Worship Mythbusters 5.0: Expressiveness in worship verses legalism

WMB 5.0 — How does expressiveness fight against legalism in our liturgy is where I am going today in this WMB post.  This is part of a series here

MYTH:  Loud, expressive, extravagant, joyful worship is not as holy as quiet, still and austere worship.

Of course the goal is not to enjoy your expression of worship, or to reach a certain decibel level.  The goal is to offer our lives, and in the context of liturgy, our communal life as a church.  What happens in a church is a person who has some tattoos walks in, and begins “feeling” it while some of the staid-suburban-Dockers-wearing-Christian-veterans in the pews begin to feel something else–resentment.

Sinners when turning to God can’t help but celebrate

Often, in a church setting we see those who are sinful and coming to Jesus very expressive and excited.  For some reason, being “mature” means that you want quiet worship and depressing tempos.  Some of these beloved saints feel it is worldly since the ones who like the volume and have tears streaming down their cheeks are ones that  they have “heard things” about.  This narrative is nothing new.

When Jesus encountered one woman in the Bible, she took some very expensive perfume, broke the jar and literally poured thousands of dollars worth of beauty product on His feet.  I bet her weeping was loud.  I bet the volume in that room was not a “time of reflection” but a time of celebration.  She loved Jesus so much that she dared not miss an opportunity to show it in the most bold way.  After all, Jesus was a leader, teacher and single man.  This must have been awkward to those watching this scene live.

One thing to note is that her reputation thinly qualified her at best to being in the room, if you do not realize Jesus as a friend to sinners. The idea that she cleaned her life entirely up before offering to Jesus is in question.  In fact, could she have?  Or, are we really like her living a hypocrisy cluttered with failed motives, even if our outward reputation supersedes hers?  How dare a person with such a past or recent  past come and offer Jesus something so extravagant!

Social action does not excuse us from extravagant worship

The legalists in the room thought things were whacked.  Imagine if our volume in the church brings in people who do not have money or who have professions beneath ours.  Or, do these kind of people tithe?  Look how they are wasteful.  In fact, we could rid ourselves of our sound system and feed the poor with it.  This is exactly what happened in regards to this woman.  Judas, wanted that money in his purse and used social action as an excuse to not worship Jesus himself.

Often, today I hear people say that corporate worship is not necessary if we are feeding the poor.  Well, feeding the poor is not optional. Neither is coming together as believers to worship Jesus in a grand way.  We need to sit at His feet, in order to learn to be His feet.  It is a “both and” not one or the other.  We cannot assume we are devoting ourselves to God by filling our need for altruism.  That emotion is not worship any more than being entertained by a rousing worship band.

Legalists resent extravagant worship

Expressive worship has problems for legalists.  Remember King David’s wife?  She despised her husband’s expressiveness in worship.  She wanted him to be solemn and was embarrassed by his crazy dance of worship and celebration. David loved God.  How often are we critical of mature Christians or leaders who are expressive?  We would rather things be quiet, not loud or expressive or joyful or big or in public!

David knew the grace of God, so he worshiped as a grace-filled soul. Sometimes we scowl and frown at grace-filled people because we have yet to know and accept that we cannot earn favor with God.  We like being scared, guilty and prideful that somehow we can earn points with God. So, our worship at times has to reflect that.

We become emotional ascetics.  We hate it when people are joyful in worship.  And, because of that, sometimes volume becomes an issue.  Why party in freedom and grace when one can wallow quietly in the pity that they are frustrated in earning their way to God.

It’s a good thing when people worship with expressiveness!

Now, not everyone can worship to rock music.  That is cultural.  Not everyone “feels it” when an electric guitar drops an open “E” or when the kick drum thumps your chest.  But, if someone else does, isn’t that a great thing!

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

52 comments

  1. Steve–good point as far as perferences. Some of our guys where ear filters, so the stage volume does not rack their brains. The “why” has a lot to do with finances, gear and the room.
    Our guys are such servants–rarely complaining for their preferences. However, you might just need to accept “it” if you want others to accept it. Are you not asking others to do the same?

