Is Your Worship Music Too Loud?

John Stackhouse penned an article this week for Christianity Today with the apt title, “Memo to Worship Bands: Five sound reasons to lower the volume.” Stackhouse’s central concern is summed up in this sentence: “I find almost every worship band in every church I visit to be too loud—not just a little bit loud, but uncomfortably, even painfully, loud.” He then goes on to give five reasons why worship leaders should turn down the volume.

Stackhouse concludes his essay with this:

“So, church musicians, if you want to perform a fine song that requires advanced musicianship, by all means do it. We will listen and pray and enjoy it to the glory of God.

“But when you are leading us in singing, then lead us in singing. And turn it down so we are not listening to you—or, even worse, merely enduring you. I know that is not what you want to happen. But I am telling you that’s what is happening.”

I’d be interested to know how many of you resonate with Stackhouse’s concern.


  • Zach Nielsen

    Some thoughts:

    1. Some would argue that the sound of our voices in worship should be primary. “People need to be able to hear themselves and others around them singing”, they might say. These folks might argue that amplified music detracts from worship because of the potential of our voices becoming drowned out by loud guitars, etc. I would submit that the opposite could also be true in the case of those who are not as musical or confident in singing. My wife, for example, would readily admit that she is not the greatest singer in the world and when she can hear herself and she knows that everyone around her could potentially hear her as well, this may cause her to sing softer due to insecurity. I believe that music that is louder (within reason) can bring an energy to a worship service and in fact encourage people to sing with passion. I was recently at a conference where it was clear that the leadership was very cautious of “loudness” in worship. There were many musicians on stage attempting to play in a pop-rock form, but it lacked so much energy that it was simply awkward and distracting.

    2. Along these lines we need to be careful that we do not emasculate the genre that we are using (which is what I thought they were doing at that conference). All art forms have a history and we need to be careful to respect and not redefine the form too drastically. If I were to play polka music I would seek to figure out what polka music is usually defined as and do that. If I am going to play be-bop music, (jazz from the late 40’s and 50’s) I would need to figure out what one needs to “say” to speak that musically language and then seek to communicate using the right “words” to be true to the language. In the church where I lead, we use a pop-rock form for much of our music. The leadership hired me partly because they knew this is what I would bring. Rock music inherently needs to be played with a certain visceral energy and can’t be “felt” apart from a relative degree of volume that communicates this. If we are going to continue to use this form then we need to seek to do justice to the form, or else find a new form.

    3. As with most issues, the issue of volume in worship is a subjective one. Who defines what “loud” is? We can go round and round on these types of discussions. What I come down to is that ultimately our people have to trust our leadership and those that the leadership has enabled to oversee ministry. If they don’t, they need to find a new church. Our soundperson can’t always be trying to please every sonic whim of the people in our congregation. This would be utterly paralyzing. He (or she) needs to be freed up to mix the sound in a way that he/she deems is appropriate (if he is way off then why was he hired in the first place?) and if he is not consistently doing a satisfactory job at this then the leadership needs to find a new soundperson. Fortunately for the church where I serve, I feel as though our soundperson is doing a great job and consistently accomplishes a good mix for worship. My suggestion for our church is that our soundperson should report to one or two key people in leadership to “check-in” and see what their perception is of the volume level. After that, basically our soundperson doesn’t need to listen to the opinions of anyone else. This seems to be the mode of operation for every other area of ministry in our church. Ministry leaders don’t receive direct evaluation from the whole congregation, they get evaluated by the elder board of our church and more specifically by one or two key people from the elder board. This doesn’t mean that those men don’t listen and interact with the concerns of others in the church that might pertain to an area of ministry, but at the end of the day “success” in a job is defined by those men and not the whole congregation.

    4. Keep in mind that a perception of loudness or what is too harsh for the ears is more complex than just one simple volume knob that you can bring up or down. This discussion far exceeds the scope of this post, but just know that things such as sound equalization, hearing on the part of the soundperson, type of speakers and other auxiliary sound gear, etc, all contribute to what one considers to be “loud”. It’s not just a matter of turning one knob up or down.

