Rethinking Contemporary Worship: Can We “Bring Him More Than a Song?”
Back in 1997, Matt Redman wrote the now famous song “The Heart of Worship” as a response to a challenge from his pastor. It seems that music had become an obstacle, perhaps even an idol to the congregation. So the pastor got rid of the band and the PA. For a month or so, they sang acapella. This song was born during that time and was Matt Redman’s personal response to the challenge.
Recently, we sang that song during a Sunday evening service. I was struck by one line in the song:
“I’ll bring you more than a song, for a song in itself Is not what you have required….”
The line struck a chord with me, and led to these two thoughts. First, if a song is not what He requires of us to worship him, then why are we spending so much of our corporate time and effort singing songs? Today we are spending more time in our services singing songs than we were back in 1997 and our services are about 30 minutes shorter than they were. To accommodate this, we have had to cut other things out of our gatherings. Recently I attended a friends church for Easter service. We sang for a very long time, 41 minutes to be exact. We saw a video, took an offering, heard a 25 minute pep talk filled with everything but scripture, and concluded with a one minute pastoral prayer. That was it. It appears that “bringing Him a song” is what the leaders of that congregation feel is the most important aspect of the corporate gathering. As I have visited some 30 congregations in the past 2 years, I can attest that this is extremely common. We sing a lot!
The second thought I have is this: If bringing a song is not what God requires of us when we gather to corporately worship Him, what DOES he require? Further, if He does require something else, shouldn’t we be giving our time to that instead of what he does NOT require? I think you can make a very good argument from the bible and early church history that singing to God is something HE has instructed us to do. I am not suggesting that we stop the corporate singing time. I am asking the question: Should our corporate gatherings be as song oriented as they are?
In part II of this post, I share a recent experience I have had that has caused me to seriously reconsider what a Contemporary service can be like.
Posted on May 23, 2011, in Christianity, Contemporary Church Culture, Worship and tagged christianity, cross-centered worship, faith, Heart of Worship, matt Redman, music, Not For itching Ears, worship, Worship Leading. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.