Cut-and-Paste Creativity: The Death of Art, Music and Connection in Church Worship

Having traveled a bit and visited many churches this past year, I see a pattern in the modern worship world. In fact, for the past decade I have been in that category as a worship leader. There are twitter feeds sharing set lists of the songs worship leaders choose. People in the pews or theater seats across America experience more of the same on their Sunday morning worship music menu than ever before. This one-size-fits-all thinking might be the death of true creativity. And, as a result it may flatten our ability to connect deeply to our community.

There are guitar sites, Youtube channels, and businesses built on showing how to paint-by-numbers. This includes the tone, sound and look of the most famous worship bands out there. Even the hipster dress code, as I observe when speaking or attending at worship conferences, conforms to plaid shirts, Tom’s Shoes, and v-necks. The worst offender is the skinny jeans. Seriously, fashion sense is really not a problem and creative people lead in this. But, why so monolithic?

Today’s recipe for success is the “me-too” cover band. Churches echo sermon series and graphics from the popular houses of worship. Everything is downloadable with a click. A local artist recently said this: “Cover bands are where dreams go to die.” After dying in laughter for a few minutes, sadness overcame me when reflecting on our Sunday experiences. The idea of being an “artist” and the calling that God has given artists dies in a cut-and-paste mentality that pervades our Sunday programming. Creativity is really “copy-tivity” in this world. And, it goes beyond music, shaping the sermons preached in our pulpits, graphics on our website banners, and fog machines.

Some will balk at this perspective. They will ask, “if it works, why not use things that are efficient and popular?” “Why reinvent the wheel?” The faulty idea is to measure the ends, not the means. “If a pastor in another town preaches better, why not use his sermon instead of your own?” This is faulty thinking. We create not because creating is our goal, but to create indigenously means the people I serve, the people I am called to reach and the city I live in matter. If we know the people as we should, we should actually be able to connect far better to them than someone else who does not know them.

We should employ good tools. Yes! And, the innovation of some churches challenges us all. Being influenced and inspired is one thing. Copying as a habit is another. We can take the best practices and become better. If we ban innovation, creativity, and the skills and work this requires, we may lose our voice to the very people we want to reach.

Do we lose our connection with people or increase it by Cut-and-Paste Creativity?

Share:
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.

310 comments

  1. I think one of the goals in modern worship, when ever possible, should be originality. I think each body of believers should try and come up with there own songs and style. I think it’s fine at times to use proven effective tools, but the main body of what we do should come from us, are own expression of worship.For me, I have grown a bit tired of the “cut and paste” mentality that I have seen through the years. Just because something’s good, doesn’t mean it’s the best.

    1. Thanks Matthew, I agree: “Just because something’s good, doesn’t mean it’s the best”
      RK

  2. I think one of the goals in modern worship, when ever possible, should be originality. I think each body of believers should try and come up with there own songs and style. I think it’s fine at times to use proven effective tools, but the main body of what we do should come from us, are own expression of worship.For me, I have grown a bit tired of the “cut and paste” mentality that I have seen through the years. Just because something’s good, doesn’t mean it’s the best.

    1. Thanks Matthew, I agree: “Just because something’s good, doesn’t mean it’s the best”
      RK

  3. I think one of the goals in modern worship, when ever possible, should be originality. I think each body of believers should try and come up with there own songs and style. I think it’s fine at times to use proven effective tools, but the main body of what we do should come from us, are own expression of worship.For me, I have grown a bit tired of the “cut and paste” mentality that I have seen through the years. Just because something’s good, doesn’t mean it’s the best.

    1. Thanks Matthew, I agree: “Just because something’s good, doesn’t mean it’s the best”
      RK

  4. I think one of the goals in modern worship, when ever possible, should be originality. I think each body of believers should try and come up with there own songs and style. I think it’s fine at times to use proven effective tools, but the main body of what we do should come from us, are own expression of worship.For me, I have grown a bit tired of the “cut and paste” mentality that I have seen through the years. Just because something’s good, doesn’t mean it’s the best.

    1. Thanks Matthew, I agree: “Just because something’s good, doesn’t mean it’s the best”
      RK

  5. I think one of the goals in modern worship, when ever possible, should be originality. I think each body of believers should try and come up with there own songs and style. I think it’s fine at times to use proven effective tools, but the main body of what we do should come from us, are own expression of worship.For me, I have grown a bit tired of the “cut and paste” mentality that I have seen through the years. Just because something’s good, doesn’t mean it’s the best.

    1. Thanks Matthew, I agree: “Just because something’s good, doesn’t mean it’s the best”
      RK

  6. This is something that is a HUGE issue for me. Instead of CREATE at church, we RECREATE. We become a karaoke worship generation. How is that bringing glory to God? He made us with certain talents and gifts for us to USE for His glory. We should be using them, don’t you think?

    1. Sean, ouch but this is very true: “We become a karaoke worship generation”
      RK

  7. This is something that is a HUGE issue for me. Instead of CREATE at church, we RECREATE. We become a karaoke worship generation. How is that bringing glory to God? He made us with certain talents and gifts for us to USE for His glory. We should be using them, don’t you think?

    1. Sean, ouch but this is very true: “We become a karaoke worship generation”
      RK

  8. This is something that is a HUGE issue for me. Instead of CREATE at church, we RECREATE. We become a karaoke worship generation. How is that bringing glory to God? He made us with certain talents and gifts for us to USE for His glory. We should be using them, don’t you think?

    1. Sean, ouch but this is very true: “We become a karaoke worship generation”
      RK

  9. This is something that is a HUGE issue for me. Instead of CREATE at church, we RECREATE. We become a karaoke worship generation. How is that bringing glory to God? He made us with certain talents and gifts for us to USE for His glory. We should be using them, don’t you think?

    1. Sean, ouch but this is very true: “We become a karaoke worship generation”
      RK

  10. This is something that is a HUGE issue for me. Instead of CREATE at church, we RECREATE. We become a karaoke worship generation. How is that bringing glory to God? He made us with certain talents and gifts for us to USE for His glory. We should be using them, don’t you think?

    1. Sean, ouch but this is very true: “We become a karaoke worship generation”
      RK

  11. Good article.  I think it stops at the question though.  There is definitely a depth to this problem that I have observed.  One aspect is the view that local creativity must aspire to a level of excellence that is achieved by the artists we cover (assuming they are  ‘excellent’ for sake of discussion).  If we don’t it won’t be good enough and won’t be considered.  I have heard that a lot.
    One way to aspire to that level is to band together – co-write, take multiple inputs, and apply creative processes (yes, they exist, and the ‘industry’ uses them) to identify and grow the ‘excellence’ needed.  Chris Vacher’s ‘Worship Rises’ project is a great example of songs being birthed into the Canadian church by worship leaders banded together with that mission in mind, and following a process.  Groups of local creatives can do likewise.

    The other aspect is to speak creatively into whatever level will be most impacted.  I saw a guy who impacted people by just inviting them to share their challenges, and he would write a song to encourage them in that.  God used that greatly to minister directly to folks.  So we can write for a gathering that needs it.  Children’s memory songs.  Small gatherings.  People will latch onto local creativity when it happens.  Grow it organically and it will sprout if it is led by the Spirit.

    The other aspect is to search for non ‘cut-and-paste’ creativity in our virtual internet community.  Make it a mission to identify and use songs from an unknown but great source.  They are out there and can be found easily enough, if one makes it their mission to commit and do that.

    1. Thanks Mark. Of course, it is not just a question, it is a conversation that needs to be had. So, thanks for speaking up.
      The level of mediocrity of our “cover band” efforts kills the argument that the quality is actually better. There are many bad songs that are done because they are polished productions and marketed well. And, because they are easy enough to play.

      Chris, who is a friend of mine, is doing a great thing. I know so many gifted writers. But, it is the THINKING that has to change to allow indigenous efforts to proliferate. We need to keep asking questions. We need to keep challenging the status quo. The WHY always is the heart of the issue, not just the what.
      RK

      1. Agreed on the ‘why’  But the vision for local creativity in this area is not that universal.  1) Worship leaders are not necessarily set in one job forever, and they want to have a repertoire of ‘well known’ stuff to draw from.  2) Fighting the ‘worship wars’ is hard enough without introducing new stuff that has inherent risk.  3) What does the band want to play – popular stuff or their own.
        A vision sufficient to overcome risk aversion needs to be caught by enough people, and, in the end, the decision makers need to recognize this.  Maybe we need to work through the non-worship pastors with a vision for songs that bless the overall direction the church is going including the sermons, etc?

        1. All good points, Mark. However, this goes beyond the worship leader and that particular role. The sermons, the graphics and every aspect of church culture is cut and paste. We have to have multi-sites because we lack the ability to teach innovation and delete that thought from leadership.
          It really is apostleship and prophetic leadership gifts that suffer today. We love efficiency (administration) and put teaching (communication) as the premium lead role. Then, no one is shepherded or cared for from the leader anymore. It is a central dysfunction not just moderating risk aversion that needs to be addressed.RK

  12. Good article.  I think it stops at the question though.  There is definitely a depth to this problem that I have observed.  One aspect is the view that local creativity must aspire to a level of excellence that is achieved by the artists we cover (assuming they are  ‘excellent’ for sake of discussion).  If we don’t it won’t be good enough and won’t be considered.  I have heard that a lot.
    One way to aspire to that level is to band together – co-write, take multiple inputs, and apply creative processes (yes, they exist, and the ‘industry’ uses them) to identify and grow the ‘excellence’ needed.  Chris Vacher’s ‘Worship Rises’ project is a great example of songs being birthed into the Canadian church by worship leaders banded together with that mission in mind, and following a process.  Groups of local creatives can do likewise.
    The other aspect is to speak creatively into whatever level will be most impacted.  I saw a guy who impacted people by just inviting them to share their challenges, and he would write a song to encourage them in that.  God used that greatly to minister directly to folks.  So we can write for a gathering that needs it.  Children’s memory songs.  Small gatherings.  People will latch onto local creativity when it happens.  Grow it organically and it will sprout if it is led by the Spirit.
    The other aspect is to search for non ‘cut-and-paste’ creativity in our virtual internet community.  Make it a mission to identify and use songs from an unknown but great source.  They are out there and can be found easily enough, if one makes it their mission to commit and do that.

    1. Thanks Mark. Of course, it is not just a question, it is a conversation that needs to be had. So, thanks for speaking up.
      The level of mediocrity of our “cover band” efforts kills the argument that the quality is actually better. There are many bad songs that are done because they are polished productions and marketed well. And, because they are easy enough to play.
      Chris, who is a friend of mine, is doing a great thing. I know so many gifted writers. But, it is the THINKING that has to change to allow indigenous efforts to proliferate. We need to keep asking questions. We need to keep challenging the status quo. The WHY always is the heart of the issue, not just the what.
      RK

      1. Agreed on the ‘why’  But the vision for local creativity in this area is not that universal.  1) Worship leaders are not necessarily set in one job forever, and they want to have a repertoire of ‘well known’ stuff to draw from.  2) Fighting the ‘worship wars’ is hard enough without introducing new stuff that has inherent risk.  3) What does the band want to play – popular stuff or their own.
        A vision sufficient to overcome risk aversion needs to be caught by enough people, and, in the end, the decision makers need to recognize this.  Maybe we need to work through the non-worship pastors with a vision for songs that bless the overall direction the church is going including the sermons, etc?

        1. All good points, Mark. However, this goes beyond the worship leader and that particular role. The sermons, the graphics and every aspect of church culture is cut and paste. We have to have multi-sites because we lack the ability to teach innovation and delete that thought from leadership.
          It really is apostleship and prophetic leadership gifts that suffer today. We love efficiency (administration) and put teaching (communication) as the premium lead role. Then, no one is shepherded or cared for from the leader anymore. It is a central dysfunction not just moderating risk aversion that needs to be addressed.RK

  13. Good article.  I think it stops at the question though.  There is definitely a depth to this problem that I have observed.  One aspect is the view that local creativity must aspire to a level of excellence that is achieved by the artists we cover (assuming they are  ‘excellent’ for sake of discussion).  If we don’t it won’t be good enough and won’t be considered.  I have heard that a lot.
    One way to aspire to that level is to band together – co-write, take multiple inputs, and apply creative processes (yes, they exist, and the ‘industry’ uses them) to identify and grow the ‘excellence’ needed.  Chris Vacher’s ‘Worship Rises’ project is a great example of songs being birthed into the Canadian church by worship leaders banded together with that mission in mind, and following a process.  Groups of local creatives can do likewise.

    The other aspect is to speak creatively into whatever level will be most impacted.  I saw a guy who impacted people by just inviting them to share their challenges, and he would write a song to encourage them in that.  God used that greatly to minister directly to folks.  So we can write for a gathering that needs it.  Children’s memory songs.  Small gatherings.  People will latch onto local creativity when it happens.  Grow it organically and it will sprout if it is led by the Spirit.

    The other aspect is to search for non ‘cut-and-paste’ creativity in our virtual internet community.  Make it a mission to identify and use songs from an unknown but great source.  They are out there and can be found easily enough, if one makes it their mission to commit and do that.

    1. Thanks Mark. Of course, it is not just a question, it is a conversation that needs to be had. So, thanks for speaking up.
      The level of mediocrity of our “cover band” efforts kills the argument that the quality is actually better. There are many bad songs that are done because they are polished productions and marketed well. And, because they are easy enough to play.

      Chris, who is a friend of mine, is doing a great thing. I know so many gifted writers. But, it is the THINKING that has to change to allow indigenous efforts to proliferate. We need to keep asking questions. We need to keep challenging the status quo. The WHY always is the heart of the issue, not just the what.
      RK

      1. Agreed on the ‘why’  But the vision for local creativity in this area is not that universal.  1) Worship leaders are not necessarily set in one job forever, and they want to have a repertoire of ‘well known’ stuff to draw from.  2) Fighting the ‘worship wars’ is hard enough without introducing new stuff that has inherent risk.  3) What does the band want to play – popular stuff or their own.
        A vision sufficient to overcome risk aversion needs to be caught by enough people, and, in the end, the decision makers need to recognize this.  Maybe we need to work through the non-worship pastors with a vision for songs that bless the overall direction the church is going including the sermons, etc?

        1. All good points, Mark. However, this goes beyond the worship leader and that particular role. The sermons, the graphics and every aspect of church culture is cut and paste. We have to have multi-sites because we lack the ability to teach innovation and delete that thought from leadership.
          It really is apostleship and prophetic leadership gifts that suffer today. We love efficiency (administration) and put teaching (communication) as the premium lead role. Then, no one is shepherded or cared for from the leader anymore. It is a central dysfunction not just moderating risk aversion that needs to be addressed.RK

  14. Good article.  I think it stops at the question though.  There is definitely a depth to this problem that I have observed.  One aspect is the view that local creativity must aspire to a level of excellence that is achieved by the artists we cover (assuming they are  ‘excellent’ for sake of discussion).  If we don’t it won’t be good enough and won’t be considered.  I have heard that a lot.
    One way to aspire to that level is to band together – co-write, take multiple inputs, and apply creative processes (yes, they exist, and the ‘industry’ uses them) to identify and grow the ‘excellence’ needed.  Chris Vacher’s ‘Worship Rises’ project is a great example of songs being birthed into the Canadian church by worship leaders banded together with that mission in mind, and following a process.  Groups of local creatives can do likewise.

    The other aspect is to speak creatively into whatever level will be most impacted.  I saw a guy who impacted people by just inviting them to share their challenges, and he would write a song to encourage them in that.  God used that greatly to minister directly to folks.  So we can write for a gathering that needs it.  Children’s memory songs.  Small gatherings.  People will latch onto local creativity when it happens.  Grow it organically and it will sprout if it is led by the Spirit.

    The other aspect is to search for non ‘cut-and-paste’ creativity in our virtual internet community.  Make it a mission to identify and use songs from an unknown but great source.  They are out there and can be found easily enough, if one makes it their mission to commit and do that.

    1. Thanks Mark. Of course, it is not just a question, it is a conversation that needs to be had. So, thanks for speaking up.
      The level of mediocrity of our “cover band” efforts kills the argument that the quality is actually better. There are many bad songs that are done because they are polished productions and marketed well. And, because they are easy enough to play.

      Chris, who is a friend of mine, is doing a great thing. I know so many gifted writers. But, it is the THINKING that has to change to allow indigenous efforts to proliferate. We need to keep asking questions. We need to keep challenging the status quo. The WHY always is the heart of the issue, not just the what.
      RK

      1. Agreed on the ‘why’  But the vision for local creativity in this area is not that universal.  1) Worship leaders are not necessarily set in one job forever, and they want to have a repertoire of ‘well known’ stuff to draw from.  2) Fighting the ‘worship wars’ is hard enough without introducing new stuff that has inherent risk.  3) What does the band want to play – popular stuff or their own.
        A vision sufficient to overcome risk aversion needs to be caught by enough people, and, in the end, the decision makers need to recognize this.  Maybe we need to work through the non-worship pastors with a vision for songs that bless the overall direction the church is going including the sermons, etc?

        1. All good points, Mark. However, this goes beyond the worship leader and that particular role. The sermons, the graphics and every aspect of church culture is cut and paste. We have to have multi-sites because we lack the ability to teach innovation and delete that thought from leadership.
          It really is apostleship and prophetic leadership gifts that suffer today. We love efficiency (administration) and put teaching (communication) as the premium lead role. Then, no one is shepherded or cared for from the leader anymore. It is a central dysfunction not just moderating risk aversion that needs to be addressed.RK

  15. Good article.  I think it stops at the question though.  There is definitely a depth to this problem that I have observed.  One aspect is the view that local creativity must aspire to a level of excellence that is achieved by the artists we cover (assuming they are  ‘excellent’ for sake of discussion).  If we don’t it won’t be good enough and won’t be considered.  I have heard that a lot.
    One way to aspire to that level is to band together – co-write, take multiple inputs, and apply creative processes (yes, they exist, and the ‘industry’ uses them) to identify and grow the ‘excellence’ needed.  Chris Vacher’s ‘Worship Rises’ project is a great example of songs being birthed into the Canadian church by worship leaders banded together with that mission in mind, and following a process.  Groups of local creatives can do likewise.

    The other aspect is to speak creatively into whatever level will be most impacted.  I saw a guy who impacted people by just inviting them to share their challenges, and he would write a song to encourage them in that.  God used that greatly to minister directly to folks.  So we can write for a gathering that needs it.  Children’s memory songs.  Small gatherings.  People will latch onto local creativity when it happens.  Grow it organically and it will sprout if it is led by the Spirit.

    The other aspect is to search for non ‘cut-and-paste’ creativity in our virtual internet community.  Make it a mission to identify and use songs from an unknown but great source.  They are out there and can be found easily enough, if one makes it their mission to commit and do that.

    1. Thanks Mark. Of course, it is not just a question, it is a conversation that needs to be had. So, thanks for speaking up.
      The level of mediocrity of our “cover band” efforts kills the argument that the quality is actually better. There are many bad songs that are done because they are polished productions and marketed well. And, because they are easy enough to play.

      Chris, who is a friend of mine, is doing a great thing. I know so many gifted writers. But, it is the THINKING that has to change to allow indigenous efforts to proliferate. We need to keep asking questions. We need to keep challenging the status quo. The WHY always is the heart of the issue, not just the what.
      RK

      1. Agreed on the ‘why’  But the vision for local creativity in this area is not that universal.  1) Worship leaders are not necessarily set in one job forever, and they want to have a repertoire of ‘well known’ stuff to draw from.  2) Fighting the ‘worship wars’ is hard enough without introducing new stuff that has inherent risk.  3) What does the band want to play – popular stuff or their own.
        A vision sufficient to overcome risk aversion needs to be caught by enough people, and, in the end, the decision makers need to recognize this.  Maybe we need to work through the non-worship pastors with a vision for songs that bless the overall direction the church is going including the sermons, etc?

        1. All good points, Mark. However, this goes beyond the worship leader and that particular role. The sermons, the graphics and every aspect of church culture is cut and paste. We have to have multi-sites because we lack the ability to teach innovation and delete that thought from leadership.
          It really is apostleship and prophetic leadership gifts that suffer today. We love efficiency (administration) and put teaching (communication) as the premium lead role. Then, no one is shepherded or cared for from the leader anymore. It is a central dysfunction not just moderating risk aversion that needs to be addressed.RK

  16. I’ll throw out a different perspective here, not because I agree with it 100% but because I like to stir the pot for discussion a little every now and then.
    I don’t think mediocrity is the death of art. I think it obviously creates a low bar and the standard for expectations is pretty visibly and accepted as a low mark. that being said, I think it actually sets the stage for the sudden and unexpected explosion of beautiful art on to the scene.

    Out of the mundane, from the ordinary, blossoms the unique. I don’t mean I think we should all strive for mediocrity with the hopes that something will suddenly appear that is magnificent and original, but I do think that at times, it’s the very fact that we are swimming in an ocean of “normal” that makes true art so beautiful.

    All that being said, I think the death of the mediocre is the death of art.

    Bringing the glory of God into the equation, I feel that it is perfectly fine and acceptable to be a clay vessel, or a silver vessel…or a wooden vessel…or a straw vessel. The point isn’t the quality of the vessel, but the usefulness of the vessel.

    Sure we should, as artists, aspire to create wonderfully beautiful and inspiration art, but if our motivation to create is driven solely by the desire to create art that isn’t mediocre, we’re missing the ultimate point.

    God painted the most wonderful masterpiece in human form through His Son Jesus. He wasn’t born in a palace of finery or in a royal crib of plush velvet and beautiful things. He didn’t live in the lap of luxury or as a man above men. He was normal. Some would even call Him mediocre (in terms of upbringing and profession).

    Of course, we know that Jesus was the incarnate Son of God, the very glory of God wrapped in the frail, unassuming robe of humanity. What makes His birth, life, and death so spectacular is His mission. His purpose. His “usefulness” to the eternal plan of God to redeem His creation from the grip of sin and death.

    I say all that to prod us to think. When it all comes down to it…YES….create beautiful things. Yes, strive to be unique. Yes, strive to make art of art. But do so knowing that even if what comes out of you isn’t what OTHERS think is the most beautiful “art” ever created, that if it’s inspired by God and if it’s USEFUL in serving your congregation and bringing God glory in times of musical worship…then that in itself IS art.

    Create, create, create….but always remember that God LOVES to shine through the mediocre…and loves to use the humble, weak, and broken. And after all, isn’t that in essence where good art comes from anyways?

    1. Russ, I love the “stir the pot” dudes. 😉 However, I would NEVER advocate mediocrity when it comes to our liturgy–it is not MUSIC only at issue here, but sermons, and the visuals we use to express our faith.