    If we are talking about reaching people (which is what I am talking about), than I do think it is our job to say “get over it” to the veterans. Missionaries should not complain about the food they are served in the land they are trying to reach–especially if it is a favorite dish. 🙂

  2. Steve–good point as far as perferences. Some of our guys where ear filters, so the stage volume does not rack their brains. The “why” has a lot to do with finances, gear and the room.
    Our guys are such servants–rarely complaining for their preferences. However, you might just need to accept “it” if you want others to accept it. Are you not asking others to do the same?

    If we are talking about reaching people (which is what I am talking about), than I do think it is our job to say “get over it” to the veterans. Missionaries should not complain about the food they are served in the land they are trying to reach–especially if it is a favorite dish. 🙂

  3. Steve–good point as far as perferences. Some of our guys where ear filters, so the stage volume does not rack their brains. The “why” has a lot to do with finances, gear and the room.
    Our guys are such servants–rarely complaining for their preferences. However, you might just need to accept “it” if you want others to accept it. Are you not asking others to do the same?

    If we are talking about reaching people (which is what I am talking about), than I do think it is our job to say “get over it” to the veterans. Missionaries should not complain about the food they are served in the land they are trying to reach–especially if it is a favorite dish. 🙂

  4. Steve–good point as far as perferences. Some of our guys where ear filters, so the stage volume does not rack their brains. The “why” has a lot to do with finances, gear and the room.
    Our guys are such servants–rarely complaining for their preferences. However, you might just need to accept “it” if you want others to accept it. Are you not asking others to do the same?

    If we are talking about reaching people (which is what I am talking about), than I do think it is our job to say “get over it” to the veterans. Missionaries should not complain about the food they are served in the land they are trying to reach–especially if it is a favorite dish. 🙂

  5. Rich,
    Love this one. I think we all have to deal with the “too loud for God” comments when we are doing worship. But, if worship is getting in the way of “seekers” and sinners (those of us “mature” christians are trying to reach) is it doing it’s job? That, I think, is up for debate. But, those of us that have lived in grace so long maybe need to learn how to give a little grace as well.

    Once we are christians it is our job to seek God, and to make disciples of all nations. If it takes loud music – Great, if it takes talking in a different language – Awesome, if it takes being a little uncomfortable – Sweet! We are not called to be stuck in our comfort zone (the rut), but to move out of it. I think this is where God can use us the most… relying on his Grace, and power.

  6. Rich,
    Love this one. I think we all have to deal with the “too loud for God” comments when we are doing worship. But, if worship is getting in the way of “seekers” and sinners (those of us “mature” christians are trying to reach) is it doing it’s job? That, I think, is up for debate. But, those of us that have lived in grace so long maybe need to learn how to give a little grace as well.

    Once we are christians it is our job to seek God, and to make disciples of all nations. If it takes loud music – Great, if it takes talking in a different language – Awesome, if it takes being a little uncomfortable – Sweet! We are not called to be stuck in our comfort zone (the rut), but to move out of it. I think this is where God can use us the most… relying on his Grace, and power.

  7. Rich,
    Love this one. I think we all have to deal with the “too loud for God” comments when we are doing worship. But, if worship is getting in the way of “seekers” and sinners (those of us “mature” christians are trying to reach) is it doing it’s job? That, I think, is up for debate. But, those of us that have lived in grace so long maybe need to learn how to give a little grace as well.

    Once we are christians it is our job to seek God, and to make disciples of all nations. If it takes loud music – Great, if it takes talking in a different language – Awesome, if it takes being a little uncomfortable – Sweet! We are not called to be stuck in our comfort zone (the rut), but to move out of it. I think this is where God can use us the most… relying on his Grace, and power.

  8. Rich,
    Love this one. I think we all have to deal with the “too loud for God” comments when we are doing worship. But, if worship is getting in the way of “seekers” and sinners (those of us “mature” christians are trying to reach) is it doing it’s job? That, I think, is up for debate. But, those of us that have lived in grace so long maybe need to learn how to give a little grace as well.

    Once we are christians it is our job to seek God, and to make disciples of all nations. If it takes loud music – Great, if it takes talking in a different language – Awesome, if it takes being a little uncomfortable – Sweet! We are not called to be stuck in our comfort zone (the rut), but to move out of it. I think this is where God can use us the most… relying on his Grace, and power.

