Worship Mythbusters Video: 5 things that distinguish worship music

I have a list below of five things that all combined distinguish worship music from what would not be worship music. Please note that this list of words is qualified in the video, so you might miss what I am saying if you skip the video. Of course, lets please understand that worship music does not mean we are worshiping. That is an issue of the heart. This list is just a way of identifying the music that helps us to express that worship.

  1. Truthful – biblical and also something we can say truthfully & authentically (John 4:21,23)
  2. Singable – not just in range of the congregations voice, but I remember the tune and it represents what the group needs to sing.
  3. Teachable – we sing to God, about God and for God but also to each other about what God is doing in us. (i.e. testimony Ephesians 5:19)
  4. Reachable – culture comes into play, lets be indigenous and not make new people learn a whole new language (1 Corinthians 14)
  5. Beautiful – the mystery, craftsmanship and story should be present. (Psalm 66:2, Psalm 33:3)

Did I miss any? What do you think is worship music?

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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.

32 comments

  1. For me, a good majority of “Christian” music is worship music. So when people talk about “worship” music, I think more so congregational singing music rather than simply worship music.

    1. Thanks Tyler…we are indeed talking about music as part of our “liturgy” verses Christian entertainment or Christian-themed music for personal enjoyment… in that context I think you need some distinguishing marks is all.

  2. For me, a good majority of “Christian” music is worship music. So when people talk about “worship” music, I think more so congregational singing music rather than simply worship music.

    1. Thanks Tyler…we are indeed talking about music as part of our “liturgy” verses Christian entertainment or Christian-themed music for personal enjoyment… in that context I think you need some distinguishing marks is all.

  3. For me, a good majority of “Christian” music is worship music. So when people talk about “worship” music, I think more so congregational singing music rather than simply worship music.

    1. Thanks Tyler…we are indeed talking about music as part of our “liturgy” verses Christian entertainment or Christian-themed music for personal enjoyment… in that context I think you need some distinguishing marks is all.

  4. For me, a good majority of “Christian” music is worship music. So when people talk about “worship” music, I think more so congregational singing music rather than simply worship music.

    1. Thanks Tyler…we are indeed talking about music as part of our “liturgy” verses Christian entertainment or Christian-themed music for personal enjoyment… in that context I think you need some distinguishing marks is all.

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tehillamusic.com and IntegrityDirect.com. IntegrityDirect.com said: RT @rkweblog Worship Mythbusters: Five things that distinguish a worship song http://bit.ly/18myjI discussion please 🙂 […]

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tehillamusic.com and IntegrityDirect.com. IntegrityDirect.com said: RT @rkweblog Worship Mythbusters: Five things that distinguish a worship song http://bit.ly/18myjI discussion please 🙂 […]

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tehillamusic.com and IntegrityDirect.com. IntegrityDirect.com said: RT @rkweblog Worship Mythbusters: Five things that distinguish a worship song http://bit.ly/18myjI discussion please 🙂 […]

  8. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tehillamusic.com and IntegrityDirect.com. IntegrityDirect.com said: RT @rkweblog Worship Mythbusters: Five things that distinguish a worship song http://bit.ly/18myjI discussion please 🙂 […]

  9. Vimeo seems to think I’m on a dial-up or something, so I haven’t watched the video yet.
    I’m interested mostly in the “Reachable” aspect, I think, and it’s interesting that you reference 1 Corinthians 14, because that’s a huge chunk that I think we probably miss, however unintentionally, in most worship meetings.

    The most faithful rendering of the Greek in verse 26 (which is a fantastic summary of Church meetings) is “every one of you holds a psalm…” rather than “one of you has a song…” And to me, that’s amazingly beautiful; something that flows out of the life and heart of the believer.

    I think these are extremely good parameters for putting a definition together. One of my intentions is to start getting plenty of feedback from our people to find out what songs God has used to allow them to “speak” to Him, and what songs have hit home with them. I want us to start living out 1 Corinthians 14:26, and the way I can start that is in my area — music. I’ve been digging into what some of the qualifiers might be. Understanding that all songs just aren’t going to work for corporate worship or praise, your list comes at a great time on my end.

