Sean’s sister here as the ordinary church attender. For some of my answers to make sense I figured I would give you a bit of background for me.
I grew up in a non-denominational evangelical church and watched the worship transition from a guy standing on stage with a guitar (as two women sat singing into microphones for support) with an overhead projector to a major production in the church I grew up in. There was a smoke machine, a full rock band, a lead singer along with about 4 back up singers (okay the fog machine only came out on special events, but still a fog machine). Then I went to a Church of Christ college. In Church of Christ they believe in only having acapella music. I heard and learned to love the glorious harmonies and multi-part songs they sang.
That’s my background in worship music, it’ll give you a better appreciation for my answers.
What is the Role of Worship in Church Service?
If you believe the joke at my college it’s to get everyone to calm down and to stop talking, but I think that’s how many churches treat it. In reality, I think worship is designed to point us to God, and help us learn to love and praise Him more. It also helps us focus when the sermon starts and should support the sermon.
What is the Proper Style of Worship in Church Service?
I’ll agree with Sean, it will very much depend on where and who you are ministering to. Sean is a youth pastor and teens like loud music with lots of bass. If he doesn’t have that, he is not ministering to his target audience. My in-laws go to a church that has mostly retired people attending, they have a full choir, organ, and a small orchestra. They also use hymnals still. So find your target audience and appeal to them. Just be aware that in finding that audience you will be turning other people away.
How Should a Worship Director Choose and Arrange Their Sets for Worship in Church Service?
I added that last phrase because a worship director has many times they are leading worship, and each of those has a different purpose. A praise concert’s goal is to energize people, so I would expect a lot of high energy songs, but service has a different goal: to focus you on God and to prepare you to hear teaching on God.
So, I think the worship music should have some alternation between energetic songs and slower contemplative songs. I’d also agree with, I think Sean, that you need to alternate between songs that focus on God and songs that focus on your response to God. I find that all too many current songs focus on our response to God or how we feel because of what God has done.
This is personal preference, but I prefer not to endlessly repeat the chorus 20 times in a row. After a while I don’t find that worshipful, I mind that mindless and repetitive. It feels like my six year old repeating the same thing over and over again until I’m getting a headache. I actually have several currently popular songs that I enjoy, but won’t purchase because I don’t want to listen to a song going on for 10 minutes that only has 3 minutes of lyrics (Sean will attest to my tirades on “All for Love” back in high school).
What is the Proper Music Volume for a Church Service?
Sean is right I’ve complained about this to him a lot. My current worship pastor loves loud music. I’m noise sensitive and so the volume he plays it at (which can be clearly heard outside the building) causes me migraines. Most Sundays I sit outside the service until worship is over because I can’t be in the room unless I want a headache.
That isn’t to say every church should cater to my whims, but I feel like a bait and switch was pulled because it wasn’t always this loud at our church. And to be honest if we visited it now, we wouldn’t of returned because of the volume of worship music. I really enjoy the worship at Sean’s church because it’s a good volume and well balanced, but God has called us to the church we’re at, so we’re staying there until God changes His mind.
To actually answer the question, it really depends on who you’re trying to bring in. You will never make everyone happy about the worship music.
Why is Music in Church Such a Divisive Subject?
Sarcastic answer: because we’re all fallen creatures and we want it our way.
Not so sarcastic answer, because there is no right answer, and we want there to be one.
The joke at my college was two Church of Christ guys are stranded on a desert island. They immediately found 1st Church of Christ of the Island and split over whether it should be three songs and then greeting or four songs and greeting. Now there is 1st Church of Christ of the Island and North Church of Christ of the Island.
If you were to listen to the music I worship to at home, you’d find an eclectic mix. It would change from Michael W. Smith’s “You Are Holy” (love those split harmonies) then DC Talk’s Jesus Freak, then a Petra song from the 70s. You won’t find many lyrics that are overly repetitive, you won’t find much from Hillsong, because I don’t like singing a chorus and simple refrain, as popular as that is now.
Check out Ticia’s blog over at Adventures in Mommydom.
DAY 4 OF WORSHIP WEEK
If you missed previous entries, you can check them out at the link below.
Why Can’t We Get Along? – Why is Worship So Divisive by Sean Chandler
Where’s the Piper Organ, and Why is There an Electric Guitar?!? – What is the Proper Style for Worship by Sean Chandler
Why is It So Loud and Why Do We Keep Repeating Ourselves?!? – What is the Proper Volume for Worship by Sean Chandler
What is the Proper Style for a Worship Service? by Jennifer Chandler