« A window into my familyLooking for the best free RSS reader »

Top 5 Worst Worship Songs

Okay, I know, many of you want to string me up after merely reading the title of this post. Let me explain: I'm a jerk. I'm cynical and somewhat of a music snob. In no way have I or would I ever pretend to be able to write a worship song, or any song for that matter, but I have been subjected to numerous worship sets which made me feel like laughing or puking. (Neither option is preferable when singing to the Big Guy.) Additionally, I am the director of our church's Worship Planning Team, so every week I consciously choose to let these and other songs which annoy me to be played, for the good of everyone else. So I am capable of group thinking. I just reserve the right to my opinion. And so do you. (So please tell me your own worst worship song).


5. I Will Not Forget You
I love Waterdeep. I think they are original and fun and somehow still serious and they usually move me in worship like nothing else. Here's the thing--I can't stand when songwriters want to use a word or phrase, then realize that using said phrase would mess up the rhythm of the song, but instead of rethinking the phrase, they add a word. In this case, the word is 'huge'. (As in, "a huge bell I ring"). I usually remain silent on this line or risk bursting into an inappropriate display of worship laughter.


4. Trading My Sorrows

Please don't kill me. I know that a lot of people love this song, particularly the actions (oh my goodness, don't get me started on action songs). This might be a little picky, but what am I if not detail-oriented? The bridge of this song includes the line "Though the sorrow may last for the night" and the music hits on each word in 'last for the night' in such a way that makes me think of hip-shaking. As in: Though the sorrow may last (stick hip out to right) for (to left) the (to right) night (to left). Get it? Anecdote--I was in a worship setting with my friend Marty and we were singing this song. We get to this part of the song, and, I kid you not, Marty does the hip thing. Completely his idea. I almost crapped my pants.


3.Draw Me Close Not a big fan of the emotional 'Jesus is sitting next to me' type songs. "I'd lay it all down again/ To hear you say that I'm your friend." Not so bad, I guess. Just wait. "You are my desire/ No one else will do/ Cause nothing else could take your place/ To feel the warmth of your embrace." What on earth does that mean? Grammatically speaking, we have a monster on our hands. To what does 'to feel the warmth of your embrace' refer? Peter, please back me up on this one.


2. Come, Now is the Time to Worship
This song is one of a few in a category I like to call "Ha, ha. You have to sing me first." For a Worship Planning Team director, this is maddening. Not to mention the weird chorus that doesn't seem to fit and the way we must all say 'come' at the end of the verse in an unnatural sing-whisper.


1. Your Love is Extravagant

I'm pulling out of the 'most recent' file on this one. My friend Hannah introduced me to this song, and when she sings it, it's great. She has a beautiful voice, and I can pretty much ignore whatever she is saying when she's singing. But when forced to sing as a participant, I found this song problematic. (Again, grammatically). "Spread wide in the arms of Christ/ Is the love that covers sin." No one told me we were moving back to Olde English on this one, and I spent an entire morning trying to figure out what I had just sung. I asked like 10 people what it meant, and understood even less when I was done. (I felt like a major idiot because it seemed like everyone else understood what we were saying. Maybe they just didn't care). Later, Danny explained that we were saying "The love that covers sin is spread wide in the arms of Christ." English majors.


Freebies:
Anything with the word 'river' in the title

This includes "Jesus Flow Like a River," "Let the River Flow," and "Dance in the River." My reasoning: no one can legitimately explain what the 'river' signifies. Seriously. Once, my friend Peter (whose list would be MUCH longer than mine) asked people why they liked a song with 'river' in the title. I believe he said, "What exactly is the river?" The answer? "Oh, you know, its Jesus and he's flowing through us. It's like the Spirit or something." Whatever.


Songs with lyrics that don't match the melody
Example: I Could Sing of Your Love Forever Here, we are singing a fun, happy verse, and then we move into the bridge with a depressing sound where we say, "Oh, I feel like dancing….." (Actually, this music makes me feel like crying.) "Like we're dancing now" (By the way, I have never seen anyone dance at this point. False advertising.)



**I Googled this topic and came up with nothing. So, from now on, when anyone wants to find the world's worst worship songs, they will see this list. So, if you want to be a world-famous jerk (and, really, who doesn't?), post your comments.

754 comments

Holy Hell, what a great topic! Peter, if you don’t comment in this, I will start praying now for God to raise an Ebeneezer and drop it on you, and hither by, thoust grace will not come.

Okay so I give a hundred votes to “The Happy Song” by Deleriou5?. This song falls into several of your categories Sara, but also one you failed to mention… one which is my biggest pet peeve of all. Songs that don’t freakin rhyme! Does the writer think that because it’s a worship song, it has the freedom to break the most basic rules of song?

If this were any other type of music (i.e. not worship music), the sheet music wouldn’t be worth sheet (as in the paper it’s written on, wink wink).

Ugh! Just looking at those lyrics… I hate this song for so many reasons. How is it not on your list?? What kind of band makes their name a question anyway? Attention worship leaders: for the love of God, and I mean that, don’t ever play this song again!

-Jared


Jared [Visitor] • http://www.bunkface.com04/23/04 @ 01:47

Are we going to open this up to hymns, too? If so, I would have to mention Night With Ebon Pinion. To this day I do not know what the first line/title means.


Danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com04/23/04 @ 10:09

Romans 16:19 says…


Beth [Visitor]• 04/23/04 @ 10:53

Beth-
I dont know you, but i feel like I should give you a big kiss on the cheek. We sang that song at BSU one week and I kid you not the piano player stopped playing in the middle of the song because he was laughing so hard.
It’s like a cheer/scripture memorization/yell.
WOW i hate that song.
Another one to add is Peaceful Easy Feeling mixed with Amazing Grace.
Both great song when played by themselves.
Makes me want to poke my eyes out when i hear them together


Cole [Visitor]• 04/23/04 @ 16:06

I’ve also heard Amazing Grace to the tune of “Theme from Gilligan’s Island.”


Danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com04/23/04 @ 16:09

yea, the peaceful easy feeling thing drives me crazy.

i think we should just all chant and yell and play hand drums! :)


dave [Visitor] • http://hippydave.brendoman.com04/23/04 @ 16:51

Jared,

It’s a top 5 list. Get it? If I put on all the songs I hated, you’d be reading for a week. But that song is definitely in the top 10.

Since you brought up more categories, how about worship songs that sound exactly like ‘real’ songs. Every time I hear “Every Move I Make", I think “Centerfold” by the J. Guiles band. (Our lead guitarist plays the solo to “Centerfold” everytime we sing it, just to annoy me. Thank you, Bufe.)


sara [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com04/23/04 @ 17:43

Great topic Sara! I would like to add a category of songs with the word Shout in the title. Both “Shout to the Lord” and “Shout to the North” would probably make my top 5 list on the worst worship songs ever. Everytime I sing “Shout to the North” I feel as if I should turn my entire body that direction causing me to begin laughing hysterically at how stupid that would look. I would also like to mention my least favorite lyric from the song- “rise up church with broken wings"..what does that even mean?


Erin [Visitor]• 04/23/04 @ 18:58

lord i lift your name on high…

i. cannot. stand. it. no. longer.


gringo [Visitor] • http://www.whoisgringo.com04/24/04 @ 15:04

I Want to Know You (In The Secret) because lines like “I want to touch you, I want to see your face, I want to know You more,” sound more like something I would sing to my girlfriend and not God. And last time those who saw the face of God died. (Ex 33:18-23)


Ryan [Visitor] • http://www.ryancordell.com/weblog.htm04/25/04 @ 10:36

These lists just make me feel old. I don’t know any of these songs (except the Peaceful easy Grace one). They just don’t write lyrics to Jesus songs like they did back in my day.

Matt “Give me gas in my Ford, keep me truckin’ for the Lord, truckin’ til the break of day!” Sears


[Visitor]• 04/25/04 @ 18:32

Dittos on “I could sing of your love forever.” Actually, it’s quite impossible to sing this song forever because nothing matches up in this song musically (too many words in the verses).

“Lord i lift your name on high.” Very annoying song, especially since you can play the bass line from The Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker” to it…

Lord I lift your name on high…
Lord I love to sing your praises…
I’m so glad you’re in my life WREET-WROW!!


davie d [Visitor] • http://tecs.blogspot.com04/25/04 @ 23:35

I’m still amused by the fact that I think I effectively killed the song “Your Will” after mocking in a Spring Break devotion. For those that don’t remember, its the songs with lyrics that go:

Your will (x 9)
Oh lord, we long to do,
your will.

Doug


Doug [Visitor]• 04/26/04 @ 09:13

Good work. One more comment on “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever". As a friend of mine pointed out one time: “oh, I feel like dancin’… but the music in this song won’t let me!” It’s too slow, too soft; a gentle sway is about the best you could get - if you’re going to talk about dancing, at least give us music with a rhythm that encourages dancing!

I could think of some other songs to nominate, but as someone else wrote in a comment, if they were all up here we’d be reading forever.


Micah [Visitor] • http://www.xanga.com/dcdukie04/26/04 @ 11:57

Night With Ebon Pinion

ebon pinion is “black wing”
referring to the darkness that fell on the earth at the time of jesus death. brooded o’er the vale=it came over the valley.


Mike [Visitor]• 04/27/04 @ 11:02

Wow, thanks for the explanation. But Jesus died in the afternoon (the darkness at his death was from noon until 3) and the song says NIGHT with ebon pinion. What gives?


Danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com04/27/04 @ 13:12

I thought ebon pinion was Latin.
“Ebon” - Pretty
“Pinion” - Weird
But I’m no expert…


Tim [Visitor]• 04/27/04 @ 16:18

You forgot:

We will dance on the streets that are golden. - I’m sorry that song sounds so feminate and Gay.

Hop on The Bus

Mercy is Falling

Great God

Any Third Day song sung in praise and worship. Worship leaders can’t sing the song, they have to imitate the ‘drunken and slurred’ voice of Third Day’s lead singer.

And amen on the ‘river songs’ they value experiences over Scriptures.

BTW, Amazing Grace does sound really cool when sung to the music of Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix.


Totem to Temple [Visitor] • http://availablelightonline.com/blog04/29/04 @ 21:19

My peeve is any song that makes not sense biblically…

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Singing about “dancing in a river while hugging the creator of the universe that sings over me because I’m so special that Jesus will hug me forever while I imagine that angels’ wings are brushing my tears away with a la la hoo yah peaceful easy feeling” seems to me to make a mockery of worship.

We ought not worship for our own pleasure, but rather for His. Anything else is idolotry.


gaw [Visitor]• 04/29/04 @ 23:37

True. Then of course worship isn’t just singing at all. Biblically, we should be singing to God to praise him, yes, but also to build each other up (cf. Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16). Songs which don’t have good theology, make no sense, or are just plain difficult don’t allow us to do either. Experiential songs just work up people with emotions that come from the music rather than from what they feel about God. It just leads to people thinking they’re “experiencing” God when they’re singing, when theologically that’s nonsense.

That said there’s no accounting for different tastes. I like “Lord I lift your name on high” :)


Matthew [Visitor] • http://audienceofone.org.uk/05/03/04 @ 05:36

I hate any worship song that uses instruments…

:)


dave [Visitor] • http://hippydave.brendoman.com05/03/04 @ 09:56

It was nearly 10 years ago when Kelly Jackson & Rob Siemer wrote and distributed among the folks at Truman State (then Northeast Missouri State) a hotly debated list of the top 10 worst worship songs that were sung at CCF at the time. I always hoped that list would be revived with newer songs and a forum for dissing them–but after the stir the first list caused, Rob & Kelly were both a bit gun shy. So thank you, Sara, for making a dream nearly 10 years in the making for me a reality.

