I'm curious -- what sort of music (style, type, genre, etc.) do younger people (say, 7 through 27) listen to in your church or social environment?

Rock has reigned as undisputed King for 60 years now, and about 30 of those as the primary music of the Church, at least in the US, and especially among the evangelicals. 

At the same time, publications such as Worship Leader continue to presage a movement toward restoration of ancient styles, hymnody, worship disciplines, etc.  What do you make of this in terms of what music we will be, or should be, producing and engendering in the upcoming years?

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Maybe this...? http://youtu.be/qEvEVALLjNQ certainly seeing a trend towards worship dance music.

1)  Dramatic, exciting presentation words-and-music.  Still, it requires interpretation by a believer (and one who knows some Bible) to a guest or non-believer, to make i complete.  I think that will always be true of Christian music, and probably a good thing ("Follow You?" "Alive in us?" "why, or how is the love never-ending?"  what do those things mean?" -- leading to a helpful dialogue between believer and seeker). 

But it has a very danceable rhythm, and a flavorful atmosphere.  To restore dance to worship has been a desire of many for quite awhile.  Those churches which have attempted in in my sphere have seen both joys (ability to be expressive about their love of God among their peers) and attendant difficulties (self-absorption to the point of not caring about much except self-expression, and cultural clash). 

Do you find such music as in your link gaining in acceptance in your region, and have you seen good fruit of it among the people?

I attended Soul Survivor (a youth summer camp) this year where they used this song and a few others all very much in this vein. There were about 5,000 people mostly 15-30 age and the majority really enjoyed dancing and jumping around.

What I am not sure about is how well this festival celebration transports back to the home Churches. I have put together a backing track for one of the songs which should allow us to 'do' the song in a similar style (with all the synths etc) however the atmosphere of having that many young people together is very rare for the majority of Churches, unless you are a 'mega church' I guess.

There are one or two who will dance in the smaller Churches I visit but they are mostly seen as a bit eccentric or they are children and that is ok. It's a bit stiff upper lip in my neck of the woods but I really enjoyed jumping around at the festival...

At the festival there were lots of people and a big stage production and you didn't feel exposed as is often the case in smaller congregations. I guess the truth is we care more about how other people see us than how God sees us.

Plato said Lydian was a lascivious mode that would drive people to mania.

Are we going to put the Lyd On this?

It's an interesting question. Doing things backwards, I'd suggest those wishing to use ancient styles are looking for something missing inside them, rather than because those styles had a greater annointing than s available through musical styles developed in the last 50 years.

As for the rest, going by my son (now 26) he listens to most styles, bar screamo and black metal, and from what I've seen of others, he's probably fairly typical. UK musical tastes are generally broad, with only a relatively small number devoting themselves to a single preference, and even then it is likely driven along ethnic, rather than youth culture lines.

I would agree with your suggestion concerning the "something missing"..  When we hunger for something missing, we will hunt around quite a bit.  As a youngster I developed a taste for Bach, which led me towards a total-classical education.  But as I approached graduation, I began to see myself drying up and shriveling in a world of just organ music; and the loud clashing cymbals of rock, and the warm twangs of country began to sound pretty good (and eventually became primary in my environment as a music minister in a rural-suburban world).

Some younger people have told me that "anything goes" today in the style world, yet when I turn on the radio, I hear just a few styles of music, and lots of cloning of what's popular (hence the question I posed for discussion).

Why assume even music?  In some videos, the artists / song writers talk about their new songs, they talk about others involved and how the songs come together.  If we are focusing too much on the art and the craft of the music used in worship, then we may be on the way to forgetting what worship is itself (or maybe just a bit distracted).  Shouldn't worship song writing just be a natural byproduct of a life in Christ, a life of worship of and relationship with God.  It shouldn't be about producing resources to be used in church services.  It shouldn't even be about producing good resources to be used in church services.

A number years back when I checked into the DJ led worship scene, I found that DJ worship leaders of the day struggled with the whole notion of a show.  One said, "I'm not polished.  I just spin records."  Many counterculture expressions emerge out a desire to escape "the show", or rather some sort of expectation regarding what we **should** do.  Let's just **be** worshipers, followers of Jesus and see where this takes us.

Good word, bro.

As far as the congregation goes, projecting one's own song is no more difficult than 15 minutes of typing, as opposed to 10 minutes of waiting for an hourglass to open up your CCLI connection.

If every congregation could know the joy of creating their own songs together.  it does take some doing!  I've been at a new church for four years now, have talked about it, but have not yet made a worship-team-produced song.  Entering into such a venture is scary, when it's so "easy" just to find sure-fire pleasers on a list.  Like going to the Mongolian Grill for the first time instead of KFC.


The "recording" is as much a type of evangelism as it is other "recording industry" stuff.  No one expects to make money or become famous through making music (if they do, they will not, unless their grandpapa's head of a company).  People come up with something that's good -- perhaps that had a really special effect during a service, and people told them, "you ought to make a CD of that, the folks would love it!" 

Bethel Worship (the Redding, Calif. thing) began with a lot of countercultural-type music and en ethos heavy on expression and light on "show."  Same with Maranatha and Vineyard.  Now there was a "need to produce good material to be used in worship" in the case of Maranatha -- there were a few Scripture songs out there, but most of them had truly awful melodies.  All of these churches violated the standard "rules" for making songs -- but in doing so, and through widespread acceptance, de facto they created new ways (or, if you will, rules) for crafting music.  They also tend to be less countercultural as they grow more famous, just as I like my beard when I grew it (totally full and natural, like the Smith Brothers, but after listening to too many suggestions about how to trim it to make it look nicer, I shaved it off.

Spontaneously bursting out in praise to God, or falling to one's face in prayer -- these are not "art and craft"; but creating music is deeply involved with art.  It is art, and it is craft.  A song is like a constructed "building"; it is a coherent expression linking musical tone and the language of the singer -- it's where worship meets art.  Whenever a three-year-old girl swirls around and sings with an elevated voice, there is Art.  Music is too basic -- it is deeper than normal spoken language (subcortical).  It should properly derive FROM a life of worship and relationship with God -- but it always properly aware of theme, of content, of composition, of relation of text to tone, of texture, of undefinable glory when a line goes one way, and blase ordinariness when it goes another. 

I must admit, the desire to present music I personally like (or write myself) figures in my initial question.  I write music (lots of music).  Some of it is just music written to bring out the meaning or feeling of a Scripture, and it is created with a practically pure joy towards God and I don't particularly care if any other person hears it -- it's musical praying with the closet door closed.  Other songs I write (or find, and desire to sing in church) because somehow I feel they should be shared -- "if other people hear them or sing them they will emerge with a greater understanding of the Scripture or a thankfulness to God, or some other benefit from the Lord."  You might say, they are like prophesy for edification of the body (Indeed, one of my pastors who liked to pigeonhole the Gifts placed music in the "prophetic" area of gifts.  Others, such as music dramas, could have an impact on other churches - and I would like to see them published.  In none of these would I likely gain any money or fame other than once in a while a person might say, "Greg, that song was really a blessing to me.  Did you write that?  Thank you.  You use that gift now, don't hide it under a bushel."

When I hear other composers "tell the story" of their song, a repeating refrain is that they just wrote the thing for Jesus, and the people liked it, like a cartoon I have with a shy, self-effacing man giving an interview to a reporter.  In the background, you see a huge, pillared office complex, "Olson's Egg Farms."  The caption:  "You know, my wife and I bought a couple of hens and decided to write a humorous novel about our misfortunes..."

Who knows where this will take us?  Thanks for your response with an encouragement to "the adventure in the Lord."


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