I started going to church again for the first time in a long time last summer. I feel very lucky to have been welcomed into the congregation so warmly and so speedily, and I have since begun playing music with the small worship “band” every Sunday.
The thing is, I find I don’t care for worship music.
(I know, right? Blasphemy at its highest.)
I have been considering it a lot and the deal is this: it has nothing to do with the subject matter, and everything in the way it is presented. So far for the most part, I’m finding it terribly bland and unimaginative. Nine times out of ten (because there is always the exception), the lyrics have no connection to the greater public. There’s no compelling argument, nothing to reach out and grab folks by the lapels and shake ’em. Even the melodic lines are plain — and not typically what you’d call “simply beautiful.” The lyrics and melody stick in the head after the service, sure, but they do so like tacky little commercial jingles. “Praise God for he is great, and great for youuuuuu…”
(Certainly, talented musicians can do amazing things, but to do truly fantastic things they need something better than sub-par material to work with.)
I think most of the music you find in churches is geared toward those who are already Enthusiastic True Believers (frequently seen singing with their hands in the air) — they don’t need convincing, they don’t need any personal connection to the music other than knowing it’s about their God and Savior. For them, that’s enough. Unfortunately, it leaves the rest of us (those who love God and have accepted Him, but are not “on fire” with purpose because they haven’t found it yet) lukewarm or even cold.
Which is my whole beef with worship songs. There needs to be more of them that offer something personal to the listener, in addition to affirming the greatness of God. This is where “Your Voice” came from. I don’t normally write spiritual songs (though music is a spiritual calling for me), but the lackluster songs and state of the world got to me. I was frustrated, sick and weary of hardship. Feeling on the brink of throwing in the damn towel… and then hearing God speak. And knowing, deep in my core, that things will eventually be alright. Because He is awesome. He’s got it all under control. In “Your Voice,” I attempted to offer up something of myself to you who may be listening, in the hopes that you may be able to hear Him, too.
That’s what I want to hear more of in worship music, and I don’t think I’m alone.