26 June 2006

On the heels of (non) creativity...

Anyone else sick of "Contemporary Christian Music" (CCM)? Don't get me wrong, there are some great songs being written with the heart of God in mind and with the purpose of helping people express their worship to God. That's not what I'm talking about.

I'm thinking more along the lines of the bands who are just clones of so-called secular bands. I mean, how many versions of U2 and Cold Play can you possibly need? When will the falsetto fad die out?

I don't like the idea of designating bands Christian or Secular. They are bands, period. The distinction should be Band or Worship Musicians. If you need help discerning what is what, if you have to buy a ticket, you are going to a concert to see a band. Sure, you may worship there, but that's not the goal. The price for admission to enter into God's throne room has been paid in full by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Should these bands be supported financially? Absolutely! Just don't call it a time of worship if it's off limits to those who can't afford a ticket.

The other fad I notice, is musical relevance over biblical content. Oh, there can be both, but I rarely see it. I will not mention any names, but I'm sure you can figure out who they are. Any band/music that causes the focus to be on the band or the music is ineffective for leading people in worship. If it's all about being high-energy and interacting with those around you, then it is not worship. Is jumping around and yelling wrong? Not at all. If it is genuine worship from you to the Creator, go for it! I've seen it, and I love it. However, that vast majority I see first hand spend more time goofing off than worshipping.

Another gripe I have with CCM is all the cheerleaders it produces. Getting people all hyped up by yelling and jumping around is a bit much.

I love loud and fast music, even for worship. But not 90% of the time. Mix it up, and let the music allow people to go on a journey from beginning to end. When a setlist is made, you should have the end in mind, "Where does God want this to go?"

Constant looking around while "leading worship" in order to see who's watching you, or to gain a nod of approval is wrong. Rehearsed, canned movements and actions need to go; please, please, please, don't copy what you see on a DVD. Just because Matt Redman goes to his knees at a particular point during "Facedown" doesn't mean you have to do it, too. Every time. Rehearse the music, people. Then, your worship can be spontaneous. Funny how we have all the cool rock star moves down, but can't play a song from our hearts. We can't remember two verses, a chorus, a bridge, and the 5 chords that are repeated throughout the whole song. We can spit out the words to "Gold Digger", but need a lyrics chart for "Better Is One Day". Sad.

Churches need to start writing their own songs. Songs about what God is doing in their congregations and communities. A good example would be Hillsong Australia/Hillsong United. United especially, has their own unique sound that works. Unfortunately, there are too many Hillsong United "cover bands" out there. Just like there are too many Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman wannabes. Crowder is another great example of creativity, along with Charlie Hall. Now, take your cue from that and be original; stop bitin' off others creativity. God didn't make you to be like them. First, find out who you are, then get comfortable with that. Then get creative and let God use you how He wants to use you. Don't try to be what God created someone else to be.

I need coffee.


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