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As a wise friend recently told me, “The worship wars have been going on for some time.” It is not surprising that this is true. After all, we all get spiritually connected in different ways. Some Christians might be uplifted with a powerful sermon, while others feel energized by scripture. But many of us draw our connections from music.
Unfortunately, problems arise when we can’t agree how church music should sound. Should we keep singing the classic hymns that are centuries old? Or should we introduce our church to what is on current Christian radio? How long should a song be? And how loud is too loud? These questions can cause even the most peaceful church to break out in an all-out worship war.
I don’t have all the answers, but I am a member of the worship team at a large church in Virginia. And in the midst of this war, there are a few things your worship leader wishes you knew:
1. If we repeat a certain chorus or line, there is a reason we are doing it.
“You sang that same line five times! I get it; ‘Sin was strong but Jesus is stronger.’”
Do you actually get it? I’m not so sure. There is a lot to consider in that little sentence. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, is stronger than our sin and shame. We are forgiven because he paid the ultimate sacrifice! Now don’t you think it is worth taking 30 seconds of your day to ponder that message and praise him? And as we repeat the line again, you are given a snippet of time to say a prayer of thanksgiving for His amazing love. This is essentially what it means to meditate on the truth of the Word. Take that opportunity and glorify Him!
That is just one example of a line that your worship leader might emphasize, but there are many others. When you notice that happening, don’t just mindlessly sing along, while actually composing your weekly grocery list in your head. Stop and consider what it is you are singing. Chances are, you are missing the point if you think we are repeating a line just for the sake of repeating it.
2. Complaints don’t make us stronger; they shut us down.
“The soloist was too presentational.”
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“The band is distracting me from worship.”
“That song lasted forever.”
The Lord has given us gifts for music and we are using it to His glory. As we glorify God, we are also seeking to serve you. You don’t have to thank us because we honestly love what we are doing. But please don’t complain. Your complaints deflate our passion. They cause us to wither up and burn out over time. We want to continue to serve God by leading your worship, but constant criticism does not encourage us to do so.
3. Sometimes, in order to feed you, we do not get spiritually fed ourselves.
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We have to miss parts of worship to keep the service running smoothly. We might miss part of the sermon in order to come in on time, or miss the Sunday school hour to squeeze in an extra rehearsal.
What we do is not about us and so we come to you with a servant’s heart. We always hope that we are able to lift you up during worship to get you through the week. But honestly, worship is not about you either. It’s about God. It’s always about God.
P.S. We don’t control the volume.
Even we can’t tell how loud the music is when we’re on stage. Consider talking to the sound people about that concern.
So the next time you walk out of church tempted to blurt out, “I didn’t like the music this week,” take a moment to consider these few small facts first.
Everyone has their own opinion because God made us that way. God did not make all Christians to connect to God with the same worship style. He wanted us to experience worship differently.
Of course, that means you won’t like every song we play. But you can still make an effort to find God in the moment. When you open up your heart and your mind to worship, you might even discover that you can connect with God in more than one way.
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Carrie Dedrick is the Family Editor for Crosswalk.com.
Publication date: February 23, 2016