My top 5 hated worship song categories:
1. Songs sung among white people that mention dancing: These songs almost universally induce that wacky bob & sway that says, “I’m singing that I’m dancing, but I’m not actually dancing, so to remedy the situation I will awkwardly alternate the bending of my knees to generate body movement.” (The bridge of “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever” is an example.)
2. Songs that, for continuity’s sake, should be split into two or more songs: In these songs, the various components of the song are so unrelated in subject, rhythm, meter, and/or melody that when listening to the finished song I can’t help but think the writer had a notebook where he/she jotted down song ideas and one day decided that none of the songs would ever get finished so he/she just slapped them all together under the convenient titles of verse, chorus, and bridge. ("Trading My Sorrows” is the classic example.)
3. Songs where only the worship leader can follow the rhythm and/or melody because the songs are more conducive to performance than to corporate worship experience: These songs can be great songs of themselves, so it’s more a criticism of their choice as worship songs than a criticism of the actual songs. (Most Third Day & Waterdeep songs fall into this category for me.)
4. Songs sung as worship that are written in first person from the perspective of God: Again, many of these songs are songs I like, but I don’t like singing them in worship primarily because I am not God and feel rather awkward singing in worship to Him “as” Him. (Rich Mullins “That Where I Am"–if that’s the official title of the song–is a good example of this: a song I like to sing in my car or walking down the street to remind me of God’s presence & promises, but not one I like to sing in corporate worship.)
5. Songs that make sweeping generalizations about the state of those singing: When I get to a line in a song that makes a statement about how I’m feeling or supposed to be feeling, but does not correspond with reality, I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to do with that. I guess this is part of a broader category that I don’t feel should be banned altogether, but do feel should be quite limited in the worship experience, and that is songs about us in general. I’m no worship expert, but I’m pretty sure that worship is supposed to be about God and maybe slightly about how we relate to God, but definitely not about us. And my biggest pet peeve in this category is songs that claim to be about God, but are primarily about us. ("Heart of Worship” is probably my most hated song in this category because I don’t like singing “I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it” when I don’t generally feel this way and additionally, who’s this song about? Oh yeah, it’s about me and about how I’m coming back and about how sorry I am.)
6 (bonus) Songs that replace one word and create a whole new verse: I hate these songs because oftentimes, especially if I’m in another room listening, I have no idea what they’re actually singing. ("Holiness” is the best example because almost every time I hear a group of people singing that song, it pretty much sounds like, “Nana-ness, Nana-ness is what I long for/ Nana-ness is what I need…"; and on that song, what’s with the key change on “brokenness"? Is that the high point?)

I could go on and on but I really should be working.

Beth “skittles” Siemer


skittles [Visitor]• 05/03/04 @ 14:10

I’d like to see Rob’s list. I may not know all of the songs (I was in junior high when he wrote it), but it would still be fun. I agree with most of what you said, but I wouldn’t put ‘I’m trading my sorrows’ into category 2. I think it holds together thematically pretty well. I might place it in the bad song category: songs that repeat 2 words 40 times and call it a chorus. Doug’s favorite, ‘Your will’ would also fit in there.

In number four, I hate singing “For I am the Lord your God” in the song “Isaiah 43″.


danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com05/03/04 @ 17:16

The worship song I always hated the most was “as the deer panteth for the water.” yes, I know that’s right out of the bible, but it always gave me the mental image of a stupid cartoon deer panting after God. What kind of word is panteth anyway? The rest of the song is pretty weak, too.


evilsciencechick [Visitor] • http://evilsciencechick.blogspot.com05/03/04 @ 20:10

Well i have found my home. I didnt realise this level of cynicism existed out of my own head. Three further thoughts - what is it with the nondescript Guitar chord at the start of most Redman and Hughes songs is it the signpost for the opening of a bland track. And what about this lyric ‘my lovers breath is sweetest wine’ - now that may be scripture (I dont know to be honest) and it prob makes sense in bible but that does not make any sense its mixed metaphors, weak imagery and just awful. And if you are ever at heaton baptist church, newcastle at harvest time then you have to go to hear the Harvest Rap. A middleaged man will get up and to some phat bass rap about harvest time (Praise him for the corn, praise him for the wheat, praise him for the frass that grows beneath my feet). I collapsed with laughter - people thought it was the holy spirit coming upon me. They were laying hands and everything. And we wonder why we cant fill the pews - comedy like that should be publicised. Still kepp up the good work, its admirable - controversial one but I wish Delirious would stop shouting to the darned North im sick of it. And im spent.


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 05/08/04 @ 14:33

Oh and I forgot the bastard fusing of the tune to Auld Lang Syne’s tune to the lords prayer. For his next trick Cliff Richard is gluing the front end of a cow to the arse of a rat.


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 05/08/04 @ 14:37

Ah a place to vent!

In no certain order

1) “You Alone” by David Crowder, the supposed “future” of CCM-praise. If so, I’m scrambling to the nearest Fundy Baptist church in no time. The lyrics “I bow all of my down at your feet” and “You Alone are God” are fine, I guess (but some we’ve heard a thousand times before). However, stuck in the middle like an unsightly birthmark is the key-change and the chanting of “I’m alive!” no less than 16 times (or more if your ring…I mean praise leader has a death wish). It has no bearing of what happened before or happens next (which is just a repeat of the chorus), and it seems to exist simply for pure emotional manipulation. When the band plays it, I usually take my pulse and show to my friend to prove I am, indeed, alive.

2) Whatever that “Yes Lord” song is. Shoot me before they do it again on the radio or in concert…I mean church.

3) “In the Secret” by whoever, made famous by the band formerly known as Sonicflood. You can sing “Semi-charmed Life” to the chorus. I highly recommend it during one of the final times it is being repeated.

4) “Breate” by Michael W Smith. Not only for it’s “I’m desparate for you” line repeated over and over, but for every band that used the “The Air I breate” line and the “I’m desparate for you” lines. Quit being desparate, He’s with you already!

5) I think it’s Newsong, but there’s a song on the radio that simply has the chorus of “Yay, God!” I’m fearing the first time it graces the overheads.


David Poe [Visitor]• 05/10/04 @ 01:27

Yikes! Sara, you’ve created a monster! You’ve gone from reluctantly admitting some cynicism on your part to drawing some hard core cynics, including the latest morbid post by one David “Allen” Poe, who in a post on worship songs he does not like, somehow manages to make 2–count them, 2–references to DYING.

When I was your age, worship song criticism was pure, heartfelt, and constructive. I think. That was a long time ago. But who can forget when “A Mighty Fortress” first came out? You should have read the postings then! People were clamoring left and right: “Why no mention of indulgences?” “Isn’t the pope our fortress?” “Lots of words rhyme with ‘purgatory’–he could have used it if he really wanted to.”

Ah, yes. Those were the days. But if there’s one thing Christians of all denominations can agree upon, it’s that “Trading My Sorrows” is the worst worship song written of all years ending in “A.D.” About a half a dozen different rules for writing bad worship songs can be formulated from that song alone. If “Trading My Sorrows” were Gospel scholarship, it would be the Q hypothesis. It’s that foundational to the topic.

When I first heard the song, I thought it would be fun to have a group of sopranos singing in the background of the chorus, “A - firm - a - tive,” all drawn out and such. Well, before I got that far in thinking about the song, I had a different thought that was something like this: “Is this a real song? Get outta here! Really? This is an actual song? This isn’t a joke?” My thought patterns continued like that for about the first 6 times through the song. See, it takes about 13 times to get the so-called “melody” of the chorus. I imagine the composer wrote the chorus as a way of compensating for the bridge, or vice versa. Note to worship song writers: Instead of writing a bridge that is virtually impossible to sing with any sort of rhythm AND writing the chorus with such a simplistic rhythm that many non-human living creatures could do a pretty good job on it, try just aiming for the fat middle part of the bell curve of singability for both the verse, chorus, and–ocassionally–the bridge.

All that said, there were a few songs that I think got a bad rap in some of the previous posts. E.g., is it really that bad to be desparate for God? It’s just a way of talking about longing for more of God, eh? And dismissing outright all songs with “Shout” in the title? Again, seems a little extreme. And “river” seems like a pretty good image for God’s love or Jesus’ healing or a number of things. It is biblical, and perhaps the ambiguity of the image is what makes it work (for those of us for whom it does). AND, I admit “Lord, I Life Your Name On High” has been sung, well, a lot. But it was once a new song, and a powerful and effective one in its day. Probably still is to a lot of people. So “age” should not automatically bring a song down.

Which is why “Trading My Sorrows” is such a great bad song. I found it to be quite dreadful the very first time I heard it. Same was true for “I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever.” I learned that around a campfire w/ no lyric sheets. The guitarists were like, “Oh, there’s this great new song. Does anyone know it?” No one did. “OK, well it’s easy…” They then proceeded to speak the verses to us. “Got it?” Uh, yeah, I guess so. So then they played. Boom. 2.37 seconds later, they’re done. I’m sitting there thinking, “Did they really just sing all of those words in that short of a time period?” I was still on “mountain” when they hit the chorus. Oh, I see. This is a FAST song. Yeah, those are easier with overheards. If there was another verse to that song, it might be OK.

Anyway, figured this was more productive than most things I could be doing at 1:00 in the morning when I can’t sleep. That’s my 2 cents for now. I might write more later. Bye!

-Rob


Rob [Visitor]• 05/11/04 @ 03:08

Good grief, you should hear me when our church goes instrumental. We’ve got handbells, and it’s quite wonderful. The Bells. From the bells, bells, bells, bells, Bells, bells, bells–
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

Er..um…anyway.

The “desparation” thing is just an oddly weird thing. One guy does it, and it’s the latest fad. I guess I likened it to being “Desparate” for a meal with everything laid out for you while you continue the lament. Ever eat while saying you were desparate to eat? I guess that’s the way I see it.

Now I’ve got a reputation to keep up. I should just sing some Southern Gospel songs. Most of them seem about death as well…but more in an escapist way.

-DP


David "Allen" Poe [Visitor]• 05/11/04 @ 05:10

(Rob, great to hear from you. Congratulations on the job.) I agree with David that ‘desparate’ songs are some sort of fad that doesn’t always work. I don’t agree with David when he suggests that desparation isn’t something we should express because it’s so easy . . . easy to what? To experience God? To be confident of his grace and presence? Not for me. Sometimes desparation is what I feel (which is better than my characteristic indifference). David, first of all, welcome. Please feel free to say what you think and what you believe, even if it comes out as a rant. I’m happy to think that you feel comfortable here. I would like to hear you elaborate a bit more on why you don’t feel desparate. Maybe I’m missing something.


danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com05/11/04 @ 08:40

I like ambiguous secular songs that get turned into worship songs. Recall, for example, Vertical Horizon:

“He’s everything you want/need/etc…”

And Creed too. Creed should just release their old stuff as worship music and sell another 500,000 copies easy.

Since Kelly Jackson apparently has some past with this, I’m going to see if she’ll join in. Rob, Beth… just give in and start a blog together. We need to hear from you more!

