“We’d like to collectively ‘own’ only a certain number of songs from which we regularly draw”

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Bert Perry's picture

Amen to #2.  Not quite sure about #1--I would think that at least over time, the church ought to go into the depth and breadth of topics and styles, but a definite amen to singability.  I once heard a song that simply had no discernable melody, which seems to void the benefit of music--it will become a melody in our hearts, as Ephesians 5:19 notes.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

From the article: "4. Our desire is for our own people to be leading us in worship.

We are still a young church, and we use a number of contract musicians along with our volunteers on both campuses. That is okay for now. Convictionally, however, we want to raise up, equip, and engage our own people as volunteers to lead worship in our church."

 

You know what. This attitude exemplifies in my opinion what is wrong with this whole thing. I am part of a small church too...real small, not because it is dead but because it is just getting started. If we can't play a song, we just do it acapella. I am taking classes from www.greghowlett.com to get better at my piano. And I can honestly say this, if someone who attended our church left because we didn't have "Eddie van Halen" as the guitarist, I will personally open the door for them on their way out, and love them all the way in doing it!

Shaynus's picture

Mark, 

A good buddy of mine is a relatively well known contract musician in Nashville (where Ed's church is as well). I suspect part of Ed's letter is the Nashville music culture where churches really are expected to up their music game. I'm with you in criticizing a culture where the music has to be good or you're gone.  

Over the summer, my friend was contracted by a brand new church plant with the PCA and I went with him a few Sundays. He was contracted for two months for a few reasons: to train the congregation to sing well in a few songs and to give training to other members of the worship team. The PCA has deep church planting pockets so they chose to pay him to come, and also because they were in a large denomination, the church plant had 100 people after a few months. 

There is nothing wrong with paying musicians to do what they're trained to do. Much like a pastor (though not at the same exact biblical mandate), they are worthy of their hire, and churches can have good motives in making this choice. 

Mark_Smith's picture

I didn't realize Ed was in Nashville so that does make sense...but doesn't he write for the "every church". Maybe I misunderstood.

It just seems that this idea that the music has to be "great" is man-centered.

 

As far as paying musicians, do you also pay the help in the kids classrooms? Where does it end?

Bert Perry's picture

It's worth noting that Eddie Van Halen didn't get his start in Nashville, and hence I would assume that churches around the country would have a problem with people expecting virtuousity out of musicians, and there is a corollary problem that they're there for entertainment, not worship.  

And a third problem; if another comment about pop music being deceptively difficult to sing well is true, then you've got something that is not singable.  Oops.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

As much as I love good country & western (what's been going on to stop this the past 20 or so years, Nashville?), it strikes me that the thing that churches face with an "educated" citizenry are not necessarily that they know what good music is.  It is, rather, that the attendees are in love with music that is new.  Now if indeed music in the church can connect us with those who came before us, it is a danger to focus exclusively on the new in matters of music.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Shaynus's picture

Ed is sharing a letter he wrote to his church that he thought might be helpful to other churches/leaders. He's a great guy. I actually had dinner with him last summer. 

I'm with you on the man-centeredness. That COULD be the motive. It's probably more a cultural blindness or just a difference. Nashville churches just sing a lot. 

I also agree with the "where does it end" argument, though it takes a lot of skill developed over time for musical excellence. You should probably pay your music pastor/worship leader at least something. Maybe not the choir. 

GregH's picture

As an aside, I was at a Christian music industry event in the spring and Ed came in to speak. I was very impressed. He was extremely hard hitting on subjects like being man-centered to the industry. No fluff.