      If your argument was correct, then the vastness of mediocrity should be fertile soil for explosions of art and beauty! Is this what you actually see? I do not see that. Our churches are dying as the data shows, our creative leaders are suffering in the dysfunction of expectations set too low to be spiritually impacting and too hight to be reasonable. Pastors need to start preaching their own sermons. Worship leaders need to find the voice of their church. Karaoke mediocrity is not the answer. 
      I do see the need for a safe place to grow into art, however. This answers some of what Mark is speaking about, as well. If we were to actually mentor creative leaders in settings were they can fail, then they can learn. We all start our pretty terrible. I did. Now, we simply do not develop people–especially creatives.
      RK

      1. Hehe.
        I’m not really advocating for mentoring mediocrity, but for mentoring PURPOSE.

        You can be the most creative musician, preacher, leader, designer, etc. in the world, but if your drive is making art for the sake of art then I believe in the Kingdom that in and of itself IS mediocrity.

        I’m not even saying that I think mediocrity is something to strive for (as I mention at the end of my first comment), but that recognizing that without the mediocre we wouldn’t appreciate the unique.

        And using the word explosion, I simply mean that when something like a Gungor Beautiful Things comes along and wrecks us in a good way, it pretty much is born out of the mediocre. Not a desire to be mediocre, but from what is. It just is.

        Haydn, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart (and all those guys) weren’t a brilliant composers because everyone else was a brilliant composer. They were brilliant because they stood out from the crowd. Which I feel like we’re both saying…maybe just in different ways! Ha…

        I guess my ultimate point isn’t in saying, “Yes, be ok with YOUR own individual mediocrity” but in saying “Yes, acknowledge and recognize that what is brilliant and unique usually becomes normal and status quo in a very short time.”

        Music history, especially in the Church is replete with examples of this. Wave after wave of change comes…the new becomes old and a new new replaces the old new.

        It’s in the mentoring and coaching of people in their gifts and talents (like you said) WITHIN that culture of normal that inspires people to greatness.

        And like I said earlier in my first comment, I’m not sure I even agree with what I’m “thinking out loud” here…just throwing out there for discussion.

        I’m willing to admit that there IS a pretty bland and stagnant “musical culture” within the church (as well as other areas of creativity) and I acknowledge that just following along rank and file isn’t the answer.

        But I’ll also be the first to admit, that for me, in my own personal experience, the most glorious times of worship, fellowship, inspiration, movement toward God, etc. happen outside the walls of the established “church.” Rather, they tend to happen in my home and my friends’ homes.

        I guess ultimately my question would be (for me as much as anyone is this): Using a general overarching creativity that covers all areas of our worship gatherings (music, programming, design, communications, etc.) what is the ultimate purpose of the expressions of that creativity?

        Evangelism? Worship? Inspiration? Exhortation? Rebuke? Challenge? Mission?

        I know it can be one and all and more. I’m just curious in my own head. Because personally, I know that I’ve experienced an overwhelming communicated desire for the “creativity” to basically be to reach a certain “outsider” demographic while at the same time keeping the “insider” demographic happy. And as long as that sort of thing continues to be the driving mandate for our creative expressions I don’t think we’ll see much life ever again (which again is why I enjoy smaller groups in the home).

        I’m such a rambler. Thanks for throwing this out there for discussion…it’s actually causing me to dig deep.

        1. The ultimate purpose of creating? We are made in the image of a creator. We glorify God by creating. Simply put, that is the ethic. It does not have to fit a spread sheet to glorify God. It just does because we were made to create. 
          Now, all I can say is the answer is taking the authentic powerful small moments we all experience outside of church and bringing those sacred times into what is supposed to deliver that same thing. That divide is the issue. Why is it that we let industry decide our liturgy and not those moments you mentioned?RK

          1. “The ultimate purpose of creating? We are made in the image of a creator. We glorify God by creating. Simply put, that is the ethic. It does not
            have to fit a spread sheet to glorify God. It just does because we were
            made to create.”

            Agreed. But you and I both know that doesn’t fly in typical church administration. It doesn’t fill seats and it doesn’t keep the “insiders” happy. but I guess that’s ultimately what your post is about! CHANGE!

            And as far as those powerful small moments, I honestly don’t want to bring them into the church to be yet another commodity used to manipulate people. I’m pretty jaded, dang!

            But I have my reasons, I personally believe that those powerful small moments ARE the Church in action and when we try to bottle them up and “sell” them in program form they fall short.

            But I know that’s not what you’re suggesting. I’d answer your last comment/question about the industry deciding our liturgy has more to do with our culture outside of the Church being an influence on those inside the Church than anything else.

            We live in a fast food, factory-farmed, pre-packaged society. Anything that looks different, sadly, is looked on with suspicion and sometimes outright disdain.

            Maybe that’s why one of the reasons I’m jaded. I love the Church…I just have a hard time with the church. It’s tough.

            Again, thanks for the discussion. I’m not anti-creativity in church at all. I just think when all the dust settles, that in our present state (good, bad, and ugly) that creating for the sake of creating is all good and YES it does bring God glory, and so maybe that’s something that needs to be instilled in and mentored into individuals.

            I guess where I’m coming from is more of a corporate sense. Setting that leader, communicator, artist, musician, etc. in front of “the mob” as they “express their art” accomplishes 2 things:

            1) Brings God glory in an individual sense because sense the created is creating (as God intends) there is a fulfillment of general purpose.

            2) Alienates the group, who are either not creative or who don’t understand it. I liken this to the worship leader who closes his eyes and for the next 30 minutes leaves the crowd behind while he or she individually glorifies God.

            I don’t think there’s anything inherently “wrong” with the second scenario, but I think in terms of effectiveness in the Kingdom, it might not be the “best” approach. Good isn’t always best.

            Now all THAT to say, if what I’m hearing YOU say is that we need to change the current of culture in our present churches…teaching and shaping people in a way that helps them see, operate in, and share their creative expressions from the individual all the way to and through the collective, I’m down with that.

            I just don’t know how we get from, fast-food to homecooked.

            Maybe, that’s where my own personal gauntlet needs to be thrown down. get creative ME! Do it!

            Pardon my rambles…I’ll probably come back tomorrow and not agree with anything I’ve said today. But I do like the discussion.

            🙂

          2. Thanks Man.
            How about a #3?? BOTH AND!! That is what I am talking about. And, that takes more than an artist. It takes editors. But, the idea is that there usually is more than a binary choice. We just need to find the tension where that can live in reality.

  17. I’ll throw out a different perspective here, not because I agree with it 100% but because I like to stir the pot for discussion a little every now and then.
    I don’t think mediocrity is the death of art. I think it obviously creates a low bar and the standard for expectations is pretty visibly and accepted as a low mark. that being said, I think it actually sets the stage for the sudden and unexpected explosion of beautiful art on to the scene.
    Out of the mundane, from the ordinary, blossoms the unique. I don’t mean I think we should all strive for mediocrity with the hopes that something will suddenly appear that is magnificent and original, but I do think that at times, it’s the very fact that we are swimming in an ocean of “normal” that makes true art so beautiful.
    All that being said, I think the death of the mediocre is the death of art.
    Bringing the glory of God into the equation, I feel that it is perfectly fine and acceptable to be a clay vessel, or a silver vessel…or a wooden vessel…or a straw vessel. The point isn’t the quality of the vessel, but the usefulness of the vessel.
    Sure we should, as artists, aspire to create wonderfully beautiful and inspiration art, but if our motivation to create is driven solely by the desire to create art that isn’t mediocre, we’re missing the ultimate point.
    God painted the most wonderful masterpiece in human form through His Son Jesus. He wasn’t born in a palace of finery or in a royal crib of plush velvet and beautiful things. He didn’t live in the lap of luxury or as a man above men. He was normal. Some would even call Him mediocre (in terms of upbringing and profession).
    Of course, we know that Jesus was the incarnate Son of God, the very glory of God wrapped in the frail, unassuming robe of humanity. What makes His birth, life, and death so spectacular is His mission. His purpose. His “usefulness” to the eternal plan of God to redeem His creation from the grip of sin and death.
    I say all that to prod us to think. When it all comes down to it…YES….create beautiful things. Yes, strive to be unique. Yes, strive to make art of art. But do so knowing that even if what comes out of you isn’t what OTHERS think is the most beautiful “art” ever created, that if it’s inspired by God and if it’s USEFUL in serving your congregation and bringing God glory in times of musical worship…then that in itself IS art.
    Create, create, create….but always remember that God LOVES to shine through the mediocre…and loves to use the humble, weak, and broken. And after all, isn’t that in essence where good art comes from anyways?

    1. Russ, I love the “stir the pot” dudes. 😉 However, I would NEVER advocate mediocrity when it comes to our liturgy–it is not MUSIC only at issue here, but sermons, and the visuals we use to express our faith.
      If your argument was correct, then the vastness of mediocrity should be fertile soil for explosions of art and beauty! Is this what you actually see? I do not see that. Our churches are dying as the data shows, our creative leaders are suffering in the dysfunction of expectations set too low to be spiritually impacting and too hight to be reasonable. Pastors need to start preaching their own sermons. Worship leaders need to find the voice of their church. Karaoke mediocrity is not the answer. 
      I do see the need for a safe place to grow into art, however. This answers some of what Mark is speaking about, as well. If we were to actually mentor creative leaders in settings were they can fail, then they can learn. We all start our pretty terrible. I did. Now, we simply do not develop people–especially creatives.
      RK

      1. Hehe.
        I’m not really advocating for mentoring mediocrity, but for mentoring PURPOSE.
        You can be the most creative musician, preacher, leader, designer, etc. in the world, but if your drive is making art for the sake of art then I believe in the Kingdom that in and of itself IS mediocrity.
        I’m not even saying that I think mediocrity is something to strive for (as I mention at the end of my first comment), but that recognizing that without the mediocre we wouldn’t appreciate the unique.
        And using the word explosion, I simply mean that when something like a Gungor Beautiful Things comes along and wrecks us in a good way, it pretty much is born out of the mediocre. Not a desire to be mediocre, but from what is. It just is.
        Haydn, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart (and all those guys) weren’t a brilliant composers because everyone else was a brilliant composer. They were brilliant because they stood out from the crowd. Which I feel like we’re both saying…maybe just in different ways! Ha…
        I guess my ultimate point isn’t in saying, “Yes, be ok with YOUR own individual mediocrity” but in saying “Yes, acknowledge and recognize that what is brilliant and unique usually becomes normal and status quo in a very short time.”
        Music history, especially in the Church is replete with examples of this. Wave after wave of change comes…the new becomes old and a new new replaces the old new.
        It’s in the mentoring and coaching of people in their gifts and talents (like you said) WITHIN that culture of normal that inspires people to greatness.
        And like I said earlier in my first comment, I’m not sure I even agree with what I’m “thinking out loud” here…just throwing out there for discussion.
        I’m willing to admit that there IS a pretty bland and stagnant “musical culture” within the church (as well as other areas of creativity) and I acknowledge that just following along rank and file isn’t the answer.
        But I’ll also be the first to admit, that for me, in my own personal experience, the most glorious times of worship, fellowship, inspiration, movement toward God, etc. happen outside the walls of the established “church.” Rather, they tend to happen in my home and my friends’ homes.
        I guess ultimately my question would be (for me as much as anyone is this): Using a general overarching creativity that covers all areas of our worship gatherings (music, programming, design, communications, etc.) what is the ultimate purpose of the expressions of that creativity?
        Evangelism? Worship? Inspiration? Exhortation? Rebuke? Challenge? Mission?
        I know it can be one and all and more. I’m just curious in my own head. Because personally, I know that I’ve experienced an overwhelming communicated desire for the “creativity” to basically be to reach a certain “outsider” demographic while at the same time keeping the “insider” demographic happy. And as long as that sort of thing continues to be the driving mandate for our creative expressions I don’t think we’ll see much life ever again (which again is why I enjoy smaller groups in the home).
        I’m such a rambler. Thanks for throwing this out there for discussion…it’s actually causing me to dig deep.

        1. The ultimate purpose of creating? We are made in the image of a creator. We glorify God by creating. Simply put, that is the ethic. It does not have to fit a spread sheet to glorify God. It just does because we were made to create. 
          Now, all I can say is the answer is taking the authentic powerful small moments we all experience outside of church and bringing those sacred times into what is supposed to deliver that same thing. That divide is the issue. Why is it that we let industry decide our liturgy and not those moments you mentioned?RK

          1. “The ultimate purpose of creating? We are made in the image of a creator. We glorify God by creating. Simply put, that is the ethic. It does not
            have to fit a spread sheet to glorify God. It just does because we were
            made to create.”
            Agreed. But you and I both know that doesn’t fly in typical church administration. It doesn’t fill seats and it doesn’t keep the “insiders” happy. but I guess that’s ultimately what your post is about! CHANGE!
            And as far as those powerful small moments, I honestly don’t want to bring them into the church to be yet another commodity used to manipulate people. I’m pretty jaded, dang!
            But I have my reasons, I personally believe that those powerful small moments ARE the Church in action and when we try to bottle them up and “sell” them in program form they fall short.
            But I know that’s not what you’re suggesting. I’d answer your last comment/question about the industry deciding our liturgy has more to do with our culture outside of the Church being an influence on those inside the Church than anything else.
            We live in a fast food, factory-farmed, pre-packaged society. Anything that looks different, sadly, is looked on with suspicion and sometimes outright disdain.
            Maybe that’s why one of the reasons I’m jaded. I love the Church…I just have a hard time with the church. It’s tough.
            Again, thanks for the discussion. I’m not anti-creativity in church at all. I just think when all the dust settles, that in our present state (good, bad, and ugly) that creating for the sake of creating is all good and YES it does bring God glory, and so maybe that’s something that needs to be instilled in and mentored into individuals.
            I guess where I’m coming from is more of a corporate sense. Setting that leader, communicator, artist, musician, etc. in front of “the mob” as they “express their art” accomplishes 2 things:
            1) Brings God glory in an individual sense because sense the created is creating (as God intends) there is a fulfillment of general purpose.
            2) Alienates the group, who are either not creative or who don’t understand it. I liken this to the worship leader who closes his eyes and for the next 30 minutes leaves the crowd behind while he or she individually glorifies God.
            I don’t think there’s anything inherently “wrong” with the second scenario, but I think in terms of effectiveness in the Kingdom, it might not be the “best” approach. Good isn’t always best.
            Now all THAT to say, if what I’m hearing YOU say is that we need to change the current of culture in our present churches…teaching and shaping people in a way that helps them see, operate in, and share their creative expressions from the individual all the way to and through the collective, I’m down with that.
            I just don’t know how we get from, fast-food to homecooked.
            Maybe, that’s where my own personal gauntlet needs to be thrown down. get creative ME! Do it!
            Pardon my rambles…I’ll probably come back tomorrow and not agree with anything I’ve said today. But I do like the discussion.
            🙂

          2. Thanks Man.
            How about a #3?? BOTH AND!! That is what I am talking about. And, that takes more than an artist. It takes editors. But, the idea is that there usually is more than a binary choice. We just need to find the tension where that can live in reality.

  18. I’ll throw out a different perspective here, not because I agree with it 100% but because I like to stir the pot for discussion a little every now and then.
    I don’t think mediocrity is the death of art. I think it obviously creates a low bar and the standard for expectations is pretty visibly and accepted as a low mark. that being said, I think it actually sets the stage for the sudden and unexpected explosion of beautiful art on to the scene.

    Out of the mundane, from the ordinary, blossoms the unique. I don’t mean I think we should all strive for mediocrity with the hopes that something will suddenly appear that is magnificent and original, but I do think that at times, it’s the very fact that we are swimming in an ocean of “normal” that makes true art so beautiful.

    All that being said, I think the death of the mediocre is the death of art.

    Bringing the glory of God into the equation, I feel that it is perfectly fine and acceptable to be a clay vessel, or a silver vessel…or a wooden vessel…or a straw vessel. The point isn’t the quality of the vessel, but the usefulness of the vessel.

    Sure we should, as artists, aspire to create wonderfully beautiful and inspiration art, but if our motivation to create is driven solely by the desire to create art that isn’t mediocre, we’re missing the ultimate point.

    God painted the most wonderful masterpiece in human form through His Son Jesus. He wasn’t born in a palace of finery or in a royal crib of plush velvet and beautiful things. He didn’t live in the lap of luxury or as a man above men. He was normal. Some would even call Him mediocre (in terms of upbringing and profession).

    Of course, we know that Jesus was the incarnate Son of God, the very glory of God wrapped in the frail, unassuming robe of humanity. What makes His birth, life, and death so spectacular is His mission. His purpose. His “usefulness” to the eternal plan of God to redeem His creation from the grip of sin and death.

    I say all that to prod us to think. When it all comes down to it…YES….create beautiful things. Yes, strive to be unique. Yes, strive to make art of art. But do so knowing that even if what comes out of you isn’t what OTHERS think is the most beautiful “art” ever created, that if it’s inspired by God and if it’s USEFUL in serving your congregation and bringing God glory in times of musical worship…then that in itself IS art.

    Create, create, create….but always remember that God LOVES to shine through the mediocre…and loves to use the humble, weak, and broken. And after all, isn’t that in essence where good art comes from anyways?

    1. Russ, I love the “stir the pot” dudes. 😉 However, I would NEVER advocate mediocrity when it comes to our liturgy–it is not MUSIC only at issue here, but sermons, and the visuals we use to express our faith.

      If your argument was correct, then the vastness of mediocrity should be fertile soil for explosions of art and beauty! Is this what you actually see? I do not see that. Our churches are dying as the data shows, our creative leaders are suffering in the dysfunction of expectations set too low to be spiritually impacting and too hight to be reasonable. Pastors need to start preaching their own sermons. Worship leaders need to find the voice of their church. Karaoke mediocrity is not the answer. 
      I do see the need for a safe place to grow into art, however. This answers some of what Mark is speaking about, as well. If we were to actually mentor creative leaders in settings were they can fail, then they can learn. We all start our pretty terrible. I did. Now, we simply do not develop people–especially creatives.
      RK

      1. Hehe.
        I’m not really advocating for mentoring mediocrity, but for mentoring PURPOSE.

        You can be the most creative musician, preacher, leader, designer, etc. in the world, but if your drive is making art for the sake of art then I believe in the Kingdom that in and of itself IS mediocrity.

        I’m not even saying that I think mediocrity is something to strive for (as I mention at the end of my first comment), but that recognizing that without the mediocre we wouldn’t appreciate the unique.

        And using the word explosion, I simply mean that when something like a Gungor Beautiful Things comes along and wrecks us in a good way, it pretty much is born out of the mediocre. Not a desire to be mediocre, but from what is. It just is.

        Haydn, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart (and all those guys) weren’t a brilliant composers because everyone else was a brilliant composer. They were brilliant because they stood out from the crowd. Which I feel like we’re both saying…maybe just in different ways! Ha…

        I guess my ultimate point isn’t in saying, “Yes, be ok with YOUR own individual mediocrity” but in saying “Yes, acknowledge and recognize that what is brilliant and unique usually becomes normal and status quo in a very short time.”

        Music history, especially in the Church is replete with examples of this. Wave after wave of change comes…the new becomes old and a new new replaces the old new.

        It’s in the mentoring and coaching of people in their gifts and talents (like you said) WITHIN that culture of normal that inspires people to greatness.

        And like I said earlier in my first comment, I’m not sure I even agree with what I’m “thinking out loud” here…just throwing out there for discussion.

        I’m willing to admit that there IS a pretty bland and stagnant “musical culture” within the church (as well as other areas of creativity) and I acknowledge that just following along rank and file isn’t the answer.

        But I’ll also be the first to admit, that for me, in my own personal experience, the most glorious times of worship, fellowship, inspiration, movement toward God, etc. happen outside the walls of the established “church.” Rather, they tend to happen in my home and my friends’ homes.

        I guess ultimately my question would be (for me as much as anyone is this): Using a general overarching creativity that covers all areas of our worship gatherings (music, programming, design, communications, etc.) what is the ultimate purpose of the expressions of that creativity?

        Evangelism? Worship? Inspiration? Exhortation? Rebuke? Challenge? Mission?

        I know it can be one and all and more. I’m just curious in my own head. Because personally, I know that I’ve experienced an overwhelming communicated desire for the “creativity” to basically be to reach a certain “outsider” demographic while at the same time keeping the “insider” demographic happy. And as long as that sort of thing continues to be the driving mandate for our creative expressions I don’t think we’ll see much life ever again (which again is why I enjoy smaller groups in the home).

        I’m such a rambler. Thanks for throwing this out there for discussion…it’s actually causing me to dig deep.

        1. The ultimate purpose of creating? We are made in the image of a creator. We glorify God by creating. Simply put, that is the ethic. It does not have to fit a spread sheet to glorify God. It just does because we were made to create. 
          Now, all I can say is the answer is taking the authentic powerful small moments we all experience outside of church and bringing those sacred times into what is supposed to deliver that same thing. That divide is the issue. Why is it that we let industry decide our liturgy and not those moments you mentioned?RK

          1. “The ultimate purpose of creating? We are made in the image of a creator. We glorify God by creating. Simply put, that is the ethic. It does not
            have to fit a spread sheet to glorify God. It just does because we were
            made to create.”

            Agreed. But you and I both know that doesn’t fly in typical church administration. It doesn’t fill seats and it doesn’t keep the “insiders” happy. but I guess that’s ultimately what your post is about! CHANGE!

            And as far as those powerful small moments, I honestly don’t want to bring them into the church to be yet another commodity used to manipulate people. I’m pretty jaded, dang!

            But I have my reasons, I personally believe that those powerful small moments ARE the Church in action and when we try to bottle them up and “sell” them in program form they fall short.

            But I know that’s not what you’re suggesting. I’d answer your last comment/question about the industry deciding our liturgy has more to do with our culture outside of the Church being an influence on those inside the Church than anything else.

            We live in a fast food, factory-farmed, pre-packaged society. Anything that looks different, sadly, is looked on with suspicion and sometimes outright disdain.

            Maybe that’s why one of the reasons I’m jaded. I love the Church…I just have a hard time with the church. It’s tough.

            Again, thanks for the discussion. I’m not anti-creativity in church at all. I just think when all the dust settles, that in our present state (good, bad, and ugly) that creating for the sake of creating is all good and YES it does bring God glory, and so maybe that’s something that needs to be instilled in and mentored into individuals.

            I guess where I’m coming from is more of a corporate sense. Setting that leader, communicator, artist, musician, etc. in front of “the mob” as they “express their art” accomplishes 2 things:

            1) Brings God glory in an individual sense because sense the created is creating (as God intends) there is a fulfillment of general purpose.

            2) Alienates the group, who are either not creative or who don’t understand it. I liken this to the worship leader who closes his eyes and for the next 30 minutes leaves the crowd behind while he or she individually glorifies God.

            I don’t think there’s anything inherently “wrong” with the second scenario, but I think in terms of effectiveness in the Kingdom, it might not be the “best” approach. Good isn’t always best.

            Now all THAT to say, if what I’m hearing YOU say is that we need to change the current of culture in our present churches…teaching and shaping people in a way that helps them see, operate in, and share their creative expressions from the individual all the way to and through the collective, I’m down with that.

            I just don’t know how we get from, fast-food to homecooked.

            Maybe, that’s where my own personal gauntlet needs to be thrown down. get creative ME! Do it!

