““My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.” – Martin Luther
Check out this song:
YAHWEH (Bethel Church/Hunter Thompson) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD8ufuncW5M
This song haunts me. In a good way.
I did not grow up singing sold-out love songs to Jesus. It is only recently that I have begun to understand what it means to “sing in the spirit” as Hunter Thompson does for a while in this song. I don’t lead worship in a church where going up and down emotionally in a song for 11 minutes and 25 seconds would work. Even when surrounded by a church that does so, raising my hands past the “hold my baby” stance (Tim Hawkins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK2_ezOBa2A) still feels strange to me.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t absolutely love listening to this. And watching it. And participating in it. I have been to churches, concerts, and conferences with worship like Bethel’s. And what do I do in these places? Well, if I’m not leading worship, I cry and cry. And then I cry some more.
Such intimacy with God. Such passion for the name of Jesus. Such magnetic energy drawn from the Holy Spirit. Energy that is drawn to be poured out. Such firmly planted standing in awe of our indescribable God.
Is this what my church looks like? No. And is that ok? Yes. Does that mean either of us are wrong? No. Does that mean that either of us are right? No way.
I do not and will not understand why traditional worship lovers claim that all contemporary worship is bad news. Take these quotes from a fellow blogger out there (that just so happen to also be Lutheran):
“I’m very biased against contemporary worship simply because it’s in bad taste. It’s irritating, loud, and the music sounds bad to me.”
“Contemporary worship also promotes an idea that is common in the Mainline right now as well. The idea that practice makes perfect. In other words, by doing exciting, emotional worship, it will form us into a Christian community and make us better Christians.”
“Contemporary worship is praise worship. Praise worship moves the wrong direction. It moves from us to God. We read the silly and repetitive verses off the projector. We ascend by our praises to God. We move to God, God does not move to us.The structure of liturgical worship is to opposite. It moves from God to us and back again.”
“Instead of teaching the faith, it seeks to promote a sub-cognitive faith based on meaningless formulas that are repeated over and over again. It seeks to promote emotions that will manipulate people into doing things, not create real faith, which always integrates the total person, intellect and emotions.”
“Bully!”, I cry!
I just don’t understand this type of grandstanding. I could go on and on with the ways I disagree with this dude’s statements. But then again, this is just one guy’s opinion, right?
I heard this preached all the way up the LMCS ladder at the conference I went to a couple weeks ago. I have been told that I should just realize this is “the way it is” in the LCMS denomination. I’ve been questioned if this is really something worth fighting for.
Is contemporary music in the Lutheran Church worth fighting for?
I don’t yet know if the answer is yes. But, for today, I am a contemporary worship leader in an LCMS church. So today, it is. Praise God this is not a battle I have to fight within my own church. Quite frankly, we have some kick-butt contemporary AND traditional worship. We are lead by a Pastor that puts the leading of the Holy Spirit over his personal preferences. And, most importantly, the staff and laypeople I work with desire to love the Lord and His people.
If you are leader in the LCMS denomination and you have found yourself saying some of the same things as the blogger I quoted above, I dare you to come to Trinity Lutheran Church in Sauk Rapids, MN. We have this thing that’ll blow your mind. Liturgical contemporary worship. It’s powerful. And emotional. And all for Him.
Who is stirring up my passions? Who is rising up in me? Who is filling up my hunger with everything I need?
Creator God, He is Yahweh.