-Jared


Jared [Visitor] • http://www.bunkface.com05/13/04 @ 00:52

I can’t say that I’ve read one thing written here that I disagree with. It seems that “worship” songwriters are putting out shallow, emotional, and doctrineless songs that are running rampant around the world. Some songs touch me very deeply like “Famous One", a simple idea that is focused on Him. The thing that REALLY is starting to make me sick is all of the remakes of songs that are already out. I mean, how many times are we going to hear different renditions of “I Could Sing Of Your Love", or “Let My Words Be Few", etc. (The list is a mile long.) I don’t know if anyone agrees with me, but I really feel like the Christian music industry is stealing money from the “flock” by putting out remakes of already used up worship songs. And yet, people still buy this stuff. Is anyone inspired to write new music anymore? If I hear one more Michael W. Smith “worship” album… I better stop now.


Grant [Visitor]• 05/13/04 @ 13:23

often i would rather hear an old “re-used” song than a new worship song. new music does not equal good.


dave [Visitor] • http://hippydave.brendoman.com05/13/04 @ 15:34

What about the abysmally bad Come now is the time to worship. A veil of dullness drops over worship leaders and they choose that dreadful song to open with - hmmm how irrelevent is the church.


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 05/13/04 @ 16:01

Great topic… and it’s way up there on Google. ;-) It’s unfortunate that so many people shy away from honestly critiquing things in the church, especially Christian music. Has anyone ever read a negative review of a Christian CD in a publication? I sure haven’t. Isn’t it good to spur each other on towards worship that is more meaningful, more profound, and richer? Aren’t we to speak the TRUTH in love?

Another point I’d like to propose: these songs, like almost any piece of music written in popular styles, aren’t meant to last very long. Maybe a few should endure…but the whole point is for them to catch the mood of the day, to be instantly appealing. That’s pop music. It’s only natural that worship songs written in this style should wear out. It’s too bad so many churches have a hard time retiring the ones they use so much.

My personal nomination is (and I know this is a favorite for a LOT of people), “Shout to the Lord.” The chorus just doesn’t seem to have any continuity of thought in it. And can someone please tell me what “Forever I’ll stand” means? Besides that it seems like an eternity when we sing the chorus over and over again?

For a good example of the problem with rivers:
“Shine Jesus Shine…
Blaze, Spirit, blaze…
Flow, river, flow, flood the nations with grace and mercy..”
A new trinity: the River, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Huh??

As a general comment, I try very hard, when I get the opportunity to choose worship music, to pick songs that speak in corporate terms: “We, Our, Us.” The whole reason we come together to sing is because there is something more meaningful about community. For this reason, I dislike worship songs the more individualistic they are. The songwriter’s instinct is to write things that are very personal, and many people want to sing songs that express emotions, which are by nature very personal. So it’s a very difficult balance.


Nate [Visitor] • http://poorartists.blogspot.com05/14/04 @ 11:33

I googled on this topic because I was talking to my son who is a pop/folk musician and he was reminiscing about bad worship songs from when he was living at home attending our church. (He mentioned “Oh, I believe in Jesus, I believe he is the son of God, I believe he died and rose again, I believe he paid for us all…” his comment being that the depth of the theology ought to be mirrored in the melody, whereas the melody here is extremely sing-songy and trivial.) When he’s not on the road he now attends a church with a classical music/organist/hymn focus for worship.

I was trying to tell him that the current crop are worse than the ones he was bringing up–at least they had some theological content. But I suddenly blanked out on the ones that make me squirm and writhe every week, so today I’m googling, thinking someone has surely made some kind of “Worst Worship Songs Ever” list.

Your list is fantastic and contains some of the ones that really make me squirm, musically and/or lyrically speaking. Totally agree about songs where the lyrics suppose that we are dancing. I just don’t get it.

I never knew “Trading My Sorrows” had actions. Oh my goodness. Thank God for that mercy. Our worship leader brought that song in frequently right when I was going through very debilitating pain from a sudden, severe onset of a disease that for all I knew at the time was going to leave me crippled for life.

The bouncy little, ‘I’m trading my sorrow-ows, I’m trading my pai-ai-ain, I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord” was demoralizing to me at the time, and if I could have walked out, I would have. I felt whole thing trivialized the difficulty of responding to suffering with faith. Right when coming to church was the hardest because I scarcely could move and my faith was being challenged…and I couldn’t believe that others going through suffering of various kinds in the congregation didn’t have the same reaction.

Another nominee: “Coming Back to the Heart of Worship". Couldn’t the writer dig down and lyricize better than “I’m sorry Lord for the _thing_ I’ve made it, when it’s all about you, it’s all about you, Jesus” Is that lyric-writing? And while it might have meaning to worship leaders, I think the rank and file worshiper might be going, “huh?” during this song.

I just went back and read everyone’s comments. Wow, it is so good to know that I’m not writhing in agony in the pew alone, and that my reaction to these songs is shared.

So how do you cope? How do you worship when part of your brain is going, “this can’t be happening!!!”


Kathy [Visitor]• 05/15/04 @ 20:04

To Kathy and everyone else:

Thanks for your honesty. It has been really refreshing (to use a cliche and, let’s face it, an over-used worship song word) to hear your similar complaints about worship music. Nate’s comment, “It’s only natural that worship songs written in this style should wear out. It’s too bad so many churches have a hard time retiring the ones they use so much” made a lot of sense to me. Good insight.

As for Kathy’s question, “How do you cope?” I don’t know if I have a legitimate answer. I only know that cynicism has its place, i.e, here, and the days when I am feeling particularly cynical in church are the days I feel most bad about myself. I usually just focus on the fact that the majority of people in my congregation don’t analyze things to death, and they are getting closer to God through these songs. Their collective seeking after God motivates me to do the same, even if I can never fully get over my hangups in a worship service. And, at times, I think God finds my cynicism moderately amusing. He did make my brain, after all.


sara [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com05/16/04 @ 21:19

Now I have a few minutes, I wanted to probe the “desparate” issue in a nutshell, and why I recommend the song to be banishined to the land of wind and ghosts. “Desparate” is a form of the word “dispair,” having lost all hope or showing a recklessness due to depair (i.e. “A Desparate attempt") I guess I don’t exactly see this as an accurate description of my relationship with Christ. I am no longer in desparation or despair; The Lord has promised to never leave or foresake. If this were the song of a sinner first believing … maybe. But why would there be a desparation now? Here’s here with us already! Maybe “I Need Thee Every Hour” would be more relevant. Or, maybe, a reminder that he already IS with us, no matter how far away we feel from him.

And I don’t remember suggesting anything about things being “easy,” unless suggesting it was easy to just copy the latest worship catch-phrase (I’ve heard the “I’m desparate for you” line in a few songs now). I’m lost on how that got credited to me.


David Poe [Visitor]• 05/17/04 @ 01:42

A quick trip to dictionary.com showed me that your were right. I think the song uses the word to mean “I have no hope without God and I need him badly,” but desperate is probably poor word choice. I was assuming this meaning when I interpreted you to mean that faith was easy. I’m sorry about that. Generally, I also try to be fairly precise with word meanings, but I was ignorant on this one. You make a good point.


danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com05/17/04 @ 08:40

I have three words:

“Dancing on Injustice.”

I love Delirious?, but I feel that Injustice would be better dealt with by a brute squad than some can-can dancers. My dad and I were brainstorming about the type of dancing the song was talking about, and we came up with some of these:

1. Moshing on injustice
2. Rhumba on injustice
3. Waltz on injustice
4. Square dance on injustice
5. Breakdance on injustice


Michelle Melton [Visitor]• 05/17/04 @ 10:28

“You’re my all, you’re the best
You’re my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord.”

This song should be sung in a medley with the “My buddy and me” theme song. Seriously, “you’re the best"? I can’t say anything that would make that funnier.

I generally avoid singing songs that proclaim emotions I never feel, even though I secretly wish to sing them wholeheartedly. I sing the ‘desperate’ lines only because I know it’s true. Etymology aside, I use words how I want to, as does everyone. I am sure ‘desperate’ meant something different in Old English, and in Old French, and in Latin, Indoeuropean, etc. Usage dictates grammar, not dictionaries.

To keep the discontinuity of this post going (I hope no one turns what I’m writing into a worship song)–

New category: Essays set to music. These are the songs that try to make up for thirty years of theological superficiality in a three minute sweep through the table of contents of a handy systematic theology textbook. There’s a difference between depth and rambling, and don’t write a worship song until you know what that difference is.

Side note: I led the song “Your Will” at a Wed night CCF service about a week after Doug’s tirade against it, just for spite. And people cried tears of spite as they sang. After the service, we shot Doug’s ferret out of a cannon into Thousand Hills Lake.

Which brings me to Caedmon’s Call: Their songs sound cool, but as with all songs with obscure imagery, I have to pray for a sort of “interpretation of tongues.”

Metaphor: I love ambiguity and imagery, but when you ask people what ‘river’ means in a particular song and get 27 different answers pulled out of butts of varying theological persuasions, you begin to say, “This is a bunch of crap.” [Pause for groan.] Part of singing as a community has to mean that we have some cohesion of meaning.

Solos: Cohesion is also threatened when 4 mediocre singers spread around the room half sing the tricky “solo” part to the repeat of the verse on “Shout to the Lord.” I sometimes sing it just to see what sort of personal benefit a person receives. According to my research, the comedic benefit is not enough to counteract the numbing effect of almost ten years of momentum behind this juggernaut. We either all need to agree take this song down in a coordinated assault, or assent to the masses and sing as we try to remember if we left the stove on. (If I did, my house might blow up. But then there would be a valid reason to run from the church screaming.)

Finally: Isn’t it ironic that if God really answered me when I sang “Trading My Sorrows,” we would never sing that song again? Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. Yes, yes, Lord.

Amen.


peterhough [Visitor]• 05/17/04 @ 13:26

Interesting…I didn’t have time to read all the comments, but last night I was thinking to myself at a worship service this song may be self defeating. Before I tell why, let me disclaim that I like this song, but none-the-less it has its huge flaws. I don’t remember the name but the lyrics state that there aren’t enough words to tell how much we love you God, so check our hearts. I was wondering if God really checked out hearts, would he find much love at all, let alone a love that our words cannot express?

The other observation, and quickly I note again I didn’t read all of the posts, it seems that we have a bunch of cynics (myself included) holing up here on this board, and being one I find that the songs generally brought up are “favorites” in the evangelical world. I wonder how much dissatisfaction with song comes from its popularity and a cynic’s natural tendency to rebel. How many of us (because I am surely one) used to love singing these songs and belt out “oh I feel like dancing". Maybe none of you…but something to think about.

Just remember the time is of worship and should be done in community. Romance songs don’t make sense most of the time either (and we could probably turn most of these songs to a significant other rather than God), but we should at least have a heart of worship rather than disgust at our own humanity (i.e. the lack of talent in our worship writers).

The last comment is if we worship Biblically (i.e. like a whole book of worship is outlined, the Psalms) we should have a ton more songs of lament and even of question, but most if not all resolve with a continued trust in God and a desire to continue to love him.


kevin [Visitor]• 05/17/04 @ 15:26
peterhough [Visitor]• 05/17/04 @ 20:27

I have to agree with most of what was posted, but want to add to the list.

First, the ones that most annoy me are ones where I have to ask if the singer actually knows what they are asking for. “Um… You do realize that to ’see God high and lifted up’ is enough to make a priest ministering in the temple say ‘I am a man of unclean lips’, right? Why do we want to do that?” Or my personal favorite, “Fall on this room like you did on the temple in Solomon’s day.” Am I the only one who remembers that the priests couldn’t offer sacrifices in the temple because God’s glory was there.