  9. Nice thoughts. There are definitely other portions of Scripture that suppor this “healthy tension” as Bob Kauflin calls it. (Yes, I’m on a Bob Kauflin kick because I’m reading his book!).
    There is a time for reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28) and a time for exuberant joy with our whole being (Psalm 108:1). We need to appreciate the balance and encourage both sides to learn how to express their worship in both ways AND appreciate those who do things differently, especially if we’re on one of those sides! 🙂

  10. Nice thoughts. There are definitely other portions of Scripture that suppor this “healthy tension” as Bob Kauflin calls it. (Yes, I’m on a Bob Kauflin kick because I’m reading his book!).
    There is a time for reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28) and a time for exuberant joy with our whole being (Psalm 108:1). We need to appreciate the balance and encourage both sides to learn how to express their worship in both ways AND appreciate those who do things differently, especially if we’re on one of those sides! 🙂

  11. Nice thoughts. There are definitely other portions of Scripture that suppor this “healthy tension” as Bob Kauflin calls it. (Yes, I’m on a Bob Kauflin kick because I’m reading his book!).
    There is a time for reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28) and a time for exuberant joy with our whole being (Psalm 108:1). We need to appreciate the balance and encourage both sides to learn how to express their worship in both ways AND appreciate those who do things differently, especially if we’re on one of those sides! 🙂

  12. Nice thoughts. There are definitely other portions of Scripture that suppor this “healthy tension” as Bob Kauflin calls it. (Yes, I’m on a Bob Kauflin kick because I’m reading his book!).
    There is a time for reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28) and a time for exuberant joy with our whole being (Psalm 108:1). We need to appreciate the balance and encourage both sides to learn how to express their worship in both ways AND appreciate those who do things differently, especially if we’re on one of those sides! 🙂

  13. Ryan… the tension I am talking about is when supposed “mature” Christians sour and scowl at those like the woman who anointed Jesus. That is not a tension I am willing to accept.
    Our prayer closet is where “reverence” happens. When we gather it is not our individual moment that is as important as the corporate moment–us versus me!

    Remember, that personal worship or my discipleship (being a worshipper) is not necessarily comparable 1-1 with a public worship gathering. That is assumed–we are worshippers. What is not, is that we do it together or even think of being a part of the group.

  14. Ryan… the tension I am talking about is when supposed “mature” Christians sour and scowl at those like the woman who anointed Jesus. That is not a tension I am willing to accept.
    Our prayer closet is where “reverence” happens. When we gather it is not our individual moment that is as important as the corporate moment–us versus me!

    Remember, that personal worship or my discipleship (being a worshipper) is not necessarily comparable 1-1 with a public worship gathering. That is assumed–we are worshippers. What is not, is that we do it together or even think of being a part of the group.

  15. Ryan… the tension I am talking about is when supposed “mature” Christians sour and scowl at those like the woman who anointed Jesus. That is not a tension I am willing to accept.
    Our prayer closet is where “reverence” happens. When we gather it is not our individual moment that is as important as the corporate moment–us versus me!

    Remember, that personal worship or my discipleship (being a worshipper) is not necessarily comparable 1-1 with a public worship gathering. That is assumed–we are worshippers. What is not, is that we do it together or even think of being a part of the group.

  16. Ryan… the tension I am talking about is when supposed “mature” Christians sour and scowl at those like the woman who anointed Jesus. That is not a tension I am willing to accept.
    Our prayer closet is where “reverence” happens. When we gather it is not our individual moment that is as important as the corporate moment–us versus me!

    Remember, that personal worship or my discipleship (being a worshipper) is not necessarily comparable 1-1 with a public worship gathering. That is assumed–we are worshippers. What is not, is that we do it together or even think of being a part of the group.

  17. This reminds me of a discussion I had with some people back in ’02. They were saying how horrid it would be for someone like Osama Bin Laden or Stalin to live his life and then, on his death bed, just before he flat-lines, receive salvation. Their resentment was based on the idea that he hadn’t really earned the right of salvation, and that anyone can do any horrendous thing and then, moments before they die say a prayer and it will all be forgotten. And they were quite angry with that notion.
    And you mention the same thought process here with the spiritually mature seeking a more silent and reverent worship experience. But how many times are we told to come to a Jesus ‘like a child’? Children are shameless, they don’t see extravagant worship vs. ‘feel it’ worship, they see their creator, father, savior and can’t help but feel giddy and want to express their love and gratitude to God.

