Pastor Says "You Can't Worship To That Song"

Discussion in 'Worship Service Players' started by mikeiscool42, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    I have to say that I'm pretty darn thankful that God is big enough to be glorified in ways that are beyond my understanding. I'm pretty sure that any imperfect offering (cause if we humans make an offering, then it's imperfect) given from the heart will be glorifying. I hadn't heard "lift your head" before reading this thread, and it is now my favorite Crowder song. I've already talked to our worship leader about doing a heavier version for our modern service. The sound and groove reminds me of an Eric Church song, and it immediately takes me to a place of worship.

    To the original poster, I say stick to your guns and let the pastor know why you chose this song. In the end he may just say no, but there is nothing wrong with trying to push things in the direction you're being led.
     
  2. rokdog49

    rokdog49 Friend of Leo's

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    I recognize the need for terms to describe things, but personally, I detest the phrase "corporate worship."
    Having vented, there is "performance worship music" and "participatory music."
    The line between the two can be very narrow. I am of the opinion that if a congregation cannot easily participate in a worship song it can be a detractive element. If the worship song is used to a solicit a contemplative response, it does have a purpose and a place. If the song is for everyone to sing, it is probably better-served to choose something that accomplishes that easily.
    Worship leaders would do well to make a clear delineation within a given service to establish the purpose of the individual pieces of music for the benefit of all.
     
  3. DannyStereo

    DannyStereo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm with you Rokdog.

    I'd prefer it if we called it 'together worship' or 'family time' even. Corporate just sounds so dry and whatnot
     
  4. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    I'm kind of curious how others would categorize the traditional hymnal. Most of the songs that made the backbone of church worship music for the past couple hundred years are certainly not easy to sing. Most of them have so many words, that there is little chance that anyone could close their eyes and have an "experience". Does that mean that the Church did not worship until Hillsong came along and showed us all how to have a worship experience?

    I personally like that some of the Christian writers and artists are moving back to a place where people have to engage their minds to sing their songs. I respect worship leaders who want to actually lead their congregation toward more balanced worship which engages a person's whole being i.e. body, mind, and spirit, rather than just engaging our emotion and leaving the thinking part out. Sorry for the rant, that's my .02 as I get ready to go play a bunch of pablum for the congregation.
     
  5. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Understood. You defined that beautifully.

    Your opening statement of corporate worship has it's
    place though. It's called formulaic music. don't blame
    the musicians who play it, but that's the way the business
    is run. To "generate" music, much like Henry Ford did
    at his automobile factory. So who buys this stuff? Yup,
    the churches and groups who just happen to operate under
    the label of a corporation. 501c3. YMMV.

    Personally, I love to hear the old hymns and much of the
    new stuff will be tomorrow's dated songs.
     
  6. Ascension

    Ascension Tele-Afflicted

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    The part that caught my attentions is you can't worship to the song.
    Truth is you can worship to just about any style music and what I caught in the lyrics was definitely worship oriented so??
    May be a music style issue. I have a hard time worshiping to southern Gospel myself because I have seen to much unnerving stuff first hand from those who play the style from hanging with a friend that ran a studio ( at one time in my life I pretty much believed that the word hypocrite was defined by the folks who played that style of Gospel Music) however I would NEVER make a statement that folks could not worship to the style.
    Need to have a sit down chat and get to the bottom of the issue here.
    PS in my personal worship environment every Sunday looks about like the tent revival scene in Blues Brothers 2000 so if this song freaked your Pastor out we would likely give him a heart attack LOL!!
    Think I'm kidding?
    https://app.box.com/s/oicspf1z95u8etuuav8o
    And
    https://app.box.com/s/7f0gqff2wwbr3z5ulnuv
     
  7. ravindave_3600

    ravindave_3600 Friend of Leo's

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    Background: I lead worship for a small (50 people) Baptist congregation, mostly white, about 1/3 aged 60 and over. I tell them we're going to sing the best songs of the last 1600 years (we don't really have anything earlier than that except psalms, which we also use). On my "list" I have about 100 hymns, 50 non-hymn songs pre-1990, and maybe 75 written since 1990. I add something new about once a month, off the radio or some obscure but good hymn.

    Hymns: Lots of old hymns are great, with poetry, theology, and music all coming together. Like all great songs they are singable and meaningful. We include lots of them in our worship. I love the work of Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, and Fanny Crosby and many hymnals will have a dozen pieces by each of them. THOSE are songs that have stood the test and reflected the heart of the church for generations upon generations. On the other hand, those all-time great writers wrote many more (hundreds, if not thousands) no one knows anymore; those just didn't cut it. They were the "Good Day Sunshine"s up against "Ticket to Ride" or "Revolution". Maybe they work if updated (Greenwell's "I Am Not Skilled to Understand") but many old hymns are just old, not classic.