    5. Keep in mind that oftentimes (but not always) “it’s too loud” are the words that are used, but what a person is really saying is something like, “I don’t like it”. The problem is that they just don’t know how to articulate this, thus they blame it on the volume. Think about it, if I loved the sound of the violin, then I would want to be sure that I could actually hear the violin in worship. If I didn’t like the sound of the violin, then I wouldn’t want to hear it. Simple right? Put another way, imagine an elderly couple who would rather be subjected to Chinese water torture than go to a rock concert. This same couple loves to go to the monthly performance of the symphony orchestra in their city. What they don’t know is that the raw volume of the orchestra probably at times exceeds that of an average rock show, but the sounds are very different. The latter is preferable (to them) and the former isn’t. Thus I think we have to admit that at times our musical preferences are more the issue than just volume levels. Certainly this is not always the case and a sound has the possibility of just being too loud (or too soft) regardless of how I feel about it’s inherent sonic value.

    The issue of volume in worship is a very complex one and as a result needs to be handled with humility and grace.

  • Paul

    Yet another reason why I am all for just going old school and playing hymns.

    If the worship teams want to play rock, but don’t know the inner workings of Chuck Berry, The Beatles or Led Zeppelin, their music is emasculated already, regardless of volume.

    If the young folk are offended/bored/put out by the old school hymns, then there’s a problem with their hearts that a distortion pedal, a power chord and a volume knob will just NOT be able to fix.

    Not to mention, those hymns are musically so much richer than the average “praise song” that they are clearly a bigger challenge to the musicians that must learn them. As a musician, I would rather be challenged than coddled at every turn. As a church goer, I want to sing a song that is clearly about our GOD.

  • Joshua

    I identify with the article only somewhat.

    As mentioned before, loud is subjective. And I think that the older crowd is the main people to complain about “loudness.” However, I can’t say younger folks do as well. And I think if younger folks, who are actually complaining because it is too loud or then its time to look at it.

    In my experience as a musician, and a sound person at a church, I want the mix to be GOOD. Loud sometimes comes because we play with drums, keys, one electric guitarist (occasionally two), and a bassist. But I want people to hear the voices of those leading, because thats who they are following.

    When we as a team, lead worship, we lead by voice because we are singing, the musical instruments are just accompaniment. If your primary focus is the instruments, then you are focusing on the wrong thing. There, of course, is always room for a quick musical break, or worshipful break, but is it the voice thats leading it, or the guitar? Either is okay, but the reality, any vocalist will tell you a quick break gives their voice a good rest to dive into the next Chorus, verse etc.

    A good sound person doesn’t mix loud. A good sound person mixes well, with good volume. Would anyone care for a piano or organ at special music if it was turned where you can barely hear it? No one would care or listen. A piano is played loud, and so is a organ, to get the rich tones that come from those instruments. So why don’t people complain about those?

    And as beautiful as they are, the generation who is now leading or stepping into leadership in the churches now days play guitars, electric guitars, basses and keyboards (and some drums even).

    Honestly, people will complain either way. And they need to look at themselves and think about a few things.
    1. Am I complaining because my ears hurt, or because I prefer to hear music that I like?
    2. Am I complaining because I’m older, and thats what my generation thinks? (That loud music is bad)
    3. Am I stuck in my pew/chair, and refusing to maybe move a little further back from the stage?
    4. Am I being self-ish?
    5. Is my walk with God, my ability to worship, or my enjoyment of worship being TRULY being hindered by this?

    I think most (not all) people complaining about “loud,” and they mean what is being played. Meaning, they are against guitars or anything like the worship bands are being formed to look like today. And if they used to complain when all there was piano or organ, then refer to my 5 questions above.

  • Nathan

    What is somewhat ironic and funny to me is that I wonder if Joshua, John, and Hewson realize that the generation that started rock-n-roll and loud music is now well into their 50s and 60s.