    Video has loaded! Now I have to run an errand, so I’ll have to watch it when I get back.

    1. Dean… very interesting take on 1 Corinthians 14. I am mainly going for the “order” of things and that “unbelievers” are present. But, you add the other dimension–its a communal expression!

  10. Vimeo seems to think I’m on a dial-up or something, so I haven’t watched the video yet.
    I’m interested mostly in the “Reachable” aspect, I think, and it’s interesting that you reference 1 Corinthians 14, because that’s a huge chunk that I think we probably miss, however unintentionally, in most worship meetings.

    The most faithful rendering of the Greek in verse 26 (which is a fantastic summary of Church meetings) is “every one of you holds a psalm…” rather than “one of you has a song…” And to me, that’s amazingly beautiful; something that flows out of the life and heart of the believer.

    I think these are extremely good parameters for putting a definition together. One of my intentions is to start getting plenty of feedback from our people to find out what songs God has used to allow them to “speak” to Him, and what songs have hit home with them. I want us to start living out 1 Corinthians 14:26, and the way I can start that is in my area — music. I’ve been digging into what some of the qualifiers might be. Understanding that all songs just aren’t going to work for corporate worship or praise, your list comes at a great time on my end.

    Video has loaded! Now I have to run an errand, so I’ll have to watch it when I get back.

    1. Dean… very interesting take on 1 Corinthians 14. I am mainly going for the “order” of things and that “unbelievers” are present. But, you add the other dimension–its a communal expression!

  11. Vimeo seems to think I’m on a dial-up or something, so I haven’t watched the video yet.
    I’m interested mostly in the “Reachable” aspect, I think, and it’s interesting that you reference 1 Corinthians 14, because that’s a huge chunk that I think we probably miss, however unintentionally, in most worship meetings.

    The most faithful rendering of the Greek in verse 26 (which is a fantastic summary of Church meetings) is “every one of you holds a psalm…” rather than “one of you has a song…” And to me, that’s amazingly beautiful; something that flows out of the life and heart of the believer.

    I think these are extremely good parameters for putting a definition together. One of my intentions is to start getting plenty of feedback from our people to find out what songs God has used to allow them to “speak” to Him, and what songs have hit home with them. I want us to start living out 1 Corinthians 14:26, and the way I can start that is in my area — music. I’ve been digging into what some of the qualifiers might be. Understanding that all songs just aren’t going to work for corporate worship or praise, your list comes at a great time on my end.

    Video has loaded! Now I have to run an errand, so I’ll have to watch it when I get back.

    1. Dean… very interesting take on 1 Corinthians 14. I am mainly going for the “order” of things and that “unbelievers” are present. But, you add the other dimension–its a communal expression!

  12. Vimeo seems to think I’m on a dial-up or something, so I haven’t watched the video yet.
    I’m interested mostly in the “Reachable” aspect, I think, and it’s interesting that you reference 1 Corinthians 14, because that’s a huge chunk that I think we probably miss, however unintentionally, in most worship meetings.

    The most faithful rendering of the Greek in verse 26 (which is a fantastic summary of Church meetings) is “every one of you holds a psalm…” rather than “one of you has a song…” And to me, that’s amazingly beautiful; something that flows out of the life and heart of the believer.

    I think these are extremely good parameters for putting a definition together. One of my intentions is to start getting plenty of feedback from our people to find out what songs God has used to allow them to “speak” to Him, and what songs have hit home with them. I want us to start living out 1 Corinthians 14:26, and the way I can start that is in my area — music. I’ve been digging into what some of the qualifiers might be. Understanding that all songs just aren’t going to work for corporate worship or praise, your list comes at a great time on my end.

    Video has loaded! Now I have to run an errand, so I’ll have to watch it when I get back.

    1. Dean… very interesting take on 1 Corinthians 14. I am mainly going for the “order” of things and that “unbelievers” are present. But, you add the other dimension–its a communal expression!

  13. Rich, thanks for this post. I really appreciate the practicality of what you’re saying.
    Each of these points is very important, but I’ll just take a moment to comment on the first one – truthfulness. What you’ve said here is good, in that our worship songs must be truthful in two ways – first, scripturally, as this is the basis of all truth; but also empiracally, or experientially.

