Here is a word that every worship leader on the planet needs to hear. James Smith, philosophy prof at Calvin College, is concerned that the church has unwittingly encouraged worship leaders to import musical practices into Christian worship that are detrimental to congregational worship. So he expounds upon three bits of advice to counteract this trend:
1. If we, the congregation, can’t hear ourselves, it’s not worship.
2. If we, the congregation, can’t sing along, it’s not worship.
3. If you, the praise band, are the center of attention, it’s not worship.
After unpacking each of these three statements, Smith concludes:
Please consider these points carefully and recognize what I am not saying. This isn’t just some plea for “traditional” worship and a critique of “contemporary” worship. Don’t mistake this as a defense of pipe organs and a critique of guitars and drums (or banjos and mandolins). My concern isn’t with style, but with form: What are we trying to do when we “lead worship?” If we are intentional about worship as a communal, congregational practice that brings us into a dialogical encounter with the living God–that worship is not merely expressive but also formative–then we can do that with cellos or steel guitars, pipe organs or African drums.
This is a must-read. Read the rest here.