Great Discussion on Modern Worship Music

Hey everyone. Over on Jay’s blog is a great discussion on modern worship music in church. I would encourage you to head over there to read the comments and join in with your thoughts. Go HERE to get there. Here is the actual post:

I came into my office this week, grabbed the comments from this Sunday from my box and began reading.  As usual, they ranged from very positive to very negative. Here was what the negative card said. (I have contacted this gentleman and got his permission to quote him)


I found his email from his name and replied with this;

I just want to humbly say I am sorry that you are not finding the music to your liking.  I can assure you from the bottom of my heart the last thing I’m trying to create is what you are referring to as a Rock Concert in the negative sense of that analogy.  Any given week I hear every aspect of input, ranging from way to go, keep it up, to comments such as yours.  I guess you know there is no pleasing everyone, and my ultimate goal is trying to please God.  I recognize I am human, completely capable of error, and am constantly trying to improve and do a better job at what I do.  It is my life, and I’m pouring myself into it every week.  We painstakingly plan and pray over services about a month before they actually happen.

As far as the volume goes, again I hear over and over, its not loud enough, turn it up, and on the same weekends, its too loud, turn it down.  I can assure you that our 9am service is quieter, if volume is an issue for your family.   I also respectively disagree with you on your comment about doing away with repetitive choruses.  The reason so many songs have these (which I often cut back the original number of repetitions), is because there is something to repeating a phrase to God.   It is a form of meditating, of chewing on the thought until it goes from just words, to actually believing in what you are singing and letting God have time to speak that thought to us at a heart level.  Beyond that, I believe it is a matter of taste, preference, and not right and wrong.

Thank you again for your input and for allowing me to respond.


His response;


Thanks for responding to our note. I think that you are sincere and good at what you do, plus the musicianship is great at Sunset. I think contemporary Christian music is wonderful too, but our family and others feel that what you were doing even a year ago was more meaningful, richer, loftier and more conducive to the audience participating by singing. There is nothing wrong with repetition of a chorus that has spiritual depth and content. Again, in looking around at the congregation during worship, a great many are not singing along and that’s a problem. The songs seem to be meant for an increasingly younger audience and the eleven is not filled with young people. Choosing a re-harmonized rearranged hymn like you did last week is a powerful way to combine content with contemporary music. It doesn’t all have to be that way, but the deep meditative nature of worship that you use to achieve, that often brought us to tears, is no longer there for us. I’m sorry, I can’t help it, but lyrics like…” Love, Love , Love…I wanna run, I wanna dance, You are my Joy, You are my Joy, You are my Joy…” are just not very deep.

I’m glad you are open to comments and we appreciate you and what you do. I look forward to further dialogue with you.

Sincerely (have left his name out purposely)

This is great dialogue.  Obviously it stings a little to read things like this when you care, and I care.  But beyond anything personal, because it’s not about me, I am interested in what others think about lyric, repetitive lyric such as “You are my Joy”, a David Crowder song that I love..  To me, that song is very deep.  To claim that Christ is my Joy, and to sing it over and over again,  is that shallow and surfacy?  On some levels, I “get that”, and maybe this makes me a shallow Christian, (I’m not saying this sarcastically, I’m being truthful), but at 34, and having known Christ my whole life, I still need to be reminded over and over again of truths like that.  To me that still hits me on a deeper challenging level of my soul.

  • fmckinnon

    Thanks, T … I’m headed over now!

    For the Kingdom,
    Fred McKinnon

  • jan owen

    My guess it’s still the same thing – style. Crowder is a slightly different style than say a Reuben Morgan Hillsong tune. Believe me, in the past few years singing “You are my joy” is an anthem of faith for me. It’s not something I’d sing lightly. Yes, there is a balancing act so that people have quiet moments with God as well……bu repetition is good for me. I get beyond remembering the words to embracing them without looking at the screens, etc. It becomes a prayer truly.

    I think I get most upset not by the conversation but by the “others feel this way too”. That – quite frankly – always burns me. Talk to me about what you have to say. Let someone else share their thoughts. Without names it’s a cheap shot, in my opinion.

  • dorothy (vicar of vibe)

    Thanks for turning me on to that discussion…I think Jay I think handled that extremely well.
    I have a couple thoughts going on:

    Often different worship services and/or churches have a certain vibe to their worship.
    I tend to have issues when someone comes into an established “vibe” and wants to change it into their personal style.
    We recently had a person on our creative team that started attending our church about a year ago. She loved our church except for the fact we didn’t do enough vintage hymns. (note: we do at least 2-4 a month). But, she wanted to change the vibe to meet her needs.

    I do have to say the kind of statement that really sets me on edge “Back at my old church we…”
    I’ve never heard that sort of comment from an unchurched person (for obvious reasons).

    Also, I’m not sure that is has to do with age. That gal was in the over 50 crowd. But, I fall into that over 50 crowd and I prefer rock worship. My youngest brother is 37 and prefers very classical/traditional worship.

    One of the trends I have been following for many years is that our society is undergoing major changes in the syntax of our lifestyles and communications. It isn’t defined by age/generation . It is defined by technology and mindset.
    I even coined a new tag to define GEND (digital generation). Simply stated you either are digitally connected or not. You either get it or you don’t get it. This digitally enhanced/enabled media is re-defining the boundaries on how various social groups and generations interface with each other: on some very basic levels, i.e. general preferences in lifestyle, communication and worship environments. A new language of interactivity has evolved. And this is giving rise to this digitally divided generation bracket.

    This won’t be resolved any time soon, if ever. There have always been clashes when it comes to the styles of worship music. What I do know is that we have to follow what God is calling us to do. And that it is different at each church.