Monday, November 20, 2006

Worship for Men

So my pastor Chuck Land sent me this link while I was on vacation. It really threw me for a loop and had me thinking all weekend about worship as it relates to the men in our church. The article was from a website called Church for Men and you can read it by clicking HERE. This will be the premise for the rest of my post today.

I agree with about 95% of David Murrow's article on worship leading in a way that draws the men of the church into the experience. I believe flamboyance and feminine guys leading worship have been a major turn-off to men as this new wave of "contemporary/progressive" worship movement has taken off. I think if we wanted to see Elton John we'd go to his concert and see the real thing...he's the best at flamboyance and musical excellence. Don't really find a place for it in worship leading though.

However, couple things I disagree with Mr. Murrow on...

  • If you’re looking to hire a worship pastor, consider a non-musician. Hire a person with a gift for creative communication. Let him gather musicians. I know this sounds crazy, but I believe that the definition of worship will be greatly expanded in the coming century as the church recovers more of what it means to give glory to the King.

I say you have to be very careful about this one. If you take culture into consideration, the music scene is one of the most scrutinized areas...and alongside movies and sports events, it can hold it's own when it comes to crowd appeal. And when an artist goes live now...everyone wants to see if he or she is as good as they sound on the CD (very few are...couple exceptions - Dave Matthews, Amos Lee, Norah Jones, the Corrs, and India Arie to name some.) When everything we do in church now is put up against the standard of what people hear on the radio or see in concert...the bar is pretty high. At least in suburbia where I minister, many people will first determine whether or not they listen to the message based on the package it's delivered in. Does that mean we let culture define us? No, we take culture into consideration...culture doesn't put out shoddy music. Putting a non-musician in leadership over worship in our culture could lead to a completely irrelevant worship ministry. It might work in some parts of the country, but I don't think you can use it as a general rule of thumb when hiring a worship pastor. I would modify Murrow's statement to say that you should hire a well rounded musician that can gather quality musicians and still bring a solid biblical approach to worship. This well rounded musician could actually surround him/herself with more "left-brained" guys to help bring some of these other elements out that Murrow discusses.

  • And finally, the big one: Keep songs short and non-repetitive. I know this goes against everything they say at Hillsong and the Passion Movement, but the men will love you for it.

This is totally a subjective merit. All it says is "the men will love you for it." I'm not an advocate for beating a song to death until people respond the way you want them to either. However, man or woman, repetition allows someone to own a song. I do prefer to repeat a song over a couple weeks to allow people to get it as opposed to doing it 16 times in one service. Usually by the third week, the people know it and can "own the lyrics" as they sing them. There may be a fundamental difference between mine and Murrow's worship philosophy that causes a break down here. I'm ok with just can't drop a line like that with nothing to back it up. Repetition is necessary for people to learn songs...and it seems that in Revelation there is quite a bit of repetition...something about "Holy, Holy, Holy..."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sweet Vacation and Blue Christmas!

Well, vacation time is here! I'm not one of those guys that takes his 2 weeks vacation all together. I like to split it up into two "one week" vacations. The longer I am in full time ministry, the more I realize that I can run hard for about 5-6 months, then I need a break. So I typically do a vacation in July around my wife's birthday and another in November around our anniversary. I think if I ever took both weeks together, I'd probably start working midway through vacation. I just start getting the itch to get back to it after a week of so. Anyhow, I'm looking forward to spending the week investing in my family, getting some extra sleep, and hopefully seeking after God! I'm so prone to take a vacation from God when I go on a work vacation...I need much more discipline in that area!

I'm really excited about the Christmas season this year at Crossbridge. In December, we are starting a series called Blue Christmas. Our pastor Chuck Land will be looking at how anxiety, depression, and anger typically show up during this time of year. But more than that, we'll be looking at what the Scriptures say about dealing with those emotions. Bringing it back to the worship will be interesting to see how God works through worship this season. My prayer is that we will be pointing our people and those visiting to the God of hope that is Jesus Christ! In a season where depression and suicide rates are at a peak, my desire is that we paint the biggest picture of our God that we can! I don't think that can be done by singing Christmas Carols...White Christmas just doesn't do the trick. I'll save that for my other blog on how I struggle to put Christmas songs in the service during Christmas time. (I'm not the Grinch...I just have some strong convictions about worship and Christmas songs...we'll discuss it later!)

So, I hope to do some blogging over my vacation...but if I don't, I'll talk to all three of you that read this blog when I return!