Its always amazed me that I can barely keep my eyes open if I read my Bible past 10 at night but I could stay up to 3 in the blessed AM reading gear reviews. I could sit and stare at my pedal board for hours. At times I get distracted during the sermon because I can't take my eyes off the little orange light on my Tiny Terror. Modern worship comes with a whole host of auxiliary components that worship by and large has been free of for the better part of 10k years. Presentation programs, sound equipment, staging and lighting, projection, and guitar equipment are just a few of these things. It seems like we put so much into worship but I question to what end and for what purpose. Consider Chinese Christians huddled up in a basement somewhere singing songs a cappella with no overhead projector let alone media-shout with motion backgrounds... What drives their worship is pure unadulterated spirit and truth... It has to be... What else could it possibly be! For me, equipment can often become a distraction. It takes up time and energy, a great deal of money, and my attention. Now I don't think there is anything wrong with gear... In and of itself its pretty amoral... (In fact as I write I have my own fairly formative rig sitting just to the right of me.) At the same time it sure can be distracting and kind of unnecessary. Seriously, is anyone ever going to notice when we have achieved the ever allusive perfect tone? Are we offering God a better sacrifice because we are playing a class-A tube amp instead of a lowly solid state? Now obviously if we want to play worship music in the medium that we have come to know it today we need some equipment (lets face it Daniel Carson would be dead in the water without a delay pedal) and there in lay the dilemma. How do we utilize and enjoy these things yet not be driven by them. How do we praise God with the equipment He has given us without committing idolatry in the process? Any thoughts?

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Tough question. For me, I want reliable equipment. If I get surpassed by a 3rd generation piece of equipment, I really don't care, but when my current rig is starting to fail, that's when I splurge to upgrade.

We're called to serve with excellence. For me, that means preparing in a reasonable fashion, sometimes going a little overboard, but I want to make sure that it sounds solid. Will Jill or Pete in the back row know the difference if the vibrato rate's off a bit? Probably not. But why not do the best you can, if other commitments (including your relationship with Him) allow? God gave His only Son for us, I guess I can obsess a little bit to make sure everything is right for Sunday.

Excellence is a good reason to buy new gear, but I don't think you need that as an excuse. The whole "excellence in worship" thing is overblown. Bruce Springsteen uses $500 Takamine acoustics on stage, so nothing says it can't work for us.


It comes down to preference, and if you enjoy playing a certain instrument and can afford it, go for it! Life is too short! 


I think of it from a preaching perspective. A preaching pastor (at least one who is serious about his craft) spends ample time researching context, even if it doesn't make it into the sermon. On a "shallower" note, preachers spend time and energy into developing poise, delivery, projection, etc. Pastors buy books, attend conferences and watch other speakers in an effort to get "the perfect tone." One could argue that these are all "effects" that a speaker uses to bring the best message possible. Do Jack and Jill really know the difference between diaphragm projection and just being loud? Probably not. But whether they realize it or not, it matters. Really I guess you could say that the effects/effort that we use that DON"T get noticed are the most powerful. Good judgment and discernment save the day in any case, both of which are gifts of the Spirit.

I REALLY like what you said here, Daniel.  Some very good points.  Thanks!

It's fun to see us try to justify our purchases. As I mentioned above, there are pros that use lesser gear. I might buy something that is pure practicality like a new omni-directional mic (on the wish list). But then I buy nice guitars when I could buy less expensive ones and get by just fine. So what? I like the nice ones and enjoy playing them.


If it's a durability issue, I can guarantee that a MIM Strat is as durable as a USA Strat.


Hey, no need to over think this! Get good gear! You will enjoy it more yourself and it may just sound better or last longer!

I have a couple questions? Are you soloing? Does your tone distract you or inspire you? I am as much a tonaholic as anybody, and have spent too much money on gear for worship and to play with the band. Since worshiping is responding to God with our hearts and tools in our art, maybe simple is better. Maybe not. Sometimes the best tone is from phrasing and not gear. I'm no genius with a guitar. This thread struck a chord with me. I wanted to respond. Hope it helps.
I believe if your church has made the decision to have a "contemporary worship service" then it is the responsibility of the praise team to make it contemporary. Contemporary service would mean using any and all gear to make it as perfect in God's ears as possible. Contemporary would not mean singing everything acapella, using mandolins in every song, using fiddles in every song and by now you should have my point. Contemporary in 2009 means something very different than contemporary music in 1956 or "In The Year 2525".
Being a life-long musician who plays many different instruments, I can't imagine attending a church that does everything acapella.
You've simply got to have a floor tuner and I love my Boss Tu-2. I don't play lead guitar but I use the digital delay or chorus effects quite often. I've got my acoustic and electric both plugged into a two-way switch then into the Boss pedalboard so I have effects on either guitar.
Well, I wasn't suggesting that we sing A cappella. My question was, "How do we utilize and enjoy these things yet not be driven by them. How do we praise God with the equipment He has given us without committing idolatry in the process? I think we can certainly go overboard with equipment at the expense of our attention and affection for God.
I feel it comes down to this, on Sunday morning are we reaching the majority (none of us will ever reach everyone) and doing all we can to help them worship God. If ANYTHING we do, say or play gets in the way of that then yes, we are commiting idolatry. I was talking about this today with one of our deacons. I told him I feel that in church on Sunday morning, the praise team cannot make anyone feel they are at a concert, show or performance. It has got to be all about praise and worship to God.
You sound like you may be actually struggling with this. If so, I would suggest stipping things down a little or maybe asking God, "Father, does anything I do while helping to lead worship actually get in the way"?
No more then anyone else... I'm just trying to generate dialog about a topic that I am sure most modern musicians in the church struggle with at some level. Unfortunately, no one is really answering the question, rather they are going on the defense and defending their need for the equipment.
Our current pastor has played music for many years, yet he just doesn't seem to understand the need for a good guitar tuner. When the current praise team started leading worship with him he didn't use a tuner at all. Then we started to mention that he really needed to use a tuner. Then he began to use one but after 5 minutes of tuning he would still be out of tune.

My point here is, some things you just gotta have and the knowledge of how to use them. And yes, some things we can certainly do without. I guess if it's an effect that's not adding to the sound then it was probably a waste of money. I've bought a couple through the years that after some use I thought, "I'm just not very happy with this" and sold it or gave it away.

You need to use what makes you feel you're at your best for Him and His people, we all do.
I'm in the same mode with effects for worship - chorus is good/helpful as is reverb/delay and sometimes a bit of overdrive. Just a good quality tone that is pleasant or compelling is appropriate and whatever it takes to get that expression is fine by me.

As for Tuners - ya'll should check out the Turbo Tuner - Best value in a tuner out there and you will hear a difference - now that's honoring to God.


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