Memo to worship bands

Hey, worship bands, were not here to see you perform.
Hey, worship bands, we're not here to see you perform.

John Stackhouse, in an article in Christianity Today, gives five reasons why worship bands should turn down the volume. Stackhouse isn’t some cranky old person, but he’s tired of worship bands who may have lost their focus:

No, the contrast with the Reformation is the modern-day insistence that a few people at the front be the center of attention. We do it by making six band members louder than a room full of people. But a church service isn’t a concert at which an audience sings along with the real performers. Musicians—every one of them, including the singers—are accompanists to the congregation’s praise. They should be mixed loudly enough only to do their job of leading and supporting the congregation.

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4 thoughts on “Memo to worship bands

  1. Amen to that.

    Interestingly, one of the best musically modern church services I’ve been in was a somewhat charismatic church we visited just after moving to AR. I really enjoyed the music during the service, even though the songs were not necessarily novel. The band played well, AND the music leader didn’t say a word during the whole thing. He just led music.

    It was refreshing. You could tell he was there in reverence, worshiping.

  2. Oh, and with respect to the musicians being front and center, made me think of some Lutheran services I’ve been in where the band/organ/orchestra is in the balcony. Not only is it less distracting, the acoustics (IIRC) are great!

  3. Obviously, from my perspective this is a sensitive subject. I don’t think the worship team at BBC is overly loud, but I do feel there is a great temptation to focus on those people on the platform and misdirect your worship. That said, I enjoy live music because I think it encourages people to think about not just singing their praises but to praise through music.

    As far as your first comment, I agree with what you’re saying. There is a real danger, in my opinion, with how we use our words during a service. If you haven’t really thought through what you’re going to say, then don’t say something that may come off as glib. That is distracting to worship.

  4. Aye, it’s a touchy subject in most churches, and most church circles. Music is powerful, and thus draws out of us very strong opinions. The CT article pretty much summed it up for me, but there’s never an easy answer on the congregational level.

    And BBC’s music hasn’t ever been loud that I recall, certainly not like other Sunday morning venues — including my own here in AR, although it’s a bit odd on account of the volume seeming to have gone up a few notches just in the last couple months. It bothers me less during the service, personally, than before and after when a person is trying to converse and make lunch plans anyway.

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