Second, the low lyrical quality of most of what we sing in church irritates me. If I would be embarassed to write verse of similar quality for a girl, then it definitely is not fit for the Creator of the Universe.

Finally, to answer the question on Ebon Pinion. It does refer to black wing as someone mentioned. But the song is actually a discussion of the Garden of Gethsemane which happened at night.


Graf Spee [Visitor]• 05/17/04 @ 20:38

Does anyone agree that Chrisitans like a song and then play it to death - My Jesus my Shelter - they ruin it for all.


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 05/19/04 @ 11:16

great site! my two cents:

1. songs with “la la” or “na na” or other filler words. i end up just staring at the ground. it cracks up my wife.

2. “jesus is my girlfriend” songs. already alluded to earlier. in these songs, you substitute your significant other’s name and it makes for a great make-out song. just get barry white to sing it.

3. for the 70 x 7th time, how can anyone be honest in worship when they sing “oh i feel like dancing"? no one feels like dancing! the whole worship team just mellowed out for this part of the song. of course everone knows “it’s foolishness".

isn’t it great God has blessed people with the gift of humor? i laughed for a while reading some of these comments.


joel [Visitor]• 05/19/04 @ 19:31

Greetings, Sara and company. Sara, I’ve been wanting to post again, but I had to time it just right so that I can either claim part of the credit or disclaim part of the blame depending on how this turns out. If your fame increases, and you get to make the rounds on Christian talk shows and people write nice books about you, I want you to be able to say that I was one of the foundational posters. But if things take a turn for the worse, like if you get excommunicated or worse, I want to be able to tell powerful church leaders–and perhaps even God himself, if it comes to that–that I never knew you. This seemed like a good time to post in order to have it both ways like that.

I’ve actually been wanting to post for a while, because I think I might have something somewhat constructive to say. I’ll get to that in a minute. But first, a couple of personal notes: Jared, I will never start a blog, no matter how much you, my one fan, clammor for it.

Danny, I looked for my nearly 10 year old list of worst worship songs, and can’t find it. It might be hiding somewhere. We’re moving soon, so maybe it will turn up. Maybe it’s under the microwave, or someplace like that.

I think some of the songs on it were fairly unique to CCF, so I’m not sure how many people will say things like, “Oh, yeah, I know that one.”

I can remember a couple that may have had wider usage, though. For example, there was “Knit Our Hearts Together.” It goes like this: Knit our hearts together / like Jonathon and David / Knit our hearts together / like Ruth and Naomi / Make us one, make us one / like the Father and the Son / There is no division in love.

Repeat until nausea sets in.

One clear rule from this song is apparent: Not all Scripture references make for good worship songs. Sorry, it’s just true. If I were at all musical myself, I would write a worship song to the words of Leviticus 11, i.e. the OT food prohibitions. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? Can anyone come up with a melody to “The coney (that is, the hyrax or rock badger), though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you.”

Yeah, so, just because Ruth and Naomi had their hearts knit together just like we would like to have our hearts knit together (not literally, of course), doesn’t mean that either the name “Ruth” or “Naomi” is especially evocative or poetic sounding in a worship song–even though it’s Scriptural.

Another one on that old list was “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Not the classic hymn. This “Holy, Holy, Holy” was a veerrrry slllloooooow song. It went something like this: “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord / Holy is the Lord, God almighty / Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord / Holy is the Lord, God almighty / Who was, and is, and is to come / Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord” Now replace “Holy” with “Worthy” and sing it all again. Now replace “Holy is” with “Glory to"–I think. It might have been something else. Now sing the first verse again, as a dramatic closer of sorts. Did I mention that this is a slllooowww song? Obviously, I can’t sing it in a post, but I can tell you that I just sang a verse, and it took a full minute. It seemed like 10.

As I think back to the day, I distinctly remember 2 thoughts coming to mind every time we sang it. The first one would hit me about half way through the first verse, and it was “I can’t believe we still have 2 more verses of this.” (I usually forgot the repeating of the first verse.) The second was, “Could this possibly be the melody of the creatures in Revelation 4?” Maybe if they get sleepy or bored, I guess.

This is a long shot, I know, but if anyone knows the Catholic lullaby–I mean “hymn"–"Peace Is Flowing Like A River” then you’ve got some idea of what “Holy, Holy, Holy” is like.

Of course, what would a “Worst Worship Songs” list be without “Ha la la la la la le lu jah"? This, I now know, is a kids song, supposedly fun for those type of people. So it’s hard to be too harsh about it. But we sang it at our college ministry! “Bump another rump, bump a rump next to ya"????? Yup. I like to think of that as our little way of convincing seekers that we were, in fact, a cult.

Those three were all on the old list.

One that would have made it was “All You Works of God.” I don’t remember too well how it goes, but the verses are calls to worship directed at–you guessed it–all the works of God. For example, “sun and moon, bless your maker.” Every time we sing it, I can’t help but picture the worship leader holding the mike out towards the congregation and saying, “Just the leaves now! OK, now the grass! That’s right, that’s right! Now let’s hear the dew!”

On to more recent material to which I can respond. I’d like to start off on an agreeable note–you know, to build up our little community of cynics here.

So, I will state, once again, the one thing that all Christians can agree upon: “Trading My Sorrows” is the crappiest piece of crap ever crapped in the name of worship songs.

Moving on, but remaining agreeable: Peter, good move pulling out the “You’re the best” line. I can’t help but do that weird fist-pumping motion every time I get to that line. Imagine a slowed-down right hook to the body of no one in particular, timed perfectly with the singing of “best.”

Remaining agreable: Peter, you wrote, “I generally avoid singing songs that proclaim emotions I never feel, even though I secretly wish to sing them wholeheartedly.” I agree. You do do that.

Remaining agreable: I agree with Beth’s categories, and would add a couple, some of which have been mentioned, some only described or alluded to.

1. Secular Songs or Melodies Turned Into Worship Songs. I know this is how it used to be. Pub songs would get re-lyricized and turn up in the church. That day has passed, I’m afraid, and now it just rings of unoriginality. It is the musical version of tweaking secular logos and turning them into Christian t-shirts. Combining “Amazing Grace” w/ “Peaceful Easy Feeling"? Isn’t he talking about having sex in the second one? How did this happen? What worship leader was thinking, “You know, amazing grace is good and all, but I wish I could come up with a better way of describing how I feel about God’s grace. I know! It’s like I feel after I’ve fornicated! Isn’t there an Eagles song about that?” Or the Gilligan’s Island fiaso? Again, it’s fun to play, “What Were They Thinking?” Can we even imagine? “I sure do like those words to Amazing Grace. I just wish I could find a melody that was more timeless and reverent. (flips to Gilligan’s Island) Hey, wait a second…”

I have heard “What’s Up?” by Four Non-Blondes used as a worship song. The lyrics were slightly altered (recall the t-shirt comparison). Is this the best that Christians could come up with? I mean, I know it’s a classic and all (I think it even made it onto “Four Non-Blondes Greatest Hits") but does that song capture something that no Christian could at least re-create? Maybe if the artist at least professes to be Christian there are a couple of songs that could make the transition ("40″ by U2 comes to mind). But how would Christians feel if secular bands started taking classic worship songs and changing the words to make them about sex?

2. La La or Na Na Songs. Thanks for mentioning it, person who’s name I can’t read right now because my computer is blocking out that line of text for some reason. I would add “oh oh” songs, as well. We used to sing “Praise Song” by Third Day with an “oh oh” verse, or maybe it was a bridge. Either way, it never seemed very worshipful. I’ll never forget turning around and seeing two of my best friends creating their own hand motions: large “O’s” with their arms, either overhand or underhand, but intentionally trembling as they were doing it, a la Hans and Frans from SNL. Amazingly, I kept a straight face long enough to walk up to them and pretend to rebuke them, saying, “Hey, I’m trying to worship here,” but then I lost it, and all three of us busted up.

3. Songs with “Ruth” and “Naomi” in Them.

Well, enough of being agreable. Here is my list of “Categories of Songs Wrongly Considered to Be Indicators of Bad Worship Songs.”

1. River songs. Peter, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’re out to sea with this river hang up of yours. Don’t get me wrong: I still think you’re a Christian, and I still want to meet for coffee tomorrow, but you’re up the creek on this one. There just aren’t THAT many possibilities for what “river” can mean. In any given river song, 90% percent of the congregation would probably say that it means “healing,” “power,” “love,” or “forgiveness.” These are all pretty close. They’re all “Christian things.” It’s not like this guy thinks it symbolizes lust, and this guy the inner healing of Buddha, and that guy is thinking about a river of beer. I’d say that most people are on the same general page, and I’d say that’s enough. In fact–and this is radical–the ambiguity is what makes it work. Maybe I’m thinking the river is God’s forgiveness of a particular sin. Maybe you’re thinking it’s God’s empowering you to glorify him. Fine. The notions of river are different enough to be intensely personal, but similar enough to be intensely communal (especially given we’re all singing the same song). Long live river songs!

2. Songs that Have Been Overplayed. People, it’s not the song’s fault. I agree with Ed Lawrence, here. Some songs just get played to death. But as responsible critics, we need to be able to step back and ask ourselves, “Is it really the song?” I’ve already defended “Lord, I Life Your Name On High,” and I’m prepared to defend a handful of others, if need be.

3. Songs that Are Allegedly Over-Individualistic. OK, I’m stepping into a minefield here, I know. But a couple of people have said as though it is a given that worship is all about community. Everyone grab a paper bag and get ready to breathe into it if needed, but I’m going to suggest here that it is not ONLY about community. There is an individual aspect to worship. I do not believe that there is anything inherently wrong or unbiblical about singing a song with a singular first person pronoun. Furthermore, the “worship is all about community” mentality is an overreaction, an overswinging of the pendulum away from wrong view that worship is ONLY about the individual. Here’s the deal: we (by this I mean westerners, Americans especially) live in what is generally an overly-individualistic culture. This has been reflected in the often exclusive singing of individualistic songs. But I am not prepared to just toss out all those songs. Now, there are songs that are a little too personally detailed. Beth mentioned her problem with singing “I’m sorry for the thing I’ve made it.” But that’s not the same thing. All I’m saying is let’s not overcompensate the other way. Let’s shoot for the middle. 1-2 “I” songs for every 2-4 “we” songs seems like a pretty good ratio. I think the Psalms are a good example of a mixture of these–they are not all “we". Some are “I", and are we sure that the Hebrews never used any of the “I” Psalms for corporate worship?

Related to this, I would not go so far to say that worship is not about us. It’s not ONLY about us, of course, and I would say it’s not chiefly about us, but if it’s ONLY about God, and NOT AT ALL about us, then what the heck are we doing there? Why don’t we just play a worship CD and call it a day? A better, more challenging approach would be to ask, “In what way is worship about us? In what way is it about God?” The same could be asked about individual songs. But I don’t know of any songs that are so much about “us” that they are not at all about “God.” Even “I’m sorry for the thing I’ve made it,” though not a great worship song, in my opinion, is still about God to a large degree.