    I for one, being almost 50, enjoy loud music done well. The problem with many praise bands is that they don’t have the skills to play loud because they don’t play well.
    Also, if I am going to a rock concert I am there to hear the band perform, they are not there to lead me in song. Notice also that at rock concerts the singer and the band get quiet when they entice the audience to sing so that they can hear them.

    I would say the best argument given in the article is loud music is usually (not always), but usually, praise songs with little substance. My 20 year old son calls them 7-11 songs. The same seven words sung eleven times.

    Worship involves participation and the author’s point was to illicit more participation and to sing more songs that had some depth and meaning.

  • Paul

    “In my experience as a musician, and a sound person at a church, I want the mix to be GOOD. Loud sometimes comes because we play with drums, keys, one electric guitarist (occasionally two), and a bassist. But I want people to hear the voices of those leading, because thats who they are following.”

    Funny, I’ve been known to play with the same format and play quietly enough that we were able to hold on conversations while we were playing. Loud doesn’t have to enter into it.

    Man, a couple of days ago, I played in a saxophone/upright bass/drums trio, and the bass player refused to bring an amp. I just saw video of the show last night, and you could hear everyone perfectly, no amps, no microphones. That said, people were coming up to us all night telling us how powerfully it sounded.

    Talent doesn’t need to be loud. Inexperience tends to lean towards it.

    “When we as a team, lead worship, we lead by voice because we are singing, the musical instruments are just accompaniment.”

    You just defined everything that I see wrong with today’s “praise” music. Forget that the music provides rhythm, time, melody and harmony. It’s just the background. Palm, meet forehead. No one’s saying that the guitarist needs to be in the front of the mix, with his synth board all lit up, but, lead with anything but your rhythm section, and the music WILL suffer. At which point, it WILL seem loud.

    Finally, I will agree that far too many people use the word “loud” where “annoying” would better suit the situation.

  • Paul

    I don’t know Nathan, but…


    Everything I could have said, only said better.

    And, let’s face facts, when I went to go see R.E.M. last spring, there were plenty of 50 year olds in THAT audience. The folks that were in their 20’s when Cream, or better yet, Elvis came into their own would be closer to 60 or 70 by now. And probably many of them are more than willing to listen to some LOUD music.

    It’s not a situation of old people not getting the hip (ha!) new music of a new generation. It’s a situation of a new generation playing poorly and playing poorly written music.

  • Rev. Ryan M.

    I liked this article so much when I first saw it that I read the whole thing to my wife. If kids put their hands over their ears (as I have seen happen), the music is too loud.

    This is not just a problem in the States, by the way. We’re in Costa Rica studying Spanish as missionaries, and the same volume issues exist here; the music at our new church here literally hurts my ears every week. Even special music is turned up so loud that the large old speakers distort the sound.

  • Joshua

    I agree with you there Paul. I’ll be honest, thats more along the lines of what I meant. Guh, its amusing.

    Nathan, see this is what is confusing to me when you use the word loud. If this is the generation who rocked out to some of the greatest music ever, why are they complaining about loud? I think you hit it on the nail. Its not that they are complaining of loud, but annoying.

    But I think a failure of musical ability, and therefore you have to keep cranking it, is not the point, so I agree with you there as well.

    Why do people prefer (as you called) 7-11 songs, over things with depth and great talent to be written (like hymns).

    Have people mistaken song writing with poetry? Where it doesn’t (necessarily) require a great amount of words?

  • William

    Rock does not have to be played loud to be moving… the only rock that must be played loud is that which relies more on overdrive and wah pedals than it does on the skill and talent of the musician (though the musician may be talented and skillful). So much of current worship just sounds like an insult to taste.

    I do not think we need to stick with the old forms, but it would be nice for some good worship music to be written that does not have to blast “older” people’s eardrums out.

    Besides, young people should be incredibly concerned with the sentiments of their elders. Our society glorifies youth, the church ought to counter-culturally encourage respect AND defference for older generations.