    Music is something that helps us express our heart, what’s inside of us, and helps us release the reality of who we are and what we’re about. A song sung that communicates only the first “informational” truth, without the validation of the second “revelational” truth doesn’t ring, well, true, and so won’t really take us anywhere, or cause us to really be able to have the transaction with God that real worship brings us to.

    Communicated truth verses revealed truth is equally unsatisfying when someone’s preaching or teaching – it’s the sense that they’re explaining what they’re living that brings life to it. The same is true is song.

    Do you think this is an aspect of what Jesus meant in John chapter 4, referring to worshiping in spirit and in truth?

    1. Or when Paul says “sing with spirit and with the mind” in 1 Corinthians 14:15 …so there is a balance of thinking and feeling (not just emotional feeling but spiritual perception).

  14. Rich, thanks for this post. I really appreciate the practicality of what you’re saying.
    Each of these points is very important, but I’ll just take a moment to comment on the first one – truthfulness. What you’ve said here is good, in that our worship songs must be truthful in two ways – first, scripturally, as this is the basis of all truth; but also empiracally, or experientially.

    Music is something that helps us express our heart, what’s inside of us, and helps us release the reality of who we are and what we’re about. A song sung that communicates only the first “informational” truth, without the validation of the second “revelational” truth doesn’t ring, well, true, and so won’t really take us anywhere, or cause us to really be able to have the transaction with God that real worship brings us to.

    Communicated truth verses revealed truth is equally unsatisfying when someone’s preaching or teaching – it’s the sense that they’re explaining what they’re living that brings life to it. The same is true is song.

    Do you think this is an aspect of what Jesus meant in John chapter 4, referring to worshiping in spirit and in truth?

    1. Or when Paul says “sing with spirit and with the mind” in 1 Corinthians 14:15 …so there is a balance of thinking and feeling (not just emotional feeling but spiritual perception).

  15. Rich, thanks for this post. I really appreciate the practicality of what you’re saying.
    Each of these points is very important, but I’ll just take a moment to comment on the first one – truthfulness. What you’ve said here is good, in that our worship songs must be truthful in two ways – first, scripturally, as this is the basis of all truth; but also empiracally, or experientially.

    Music is something that helps us express our heart, what’s inside of us, and helps us release the reality of who we are and what we’re about. A song sung that communicates only the first “informational” truth, without the validation of the second “revelational” truth doesn’t ring, well, true, and so won’t really take us anywhere, or cause us to really be able to have the transaction with God that real worship brings us to.

    Communicated truth verses revealed truth is equally unsatisfying when someone’s preaching or teaching – it’s the sense that they’re explaining what they’re living that brings life to it. The same is true is song.

    Do you think this is an aspect of what Jesus meant in John chapter 4, referring to worshiping in spirit and in truth?

    1. Or when Paul says “sing with spirit and with the mind” in 1 Corinthians 14:15 …so there is a balance of thinking and feeling (not just emotional feeling but spiritual perception).

  16. Rich, thanks for this post. I really appreciate the practicality of what you’re saying.
    Each of these points is very important, but I’ll just take a moment to comment on the first one – truthfulness. What you’ve said here is good, in that our worship songs must be truthful in two ways – first, scripturally, as this is the basis of all truth; but also empiracally, or experientially.

    Music is something that helps us express our heart, what’s inside of us, and helps us release the reality of who we are and what we’re about. A song sung that communicates only the first “informational” truth, without the validation of the second “revelational” truth doesn’t ring, well, true, and so won’t really take us anywhere, or cause us to really be able to have the transaction with God that real worship brings us to.

    Communicated truth verses revealed truth is equally unsatisfying when someone’s preaching or teaching – it’s the sense that they’re explaining what they’re living that brings life to it. The same is true is song.

    Do you think this is an aspect of what Jesus meant in John chapter 4, referring to worshiping in spirit and in truth?

    1. Or when Paul says “sing with spirit and with the mind” in 1 Corinthians 14:15 …so there is a balance of thinking and feeling (not just emotional feeling but spiritual perception).

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