What if you don’t like the music?


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First, this is NOT an attempt to bash the person who made the honest comment.  Second, most of us THINK that way at times, but don’t bother to say anything…or don’t have the courage to say it.

I read the comments that are turned in each week.  Usually they’re quite encouraging.  Sometimes they’re thought provoking.  And then there are comments that help me realize that we’re all on a journey, and we’re not there yet.

Last week one of the comments went something like this, “I liked the dance…but not the reggae version of Never Let Go.”  (I couldn’t agree more about the dance, by the way.  It was powerful!)  Again, I’m not trying to bash whoever made the comment.  But when I read it, I couldn’t help think of what I saw happening as that song started last Sunday.  I saw a couple people who are from “the islands” immediately engage.  I even leaned over and pointed them out to my wife.  It was as though they could suddenly connect in a vibrant expression of worship!  And I thought at the time, “That’s so awesome that they can connect like that here in Gaithersburg, thousands of miles away from the islands.”  So when I read the comment from the Connection Card, I realized that what one person doesn’t appreciate can absolutely overwhelm the person sitting next to them.

It’s not about me.  Or you.

It’s about the God we worship.

Confession: I don’t always like the songs we do, either.  Even though I appreciate a broad diversity of styles, there are some that don’t do much for me.  (Those closest to me know what those styles are.  I won’t tell the rest of you.)  And while I could “pull rank” and banish those songs, I won’t.  Because, well, it’s not about me.  (More confession: On rare occasions I’ve asked Dave to retire a song, but only because it was just plain bad…not because of it’s style.)

In a church that is reaching a variety of cultures, we will have a growing variety of cultural expressions like music.  The goal is not to try to offend any of us…or all of us.  The goal is to become a multi-cultural expression of praise to the God who made us.

So the next time you find yourself wanting to “check out” because the music isn’t one of your favorites (and we’ve all been there), I encourage you to look around.  Find someone who is “checking in” at that moment.  And celebrate together with them that they’re able to express their gratitude and worship to the God who made us…with unimaginable diversity!

-Pastor Mark

Posted on March 3, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Thank you, Pastor Mark. I am always excited when the worship does something new, regardless of the style. This is because I’ve personally experienced how a new take on a song suddenly brings the song alive for me, and I’ve experienced seeing how a song I may not care much for brings the song alive for others. I also have grown to love many of the songs that I initially was not a big fan of. I realize now it’s not just the style that matters. It’s a mix of having the humility, willingness to surrender, and opening our ears and eyes to what God has to say. And we all get to worship together!

  2. When I read the words on the screen, regardless if its contemporary, raggae music etc., I still feel the Holy Spirit because the words only point to one thing….Praising his holy name! and I come from a Black gospel singing shouting environment.

  3. There’s something after the great music? Oh “Happenings” that’s right….

  4. Becky Onuschak

    Thanks for saying that. I tried to encourage that line of thinking in similar situations when I was leading worship, but it was not very often that the lead pastors I worked with discussed this, leaving it more to me or other worship/arts pastors to explain (sometimes defend, unfortunately) their own decisions. I appreciate that you bring your perspectives on worship into the church conversation. Once we take time to consider that embracing others’ means of expression is a not optional part of loving them, it becomes very difficult to call our songs “worship” without at least making an honest try at doing that.

  5. Charissa Roberts

    Now seems like a perfect time to express my appreciation of the worship team and musicians at Seneca Creek. The musicians are among the most talented I’ve encountered and the music the most inspiring (and singable) too! I can only imagine the thoughtful time and practice that is involved in producing such a “joyful noise” each Sunday morning! Many thanks!

  6. The church is going to upgrade its sound in the coming months and years as announced in various settings through giving and fundraising to overhaul the church facilities so I am excited about the changes that are coming which might address some of the unspoken critiques that I would have of our worship.

    I fall into the don’t bother category of critics (mostly) because on the whole I am very encouraged by our worship team. Even in the times when my personal engagement is minimal or nonexistent (and especially when I am aware of my own enjoyment and engagement) it is a very wonderful experience to look to others that are physically, vocally (and spiritually) in that moment and recognize that there is nowhere they would rather be than worshipping right were they are. Right where God has them, physically, mentally, spiritually.

    My wish for our worship is based on a simple observation that frequently our congregations voices are washed out and competing against a very loud sound system. Volume/s seem to be maintained at level/s that would be appropriate for a space several times larger than ours and seldom make allowances for the kind of collective awareness that commentators on this topic have witnessed with their eyes during service. I wonder if our witness and awareness was limited to what we could hear if the same very real and present connections would be as evident. They are certainly as evident to the one we worship, so why do we neglect to invite our fellow worshippers to celebrate with us in these vocally connected moments? Can we not conduct or compose and coordinate our efforts to elevate the worship on stage as well as off stage?

    We have excellent talent and volunteers in the heart of this church community, I hope that each of these people realizes that they are an encouragement for their effort and dedication to showing up. Just seeing your investment/s motivates others. Now, how do we acknowledge that there are those who do not prioritize worship and arrive only for the message? how do we ensure that the person who feels like they have the smallest voice in the room has a chance to be heard when that 1 song out of a hundred connects with them and they are belting out their every last ounce of ‘im here Father and thank you for bringing us together again’ sentiment through the words of a song? since the questions have been raised and the dialogue opened; I eagerly anticipate the opportunities to participate in how God is growing this gathering of believers and hope that we continue to seek him with patience and virtue, putting aside any temptation to point out our imperfections as failures, instead practicing courage and forbearance with our interactions with one another, especially in worship.
    Grateful for being able to speak out on the topic. Thanks for reading.
    Express yourselves!

  7. I think our worship music could use more cow bell.

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