Plea From a ''Non-Worshiper''

Plea From a ''Non-Worshiper''

Can we talk? You as a music leader are as much aware as I of the controversy that surrounds worship music in today's church. This controversy is growing and, in many cases, is keeping us from truly worshiping God. Can you give me a few minutes to present my side of the issue? Please note that I am coming from the perspective of a musically challenged individual.

I was once labeled as a "non-worshiper" because I didn't sing along with everyone else. Honestly, that hurt, and that evaluation was unfounded. I just "stood there with my arms folded" and didn't join in with the others for a very legitimate reason: I just can't sing. There are no two ways about it. No one would like to sing more than I, but I just can't. So I remain silent so as not to put those near me through undue torture. This dilemma is complicated further by the fact that many of the newer songs have very complicated chord patterns and timing and rely heavily on minor chords that I can't hear or recognize, much less hit. So as a non-musical person, I am labeled as a non-worshiper when in reality I have just been excluded from worship.

The old song vs. new song idea gets dragged into the argument as well. Once again, that is not the issue at hand. Although I have a deep appreciation for the older songs, I am certainly not opposed to many of the newer songs. In fact, there are some older songs I never want to hear again, while at the same time, the last few years have produced some beautiful worship music that is absolutely breathtaking. A song is not good because it's old; it's good because of its message.

So we can see we really are on the same page. Let me make a few suggestions from my perspective that can bridge a lot of gaps and put an end to the unnecessary problems most churches contend with. These suggestions apply only to music the congregation participates in.

  • Make the songs singable for people like me and countless others. We want to participate; we really do.
  • Sing the song as it is written. Nothing is harder than trying to follow someone who is adding personal interpretation or some unique arrangement to the song.
  • Introduce new songs at the appropriate time and sing them long enough for me to begin to catch on to them.
  • Remember you and your backup singers get to practice and the audience doesn't.
  • You are there to lead us into worship not perform for us.

I trust you feel my heart in this issue. It seems the devil, realizing we will never worship him, has contrived a way to disrupt our worship of God. None of the worship issues are beyond resolution if we both work at it. I'm willing.

Thanks for listening.

Larry Thomas