    Now in all fairness, people express themselves differently. Some prefer the ‘be still and know that I am God’ while others prefer the ‘make a joyful noise…’ method. It’s unfair to say that one method is more or less spiritual. Can anyone say that the Tzutzi’s banging drums to God under a Baobab tree is any MORE or LESS spiritual than what western, conservative, non-denominational churches do?

    If you were slightly an idiot you could answer that question. The rest of us worship as we are led by the spirit to do.

  18. This reminds me of a discussion I had with some people back in ’02. They were saying how horrid it would be for someone like Osama Bin Laden or Stalin to live his life and then, on his death bed, just before he flat-lines, receive salvation. Their resentment was based on the idea that he hadn’t really earned the right of salvation, and that anyone can do any horrendous thing and then, moments before they die say a prayer and it will all be forgotten. And they were quite angry with that notion.
    And you mention the same thought process here with the spiritually mature seeking a more silent and reverent worship experience. But how many times are we told to come to a Jesus ‘like a child’? Children are shameless, they don’t see extravagant worship vs. ‘feel it’ worship, they see their creator, father, savior and can’t help but feel giddy and want to express their love and gratitude to God.

    Now in all fairness, people express themselves differently. Some prefer the ‘be still and know that I am God’ while others prefer the ‘make a joyful noise…’ method. It’s unfair to say that one method is more or less spiritual. Can anyone say that the Tzutzi’s banging drums to God under a Baobab tree is any MORE or LESS spiritual than what western, conservative, non-denominational churches do?

    If you were slightly an idiot you could answer that question. The rest of us worship as we are led by the spirit to do.

  19. This reminds me of a discussion I had with some people back in ’02. They were saying how horrid it would be for someone like Osama Bin Laden or Stalin to live his life and then, on his death bed, just before he flat-lines, receive salvation. Their resentment was based on the idea that he hadn’t really earned the right of salvation, and that anyone can do any horrendous thing and then, moments before they die say a prayer and it will all be forgotten. And they were quite angry with that notion.
    And you mention the same thought process here with the spiritually mature seeking a more silent and reverent worship experience. But how many times are we told to come to a Jesus ‘like a child’? Children are shameless, they don’t see extravagant worship vs. ‘feel it’ worship, they see their creator, father, savior and can’t help but feel giddy and want to express their love and gratitude to God.

    Now in all fairness, people express themselves differently. Some prefer the ‘be still and know that I am God’ while others prefer the ‘make a joyful noise…’ method. It’s unfair to say that one method is more or less spiritual. Can anyone say that the Tzutzi’s banging drums to God under a Baobab tree is any MORE or LESS spiritual than what western, conservative, non-denominational churches do?

    If you were slightly an idiot you could answer that question. The rest of us worship as we are led by the spirit to do.

  20. This reminds me of a discussion I had with some people back in ’02. They were saying how horrid it would be for someone like Osama Bin Laden or Stalin to live his life and then, on his death bed, just before he flat-lines, receive salvation. Their resentment was based on the idea that he hadn’t really earned the right of salvation, and that anyone can do any horrendous thing and then, moments before they die say a prayer and it will all be forgotten. And they were quite angry with that notion.
    And you mention the same thought process here with the spiritually mature seeking a more silent and reverent worship experience. But how many times are we told to come to a Jesus ‘like a child’? Children are shameless, they don’t see extravagant worship vs. ‘feel it’ worship, they see their creator, father, savior and can’t help but feel giddy and want to express their love and gratitude to God.

    Now in all fairness, people express themselves differently. Some prefer the ‘be still and know that I am God’ while others prefer the ‘make a joyful noise…’ method. It’s unfair to say that one method is more or less spiritual. Can anyone say that the Tzutzi’s banging drums to God under a Baobab tree is any MORE or LESS spiritual than what western, conservative, non-denominational churches do?

    If you were slightly an idiot you could answer that question. The rest of us worship as we are led by the spirit to do.