            Pardon my rambles…I’ll probably come back tomorrow and not agree with anything I’ve said today. But I do like the discussion.

            🙂

          2. Thanks Man.
            How about a #3?? BOTH AND!! That is what I am talking about. And, that takes more than an artist. It takes editors. But, the idea is that there usually is more than a binary choice. We just need to find the tension where that can live in reality.

  19. I’ll throw out a different perspective here, not because I agree with it 100% but because I like to stir the pot for discussion a little every now and then.
    I don’t think mediocrity is the death of art. I think it obviously creates a low bar and the standard for expectations is pretty visibly and accepted as a low mark. that being said, I think it actually sets the stage for the sudden and unexpected explosion of beautiful art on to the scene.

    Out of the mundane, from the ordinary, blossoms the unique. I don’t mean I think we should all strive for mediocrity with the hopes that something will suddenly appear that is magnificent and original, but I do think that at times, it’s the very fact that we are swimming in an ocean of “normal” that makes true art so beautiful.

    All that being said, I think the death of the mediocre is the death of art.

    Bringing the glory of God into the equation, I feel that it is perfectly fine and acceptable to be a clay vessel, or a silver vessel…or a wooden vessel…or a straw vessel. The point isn’t the quality of the vessel, but the usefulness of the vessel.

    Sure we should, as artists, aspire to create wonderfully beautiful and inspiration art, but if our motivation to create is driven solely by the desire to create art that isn’t mediocre, we’re missing the ultimate point.

    God painted the most wonderful masterpiece in human form through His Son Jesus. He wasn’t born in a palace of finery or in a royal crib of plush velvet and beautiful things. He didn’t live in the lap of luxury or as a man above men. He was normal. Some would even call Him mediocre (in terms of upbringing and profession).

    Of course, we know that Jesus was the incarnate Son of God, the very glory of God wrapped in the frail, unassuming robe of humanity. What makes His birth, life, and death so spectacular is His mission. His purpose. His “usefulness” to the eternal plan of God to redeem His creation from the grip of sin and death.

    I say all that to prod us to think. When it all comes down to it…YES….create beautiful things. Yes, strive to be unique. Yes, strive to make art of art. But do so knowing that even if what comes out of you isn’t what OTHERS think is the most beautiful “art” ever created, that if it’s inspired by God and if it’s USEFUL in serving your congregation and bringing God glory in times of musical worship…then that in itself IS art.

    Create, create, create….but always remember that God LOVES to shine through the mediocre…and loves to use the humble, weak, and broken. And after all, isn’t that in essence where good art comes from anyways?

    1. Russ, I love the “stir the pot” dudes. 😉 However, I would NEVER advocate mediocrity when it comes to our liturgy–it is not MUSIC only at issue here, but sermons, and the visuals we use to express our faith.

      If your argument was correct, then the vastness of mediocrity should be fertile soil for explosions of art and beauty! Is this what you actually see? I do not see that. Our churches are dying as the data shows, our creative leaders are suffering in the dysfunction of expectations set too low to be spiritually impacting and too hight to be reasonable. Pastors need to start preaching their own sermons. Worship leaders need to find the voice of their church. Karaoke mediocrity is not the answer. 
      I do see the need for a safe place to grow into art, however. This answers some of what Mark is speaking about, as well. If we were to actually mentor creative leaders in settings were they can fail, then they can learn. We all start our pretty terrible. I did. Now, we simply do not develop people–especially creatives.
      RK

      1. Hehe.
        I’m not really advocating for mentoring mediocrity, but for mentoring PURPOSE.

        You can be the most creative musician, preacher, leader, designer, etc. in the world, but if your drive is making art for the sake of art then I believe in the Kingdom that in and of itself IS mediocrity.

        I’m not even saying that I think mediocrity is something to strive for (as I mention at the end of my first comment), but that recognizing that without the mediocre we wouldn’t appreciate the unique.

        And using the word explosion, I simply mean that when something like a Gungor Beautiful Things comes along and wrecks us in a good way, it pretty much is born out of the mediocre. Not a desire to be mediocre, but from what is. It just is.

        Haydn, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart (and all those guys) weren’t a brilliant composers because everyone else was a brilliant composer. They were brilliant because they stood out from the crowd. Which I feel like we’re both saying…maybe just in different ways! Ha…

        I guess my ultimate point isn’t in saying, “Yes, be ok with YOUR own individual mediocrity” but in saying “Yes, acknowledge and recognize that what is brilliant and unique usually becomes normal and status quo in a very short time.”

        Music history, especially in the Church is replete with examples of this. Wave after wave of change comes…the new becomes old and a new new replaces the old new.

        It’s in the mentoring and coaching of people in their gifts and talents (like you said) WITHIN that culture of normal that inspires people to greatness.

        And like I said earlier in my first comment, I’m not sure I even agree with what I’m “thinking out loud” here…just throwing out there for discussion.

        I’m willing to admit that there IS a pretty bland and stagnant “musical culture” within the church (as well as other areas of creativity) and I acknowledge that just following along rank and file isn’t the answer.

        But I’ll also be the first to admit, that for me, in my own personal experience, the most glorious times of worship, fellowship, inspiration, movement toward God, etc. happen outside the walls of the established “church.” Rather, they tend to happen in my home and my friends’ homes.

        I guess ultimately my question would be (for me as much as anyone is this): Using a general overarching creativity that covers all areas of our worship gatherings (music, programming, design, communications, etc.) what is the ultimate purpose of the expressions of that creativity?

        Evangelism? Worship? Inspiration? Exhortation? Rebuke? Challenge? Mission?

        I know it can be one and all and more. I’m just curious in my own head. Because personally, I know that I’ve experienced an overwhelming communicated desire for the “creativity” to basically be to reach a certain “outsider” demographic while at the same time keeping the “insider” demographic happy. And as long as that sort of thing continues to be the driving mandate for our creative expressions I don’t think we’ll see much life ever again (which again is why I enjoy smaller groups in the home).

        I’m such a rambler. Thanks for throwing this out there for discussion…it’s actually causing me to dig deep.

        1. The ultimate purpose of creating? We are made in the image of a creator. We glorify God by creating. Simply put, that is the ethic. It does not have to fit a spread sheet to glorify God. It just does because we were made to create. 
          Now, all I can say is the answer is taking the authentic powerful small moments we all experience outside of church and bringing those sacred times into what is supposed to deliver that same thing. That divide is the issue. Why is it that we let industry decide our liturgy and not those moments you mentioned?RK

          1. “The ultimate purpose of creating? We are made in the image of a creator. We glorify God by creating. Simply put, that is the ethic. It does not
            have to fit a spread sheet to glorify God. It just does because we were
            made to create.”

            Agreed. But you and I both know that doesn’t fly in typical church administration. It doesn’t fill seats and it doesn’t keep the “insiders” happy. but I guess that’s ultimately what your post is about! CHANGE!

            And as far as those powerful small moments, I honestly don’t want to bring them into the church to be yet another commodity used to manipulate people. I’m pretty jaded, dang!

            But I have my reasons, I personally believe that those powerful small moments ARE the Church in action and when we try to bottle them up and “sell” them in program form they fall short.

            But I know that’s not what you’re suggesting. I’d answer your last comment/question about the industry deciding our liturgy has more to do with our culture outside of the Church being an influence on those inside the Church than anything else.

            We live in a fast food, factory-farmed, pre-packaged society. Anything that looks different, sadly, is looked on with suspicion and sometimes outright disdain.

            Maybe that’s why one of the reasons I’m jaded. I love the Church…I just have a hard time with the church. It’s tough.

            Again, thanks for the discussion. I’m not anti-creativity in church at all. I just think when all the dust settles, that in our present state (good, bad, and ugly) that creating for the sake of creating is all good and YES it does bring God glory, and so maybe that’s something that needs to be instilled in and mentored into individuals.

            I guess where I’m coming from is more of a corporate sense. Setting that leader, communicator, artist, musician, etc. in front of “the mob” as they “express their art” accomplishes 2 things:

            1) Brings God glory in an individual sense because sense the created is creating (as God intends) there is a fulfillment of general purpose.

            2) Alienates the group, who are either not creative or who don’t understand it. I liken this to the worship leader who closes his eyes and for the next 30 minutes leaves the crowd behind while he or she individually glorifies God.

            I don’t think there’s anything inherently “wrong” with the second scenario, but I think in terms of effectiveness in the Kingdom, it might not be the “best” approach. Good isn’t always best.

            Now all THAT to say, if what I’m hearing YOU say is that we need to change the current of culture in our present churches…teaching and shaping people in a way that helps them see, operate in, and share their creative expressions from the individual all the way to and through the collective, I’m down with that.

            I just don’t know how we get from, fast-food to homecooked.

            Maybe, that’s where my own personal gauntlet needs to be thrown down. get creative ME! Do it!

            Pardon my rambles…I’ll probably come back tomorrow and not agree with anything I’ve said today. But I do like the discussion.

            🙂

          2. Thanks Man.
            How about a #3?? BOTH AND!! That is what I am talking about. And, that takes more than an artist. It takes editors. But, the idea is that there usually is more than a binary choice. We just need to find the tension where that can live in reality.

  20. I’ll throw out a different perspective here, not because I agree with it 100% but because I like to stir the pot for discussion a little every now and then.
    I don’t think mediocrity is the death of art. I think it obviously creates a low bar and the standard for expectations is pretty visibly and accepted as a low mark. that being said, I think it actually sets the stage for the sudden and unexpected explosion of beautiful art on to the scene.

    Out of the mundane, from the ordinary, blossoms the unique. I don’t mean I think we should all strive for mediocrity with the hopes that something will suddenly appear that is magnificent and original, but I do think that at times, it’s the very fact that we are swimming in an ocean of “normal” that makes true art so beautiful.

    All that being said, I think the death of the mediocre is the death of art.

    Bringing the glory of God into the equation, I feel that it is perfectly fine and acceptable to be a clay vessel, or a silver vessel…or a wooden vessel…or a straw vessel. The point isn’t the quality of the vessel, but the usefulness of the vessel.

    Sure we should, as artists, aspire to create wonderfully beautiful and inspiration art, but if our motivation to create is driven solely by the desire to create art that isn’t mediocre, we’re missing the ultimate point.

    God painted the most wonderful masterpiece in human form through His Son Jesus. He wasn’t born in a palace of finery or in a royal crib of plush velvet and beautiful things. He didn’t live in the lap of luxury or as a man above men. He was normal. Some would even call Him mediocre (in terms of upbringing and profession).

    Of course, we know that Jesus was the incarnate Son of God, the very glory of God wrapped in the frail, unassuming robe of humanity. What makes His birth, life, and death so spectacular is His mission. His purpose. His “usefulness” to the eternal plan of God to redeem His creation from the grip of sin and death.

    I say all that to prod us to think. When it all comes down to it…YES….create beautiful things. Yes, strive to be unique. Yes, strive to make art of art. But do so knowing that even if what comes out of you isn’t what OTHERS think is the most beautiful “art” ever created, that if it’s inspired by God and if it’s USEFUL in serving your congregation and bringing God glory in times of musical worship…then that in itself IS art.

    Create, create, create….but always remember that God LOVES to shine through the mediocre…and loves to use the humble, weak, and broken. And after all, isn’t that in essence where good art comes from anyways?

    1. Russ, I love the “stir the pot” dudes. 😉 However, I would NEVER advocate mediocrity when it comes to our liturgy–it is not MUSIC only at issue here, but sermons, and the visuals we use to express our faith.

      If your argument was correct, then the vastness of mediocrity should be fertile soil for explosions of art and beauty! Is this what you actually see? I do not see that. Our churches are dying as the data shows, our creative leaders are suffering in the dysfunction of expectations set too low to be spiritually impacting and too hight to be reasonable. Pastors need to start preaching their own sermons. Worship leaders need to find the voice of their church. Karaoke mediocrity is not the answer. 
      I do see the need for a safe place to grow into art, however. This answers some of what Mark is speaking about, as well. If we were to actually mentor creative leaders in settings were they can fail, then they can learn. We all start our pretty terrible. I did. Now, we simply do not develop people–especially creatives.
      RK

      1. Hehe.
        I’m not really advocating for mentoring mediocrity, but for mentoring PURPOSE.

        You can be the most creative musician, preacher, leader, designer, etc. in the world, but if your drive is making art for the sake of art then I believe in the Kingdom that in and of itself IS mediocrity.

        I’m not even saying that I think mediocrity is something to strive for (as I mention at the end of my first comment), but that recognizing that without the mediocre we wouldn’t appreciate the unique.

        And using the word explosion, I simply mean that when something like a Gungor Beautiful Things comes along and wrecks us in a good way, it pretty much is born out of the mediocre. Not a desire to be mediocre, but from what is. It just is.

        Haydn, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart (and all those guys) weren’t a brilliant composers because everyone else was a brilliant composer. They were brilliant because they stood out from the crowd. Which I feel like we’re both saying…maybe just in different ways! Ha…

        I guess my ultimate point isn’t in saying, “Yes, be ok with YOUR own individual mediocrity” but in saying “Yes, acknowledge and recognize that what is brilliant and unique usually becomes normal and status quo in a very short time.”

        Music history, especially in the Church is replete with examples of this. Wave after wave of change comes…the new becomes old and a new new replaces the old new.

        It’s in the mentoring and coaching of people in their gifts and talents (like you said) WITHIN that culture of normal that inspires people to greatness.

        And like I said earlier in my first comment, I’m not sure I even agree with what I’m “thinking out loud” here…just throwing out there for discussion.

        I’m willing to admit that there IS a pretty bland and stagnant “musical culture” within the church (as well as other areas of creativity) and I acknowledge that just following along rank and file isn’t the answer.

        But I’ll also be the first to admit, that for me, in my own personal experience, the most glorious times of worship, fellowship, inspiration, movement toward God, etc. happen outside the walls of the established “church.” Rather, they tend to happen in my home and my friends’ homes.

        I guess ultimately my question would be (for me as much as anyone is this): Using a general overarching creativity that covers all areas of our worship gatherings (music, programming, design, communications, etc.) what is the ultimate purpose of the expressions of that creativity?

        Evangelism? Worship? Inspiration? Exhortation? Rebuke? Challenge? Mission?

        I know it can be one and all and more. I’m just curious in my own head. Because personally, I know that I’ve experienced an overwhelming communicated desire for the “creativity” to basically be to reach a certain “outsider” demographic while at the same time keeping the “insider” demographic happy. And as long as that sort of thing continues to be the driving mandate for our creative expressions I don’t think we’ll see much life ever again (which again is why I enjoy smaller groups in the home).

        I’m such a rambler. Thanks for throwing this out there for discussion…it’s actually causing me to dig deep.

        1. The ultimate purpose of creating? We are made in the image of a creator. We glorify God by creating. Simply put, that is the ethic. It does not have to fit a spread sheet to glorify God. It just does because we were made to create. 
          Now, all I can say is the answer is taking the authentic powerful small moments we all experience outside of church and bringing those sacred times into what is supposed to deliver that same thing. That divide is the issue. Why is it that we let industry decide our liturgy and not those moments you mentioned?RK

          1. “The ultimate purpose of creating? We are made in the image of a creator. We glorify God by creating. Simply put, that is the ethic. It does not
            have to fit a spread sheet to glorify God. It just does because we were
            made to create.”

            Agreed. But you and I both know that doesn’t fly in typical church administration. It doesn’t fill seats and it doesn’t keep the “insiders” happy. but I guess that’s ultimately what your post is about! CHANGE!

            And as far as those powerful small moments, I honestly don’t want to bring them into the church to be yet another commodity used to manipulate people. I’m pretty jaded, dang!

            But I have my reasons, I personally believe that those powerful small moments ARE the Church in action and when we try to bottle them up and “sell” them in program form they fall short.

            But I know that’s not what you’re suggesting. I’d answer your last comment/question about the industry deciding our liturgy has more to do with our culture outside of the Church being an influence on those inside the Church than anything else.

            We live in a fast food, factory-farmed, pre-packaged society. Anything that looks different, sadly, is looked on with suspicion and sometimes outright disdain.

            Maybe that’s why one of the reasons I’m jaded. I love the Church…I just have a hard time with the church. It’s tough.

            Again, thanks for the discussion. I’m not anti-creativity in church at all. I just think when all the dust settles, that in our present state (good, bad, and ugly) that creating for the sake of creating is all good and YES it does bring God glory, and so maybe that’s something that needs to be instilled in and mentored into individuals.

            I guess where I’m coming from is more of a corporate sense. Setting that leader, communicator, artist, musician, etc. in front of “the mob” as they “express their art” accomplishes 2 things:

            1) Brings God glory in an individual sense because sense the created is creating (as God intends) there is a fulfillment of general purpose.

            2) Alienates the group, who are either not creative or who don’t understand it. I liken this to the worship leader who closes his eyes and for the next 30 minutes leaves the crowd behind while he or she individually glorifies God.

            I don’t think there’s anything inherently “wrong” with the second scenario, but I think in terms of effectiveness in the Kingdom, it might not be the “best” approach. Good isn’t always best.

            Now all THAT to say, if what I’m hearing YOU say is that we need to change the current of culture in our present churches…teaching and shaping people in a way that helps them see, operate in, and share their creative expressions from the individual all the way to and through the collective, I’m down with that.

            I just don’t know how we get from, fast-food to homecooked.

            Maybe, that’s where my own personal gauntlet needs to be thrown down. get creative ME! Do it!

            Pardon my rambles…I’ll probably come back tomorrow and not agree with anything I’ve said today. But I do like the discussion.

            🙂

          2. Thanks Man.
            How about a #3?? BOTH AND!! That is what I am talking about. And, that takes more than an artist. It takes editors. But, the idea is that there usually is more than a binary choice. We just need to find the tension where that can live in reality.

  21. Maybe the question we should be asking is; Is gathering on Sunday morning to consume content what God had in mind for His church?
    I think this answer is…no.

    Since we know that instinctively we don’t put our hearts into the exercise and bleed for it by truly creating.

    We copy and paste for stuff that doesn’t matter.

    1. Vince, defining why Sunday morning exists is the root of our issues. Our thinking at that level determines it all yet few really can articulate that. “Experiencing God” “Reaching out” “Taking the Eucharist” “Teaching the Word”… Our theology matters.

      1. The answer is less church http://www.contextandvoice.com/2012/01/25/top-gear-is-the-future-of-church/

        1. I dig the article. I might be speaking at a different plane than you. There are historical and theological considerations. People can peg what they see will work or is “working” but that is the wrong first step. Why do we even put on a weekend service based on our theology–the things about us we pass to our kids and to other cultures?

          I think the answer is MORE church. 😉 This means having a stronger, more biblical “WHY” which drives us on our weekends–not just being popular in the moment, but built to last many generations beyond us.

  22. Hm.  I do agree with a lot of what you’re saying.  But I think there’s a balance to be had here.  While I don’t think a church should so something just because it seems like “that’s what every church is doing!” – I think we need to give time & attention to the most important areas.  
    So – if I had to choose between spending all my energy writing a few new songs & getting our band to sound a certain way – all in the name of being unique – OR – spending the time studying and preparing to really LEAD a church in worship, using songs that 1) the band knows, and 2) the congregation knows (because they’ve heard it on the radio) –there’s a good chance I’d choose the latter many times.  

    SO – i think there needs to be a balance of where our energy is spent.  Do churches (a lot of churches) use little to no creativity? Yes.  But I would be very cautious about venturing to the other extreme.  

    Being unique is important.  Agreed.  But is it THAT important?

    1. Elgin, it does matter a great deal because it is not just about writing songs. It is about listening to our people. Using the Christian radio as the guide when most non-church goers do not listen to that already excludes most of your community. Why we create is to address the custom needs of our town. Using things available is what we consider after that is settled. Innovation is required if we really want to allow people to grow to have their voice in worship singing and for them to hear sermons better than canned downloaded ones from some other church. It is not just music here I am talking about. It is the whole deal. In that regard, you can arrange familiar tunes rather than mimic. Why not play them in the key, tempo and setting that fits the non-Christian radio station?  Thanks for chiming in!
      RK

      1. Custom needs of our town: Everybody needs Jesus.  We all really need the same thing.  So, Jesus himself is a one-size-fits-all gift.  Just a thought.  
        Secondly, if during our staff prayer/devotional time, we feel led to do a message or series on grace – I prayerfully select songs.  I go through what I know – what our church knows – and plan out setlists to that end.  “Your grace is enough” may very well be included.  

        Now, I don’t know about your church body – but our church body is made up of a lot of Christians who come to worship.  Do we have converts coming in – yes, and praise God.  But are we playing music FOR the unsaved?  No sir.  We are playing music – during worship – for God, and trying our best to connect the congregation to God.  Someone who doesn’t know God isn’t going to connect with him in worship *unless that’s when their conversion happens.  It’s impossible for an unsaved person to REALLY worship God.   

        Now, do we also use music in other parts of our service that could connect with the unbeliever? Yes, we do.  Music, illustrations, videos, etc.  Because we are trying to reach them.  But we aren’t trying to reach an unbeliever with worship.  That’s completely missing the point of it all.  

        1. Think of how you take your faith and liturgy and transplant it to another culture. This is what I mean by custom. Indigenous is what you did with the Grace series. You custom fit to the needs you know your church has. You might be more innovative than you give yourself credit. 
          No look at  Corinthians 14. Unbelievers were considered in the practice of worship. And, in the OT there was a “Gentile court” as well. So, there is a biblical ethic here. After all, who did Jesus speak to on the Sermon on the Mount?

          RK

  23. Maybe the question we should be asking is; Is gathering on Sunday morning to consume content what God had in mind for His church?
    I think this answer is…no.
    Since we know that instinctively we don’t put our hearts into the exercise and bleed for it by truly creating.
    We copy and paste for stuff that doesn’t matter.

    1. Vince, defining why Sunday morning exists is the root of our issues. Our thinking at that level determines it all yet few really can articulate that. “Experiencing God” “Reaching out” “Taking the Eucharist” “Teaching the Word”… Our theology matters.

      1. The answer is less church http://www.contextandvoice.com/2012/01/25/top-gear-is-the-future-of-church/

        1. I dig the article. I might be speaking at a different plane than you. There are historical and theological considerations. People can peg what they see will work or is “working” but that is the wrong first step. Why do we even put on a weekend service based on our theology–the things about us we pass to our kids and to other cultures?
          I think the answer is MORE church. 😉 This means having a stronger, more biblical “WHY” which drives us on our weekends–not just being popular in the moment, but built to last many generations beyond us.

  24. Hm.  I do agree with a lot of what you’re saying.  But I think there’s a balance to be had here.  While I don’t think a church should so something just because it seems like “that’s what every church is doing!” – I think we need to give time & attention to the most important areas.  
    So – if I had to choose between spending all my energy writing a few new songs & getting our band to sound a certain way – all in the name of being unique – OR – spending the time studying and preparing to really LEAD a church in worship, using songs that 1) the band knows, and 2) the congregation knows (because they’ve heard it on the radio) –there’s a good chance I’d choose the latter many times.  
    SO – i think there needs to be a balance of where our energy is spent.  Do churches (a lot of churches) use little to no creativity? Yes.  But I would be very cautious about venturing to the other extreme.  
    Being unique is important.  Agreed.  But is it THAT important?