    Modern Songs: I'm convinced that any song, written by Christians for Christians, can be a worship song. Not everything is effective for that though. Setting is vital, which is why you can sing Kumbaya at a campfire but ...well, nowhere else. Our church goes a looooooong time between Gaither songs. You're not going to hear One Bad Pig or August Burns Red, either. And while I play the Stones, the Who, Foo Fighters, for fun, that sound's not really going to work either, not for this congregation. We have periodic "Rockin Worship" nights for that. Usually, however, our church will be blessed, and will bless the Lord, with songs by Getty, Townend, Tomlin, Camp, MWS, Hughes, and that crowd. "Lift Your Head" is a pretty good song, and in the right church it might work, but I don't think it will fit in most settings simply because it's hard to sing and has that dirty blues vibe (which I like). I don't want my congregation to become consumers (as opposed to participants) and I think that's where that song would take us. Perhaps OP's pastor senses the same thing. YMMV.

    Leadership: 2015, 1915, 1715, the year doesn't matter. It's the job of the worship leader to find those body/mind/spirit songs you mentioned (love the way you approached that), discern which ones fit the occasion, and introduce them. If we give the people of Christ songs that let them express their hearts those songs will work and we'll have done our job.

    P.S. I'm not sure any good hymns were written between 1960 and 1990. Maybe, but none come to mind.
     
  8. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    There is at least another facet to leading Worship. I frequently hear that we as leaders need to bring songs that fit our congregation, and let them express their hearts. If we pick the right songs to fit them then we have succeeded. Anything that doesn't fit in the paradigm detracts from corporate worship.

    I approach this way of thinking like leaven. A little bit leavens the whole lump, so handle with extreme skepticism and care. I believe that a worship leader needs to be listening to the Spirit, and not the congregation. If things are static, then something is drastically wrong. I mean no offense, but the vast majority of songs by Hillsong, Tomlin, and the usual cast of characters, just don't move me much. If what I'm playing does not move me, how can I expect what I'm playing to move anyone else? I know a worship leader of a very large church in the Seattle area who's philosophy was that if he didn't have someone coming up to tell him how much they hated the worship music after a service, then he was doing something wrong. I used to struggle with that, but I've come to believe that he is absolutely spot on.

    I'm not saying that mainstream CCW is "bad" or that I am right and someone else is wrong. I'm just saying, most of the mainstream CCW stuff doesn't move me at all. I know that it does move others and it blesses people, and honors God. That's awesome and I'm thankful for it. It just doesn't do much for me, so I am always pushing in a direction where the music moves me. For instance, when I have to play Hillsong stuff, I'll throw in David Gilmour style licks, or even Albert King licks, and have as much fun with it as I can.

    Honestly, the thing that I like most about "Lift Your Head Weary Sinner" is that the tonality, instrumentation, and groove of the song fit the message so perfectly, at least for me. It captures the emotion and message of the song. It is like a swampy southern blues country/rock wall of emotion. That is one of the major beefs I have with a lot of the newish CCW. Big pads and modulated delay on guitar through and AC30 unfortunately capture a pretty narrow range of emotion, and one that I just don't live in very often. The other thing I love is the Title. How many mainstream artists are acknowledging something as controversial and ugly as our sin? And yet, when our sin knocks us down in the dirt, and He empowers us to raise our eyes to the One who can set us free, I imagine the band in Heaven playing something with a Swampy groove.:D
     
  9. rokdog49

    rokdog49 Friend of Leo's

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    I would certainly agree with you about some of the very old traditional worship music. You have opened the door to a favorite rant of mine. In my old church, which was very traditional complete with organ, choir and all the trappings, we were forced to try and sing some of the most difficult musically, wordy and old-school lyrical pieces you could imagine. May of the words in these songs like "Ye" and "thou" and a myriad of others make it difficult for anyone under 30 to not only relate, but even understand. It's like speaking a different language. Of course the congregation was comprised of three-fourths 75 and older. I understand the demographic, but my wife and I are in our sixties and neither one of us enjoyed trying to sing stuff in keys that were intended for professionals, lyrics that we couldn't comprehend and time signatures where the phrasing was difficult at best. That and a few other more important spiritual factors led to our departure. Anyway, I digress.
     
  10. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    Rokdog,

    I hear ya. I probably wouldn't make it long in the setting you describe either. I asked the question about the place of old hymns in worship to illustrate the point that difficult songs used to be routinely used in worship. I'm not in a hurry to resurrect some of those old hymns, but I really do wish the Church had a better balance in its music, and that WL's and CCW artists took their theology more seriously.
     
  11. ravindave_3600

    ravindave_3600 Friend of Leo's

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    "Paradigm" is a loaded word because it implies restriction. Of course, the paradigm of my cars says "Use gasoline and motor oil, not diesel and olive oil" and that works pretty well. Our paradigm is built on the question, "What can we bring that will help, not hinder, congregational worship?"

    Are you really suggesting the worship leader's success is determined by how much he distracts people while they try to sing to God? ;) I assume your worship meetings include plenty of songs by the Stamps Baxter Quartet?