    I am 23 (not that my age lends any credibility to my statements, I just don’t want anyone thinking that I am just a crusty old guy :-))

  • Jerad

    I just had an interesting anecdote about this. Just yesterday I took my 3 and 4 year old girls to a seminary chapel service. I didn’t think anything about the volume because I was used to it, but when I asked my 3 year old what she thought of the singing she said, “It hurt my ears Daddy.”

  • Paul

    “I do not think we need to stick with the old forms, but it would be nice for some good worship music to be written that does not have to blast “older” people’s eardrums out.”

    To put it in the secular realm for a second, let me address this in this manner:

    A band at the local coffee shop has a choice of two songs that it can play. One is Johnny B. Goode, and the other one is Rock Star by Nickelback. Should they play the Nickelback song simply because it’s new, or more of the kids know it, or should they stick to what they know is the better, more edifying, more rewarding song?

    That’s right, that band will be playing Johnny B. Goode if they have anything resembling a spine or a conscience.

    So it should be with the “praise” tunes vs. hymns argument as well.

    Come vs. The Servant Song? I don’t want the person that would pick Come coming anywhere near the pulpit, thank you very much.

  • Christopher Lake

    If I can’t hear *myself* sing, much less others around me, it is frustrating, and it lessens my desire to sing. For those who will only sing if the music is louder, I have to wonder, what would they have done in any Bible-believing church prior to the 1960s-70s? Until that point in time, virtually no churches had loud music. (I write all of this as a lover of rock, jazz, and funk– often played fairly loud!)

  • Christopher Lake

    Continuing the above post– the difference, though, is that when I go to see rock, jazz, or funk bands in concert, I am there to enjoy the music, so the loudness is not distracting. When I gather with the rest of the church on Sunday morning, I am there to worship God, and sometimes, for me, loudness can distract from that activity.

  • Jay

    Loud music gives the listener a physiological/emotional boost which they mistakenly perceive to be worship. This is a significant problem with the way music is being done in the church.

  • Jason

    JAY – a physiological/emotional boost…? what do you think corporate worship is? Should there be no emotion?? Shouldn’t it be different then your personal worship time with God? wouldn’t you want to tap into those emotions and physical reactions that most people leave dormant throughout the week???

    What is the ‘problem’ you see with the way music is being done in the church?

    Anyone in the congregation should have to raise their voice to carry on a conversation, if normal voices are above the volume of the worship band its not a the correct volume. db meters cant tell you if the mix is right. If you “cap” a service at any specific db volume, you might as well cut off your worship leader’s fingers and tell them to play.

    Correct volume does not equal loud volume. If it is mixed correctly it wont be loud at 105dbs.

    Seek God for a revelation of the culture and experience you need to bring to your church. He has given you those desires in your heart, follow them, thats His direction.

    You must embrace and strive for that experience. Hopefully your congregation is ready to go there with you. Don’t try for it all at once, but build it slowly. If they are not ready, they will leave and find another church that is more their style.

  • Andrew

    Why are a lot of the comments for louder music based around rock and roll influences and pop bands? Why does The World and Pop music and the shallowness and unGodliness of it have to have such a huge huge influence on how the Church (Christ’s Bride)have to worship. This is a huge and disturbing trend that continues to creep into the 21st century Church. I am not saying that music is owned by today’s pop culture but by far the biggest influences in today’s church music are pop stars and individuals in the world. I am not sure but I thought that we were called to be seperate from the world. I am not saying that we have to go with a pipe organ and just our voices but let’s remember where the focus of the worship is supposed to be. On our Creator and Redeemer and not on the latest sound and how good Johnny is on the electric guitar and he can play just as good as U2 or Moby or REM.

    I am 33 so not quite young and not quite middle age and I would be more concerned about every young person on this site bashing older people and complaining about them. You need to realize that the world does not revolve around you and you are not God’s reason for existance. There is wisdom in the thoughts of your elders so listen to them. Many of today’s worship songs will be here one day and gone the next second but there is something about older Hymns that aren’t just “Jesus is my boyfriend” type songs that have lasted centuries and will endure.