Allow me to end on what may be the most constructive thing I have to say. My biggest problem with a lot of worship songs is that the writers don’t seem to have an idea of good lyrics as being an objective state. They do for other people’s songs. But not for what they write. Let me explain. I dabble in poetry and lyrics a bit. If someone came up behind me while I was writing and said, “Hey, that line kind of sucks. You should change it.” I’d probably be like, “It’s really none of your business.” Well, actually, I’d probably listen to what they said and consider it. But if I disagreed, I’d be like, “It’s none of your business.” I usually write poems for my own expression. If I let someone read them, I’m hoping that they connect on some level, and can relate. But if I’m writing a worship song, the whole point is FOR PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO CONNECT. It’s not supposed to be about, “Hey, here’s some insight into my walk with God.” That’s what poems are for. Worship songs can start with that. But the writer, in this setting, must be humble enough to submit his writing to others before taking up valuable community worship time with what may essentially be nothing more than a journal entry. I get the feeling that a lot of worship writers are like, “This is mine, it’s personal and heartfelt. Who are you to critique it?” That’s fine if it’s a poem. You can be subjective about a poem. But you have to be objective about worship songs. You have to let people say, “That just doesn’t work for me.” If the community is going to sing it, then the community should shape it. Sometimes a worship leader introduces a song by saying, essentially, “This is meaningful to me, so I hope it is to you.” And I want to say, “Maybe you should have checked that out a bit, eh? Maybe asked around? And not just your keyboardist or your yes-man on the drums.” There are a whole bunch of worship songs that I’ve sung about which I’ve thought, “If they had just handed that to a high school English teacher for a read over, it could have been 10x better.” The worst worship songs? “Could Have Been Songs.” Songs that could have been great worship songs if the worship writer had allowed himself to step out of his subjective attachment for a few minutes, even just to ask, “Hey, are there any lines or images in here that just don’t work for you?”

But then we probably wouldn’t have this fun website. And I wouldn’t be able to say, in closing, “God does all things well. Just look at my life.”

-Rob


Rob [Visitor]• 05/20/04 @ 03:44

I don’t think that’s a very nice way to talk about high school English teachers, Rob.

The idea of a secular artist stealing a Christian artist’s song seems hilarious to me, especially a worship song. Very funny.

This is only minorly related, but my father one time helped write a hymn. He was a worship leader and I believe it was the pastor who also co-wrote this song… anyway, they wrote it and submitted it to some hymnal publisher. Here are the lyrics, imagine them accompanied by a very brutal combination of three consecutive simple notes:

Judgement! Death! Destruction! (x3)
Fire! Famine! And war!

Plunder! Rape! Pillage! (x3)
Fire! Famine! And war!

Plagues of lice and boils! (x3)
Fire! Famine! And war!

As you can see, this is further proof that not all things Biblical make for a great worship song. The publishing company wrote a very nice letter back encouraging them in their obedience to Christ and thanking them for the song, but that they were unable to find a place for it in any of their upcoming projects. While it completely avoids the mess of using pronouns (notably, 1st or 3rd person), I think its major flaw is how hard it would be to make hand motions accordingly.

-Jared


Jared [Visitor] • http://www.bunkface.com05/20/04 @ 04:36

I went to my first catholic mass today at the school where i teach at - they did a third of the service in LATIN. O my word - how irrelevent and inaccesible are you!!


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 05/20/04 @ 10:44

Rob, you can add my name to the list of people who would like to see a Siemer family blog.

Here’s a song that mentions a river and, imagine this, explains the metaphor right in the lyrics.
Beautiful Mystery by Caedmon’s Call:

The truth is a river
Where the strong can swim down deep
The weak and the broken
Can walk across so easily

But I should say that this isn’t a worship song.


Danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com05/20/04 @ 11:01

Well, after laughing heartily over the last several comments (Jared-I’m going to use your Dad’s hymn with my middle schoolers on Sunday, except I’m going to whisper it scarily into the microphone while my nature sounds CD play in the background. It will be a corporate “experience” to say the least.)

I have the perfect way around having any bad worship songs…(this is actually what I do.) Just grab the nearest wall, sit down, face the wall, and rock back and forth. That way, you can sing whatever song you want, and it’s a “corporate” worship service because everyone’s got a bit of wall. However, we’ve got our “individual” component covered because you can’t get much more personal with your Creater than through rocking in a corner. I personally think Rainman was a visionary in the so-called “post-modern worship craze"…


Kristin [Visitor] • http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=Tktallgirl05/20/04 @ 16:58

Brian McLaren is a pastor and author (most famously, A New Kind Of Christian) that travels around a lot and noticed trends in worship leaders all over the country. He wrote a letter to worship leaders and, specifically, worship songwriters based on the that trend. Here’s a link to the article:

http://www.emergentvillage.com/index.cfm?PAGE_ID=419 - (opens in new window)

An unfairly quick summary:
Worship music is too much about the individual worshipper. He urged 5 new trends to write about.
1. about a hopeful future
2. about Christ’s mission for the church
3. lyrics inspired by (Christian) spirituality from throughout history
4. about God’s character, but not neccessarily what it does for “me”
5. songs of pain and lament (as opposed to, ahem, dancing)

Also, you worship leaders should at least read the last several (shorter) paragraphs, they apply to more than just song*writers*. Being in a church where the pastor regularly prays ancient Celtic prayers right off the page, I can say that McLaren is certainly onto something with this letter… the imagery of scripture, ancient prayers, and creeds is absolutely something not found in the songs mentioned in this discussion so far (save for knitting together the hearts of Ruth and Naomi). :o)


May 21 [Visitor]• 05/21/04 @ 01:22

And what about the absurd crapurdity of Higher, Higher


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 05/21/04 @ 15:20

I agree, some worship songs don’t really cut it for me. But I do question the motives of those who print out the top five worship songs that they hate. Look into it then, try and understand, not just in your own head, but actually understand, search for Biblical reference, for meaning that is possibly there beyond what you can see. It’s true, some songs just don’t seem to have much to them, or they don’t really make sense, but I had a professor at Bible college who challenged us on one particular worship song that people generally dislike because it seemed to be meaningless, he then went on to give us Biblical references for this song and the imagery used in it. It didn’t really change my opinion of the song, but it did give insight into an otherwise misunderstood song. What’s with Christians and complaining anyway?


Troy [Visitor]• 05/21/04 @ 18:53

Whats with chrisitans and accepting things because thats the way in which it always has been done. Its so illogical and irritating. Tradition is the bane of the evangelism. Ivory Twer chrisitanity is also absurd. People who do not engage at all with the reality of the world and think it can be fixed with a lunch bar and a 30 min talk. It makes me so angry to see the complacency of chrisitans as a whole feeling what they do is enough but still dong the same piecemeal change. Jesus call us to be radical and revolutionary. At this moment in time we are not we are happy to sit back and accept it.


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 05/22/04 @ 06:13

For the love of God (literally) would you all get a grip!


James Fruits [Visitor]• 05/24/04 @ 11:24

James: You’re funny (I think).

Rob: A river song killed my uncle. I just didn’t know how to say it before.

Troy: It’s fine that you were able to make sense out of a worship song once a trained theologian systematically exegeted the words and related them to scripture. But shouldn’t a worship song make easier sense than that? Don’t get me wrong, at the church I go to now there are concordances, dictionaries of biblical imagery, and commentaries in every row so that people can figure out what it is they’re being asked to sing to God. It’s a Christian utopia! Oh, and no one ever complains. We just smile and say, “Yes, I was blessed by the line in the song you wrote that said, ‘When my dog, Sparky, died trying to save me from drowning in a river, I realized the true nature of love.’”

Rob (II): The problem with river songs, other than the unfortunate side effect of reminding us of Poor Sparky’s demise, is not really that the song has no meaning, but that the audience has to supply all of the meaning for the song to have any kind of coherence. Sitting down two years after singing the song and trying to make sense of what you sang is kind of like rationalizing sin; you can make it sound reasonable afterward, but that doesn’t change the fact that you were doing something mindless at the time. Is it really good writing to string together vague images in the hope that one of the possible meanings (or two or three) will be worshipful? That’s just shooting in the dark and hoping you hit something. It’s not really about ambiguity (which I have already supported). It’s about setting a range of possible interpretations. In my opinion, the line “Let the river flow” in itself sets no range of determinacy for the meanings that people could make.

Troy (II): If the exercise that your professor led you through didn’t change your opinion of the song, how about I just keep my opinion without researching lame songs?

Jared: Are there hand motions that go along with your dad’s song?

Peter: You’re a jerk. Seriously, leave Troy alone. You’re not mad at him. It’s God. God’s mad at him.

Troy (III): Cynical Christian rule number one–there are no cynical Christians. Rule number two–don’t take anything too seriously that you read here.

-peter


peterhough [Visitor]• 05/24/04 @ 12:41

James, when you say, “Would you ALL just get a grip?” do you mean even me?

-Rob


Rob [Visitor]• 05/24/04 @ 17:25

WOW!! I was searching Google to see if “Dance in the River” was from Scripture and I found this place… I sing in a Christian rock band. We do originals and covers. Prior to a couple of years ago, I didn’t listen to CCM (except for my wife’s Point of Grace- involuntarily). Now, my band mates have me on a steady diet of lots of good (and not so good) music including Praise and Worship.

My observation- people respond more favorably to our originals than the covers… Maybe people are getting a little worn out by the repetitive nature of some songs; read Every Move…(na na na nana na na)… and the fact that a lot of the recent stuff sounds as generic as boy bands. Cookie cutter music…it’s time people sat down and wrote something that doesn’t sound like everything else. (I have the “advantage” of not having listened to all of these a thousand times).

Also, a worship service is only as meaningful as you allow it to be- leave worldly problems outside or better yet, at Jesus’ feet.


Jeff [Visitor]• 05/24/04 @ 21:06

Well, I stumbled upon this thread fairly randomly, and don’t know any of y’all so I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, but all that being said, I was fairly disheartened by reading through this thread. I’m a bit of a cynic too, but I don’t HATE these songs, I just think they are ridiculous. My roommates and I were having a conversation the other day about God listening to worship music… He’s not sitting there going “ooh, they’re singing my favorite! yeah!” or “good grief, not this one AGAIN; I’m rethinking this whole free will thing, I should never have allowed Trading my Sorrows to be written.” If we allow God to be this kind of listener (which, we really can’t, but for the sake of humor, work with me here) we have to admit that more likely than not, God’s not even listening to USA mass-market CCM stuff and is more interested in whoever in the world is truly worshipping in spirit and in truth.

Remember, it’s not about US! Yes, certain songs are difficult for me to sing in a spirit of reverence, but I don’t think God is any less glorified by my being filled with joy in His presence!

So, all that being said, Susi and I have created our own list of worship songs that make us laugh:
1. Salvation belongs to our God- I’ve tried and tried, because there is so much great (biblical) stuff in this song, but at some point we eventually get to the chorus, and realizing that we’re singing about the praise and glory and wisdom and all the rest doesn’t diminish the fact that we’re *singing* a sentence fragment repeatedly… be to our God…
2. Along the lines of the aforementioned secular songs turned into worship songs: “Can you Feel His Love Tonight?” and “He Will, He Will Save You” I personally took great delight in destroying the overhead sheets to this songs, thus sparing future generations of youth group attendees the difficult task of trying to maintain a spirit of worship when really your cheeks hurt from laughing so hard.
3. Any song from Amy Grant’s “Songs from the Loft” album. This is probably due more to the fact that I had a youth group leader who consistently butchered these songs..
4. Any song that fades out on the album. It’s had to fade out live on an acoustic worship set. It’s even harder to coordinate the corporate fading out of all the people folowwing the worship leader. At some point, you’re just done.

Susi, feel free to post the rest when you see this! I know I’m forgetting some.

Everyone else, next time you hear a song that you “hate” or “can’t worship to", instead please reflect on God’s goodness in creating a funny world for us to live in, and his delight in (and I firmly believe, humor in) us, his children!