    1. Elgin, it does matter a great deal because it is not just about writing songs. It is about listening to our people. Using the Christian radio as the guide when most non-church goers do not listen to that already excludes most of your community. Why we create is to address the custom needs of our town. Using things available is what we consider after that is settled. Innovation is required if we really want to allow people to grow to have their voice in worship singing and for them to hear sermons better than canned downloaded ones from some other church. It is not just music here I am talking about. It is the whole deal. In that regard, you can arrange familiar tunes rather than mimic. Why not play them in the key, tempo and setting that fits the non-Christian radio station?  Thanks for chiming in!
      RK

      1. Custom needs of our town: Everybody needs Jesus.  We all really need the same thing.  So, Jesus himself is a one-size-fits-all gift.  Just a thought.  
        Secondly, if during our staff prayer/devotional time, we feel led to do a message or series on grace – I prayerfully select songs.  I go through what I know – what our church knows – and plan out setlists to that end.  “Your grace is enough” may very well be included.  
        Now, I don’t know about your church body – but our church body is made up of a lot of Christians who come to worship.  Do we have converts coming in – yes, and praise God.  But are we playing music FOR the unsaved?  No sir.  We are playing music – during worship – for God, and trying our best to connect the congregation to God.  Someone who doesn’t know God isn’t going to connect with him in worship *unless that’s when their conversion happens.  It’s impossible for an unsaved person to REALLY worship God.   
        Now, do we also use music in other parts of our service that could connect with the unbeliever? Yes, we do.  Music, illustrations, videos, etc.  Because we are trying to reach them.  But we aren’t trying to reach an unbeliever with worship.  That’s completely missing the point of it all.  

        1. Think of how you take your faith and liturgy and transplant it to another culture. This is what I mean by custom. Indigenous is what you did with the Grace series. You custom fit to the needs you know your church has. You might be more innovative than you give yourself credit. 
          No look at  Corinthians 14. Unbelievers were considered in the practice of worship. And, in the OT there was a “Gentile court” as well. So, there is a biblical ethic here. After all, who did Jesus speak to on the Sermon on the Mount?
          RK

  25. Maybe the question we should be asking is; Is gathering on Sunday morning to consume content what God had in mind for His church?
    I think this answer is…no.

    Since we know that instinctively we don’t put our hearts into the exercise and bleed for it by truly creating.

    We copy and paste for stuff that doesn’t matter.

    1. Vince, defining why Sunday morning exists is the root of our issues. Our thinking at that level determines it all yet few really can articulate that. “Experiencing God” “Reaching out” “Taking the Eucharist” “Teaching the Word”… Our theology matters.

      1. The answer is less church http://www.contextandvoice.com/2012/01/25/top-gear-is-the-future-of-church/

        1. I dig the article. I might be speaking at a different plane than you. There are historical and theological considerations. People can peg what they see will work or is “working” but that is the wrong first step. Why do we even put on a weekend service based on our theology–the things about us we pass to our kids and to other cultures?

          I think the answer is MORE church. 😉 This means having a stronger, more biblical “WHY” which drives us on our weekends–not just being popular in the moment, but built to last many generations beyond us.

  26. Hm.  I do agree with a lot of what you’re saying.  But I think there’s a balance to be had here.  While I don’t think a church should so something just because it seems like “that’s what every church is doing!” – I think we need to give time & attention to the most important areas.  
    So – if I had to choose between spending all my energy writing a few new songs & getting our band to sound a certain way – all in the name of being unique – OR – spending the time studying and preparing to really LEAD a church in worship, using songs that 1) the band knows, and 2) the congregation knows (because they’ve heard it on the radio) –there’s a good chance I’d choose the latter many times.  

    SO – i think there needs to be a balance of where our energy is spent.  Do churches (a lot of churches) use little to no creativity? Yes.  But I would be very cautious about venturing to the other extreme.  

    Being unique is important.  Agreed.  But is it THAT important?

    1. Elgin, it does matter a great deal because it is not just about writing songs. It is about listening to our people. Using the Christian radio as the guide when most non-church goers do not listen to that already excludes most of your community. Why we create is to address the custom needs of our town. Using things available is what we consider after that is settled. Innovation is required if we really want to allow people to grow to have their voice in worship singing and for them to hear sermons better than canned downloaded ones from some other church. It is not just music here I am talking about. It is the whole deal. In that regard, you can arrange familiar tunes rather than mimic. Why not play them in the key, tempo and setting that fits the non-Christian radio station?  Thanks for chiming in!
      RK

      1. Custom needs of our town: Everybody needs Jesus.  We all really need the same thing.  So, Jesus himself is a one-size-fits-all gift.  Just a thought.  
        Secondly, if during our staff prayer/devotional time, we feel led to do a message or series on grace – I prayerfully select songs.  I go through what I know – what our church knows – and plan out setlists to that end.  “Your grace is enough” may very well be included.  

        Now, I don’t know about your church body – but our church body is made up of a lot of Christians who come to worship.  Do we have converts coming in – yes, and praise God.  But are we playing music FOR the unsaved?  No sir.  We are playing music – during worship – for God, and trying our best to connect the congregation to God.  Someone who doesn’t know God isn’t going to connect with him in worship *unless that’s when their conversion happens.  It’s impossible for an unsaved person to REALLY worship God.   

        Now, do we also use music in other parts of our service that could connect with the unbeliever? Yes, we do.  Music, illustrations, videos, etc.  Because we are trying to reach them.  But we aren’t trying to reach an unbeliever with worship.  That’s completely missing the point of it all.  

        1. Think of how you take your faith and liturgy and transplant it to another culture. This is what I mean by custom. Indigenous is what you did with the Grace series. You custom fit to the needs you know your church has. You might be more innovative than you give yourself credit. 
          No look at  Corinthians 14. Unbelievers were considered in the practice of worship. And, in the OT there was a “Gentile court” as well. So, there is a biblical ethic here. After all, who did Jesus speak to on the Sermon on the Mount?

          RK

  27. Maybe the question we should be asking is; Is gathering on Sunday morning to consume content what God had in mind for His church?
    I think this answer is…no.

    Since we know that instinctively we don’t put our hearts into the exercise and bleed for it by truly creating.

    We copy and paste for stuff that doesn’t matter.

    1. Vince, defining why Sunday morning exists is the root of our issues. Our thinking at that level determines it all yet few really can articulate that. “Experiencing God” “Reaching out” “Taking the Eucharist” “Teaching the Word”… Our theology matters.

      1. The answer is less church http://www.contextandvoice.com/2012/01/25/top-gear-is-the-future-of-church/

        1. I dig the article. I might be speaking at a different plane than you. There are historical and theological considerations. People can peg what they see will work or is “working” but that is the wrong first step. Why do we even put on a weekend service based on our theology–the things about us we pass to our kids and to other cultures?

          I think the answer is MORE church. 😉 This means having a stronger, more biblical “WHY” which drives us on our weekends–not just being popular in the moment, but built to last many generations beyond us.

  28. Hm.  I do agree with a lot of what you’re saying.  But I think there’s a balance to be had here.  While I don’t think a church should so something just because it seems like “that’s what every church is doing!” – I think we need to give time & attention to the most important areas.  
    So – if I had to choose between spending all my energy writing a few new songs & getting our band to sound a certain way – all in the name of being unique – OR – spending the time studying and preparing to really LEAD a church in worship, using songs that 1) the band knows, and 2) the congregation knows (because they’ve heard it on the radio) –there’s a good chance I’d choose the latter many times.  

    SO – i think there needs to be a balance of where our energy is spent.  Do churches (a lot of churches) use little to no creativity? Yes.  But I would be very cautious about venturing to the other extreme.  

    Being unique is important.  Agreed.  But is it THAT important?

    1. Elgin, it does matter a great deal because it is not just about writing songs. It is about listening to our people. Using the Christian radio as the guide when most non-church goers do not listen to that already excludes most of your community. Why we create is to address the custom needs of our town. Using things available is what we consider after that is settled. Innovation is required if we really want to allow people to grow to have their voice in worship singing and for them to hear sermons better than canned downloaded ones from some other church. It is not just music here I am talking about. It is the whole deal. In that regard, you can arrange familiar tunes rather than mimic. Why not play them in the key, tempo and setting that fits the non-Christian radio station?  Thanks for chiming in!
      RK

      1. Custom needs of our town: Everybody needs Jesus.  We all really need the same thing.  So, Jesus himself is a one-size-fits-all gift.  Just a thought.  
        Secondly, if during our staff prayer/devotional time, we feel led to do a message or series on grace – I prayerfully select songs.  I go through what I know – what our church knows – and plan out setlists to that end.  “Your grace is enough” may very well be included.  

        Now, I don’t know about your church body – but our church body is made up of a lot of Christians who come to worship.  Do we have converts coming in – yes, and praise God.  But are we playing music FOR the unsaved?  No sir.  We are playing music – during worship – for God, and trying our best to connect the congregation to God.  Someone who doesn’t know God isn’t going to connect with him in worship *unless that’s when their conversion happens.  It’s impossible for an unsaved person to REALLY worship God.   

        Now, do we also use music in other parts of our service that could connect with the unbeliever? Yes, we do.  Music, illustrations, videos, etc.  Because we are trying to reach them.  But we aren’t trying to reach an unbeliever with worship.  That’s completely missing the point of it all.  

        1. Think of how you take your faith and liturgy and transplant it to another culture. This is what I mean by custom. Indigenous is what you did with the Grace series. You custom fit to the needs you know your church has. You might be more innovative than you give yourself credit. 
          No look at  Corinthians 14. Unbelievers were considered in the practice of worship. And, in the OT there was a “Gentile court” as well. So, there is a biblical ethic here. After all, who did Jesus speak to on the Sermon on the Mount?

          RK

  29. Maybe the question we should be asking is; Is gathering on Sunday morning to consume content what God had in mind for His church?
    I think this answer is…no.

    Since we know that instinctively we don’t put our hearts into the exercise and bleed for it by truly creating.

    We copy and paste for stuff that doesn’t matter.

    1. Vince, defining why Sunday morning exists is the root of our issues. Our thinking at that level determines it all yet few really can articulate that. “Experiencing God” “Reaching out” “Taking the Eucharist” “Teaching the Word”… Our theology matters.

      1. The answer is less church http://www.contextandvoice.com/2012/01/25/top-gear-is-the-future-of-church/

        1. I dig the article. I might be speaking at a different plane than you. There are historical and theological considerations. People can peg what they see will work or is “working” but that is the wrong first step. Why do we even put on a weekend service based on our theology–the things about us we pass to our kids and to other cultures?

          I think the answer is MORE church. 😉 This means having a stronger, more biblical “WHY” which drives us on our weekends–not just being popular in the moment, but built to last many generations beyond us.

  30. Hm.  I do agree with a lot of what you’re saying.  But I think there’s a balance to be had here.  While I don’t think a church should so something just because it seems like “that’s what every church is doing!” – I think we need to give time & attention to the most important areas.  
    So – if I had to choose between spending all my energy writing a few new songs & getting our band to sound a certain way – all in the name of being unique – OR – spending the time studying and preparing to really LEAD a church in worship, using songs that 1) the band knows, and 2) the congregation knows (because they’ve heard it on the radio) –there’s a good chance I’d choose the latter many times.  

    SO – i think there needs to be a balance of where our energy is spent.  Do churches (a lot of churches) use little to no creativity? Yes.  But I would be very cautious about venturing to the other extreme.  

    Being unique is important.  Agreed.  But is it THAT important?

    1. Elgin, it does matter a great deal because it is not just about writing songs. It is about listening to our people. Using the Christian radio as the guide when most non-church goers do not listen to that already excludes most of your community. Why we create is to address the custom needs of our town. Using things available is what we consider after that is settled. Innovation is required if we really want to allow people to grow to have their voice in worship singing and for them to hear sermons better than canned downloaded ones from some other church. It is not just music here I am talking about. It is the whole deal. In that regard, you can arrange familiar tunes rather than mimic. Why not play them in the key, tempo and setting that fits the non-Christian radio station?  Thanks for chiming in!
      RK

      1. Custom needs of our town: Everybody needs Jesus.  We all really need the same thing.  So, Jesus himself is a one-size-fits-all gift.  Just a thought.  
        Secondly, if during our staff prayer/devotional time, we feel led to do a message or series on grace – I prayerfully select songs.  I go through what I know – what our church knows – and plan out setlists to that end.  “Your grace is enough” may very well be included.  

        Now, I don’t know about your church body – but our church body is made up of a lot of Christians who come to worship.  Do we have converts coming in – yes, and praise God.  But are we playing music FOR the unsaved?  No sir.  We are playing music – during worship – for God, and trying our best to connect the congregation to God.  Someone who doesn’t know God isn’t going to connect with him in worship *unless that’s when their conversion happens.  It’s impossible for an unsaved person to REALLY worship God.   

        Now, do we also use music in other parts of our service that could connect with the unbeliever? Yes, we do.  Music, illustrations, videos, etc.  Because we are trying to reach them.  But we aren’t trying to reach an unbeliever with worship.  That’s completely missing the point of it all.  

        1. Think of how you take your faith and liturgy and transplant it to another culture. This is what I mean by custom. Indigenous is what you did with the Grace series. You custom fit to the needs you know your church has. You might be more innovative than you give yourself credit. 
          No look at  Corinthians 14. Unbelievers were considered in the practice of worship. And, in the OT there was a “Gentile court” as well. So, there is a biblical ethic here. After all, who did Jesus speak to on the Sermon on the Mount?

          RK

  31. So far, the basic question is being avoided here (except by Elgin), but that is OK. 🙂 Here it is again:  “Do we lose our connection with people or increase it by Cut-and-Paste Creativity?”

    1. There is no one answer to this question.  The only way for each of us to answer this question is to ask our church.   And, personally, I think that would be pastor-suicide.  The second you say “Hey, what do you think of our worship/creative arts here?” you open yourself up to everyone’s opinion – and just as every person is unique, so will there opinions be.  Then, because YOU asked THEM, THEY will expect YOU to take THEIR advice and do something about it.  
      Then, of course, we become a member-driven church where we do exactly what every attender wants.  But wait – we can’t.  Because everybody wants something diffferent. Crap – so, do we go with the majority, and lose some?  Or do we do nothing – and lose everyone?  

      OR – do we not ask that question in the first place, and through prayer and humility, follow God as he leads, while trying to be the unique creative people he’s created us to be?  

      1. Yes, there are many ways to answer that. But, that is why in a programming setting it should be asked again and again. That tension is exhausting. Defining why a Sunday exists is important to settle that. Planned, known things are not the problem. Mimicry is.
        And, I am not just focusing on music. We copy everything. Everything. Do we have to default to that all the time? Maybe there is at least ONE area we can innovate in our church liturgy. When we plant churches overseas the goal is to not copy our forms, but our faith. We now do know know the difference.

        RK

  32. So far, the basic question is being avoided here (except by Elgin), but that is OK. 🙂 Here it is again:  “Do we lose our connection with people or increase it by Cut-and-Paste Creativity?”

    1. There is no one answer to this question.  The only way for each of us to answer this question is to ask our church.   And, personally, I think that would be pastor-suicide.  The second you say “Hey, what do you think of our worship/creative arts here?” you open yourself up to everyone’s opinion – and just as every person is unique, so will there opinions be.  Then, because YOU asked THEM, THEY will expect YOU to take THEIR advice and do something about it.  
      Then, of course, we become a member-driven church where we do exactly what every attender wants.  But wait – we can’t.  Because everybody wants something diffferent. Crap – so, do we go with the majority, and lose some?  Or do we do nothing – and lose everyone?  
      OR – do we not ask that question in the first place, and through prayer and humility, follow God as he leads, while trying to be the unique creative people he’s created us to be?  

      1. Yes, there are many ways to answer that. But, that is why in a programming setting it should be asked again and again. That tension is exhausting. Defining why a Sunday exists is important to settle that. Planned, known things are not the problem. Mimicry is.
        And, I am not just focusing on music. We copy everything. Everything. Do we have to default to that all the time? Maybe there is at least ONE area we can innovate in our church liturgy. When we plant churches overseas the goal is to not copy our forms, but our faith. We now do know know the difference.
        RK

  33. So far, the basic question is being avoided here (except by Elgin), but that is OK. 🙂 Here it is again:  “Do we lose our connection with people or increase it by Cut-and-Paste Creativity?”

    1. There is no one answer to this question.  The only way for each of us to answer this question is to ask our church.   And, personally, I think that would be pastor-suicide.  The second you say “Hey, what do you think of our worship/creative arts here?” you open yourself up to everyone’s opinion – and just as every person is unique, so will there opinions be.  Then, because YOU asked THEM, THEY will expect YOU to take THEIR advice and do something about it.  
      Then, of course, we become a member-driven church where we do exactly what every attender wants.  But wait – we can’t.  Because everybody wants something diffferent. Crap – so, do we go with the majority, and lose some?  Or do we do nothing – and lose everyone?  

      OR – do we not ask that question in the first place, and through prayer and humility, follow God as he leads, while trying to be the unique creative people he’s created us to be?  

      1. Yes, there are many ways to answer that. But, that is why in a programming setting it should be asked again and again. That tension is exhausting. Defining why a Sunday exists is important to settle that. Planned, known things are not the problem. Mimicry is.
        And, I am not just focusing on music. We copy everything. Everything. Do we have to default to that all the time? Maybe there is at least ONE area we can innovate in our church liturgy. When we plant churches overseas the goal is to not copy our forms, but our faith. We now do know know the difference.

        RK

  34. So far, the basic question is being avoided here (except by Elgin), but that is OK. 🙂 Here it is again:  “Do we lose our connection with people or increase it by Cut-and-Paste Creativity?”

    1. There is no one answer to this question.  The only way for each of us to answer this question is to ask our church.   And, personally, I think that would be pastor-suicide.  The second you say “Hey, what do you think of our worship/creative arts here?” you open yourself up to everyone’s opinion – and just as every person is unique, so will there opinions be.  Then, because YOU asked THEM, THEY will expect YOU to take THEIR advice and do something about it.  
      Then, of course, we become a member-driven church where we do exactly what every attender wants.  But wait – we can’t.  Because everybody wants something diffferent. Crap – so, do we go with the majority, and lose some?  Or do we do nothing – and lose everyone?  

      OR – do we not ask that question in the first place, and through prayer and humility, follow God as he leads, while trying to be the unique creative people he’s created us to be?  

      1. Yes, there are many ways to answer that. But, that is why in a programming setting it should be asked again and again. That tension is exhausting. Defining why a Sunday exists is important to settle that. Planned, known things are not the problem. Mimicry is.
        And, I am not just focusing on music. We copy everything. Everything. Do we have to default to that all the time? Maybe there is at least ONE area we can innovate in our church liturgy. When we plant churches overseas the goal is to not copy our forms, but our faith. We now do know know the difference.

        RK

  35. So far, the basic question is being avoided here (except by Elgin), but that is OK. 🙂 Here it is again:  “Do we lose our connection with people or increase it by Cut-and-Paste Creativity?”

    1. There is no one answer to this question.  The only way for each of us to answer this question is to ask our church.   And, personally, I think that would be pastor-suicide.  The second you say “Hey, what do you think of our worship/creative arts here?” you open yourself up to everyone’s opinion – and just as every person is unique, so will there opinions be.  Then, because YOU asked THEM, THEY will expect YOU to take THEIR advice and do something about it.  
      Then, of course, we become a member-driven church where we do exactly what every attender wants.  But wait – we can’t.  Because everybody wants something diffferent. Crap – so, do we go with the majority, and lose some?  Or do we do nothing – and lose everyone?  

      OR – do we not ask that question in the first place, and through prayer and humility, follow God as he leads, while trying to be the unique creative people he’s created us to be?  

      1. Yes, there are many ways to answer that. But, that is why in a programming setting it should be asked again and again. That tension is exhausting. Defining why a Sunday exists is important to settle that. Planned, known things are not the problem. Mimicry is.
        And, I am not just focusing on music. We copy everything. Everything. Do we have to default to that all the time? Maybe there is at least ONE area we can innovate in our church liturgy. When we plant churches overseas the goal is to not copy our forms, but our faith. We now do know know the difference.

        RK

  36. The irony: we free-church Protestants–whose ancestors fought so long and so hard for the freedom to order and shape worship locally–now use that freedom mostly to copy each other.

  37. The irony: we free-church Protestants–whose ancestors fought so long and so hard for the freedom to order and shape worship locally–now use that freedom mostly to copy each other.

  38. The irony: we free-church Protestants–whose ancestors fought so long and so hard for the freedom to order and shape worship locally–now use that freedom mostly to copy each other.

  39. The irony: we free-church Protestants–whose ancestors fought so long and so hard for the freedom to order and shape worship locally–now use that freedom mostly to copy each other.

  40. The irony: we free-church Protestants–whose ancestors fought so long and so hard for the freedom to order and shape worship locally–now use that freedom mostly to copy each other.

  41. It’s always easier to copy someone else’s fruit than to dive into God yourself and produce something worthwhile. And there’s this drive in the American church to compete. Competing requires comparing, and comparing leads to copying. If we would draw our security from Christ, instead our justifying our ministry through comparison we would move, directed by the Spirit, in harmony with one another, rather than being the Karaoke, unison-singing church of today. 
    Yes, we can learn from each other, and wisdom is crying out at every street-corner for us to listen, but the fruit birthed in the heart of a believer out of a time of intense communion with God is the only thing that carries creative and restorative power to change the life of another. For me, I have seen how the songs birthed out of my time with God have had the most impact on the congregation I serve. 
    Hmmm… Why does this generation have a hard time committing to a church, instead going here and there like it doesn’t really matter which one you attend? Maybe because we’ve been lazy and spoiled as spiritual leaders, and have copied each other so much that in the end…it really doesn’t matter anymore.The American church needs more voices in the crowd, but what we have is a chorus of echoes.

    1. “The American church needs more voices in the crowd, but what we have is a chorus of echoes.” Sean, that is profoundly true. Thanks for the comment.

  42. It’s always easier to copy someone else’s fruit than to dive into God yourself and produce something worthwhile. And there’s this drive in the American church to compete. Competing requires comparing, and comparing leads to copying. If we would draw our security from Christ, instead our justifying our ministry through comparison we would move, directed by the Spirit, in harmony with one another, rather than being the Karaoke, unison-singing church of today. 
    Yes, we can learn from each other, and wisdom is crying out at every street-corner for us to listen, but the fruit birthed in the heart of a believer out of a time of intense communion with God is the only thing that carries creative and restorative power to change the life of another. For me, I have seen how the songs birthed out of my time with God have had the most impact on the congregation I serve. 
    Hmmm… Why does this generation have a hard time committing to a church, instead going here and there like it doesn’t really matter which one you attend? Maybe because we’ve been lazy and spoiled as spiritual leaders, and have copied each other so much that in the end…it really doesn’t matter anymore.The American church needs more voices in the crowd, but what we have is a chorus of echoes.