  • Wes

    Just pausing to add my 2 cents.

    I found the music in my Church too loud when I in my late 20’s. So loud that when the Praise and Worship started, I went outside (and could still hear the music) to wait for it be over.

    I wasn’t worshiping God. I wasn’t enjoying being in Church. I just sat outside on the steps asking God to please let it be over.

    Twelve years later, I’ve returned to the same Church. Last night we had a Study Group. The music from the Teen Group downstairs was so loud we had to raise our own volume so we could hear ourselves.

    Louder doesn’t mean better. It doesn’t draw people to God. In my opinion, it’s both physically and spiritually harmful. I don’t know or understand why we do it.

    I’m reminded of a verse in the Bible, Psalm 46:10 (NIV). “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

    I’ve already told my Church that I think they play the music too loud. I already skip Praise and Worship service on Saturday and Sunday. I arrive late and leave early so I won’t have to endure the pain in my ears and heart.

    I think I will have to be more bold. Their loud music is disrupting my Study Group. I may have to arrive late and leave early for that, too. I feel I’m missing out on what God has for me, just because the kids like their music loud.

  • Betty

    This is not something I WANT to complain about, but today I left the auditorium and went into the vestibule because the music was hurting my ears, and I could actually feel it reverberating in my chest. My husband was so agitated he could hardly listen to the message, and even my 16 year old son, who loves his music loud, said it just wasn’t appropriate for worship. I could still hear the music in the lobby and my husband said no one was singing. These are songs I have come to love and my favorite worship leader was up there ( we have a few teams)so its not that I found the music “annoying”. He even put a hymn in there which seldom happens anymore, and I still couldn’t go back in. I do not want to change churches over this as I feel it wouldn’t be any different anywhere else and we have been attending this church for 14years. I don’t like church hopping which seems to be another popular trend these days. I am at a loss to know what to do, or who to go to about it. I realize everyone’s tastes are different, but isn’t there a compromise in here somewhere? I love worship time, and want to honor the Lord, but find it so difficult when my ears are hurting.

  • Marty

    Who decides what is too loud and what is an acceptable volume level? Most of the sound problems mentioned can probably be resolved by having your sound system tuned by a professinal and operated by someone who is trained properly in the operation of that system and who can communicate humbly with the musicians on a level that both parties can understand, (servers of the servant). I don’t personally have a problem turning down ( I play lead guitar, rock/pop format with a hymn or two) if I am confident in the FOH engineers ability. If the “mix” is bad, the sound will be annoying at ANY volume. Before you blame all the problems on the band, first check your system and those who operate it!

  • Ken Nelson

    Sadly for the last year, my wife and I have not been able to attend worship. Our spirit wants to worship with other believers. the volume is at a painful db level. We now must go to bible studies and get the sermon on tape or listen on speaker in the library. It is just not the same. It is now like going to a rock concert everybody listens to the performance and claps; but for the performance and not to God.I was at a previous church where all worship was without music;just beautiful voices lifted up to the lord.

  • Joseph

    **Please use this copy, the other is full of errors.**

    I am 40 years old and in reasonably good health. For the past 6 months or so I to have been unable to attend worship services at my church in Ohio due to the very loud music.
    I love loud music. I listen to Switchfoot, Newsboys, Evanescence, Disciple and other loud bands all the time. I however cannot tolerate the volume level in my church. It is louder than a rock concert in there. We tried moving our seat to a place farther away from the speakers but discovered that the whole auditorium was about the same.

    If that weren’t enough the church, at the insistence of the worship team, turned off all the lights that don’t shine directly on the platform. Who does that glorify?

    They preach sermons that say “if you don’t like it then leave” and most people are leaving now in search of more agreeable environs. The constant claim in all of this shifting toward pop culture is that it is God’s will and the Pastor’s vision to make the experience at the church more like a theater instead of a church. The last I checked a theater was a place to perform works of fiction for entertainment purposes. A church was supposed to offer the one real Truth.

