Primarily, I listen to worship music because I love it, but there’s also the added element of my job. Find music for congregational singing is a big part of my job.
And while I’ll be the first to celebrate all of the variety evident in today’s worship offerings (including that amazing archival benefits of the internet,) I gotta’ say I’m noticing that most of the records I hear lack a few important things that I need for my ministry. I’m not saying that these CDs are evil or wrong in their approach…but they do feel…unbalanced.
If you’re a worship leader, you may identify with this list. Or you may have something to add of your own!
- VARIETY. I lead people 52 Sundays, almost as many Wednesday nights and lots of random other special events every year. I may like listening to a CD where all 13 songs are about God’s love, but that’s not a resource for my church. Yes, we sing about God’s love…but we sing about a lot of other stuff, too. I’m not much of a skeptic, but with each one-dimensional project I hear, I become more convinced that worship CDs have shifted from being a resource to simply entertaining and inspiring. We need balance.
- NORMALCY. I love a weird violin-run-through-an-overdrive-pedal-on-top-of-udu-loop as much as the next guy, but what about just starting a song normal…like actual praise teams do? How about ending on the I chord now and again? I don’t want to come off as simple-minded or inconsiderate of art, but I don’t know that I’ve added a “modern” worship song in the last year that I didn’t have to adapt for my team. I don’t mind doing it – but it’s a disturbing trend to see worship records sounding more like guys locked in a studio that folks leading a congregation.
- SOMEBODY ELSE. With music sales declining, I know that marketing is becoming much more important. If I’m shopping for a record, I love it when the marketing includes folks from within the congregation talking about what a song has meant to them. Sadly, online worship marketing usually consists of the artists telling me how it’s not about him…while superimposed over a 2 minute video clip…of him…on a stage…in front of thousands. I realize that personality plays a part in what we do, but I love it when I can get a sense of how these songs work in the day-to-day lives of the church where the songs have come alive.
What else? What do YOU need from a worship record?