What’s too much?

So as of late it’s been a sincere discussion and thought process to me to really examine all that goes into music in worship, and this being general in some manner and particular to me as well. I don’t think that there is a hard and fast exact way that all of the different styles and expressions of worship in music can be reconciled or objectively decided upon because style, Biblically, has little to do with it. Biblically it comes down to “worship in spirit and in truth”. I want to set that aside as the definite and, not taken for granted, but as the foundation of any other thing that would follow.
I have been struggling with some stylistic elements of Awaken as far as making things not too entertaining that people would focus on the created rather than the Creator in worship. I read a quote today that I want to just throw out there as another step in my thinking, and don’t judge me because it comes from a member of my favorite band U2. It is relevant because when you look at what they are doing with their current tour, which is the largest tour in history, it does make me wonder why? Adam Clayton said this in the October 15th issue of Rolling Stone, “Somebody asked us last night, ‘Do you need this stuff?’ And the truth is, you don’t really need this stuff. But part of the show business is you have to change people’s perceptions, you have to find ways to make the songs touch people more, to disorientate people so they’re more open to being touched.”
Now I know that you scholars out there are already thinking, “Church is not show business” I’m not saying that it is in any way. I’m agreeing with that statement in maybe restating it like this, “do we need all of the lights, smoke, screens, speakers, instruments, logos, etc…NO. we don’t need it. Christ is completely sufficient, but part of the spread of the gospel is that you have to change people’s perceptions of the Jesus and the local church, we have to find ways to make the gospel touch more people, to disorientate people, to un-program the bad programming, the prejudice, the ignorance, the bias so they’re more open to being touched.
The “stuff” of modern worship is part of the front door for the unchurched and the dechurched. The “stuff” is a catalyst not only for the those two types of people but also for the devoted follower of Jesus as long as the “stuff” has a clear and definite purpose of expressing the truth of gospel in a way that makes it more clear than it would have been in spoken word alone. I think about why Jesus taught in more than one place. He didn’t get all of his apostles together and say, “ok lets get our place together and get folks in here.” He taught on mountainsides, and houses and in synagogues, by the roadside, the waterside, he brought the setting of creation into the environment of teaching. We have a chance once a week where “the masses” will gather. We have our chance to express the truth of the gospel in word, song, and image. The Holy Spirit will move sometimes in spite of our efforts but I’d rather be making a place of worship that is completely about Him where He is working through our efforts.
The church is a place of worship for the believers, yes, but also an open door for the hurting and nonbeliever. The preaching of the gospel must be happening outside the walls of the church building as well.
So let me be clear about what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that this subject is the most important thing pressing the modern church today. I’m not saying that doing one way over another is correct. I am saying that with the foundation of exalting Christ above all else I’m leaning toward wanting to use all assets afforded me to purposefully point all worshipper’s hearts to Christ.


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