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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Quiet Time: Better Than The Last Band

Better Than the Last Band

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – Colossians 3:16

“My concern with developing a contemporary worship service is latent pressure,” my pastor friend said as he nervously fingered the empty coffee cup in front of him.  Our conversation took place back in the early 1980s when contemporary music had not yet taken a firm hold in the local church worship service. He was contemplating the move from hymn based worship songs to the new contemporary worship music that was blowing like wild fire through many growing church congregations thanks to the new “Seeker Sensitive” church movement. He continued, “What I mean is, if we’re not careful we may find ourselves competing to make the next worship service better than the last; a never ending push to come up with the next great show…err…worship experience.”

I understood his concern having experienced, in a small way, the “You’re only as good as your last performance”, attitude via my stent in the secular music industry. There, if you wanted to keep your audience coming back, you’ d better be better than the last band they heard, even if that last band was you! You know, Sunday mornings can take on that show biz mentality. We can find ourselves working to keep the “audience” coming back instead of simply performing for the “Audience” Who never leaves us or forsakes us (Heb. 13:5).

Frankly, I don’t know what God thinks about the contemporary church growth movement. I don’t suppose music style matters much to Him. However, I do know that substance is an integral part of true worship and that it takes a lot of practice for me to reach the point where I sense that the lyrics and music have meaningfully engaged my mind and spirit (1 Cor. 14:15; John 4:24). That being the case, I work hard at my craft to be the best that I can be regardless of who’s in the audience or how good I was last week.

 If there’s one thing I know for certain, it is that the One person in the audience Who’s always listening hears my heart before a single note is sung. I never need to worry about Him not coming back; He never leaves.

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