    1. “The American church needs more voices in the crowd, but what we have is a chorus of echoes.” Sean, that is profoundly true. Thanks for the comment.

  43. It’s always easier to copy someone else’s fruit than to dive into God yourself and produce something worthwhile. And there’s this drive in the American church to compete. Competing requires comparing, and comparing leads to copying. If we would draw our security from Christ, instead our justifying our ministry through comparison we would move, directed by the Spirit, in harmony with one another, rather than being the Karaoke, unison-singing church of today. 
    Yes, we can learn from each other, and wisdom is crying out at every street-corner for us to listen, but the fruit birthed in the heart of a believer out of a time of intense communion with God is the only thing that carries creative and restorative power to change the life of another. For me, I have seen how the songs birthed out of my time with God have had the most impact on the congregation I serve. 
    Hmmm… Why does this generation have a hard time committing to a church, instead going here and there like it doesn’t really matter which one you attend? Maybe because we’ve been lazy and spoiled as spiritual leaders, and have copied each other so much that in the end…it really doesn’t matter anymore.The American church needs more voices in the crowd, but what we have is a chorus of echoes.

    1. “The American church needs more voices in the crowd, but what we have is a chorus of echoes.” Sean, that is profoundly true. Thanks for the comment.

  44. It’s always easier to copy someone else’s fruit than to dive into God yourself and produce something worthwhile. And there’s this drive in the American church to compete. Competing requires comparing, and comparing leads to copying. If we would draw our security from Christ, instead our justifying our ministry through comparison we would move, directed by the Spirit, in harmony with one another, rather than being the Karaoke, unison-singing church of today. 
    Yes, we can learn from each other, and wisdom is crying out at every street-corner for us to listen, but the fruit birthed in the heart of a believer out of a time of intense communion with God is the only thing that carries creative and restorative power to change the life of another. For me, I have seen how the songs birthed out of my time with God have had the most impact on the congregation I serve. 
    Hmmm… Why does this generation have a hard time committing to a church, instead going here and there like it doesn’t really matter which one you attend? Maybe because we’ve been lazy and spoiled as spiritual leaders, and have copied each other so much that in the end…it really doesn’t matter anymore.The American church needs more voices in the crowd, but what we have is a chorus of echoes.

    1. “The American church needs more voices in the crowd, but what we have is a chorus of echoes.” Sean, that is profoundly true. Thanks for the comment.

  45. It’s always easier to copy someone else’s fruit than to dive into God yourself and produce something worthwhile. And there’s this drive in the American church to compete. Competing requires comparing, and comparing leads to copying. If we would draw our security from Christ, instead our justifying our ministry through comparison we would move, directed by the Spirit, in harmony with one another, rather than being the Karaoke, unison-singing church of today. 
    Yes, we can learn from each other, and wisdom is crying out at every street-corner for us to listen, but the fruit birthed in the heart of a believer out of a time of intense communion with God is the only thing that carries creative and restorative power to change the life of another. For me, I have seen how the songs birthed out of my time with God have had the most impact on the congregation I serve. 
    Hmmm… Why does this generation have a hard time committing to a church, instead going here and there like it doesn’t really matter which one you attend? Maybe because we’ve been lazy and spoiled as spiritual leaders, and have copied each other so much that in the end…it really doesn’t matter anymore.The American church needs more voices in the crowd, but what we have is a chorus of echoes.

    1. “The American church needs more voices in the crowd, but what we have is a chorus of echoes.” Sean, that is profoundly true. Thanks for the comment.

  46. I feel that this quest for sameness is a safety net of sorts. This sameness is being justified with the excuse of “We don’t want to draw attention away from God”.The thing is, God made us all different and we should embrace our differences. If a song has a certain “feel” or “vibe” to it, GO FOR IT!! If you feel that “Blessed Assurance” or “Come Thou Fount” would sound pretty cool in 5/4, GO FOR IT!! If you like to play “Days of Elijah” or “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” with a Latin feel, GO FOR IT!! If “Sing for Joy” sounds better played as an up-tempo Gospel tune, GO FOR IT!! If “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks” and “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” call for a New Orleans “Second Line” style, GO FOR IT!!
    This quest for a more “homogeneous” style of Worship music has killed the joy necessary for worshipping. It’s killed my joy, anyway.

    1. “I feel that this quest for sameness is a safety net of sorts. This sameness is being justified with the excuse of “We don’t want to draw attention away from God”.”
      That is very true in my observation. Thanks for the comment.

      RK

  47. I feel that this quest for sameness is a safety net of sorts. This sameness is being justified with the excuse of “We don’t want to draw attention away from God”.The thing is, God made us all different and we should embrace our differences. If a song has a certain “feel” or “vibe” to it, GO FOR IT!! If you feel that “Blessed Assurance” or “Come Thou Fount” would sound pretty cool in 5/4, GO FOR IT!! If you like to play “Days of Elijah” or “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” with a Latin feel, GO FOR IT!! If “Sing for Joy” sounds better played as an up-tempo Gospel tune, GO FOR IT!! If “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks” and “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” call for a New Orleans “Second Line” style, GO FOR IT!!
    This quest for a more “homogeneous” style of Worship music has killed the joy necessary for worshipping. It’s killed my joy, anyway.

    1. “I feel that this quest for sameness is a safety net of sorts. This sameness is being justified with the excuse of “We don’t want to draw attention away from God”.”
      That is very true in my observation. Thanks for the comment.
      RK

  48. I feel that this quest for sameness is a safety net of sorts. This sameness is being justified with the excuse of “We don’t want to draw attention away from God”.The thing is, God made us all different and we should embrace our differences. If a song has a certain “feel” or “vibe” to it, GO FOR IT!! If you feel that “Blessed Assurance” or “Come Thou Fount” would sound pretty cool in 5/4, GO FOR IT!! If you like to play “Days of Elijah” or “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” with a Latin feel, GO FOR IT!! If “Sing for Joy” sounds better played as an up-tempo Gospel tune, GO FOR IT!! If “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks” and “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” call for a New Orleans “Second Line” style, GO FOR IT!!
    This quest for a more “homogeneous” style of Worship music has killed the joy necessary for worshipping. It’s killed my joy, anyway.

    1. “I feel that this quest for sameness is a safety net of sorts. This sameness is being justified with the excuse of “We don’t want to draw attention away from God”.”
      That is very true in my observation. Thanks for the comment.

      RK

  49. I feel that this quest for sameness is a safety net of sorts. This sameness is being justified with the excuse of “We don’t want to draw attention away from God”.The thing is, God made us all different and we should embrace our differences. If a song has a certain “feel” or “vibe” to it, GO FOR IT!! If you feel that “Blessed Assurance” or “Come Thou Fount” would sound pretty cool in 5/4, GO FOR IT!! If you like to play “Days of Elijah” or “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” with a Latin feel, GO FOR IT!! If “Sing for Joy” sounds better played as an up-tempo Gospel tune, GO FOR IT!! If “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks” and “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” call for a New Orleans “Second Line” style, GO FOR IT!!
    This quest for a more “homogeneous” style of Worship music has killed the joy necessary for worshipping. It’s killed my joy, anyway.

    1. “I feel that this quest for sameness is a safety net of sorts. This sameness is being justified with the excuse of “We don’t want to draw attention away from God”.”
      That is very true in my observation. Thanks for the comment.

      RK

  50. I feel that this quest for sameness is a safety net of sorts. This sameness is being justified with the excuse of “We don’t want to draw attention away from God”.The thing is, God made us all different and we should embrace our differences. If a song has a certain “feel” or “vibe” to it, GO FOR IT!! If you feel that “Blessed Assurance” or “Come Thou Fount” would sound pretty cool in 5/4, GO FOR IT!! If you like to play “Days of Elijah” or “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” with a Latin feel, GO FOR IT!! If “Sing for Joy” sounds better played as an up-tempo Gospel tune, GO FOR IT!! If “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks” and “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” call for a New Orleans “Second Line” style, GO FOR IT!!
    This quest for a more “homogeneous” style of Worship music has killed the joy necessary for worshipping. It’s killed my joy, anyway.

    1. “I feel that this quest for sameness is a safety net of sorts. This sameness is being justified with the excuse of “We don’t want to draw attention away from God”.”
      That is very true in my observation. Thanks for the comment.

      RK

  51. “Do not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing…”
    This blog post almost made me laugh out loud. The point here is to stay connected to the rest of the body of Christ and minister the gospel to each other. Rick K. here seems to be hung up on this idea that the Church would be more valid if the various congregations had more originality in their what? music? sermons?

    Get over yourself and get into the scriptures.

    1. Hi Jay,
      My point is that to be more connected to our community as we lead in worship and share God’s word effectively that we actually might do that better with sermons created indigenously. Too many hide behind the information of the Bible and do not allow Incarnation of the Word. So, yes let’s not be full of ourselves. Let’s love people enough to create a meal rather than microwave someone else’s left overs. We would never ask people in another country to preach in English to an indigenous tribe. So is it not selfish to disregard the question of how we connect to those God has us lead?. Is it lazy to not learn the language. Innovation allows translation?
      Rich

    2. Hey Jay,
      I am glad that, when I did get into the scriptures, I read about Jesus going around using parables and other unusual forms of expression to get His message across, rather than just telling the people to ‘get into the scriptures’.  He actually did both, repeatedly citing the scriptures and how they contradicted the religious practices of the day, and how they pointed to Him.  But he also connected on the level of everyday experience to those who would listen to them in very simple ways (“I will make you fisher’s of men”), and very creative ways, like deep parables, but always pointing to the scriptures.

      The point it, creative expression is modeled to us in the Bible, as is the command to exhort one another with ‘Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs’.

      Rich’s blog is really calling us to be closer to what Jesus demonstrated for us.

  52. “Do not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing…”
    This blog post almost made me laugh out loud. The point here is to stay connected to the rest of the body of Christ and minister the gospel to each other. Rick K. here seems to be hung up on this idea that the Church would be more valid if the various congregations had more originality in their what? music? sermons?
    Get over yourself and get into the scriptures.

    1. Hi Jay,
      My point is that to be more connected to our community as we lead in worship and share God’s word effectively that we actually might do that better with sermons created indigenously. Too many hide behind the information of the Bible and do not allow Incarnation of the Word. So, yes let’s not be full of ourselves. Let’s love people enough to create a meal rather than microwave someone else’s left overs. We would never ask people in another country to preach in English to an indigenous tribe. So is it not selfish to disregard the question of how we connect to those God has us lead?. Is it lazy to not learn the language. Innovation allows translation?
      Rich

    2. Hey Jay,
      I am glad that, when I did get into the scriptures, I read about Jesus going around using parables and other unusual forms of expression to get His message across, rather than just telling the people to ‘get into the scriptures’.  He actually did both, repeatedly citing the scriptures and how they contradicted the religious practices of the day, and how they pointed to Him.  But he also connected on the level of everyday experience to those who would listen to them in very simple ways (“I will make you fisher’s of men”), and very creative ways, like deep parables, but always pointing to the scriptures.
      The point it, creative expression is modeled to us in the Bible, as is the command to exhort one another with ‘Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs’.
      Rich’s blog is really calling us to be closer to what Jesus demonstrated for us.

  53. “Do not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing…”
    This blog post almost made me laugh out loud. The point here is to stay connected to the rest of the body of Christ and minister the gospel to each other. Rick K. here seems to be hung up on this idea that the Church would be more valid if the various congregations had more originality in their what? music? sermons?

    Get over yourself and get into the scriptures.

    1. Hi Jay,
      My point is that to be more connected to our community as we lead in worship and share God’s word effectively that we actually might do that better with sermons created indigenously. Too many hide behind the information of the Bible and do not allow Incarnation of the Word. So, yes let’s not be full of ourselves. Let’s love people enough to create a meal rather than microwave someone else’s left overs. We would never ask people in another country to preach in English to an indigenous tribe. So is it not selfish to disregard the question of how we connect to those God has us lead?. Is it lazy to not learn the language. Innovation allows translation?
      Rich

    2. Hey Jay,
      I am glad that, when I did get into the scriptures, I read about Jesus going around using parables and other unusual forms of expression to get His message across, rather than just telling the people to ‘get into the scriptures’.  He actually did both, repeatedly citing the scriptures and how they contradicted the religious practices of the day, and how they pointed to Him.  But he also connected on the level of everyday experience to those who would listen to them in very simple ways (“I will make you fisher’s of men”), and very creative ways, like deep parables, but always pointing to the scriptures.

      The point it, creative expression is modeled to us in the Bible, as is the command to exhort one another with ‘Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs’.

      Rich’s blog is really calling us to be closer to what Jesus demonstrated for us.

  54. “Do not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing…”
    This blog post almost made me laugh out loud. The point here is to stay connected to the rest of the body of Christ and minister the gospel to each other. Rick K. here seems to be hung up on this idea that the Church would be more valid if the various congregations had more originality in their what? music? sermons?

    Get over yourself and get into the scriptures.

    1. Hi Jay,
      My point is that to be more connected to our community as we lead in worship and share God’s word effectively that we actually might do that better with sermons created indigenously. Too many hide behind the information of the Bible and do not allow Incarnation of the Word. So, yes let’s not be full of ourselves. Let’s love people enough to create a meal rather than microwave someone else’s left overs. We would never ask people in another country to preach in English to an indigenous tribe. So is it not selfish to disregard the question of how we connect to those God has us lead?. Is it lazy to not learn the language. Innovation allows translation?
      Rich

    2. Hey Jay,
      I am glad that, when I did get into the scriptures, I read about Jesus going around using parables and other unusual forms of expression to get His message across, rather than just telling the people to ‘get into the scriptures’.  He actually did both, repeatedly citing the scriptures and how they contradicted the religious practices of the day, and how they pointed to Him.  But he also connected on the level of everyday experience to those who would listen to them in very simple ways (“I will make you fisher’s of men”), and very creative ways, like deep parables, but always pointing to the scriptures.

      The point it, creative expression is modeled to us in the Bible, as is the command to exhort one another with ‘Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs’.

      Rich’s blog is really calling us to be closer to what Jesus demonstrated for us.

  55. “Do not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing…”
    This blog post almost made me laugh out loud. The point here is to stay connected to the rest of the body of Christ and minister the gospel to each other. Rick K. here seems to be hung up on this idea that the Church would be more valid if the various congregations had more originality in their what? music? sermons?

    Get over yourself and get into the scriptures.

    1. Hi Jay,
      My point is that to be more connected to our community as we lead in worship and share God’s word effectively that we actually might do that better with sermons created indigenously. Too many hide behind the information of the Bible and do not allow Incarnation of the Word. So, yes let’s not be full of ourselves. Let’s love people enough to create a meal rather than microwave someone else’s left overs. We would never ask people in another country to preach in English to an indigenous tribe. So is it not selfish to disregard the question of how we connect to those God has us lead?. Is it lazy to not learn the language. Innovation allows translation?
      Rich

    2. Hey Jay,
      I am glad that, when I did get into the scriptures, I read about Jesus going around using parables and other unusual forms of expression to get His message across, rather than just telling the people to ‘get into the scriptures’.  He actually did both, repeatedly citing the scriptures and how they contradicted the religious practices of the day, and how they pointed to Him.  But he also connected on the level of everyday experience to those who would listen to them in very simple ways (“I will make you fisher’s of men”), and very creative ways, like deep parables, but always pointing to the scriptures.

      The point it, creative expression is modeled to us in the Bible, as is the command to exhort one another with ‘Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs’.

      Rich’s blog is really calling us to be closer to what Jesus demonstrated for us.

  56. I do believe that some of us musicians have been doing too much copy music, we don’t take the time to “own” it.  What’s wrong with taking a modern praise song and doing an acoustic version or coupling a modern song with a traditional hymn, getting creative takes extra thought and work.  I do agree that when I hear another praise band I’m wondering the same thing, where is the creativity?  I recently heard a praise band and when it came to “the” worship song the girl sounded like a American Idol audition.  While I love creativity, I believe the focus should be on Him and we don’t have to do a bunch of scales and Whitney Houston up the song.  Maybe this is just my weird perspective from being a musician over many years of change.  I’m in our praise and worship band and what I’ve learned is we should never allow our musicianship to own the stage, God is the central focus.  If something I’m doing or singing is causing the audience to notice and focus on me I need to stop what I’m doing.  Guys, we can all be more creative, it’s not easy but in the long run it will set us apart from the cut and paste worship experience. 

    1. “…what I’ve learned is we should never allow our musicianship to own the stage, God is the central focus. “YES!

  57. I do believe that some of us musicians have been doing too much copy music, we don’t take the time to “own” it.  What’s wrong with taking a modern praise song and doing an acoustic version or coupling a modern song with a traditional hymn, getting creative takes extra thought and work.  I do agree that when I hear another praise band I’m wondering the same thing, where is the creativity?  I recently heard a praise band and when it came to “the” worship song the girl sounded like a American Idol audition.  While I love creativity, I believe the focus should be on Him and we don’t have to do a bunch of scales and Whitney Houston up the song.  Maybe this is just my weird perspective from being a musician over many years of change.  I’m in our praise and worship band and what I’ve learned is we should never allow our musicianship to own the stage, God is the central focus.  If something I’m doing or singing is causing the audience to notice and focus on me I need to stop what I’m doing.  Guys, we can all be more creative, it’s not easy but in the long run it will set us apart from the cut and paste worship experience. 

    1. “…what I’ve learned is we should never allow our musicianship to own the stage, God is the central focus. “YES!

  58. I do believe that some of us musicians have been doing too much copy music, we don’t take the time to “own” it.  What’s wrong with taking a modern praise song and doing an acoustic version or coupling a modern song with a traditional hymn, getting creative takes extra thought and work.  I do agree that when I hear another praise band I’m wondering the same thing, where is the creativity?  I recently heard a praise band and when it came to “the” worship song the girl sounded like a American Idol audition.  While I love creativity, I believe the focus should be on Him and we don’t have to do a bunch of scales and Whitney Houston up the song.  Maybe this is just my weird perspective from being a musician over many years of change.  I’m in our praise and worship band and what I’ve learned is we should never allow our musicianship to own the stage, God is the central focus.  If something I’m doing or singing is causing the audience to notice and focus on me I need to stop what I’m doing.  Guys, we can all be more creative, it’s not easy but in the long run it will set us apart from the cut and paste worship experience. 

    1. “…what I’ve learned is we should never allow our musicianship to own the stage, God is the central focus. “YES!

  59. I do believe that some of us musicians have been doing too much copy music, we don’t take the time to “own” it.  What’s wrong with taking a modern praise song and doing an acoustic version or coupling a modern song with a traditional hymn, getting creative takes extra thought and work.  I do agree that when I hear another praise band I’m wondering the same thing, where is the creativity?  I recently heard a praise band and when it came to “the” worship song the girl sounded like a American Idol audition.  While I love creativity, I believe the focus should be on Him and we don’t have to do a bunch of scales and Whitney Houston up the song.  Maybe this is just my weird perspective from being a musician over many years of change.  I’m in our praise and worship band and what I’ve learned is we should never allow our musicianship to own the stage, God is the central focus.  If something I’m doing or singing is causing the audience to notice and focus on me I need to stop what I’m doing.  Guys, we can all be more creative, it’s not easy but in the long run it will set us apart from the cut and paste worship experience. 

    1. “…what I’ve learned is we should never allow our musicianship to own the stage, God is the central focus. “YES!

  60. I do believe that some of us musicians have been doing too much copy music, we don’t take the time to “own” it.  What’s wrong with taking a modern praise song and doing an acoustic version or coupling a modern song with a traditional hymn, getting creative takes extra thought and work.  I do agree that when I hear another praise band I’m wondering the same thing, where is the creativity?  I recently heard a praise band and when it came to “the” worship song the girl sounded like a American Idol audition.  While I love creativity, I believe the focus should be on Him and we don’t have to do a bunch of scales and Whitney Houston up the song.  Maybe this is just my weird perspective from being a musician over many years of change.  I’m in our praise and worship band and what I’ve learned is we should never allow our musicianship to own the stage, God is the central focus.  If something I’m doing or singing is causing the audience to notice and focus on me I need to stop what I’m doing.  Guys, we can all be more creative, it’s not easy but in the long run it will set us apart from the cut and paste worship experience. 

    1. “…what I’ve learned is we should never allow our musicianship to own the stage, God is the central focus. “YES!

  61. As a worship leader of a small congregation, I have a very limited band. In fact, it consists of my wife and I on acoustic guitar and vocals, another woman on vocals and occasionaly a fiddle player. Therefore, we can only “cover” songs driven by guitar. All other music needs to be modified for our acoustic guitar style.All that above is to set the scene for my comment on “cut-and-paste”. I learned my leadership skills from an older, more seasoned leader who is also a singer/songwriter. He taught us that it is NOT a performance and we are NOT the reason the people are there. I think that helps me to be more responsive to the Holy Spirit and my congregation. It tends to erase the “cut-and-paste” aspect.
    And, no, I do not wear skinny jeans and v-neck shirts!!

    1. Bingo! Nothing wrong with using content, it is in how you lead that really makes it truly “cut and paste” I think. Modifying a song to fit how your band and your church is excellent. Some leaders actually do not appreciate this skill. They celebrate what you can do to copy a conference worship team. But, I think when you serve people you have to modify how you preach and how you lead worship.

  62. As a worship leader of a small congregation, I have a very limited band. In fact, it consists of my wife and I on acoustic guitar and vocals, another woman on vocals and occasionaly a fiddle player. Therefore, we can only “cover” songs driven by guitar. All other music needs to be modified for our acoustic guitar style.All that above is to set the scene for my comment on “cut-and-paste”. I learned my leadership skills from an older, more seasoned leader who is also a singer/songwriter. He taught us that it is NOT a performance and we are NOT the reason the people are there. I think that helps me to be more responsive to the Holy Spirit and my congregation. It tends to erase the “cut-and-paste” aspect.
    And, no, I do not wear skinny jeans and v-neck shirts!!

    1. Bingo! Nothing wrong with using content, it is in how you lead that really makes it truly “cut and paste” I think. Modifying a song to fit how your band and your church is excellent. Some leaders actually do not appreciate this skill. They celebrate what you can do to copy a conference worship team. But, I think when you serve people you have to modify how you preach and how you lead worship.

  63. As a worship leader of a small congregation, I have a very limited band. In fact, it consists of my wife and I on acoustic guitar and vocals, another woman on vocals and occasionaly a fiddle player. Therefore, we can only “cover” songs driven by guitar. All other music needs to be modified for our acoustic guitar style.All that above is to set the scene for my comment on “cut-and-paste”. I learned my leadership skills from an older, more seasoned leader who is also a singer/songwriter. He taught us that it is NOT a performance and we are NOT the reason the people are there. I think that helps me to be more responsive to the Holy Spirit and my congregation. It tends to erase the “cut-and-paste” aspect.
    And, no, I do not wear skinny jeans and v-neck shirts!!

