Thursday, March 01, 2007

Because I can't sing or dance.

Brent has sparked my interst with a post entitled, But I don't sing. It's worth a read and got me thinking about the state of affairs with regard to churches and worship and singing.

It's tough. We've been conditioned to see two groups of people in this regard, the entertainers and the entertained, and never the twain shall meet. Churches often appoint/hire a worship team, who may at time worship at the congregation or worship for them. After all, they're the ones who do it well.

Because some can't (i.e., don't) sing well, they are happy to defer to the professionals. But, God saved that person to be a worshipper and he/she will have a lifetime of worship in the hereafter. Why not get some experience in now? Consider this life choir practice for when we get on the big stage in glory.

But, honestly, some people don't sing well. Why? I think this is partly an effect of our culture, even the church. For example, people aren't taught to read music much anymore. Fewer play instruments, but prefer the radio.

What about singing lessons? Is that so outlandish?

I train preachers to preach. Would it be odd to teach worshippers to worship? Not merely by example, but by teaching them about musical slooge (whatever that might be)?

There's a fine line between "make a joyful noise" no matter how noisy and pandering mediocrity. But, is there not a way to have everyone sing, but enable and encourage everyone to sing better?

What I mean is, what if we actually tried to improve in this area? Think about it.

I'm so pleased that at Providence Church we have folks (e.g., Stephanie) who are taking the time on Sunday nights to teach our kiddos about music theory and performance. We're training them to be worshippers, who worship in spirit and truth with the voice God gave them, tuned to greater performance.

It's often said, "God doesn't care what you sound like" to encourage folks to sing and sing loudly. But, is that true? Should I say to our pianist, "God doesn't care what you play like?" Should I say to the preaching student, "God doesn't care what you preach like?"

Some would say, "Absolutely!" I don't know about that. I'd love to have any verse to back that up, but it seems to me that if we're doing it for God and His glory, we should strive to do it as well as we can.

I'm not a fan of the false dichotomy of professional/performance level excellence or not at all. I'm thinking you take what you got and invest the time and energy (and potentially money) in developing it.

Folks would practice a speech for a class for a grade, but some would not think to prepare to worship (even some praise bands, so as to not "stifle the Spirit").

Just because you can't sing or dance doesn't mean you have to become a fighter or that you can only be worshipped at. It means you should do the best to cultivate what you have to best use it for His honor and glory in worship.

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2 Comments:

At 01 March, 2007 07:46, Blogger Lance Ward said...

Thought-provoking post. In reference to your second paragraph (entertainers vs. entertained), it is so easy for the average churchee to view worship as a spectator, rather than a participant (unless he's on the worship team). Sadly, we seem to be so convinced that worship = music (so if we don't have the chords for it, we can't worship), that we see the other elements as stuff on the side, so we either: 1) Judge a service by the music, alone; and/or 2) Eliminate other aspects of worship that invite the people to participate, rather than watch from the stands (reciting Scripture, creeds, public prayer, offering, listening to the Word preached). A long time ago, I heard a man question the act of taking up an offering during a worship service, because "it interrupts the flow of worship." What he meant to say was that it interrupted the flow of MUSIC. God forbid that we would "interrupt" music by an act that perhaps reveals more about the God/gods we worship more than anything else in the service.
All that to say that as CRUCIAL as music is to worship, it seems that we need a reformation today in all aspects of worship, so that we not only value our participation in music but also treasure and fully participate in Divine Delight from the time we walk in the door to the time we head to Dairy Queen.

 
At 01 March, 2007 10:29, Blogger GUNNY said...

Absolutely, good points, Lance.

Worship is more than singing, so much more. We try to distinguish this in our bulletin by labeling things as

Worship through Song and Worship through Giving and whatnot.

That way they know it's all worship, even beginning with the sacrament of announcements. ; )

If we have worship time and then sermon time, then we teach them that worship is limited to singing.

In other words, Amen, brother, and make mine a Peanut Buster Parfait.

 

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