I commented on a thread on Facebook about worship styles and came up with a couple of opinions on the matter. I thought it would be an interesting read. Here it is:
I have been in many discussions about worship and I thought I would just post a concise piece about what I have found in my experiences on the matter. First a quick definition that my friend Roberts Liardon said so perfectly. He said Praise is for what He has done, worship is for who He is. That being said on to the debates.
The first thing I see all the time is that worship isn't real if your band is too polished. If you sound like the CD its not genuine and heartfelt. Forgive me for saying this but I think this comes primarily from people who do not play well. My band achieves CD quality in about half an hour from first listening to a song, We play well and learn fast. It comes from experience and hard work. We aren't any less sincere because the music has achieved a level of excellence. My thoughts on this one, practice and you will get better. Don't judge a teams heart without looking at the fruit of the Church they worship at.
Second point, Contemporary worship is bad or traditional worship is bad. I don't think this is even up for debate. Both have their place. I grew up in the catholic church with the giant pipe organ filling the entire cathedral. The worship leader was as genuine as it gets and the music was beautiful. In my adult life I play in the contemporary style. I have seen people healed and set free during worship. We can go from high intensity to almost nothing but a voice at the wave of the worshipleaders hand. It ties in with the pursuit of excellence mentioned above. My third point is going to go a bit further into stylistic points.
Third point, this style or that style is wrong. Sometimes this takes the form of "God hates heavy metal" etc, etc. Here are my thought on this. You have a lost soul that gets saved, he or she comes to church and joins the worship team because they play some instrument. The worship that comes out of them is going to sound like the music they have been playing up to that point. I have been playing for more than 25 years, in worship for about 15. I have played all types of songs in various styles but in every case my fingerprint was obvious. I have played long solos at times. Some people are offended by this. They plug their ears or leave the room. Others have some up to me and said "thank you for playing that way, I can't sing but when you play like that I can really get into the worship". I saw one lady throw out her hearing aids because God opened her ears in worship. We do play loud sometimes because that is our fingerprint on what God placed inside of us. I do not think quiet worship is wrong, I did it last saturday, just like loud is not wrong either. Like the lady I mentioned a minute ago I can't sing either, I sing with my guitar. Its what I have to give. Its not for everybody but its for alot of people and like the little drummer boy, i'll play my best for Him.
So the next time you get into a debate on this worship or that worship, please don't frame them as right or wrong. There is a place for everyones style and if there isnt create one.
So true - so true!
Some very good points there. Worship is more about relationship than it is about doctrine or even style.
I have never seen the attraction of playing anything "just like the CD" or cassette, or vinyl. I always make it my own. Heck - I don't even play my own stuff "just like the CD" any more.
I would like to disagree with your friend R. Lairdon. I have read some of his stuff (long time ago) but I think the Psalms disagree with his breakdown. First off he does not include Thanksgiving. "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise ..." Thanksgiving is for what He has done and praise is for Who and What He is.
"Praise the Lord for He is good and His love endures forever"
That speaks of His character more than His acts. I take the division as to whom the lyric is directed.
Thanksgiving is directed to the Lord,
"I will give you thanks in the great assembly;"
Praise is proclaiming publicly the works of the Lord and encouraging one another to focus on HIM.
"I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever."
"Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever; from generation to generation we will proclaim your praise."
Worship is all about adoring HIM.
"O come let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker."
Matthew - if that was what you heard then I'm sorry we didn't do a better job expressing ourselves.
"I have been playing for more than 25 years, in worship for about 15. I have played all types of songs in various styles but in every case my fingerprint was obvious."
Sounds to me like you're doing your own thing and finding a response from doing that, rather than copying a CD track note-for-note.
It isn't from here. I have seen that in other circles. This original post was in response to someone on FB that was criticizing a style. I guess my real point is that worship should be heartfelt and as excellent as you can make it. Preparation doesn't take away from the Spirit it gives it a more solid foundation to flow through.