    1. Bingo! Nothing wrong with using content, it is in how you lead that really makes it truly “cut and paste” I think. Modifying a song to fit how your band and your church is excellent. Some leaders actually do not appreciate this skill. They celebrate what you can do to copy a conference worship team. But, I think when you serve people you have to modify how you preach and how you lead worship.

  64. As a worship leader of a small congregation, I have a very limited band. In fact, it consists of my wife and I on acoustic guitar and vocals, another woman on vocals and occasionaly a fiddle player. Therefore, we can only “cover” songs driven by guitar. All other music needs to be modified for our acoustic guitar style.All that above is to set the scene for my comment on “cut-and-paste”. I learned my leadership skills from an older, more seasoned leader who is also a singer/songwriter. He taught us that it is NOT a performance and we are NOT the reason the people are there. I think that helps me to be more responsive to the Holy Spirit and my congregation. It tends to erase the “cut-and-paste” aspect.
    And, no, I do not wear skinny jeans and v-neck shirts!!

    1. Bingo! Nothing wrong with using content, it is in how you lead that really makes it truly “cut and paste” I think. Modifying a song to fit how your band and your church is excellent. Some leaders actually do not appreciate this skill. They celebrate what you can do to copy a conference worship team. But, I think when you serve people you have to modify how you preach and how you lead worship.

  65. As a worship leader of a small congregation, I have a very limited band. In fact, it consists of my wife and I on acoustic guitar and vocals, another woman on vocals and occasionaly a fiddle player. Therefore, we can only “cover” songs driven by guitar. All other music needs to be modified for our acoustic guitar style.All that above is to set the scene for my comment on “cut-and-paste”. I learned my leadership skills from an older, more seasoned leader who is also a singer/songwriter. He taught us that it is NOT a performance and we are NOT the reason the people are there. I think that helps me to be more responsive to the Holy Spirit and my congregation. It tends to erase the “cut-and-paste” aspect.
    And, no, I do not wear skinny jeans and v-neck shirts!!

    1. Bingo! Nothing wrong with using content, it is in how you lead that really makes it truly “cut and paste” I think. Modifying a song to fit how your band and your church is excellent. Some leaders actually do not appreciate this skill. They celebrate what you can do to copy a conference worship team. But, I think when you serve people you have to modify how you preach and how you lead worship.

  66. If you get into the Scriptures, Godraised up leaders that paved the way by following HIM with all they had,
    they each had a fresh and new anointing on them. God is a Creator, we
    are made in His likeness and He instills in each of us a unique
    perspective and unique way of doing things in a new and fresh way. Why
    would we limit ourselves to what other men and women are doing in the
    world when God wants to do something different and new in each of us. If
    you aren’t having these creative thoughts, maybe you need to check your
    prayer life or your calling. Too many are trying to mimic ‘what works’
    in the church. Maybe you need to try to follow what God wants and die to
    what your flesh wants.You need to let God show you how to connect
    creatively with your community/church, each one is different, just like
    we are. I may be way off base here, but I believe that God raises up
    those that aren’t afraid of being used by Him to try something new.

  67. If you get into the Scriptures, Godraised up leaders that paved the way by following HIM with all they had,
    they each had a fresh and new anointing on them. God is a Creator, we
    are made in His likeness and He instills in each of us a unique
    perspective and unique way of doing things in a new and fresh way. Why
    would we limit ourselves to what other men and women are doing in the
    world when God wants to do something different and new in each of us. If
    you aren’t having these creative thoughts, maybe you need to check your
    prayer life or your calling. Too many are trying to mimic ‘what works’
    in the church. Maybe you need to try to follow what God wants and die to
    what your flesh wants.You need to let God show you how to connect
    creatively with your community/church, each one is different, just like
    we are. I may be way off base here, but I believe that God raises up
    those that aren’t afraid of being used by Him to try something new.

  68. If you get into the Scriptures, Godraised up leaders that paved the way by following HIM with all they had,
    they each had a fresh and new anointing on them. God is a Creator, we
    are made in His likeness and He instills in each of us a unique
    perspective and unique way of doing things in a new and fresh way. Why
    would we limit ourselves to what other men and women are doing in the
    world when God wants to do something different and new in each of us. If
    you aren’t having these creative thoughts, maybe you need to check your
    prayer life or your calling. Too many are trying to mimic ‘what works’
    in the church. Maybe you need to try to follow what God wants and die to
    what your flesh wants.You need to let God show you how to connect
    creatively with your community/church, each one is different, just like
    we are. I may be way off base here, but I believe that God raises up
    those that aren’t afraid of being used by Him to try something new.

  69. If you get into the Scriptures, Godraised up leaders that paved the way by following HIM with all they had,
    they each had a fresh and new anointing on them. God is a Creator, we
    are made in His likeness and He instills in each of us a unique
    perspective and unique way of doing things in a new and fresh way. Why
    would we limit ourselves to what other men and women are doing in the
    world when God wants to do something different and new in each of us. If
    you aren’t having these creative thoughts, maybe you need to check your
    prayer life or your calling. Too many are trying to mimic ‘what works’
    in the church. Maybe you need to try to follow what God wants and die to
    what your flesh wants.You need to let God show you how to connect
    creatively with your community/church, each one is different, just like
    we are. I may be way off base here, but I believe that God raises up
    those that aren’t afraid of being used by Him to try something new.

  70. If you get into the Scriptures, Godraised up leaders that paved the way by following HIM with all they had,
    they each had a fresh and new anointing on them. God is a Creator, we
    are made in His likeness and He instills in each of us a unique
    perspective and unique way of doing things in a new and fresh way. Why
    would we limit ourselves to what other men and women are doing in the
    world when God wants to do something different and new in each of us. If
    you aren’t having these creative thoughts, maybe you need to check your
    prayer life or your calling. Too many are trying to mimic ‘what works’
    in the church. Maybe you need to try to follow what God wants and die to
    what your flesh wants.You need to let God show you how to connect
    creatively with your community/church, each one is different, just like
    we are. I may be way off base here, but I believe that God raises up
    those that aren’t afraid of being used by Him to try something new.

  71. I write as a gifted musician who was a victim of the cut and paste mentality.  The church I served hired a new pastor, and its philosophy changed from “creative and original” to “cover-everything-that-is-trendy.”  From my perspective, the new regime looked at the group of musicians there (most of whom were professionals with several recordings) and rather than celebrating the giftedness God had put into the congregation, turned its back and said, “God, we’d rather have other musicians who play the guitar.” Once that philosophy took over, we rapidly forsook innovation and became nothing more than a cover band.
    The upshot:  nearly all of the musicians left, including most of a 75-voice choir.  The ones who have stayed have been reduced from active servants to passive ones, sitting in the seats, or still serving, but not in an area where they were gifted.  Instead of a vibrant music ministry with 100+ participants, the music ministry now numbers less than 25.  Most people did not notice the lack, but for those who felt they were called to serve and were rejected, the bitterness may linger for a long time.

    The sermons followed suit.  There really was more of an emphasis on “stage design” and  easy-to-swallow, short sermon series, as though if we could make Jesus cooler or more trendy, he’d be more attractive.  Most weeks you could not tell what church you were in; our congregation had become plain vanilla–appealing to most, but exciting few.

    I call this philosophy iWorship.  In our culture, we never have to be exposed to anything that we don’t like.  We can choose our music, our style of sermons, our version of the Bible, etc., to be exactly what pleases us.  And that means that our congregations attract only people who like the same things we do.  Also, because we are never exposed to true originality, our tastes become narrower and narrower.

    When we ignore the gifts God put in each congregation, we risk forsaking the diversity he desires in the body.  In trying to fit into the perceived culture, we become stale, lukewarm, and unattractive. 

    1. “When we ignore the gifts God put in each congregation, we risk forsaking the diversity he desires in the body.  In trying to fit into the perceived culture, we become stale, lukewarm, and unattractive.
       ”
      Hi Alice, 

      The statement you make here is profoundly the tension we live in and need to manage. We have a mission and a process. Both of these are important. I would say that the purpose of those of us who deliver sermons or lead liturgy need to realize the first order is facilitating people’s activity to worship. The second order is administering the people and systems. Most of the time we get caught up in the how we do things and what we are doing rather than the why–our mission.

      In defense of some lead pastors and their governing bodies, tough choices often are on their desk. Times change. The heart of most pastors is to reach people! However, what goes wrong is that they see a successful group and instead of decoding the genesis of their values, they copy the outward expression. Most of the time, these long-standing successes seem to be birthed from the intersection of the gifts and opportunities God places indigenously.

      When we see our mission, innovation is part of it. It does not mean writing songs, necessarily. However, if you have those people, let them create. We can fight culture, copy culture, or CREATE culture.

      Thanks for being part of the conversation!

      RK

  72. I write as a gifted musician who was a victim of the cut and paste mentality.  The church I served hired a new pastor, and its philosophy changed from “creative and original” to “cover-everything-that-is-trendy.”  From my perspective, the new regime looked at the group of musicians there (most of whom were professionals with several recordings) and rather than celebrating the giftedness God had put into the congregation, turned its back and said, “God, we’d rather have other musicians who play the guitar.” Once that philosophy took over, we rapidly forsook innovation and became nothing more than a cover band.
    The upshot:  nearly all of the musicians left, including most of a 75-voice choir.  The ones who have stayed have been reduced from active servants to passive ones, sitting in the seats, or still serving, but not in an area where they were gifted.  Instead of a vibrant music ministry with 100+ participants, the music ministry now numbers less than 25.  Most people did not notice the lack, but for those who felt they were called to serve and were rejected, the bitterness may linger for a long time.
    The sermons followed suit.  There really was more of an emphasis on “stage design” and  easy-to-swallow, short sermon series, as though if we could make Jesus cooler or more trendy, he’d be more attractive.  Most weeks you could not tell what church you were in; our congregation had become plain vanilla–appealing to most, but exciting few.
    I call this philosophy iWorship.  In our culture, we never have to be exposed to anything that we don’t like.  We can choose our music, our style of sermons, our version of the Bible, etc., to be exactly what pleases us.  And that means that our congregations attract only people who like the same things we do.  Also, because we are never exposed to true originality, our tastes become narrower and narrower.
    When we ignore the gifts God put in each congregation, we risk forsaking the diversity he desires in the body.  In trying to fit into the perceived culture, we become stale, lukewarm, and unattractive. 

    1. “When we ignore the gifts God put in each congregation, we risk forsaking the diversity he desires in the body.  In trying to fit into the perceived culture, we become stale, lukewarm, and unattractive.
       ”
      Hi Alice, 
      The statement you make here is profoundly the tension we live in and need to manage. We have a mission and a process. Both of these are important. I would say that the purpose of those of us who deliver sermons or lead liturgy need to realize the first order is facilitating people’s activity to worship. The second order is administering the people and systems. Most of the time we get caught up in the how we do things and what we are doing rather than the why–our mission.
      In defense of some lead pastors and their governing bodies, tough choices often are on their desk. Times change. The heart of most pastors is to reach people! However, what goes wrong is that they see a successful group and instead of decoding the genesis of their values, they copy the outward expression. Most of the time, these long-standing successes seem to be birthed from the intersection of the gifts and opportunities God places indigenously.
      When we see our mission, innovation is part of it. It does not mean writing songs, necessarily. However, if you have those people, let them create. We can fight culture, copy culture, or CREATE culture.
      Thanks for being part of the conversation!
      RK

  73. I write as a gifted musician who was a victim of the cut and paste mentality.  The church I served hired a new pastor, and its philosophy changed from “creative and original” to “cover-everything-that-is-trendy.”  From my perspective, the new regime looked at the group of musicians there (most of whom were professionals with several recordings) and rather than celebrating the giftedness God had put into the congregation, turned its back and said, “God, we’d rather have other musicians who play the guitar.” Once that philosophy took over, we rapidly forsook innovation and became nothing more than a cover band.
    The upshot:  nearly all of the musicians left, including most of a 75-voice choir.  The ones who have stayed have been reduced from active servants to passive ones, sitting in the seats, or still serving, but not in an area where they were gifted.  Instead of a vibrant music ministry with 100+ participants, the music ministry now numbers less than 25.  Most people did not notice the lack, but for those who felt they were called to serve and were rejected, the bitterness may linger for a long time.

    The sermons followed suit.  There really was more of an emphasis on “stage design” and  easy-to-swallow, short sermon series, as though if we could make Jesus cooler or more trendy, he’d be more attractive.  Most weeks you could not tell what church you were in; our congregation had become plain vanilla–appealing to most, but exciting few.

    I call this philosophy iWorship.  In our culture, we never have to be exposed to anything that we don’t like.  We can choose our music, our style of sermons, our version of the Bible, etc., to be exactly what pleases us.  And that means that our congregations attract only people who like the same things we do.  Also, because we are never exposed to true originality, our tastes become narrower and narrower.

    When we ignore the gifts God put in each congregation, we risk forsaking the diversity he desires in the body.  In trying to fit into the perceived culture, we become stale, lukewarm, and unattractive. 

    1. “When we ignore the gifts God put in each congregation, we risk forsaking the diversity he desires in the body.  In trying to fit into the perceived culture, we become stale, lukewarm, and unattractive.
       ”
      Hi Alice, 

      The statement you make here is profoundly the tension we live in and need to manage. We have a mission and a process. Both of these are important. I would say that the purpose of those of us who deliver sermons or lead liturgy need to realize the first order is facilitating people’s activity to worship. The second order is administering the people and systems. Most of the time we get caught up in the how we do things and what we are doing rather than the why–our mission.

      In defense of some lead pastors and their governing bodies, tough choices often are on their desk. Times change. The heart of most pastors is to reach people! However, what goes wrong is that they see a successful group and instead of decoding the genesis of their values, they copy the outward expression. Most of the time, these long-standing successes seem to be birthed from the intersection of the gifts and opportunities God places indigenously.

      When we see our mission, innovation is part of it. It does not mean writing songs, necessarily. However, if you have those people, let them create. We can fight culture, copy culture, or CREATE culture.

      Thanks for being part of the conversation!

      RK

  74. I write as a gifted musician who was a victim of the cut and paste mentality.  The church I served hired a new pastor, and its philosophy changed from “creative and original” to “cover-everything-that-is-trendy.”  From my perspective, the new regime looked at the group of musicians there (most of whom were professionals with several recordings) and rather than celebrating the giftedness God had put into the congregation, turned its back and said, “God, we’d rather have other musicians who play the guitar.” Once that philosophy took over, we rapidly forsook innovation and became nothing more than a cover band.
    The upshot:  nearly all of the musicians left, including most of a 75-voice choir.  The ones who have stayed have been reduced from active servants to passive ones, sitting in the seats, or still serving, but not in an area where they were gifted.  Instead of a vibrant music ministry with 100+ participants, the music ministry now numbers less than 25.  Most people did not notice the lack, but for those who felt they were called to serve and were rejected, the bitterness may linger for a long time.

    The sermons followed suit.  There really was more of an emphasis on “stage design” and  easy-to-swallow, short sermon series, as though if we could make Jesus cooler or more trendy, he’d be more attractive.  Most weeks you could not tell what church you were in; our congregation had become plain vanilla–appealing to most, but exciting few.

    I call this philosophy iWorship.  In our culture, we never have to be exposed to anything that we don’t like.  We can choose our music, our style of sermons, our version of the Bible, etc., to be exactly what pleases us.  And that means that our congregations attract only people who like the same things we do.  Also, because we are never exposed to true originality, our tastes become narrower and narrower.

    When we ignore the gifts God put in each congregation, we risk forsaking the diversity he desires in the body.  In trying to fit into the perceived culture, we become stale, lukewarm, and unattractive. 

    1. “When we ignore the gifts God put in each congregation, we risk forsaking the diversity he desires in the body.  In trying to fit into the perceived culture, we become stale, lukewarm, and unattractive.
       ”
      Hi Alice, 

      The statement you make here is profoundly the tension we live in and need to manage. We have a mission and a process. Both of these are important. I would say that the purpose of those of us who deliver sermons or lead liturgy need to realize the first order is facilitating people’s activity to worship. The second order is administering the people and systems. Most of the time we get caught up in the how we do things and what we are doing rather than the why–our mission.

      In defense of some lead pastors and their governing bodies, tough choices often are on their desk. Times change. The heart of most pastors is to reach people! However, what goes wrong is that they see a successful group and instead of decoding the genesis of their values, they copy the outward expression. Most of the time, these long-standing successes seem to be birthed from the intersection of the gifts and opportunities God places indigenously.

      When we see our mission, innovation is part of it. It does not mean writing songs, necessarily. However, if you have those people, let them create. We can fight culture, copy culture, or CREATE culture.

      Thanks for being part of the conversation!

      RK

  75. I write as a gifted musician who was a victim of the cut and paste mentality.  The church I served hired a new pastor, and its philosophy changed from “creative and original” to “cover-everything-that-is-trendy.”  From my perspective, the new regime looked at the group of musicians there (most of whom were professionals with several recordings) and rather than celebrating the giftedness God had put into the congregation, turned its back and said, “God, we’d rather have other musicians who play the guitar.” Once that philosophy took over, we rapidly forsook innovation and became nothing more than a cover band.
    The upshot:  nearly all of the musicians left, including most of a 75-voice choir.  The ones who have stayed have been reduced from active servants to passive ones, sitting in the seats, or still serving, but not in an area where they were gifted.  Instead of a vibrant music ministry with 100+ participants, the music ministry now numbers less than 25.  Most people did not notice the lack, but for those who felt they were called to serve and were rejected, the bitterness may linger for a long time.

    The sermons followed suit.  There really was more of an emphasis on “stage design” and  easy-to-swallow, short sermon series, as though if we could make Jesus cooler or more trendy, he’d be more attractive.  Most weeks you could not tell what church you were in; our congregation had become plain vanilla–appealing to most, but exciting few.

    I call this philosophy iWorship.  In our culture, we never have to be exposed to anything that we don’t like.  We can choose our music, our style of sermons, our version of the Bible, etc., to be exactly what pleases us.  And that means that our congregations attract only people who like the same things we do.  Also, because we are never exposed to true originality, our tastes become narrower and narrower.

    When we ignore the gifts God put in each congregation, we risk forsaking the diversity he desires in the body.  In trying to fit into the perceived culture, we become stale, lukewarm, and unattractive. 

    1. “When we ignore the gifts God put in each congregation, we risk forsaking the diversity he desires in the body.  In trying to fit into the perceived culture, we become stale, lukewarm, and unattractive.
       ”
      Hi Alice, 

      The statement you make here is profoundly the tension we live in and need to manage. We have a mission and a process. Both of these are important. I would say that the purpose of those of us who deliver sermons or lead liturgy need to realize the first order is facilitating people’s activity to worship. The second order is administering the people and systems. Most of the time we get caught up in the how we do things and what we are doing rather than the why–our mission.

      In defense of some lead pastors and their governing bodies, tough choices often are on their desk. Times change. The heart of most pastors is to reach people! However, what goes wrong is that they see a successful group and instead of decoding the genesis of their values, they copy the outward expression. Most of the time, these long-standing successes seem to be birthed from the intersection of the gifts and opportunities God places indigenously.

      When we see our mission, innovation is part of it. It does not mean writing songs, necessarily. However, if you have those people, let them create. We can fight culture, copy culture, or CREATE culture.

      Thanks for being part of the conversation!

      RK

  76. Years ago, when I was a christian broadcaster, I had the priviledge of interviewing Brown Bannister, who at the time was Amy Grant’s producer.  In the interview I asked what he tried to accomplish when he produced a project.  His reply was very succinct: He said he tried to bring out the heartbeat of the recording artist.  I think the same is true in worship and as leaders we have an obligation to ask ourselves what is the heartbeat of our local congregation, and then use that info to serve them and help them to come into the presence of God to receive from Him.

    1. “…we have an obligation to ask ourselves what is the heartbeat of our local congregation…” Doug, that is right!

  77. Years ago, when I was a christian broadcaster, I had the priviledge of interviewing Brown Bannister, who at the time was Amy Grant’s producer.  In the interview I asked what he tried to accomplish when he produced a project.  His reply was very succinct: He said he tried to bring out the heartbeat of the recording artist.  I think the same is true in worship and as leaders we have an obligation to ask ourselves what is the heartbeat of our local congregation, and then use that info to serve them and help them to come into the presence of God to receive from Him.

    1. “…we have an obligation to ask ourselves what is the heartbeat of our local congregation…” Doug, that is right!

  78. Years ago, when I was a christian broadcaster, I had the priviledge of interviewing Brown Bannister, who at the time was Amy Grant’s producer.  In the interview I asked what he tried to accomplish when he produced a project.  His reply was very succinct: He said he tried to bring out the heartbeat of the recording artist.  I think the same is true in worship and as leaders we have an obligation to ask ourselves what is the heartbeat of our local congregation, and then use that info to serve them and help them to come into the presence of God to receive from Him.

    1. “…we have an obligation to ask ourselves what is the heartbeat of our local congregation…” Doug, that is right!

  79. Years ago, when I was a christian broadcaster, I had the priviledge of interviewing Brown Bannister, who at the time was Amy Grant’s producer.  In the interview I asked what he tried to accomplish when he produced a project.  His reply was very succinct: He said he tried to bring out the heartbeat of the recording artist.  I think the same is true in worship and as leaders we have an obligation to ask ourselves what is the heartbeat of our local congregation, and then use that info to serve them and help them to come into the presence of God to receive from Him.

    1. “…we have an obligation to ask ourselves what is the heartbeat of our local congregation…” Doug, that is right!

  80. Years ago, when I was a christian broadcaster, I had the priviledge of interviewing Brown Bannister, who at the time was Amy Grant’s producer.  In the interview I asked what he tried to accomplish when he produced a project.  His reply was very succinct: He said he tried to bring out the heartbeat of the recording artist.  I think the same is true in worship and as leaders we have an obligation to ask ourselves what is the heartbeat of our local congregation, and then use that info to serve them and help them to come into the presence of God to receive from Him.

    1. “…we have an obligation to ask ourselves what is the heartbeat of our local congregation…” Doug, that is right!

  81. I came out of a “cover-everything-that-is-trendy” culture, going on two years ago now.  It was painful for a creative individual.  I’ve always be one bucking against using recycled creativity.  Being on the other side of it now, I think many times we get caught in the idea that we could never do what “that church” does, because we don’t have the funding, or the talent, or the creative people to pull it off, and that’s so not true.  God gives you exactly what you need to communicate and reach those that He is calling you to reach!  If you are seeking to reach the culture you are ministering to, first you need to know them.  They may not be asking for the flashy or the trendy.  Find out what is reaching the people in your neighborhood, and create for them, not you, and the people to pull it off are probably all ready in your church.

    1. “God gives you exactly what you need to communicate and reach those that He is calling you to reach! ” Joe, I could not agree any more fully!

