The family and I spent several months searching for a new home church, since finding that the church I grew up in was too far away to maintain relationships. From a previous post you may remember the check list.
1) Good message
2) Good worship
3) Good people
4) People our age (preferably with kids the same age as ours)
5) Good children’s program
Rare is there all five characteristics in one church body and while I do understand no church is going to be like my old church, its hard to know when you find your new church home and when to move on.
Anyway . . . I think we’re there! Good Message. Good People. A Children’s Program. (A few) people our own age. Added bonus – my mother-in-law goes to church there too. The kids love going to church with their Grammie and she loves having us sit in the pew beside her. The only thing . . . the worship sucks! No offense. I have great hopes for the future. There is talent and new church leadership is sensitive to their shortcomings.
Worship is EXTREMELY important to me. I don’t have words to describe it. I also don’t have the words to communicate the feeling of nails on a chalkboard uninspired squawking on a stage labeled as worship creates either. It drives me nuts! I understand making a place in any worship service for yourself even with the driest songs and worst leadership, but I also recognize the distraction bad worship can be for the congregation. Instead of preparing the heart to hear the word I spend the time being irritated about what’s going on on stage while the congregation zones out. All that aside, I spend way too much time thinking during the service when I should be listening. This last Sunday I was thinking about the shelf life of songs, in particular, worship songs. Here’s the theory I came up with last Sunday.
I think there are very few songs that hold their power beyond the time in which they were written. This goes for songs of the world and songs of the church. The Beatles wrote a few songs that outlived their performance of them. “Amazing Grace” will always touch the heart. But, Lord knows, one hit wonders abound and last year’s hits are long gone. Even recent powerhouse worship songs like “Shout to the Lord” and “How Great is Our God” aren’t what they were the first ten times you heard them. I feel like most inspired worship music is given for specific times in the church body’s growth. God’s word is evolving as he gives new inspiration and breathes new life into the Word of God. He is not stagnant nor is our relationship with him. The same goes for worship music. New inspiration is given and new leaders and song writers step up each with their own skills and talents to be used. While there are a few universal messages that never lose their power, you don’t recycle sermons. Worship songs are endlessly replayed and recycled and rarely with the power and intention of the original writers and musicians. If you’re going to do an oldie but goodie, I feel like you should at least put a modern spin on it. I love what recent musicians have done with some of the classic hymns – adding a chorus to what is usually a bunch of wordy verses, playing with instrumentation and even the chords. Traditional Christmas songs are the best example of this. Wordy, traditional chords, no repetitive chorus, no emotional upswing just one feel the whole way thru. The list goes on. The words aren’t the problem for most of the traditional hymns. More often than not, they’re straight from the Psalms. The problem is you LISTEN to wordy songs, you don’t enter into worship with them!
I could continue to expound (or rant, if you will), but I think I have said enough for now.