Sarabi [Visitor]• 05/25/04 @ 10:28

Well, I’ve been reading things being said here and it has definitely been discouraging to hear other Christians bashing songs that are suppposed to bring glory to God. As much as you say that these comments are not to be taken seriously, much of them are said out of your hearts and to see them posted for everyone to see is not the most edifying comments for anyone and especially to God. And if you don’t try to find out what the meaning behind songs are, then what’s the point for you to even sing any worship songs? You say that there’s no point to finding out the meaning behind the lyrics cuz it’s too tedious, but when you read your bibles, you don’t understand everything either. That doesn’t mean you don’t try to figure what the meaning is behind Scripture does it? i hope not. If we’re worshipping and singing songs and we don’t mean it, we’re pretty much lying to God. Everything we do is a worship to God, so why does this site even exist? I don’t think this pleases Him at all.


Anonymous [Visitor]• 05/26/04 @ 13:55

Have you ever heard “The Dance SOng” sung by foundation red? They play it as a worship song, and it features such poignant lyrics as:

“This is the song we call the dance song
God loves it when we sing the dance song
Doesn’t have no deep deep meaning
We just dance dance dance dance”

Sigh…

John


John [Visitor]• 05/26/04 @ 15:13

you made that song up


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 05/27/04 @ 10:05

anonymous - as chrisitans we are to make the church as relevent as possible to all. Now abysmally cheesy and bad songs dont help that end. Bottom line.

Ed


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 05/27/04 @ 10:08

We do have a responsibility as Christians not to be cynical like the rest of the world…so Anonymous really has a valid point. On the other hand, some songs aren’t so great. The main thing IS to worship God in spirit and in truth. Finding an outlet for that is the most important aspect. Listen to your favorites while driving- cuts road rage by 95%, I promise. If the worship leader picks a dud from time to time, so be it. People that post here know in their own hearts whether they are just being funny or if they’re feeling a little contempt. As a lyricist, I’ve become a little paranoid from reading this thread (maybe that ain’t a bad thing).


Jeff [Visitor]• 05/27/04 @ 20:11

It is often the case that worship leaders pick duds all the time. Thechurch is a living being, not a victirian relic. While we are at it, churches with the King James bible in their pews are also guilty of this stagnation.


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 05/28/04 @ 11:25

Stagnancy doesn’t come from what songs you sing or what version of the Bible you have in your pews, it comes from leaders who don’t know how to lead, who have no vision or direction.


[Visitor]• 05/28/04 @ 13:11

a. Worship songs are not sacred. I seriously don’t imagine God has a problem with us taking a critical look at them, or even laughing about them. Thankfully He blessed most of us with a sense of humor.
b. I know the word “Cynic” is used many times in this thread, but I prefer to think of myself as a “Critic,” but not in the sense of the continually condemned critical spirit in the church. I think this site is a perfect place to take a step back and express some criticisms we have of songs currently being played in Christian worship services. I think if we read people’s comments, we will find some legitimate criticisms of some songs that a wise worship leader or song writer could apply to make worship better for everyone.
c. If I had to guess, I would say just about everyone who has posted here has posted because we really LOVE WORSHIP and LOVE GOD and LOVE to see our WORSHIP OF GOD not tripped up by silly lyrics, melodies, or, heaven forbid, hand motions.
d. Kelly & Rob followed their famed list of so many years ago with a list of their 10 favorite worship songs–I’m guessing any of us would just as easily be able to praise the songs we love as diss the songs we can’t stand. So because this happens to be a forum where we’re doing the latter is, in my mind, part of the balance we need in our Christian lives.

And, anonymous, I totally appreciate your post and am glad you feel comfortable expressing a counter opinion, but I really hope the anonymity of your posting was an accident because it seems pretty uncool to post on a site criticizing other posters and the site itself and not back it up with your name.

-Beth


skittles [Visitor]• 05/28/04 @ 15:51

But all of these ingredients result in the phenomenon Im going to call crap church. Nothing to say to anyone but the select few who run it.


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 05/28/04 @ 15:58

Ed: Can you explain what you’re talking about? Your last post was a little hard to understand. (btw, I removed the link)


Danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com05/28/04 @ 16:40

I feel that many churches are very complacent in all that they do. As christians we must make the church relevent. The leadership witihn churches is often so firmly established that they do not analyse what they are doing on all levels to ensure it is as effective as possible. This makes the church often unapproachAable for youngsters and a place where it is easy to be bored and is easy to be dissuaded from going. The worship is merely part of this. I feel passionatly that this needs to change as God has something relevent to say to all people young and old but we are n ot being effectine in saying it.


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 05/28/04 @ 18:01

A childish riposte. Not at all. My wide experince of church is that it is run by people who are un aware of the purpose of the church - to love and not judge, to be inclusive.


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 05/29/04 @ 07:40

well, ed, what are you going to do about it? what your plan of action to remedy this problem?
(sarabi: i’m still debating about whether or not i’m going to post the rest of the “worship songs that make us laugh” list)


Susi [Visitor]• 05/29/04 @ 09:26

Anonymous, I am sorry you found this discussion to be unedifying and discouraging. I found it the exact opposite. I was extremely encouraged by this discussion, and I mean that very seriously.


Kathy [Visitor]• 05/29/04 @ 20:46

What am i going to do. Well I am just a lowly christian. What I can do is promote discussion and constant evaluation at my churh. To not accept things as written as theyy are tradition byut look again. I can try to leasd by example where posssible. On a larger scale I can pray. Tis the most powerful weapon we have. How is that for an answer?

Ed


ed lawrence [Visitor]• 05/30/04 @ 09:44

Just stumbled upon this page. I appreciate most everyone’s sense of humor and willingness to laugh at ourselves - though it started to get ugly once or twice.
Seems like the cynicism and criticism are an OK place to camp for a short time, but we don’t wanna live there. Bitterness is a weed that takes hold easily and thrives without nuturing. But a flower requires care.
So yeah, let’s nod our heads together saying “yeah, that one bugs me too…” and then move on to something constructive and helpful. Any monkey can criticize and ridicule - it takes maturity, though, to get beyond that.
That said, I think someone should take all of the “features” of your least-favorite worship songs and amalgamate them (can i use that as a verb?) into one whopper of a horrible song - but be careful; because if the wrong people get a hold of it, it may get published. Ha.
–ty


Tyler [Visitor]• 06/01/04 @ 11:07

Actually, I did create a worst “worship” compilation song for a skit I wrote for a Christian coffee house last year:

(sung to the tune of Jesus Loves me)
Jesus, Jesus You’re the Best
Alleilua, Praise the Lord,
I ring huge bells to my God-song,
Bow all of me before your feet.

Yes, yes, yes, yes Lord.
La, la, la la la.
Yes, yes,yes, yes Lord,
La la la na na na.


[Visitor]• 06/01/04 @ 17:57

Oh yes, forgot the name. That thing of darkness I acknowledge mine.
Doug


Doug [Visitor]• 06/01/04 @ 17:58

I’d like to see Anonymous and Ed duke it out in the ring. We could bill it as the Second Revolutionary War: This Time It’s Worshipful.


peter [Visitor]• 06/02/04 @ 12:58

Okay this sight is hilarious! And many of you have confirmed my reasoning for the need for a completley underground pub for pastors. A place where only the secret knock or handshake will get you in. A place where there is a two beer maximum and what is said there stays there! A place for pastors to vent to each other and tell stories about things like “Can you beleive that song we sang sunday!” Thanks for making my day and while we are at it. How about doing away with all “Saved songs” a term coined for secular songs that the words are changed for worship. if the best we can offer is to rip off the world, how pathetic! If we are created in God’s image, and He is the ultimate creator, then we should be setting the standard for what is great music!

Trix Daddio


Trix Daddio [Visitor]• 06/03/04 @ 11:41

OK, I found this post through this week’s Christian Carnival, and am alternately amused and surprised at what people find objectionable in worship music. I, like Jeff, am a songwriter (although I don’t generally foist my wordy creations onto congregational worship)… and a worship leader who does actually like some of the music that you folks have been ranting about. But I understand the “overused” tag and do avoid singing things that have been done a billion times in our church.

My personal rant has got to be about a song from my childhood: Blow the Trumpet in Zion. I went to a very charismatic church as a child, where people sang this song with great gusto and danced the pogo in the aisles. From the time I was old enough to understand the scripture reference this song was taken from, I refused to sing along. There’s nothing that makes me want to worship less than a song about AN INVASION OF LOCUSTS, folks.

That is all. :)


songstress7 [Visitor] • http://songstress7.typepad.com/beyond06/03/04 @ 12:17

Trix,

making fun of worship is one thing, but encouraging people to drink beer has gone too far.

scandalous.


peter [Visitor]• 06/03/04 @ 18:46

Peter,

I was thinking to myself, “Drinking beer is one thing, but making fun of worship has gone too far!”

Trix


trix daddio [Visitor]• 06/04/04 @ 17:25

we should not make fun of church but constantly put what it does under fair and wide ranging scrutiny


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 06/06/04 @ 09:16

Ed, no believe it or not, the Dance Song mentioned earlier is (sadly) a real (and I use the term loosely) worship song. I took my youth group to Jr. High Believe, a conference in St. Louis, and they played it there several times. Sad, but true…


John [Visitor]• 06/07/04 @ 15:18

Ed, no believe it or not, the Dance Song mentioned earlier is (sadly) a real (and I use the term loosely) worship song. I took my youth group to Jr. High Believe, a conference in St. Louis, and they played it there several times. Sad, but true…


John [Visitor]• 06/07/04 @ 15:19

a 2 drink maximum? man oh man. forget. that.


gringo [Visitor]• 06/07/04 @ 20:00

Dang, I feel like I got to the party after the parents kicked everyone out. Well, I have been reading this blog and howling and quoting pieces to my husband (who is a “what is it with these songs whose lines don’t fit the music buttheyjustcramthemallinanyway” person - he’s the drummer and the songs that don’t make sense musically are what drive him nuts) I think the reason the response is so big is that we’re so relieved we’re not the only ones who are humming “Centerfold” under our breath and yet who are good, Bible-believing Christians with a healthy walk. I’ve never joined the Praise Team (get asked periodically) and I finally confessed to one of the leaders that I didn’t think I could sing some of the songs without rolling my eyes right there on the stage, and she said I needed to ask the Spirit to help me with it, that’s what she does. All I could think of, is if even the worship team struggles with this, WHY DO WE SING THEM?!!!

My biggest peeve are the songs that repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord….” A)because they are just boring and I find my mind wandering off to where to eat for lunch afterwards etc. and B) and this is particularly the slooooowwwwww ones because I feel like they are trying to hypnotise me, under the guise of putting me in the “right” frame of mind. This I rebel against - I feel like that scene from A Wrinkle in Time when the big brain on the dais is pulsing and the sister is screaming “NO!!NO!!” but seriously - we draw near to God in different ways and I for one don’t need to be in a soporific trance to get there.

I think the reason we get so sick of these songs is because they ARE sung so much, because there is SO MUCH SINGING in a typical modern church nowadays. Am I the only person who thinks 45 minutes of music and 20 minutes of sermon is backwards? I always worry about the people who are visiting a church for the first time…if you grew up in a church, it’s normal to sing in a group but if you didn’t…it’s VERY wierd to sing out loud next to someone you don’t even know. And if it goes on and on, pretty excruciating.

