Are we missing the point about Christian worship music? Guest article from Dave Bilbrough
It’s funny how we have a tendency to evaluate good and bad. Recently I was reading an article on the current state of Christian music. ‘Is it progressive or creative, or has it cocooned itself into a safe formula; i.e Coldplay beats Big Country’, the writer asked. Whilst the arguments on both sides were convincing and articulate from composers and song leaders, I was left with this overriding feeling… are we not in danger of missing the point? What exactly is Christian worship music? Can it be defined as a style and set of words or is there something deeper going on when we play our musical expressions. Then I found it! A translation of a verse from 2 Chronicles 29 verse 27: surely it’s about the song of the Lord… ‘And when the burnt offering began the song of the Lord began also’.
This song transcends all styles, cultures and barriers, and because it’s from the Lord it’s relevant to the ‘now’ for he is the God of the present as well as the past and the future. ‘When the burnt offerings began…’ Not to be confused with blood sacrifices, burnt offerings speak to us as new covenant people of surrender, brokenness and the realisation that human effort is not enough. Coming to an end of ourselves, if you like. When we lay aside our unrealistic view of our own abilities and become involved with the reality of God’s empowering presence in our lives, then the song of the Lord will surely rise.
Believe me, styles will come and go. That which we think is cutting edge and fresh will soon be surpassed by another band or individual (!) breaking through. To limit our evaluation of worship music to comparisons with popular trends and to concentrate solely on what’s marketable (!) is surely to devalue the potency of how we see true worship.
Forget the old song running round your head and by surrendering allow His enabling power to be made visible in the ashes. Let the new song begin!
Dave Bilbrough, writer of songs such as “Abba Father”, “I am a New Creation” and “All Hail the Lamb” is one of the fathers of the modern day worship movement. He continues to travel and write songs and lead worship extensively. www.davebilbrough.com