God's Taste or Mine? – Some Choruses, a Pep-talk, and an Offering, part 10 of 20

A few years back, a full-page ad was taken out in our local newspaper; a new church was starting across town. Here is what they promised would-be worshipers: “Clips from your favorite movies; Casual attire; Coffee to drink during the presentation; Contemporary music: rock or pop, by Ian McMurren and the Next Band; Most of all, you’ll experience practical teaching that really helps”. Not too difficult to figure out who that worship service was designed for.

One area of contemporary worship that wreaks personal taste and choice is music. The assumption is that anything we like can be hauled into the sanctuary. Gene Edward Veith writes: “Baby boomers seem to be the first generation to demand that the music they listen to in worship be in the same style as the music they listen to for entertainment.” Do you see what happens when Sunday morning worship ceases to be God-focused? The entire morning becomes consumer driven; surveys and focus-groups reveal personal preferences so the “Praise Band” can play what the people came to hear. And God is off-stage somewhere wondering, “I thought this was supposed to be about Me?”

Sadly, pop-culture has become such a dominating voice in our churches, we now have “pop-Christianity”; and where it is exhibited the most is in our worship music. Most music sung today on Sundays is catchy, entertaining, and likeable. If it had much content, depth, and musical complexity to it; it would cease to be pop-music.

So there we all are, swaying to a simple tune with simple phrases, oft-repeated, and when we’re done we turn to our neighbor and say, “Don’t you feel close to God now?” As Robert Godfrey said over a decade ago: “It would appear that music has become a new sacrament.” It has; it is why many people now make their church choice based on the music sung rather than the preaching and proper administration of the sacraments.

But what is the purpose of worship music? Is the whole debate a subjective one? Who gets to decide? Pathetically, in an age where “Some Choruses, a Pep-talk, and an Offering” dominates, the one who the worship service is being designed for does.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
January 6, 2011

1 comment

  1. We don’t come for entertainment, we come to worship an Almighty Holy God, who deserves our worship. There is no one leading us up front to distract our worship as we collectively sing our praises to God. It is so simple a concept. Come and worship your Lord! Sing to Him, bow before Him, repent of your sins, pray to Him because we are so dependent on Him, let Him know your petitions, learn of His amazing Word through the lips of a preacher, commune with Him in a most mysterious way through the bread and the cup. Why would I want shallow entertainment? I can come and worship the Almighty God who has created the entire universe and holds every atom in place by his awesome power. Yet He knows that I am there in a world with billions of people, he knows the thoughts of us all. May I glorify Him!

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