Worship Music Vs. Other Music

Some times I find myself questioning worship music. 

 

I have friends that play other types of music. Most play rock-n-roll. A good portion of those friends are not apart of a church nor do they even attend church. 

 

It’s difficult to explain to them what it is I do and why [most] worship music sounds the way it does (including mine). They argue that, for the most part, it sounds rather simple. The structure is kind of mundane and the lyrics are repetitive.

 

You know, as much as I want to argue against that, I simply can’t. In regards to the majority of worship music, they are correct. and for the longest time that has bothered me. I have discredited my own writing and the writing of countless others. I thought,” How can we call ourselves professional writers and musicians with such simplistic material?”

 

The other night I was driving around my hometown of Norfolk, VA with a friend. During that drive we had this very discussion. Once I was alone I began to really process the topic. This night happened to be quite a snowy night. As I was driving I looked around and was mesmerized by the beautiful streets of fresh, powdery, white snow. I looked at the clean lines the snow created. The way it followed along the waters edge. It was such a beautiful sight. (If you havent figured it out, I love snow!)

 

I wondered what made it so beautiful to look at. Then i had an epiphany. It’s the simplicity of it all. All of the clutter is covered in just one simple look. All of the neon glow and was overtaken by the the simplest of colors. All of the streets were empty because the snow caused people to stay home and off the streets. It forced people to slow down and think and spend time with loved ones. 

 

I believe this is the same for the simplicity of worship music. There’s beauty in the simple. Just to have a simple heart-felt conversation with the creator. There’s 

powerful that can take place with our worship. Getting lost in worship can cause everything to be covered by our love for God and His love for us. It covers al of the clutter and neon lights that try to constantly grab our attention. It can cause us to slow down and think and spend time with him.

 

I am all for more complex music. However, I fear that if we try to add too much complexity to worship music we may get lost in what its truly about in the first place. 

 

If i am writing with the intention of writing a song for the church body to sing it needs to be something that can easily be understood and to some degree, easily played. All the while still containing depth and intimacy. It’s a delicate balance of simple and complex. It is much like Christianity itself. It’s a paradox.

 

Even though a lot of my friends don’t understand I still value their input and advice. After all I dont strive to only be able reach fellow Christians through my music.

 

What are your thoughts? How do you feel about worship music? Do you feel it lacks complexity in a negative or do you also find that to be where the beauty of worship music is?

 

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3 thoughts on “Worship Music Vs. Other Music

  1. Worship music isn’t played for other musicians or people to marvel at. For someone to sit back and say, “wow, you know, that group of people are really talented!” It is played for an audience of one. The argument could be made that worship music is a tool used to usher His people into His presence or an emotional heightening tool. Either way, similar to mediation and your snow analogy, it serves to clear the mind for open communication with our heavenly Father.

  2. Dude thanks for this. All we can be is who we are with our music. We must respond to God in worship with however it comes out of us and be happy with that because well He is! The role changes when we bring others into our offering like a band or a congregation. If they respond with complexity than be complex if simple then simple. The average congregation digs simplicity where the average band wants complexity. We gotta find the balance like you said without losing the integrity of our offering or the heart of those Christ has given us to serve.

  3. I’m a man of simplicity. I have spent my whole life trying to keep it rather simplified. With that said, I also believe worship music should be simple. That’s why we don’t add all the bloops and bleeps to our Sunday experience. Sure folks won’t stick around because it’s not entertaining but I’d rather them go if they come to church to be entertained.

    I’m reminded of something Matt Redman said about worship (not the music). He said worship is about revelation and response. God reveals HImself and we respond. My takeaway is it’s very difficult to have pure response when the response could be a response to lights, smoke, bloops and bleeps, incredible chord progressions, guitar and piano work that blows you mind, or a drummer who is a good as Neil Pert.

    On the other side of that, I do believe we should make sure that what we present is nothing short of worship so if somebody is that good at writing or playing, then let them to the point of worshiping with their talent and not so much showing off. I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water in the name of simplicity.

    Lastly, I believe simplicity is a heart issue just as worship is. So if things are being done in an attitude of worship, then it’s fair game. However, if I’m leading it, I’m going to lean on the simple side of it.

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