  21. I hear the criticism pointed to the congregation that they should be outside of their comfort zone if they think it’s too loud because it’s not too loud for someone else. But what about us on the stage or at the soundboard? Why can’t we get out of our comfort zone and turn it down a few decibels so we don’t have to force someone else to get uncomfortable. Those who like it louder will never notice the difference and those who don’t like it as loud won’t complain.
    It’s not our job to make people uncomfortable. It’s also not our job to justify it by saying those we’re making uncomfortable should just accept it.

    And you’re actually probably talking about “loud music” not the actual sound pressure level, but I had to make that point anyway.

  22. I hear the criticism pointed to the congregation that they should be outside of their comfort zone if they think it’s too loud because it’s not too loud for someone else. But what about us on the stage or at the soundboard? Why can’t we get out of our comfort zone and turn it down a few decibels so we don’t have to force someone else to get uncomfortable. Those who like it louder will never notice the difference and those who don’t like it as loud won’t complain.
    It’s not our job to make people uncomfortable. It’s also not our job to justify it by saying those we’re making uncomfortable should just accept it.

    And you’re actually probably talking about “loud music” not the actual sound pressure level, but I had to make that point anyway.

  23. I hear the criticism pointed to the congregation that they should be outside of their comfort zone if they think it’s too loud because it’s not too loud for someone else. But what about us on the stage or at the soundboard? Why can’t we get out of our comfort zone and turn it down a few decibels so we don’t have to force someone else to get uncomfortable. Those who like it louder will never notice the difference and those who don’t like it as loud won’t complain.
    It’s not our job to make people uncomfortable. It’s also not our job to justify it by saying those we’re making uncomfortable should just accept it.

    And you’re actually probably talking about “loud music” not the actual sound pressure level, but I had to make that point anyway.

  24. I hear the criticism pointed to the congregation that they should be outside of their comfort zone if they think it’s too loud because it’s not too loud for someone else. But what about us on the stage or at the soundboard? Why can’t we get out of our comfort zone and turn it down a few decibels so we don’t have to force someone else to get uncomfortable. Those who like it louder will never notice the difference and those who don’t like it as loud won’t complain.
    It’s not our job to make people uncomfortable. It’s also not our job to justify it by saying those we’re making uncomfortable should just accept it.

    And you’re actually probably talking about “loud music” not the actual sound pressure level, but I had to make that point anyway.

  25. I think the volume wars in my church come down to how we define holiness. It’s easier to think that holiness is lighting candles and being quiet and maybe dressing up and tossing some money in a brass plate.
    But I like your definition of holiness: “to offer our lives, and in the context of liturgy, our communal life as a church.”

    Great post, Rich. Legos are fun too.

  26. I think the volume wars in my church come down to how we define holiness. It’s easier to think that holiness is lighting candles and being quiet and maybe dressing up and tossing some money in a brass plate.
    But I like your definition of holiness: “to offer our lives, and in the context of liturgy, our communal life as a church.”

    Great post, Rich. Legos are fun too.

  27. I think the volume wars in my church come down to how we define holiness. It’s easier to think that holiness is lighting candles and being quiet and maybe dressing up and tossing some money in a brass plate.
    But I like your definition of holiness: “to offer our lives, and in the context of liturgy, our communal life as a church.”

    Great post, Rich. Legos are fun too.

  28. I think the volume wars in my church come down to how we define holiness. It’s easier to think that holiness is lighting candles and being quiet and maybe dressing up and tossing some money in a brass plate.
    But I like your definition of holiness: “to offer our lives, and in the context of liturgy, our communal life as a church.”

    Great post, Rich. Legos are fun too.

  29. Steve…Concert levels? No.
    But, you have to “feel” the music for the “style” of modern music to be right.

    Truthfully, organ music is much closer to concert levels. And, a couple decibels is almost 100% difference. So, it does matter.

    Really, this is about style, and language. Indeed, the music “feeling” right is a language. And, most people living in the Christian subculture really have unlearned what those around them experience as music.

    We should not impose on the newly initiated our preferences, and if the preference is given it should be given to the beginner not the veteran Christian.

    That principle, if applied, might mean simply actually turning up the volume. Appeasing people, is just reinforcing their desire to live in a Christian subculture that has no regard for the lost but rather to stay in their walled ghetto.

    So, it is indeed better to preach the gospel in a language that people will actually hear it as well as understand it.