    All the while that this transition was in progress we were told that if we didn’t believe that the pastor’s vision was valid then we were just wrong and out of touch with God.
    My Church was stolen by the Pastor. It began with a name change. Innocent enough I suppose. Next was the elimination of all missionaries and business meetings. Without the business meetings there can be no redress of grievances or expression of dissension or removal of the pastor. Our new deacons became appointees and term limits were tossed aside. The traditional service was culled down to nil through a removal of hymns and a reliance solely on choruses for worship music. The contemporary service was all that remained and the volume was increased in that service over a period of months until the dials on the sound board ran out of numbers. The announcement was made that a second morning service would be started. Its content would be identical to the other one. So now we have two shows every Sunday morning and they podcast the better of the two.

    When they did away with the house lighting, handed the ushers flashlights and painted the stage black, I had to leave the church not only because it hurt my ears but because I felt nothing in that place but my own anger. I began skipping services because of the music but felt saddened because I had no fellowship with the brethren. My anger dissipated when I began to seek another congregation wit which to fellowship.
    Proverbs 14
    12There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
    13Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
    14The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
    15The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
    16A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.

    Some might think of me as a backbiter, or a stick in the mud, or a sower of discord among the brethren for my comments here. I assure you all here that this is not the case. I seek only to grow in the grace of the Lord and to point others toward the One True God. I pray for the church and this particular fellowship on a regular basis and hope that they will draw many to the Christ through their ministry. I simply cannot help the cause of Christ with them nor can I be a vessel for salt and light with this kind of anger in my heart. I must find another place to serve the Lord.

  • Tonya

    It is totally incorrect that it is only the old folks who are having problems with the loudness. My friends and I are in our early twenties and we have to wear ear plugs at every church we go to. My friend’s 7 year old got tennitus because of the deafening ungodly noise. I know that God does not want us to have to put ear plugs in our ears, but when I do I cannot really enjoy the worship service. I don’t call ‘ear deafening’ noise any kind of praise and honor to God. I pray that God will allow all those who it doesn’t bother to really hear what the rest of us hear…..PLEASE God help our leaders to see that loud is okay, but damaging our children and the congregation at ANY AGE is just not right. You are not deaf Lord Jesus and I know you don’t want us to be…. someone who truly loves and enjoys worshiping God LOUDLY, but not to the point that it becomes UNBEARABLE

  • Phyllis

    Thanks!!! Many of us don’t see the point in singing (shouting?) against the music. I have been in contemporary style worship for 15+ years, love to sing. Now I cannot tell if I am on pitch without putting a finger in my ear. I have also left church with a hoarse voice, trying to sing along. Sometimes we cannot hear the voices of the “worship band and choir” either!
    My 25-year-old daughter keeps ear plugs in her purse for church! She stopped listening to Christian radio due to trite lyrics, 3-chord stuff, distorted guitar sound (hides poor skill). She plays guitar and piano, by the way. You have to look “outside the box” for quality music & lyrics…she recommends Sarah Groves, Brooke Fraser, Hillsongs, Relient K. We need great choices for the music we have in church. Check out the moving lyrics in some hymns, too.
    My husband and I visited a friend’s church recently. Later that day my husband said, “Those songs had no meaning.” Very childlike & redundant.
    I do go to concerts (Keith Urban! etc.) and enjoy them! I just want to hear the singers and the band there. But in a place where we worship by participation (church) we want to sing and hear others sing, to be a PART of the glorious sound lifted up!

  • rejoyceful

    I couldn’t agree more. I have been wearing ear plugs in service for several years now and have withdrawn myself from the worship team because it’s so loud I can’t think or worship because of the volume. If we turn the volume down and turn the lights on perhaps more of the congregation will feel their participation is welcomed. I’m in my 30’s and I’m not too old and let’s remember that many of the faithful “elderly” are the reason that we have the buildings and the equipment we use for worship.

