Church Music- Worship vs. Performance

Recently, a friend, two actually, posted two different videos on Facebook. They were of two different women singing in Black churches.

The women’s voices were fantastic. Absolutely wonderful talent, that in the end, left me with a horrific sense of lack. Of course, people in both churches whooped and hollered and all, but there was absolutely no substance other than the magnificence of the voices.

I admit, I have a love/hate relationship with music, especially in predominantly Black churches.  I find a lot of Gospel music to be un-biblical but performed well enough that the fact that the words are horrible, the songs go largely unnoticed and are wholeheartedly accepted simply because of the delivery.

Then, there are the five minute songs where, in the end, they equate to two sentences that don’t even convey a complete or substantial thought, but again, the delivery wins them over every time. It’s more of a performance than anything, not at all pointing to the Lord. It’s pointing more to the person singing and what acrobatics they can do with their voice. I find it a waste and a shame. We have too much to do in the Body of Christ than to settle for putting on shows.

Contemporary Christian music sometimes has better quality lyrics. Because of the lack of vocal acrobatics, one is able to hear and take in the words, and although the delivery may feel lacking to some, the words take you right to the throne of God. Then (sigh) there’s the ones that are just plain ole dry. This is such an unfortunate disparity.

This is something I’ve only discussed with my daughter. I used to think I was crazy but the closer I get to the Lord, the less impressed I am with talent and the more I truly listen to the lyrics in songs before getting caught up in it all.  I hope I’m not the only one who notices this. The acrobatic vocals are fine but I just think it should be tempered with solid Biblical lyrics that point to Jesus, not putting the singer in the spotlight.

Ironically, this is all coming from a classically trained, coloratura soprano who by definition, has a voice distinguished by agile runs, leaps and trills.  Here’s the thing though, when I sing, I want it to be an encounter that is bathed in the glory of God. I want the intimacy that I share with Him, to come through, touch and change the hearts of all hearing it. I don’t want to merely entertain, anyone can entertain. Church is not the place for that. I want to have a corporate encounter with Holy Spirit and my brothers and sisters in Christ. Isn’t that what the point is? Aren’t we to be worshiping God together? Is there a way then that we can move away from performance based worship that’s truly only worshiping the musicians? I think there is, in fact, I know there is because I’ve seen it, and it is glorious. My prayer is that it catches and spreads throughout the Church like wildfire. Holy Ghost Wildfire.

One thought on “Church Music- Worship vs. Performance

  1. When I listen to music, I listen for the words first, unless it is an instrumental piece of music. If I’m not impressed by the words, I can’t hear or appreciate the tune, regardless of how sweet or entertaining the voice is behind the lyrics.

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