TEN WAYS WORSHIP RESOURCES GET IT WRONG

220px-PearlJam-Ten2I should be a “worship site” guy.

Heck, I kinda’ run one of my own.

But you know what? We could do a much better job. If you spend any time at all reading worship related magazines or hitting websites focused on training, you’ll probably identify with parts of this list.

I think worship resources operate under assumptions that don’t match up with where worship leaders live and serve.

I talk to people all the time who are seriously struggling in their ministry and have been repeatedly let down by worship resource sites and periodicals.

10. THEY’RE ALWAYS SELLING SOMETHING
I’m not talking about advertising. I’m talking about the refrain from many resources that assume we all have the same stuff to work with. When’s the last time you read an article about how to lead well using stage wedges? But did you know a lot of churches still use wedges? Hit one or two of these sites/magazines and try not to feel like your church is a piece of junk because you don’t have any of the cool stuff.

9. THEY SATURATE US
In addition to selling us an idea of what church should look and sound like, many sites overwhelm us with information. Go to any album review section…eight albums reviewed for use in congregational worship? Some of us are still trying to teach songs that came out two years ago! Give us more articles and fewer lists.

8. THEY’RE NEVER NEGATIVE
Some records suck. Some books aren’t very good. We all know this – even the reviewers know this! Ministry is too hard to spend all our time patting every single resource on the back.Wouldn’t you appreciate reviews being a bit more honest? (However, gear reviews are brutally honest on these sites. Why does gear get the honest look but not the latest CD?)

7. THEY DON’T TALK ENOUGH THEOLOGY
Listen, I’m the first guy to flake out when some guy wants to prove the concept of justification by way of the Greek inference as it relates to the context of Romans. But if you’re going to interview some CCM star about their new worship record, why not ask them to give some reasons why these songs need to be sung. We give CCM worship stars a pass on this stuff and we shouldn’t.

6. THEY’RE NOT PRACTICAL (ENOUGH)
Many magazines and websites are making efforts to build in practical tips, which has been very refreshing. But we can do better. I dig a four-page spread on why hymns are good, wouldn’t you love a sidebar or two on how to implement hymns? Or what about recommending band arrangements of hymns? Teach us!

5. THEY DON’T FACTOR SMALL CHURCHES
When the sites are practical, they still don’t factor is small churches. There are great articles out there about sound mixing and chord inversions and backing vocals, but I hardly ever see those ideas adapted for small congregations. There is nothing more heartbreaking for a small church worship leader than reading an entire magazine and find no tips on how to make all that stuff happen!

4. THEY DON’T THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU & FAMOUS WORSHIP LEADERS
Yes, there are some famous worship leaders who lead in their local churches. But many of those churches feature paid musicians and have sound systems that cost more than the operating budget of a small town. I’m grateful for pro musicians leading in the day-in-day-out ministry of the local church, but many of them work in a very different world than you and me. When’s the last time a worship resource featured a regular person from a local church?

3. THEY HAVE TOO MANY ADS
Ads pays the bills, so that’s a necessary thing, but I’m done with the sidebar of nine different conferences and web providers on every. single. page.

2. THEY TRY TO PLEASE EVERYBODY
Like it or not, we’re in “specialized” culture. You won’t find many business that try to sell everything you could ever need and yet, that exactly what a lot of worship resources do. Many of them try to maintain a catalog of information for suggested reading, choral arrangements, children’s music programs, college classes focused on worship leading, avant-garde indie worship bands and letters to the editor. I wonder if these folks would do more good if they’d narrow the field a little.

1. THEY TRY TO BE TASTEMAKERS
Why are we letting guys who design websites and publishers of magazines decide what’s valuable in our ministry field? I read all these bylines and bios and very few of them are from people working in a local church. Doesn’t it stand to reason that people in church ministry should be the ones encouraging people in church ministry?

As always, I invite your feedback. Don’t hesitate to chime in!

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5 comments

    • toddwright

      Thanks, Gregg. It’s hard not to be snarky, but I get so frustrated when I look at the resources available for local churches!

  1. Jeff Q

    #8, #8, a thousand times #8!! Every worship release can’t possibly be 4.5 out of 5! They all don’t “usher you into the throneroom of grace!”

    • toddwright

      I can sympathize with them…I’m sure it feels weird to say, “hey, this record of songs for Jesus is kinda’ terrible.”

      But I’m not gonna’ lie, I would LOVE to see a review like that at least once!

      • Jeff Q

        Yeah, I definitely can’t throw any stones when it comes to songwriting. It’s all subjective anyway. Some like the guitar based stuff, some like the new synth-heavy dance pop stuff, some like the understated Gungor style. It’s great that we’re living in a time when there is so much Jesus-based music available.

        P.s….I’m waiting to see Back To the Start/God’s Great Dance Floor on one of your Songs We Did posts!!

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