  30. Steve…Concert levels? No.
    But, you have to “feel” the music for the “style” of modern music to be right.

    Truthfully, organ music is much closer to concert levels. And, a couple decibels is almost 100% difference. So, it does matter.

    Really, this is about style, and language. Indeed, the music “feeling” right is a language. And, most people living in the Christian subculture really have unlearned what those around them experience as music.

    We should not impose on the newly initiated our preferences, and if the preference is given it should be given to the beginner not the veteran Christian.

    That principle, if applied, might mean simply actually turning up the volume. Appeasing people, is just reinforcing their desire to live in a Christian subculture that has no regard for the lost but rather to stay in their walled ghetto.

    So, it is indeed better to preach the gospel in a language that people will actually hear it as well as understand it.

  31. Steve…Concert levels? No.
    But, you have to “feel” the music for the “style” of modern music to be right.

    Truthfully, organ music is much closer to concert levels. And, a couple decibels is almost 100% difference. So, it does matter.

    Really, this is about style, and language. Indeed, the music “feeling” right is a language. And, most people living in the Christian subculture really have unlearned what those around them experience as music.

    We should not impose on the newly initiated our preferences, and if the preference is given it should be given to the beginner not the veteran Christian.

    That principle, if applied, might mean simply actually turning up the volume. Appeasing people, is just reinforcing their desire to live in a Christian subculture that has no regard for the lost but rather to stay in their walled ghetto.

    So, it is indeed better to preach the gospel in a language that people will actually hear it as well as understand it.

  32. Steve…Concert levels? No.
    But, you have to “feel” the music for the “style” of modern music to be right.

    Truthfully, organ music is much closer to concert levels. And, a couple decibels is almost 100% difference. So, it does matter.

    Really, this is about style, and language. Indeed, the music “feeling” right is a language. And, most people living in the Christian subculture really have unlearned what those around them experience as music.

    We should not impose on the newly initiated our preferences, and if the preference is given it should be given to the beginner not the veteran Christian.

    That principle, if applied, might mean simply actually turning up the volume. Appeasing people, is just reinforcing their desire to live in a Christian subculture that has no regard for the lost but rather to stay in their walled ghetto.

    So, it is indeed better to preach the gospel in a language that people will actually hear it as well as understand it.

  33. I think that the “volume wars” as Mark called them are not an actual problem in the church, but more of a symptom of a larger problem. That problem, I think that James sums up in James 4:
    What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    For us who are serving, it’s not about the loudness or softness of the music. It’s not about what the style is. It’s about serving those who we are trying to reach. Who are we trying to reach? Well that will depend on where you are. Maybe soft music and subdued instruments works for your demographic, maybe jamming guitars or bagpipes works for your demographic. The important thing is to figure it out, and then don’t be afraid of the opposition. Because we can’t all get what we want. And just as Paul said in 1 Cor. 13:11, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” Us who have “matured” in the faith should set boundaries for new believers (doctrine) and help them to learn, but not get in the way of their growth and coming to the faith.

  34. I think that the “volume wars” as Mark called them are not an actual problem in the church, but more of a symptom of a larger problem. That problem, I think that James sums up in James 4:
    What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    For us who are serving, it’s not about the loudness or softness of the music. It’s not about what the style is. It’s about serving those who we are trying to reach. Who are we trying to reach? Well that will depend on where you are. Maybe soft music and subdued instruments works for your demographic, maybe jamming guitars or bagpipes works for your demographic. The important thing is to figure it out, and then don’t be afraid of the opposition. Because we can’t all get what we want. And just as Paul said in 1 Cor. 13:11, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” Us who have “matured” in the faith should set boundaries for new believers (doctrine) and help them to learn, but not get in the way of their growth and coming to the faith.

  35. I think that the “volume wars” as Mark called them are not an actual problem in the church, but more of a symptom of a larger problem. That problem, I think that James sums up in James 4:
    What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    For us who are serving, it’s not about the loudness or softness of the music. It’s not about what the style is. It’s about serving those who we are trying to reach. Who are we trying to reach? Well that will depend on where you are. Maybe soft music and subdued instruments works for your demographic, maybe jamming guitars or bagpipes works for your demographic. The important thing is to figure it out, and then don’t be afraid of the opposition. Because we can’t all get what we want. And just as Paul said in 1 Cor. 13:11, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” Us who have “matured” in the faith should set boundaries for new believers (doctrine) and help them to learn, but not get in the way of their growth and coming to the faith.

