John G. Stackhouse, Jr. at Christianity Today has made an interesting comparison. He says that many worship bands in contemporary churches actually have a lot in common with the Catholic church before the Reformation: the music was sung by professionals and the congregants sat and watched but didn’t participate. Luther used tavern melodies to write hymns because they were singable. Contemporary worship bands often “perform” their church music in such a way as to make them unsingable to the everyday person. I have made the same argument here. Good worship songs should be (1) singable, (2) playable by the musicians, and (3) have good content.
Stackhouse then argues that the best thing for worship bands to do is to turn the volume down. He offers these five reasons.
1. Cranking up the volume is just a cheap trick to add energy to a room.
2. Turning up the volume on an out of tune singer doesn’t cover up the problem but actually makes it sound even worse.
3. Cheap church speakers can’t handle the pressure!
4. Older people are marginalized.
5. Most people can’t sing along.
Read the whole thing here, it’s pretty funny.
HT: Peter Smith at the Courier-Journal.