  82. I came out of a “cover-everything-that-is-trendy” culture, going on two years ago now.  It was painful for a creative individual.  I’ve always be one bucking against using recycled creativity.  Being on the other side of it now, I think many times we get caught in the idea that we could never do what “that church” does, because we don’t have the funding, or the talent, or the creative people to pull it off, and that’s so not true.  God gives you exactly what you need to communicate and reach those that He is calling you to reach!  If you are seeking to reach the culture you are ministering to, first you need to know them.  They may not be asking for the flashy or the trendy.  Find out what is reaching the people in your neighborhood, and create for them, not you, and the people to pull it off are probably all ready in your church.

  83. I came out of a “cover-everything-that-is-trendy” culture, going on two years ago now.  It was painful for a creative individual.  I’ve always be one bucking against using recycled creativity.  Being on the other side of it now, I think many times we get caught in the idea that we could never do what “that church” does, because we don’t have the funding, or the talent, or the creative people to pull it off, and that’s so not true.  God gives you exactly what you need to communicate and reach those that He is calling you to reach!  If you are seeking to reach the culture you are ministering to, first you need to know them.  They may not be asking for the flashy or the trendy.  Find out what is reaching the people in your neighborhood, and create for them, not you, and the people to pull it off are probably all ready in your church.

    1. “God gives you exactly what you need to communicate and reach those that He is calling you to reach! ” Joe, I could not agree any more fully!

  84. I came out of a “cover-everything-that-is-trendy” culture, going on two years ago now.  It was painful for a creative individual.  I’ve always be one bucking against using recycled creativity.  Being on the other side of it now, I think many times we get caught in the idea that we could never do what “that church” does, because we don’t have the funding, or the talent, or the creative people to pull it off, and that’s so not true.  God gives you exactly what you need to communicate and reach those that He is calling you to reach!  If you are seeking to reach the culture you are ministering to, first you need to know them.  They may not be asking for the flashy or the trendy.  Find out what is reaching the people in your neighborhood, and create for them, not you, and the people to pull it off are probably all ready in your church.

    1. “God gives you exactly what you need to communicate and reach those that He is calling you to reach! ” Joe, I could not agree any more fully!

  85. I came out of a “cover-everything-that-is-trendy” culture, going on two years ago now.  It was painful for a creative individual.  I’ve always be one bucking against using recycled creativity.  Being on the other side of it now, I think many times we get caught in the idea that we could never do what “that church” does, because we don’t have the funding, or the talent, or the creative people to pull it off, and that’s so not true.  God gives you exactly what you need to communicate and reach those that He is calling you to reach!  If you are seeking to reach the culture you are ministering to, first you need to know them.  They may not be asking for the flashy or the trendy.  Find out what is reaching the people in your neighborhood, and create for them, not you, and the people to pull it off are probably all ready in your church.

    1. “God gives you exactly what you need to communicate and reach those that He is calling you to reach! ” Joe, I could not agree any more fully!

  86. I’m curious why exactly worship leaders are like this. Do they feel every member of the congregation (even the non-Christian first timers) has critically listened to every Matt Redman CD and is going to be bitterly disappointed if the song isn’t ‘performed’ with note-for-note accuracy? Are they too lazy to come up with new arrangements, but would rather just download lead sheets from PraiseCharts.com, hand out pirated MP3s of a song and tell everybody to just play exactly what’s there because it’s easier than leading? Did they get their jobs solely on their ability to sing well and look good on stage, and have no real skill or talent in arranging, and the hiring pastor has absolutely no clue whatsoever that that is important? I’m really curious what the deal is – because 90% of the worship leaders I’ve had are like this.

    1. Jack, I think “yes” to all your questions. I deal with this a bit in the 2nd installment of “Cut-and-paste Creativity”, but worship leaders are simply doing what all over ministers are doing–we copy, instead of create. The reason they do it is because their pastor does it when he copies a sermon series off of a site.
      Now, there is content that is created by nationally-followed people that is worthy of inclusion, right? But, we value the efficient above innovation. That value is what drives the decisions in worship leaders as well as other leaders in the church.

      The worship leader gets picked on because he or she is supposed to be creative, yet no one around him or her knows how to be creative in their own context to a point where they can challenge in a healthy way. What is common is undue pressure to be like the trendy church or latest Christian radio hit. So, we ask this leader to be a chameleon while we who preach in pulpits share about our kids and own journey in order to be “authentic”. 

      Thanks for the dialog!

      RK

  87. I’m curious why exactly worship leaders are like this. Do they feel every member of the congregation (even the non-Christian first timers) has critically listened to every Matt Redman CD and is going to be bitterly disappointed if the song isn’t ‘performed’ with note-for-note accuracy? Are they too lazy to come up with new arrangements, but would rather just download lead sheets from PraiseCharts.com, hand out pirated MP3s of a song and tell everybody to just play exactly what’s there because it’s easier than leading? Did they get their jobs solely on their ability to sing well and look good on stage, and have no real skill or talent in arranging, and the hiring pastor has absolutely no clue whatsoever that that is important? I’m really curious what the deal is – because 90% of the worship leaders I’ve had are like this.

    1. Jack, I think “yes” to all your questions. I deal with this a bit in the 2nd installment of “Cut-and-paste Creativity”, but worship leaders are simply doing what all over ministers are doing–we copy, instead of create. The reason they do it is because their pastor does it when he copies a sermon series off of a site.
      Now, there is content that is created by nationally-followed people that is worthy of inclusion, right? But, we value the efficient above innovation. That value is what drives the decisions in worship leaders as well as other leaders in the church.
      The worship leader gets picked on because he or she is supposed to be creative, yet no one around him or her knows how to be creative in their own context to a point where they can challenge in a healthy way. What is common is undue pressure to be like the trendy church or latest Christian radio hit. So, we ask this leader to be a chameleon while we who preach in pulpits share about our kids and own journey in order to be “authentic”. 
      Thanks for the dialog!
      RK

  88. I’m curious why exactly worship leaders are like this. Do they feel every member of the congregation (even the non-Christian first timers) has critically listened to every Matt Redman CD and is going to be bitterly disappointed if the song isn’t ‘performed’ with note-for-note accuracy? Are they too lazy to come up with new arrangements, but would rather just download lead sheets from PraiseCharts.com, hand out pirated MP3s of a song and tell everybody to just play exactly what’s there because it’s easier than leading? Did they get their jobs solely on their ability to sing well and look good on stage, and have no real skill or talent in arranging, and the hiring pastor has absolutely no clue whatsoever that that is important? I’m really curious what the deal is – because 90% of the worship leaders I’ve had are like this.

    1. Jack, I think “yes” to all your questions. I deal with this a bit in the 2nd installment of “Cut-and-paste Creativity”, but worship leaders are simply doing what all over ministers are doing–we copy, instead of create. The reason they do it is because their pastor does it when he copies a sermon series off of a site.
      Now, there is content that is created by nationally-followed people that is worthy of inclusion, right? But, we value the efficient above innovation. That value is what drives the decisions in worship leaders as well as other leaders in the church.

      The worship leader gets picked on because he or she is supposed to be creative, yet no one around him or her knows how to be creative in their own context to a point where they can challenge in a healthy way. What is common is undue pressure to be like the trendy church or latest Christian radio hit. So, we ask this leader to be a chameleon while we who preach in pulpits share about our kids and own journey in order to be “authentic”. 

      Thanks for the dialog!

      RK

  89. I’m curious why exactly worship leaders are like this. Do they feel every member of the congregation (even the non-Christian first timers) has critically listened to every Matt Redman CD and is going to be bitterly disappointed if the song isn’t ‘performed’ with note-for-note accuracy? Are they too lazy to come up with new arrangements, but would rather just download lead sheets from PraiseCharts.com, hand out pirated MP3s of a song and tell everybody to just play exactly what’s there because it’s easier than leading? Did they get their jobs solely on their ability to sing well and look good on stage, and have no real skill or talent in arranging, and the hiring pastor has absolutely no clue whatsoever that that is important? I’m really curious what the deal is – because 90% of the worship leaders I’ve had are like this.

    1. Jack, I think “yes” to all your questions. I deal with this a bit in the 2nd installment of “Cut-and-paste Creativity”, but worship leaders are simply doing what all over ministers are doing–we copy, instead of create. The reason they do it is because their pastor does it when he copies a sermon series off of a site.
      Now, there is content that is created by nationally-followed people that is worthy of inclusion, right? But, we value the efficient above innovation. That value is what drives the decisions in worship leaders as well as other leaders in the church.

      The worship leader gets picked on because he or she is supposed to be creative, yet no one around him or her knows how to be creative in their own context to a point where they can challenge in a healthy way. What is common is undue pressure to be like the trendy church or latest Christian radio hit. So, we ask this leader to be a chameleon while we who preach in pulpits share about our kids and own journey in order to be “authentic”. 

      Thanks for the dialog!

      RK

  90. I’m curious why exactly worship leaders are like this. Do they feel every member of the congregation (even the non-Christian first timers) has critically listened to every Matt Redman CD and is going to be bitterly disappointed if the song isn’t ‘performed’ with note-for-note accuracy? Are they too lazy to come up with new arrangements, but would rather just download lead sheets from PraiseCharts.com, hand out pirated MP3s of a song and tell everybody to just play exactly what’s there because it’s easier than leading? Did they get their jobs solely on their ability to sing well and look good on stage, and have no real skill or talent in arranging, and the hiring pastor has absolutely no clue whatsoever that that is important? I’m really curious what the deal is – because 90% of the worship leaders I’ve had are like this.

    1. Jack, I think “yes” to all your questions. I deal with this a bit in the 2nd installment of “Cut-and-paste Creativity”, but worship leaders are simply doing what all over ministers are doing–we copy, instead of create. The reason they do it is because their pastor does it when he copies a sermon series off of a site.
      Now, there is content that is created by nationally-followed people that is worthy of inclusion, right? But, we value the efficient above innovation. That value is what drives the decisions in worship leaders as well as other leaders in the church.

      The worship leader gets picked on because he or she is supposed to be creative, yet no one around him or her knows how to be creative in their own context to a point where they can challenge in a healthy way. What is common is undue pressure to be like the trendy church or latest Christian radio hit. So, we ask this leader to be a chameleon while we who preach in pulpits share about our kids and own journey in order to be “authentic”. 

      Thanks for the dialog!

      RK

  91. I’ve just subscribed Rick, and what a blog post to start with!You are spot on. In this consumer driven society we live in, it is sometimes just more convenient to copy what another leader/band/church is doing. I mean, if it works for them it will work for us, right?
    Wrong…
    Different churches are made up of different people, which requires different methods and initiatives to be effective. Sure, let’s learn and be inspired by our peers, but God is calling each of us to be the best that WE can be. When will the church lead society in art and creativity again?

  92. I’ve just subscribed Rick, and what a blog post to start with!You are spot on. In this consumer driven society we live in, it is sometimes just more convenient to copy what another leader/band/church is doing. I mean, if it works for them it will work for us, right?
    Wrong…
    Different churches are made up of different people, which requires different methods and initiatives to be effective. Sure, let’s learn and be inspired by our peers, but God is calling each of us to be the best that WE can be. When will the church lead society in art and creativity again?

  93. I’ve just subscribed Rick, and what a blog post to start with!You are spot on. In this consumer driven society we live in, it is sometimes just more convenient to copy what another leader/band/church is doing. I mean, if it works for them it will work for us, right?
    Wrong…
    Different churches are made up of different people, which requires different methods and initiatives to be effective. Sure, let’s learn and be inspired by our peers, but God is calling each of us to be the best that WE can be. When will the church lead society in art and creativity again?

  94. I’ve just subscribed Rick, and what a blog post to start with!You are spot on. In this consumer driven society we live in, it is sometimes just more convenient to copy what another leader/band/church is doing. I mean, if it works for them it will work for us, right?
    Wrong…
    Different churches are made up of different people, which requires different methods and initiatives to be effective. Sure, let’s learn and be inspired by our peers, but God is calling each of us to be the best that WE can be. When will the church lead society in art and creativity again?

  95. I’ve just subscribed Rick, and what a blog post to start with!You are spot on. In this consumer driven society we live in, it is sometimes just more convenient to copy what another leader/band/church is doing. I mean, if it works for them it will work for us, right?
    Wrong…
    Different churches are made up of different people, which requires different methods and initiatives to be effective. Sure, let’s learn and be inspired by our peers, but God is calling each of us to be the best that WE can be. When will the church lead society in art and creativity again?

  96. Hi Rick,
    This reminds me of a editor’s piece I wrote a few years back in my magazine Christian Musician. I think I titled it, “Soccer Moms are Killing Art” and it was about how Christian radio stations are pre-screening music with listening test rooms full of soccer moms (if your music can’t sell Volvos then you don’t get played 🙂

    The high repetition of just 25 songs in your play list drives out a variety of good artistic music and leaves you with a narrow bandwidth of songs. In the article I actually turn the blame on corporate Christian radio and allude to the fact that soccer moms are more hip than radio stations give them credit for.

    One more interesting point is that women can listen and sustain the “song repetition syndrome” far longer than men can. It drives me nuts to turn on Christian radio and just hear the same songs over and over again.

    I may of heard that Led Zepplin song 75 times in my life time but if I turn on Christian radio I could hear that Casting Crowns song 70 times in the last month.

    I also publish Worship Musician! magazine – if you are interested I would like to post this blog in an upcoming issue (we would of course place a photo and bio for you) so people know the source of it.

    Can you send me the Part 2 you mention as well? I may keep them together as one article if you are inclined.

    Anyway, well done! My e-mail is bruce@christianmusician:disqus .com You can go to our website and read any of our magazines free on-line.

    Lord Bless Ya!

    Bruce Adolph

    1. Thanks Bruce! So, “Becky” is not who we really think she is? (Becky, the woman who some name that represents the process Bruce writes about).
      RK

      1. Hey Rich,
        Sorry I called you Rick 🙂 Early here for a musician…
        You didn’t answer my question, “Can I post your blog as a guest editorial comment in Worship Musician! magazine? I would use it in the Mar/Apr.issue (this one features one of my favorite worship leaders/teachers Paul Baloche).

        Please let me know and send over Part 1 & 2 together if you can.

        Thanks!

        Bruce

        1. Of course you can print it. I will email you later today to copy from both articles.Rich Kirkpatrick

  97. Hi Rick,
    This reminds me of a editor’s piece I wrote a few years back in my magazine Christian Musician. I think I titled it, “Soccer Moms are Killing Art” and it was about how Christian radio stations are pre-screening music with listening test rooms full of soccer moms (if your music can’t sell Volvos then you don’t get played 🙂
    The high repetition of just 25 songs in your play list drives out a variety of good artistic music and leaves you with a narrow bandwidth of songs. In the article I actually turn the blame on corporate Christian radio and allude to the fact that soccer moms are more hip than radio stations give them credit for.
    One more interesting point is that women can listen and sustain the “song repetition syndrome” far longer than men can. It drives me nuts to turn on Christian radio and just hear the same songs over and over again.
    I may of heard that Led Zepplin song 75 times in my life time but if I turn on Christian radio I could hear that Casting Crowns song 70 times in the last month.
    I also publish Worship Musician! magazine – if you are interested I would like to post this blog in an upcoming issue (we would of course place a photo and bio for you) so people know the source of it.
    Can you send me the Part 2 you mention as well? I may keep them together as one article if you are inclined.
    Anyway, well done! My e-mail is bruce@christianmusician:disqus .com You can go to our website and read any of our magazines free on-line.
    Lord Bless Ya!
    Bruce Adolph

    1. Thanks Bruce! So, “Becky” is not who we really think she is? (Becky, the woman who some name that represents the process Bruce writes about).
      RK

      1. Hey Rich,
        Sorry I called you Rick 🙂 Early here for a musician…
        You didn’t answer my question, “Can I post your blog as a guest editorial comment in Worship Musician! magazine? I would use it in the Mar/Apr.issue (this one features one of my favorite worship leaders/teachers Paul Baloche).
        Please let me know and send over Part 1 & 2 together if you can.
        Thanks!
        Bruce

        1. Of course you can print it. I will email you later today to copy from both articles.Rich Kirkpatrick

  98. Hi Rick,
    This reminds me of a editor’s piece I wrote a few years back in my magazine Christian Musician. I think I titled it, “Soccer Moms are Killing Art” and it was about how Christian radio stations are pre-screening music with listening test rooms full of soccer moms (if your music can’t sell Volvos then you don’t get played 🙂

    The high repetition of just 25 songs in your play list drives out a variety of good artistic music and leaves you with a narrow bandwidth of songs. In the article I actually turn the blame on corporate Christian radio and allude to the fact that soccer moms are more hip than radio stations give them credit for.

    One more interesting point is that women can listen and sustain the “song repetition syndrome” far longer than men can. It drives me nuts to turn on Christian radio and just hear the same songs over and over again.

    I may of heard that Led Zepplin song 75 times in my life time but if I turn on Christian radio I could hear that Casting Crowns song 70 times in the last month.

    I also publish Worship Musician! magazine – if you are interested I would like to post this blog in an upcoming issue (we would of course place a photo and bio for you) so people know the source of it.

    Can you send me the Part 2 you mention as well? I may keep them together as one article if you are inclined.

    Anyway, well done! My e-mail is bruce@christianmusician:disqus .com You can go to our website and read any of our magazines free on-line.

    Lord Bless Ya!

    Bruce Adolph

    1. Thanks Bruce! So, “Becky” is not who we really think she is? (Becky, the woman who some name that represents the process Bruce writes about).
      RK

      1. Hey Rich,
        Sorry I called you Rick 🙂 Early here for a musician…
        You didn’t answer my question, “Can I post your blog as a guest editorial comment in Worship Musician! magazine? I would use it in the Mar/Apr.issue (this one features one of my favorite worship leaders/teachers Paul Baloche).

        Please let me know and send over Part 1 & 2 together if you can.

        Thanks!

        Bruce

        1. Of course you can print it. I will email you later today to copy from both articles.Rich Kirkpatrick

  99. Hi Rick,
    This reminds me of a editor’s piece I wrote a few years back in my magazine Christian Musician. I think I titled it, “Soccer Moms are Killing Art” and it was about how Christian radio stations are pre-screening music with listening test rooms full of soccer moms (if your music can’t sell Volvos then you don’t get played 🙂

    The high repetition of just 25 songs in your play list drives out a variety of good artistic music and leaves you with a narrow bandwidth of songs. In the article I actually turn the blame on corporate Christian radio and allude to the fact that soccer moms are more hip than radio stations give them credit for.

    One more interesting point is that women can listen and sustain the “song repetition syndrome” far longer than men can. It drives me nuts to turn on Christian radio and just hear the same songs over and over again.

    I may of heard that Led Zepplin song 75 times in my life time but if I turn on Christian radio I could hear that Casting Crowns song 70 times in the last month.

    I also publish Worship Musician! magazine – if you are interested I would like to post this blog in an upcoming issue (we would of course place a photo and bio for you) so people know the source of it.

    Can you send me the Part 2 you mention as well? I may keep them together as one article if you are inclined.

    Anyway, well done! My e-mail is bruce@christianmusician:disqus .com You can go to our website and read any of our magazines free on-line.

    Lord Bless Ya!

    Bruce Adolph

    1. Thanks Bruce! So, “Becky” is not who we really think she is? (Becky, the woman who some name that represents the process Bruce writes about).
      RK

      1. Hey Rich,
        Sorry I called you Rick 🙂 Early here for a musician…
        You didn’t answer my question, “Can I post your blog as a guest editorial comment in Worship Musician! magazine? I would use it in the Mar/Apr.issue (this one features one of my favorite worship leaders/teachers Paul Baloche).

        Please let me know and send over Part 1 & 2 together if you can.

        Thanks!

        Bruce

        1. Of course you can print it. I will email you later today to copy from both articles.Rich Kirkpatrick

  100. Hi Rick,
    This reminds me of a editor’s piece I wrote a few years back in my magazine Christian Musician. I think I titled it, “Soccer Moms are Killing Art” and it was about how Christian radio stations are pre-screening music with listening test rooms full of soccer moms (if your music can’t sell Volvos then you don’t get played 🙂

    The high repetition of just 25 songs in your play list drives out a variety of good artistic music and leaves you with a narrow bandwidth of songs. In the article I actually turn the blame on corporate Christian radio and allude to the fact that soccer moms are more hip than radio stations give them credit for.

    One more interesting point is that women can listen and sustain the “song repetition syndrome” far longer than men can. It drives me nuts to turn on Christian radio and just hear the same songs over and over again.

    I may of heard that Led Zepplin song 75 times in my life time but if I turn on Christian radio I could hear that Casting Crowns song 70 times in the last month.

    I also publish Worship Musician! magazine – if you are interested I would like to post this blog in an upcoming issue (we would of course place a photo and bio for you) so people know the source of it.

    Can you send me the Part 2 you mention as well? I may keep them together as one article if you are inclined.

    Anyway, well done! My e-mail is bruce@christianmusician:disqus .com You can go to our website and read any of our magazines free on-line.

    Lord Bless Ya!

    Bruce Adolph

    1. Thanks Bruce! So, “Becky” is not who we really think she is? (Becky, the woman who some name that represents the process Bruce writes about).
      RK

      1. Hey Rich,
        Sorry I called you Rick 🙂 Early here for a musician…
        You didn’t answer my question, “Can I post your blog as a guest editorial comment in Worship Musician! magazine? I would use it in the Mar/Apr.issue (this one features one of my favorite worship leaders/teachers Paul Baloche).

        Please let me know and send over Part 1 & 2 together if you can.

        Thanks!

        Bruce

        1. Of course you can print it. I will email you later today to copy from both articles.Rich Kirkpatrick

  101. excellent

  102. excellent

  103. excellent

  104. excellent

  105. excellent

  106. I don’t believe that Sunday morning is the place to show case your talent. We are here to help people connect with God. If that means using old hymns, old Hillsongs, or new from the throne room, do it. If God’s anointing is on it, go for it. Instead of being an “Artist” be a “Worshipper”.

    1. I agree with your premise. However, if you don’t know your own people you misuse and cheapen if the first choice is to buy off the shelf and not study for your own sermon. I am sure you would want a pastor who actually studies and writes and listens to God rather than rip off another pastors stuff and be lazy. If in study I learn from and borrow that is fine. But I think you think this is just about music. It is not. Being a true artist is being a servant.BTW–being an artist is not in conflict with being a worshiper. We worship not jut by what we do but by who we are. In God’s image we are created as sub-creators. It’s not about what songs, it’s about who we are. It is sad that some want to borrow another persons words as an offering without making it their own and because they fear working hard enough to create ther own. Again, “both and” thinking needs to be here. Let’s not be so narrow to dismiss innovation. Fear not! 🙂
      RK

  107. I don’t believe that Sunday morning is the place to show case your talent. We are here to help people connect with God. If that means using old hymns, old Hillsongs, or new from the throne room, do it. If God’s anointing is on it, go for it. Instead of being an “Artist” be a “Worshipper”.