I think what happens is that the worship team, who is of course musically-oriented, because that is their spiritual gift and and singing and music comes naturally to them, forget that not everyone is wired that way. So they sing of their love FOREVER and after a while the other half of the congregation starts shifting their feet and looking around and throw in a couple holyholy………holyholy………..holy holyyyy……….Lord God Almighty……type songs and it just makes for a long morning. And don’t think I don’t appreciate the work that goes into planning a worship service - it’s a lot of work especially hunting down new songs which is I think why so many bad ones get foisted on us, they are just desperate for something, anything new! (Other times I suspect it’s just a case of the worship leader needs to get off his duff and learn some new chords.) My point is, we could spread out the music further if we sang less of it each week.

I don’t think God minds that we are discussing this. God made it pretty clear within the first few chapters of the bible that He expects excellence, our best - Genesis 4:3-7 - most of our frustrations lie in the fact that we feel like we’re presenting to God sort of second-rate, lazy songwriting.

I want you all to know that I am wasting time on this blog instead of doing the words for Media Shout for Sunday, there goes my Saturday, thank you very much!! PS also relieved to see I’m not the only one who uses crap as an adjective.


Tania [Visitor]• 06/12/04 @ 02:50

Wow, nice. Let’s all sit on our “duffs” and criticize the worship service. Let’s all pick apart worship songs. Let’s all snicker and sneer at the poor people on stage who spend hours each week preparing for Sunday. Who spent years learning an instrument and improving their voices. Oh, but they’re lazy, right Tania? Too lazy to learn some new chords so they can bring YOU the songs YOU want to hear. Oh, the song service is too long… Guess what? That’s the pastor’s call. Complain to him.

The worship team isn’t there to entertain you. They are there to worship and hopefully create an atmosphere conducive to congregational worship.
It’s not easy. I can’t sing like Mac Powell, but we’re going to do “You Are So Good to Me” anyway.
We make mistakes. We are not professional musicians. We do the best we can. We have to consider the audience and be sensitive to the Spirit. We are using our giftings for the Lord.

Are you?


worship leader [Visitor]• 06/12/04 @ 07:46

“Worship leader":

As the originator of this post, I realize that the material here may be offensive and hurtful. I hope that you read the original post before making your remarks, where I specifically stated that I know it is hard to write and play worship songs and I respect those who do. But I also believe that I, and everyone else for that matter, reserve the right to think critically (and humorously) about any song, worship or otherwise. The thing I have learned most through this post is that some people are unable to sync the subcategory ‘worship songs’ with the category ’songs in general’ and are thus unable to deal with criticism of said worship songs. While I can’t understand their viewpoint, I can respect their opinions (and yours). What I think you should realize, however, is that this post was not a personal criticism of worship leaders or songwriters. It was simply a “rant” of which I am very fond of making. I am assuming (at the risk of being wrong, of course) that the others who have made similar comments are also of this personality type that finds it humorous and cathartic to rant about something and then let it go. I believe that if you read the whole of the post and the comments, you will see that our prose is often exaggerated and is mostly meant in fun, and that we are all deeply committed to worshipping God in whatever form that may take, whether or not we happen to ‘enjoy’ it. In my mind, that is a sign of maturity, and not a reason to question our faith or use of our gifts.


sara [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com06/12/04 @ 14:27

Well said Sara,

Besides we tend to pigeon hole “Worship” into the category of “Song singing” It is our living sacrifice to God that is worship. I fully appreciate the opportunity to agree and disagree and poke a little fun at ourselves, even if it occasionally gets a little heated. The way we do church today is so not Biblical, and too many people are looking for there church to provide an hour and 15 minute “Holy experience” that is supposed to be everything they want and need to sustain them until next Sunday. If so called mature beleivers would quit sitting around with their mouths open to be spoon fed their christianity, it wouldn’t matter how long the worship went on a particular Sunday or how short the preacher went. Thanks for this web site and the opportunity to examine what we do, why we do it, and can we be more effective. Whew! That was a lot to unload, can we get back to making fun of ourselves. Who has some good stories about Really bad “Special number” solos sung in their church?

Trix


Trix Daddio [Visitor]• 06/13/04 @ 01:22

Dang, Worship Leader! Whew! Relax, man. Why would you go out of your way to take Tania’s comments so personally? Do you know her? Does she go to your church? If not, then what she said either: 1. applies to you, in which case it might be good to take some of her insights constructively, or 2. does not apply to you, in which case, it doesn’t apply to you! So why get defensive? Are you getting defensive on behalf of… uh… all the worship leaders to whom what she said DOES apply? That doesn’t make very much sense. If she is accurate about them, they don’t deserve to have anyone get defensive on their behalf. More likely, it seems you are saying–based on your response–that what she is saying doesn’t apply to ANY worship leaders. You spoke in the absolute “we” throughout, and seemed to be using it as a pronoun for, “All worship leaders.” Do ALL worship leaders spend hours each week preparing for Sunday? Really? May I tentatively suggest that maybe, just maybe, some do not? Of the hundreds of thousands of worship leaders in this country, might at least a handful of them show up on Sunday morning and wing it? And might it be because they were–let me think of the PC way to say this–"not un-lazy” at key points during the week? Do you think any worship leaders in this country this last week neglected practice and/or prayer time to watch television or surf the internet for porn? And might this less than responsible behavior possibly be to the detriment of Sunday morning worship? You used “we” so absolutely, I have to ask, “If there is even one worship leader who behaved this way this week (and I’d bet my internet priveledges there was) why would you want to associate yourself with him and defend him?” Furthermore, do all worship leaders try to improve their voices for years? Do all worship leaders “do the best they can"? Are all worship leaders using their gifts? Do none of them have any say in how long worship goes?

We all know the answers to these questions. And I agree that there are some harsh things on this post. I’ve posted some of them myself. But I commend Tania for her post on two accounts. First, it was done from the inside. Her husband plays in a worship band. Obviously, she knows the ins and outs of things. Second, she made it clear that she was speaking in generalizations and left plenty of room for exceptions. For example, she did not say, “All worship leaders everywhere are too lazy to get off their duffs…” She said, “Other times I suspect…” She was clearly and explicitly using generalities. You took her words as absolutes, and responded in absolutes.

This is curious. I sometimes preach, and if I read a post that says, “I sometimes suspect that preachers don’t pray about their sermons,” I’m not going to say, “You’re wrong! We preachers pray about our sermons plenty! And we spend hours going over our manuscripts! And we’re just using our gifts!” etc., etc., etc.. How the heck do I know how often all preachers everywhere pray about their sermons? I suspect many of them DON’T pray enough, and for the good of the kingdom, I would hope that they WOULD stumble across a post that would challenge them on the issue.

The most troubling thing about your post is that you might have actually had some good things to say, but no one’s going to pay any attention to them because you come across as defensive and innacurate in your response. Defensive because you chose to take Tania’s humorous, general post as a mean and personal attack, and innaccurate because you strongly imply that all worship leaders everywhere are doing everything they can and should to facilitate godly worship for their congregations.

But because I’m in the mood, I’m going to try to reshape your post into what maybe you should have said if you actually wanted anyone to take it seriously. I was a Communication major with English and Psychology minors, so I’m pretty good at this sort of thing. Here goes:

*********
Well, I’m a worship leader at a church, and I just read all the posts. I gotta admit, some of the stuff was pretty funny, and some of it definitely rings true. Worship leaders (and ministers everywhere) need to be able laugh at themselves, and this blog is a good place to start.

I do need to say, however, that a couple of points in some of these posts troubled me a bit. I think I got a little defensive because, as a matter of fact, I HAVE used Third Day songs in worship, and I DON’T sound anything like Mac Powell. So when I read that comment both my pride and my nostrils flared a little. I took a few breaths, and I’m calm, the nose is back to normal, so everything’s cool.

I realize the point of these posts is basically to vent about lack of excellence in worship services. And I also realize that it’s basically impossible to qualify and disclaim everything you write. Generalizations are necessary. But sometimes, when all you write and read are generalizations, it actually pushes your perspective into believing those generalizations. For example, some worship leaders are lazy, to be sure. BUT, we all know that not all of them are. Many of them deliberately learn multiple instruments and spend years honing their craft, all for the enhancement of worship.

Again, I know everyone here KNOWS this. But I really just wanted to gently–and, I pray, humbly–remind everyone of it again. Some of us even KNOW that we’re not very good worship leaders, but we really are doing our best, and it may be that the best person for the job in any given congregation isn’t willing.

Many of us are trying to hear the Spirit and use our gifts, and many of us choose songs that people tell us they like. Believe it or not, some people even like “Trading My Sorrows.”

I guess all I’m trying to do here is remind everyone who posts here to be sensitive–if not in your posts, at least in your minds and actions–to those of us who do try to learn new chords, who wish we sounded like Mac Powell, who search for new songs, who lead 45 minute worship sessions because the pastor tells us to, who spend years training our voices, who play songs that people tell us they like, and who are really just trying to follow the Spirit and use what gifts we have for the edification of our brothers and sisters in Chist and the glorification of our God in heaven. Not all of us do all of these things. Some of us don’t do any. But if I know that you all remember that some of us do many of these things, it will be a lot easier for me to read these posts and laugh, and maybe even take away a few pointers.

By His Grace,
********

And then you would have signed your name, because anonymous posts always seem defensive, and are hard to take seriously. Many pastors don’t even read anonymous letters. They just have their secretaries throw them away.

If you had written this post instead of the post you did, Tania and everyone else might have actually prayerfully considered it.

And, instead of this treatise, I would have written something brief and cordial, like:
“Hey, [YOUR NAME], thanks for the honesty and humility. You’ve definitely made some good points, and I will remember that “some of you do many of those things.” And I’ll make it a point to pretend that my worship leader has read this blog and needs a lot of encouragement because of it. I’ll make it a point to let him know how much I appreciate his work and his heart. He’s a good, spirit led guy who sometimes picks crappy songs. Hey, I sometimes preach crappy sermons! So, yeah, let’s all hug our worship leaders this Sunday, no matter what songs they pick. Thanks, [YOUR NAME], and I look forward to seeing your posts again. By His Grace, Rob. P.S.–I still don’t believe that anyone likes ‘Trading My Sorrows’ :)”

But you wrote what you did, and not what you could have. So I wrote what I did and not what I would have liked to. And eveyone’s a little more tense and no one’s really growing or communicating. Too bad, I guess.

-Rob


[Visitor]• 06/13/04 @ 03:46

P.S.–I signed the end of that last post, but not the beginning. I meant to do both. I apologize.

-Rob


Rob [Visitor]• 06/13/04 @ 03:48

My spiritual gift is the ability to NOT sing like Mac Powell.


Jared [Visitor] • http://www.bunkface.com06/13/04 @ 12:03

Yeah, I’ve noticed, Jared. If I had to pick someone, I’d say you sound most like Bonnie Tyler.

-Rob


Rob [Visitor]• 06/15/04 @ 01:30

A huge bell you ring, Pastor Rob. Jesus has totally clipped my heart.


Jared [Visitor] • http://www.bunkface.com06/15/04 @ 03:27

I think we’ve stumbled onto another reason why some worship songs don’t do much for us: most worship teams I’ve been on are a bunch of amateur musicians; some more gifted than others, but typically, they are people with busy lives and limited training or talent. I love working in these bands–let me say that again: I *love* working with people in worship bands–but it’s unusual that you find a worship team leader knowledgeable and eager to develop better musicianship and people who have the time and ability to get better. And when you do find that, you run the risk of doing things that might be fun as a band, but that are inaccessible to the congregation. I’ve been in all these scenarios.