    With you 100% on all of this. I'm almost always disappointed when I listen to Christian radio (that's true of hymnals, SongSelect, Black Gospel radio, too) because it seems like overproduced, underpoetic, lowest-common denominator pop. Or pap. The groove and mood and - truth? - that we love about Keef, Mavis Staples, or Muddy Waters are exactly what's missing in most CCW (IMHO). That means finding good songs takes a lot of work. Fortunately I've been around long enough to learn how to search, revise, combine. Sundays we sing songs from different genres, countries, traditions, ethnicities, and we never copy arrangements: what comes out sounds like it's being led by a rock/blues /country/reggae/soul guitarist (which it is!). Most weeks everyone knows they'll sing things they love and have the opportunity to be gracious and patient and be challenged to grow some, too.

    I think you and I would get along well. If I'm ever in CapnCrunchville I'm going to drop by your church.
     
  12. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    You'll probably see us "warts and all" but you're welcome to join us anytime.:D
     
  13. 65 Champ Amp

    65 Champ Amp Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm wondering what is detestable about corporate worship. Perhaps you are attaching personal experience based meaning to the concept.
    Corporate worship is what we do. After all, it simply means worshiping together, as in, " when two or more are gathered in My name."
    It is the reason I call myself a worship leader.
    Not arguing, just looking for clarity.
     
  14. ravindave_3600

    ravindave_3600 Friend of Leo's

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    "Corporate" from Latin, corpus, body, thus worship conducted by the entire body. No theological problems there!
     
  15. DannyStereo

    DannyStereo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I get the concept, it just sounds so business like. I'd rather say 'family worship' or something more personal ya know?

    But it's just semantics as long as we are all together praising Jesus!
     
  16. rokdog49

    rokdog49 Friend of Leo's

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    No not personal experience, just old age. I just like the old terminology as in "congregational worship" or group worship. Like calling a janitor a custodian. Seems like these days we have to use new labels to say the same old things or it just doesn't sound cool. See what I mean...gettin' old.
     
  17. Jon C

    Jon C Tele-Meister

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    Massive blind spot and ignorance = bummer.
     
  18. GoldieLocks

    GoldieLocks Tele-Afflicted

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    Can you worship to THAT song?

    As long as the people are singing to GOD. If the congregation AIN'T singing: you've failed. Or possibly THEY have failed. (unless you have a simple BAD THEOLOGY problem.)

    God created all of sound: Songs to go to War, and Songs to go to Love, and songs to DANCE.
     
  19. DannyStereo

    DannyStereo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Let's not discount the Lead Pastor's heart just yet.

    He does have to answer to a district office, I'm sure. That, and he probably has a 'filter' through which he approaches his leadership; a sort of "faith paradigm" if you will.

    If we are honest with each other, we all have them. I grew up Catholic, and that shaped the way I came to think of faith and God and church. For better or worse, that was my upbringing. I'm willing to bet that lead Pastor has a specific idea of worship in his mind based on his upbringing and his denominational attachments.

    Let's not hang him out to dry. He may just have a hard time adjusting to a newer style of worship music, and that ain't nothin else than being a human being in a fallen world.
     
  20. southpaw pete

    southpaw pete Tele-Meister

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    Once during a staff meeting one of our pastors started talking to me about my worship leadership... He was smiling and, well, he seemed in a good mood. But he said something along the lines of,

    "Pete, can I talk to you about the Sunday worship? I like the way you can take a hymn or a song and really get into it and stomp your feet and such, but sometimes I just feel like you take a song and you run it into the ground. You stomp on it and smash it into little patties. And then you cook those patties until they are burnt to a crisp and then you cram them down our throats..." (very condensed version).

    Needless to say, it was awkward and well, insulting, and some of the other staff even left the room. I sat there with nothing to say. I was speechless... and simply sat there with my jaw on the floor. The bummer was, he then quickly excused himself and left the meeting because he had to catch a flight to Germany. So there I was for several weeks, leading worship with those words turning over and over inside my head. "Am I running this song into the ground right now? Am I cramming it down their throats? Does everybody feel this way???"

    Finally when he returned I had a chance to talk with him. I found out, as painful as it came out, he meant no offense, but just happened to be a very outspoken individual and had his own very specific worship preferences. I already knew that about his personality, but never expected something like that. We went for lunch and he asked my forgiveness, which I gave, and we were able to make it right. It was still painful, but at least I could offer forgiveness and we could move on. Thankfully. Within weeks of that conversation he passed away from a heart attack!

    I've worked with a lot of different pastors of numerous denominations over the years, and have found out how really human they are, if you know what I mean. Just like the rest of us, they have their own personal preferences or perspectives, they've got their own issues or baggage or bad days... sometimes they will say something without thinking much of it, and as many have said on here, we just need to get together and talk it over.

    I am looking forward to hearing what your pastor meant by his statement about not being able to worship to that song. Maybe he simply meant that it isn't a very easy song for congregational singing. Or really, maybe he personally just didn't connect with it. Maybe he didn't like the wording of a specific line theologically... But you won't know until you or the worship leader sit down and talk with him about it.
     
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