    1. I agree with your premise. However, if you don’t know your own people you misuse and cheapen if the first choice is to buy off the shelf and not study for your own sermon. I am sure you would want a pastor who actually studies and writes and listens to God rather than rip off another pastors stuff and be lazy. If in study I learn from and borrow that is fine. But I think you think this is just about music. It is not. Being a true artist is being a servant.BTW–being an artist is not in conflict with being a worshiper. We worship not jut by what we do but by who we are. In God’s image we are created as sub-creators. It’s not about what songs, it’s about who we are. It is sad that some want to borrow another persons words as an offering without making it their own and because they fear working hard enough to create ther own. Again, “both and” thinking needs to be here. Let’s not be so narrow to dismiss innovation. Fear not! 🙂
      RK

  108. I don’t believe that Sunday morning is the place to show case your talent. We are here to help people connect with God. If that means using old hymns, old Hillsongs, or new from the throne room, do it. If God’s anointing is on it, go for it. Instead of being an “Artist” be a “Worshipper”.

    1. I agree with your premise. However, if you don’t know your own people you misuse and cheapen if the first choice is to buy off the shelf and not study for your own sermon. I am sure you would want a pastor who actually studies and writes and listens to God rather than rip off another pastors stuff and be lazy. If in study I learn from and borrow that is fine. But I think you think this is just about music. It is not. Being a true artist is being a servant.BTW–being an artist is not in conflict with being a worshiper. We worship not jut by what we do but by who we are. In God’s image we are created as sub-creators. It’s not about what songs, it’s about who we are. It is sad that some want to borrow another persons words as an offering without making it their own and because they fear working hard enough to create ther own. Again, “both and” thinking needs to be here. Let’s not be so narrow to dismiss innovation. Fear not! 🙂
      RK

  109. I don’t believe that Sunday morning is the place to show case your talent. We are here to help people connect with God. If that means using old hymns, old Hillsongs, or new from the throne room, do it. If God’s anointing is on it, go for it. Instead of being an “Artist” be a “Worshipper”.

    1. I agree with your premise. However, if you don’t know your own people you misuse and cheapen if the first choice is to buy off the shelf and not study for your own sermon. I am sure you would want a pastor who actually studies and writes and listens to God rather than rip off another pastors stuff and be lazy. If in study I learn from and borrow that is fine. But I think you think this is just about music. It is not. Being a true artist is being a servant.BTW–being an artist is not in conflict with being a worshiper. We worship not jut by what we do but by who we are. In God’s image we are created as sub-creators. It’s not about what songs, it’s about who we are. It is sad that some want to borrow another persons words as an offering without making it their own and because they fear working hard enough to create ther own. Again, “both and” thinking needs to be here. Let’s not be so narrow to dismiss innovation. Fear not! 🙂
      RK

  110. I don’t believe that Sunday morning is the place to show case your talent. We are here to help people connect with God. If that means using old hymns, old Hillsongs, or new from the throne room, do it. If God’s anointing is on it, go for it. Instead of being an “Artist” be a “Worshipper”.

    1. I agree with your premise. However, if you don’t know your own people you misuse and cheapen if the first choice is to buy off the shelf and not study for your own sermon. I am sure you would want a pastor who actually studies and writes and listens to God rather than rip off another pastors stuff and be lazy. If in study I learn from and borrow that is fine. But I think you think this is just about music. It is not. Being a true artist is being a servant.BTW–being an artist is not in conflict with being a worshiper. We worship not jut by what we do but by who we are. In God’s image we are created as sub-creators. It’s not about what songs, it’s about who we are. It is sad that some want to borrow another persons words as an offering without making it their own and because they fear working hard enough to create ther own. Again, “both and” thinking needs to be here. Let’s not be so narrow to dismiss innovation. Fear not! 🙂
      RK

  111. Rich, good article. I read a similar (longer) article with a different approach here: http://gungormusic.com/2011/11/zombies-wine-and-christian-music/ 
    I had a couple questions after reading your article: 
    (1) What is the difference between “creative” and “truly creative”? Or “uncreative” and “creative”?
    (2) What do you mean by saying “we must measure the ends instead of the means?”
    (3) Does “creativity” ever cease to be “creative”? At what point? For example, people have been rearranging hymns for years–at what point do you say “That is no longer creative”? Or, musicians have been writing new music forever, why are some writers “creative” and others “unoriginal?” 
    (4) Is “different” synonymous with “creative?” 

    I certainly agree with you that most church music is a lame man’s shot at copying someone else’s style, and most of the time it is done poorly. I ask these questions because I have concerns about creativity being the trump card and being abused by some churches and, too, because I am passionate about music and lyrics meeting to release the pent up emotion in the soul of the believer in prayers of praise, gratitude, repentance. 

    As a singer-songwriter, rearranging hymns and contemporary worship songs alike, I thought I had found my creative niche, yet I’ve been criticized as being uncreative. People communicate opposite perspectives on two different wavelengths, all guised by the word “creativity.” 

    Creativity is a dangerous animal. Some creative people create crap. Some creative preachers create heresy. Some creative musicians create music that will never be singable in churches. The work of the church is not all about creativity (you would undoubtedly agree,) but it’s about treasuring God together and sending people out the doors into real life on mission.

    1. I will not here fully answer question #1 because it has little context to this post. However, “Innovation” is really a context with this word “creativity”. The other two questions should be answered in the context of the statement they were given:
      “We create not because creating is our goal, but to create indigenously means the people I serve, the people I am called to reach and the city I live in matter.”

      People mattering is the issue. Read the second part of the post, as well. That might help you understand the thread of thinking. 

      The main abuse of creativity is the depraved destruction of it’s purpose. More likely than not, it is the lack of being innovators that leads to not connect, communicate or lead our people well. And, in our worship it is sad to see us give up so easily as to simply copy rather than do our homework. When people matter, we treat them like people.

      RK

  112. Rich, good article. I read a similar (longer) article with a different approach here: http://gungormusic.com/2011/11/zombies-wine-and-christian-music/ 
    I had a couple questions after reading your article: 
    (1) What is the difference between “creative” and “truly creative”? Or “uncreative” and “creative”?
    (2) What do you mean by saying “we must measure the ends instead of the means?”
    (3) Does “creativity” ever cease to be “creative”? At what point? For example, people have been rearranging hymns for years–at what point do you say “That is no longer creative”? Or, musicians have been writing new music forever, why are some writers “creative” and others “unoriginal?” 
    (4) Is “different” synonymous with “creative?” 
    I certainly agree with you that most church music is a lame man’s shot at copying someone else’s style, and most of the time it is done poorly. I ask these questions because I have concerns about creativity being the trump card and being abused by some churches and, too, because I am passionate about music and lyrics meeting to release the pent up emotion in the soul of the believer in prayers of praise, gratitude, repentance. 
    As a singer-songwriter, rearranging hymns and contemporary worship songs alike, I thought I had found my creative niche, yet I’ve been criticized as being uncreative. People communicate opposite perspectives on two different wavelengths, all guised by the word “creativity.” 
    Creativity is a dangerous animal. Some creative people create crap. Some creative preachers create heresy. Some creative musicians create music that will never be singable in churches. The work of the church is not all about creativity (you would undoubtedly agree,) but it’s about treasuring God together and sending people out the doors into real life on mission.

    1. I will not here fully answer question #1 because it has little context to this post. However, “Innovation” is really a context with this word “creativity”. The other two questions should be answered in the context of the statement they were given:
      “We create not because creating is our goal, but to create indigenously means the people I serve, the people I am called to reach and the city I live in matter.”
      People mattering is the issue. Read the second part of the post, as well. That might help you understand the thread of thinking. 
      The main abuse of creativity is the depraved destruction of it’s purpose. More likely than not, it is the lack of being innovators that leads to not connect, communicate or lead our people well. And, in our worship it is sad to see us give up so easily as to simply copy rather than do our homework. When people matter, we treat them like people.
      RK

  113. Rich, good article. I read a similar (longer) article with a different approach here: http://gungormusic.com/2011/11/zombies-wine-and-christian-music/ 
    I had a couple questions after reading your article: 
    (1) What is the difference between “creative” and “truly creative”? Or “uncreative” and “creative”?
    (2) What do you mean by saying “we must measure the ends instead of the means?”
    (3) Does “creativity” ever cease to be “creative”? At what point? For example, people have been rearranging hymns for years–at what point do you say “That is no longer creative”? Or, musicians have been writing new music forever, why are some writers “creative” and others “unoriginal?” 
    (4) Is “different” synonymous with “creative?” 

    I certainly agree with you that most church music is a lame man’s shot at copying someone else’s style, and most of the time it is done poorly. I ask these questions because I have concerns about creativity being the trump card and being abused by some churches and, too, because I am passionate about music and lyrics meeting to release the pent up emotion in the soul of the believer in prayers of praise, gratitude, repentance. 

    As a singer-songwriter, rearranging hymns and contemporary worship songs alike, I thought I had found my creative niche, yet I’ve been criticized as being uncreative. People communicate opposite perspectives on two different wavelengths, all guised by the word “creativity.” 

    Creativity is a dangerous animal. Some creative people create crap. Some creative preachers create heresy. Some creative musicians create music that will never be singable in churches. The work of the church is not all about creativity (you would undoubtedly agree,) but it’s about treasuring God together and sending people out the doors into real life on mission.

    1. I will not here fully answer question #1 because it has little context to this post. However, “Innovation” is really a context with this word “creativity”. The other two questions should be answered in the context of the statement they were given:
      “We create not because creating is our goal, but to create indigenously means the people I serve, the people I am called to reach and the city I live in matter.”

      People mattering is the issue. Read the second part of the post, as well. That might help you understand the thread of thinking. 

      The main abuse of creativity is the depraved destruction of it’s purpose. More likely than not, it is the lack of being innovators that leads to not connect, communicate or lead our people well. And, in our worship it is sad to see us give up so easily as to simply copy rather than do our homework. When people matter, we treat them like people.

      RK

  114. Rich, good article. I read a similar (longer) article with a different approach here: http://gungormusic.com/2011/11/zombies-wine-and-christian-music/ 
    I had a couple questions after reading your article: 
    (1) What is the difference between “creative” and “truly creative”? Or “uncreative” and “creative”?
    (2) What do you mean by saying “we must measure the ends instead of the means?”
    (3) Does “creativity” ever cease to be “creative”? At what point? For example, people have been rearranging hymns for years–at what point do you say “That is no longer creative”? Or, musicians have been writing new music forever, why are some writers “creative” and others “unoriginal?” 
    (4) Is “different” synonymous with “creative?” 

    I certainly agree with you that most church music is a lame man’s shot at copying someone else’s style, and most of the time it is done poorly. I ask these questions because I have concerns about creativity being the trump card and being abused by some churches and, too, because I am passionate about music and lyrics meeting to release the pent up emotion in the soul of the believer in prayers of praise, gratitude, repentance. 

    As a singer-songwriter, rearranging hymns and contemporary worship songs alike, I thought I had found my creative niche, yet I’ve been criticized as being uncreative. People communicate opposite perspectives on two different wavelengths, all guised by the word “creativity.” 

    Creativity is a dangerous animal. Some creative people create crap. Some creative preachers create heresy. Some creative musicians create music that will never be singable in churches. The work of the church is not all about creativity (you would undoubtedly agree,) but it’s about treasuring God together and sending people out the doors into real life on mission.

    1. I will not here fully answer question #1 because it has little context to this post. However, “Innovation” is really a context with this word “creativity”. The other two questions should be answered in the context of the statement they were given:
      “We create not because creating is our goal, but to create indigenously means the people I serve, the people I am called to reach and the city I live in matter.”

      People mattering is the issue. Read the second part of the post, as well. That might help you understand the thread of thinking. 

      The main abuse of creativity is the depraved destruction of it’s purpose. More likely than not, it is the lack of being innovators that leads to not connect, communicate or lead our people well. And, in our worship it is sad to see us give up so easily as to simply copy rather than do our homework. When people matter, we treat them like people.

      RK

  115. Rich, good article. I read a similar (longer) article with a different approach here: http://gungormusic.com/2011/11/zombies-wine-and-christian-music/ 
    I had a couple questions after reading your article: 
    (1) What is the difference between “creative” and “truly creative”? Or “uncreative” and “creative”?
    (2) What do you mean by saying “we must measure the ends instead of the means?”
    (3) Does “creativity” ever cease to be “creative”? At what point? For example, people have been rearranging hymns for years–at what point do you say “That is no longer creative”? Or, musicians have been writing new music forever, why are some writers “creative” and others “unoriginal?” 
    (4) Is “different” synonymous with “creative?” 

    I certainly agree with you that most church music is a lame man’s shot at copying someone else’s style, and most of the time it is done poorly. I ask these questions because I have concerns about creativity being the trump card and being abused by some churches and, too, because I am passionate about music and lyrics meeting to release the pent up emotion in the soul of the believer in prayers of praise, gratitude, repentance. 

    As a singer-songwriter, rearranging hymns and contemporary worship songs alike, I thought I had found my creative niche, yet I’ve been criticized as being uncreative. People communicate opposite perspectives on two different wavelengths, all guised by the word “creativity.” 

    Creativity is a dangerous animal. Some creative people create crap. Some creative preachers create heresy. Some creative musicians create music that will never be singable in churches. The work of the church is not all about creativity (you would undoubtedly agree,) but it’s about treasuring God together and sending people out the doors into real life on mission.

    1. I will not here fully answer question #1 because it has little context to this post. However, “Innovation” is really a context with this word “creativity”. The other two questions should be answered in the context of the statement they were given:
      “We create not because creating is our goal, but to create indigenously means the people I serve, the people I am called to reach and the city I live in matter.”

      People mattering is the issue. Read the second part of the post, as well. That might help you understand the thread of thinking. 

      The main abuse of creativity is the depraved destruction of it’s purpose. More likely than not, it is the lack of being innovators that leads to not connect, communicate or lead our people well. And, in our worship it is sad to see us give up so easily as to simply copy rather than do our homework. When people matter, we treat them like people.

      RK

  116. (ducking at the brick that whizzes by my head) I am sure cut and paste and popularity can inadvertently mask something that was really creative. But there is nothing new under the sun; for example. All the “new” music we create is just a rehash or mentally pureed output of our experiences (auditorial, visual, sensual etc). its “new” to other people, but its really not new to existence, or God for that matter.  Its like your limited by ingredients in a kitchen, and your trying to make something new. BUT… we live in a true reality, and it is true that each on of us is living a new life that did not exist before. While i am sure a similar person that made similar choices existed (or will), you are when it comes to salvation, are a NEW creation. So.. with that said, what was old to some, is new to others. (Ouch, this echoes a tad of the greeks in the bible, that looked for experiences instead of truth, and found satisfaction in the wrong place.)  and again, your new is someone else’s old, even though …  wait..

    I’m lost..  ok. there was a mollusk and a sea cucumber.. wait..  umm..

    1. Thanks for the comment!
      Erwin McManus made a good point. Who says Solomon is right?(After all poetry should be carefully applied to theology). Why do we take one verse and then use it to deny the “image of God” that is our nature to be creative? For instance, God is creative still today, making each of us out of the same dust. We indeed are unique. DNA proves that. The iPad is something new–the printing press was and then now so is out our English language. That materials may be the same atoms, but still new things!
      Creating is indeed our call but Christians call a fake Nike logo a Tshirt that says “he did it” creative. Not! We can surely lead worship or preach by covering material. But, we would never cut and paste western music to a tribe rather than encourage them to worship in their own tongue.
      RK

  117. (ducking at the brick that whizzes by my head) I am sure cut and paste and popularity can inadvertently mask something that was really creative. But there is nothing new under the sun; for example. All the “new” music we create is just a rehash or mentally pureed output of our experiences (auditorial, visual, sensual etc). its “new” to other people, but its really not new to existence, or God for that matter.  Its like your limited by ingredients in a kitchen, and your trying to make something new. BUT… we live in a true reality, and it is true that each on of us is living a new life that did not exist before. While i am sure a similar person that made similar choices existed (or will), you are when it comes to salvation, are a NEW creation. So.. with that said, what was old to some, is new to others. (Ouch, this echoes a tad of the greeks in the bible, that looked for experiences instead of truth, and found satisfaction in the wrong place.)  and again, your new is someone else’s old, even though …  wait..
    I’m lost..  ok. there was a mollusk and a sea cucumber.. wait..  umm..

    1. Thanks for the comment!
      Erwin McManus made a good point. Who says Solomon is right?(After all poetry should be carefully applied to theology). Why do we take one verse and then use it to deny the “image of God” that is our nature to be creative? For instance, God is creative still today, making each of us out of the same dust. We indeed are unique. DNA proves that. The iPad is something new–the printing press was and then now so is out our English language. That materials may be the same atoms, but still new things!
      Creating is indeed our call but Christians call a fake Nike logo a Tshirt that says “he did it” creative. Not! We can surely lead worship or preach by covering material. But, we would never cut and paste western music to a tribe rather than encourage them to worship in their own tongue.
      RK

  118. (ducking at the brick that whizzes by my head) I am sure cut and paste and popularity can inadvertently mask something that was really creative. But there is nothing new under the sun; for example. All the “new” music we create is just a rehash or mentally pureed output of our experiences (auditorial, visual, sensual etc). its “new” to other people, but its really not new to existence, or God for that matter.  Its like your limited by ingredients in a kitchen, and your trying to make something new. BUT… we live in a true reality, and it is true that each on of us is living a new life that did not exist before. While i am sure a similar person that made similar choices existed (or will), you are when it comes to salvation, are a NEW creation. So.. with that said, what was old to some, is new to others. (Ouch, this echoes a tad of the greeks in the bible, that looked for experiences instead of truth, and found satisfaction in the wrong place.)  and again, your new is someone else’s old, even though …  wait..

    I’m lost..  ok. there was a mollusk and a sea cucumber.. wait..  umm..

    1. Thanks for the comment!
      Erwin McManus made a good point. Who says Solomon is right?(After all poetry should be carefully applied to theology). Why do we take one verse and then use it to deny the “image of God” that is our nature to be creative? For instance, God is creative still today, making each of us out of the same dust. We indeed are unique. DNA proves that. The iPad is something new–the printing press was and then now so is out our English language. That materials may be the same atoms, but still new things!
      Creating is indeed our call but Christians call a fake Nike logo a Tshirt that says “he did it” creative. Not! We can surely lead worship or preach by covering material. But, we would never cut and paste western music to a tribe rather than encourage them to worship in their own tongue.
      RK

  119. (ducking at the brick that whizzes by my head) I am sure cut and paste and popularity can inadvertently mask something that was really creative. But there is nothing new under the sun; for example. All the “new” music we create is just a rehash or mentally pureed output of our experiences (auditorial, visual, sensual etc). its “new” to other people, but its really not new to existence, or God for that matter.  Its like your limited by ingredients in a kitchen, and your trying to make something new. BUT… we live in a true reality, and it is true that each on of us is living a new life that did not exist before. While i am sure a similar person that made similar choices existed (or will), you are when it comes to salvation, are a NEW creation. So.. with that said, what was old to some, is new to others. (Ouch, this echoes a tad of the greeks in the bible, that looked for experiences instead of truth, and found satisfaction in the wrong place.)  and again, your new is someone else’s old, even though …  wait..

    I’m lost..  ok. there was a mollusk and a sea cucumber.. wait..  umm..

    1. Thanks for the comment!
      Erwin McManus made a good point. Who says Solomon is right?(After all poetry should be carefully applied to theology). Why do we take one verse and then use it to deny the “image of God” that is our nature to be creative? For instance, God is creative still today, making each of us out of the same dust. We indeed are unique. DNA proves that. The iPad is something new–the printing press was and then now so is out our English language. That materials may be the same atoms, but still new things!
      Creating is indeed our call but Christians call a fake Nike logo a Tshirt that says “he did it” creative. Not! We can surely lead worship or preach by covering material. But, we would never cut and paste western music to a tribe rather than encourage them to worship in their own tongue.
      RK

  120. (ducking at the brick that whizzes by my head) I am sure cut and paste and popularity can inadvertently mask something that was really creative. But there is nothing new under the sun; for example. All the “new” music we create is just a rehash or mentally pureed output of our experiences (auditorial, visual, sensual etc). its “new” to other people, but its really not new to existence, or God for that matter.  Its like your limited by ingredients in a kitchen, and your trying to make something new. BUT… we live in a true reality, and it is true that each on of us is living a new life that did not exist before. While i am sure a similar person that made similar choices existed (or will), you are when it comes to salvation, are a NEW creation. So.. with that said, what was old to some, is new to others. (Ouch, this echoes a tad of the greeks in the bible, that looked for experiences instead of truth, and found satisfaction in the wrong place.)  and again, your new is someone else’s old, even though …  wait..

    I’m lost..  ok. there was a mollusk and a sea cucumber.. wait..  umm..

    1. Thanks for the comment!
      Erwin McManus made a good point. Who says Solomon is right?(After all poetry should be carefully applied to theology). Why do we take one verse and then use it to deny the “image of God” that is our nature to be creative? For instance, God is creative still today, making each of us out of the same dust. We indeed are unique. DNA proves that. The iPad is something new–the printing press was and then now so is out our English language. That materials may be the same atoms, but still new things!
      Creating is indeed our call but Christians call a fake Nike logo a Tshirt that says “he did it” creative. Not! We can surely lead worship or preach by covering material. But, we would never cut and paste western music to a tribe rather than encourage them to worship in their own tongue.
      RK

  121.  You are right dude, i just can’t see the thing like creativity today, if you just leave few then all other, you will be find who are just doing cut paste that’s it.

  122.  You are right dude, i just can’t see the thing like creativity today, if you just leave few then all other, you will be find who are just doing cut paste that’s it.

  123.  You are right dude, i just can’t see the thing like creativity today, if you just leave few then all other, you will be find who are just doing cut paste that’s it.

  124.  You are right dude, i just can’t see the thing like creativity today, if you just leave few then all other, you will be find who are just doing cut paste that’s it.

  125.  You are right dude, i just can’t see the thing like creativity today, if you just leave few then all other, you will be find who are just doing cut paste that’s it.

  126. Rich,
    Excellent article. I for one tend to buck this trend, but it is because I am a worship leader at a small church, and often I do not have a band to play with me so a set is whatever I can put together to do on a single acoustic. I am not much for click and loop tracks when its solo acoustic, because I feel they hinder my ability to flow spontaneously with the points that are hitting the congregation well. For instance the other day a bridge really resonated so we repeated it for 3 minutes until that feeling had waned, but with loops it is really hard to do that.

    As for the hipster look, I do like to wear the vest, but mostly I am in jeans and a button down with my sandals, so I don’t fit that hipster image, I am not cool enough for skinny jeans, and Tom’s don’t come in my size. lol.

    I fully agree about cookie cutter creativity. I often feel that you can take Chris Tomlin and have him switch with Jesus Culture’s Chris Quilala, and people wouldn’t immediately notice. Or have Matt Redman switch with Joel Houston, etc… so many of our popular worship bands these days all have a similar sound.

    I try, even when playing with a full band, to have something unique to my sound, which lately has been causing me to move more in a blues revue / acoustic blues style. Even if I sing the same songs they come out different because I rearrange them to fit with the people I am playing with. I think more of us need to learn to do that for ourselves.

    Well written article Rich, thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply