Monday, September 04, 2006

acoustic guitar for sale

Sometimes I wish I worked at a non-instrumental church. There you just pick up the hymnals and sing. No guitars or drums or complicated sound systems with the potential for distraction. Just our hearts and our voices joining together in word and melody to bring pleasure and honor to God.

Excellence would certainly be an easier pursuit in that environment.

Would it get boring? Yeah. Probably just about as boring as I often think all the hip and rocking worship stuff gets.

I don't know. I just feel like Bon Jovi sometimes.

"No...guys, the chorus needs to be WAY bigger. And the hook has to be more prominent." "Maybe we drop out on the third chorus and have just voices and hand-clapping, then come back in with an even bigger chorus."

It can feel so manufactured and Monster Worship Ballads.

But despite all of that, I know that leading contemporary worship with a band is no different than leading traditional music at a non-instrumental church. The goal is authenticity. To lead the congregation past "Sunday Morning Sing-a-long Time" and help them wrap their hearts around the Truth expressed in each song. For them to take the words on screen (or in print) and make them the prayer of their hearts. To lift high the Name of Christ, which is the salvation of the world. To adore, fear and be consumed by an awesome God. And to seek a real and holy encounter with Him, through His Holy Spirit, Who takes our songs to the throne of the Father and interprets our tiny, little melodies as songs of worship and praise.

To find our collective and individual joy and identity in making a big deal about God.

That is why I lead worship.

And however we go about doing long as that is the fine. Guitars and sound systems are not inherently good or bad. They are neutral. And quite frankly, I rather enjoy leading worship using all of that extra stuff. When it is with a band that clicks well together and I'm not constantly thinking, "If I repeat this chorus instead of going to the bridge are they going to follow?" or "I sure hope so-and-so nails the intro hook to the next song." or "Why isn't so-and-so building up to that last chorus?"

When I can focus on actually leading worship instead of a band...well yeah, I absolutely love that.

So, ultimately, do I really want to abandon my trusty acoustic for a more minimalist approach to leading worship?

On days when I break a string in the middle of the first song of the set...yes.

On days when one of the musicians cancels last minute and I'm stuck searching for a drummer at 11:30 on a Saturday night...yes.

On days when the electric player starts the song in 6/8 and the drummer comes in in 4/4...yes.

And on the days when every one of these things happens (as it did yesterday) within the same service...absolutely.

The rest of the time...nah, not so much.

So, please forgive me. I guess I just needed to express my frustrations, give voice to my cynicism and openly pine for greener pastures, in order to get back to the reason of why I do what I do.

Oh...God bless blogs, huh?


mommak said...

I so hear you brother! I don't know much about worship leading but I do know that God didn't intend for the mechanics of worship to over-shadow the heart of worship. Hard to find balance, especially when you deal with people who just don't seem to "get it!" But I guess that is why we are told to "press on towards the goal."
What I thought would be fun is killing me!
Sorry about "blogging" on your site and sorry about stealing your drummer!
("Above all else, guard your heart!)

bill said...

ha ha. you did steal my drummer! no, i'm kidding. neal is awesome...i'm just glad to share him with you.