  36. I think that the “volume wars” as Mark called them are not an actual problem in the church, but more of a symptom of a larger problem. That problem, I think that James sums up in James 4:
    What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    For us who are serving, it’s not about the loudness or softness of the music. It’s not about what the style is. It’s about serving those who we are trying to reach. Who are we trying to reach? Well that will depend on where you are. Maybe soft music and subdued instruments works for your demographic, maybe jamming guitars or bagpipes works for your demographic. The important thing is to figure it out, and then don’t be afraid of the opposition. Because we can’t all get what we want. And just as Paul said in 1 Cor. 13:11, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” Us who have “matured” in the faith should set boundaries for new believers (doctrine) and help them to learn, but not get in the way of their growth and coming to the faith.

  37. I must be missing something. Do people respond to the Gospel because music is loud or because the Gospel has power through its preaching?
    You’re absolutely right that we should not be complaining about things. Grumbling is wrong. But we’re also supposed to submit to one another. As I already pointed out, a few decibels doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference. I really doubt that a seeker will come to your church because your music is louder than someone else.

    I also really doubt the volume level is somehow related to reaching people.

    It’s also a two-way street. We complain about people complaining about the sound. “It’s too loud” “There’s too much bass.” “The drums sound harsh.” Whatever it is, they’re wrong to complain, but we’re also wrong to complain. I run the volume up because the mix sounds better that way, there is more subtlety and depth to it that way. But I also respect the fact that it doesn’t nave to be rock-concert levels. A moderate level is perfectly acceptable. Those who like it loud would hardly notice and those who like it quieter can live with it.

    While it’s wrong to grumble, isn’t it also wrong to cause people to grumble?

    And remember that Romans 12 says that we should live at peace with all men, as it is up to us. We need to take the initiative to live at peace with one another. If I can do something that ends arguments, that’s a win. Some people just love to complain though, so if it’s out of our abilities, at least we’ve done our part.

  38. I must be missing something. Do people respond to the Gospel because music is loud or because the Gospel has power through its preaching?
    You’re absolutely right that we should not be complaining about things. Grumbling is wrong. But we’re also supposed to submit to one another. As I already pointed out, a few decibels doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference. I really doubt that a seeker will come to your church because your music is louder than someone else.

    I also really doubt the volume level is somehow related to reaching people.

    It’s also a two-way street. We complain about people complaining about the sound. “It’s too loud” “There’s too much bass.” “The drums sound harsh.” Whatever it is, they’re wrong to complain, but we’re also wrong to complain. I run the volume up because the mix sounds better that way, there is more subtlety and depth to it that way. But I also respect the fact that it doesn’t nave to be rock-concert levels. A moderate level is perfectly acceptable. Those who like it loud would hardly notice and those who like it quieter can live with it.

    While it’s wrong to grumble, isn’t it also wrong to cause people to grumble?

    And remember that Romans 12 says that we should live at peace with all men, as it is up to us. We need to take the initiative to live at peace with one another. If I can do something that ends arguments, that’s a win. Some people just love to complain though, so if it’s out of our abilities, at least we’ve done our part.

  39. I must be missing something. Do people respond to the Gospel because music is loud or because the Gospel has power through its preaching?
    You’re absolutely right that we should not be complaining about things. Grumbling is wrong. But we’re also supposed to submit to one another. As I already pointed out, a few decibels doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference. I really doubt that a seeker will come to your church because your music is louder than someone else.

    I also really doubt the volume level is somehow related to reaching people.

    It’s also a two-way street. We complain about people complaining about the sound. “It’s too loud” “There’s too much bass.” “The drums sound harsh.” Whatever it is, they’re wrong to complain, but we’re also wrong to complain. I run the volume up because the mix sounds better that way, there is more subtlety and depth to it that way. But I also respect the fact that it doesn’t nave to be rock-concert levels. A moderate level is perfectly acceptable. Those who like it loud would hardly notice and those who like it quieter can live with it.

    While it’s wrong to grumble, isn’t it also wrong to cause people to grumble?

