Why do we think that everyone outside the church values our praise and worship?
Is it possible that many do not care for the new styles that we are trying to push?
Are our messages powerful and do they incite people to action?
I cannot expect music to be the Godly hook, though many use it as a popular hook. I think that there are many important things that we have been forgetting. We must remember again that God desires mercy over sacrifice. Music will not grow a church in the end. It’s surprising that we have spoiled our youth with all new music in worship and when they get to the “big church” they become bored in leave when they are young adults. To be quite blunt, we created a spoiled and bored youth. We may be against partying by binge drinking, drugs, and sex, but is that type of ecstasy so different than going to a youth group for games music and feel-good message? I say that we need to give our people meaning in ministry.
I would back this up with statistics (I might add them later). The last statistic I heard was by ear from a professor in 2007. The Church that grew the most was the Orthodox denomination. The reason for switching to them was most commonly stated to be that God seemed more present in worship.
I end with two questions:
Are you going to church for what you can receive?
Or are you going to the Church for what God requires of you?
Grace and peace to you all.