[dropcap]A[/dropcap] comment was made to me this week about a song. The comment was simple. It was, “I don’t like the version you sent to us.” I responded, “We pretty much play it the same way. You maybe just don’t like the singer’s voice?” “Yeah, that’s it” she answered.

This got me thinking. As a self-proclaimed music snob, I often disregard certain worship songs simply because of who is singing it. As an example, for the most part, I have avoided Matt Redman. I cannot give you any big reason why, other than that there is something in his voice I just struggle to get passed, which is quite ridiculous. The man is an astounding and acclaimed worship leader. He is one of those leaders that gets more people singing to God than most others. So why do I struggle with his voice or style? I am not sure. I have done a few of his songs, but I always seem to change the style around. That is fine, but there have been times when I have attended a service and heard the same song done very similarly to his recording…and I cringe. Is this the music snob in me blocking myself from entering into worship? Possibly. Ha, more likely probably.

Redman is not the only Christian artist I struggle with. Most church musicians I know tend to struggle with Chris Tomlin and Hillsong. Is it because we have heard so many songs from these artists that eventually a lot of the songs start to sound the same? Does that even matter though when we are called to come together to sing songs each week as a congregation? For Hillsong, the argument is that every song has the same flow. For Tomlin, usually it is that it sounds the same. As a worship leader, I could take a little effort and add something or change around the flow of the song. I can try make it more accessible to my congregation. But more often, the song is already as accessible as it needs to be without me tampering with it. I mean, if thousands of people can sing to it each week at Hillsong or Tomlin’s churches, then who am I to change it because I just do not like it?This got me thinking about the consumerist church that I wrote about a few weeks back. Even more, it reminded me of how I can be the problem when it comes to church music. My consumeristic music snob mind can get in the way of bringing people to a place where they can sing praises to God as a body of believers. This is hard to stomach sometimes because it is precisely the opposite of what I am supposed to do as a worship leader. Often times I choose not to use a song because of my preference towards it. Now there are times when this may be a good thing, but more often I have found that this is hindering my ability to lead. Yes, that Hillsong song is the same structure of most of their songs but does the song get people singing to God? Does it bring people into the presence of God? Most likely, yes. These criteria should be what I as a worship leader focus on.

This got me thinking about the consumerist church that I wrote about a few weeks back. Even more, it reminded me of how I can be the problem when it comes to church music. My consumeristic music snob mind can get in the way of bringing people to a place where they can sing praises to God as a body of believers. This is hard to stomach sometimes because it is precisely the opposite of what I am supposed to do as a worship leader. Often times I choose not to use a song because of my preference towards it. Now there are times when this may be a good thing, but more often I have found that this is hindering my ability to lead. Yes, that Hillsong song is the same structure of most of their songs but does the song get people singing to God? Does it bring people into the presence of God? Most likely, yes. These criteria should be what I as a worship leader focus on.

Furthermore, I think that as a volunteer musician or a congregant we should focus on these criteria as well. As a church, we are called to come together to hear the word, pray, and sing. Pretty plain and simple. So as I write about what stops me from doing this, I would encourage anyone reading this to look into themselves to see what prevents them from entering into worship. Ultimately, a church coming together is not about the individual. It is about the edification and maturity of the entire body. If we prevent ourselves from entering into worship we are not thinking about the body, but about ourselves. So as we go about our weeks I ask you to consider this: what is it that stops you from entering into worship on a Sunday?

 

Ron Nord is the Worship Leader at Vail Christian Church in Tucson, Arizona. He has a Bachelor of Music from San Diego State University and a Master of Arts in Theology from Palmer Theological Seminary. As a leader Ron seeks to use music as a discipleship tool and a platform for writing and speaking.