    And remember that Romans 12 says that we should live at peace with all men, as it is up to us. We need to take the initiative to live at peace with one another. If I can do something that ends arguments, that’s a win. Some people just love to complain though, so if it’s out of our abilities, at least we’ve done our part.

  40. I must be missing something. Do people respond to the Gospel because music is loud or because the Gospel has power through its preaching?
    You’re absolutely right that we should not be complaining about things. Grumbling is wrong. But we’re also supposed to submit to one another. As I already pointed out, a few decibels doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference. I really doubt that a seeker will come to your church because your music is louder than someone else.

    I also really doubt the volume level is somehow related to reaching people.

    It’s also a two-way street. We complain about people complaining about the sound. “It’s too loud” “There’s too much bass.” “The drums sound harsh.” Whatever it is, they’re wrong to complain, but we’re also wrong to complain. I run the volume up because the mix sounds better that way, there is more subtlety and depth to it that way. But I also respect the fact that it doesn’t nave to be rock-concert levels. A moderate level is perfectly acceptable. Those who like it loud would hardly notice and those who like it quieter can live with it.

    While it’s wrong to grumble, isn’t it also wrong to cause people to grumble?

    And remember that Romans 12 says that we should live at peace with all men, as it is up to us. We need to take the initiative to live at peace with one another. If I can do something that ends arguments, that’s a win. Some people just love to complain though, so if it’s out of our abilities, at least we’ve done our part.

  41. Rich, that’s a fantastic post. I am totally convicted & challenged by the example of busting out perfume over Jesus feet. I work hard to lead my team and to push into deeper and more meaningful and heartfelt worship, but i don’t think I’ve ever spent a few years wages in one sitting for pure glory of my Lord, or done anything that resembles that in other other part of my life. What a challenge, what an example. Thanks for posting it. (I can’t believe people have devolved to debate volume – haven’t we all been around long enough to think more laterally than that?)

  42. Rich, that’s a fantastic post. I am totally convicted & challenged by the example of busting out perfume over Jesus feet. I work hard to lead my team and to push into deeper and more meaningful and heartfelt worship, but i don’t think I’ve ever spent a few years wages in one sitting for pure glory of my Lord, or done anything that resembles that in other other part of my life. What a challenge, what an example. Thanks for posting it. (I can’t believe people have devolved to debate volume – haven’t we all been around long enough to think more laterally than that?)

  43. Rich, that’s a fantastic post. I am totally convicted & challenged by the example of busting out perfume over Jesus feet. I work hard to lead my team and to push into deeper and more meaningful and heartfelt worship, but i don’t think I’ve ever spent a few years wages in one sitting for pure glory of my Lord, or done anything that resembles that in other other part of my life. What a challenge, what an example. Thanks for posting it. (I can’t believe people have devolved to debate volume – haven’t we all been around long enough to think more laterally than that?)

  44. Rich, that’s a fantastic post. I am totally convicted & challenged by the example of busting out perfume over Jesus feet. I work hard to lead my team and to push into deeper and more meaningful and heartfelt worship, but i don’t think I’ve ever spent a few years wages in one sitting for pure glory of my Lord, or done anything that resembles that in other other part of my life. What a challenge, what an example. Thanks for posting it. (I can’t believe people have devolved to debate volume – haven’t we all been around long enough to think more laterally than that?)

  45. Rich,Hey man, I’m here often, but don’t always comment, but love this series (maybe we can use some of it on TWC v2 .. here I’m backtracking on my original stance, eh?) … but always try to comment on these, it’s great stuff.

    Fred

  46. Rich,Hey man, I’m here often, but don’t always comment, but love this series (maybe we can use some of it on TWC v2 .. here I’m backtracking on my original stance, eh?) … but always try to comment on these, it’s great stuff.

    Fred

  47. Rich,Hey man, I’m here often, but don’t always comment, but love this series (maybe we can use some of it on TWC v2 .. here I’m backtracking on my original stance, eh?) … but always try to comment on these, it’s great stuff.

    Fred

  48. Rich,Hey man, I’m here often, but don’t always comment, but love this series (maybe we can use some of it on TWC v2 .. here I’m backtracking on my original stance, eh?) … but always try to comment on these, it’s great stuff.

    Fred

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