  • Gail

    If I am reading these posts correctly, I’m sensing a discussion of worship music in mainly white, larger (non-denominational) churches, based on the comments fixated mainly on Rock- or Pop-styled loudly played music. While I believe that God loves all music that glorifies Him, we dare not forget that Satan was once the “Worship Leader” in Heaven. (His entire body is a musical instrument!) Is it any wonder that one of the ways he enters our sanctuaries and reeks havoc in our worship is in this very activity that he knows better than any of us? As a black, female worshiper in a predominantly black church, our “issue” is not VOLUME as much as sometimes how RHYTHM is used. Drums, being an integral part of our African culture, can either punctuate… accentuate the worship service or evoke a baser sensual movement that is neither worship or praise!

    I feel the “style” of worship music is not only what is in question today… whether it’s too loud, too influenced, etc… The true question is “IS IT WORSHIP?” Is it truly directed to God? Or to ourselves? Is Satan getting the last laugh in our corporate worship? Keep these dialogues going, continue to discuss with small groups and officiants of the Church. We are being attacked from within and without. FIGHT! Don’t FLEE! God bless each of you.

  • Eric Rasmusen

    It’s important to remember that it’s not just the average worshipper who matters, but the extremes. In that vein:

    1. What about babies? Is 100db ok for them? My children hate loud music, too, and I don’t want them to associate church with pain and confusion.

    2. I’d like to see specifics on db levels.My Iphone has an app which measures them, up to 105db, so you might be able to do this easily.

    3. As we see from these comments, quite a number of people are driven away– not just caused to sing more softly, but driven away— by loud music. Is anyone driven away by music volume being moderate? Even if we only lose 5% of the congregation, that’s hardly a price worth paying for an improved aesthetic experience for the other 95%. We must bear with the weaker brothers, not dismiss them as weaklings.

  • member

    While all you “Rock” lovers speculate over why some people do not like to hear loud music, remember not All of the seniors in this world were rock lovers.
    You can come up with all kinds of reasons to have loud music, but you don’t say a word about what happens to us in the thirty mins. or more of “7-11” singing with the music so loud you can’t hear the next person, no matter if they can’t sing well enough they at least have the opportunity to worship the Lord with their voices.
    Music played too loud will damage the ears, you might say, temporaily, but its not always true, What is true is little children and babies and seniors are affected by the loudnes, and its not that they are “annoyed” it is too loud for them.
    Now having said that, whom do the church get the most dedcated tithes from? I dare say not the youth. But the youth, think they are the ones whom know best what we should listen to and how loud and not say anything, go with the flow. Well if all the seniors left the church what would happen to the church? I’m not saying all would do this as some, like you say do like the music, but a good many don’t like the loudness of it. I am willing to learn new praise songs, but also like to sing some real music, church songs to praise the Lord with. If they are too hard for you to learn, try harder to learn how. After all you claim to be musicians.

  • member

    Eric, anything over 85 is damaging to the ears!!! keep your kids away from the loudness of the music.If what your finding is that high!

  • Kelley Kimble

    It is sad when the music becomes a point of contention. I’ve been playing piano at my church for almost 20 years and in that time I have seen a lot of different styles of worship. I struggle with “quality” issues. Simplistic lyrics simply can’t compare to “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be.” OTOH, I can think of many newer songs that have lyrics founded in solid doctrine, and those I really like. It works the best, IMO, when the focus is on Jesus, not on us. Some songs are not good for congregational singing and I wish worship leaders would more carefully consider this. Initially our church had a worship leader who is mindful of these things and she conducted a blended set of music, a mixture of all different styles. She would pray about the music and carefully choose songs of different styles that followed a particular theme and went well together. When she became ill (cancer), the chemo and radiation took so much out of her that she was unable to continue and the only possible candidate was a young man who had no formal training. He stepped up and does a great job, but the church actually split into two servcies; one traditional and one contemporary. The original leader is now able to work with the choir again (we just didn’t have one for awhile). Then we started a ministry for the deaf on Sunday evenings and they are really fun to play for. They will sign to us, “Louder, louder!” or ask us to turn it down. The interpreter signs the lyrics, and they sign along. It is so moving, at times I am near tears watching. One of the deaf men said to us through the interpreter last Sunday, “Thank you for the music,” and this made me really stop and think about the responsibility that music leaders and musicians have in corporate worship. For the deaf, it’s ALL about the words.

