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?
A few years ago our praise band was seeking to be contemporary in every way, including a revision of hymns. Musically we were good and the congregation as well as visitors told us we were good. The only problem was the congregation was not singing with us on Sunday. Our music was not connecting. We had to step back and reevaluate what worship is - yes it is to be done in Spirit and in truth, but worship is also a participatory act. If the congregation does not participate in singing, then you have a concert (that is not worship).
I guess my response to your question is this: If whatever we do - the use of the latest equipment and technology keeps us (congregation and praise team) from participating in worship then we are missing it.
Since we stepped back and asked some probing questions of our congregation - we began to taylor our worship to our congregation rather than trying to keep up with the latest trends in contemporary music. Our congregation is not opposed to contemporary music but want the opportunity to learn it - so we take our time now - we have them with us.
As much as I would like to crank it up and go crazy with technology I have learned through our experience that it is important to bring the congregation along with you and both will arrive at worship. I do think your question is a very valid one - for I have wondered the same thing.
hahaha,, I hear ya man. Sometimes people can become addicted to the feeling of "needing" technology to engage in worship. My church just recently put in a full AV system that I actually designed and the company that I work for installed. I am that person that can read all about every new piece of gear that comes down the pike. God wired me for that so I don't sweat it too much but I do keep mindful of making sure I spend time with the Lord in prayer and in His word to keep a balance but it does get tough to maintain sometimes.
But it is funny to hear some members of the congregation complain now if there isnt videos or countdowns associated with the service. It's like somebody turned off the TV. :))
Regarding too much or not too much gear I think of it this way... David used to make all kinds of instruments to employ during worship and obviously those items would have been considered the "technology" of his day. The technology is God given IMHO and if utilized "in addition to" and not "instead of" then I say go for it and knock people out with it all for God's glory!
I agree... I just think if people were more honest then we would find that many are more engaged in the act of making music (with technology) then the act of worship. I recently heard a story about how to Chinese pastors regularly pray for American Christians because of the oppression of materialism that we face day in and out. They felt that it must be very difficult for us to follow Jesus when there is so much distracting us Him.
I watched the DVD that came with Consumed (the new offering from JesusCulture) and their lead guitarist plays a white falcon. If I ever have three grand (and nothing else that I need or want) I'm getting one. So that will probably mean never.
I have been leaving the pedal board at home more and more and just plugging directly into my amp. I read an article about a guy who had the fortune to play through the actually rig of one of his guitar heros. He said it was profoundly disappointing and in that moment he came to the realization that playing is 90% of tone. I have a student who is constantly asking me about gear and always wanting to buy more... I keep telling him to just play.
You're making me laugh, I make sure to turn off my pedals so the lights don't distract me! Yes, good tube amps are honoring to God. They produce a blessed sound. He is simply pleased by the blessed invention that his creatures invented. Not so much solid state amps. And those Chinese Christians would love to be in our position.
However, You're on to something here - heart worship vs. art worship. It's the age old issue of being focused on the art and tools of worship rather than the proper object/person of our affection. But you know, even the non-Christian music world has this issue. Eric Johnson is a consummate technician and tone seeker. But if he lets that get in front of his mission to create excellent music, he's lost the game. I just try to remember, that they're just tools.
BTW - know the song "Jesus Just Left Chicago"? I just learned what that was about. Pretty inspiring.