Worship Wars … this is a phenomenon that will not be settled this generation, nor any coming generation. The style and tempo and tunes of the music we use in worship are somethings we love to sit around and talk about (a nice way to say we demand our specific desires of song style.). I remember as a wee lad the issue – and I’ve yet to serve at a church that the issue was settled.
I served with a music pastor who said we will be surprised when we get to heaven … though he was as traditional as they came, never using CDs with his choir … he said the variety of songs and styles in heaven will be all over the spectrum. Get ready for it. He is there in heaven now; so Walter, I just get a kick of imagining you sing some Rend Collective and Skillet. You will not be stuck in the Southern Gospel or Bluegrass section!
So what should be answer? I can’t say anything about style (though I do have a preference), but I can say about the purpose and content. God’s Word tells us …
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Singing is important and choosing what songs we use is a vital part of worship planning. They can and should teach us, admonish us, and stir our hearts to worship.
They teach. The music expounds great doctrines, put forth biblical truths, shape our world view, mold our way of living, and reinforce the foundational truths of His Word. I love songs that teach great stories … stories that take a Biblical truth and build from stanza to stanza. And interestingly, many will forget the message from the pastor but will remember the song that raised the same truths before them in musical form.
They admonish. This reminds us of His greatness, of His great works, and our utter reliance on Him. Hymns and praise songs can lift our souls when mired in the muck of this world, can help our soul soar above our circumstances, and encourage us in our walk and service. It prompts us, encourages us, and motivates us. The doubters are renewed, the sinners are reminded of confession, the suffering are given hope, the lost are reconciled, and hopeless are given hope.
They stir our hearts to worship. Music isn’t the worship service. Music is the prompt to worship. They should overflow with praise. It should engage not only our mind (teach) but also our heart (emotions). Songs should make our hears sing, not just our mouth. They should prompt response … at the altar and outside the doors.
In all of this, I have had my iTunes on repeat as I listen to the newer song King of Kings. A powerful tune and a powerful truth.
It teaches our need, His provision. It tells the story of Jesus, from eternity to eternity. It admonishes me to remember and to praise and remember we are to share this truth. It provokes me to praise … praise the Father, praise the Son, and the Spirit three in one.
It starts with my (and your) need … and ends with my resurrection where I will be praising for eternity.
This is a story, a story we all need to hear, know, and hold true.
Praise forever to the King of Kings.
This is His story, this is my story … I will shout it out … is it your story? It can be!
King of King
In the darkness we were waiting
Without hope without light
Till from heaven You came running
There was mercy in Your eyes
To fulfil the law and prophets
To a virgin came the Word
From a throne of endless glory
To a cradle in the dirt
Praise the Father
Praise the Son
Praise the Spirit three in one
God of glory
Praise forever to the King of Kings
To reveal the kingdom coming
And to reconcile the lost
To redeem the whole creation
You did not despise the cross
For even in Your suffering
You saw to the other side
Knowing this was our salvation
Jesus for our sake You died
And the morning that You rose
All of heaven held its breath
Till that stone was moved for good
For the Lamb had conquered death
And the dead rose from their tombs
And the angels stood in awe
For the souls of all who’d come
To the Father are restored
And the Church of Christ was born
Then the Spirit lit the flame
Now this gospel truth of old
Shall not kneel shall not faint
By His blood and in His Name
In His freedom I am free
For the love of Jesus Christ
Who has resurrected me
Words and Music by Jason Ingram, Brooke Ligertwood & Scott Ligertwood