Danny Daniels, Scott Underwood, Carl Tuttle and Cindy Rethmeier - Lowell, MA 1997

It is pretty amazing to see what has taken place in the area of worship since I began leading in 1976. We definitely knew then that we were on to something. We hoped to see worship impact people all over the earth. It certainly has, but I don't think any of us foresaw what has taken place. Many are quick to argue that 'worship is more than singing songs'. I will easily concede that. Of course it involves more than singing songs, but songs are the most visible and arguably the most influential aspect of what has emerged in worship. Songs embed ideas, truths and important doctrinal ideas in the lives of Christ followers.

You would be hard pressed to find an appropriate comparison to how worship has spread throughout the earth like it has through the songs that have been written and recorded over the last 30 years. One of the early examples of this is the way the song Seek Ye First spread all over the world and made its way into worship services in dozens and dozens of countries. A simple chorus, which by the way is one of the things critics have to say about modern worship; they say, "It's too simplistic." Yet in the case of this song, its message can't get any more profound, or have a greater impact if followed. To take issue with this song is to take issue with some of the most profound and clear teachings of Jesus: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything else will be added to you." Does it need to me more complex than this? Does it need to be arranged musically in such a way that is more sophisticated or challenging? Or is it okay to be placed in a simple melody, that is accessible to the masses? I think you know what I think. Worship should be accessible, melodies attainable and songs singable. Look at the top CCLI songs. They virtually all have these characteristics and attributes, which may not be as interesting to the skilled musician, but can be compelling and inclusive for the skill level of the congregation.

In the early 80's, I was stunned to hear that my song, Hosanna, was being sung at a massive gathering of Catholics in the Louisiana Superdome. As far as I know, it was only on one recording at the time. We have seen the same thing with songs like Shout to the Lord, How Great Is Our God, The Lord Reigns, and Breathe. I could go on and on and on. It's like the message is being carried on the wings of angels!

The impact is astounding! When I first started 'leading worship', we didn't even have a name for it. There weren't a lot of churches using "worship teams." Now you can hardly find a church that doesn't have a worship team. It has been an amazing thing to watch, even more to participate in.

Yes, worship has become an industry, and yes, it has been tainted by commercialism. Okay, so what? I have decided to follow the Apostle Paul's example in Philippians 1. Some were preaching the gospel with wrong motives. Paul was just glad the gospel was being preached. "What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached." I'm just glad the church is gathering and connecting to God by lifting their hearts to heaven with adoration, joy, thanksgiving, praise, and reverence.

There is something so wonderful about gathering together and corporately expressing our hearts to God; it transcends the reality of this world and ushers us into the reality of the Kingdom.

Blessings to all!

Carl Tuttle

Views: 84

Comment by Junjie on February 12, 2009 at 4:44am
Great sharing!

I personally believe that man people are too caught up chasing the new stuff that they forgot to look behind and see what was done before. Not to say we should stay stuck in the past (unless we really have nothing better) but we need it to understand what's happening now. You have played a vital role in the growth of praise and worship as we know it. I believe that will give you greater insight and understanding into what's happening today, and I look forward to more of your sharing in the future! :)
Comment by Worship The Rock on February 12, 2009 at 8:20pm
Hey Carl - great blog, thanks for sharing this with us. Hosanna is still a great song - can't remember where I first heard or sung it!


Comment by PJ Hudson on February 13, 2009 at 7:13am
Carl- I like what you wrote here- especially regarding how worship has spread throughout the earth in the past 30 years- it's amazing how doors have opened and now here we are able to almost instantly enjoy worship songs from half way around the world that may have been written just yesterday!
I think I have a different understanding of commercialism, however- I tend to think of it as a good opportunity for songwriters and artists to spread their anointed songs throughout the world and also have the means with which to continue on afterwards-- as you know, nothing is really free and all things of value have a great cost as well-- I'm a firm believer of supporting (both financially and through prayer) those who have the calling and giftings.. in that sense, I'm thankful that for commercialism, because I can buy your CD even though I live in Thailand, and know that my money is helping those who were responsible for giving me the opportunity to buy it. I really have no problem at all with spending a mere $10 or $15 on a worship CD even if I already knew the artist was making $200,000 a year off songwriting royalties-- because I know that the songs have been a great, great blessing to millions of people, if not billions over the course of time. :) :) to me that is priceless!!!!
Comment by Brenda Cameron on February 13, 2009 at 10:50am
Carl - enjoyed reading your blog. Just to let you know that we still use 'Hosanna' and also 'I give You all the honour' - both great songs, thanks for writing them. It is encouraging to see how worship has developed over the years, and exciting to think how it will develop in the future.
Comment by Carl Tuttle on February 13, 2009 at 12:49pm
Dear PJ....i don't have a problem in commercialism in and of itself, int that marketing and presenting the worship project professionally has resulted in the spread of worship music throughout the world. What I find difficult is when various 'artist' are signed exclusively to various labels at the exclusion of them being unable to work on projects outside there label. I think as folks have become more popular and therefore powerful there is less of this. At one time I was doing a project and asked a couple friends if they could sing on it and they weren't allowed to by their label, that's the kind of thing I am referring to.
Another area that was at one time affected by this was some of the Worship Festivals, where all the stages were signed by major labels and therefore excluded people and groups and artist from taking place in any of the main stages.
As for the royalties for the song writer they are minimal at best in that if a writer has a song on a project they typically would received 4.5 cents per song per album, so maybe .45 cents for a project per album. It doesn't matter whether it cost 10-15 or 20 dollars, it's still a fraction of the total cost of the album. Typically the smallest portion virtually always goest to the writer of the song, so I have no problem with that person making a little something that allows them to go out and do what they do to bless the Body.
p.s. If someone is making $200,000.00 in songwriter royalties it means they are good, real good and having a massive impact on the Body of Christ at large!!
Comment by Carl Tuttle on February 13, 2009 at 12:51pm
OK I wrote that at 4:30 AM forgive the typo's...hope you have the gift of interpretation ....
Comment by Garry Mulgrew on February 13, 2009 at 9:50pm
You know they say you can look at a person and see what musical time zone they were impacted by. People in the 1950s tend to look a bit like Elvis and if it’s the 60s people well look like hippies and so forth. You begin to see that music has such an impact on our lives that we become like the very thing we give ourselves to. I think the church is no different I am not even talking about the worship wars that take place over hymns verses choruses. But the whole identity we find ourselves in when we look around us and see the different expressions of worship. For me I was deeply impacted by Bob Fitts and Kent Henry. It was the first time I started hearing spontaneous worship happening. After that it was the early Vineyard worship movement in the early 90s. There was just something about those simple intimate worship songs that just over whelmed me in His presence. It was these songs that got me into being a worship leader in the first place. You can listen to Matt Redman and Martin Smith of Delirious saying the early Vineyard music is what influenced their sound. I love to gleam from all of these sounds because of their richness and the influence they have had on my life. So what am I looking for in my worship leading, I am looking to make worship as Brian Doerksen taught us “accessible” Giving an atmosphere where people can connect with God and one another. As to what we should look like I think we can learn a listen from John the Baptist
Jn 3:30 He must become greater; I must become less.”


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