  • Mike

    Having been a worship leader for over 30 years, I have seen it all when it comes to worship in churches. The sad fact of the matter is, we are a consumer society and our churches have become consumer oriented… people come expecting to have a positive experience and if they don’t, they don’t come back. It might be the greeters, the chairs, the music, the preaching, a number of things and many of us have become very good at doing church in a way so as to attract as many people as possible… What comes with that is a bunch of complainers… fat Christians who aren’t committed to Christ and who just want their ears tickled. God must be ashamed of his children… we should all be ashamed. Worship isn’t about us. It’s about Him! Some people have got that concept… Like Mary. She’s 95 years old and has to use a cane to get into the church building. Our band plays the most contemporary music available and it’s at about 90dbs most Sundays. I saw her leaning on her cane with one hand in the air, singing to the top of her voice this past Sunday….

  • Joseph

    Mike, you are indeed right about those fat lazy Christians . . . but you have to put all of us in that category if we are not sharing the gospel on a daily basis. While the complainers are a problem because the want comfort more than the spirit the other half can also be a problem if the “show” on Sunday becomes more important than the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not directed at anyone specifically as a barb or gaff (except possibly toward myself) I just want the idea to be considered that me are all missing the main thing when we allow style to become dominant over substance and I hope we can all agree that that statement holds true no matter which way we view this issue of music in the church.

  • Eric Rasmusen

    How can you tell she was singing? At 90db, I can’t even hear myself sing.

    At 90db, the music isn’t about people worshipping God, it’s bout machines doing it.

  • Memeber

    We had a wonderful service on the 19th. our band,of loud music was on vacation! When we exited I took notice of the people and it seemed to me that everyone was so much more relaxed and not in a hurry to get out, they lingered and visited one another and looked happy. Thats what good music does to people. Good music is not only beautiful, it inspires the congregation.

  • Memeber

    I agree with you Eric, she might have been yelling at the band to stop! stop!
    I don’t believe what the writer wrote in the first place.

  • Memeber

    “fat and lazy” whom are you refering too?
    I don’t see the teenagers turning to in the church with any service other than that which is for them! unless mom and dad “ask” them to do something they don’t volunteer. The fat and lazy do all the work to keep the church running,not only for us but for you “children”

  • ralph marsh

    I agree the music in my church is defining to say the least the first comment made on this web site hit it right on the head a singer cannot hear how his music is sounding because the,sacksaphones are so loud it distracts beautiful voices from sending their message to the audiance.I wish their was an ear police.I have a beautiful Tenor Voice and when singing with other beautifull voices the message gets to the church people.I know that all churches are trying to reach out to the youth and that is good,but give us older folks a chance to be heard. I”am extremely frustrated because I have spoke up regarding the noise and am ignored, I still have a few more years of singing and would like to finish at 50 years of singing in a traditional setting. I do not want to leave my church or discourage anyone from worshiping but enough is enough. Regards Ralph

  • Bob T.

    My church has morning service at 80 dec. and a night service at 105 dec. About 6-800 people attend a service. Personally I like it louder. You can’t even hear all the musicians playing at the morning service because they can’t turn them up. The end result you get half the people singing most of the time. To me its boring. But acording to the church you can’t turn it up or people complain. The louder the music the louder people worship and sing isnt that the whole goal?

  • joan

    Sorry Denny, but it is the opposite of what you say, not very many could sing when our music was loud and no one could hear the other person next to them.
    I am happy to report that our church, not from complaints from me, but probably the board has spoken. Our music is more normal and people are singing and worshiping the Lord, we thank Him. the “rock” star is no longer with us.
    GUESS WHAT our church has grown! even younger people are coming! Do you think the word got our that there is a church that does not tolerate “too loud” music. I wonder,but Praise God for it.

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