I think one way to address this catch-22 is to train and enable pastors not simply to be rehearsal- and song-leaders, but to really reflect on how to use music to bring congregants into worship together, to help them grow in their faith and knowledge of God. We want to sing songs that have aesthetic value, whose words and music work together and reflect orthodox theology, and that encourage congregational participation, and ultimately, congregational growth.

That there are so many comments here is a testament to the importance of worship music, and I think those of us that are involved in making the music happen should feel gratified that people care enough about it to want it to be good.


Nate [Visitor] • http://poorartists.blogspot.com06/16/04 @ 22:49

There are a lot of people who are great musicians and can sing but are lousy worship leaders. Some might say of other worship leaders. “They’re not the most talented, but they have a lot of heart.” I personally can appreciate that, BUT! It doesn’t always cut it. Tony Danza isn’t the greatest actor in the world. “Oh but you know he has a lot of heart” Look what that got us…"Who’s the boss!” I don’t know if my congregation and especially a new person checking us out understands the “alot of heart” theory. We need to offer our best. if we have musicians that are new and learning, offer training sessions, hey while you’re at it…it’s a great opportunity to disciple them and develop relationship with them. Spend time finding out where their heart is, and how to help them make worship an offering of sacrifice instead of a gig. A worship leader needs to spend equal time rehearsing and discipling their band.

Trix Daddio(craig)


Trix Daddio(craig) [Visitor]• 06/17/04 @ 01:09

I almost forgot. Rob, your last post was hilarious! I tried to enlighten my wife to the thought provoking hilarity of your reply to “anonymous” worship leader…She didn’t get it. Which proves to me how funny it really was.

Trix Daddio


Trix Daddio(craig) [Visitor]• 06/17/04 @ 01:12

Bottom line - if churches are not relevent to all they will die. God will not be got across to people - a tragedy.

People listening to songs that are simply risible and yes…crap is not relevent.

ed


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 06/17/04 @ 15:48

Aw, shucks, Mr. Daddio. You’re too good to me. Now, as for Tony Danza, that’s another story. Your post, and some long hours over the graphing calculator, led me to a formula that I’d like to run by everyone: [(Heart + Ability) x Discernment] / Number of times you have watched “Who’s the Boss” = Worship Factor. If you watched Danza tapdance at the Miss America Pagent a couple years ago, then subtract 17. I think this formula works for preaching as well, but it is still untested. If you all like it, this may end up being my dissertation topic.

-Rob


Rob [Visitor]• 06/18/04 @ 05:31

I had general math in 9th grade and failed pre-algebra, so i am going to have to trust you in regards to your calculation. I was thinking about “culturally relevant” churches and was waondering if some churches in the areas where “Who’s the boss” runs in syndication are preaching sermon topics with the same title, not realizing the Tony Danza is not the “It” factor anymore. Which brings me to my next topic, anybody seen or heard pastors using really bad or out dated pop culture in their sermons or misguided ones? A pastor at a church i used to be at, just this year tried to use Nike’s “Just do it” as a springboard for preaching. Or how about my personal favorite most over used slogan for anything…"Got God?” “Got Jesus"…"Got church?” How about t-shirts for all the participants of this website that reads…"Got worship?”

Trix


trix daddio [Visitor]• 06/18/04 @ 12:11

Interesting, Trix…

I was at the beach last weekend, and I went to one of those stores that sells T-shirts. There are always some funny ones in there, but I always manage to resist the temptation to buy the ones that reflect a current fad (like the Taco Bell chihuahua of 3 years ago). I know that the shelf life of such a shirt is short…

Saw someone yesterday with a shirt that said “Whoop, there it is!” I wanted to take them to the beach and buy them a Geico gecko T-shirt…

Pastors do better to stick with what they know. As a teacher, I only use slang that I KNOW! Trust me when I say that if you repeat a phrase that you hear from today’s kids without knowing it’s meaning, you’ll probably be saying something that would cause dead Grandma Phyllis to Jazzercise in her grave…

Your gnarly bud,
Jeff


Jeff [Visitor]• 06/21/04 @ 22:20

I think the list is pretty funny. I really don’t have any worst of songs. I think people have a right to their opinion. But the one thing that I do wonder about is whether any of you have researched the meaning of these songs. Most songs have a story behind it and I think its unfair to put our own interpretations behind it. When I pick songs for worship I pray and ask for the Holy Spirit’s leading. So if the Holy Spirit is leading us to sing these so called worst songs what are we to think? Is it right for us to judge these songs in the way that we are? I agree some worship songs are just fluff without any substance to them but we really need to be more sensitive to the people who sing them and more respectful to those who right them. Just some food for thought.


Joel [Visitor]• 06/22/04 @ 15:20

Oh, right on. The “huge bell” thing cracks me up. A line that always gets me is “like a rose trampled on the groud” in Above All. A neat metaphor, but I think too dramatic for congregational singing. Sounds like a 70’s ballad anyway!

Oh, and right on with “Happy Song", and I feel the same way about the Happy song pt. 2, or as I like to call it, “The Passion Worship set closer.” I think it’s actually called “Undignified.”


Kevin [Visitor]• 06/25/04 @ 13:35

So I was just preparing the worship set for my team at church, and I was really frustrated with the last song. “Word of God Speak” has an exellent idea about not venting to God and then leaving and forgeting that He might want to say somthing (deap breath), but the chorus really reminds me of cereal when its been left sitting with the milk in it for a few hours. Anyway, I decided to try to find a better song and I found this. I haven’t laughed so hard in years! Seriously, its nice to know that you’re not alone in your frustration … and you’re not alone in dealing with the trynottolaughuntilyouspontaneouslycombust syndrom in church.

…When it all comes down to it, someday we’re going to be praising God for all eternity, like it says in Revelation, and all this mushy cereal music isn’t going to be a problem. I just hope you guys feel as strongly about all areas of life as you do about worship songs. Singing is just a small part of our worship to Him.

Oh yeah, here’s my number one worst worship song….and I don’t know what it’s called. The chorus goes “Draw me close,let You love suuround me. Bring me near, draw me to Your side. And as I wait I’ll rise up like the eagle, and I will soar with You, Your spirit leads me on in the power of Your love.”
…..I’m not even going to comment.

(By the way, desparate is really spelled desperate) =)

So I’m going to pick the last song now, feeling a great sense of relief…and a side ache.


Amy [Visitor]• 06/25/04 @ 17:16

That song is called “Power of Your Love” and, if you can believe it, has been performed in Spanish and English (in the same performance) at our church as a “special". It took like twenty minutes. AAAAHHHHHH!


sara [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com06/25/04 @ 21:42

Greetings brothers and sisters in Christ.
In Him we are saved and truly set free.
I am truly thankful for “stumbling” onto this thread. To think that I orignially put in a google search for “top 10 worship songs” only to come across this one.
Ever since I was young I’ve wanted to be a worship leader and by His grace I am currently leading the praise for our church’s youth. As I was reading through everyone’s comments, I found some offensive, but found most to be highly informative and educational. I honestly thought there was nothing wrong with the song “Trading My Sorrows” and even sung it once during a worship service. (Shame on me, I guess, but I’m the kind of person that’s willing to try anything once as long as there is the motive to glorify God.) But I do not add that song to the song list anymore, mainly because the song is so difficult to follow along.
I do believe that this forum is a great resource to other worhsip leaders who can also participate.
Now let us get straight to the point.
It seems to me that many of us have a personal view on what worship songs should be like. Some have said that worship songs should be more communal-oriented not individual-oriented and one insightful brother asked why it couldn’t be a nice balance of both. Has not God, Himself, chosen the one to be used to lead the worhsip? Then should we not trust in the one whom He has appointed? Yes, this is a very dry way to look at things, but it will lessen the potential for needless disputes. As far as personal tastes for worship songs go, I think most worship leaders would welcome criticism and would feel blessed that someone cares and prays for the songs sung during worship. Yes, prays for. In my humble opinion, I believe we should pray more for those worship leaders who are a little less sensitive to the congregation.
But I think we must remember that even though we may post “don’t take this thread personally, please!” People WILL take it personally. Even I had to try, with much difficulty, to read all of the more “discouraging threads” without taking offense. Hopefully, this should encourage those who are writing critiques for the benefit of those who may read their thread to choose their words even more carefully and sometimes even dare to omit some comments that are not constructive feedback. Some of us are not as eloquent as most of you and may have had a hard time expressing their discouragement from some of the posts. Still, those who are sophisticated enough should try to understand and not dismiss it because of bad presentation. Some of the greatest ideas failed to get recognized because of bad presentation. I believe when this happens it is our loss, not theirs.
And still to some this place may be a haven to hearts that are/were somewhat bitter because the worship songs were not to their liking. But some of the same people continue to post over and over, more and more songs everytime. I do not think their bitterness has been taken away. In fact, (if I may be so bold) I think their bitterness is on the rise! And because of some threads, their worship experience may never be positive again! I do not think anyone would want this to burden their hearts.
Forgive me if i lack the insight to read into some of the more deep posts, but I fear that some of these posts can really hinder people who want to worship Jesus. After reading some of this, who will be able to sing “I Can Sing Of Your Love Forever” again when it is led by a worship team in their church?
A beloved brother pointed out that through this post, more bickering may result. I’m praying hard that this will not happen but rather some of us will see that we have been bitter for a long time and desperately need to come back and lay our burdens down before Jesus again.
I apologize in advance if i have offended anyone here. It was truly not my intention.
May His grace truly fill our praises and our hearts once more!
Your brother,
eugene


eugene [Visitor]• 06/27/04 @ 00:13

“After reading some of this, who will be able to sing “I Can Sing Of Your Love Forever” again when it is led by a worship team in their church?”

I have posted twice in these comments before–I had a few songs to nominate and really have been encouraged (truly) by this thread.

I did wonder, Eugene, what would happen when next one of these songs was done in church–would I writhe in *more* agony knowing how we’d just thoroughly trashed the poor song here? Would I come back with an arrogant heart?

I suppose it could happen but that’s not what happened for me. Sharing this thread and all this frustration with you actually released me to accept the worship at my church for what it is. Instead of getting all worked up I feel like it’s kind of out of my system.

Praise God who doesn’t mind us being real with our feelings and frustrations. (He already knew how we felt before we said a word.)


Kathy Thile [Visitor]• 06/27/04 @ 18:46

My son is weighing in this additin to list:

1. “Ah, Lord God", the refrain of which shall heretofore be sung in voice of Sylvester the Cat(Nothing, nothing, abtholutely nothing, nothing is too difficult for thee.)


[Visitor]• 06/27/04 @ 19:00

Eugene (and all other potentially offended parties):

I am afraid that maybe people are mistaking this site for something other than what it is. It is not actually a site set up to bash worship songs (or even thoughtfully and spiritually critique them). Rather, this is a web journal, mostly intended to be read by a small circle of people who know the author and each other in person, have known each other in contexts apart from anything to do with worship music, and who generally know how to take seriously what should be taken seriously and also as blowing off steam or just general fun what is intended as such. I think its great that other readers who have never met us have found and joined this discussion, but I’m afraid some are thinking this is the official website of “The Association of Cheesy Worship Song Haters” published in an attempt to undermine the worship experience of those who actually love “Trading My Sorrows.”

For example, you complain that the same people keep posting. That’s because the readership of this blog (this particular entry apparently excluded) is probably limited to a fairly small set of people (no offense Fergusons, you’ve got way more readers than I do). I’m not sure putting this discussion in the proper context would make these posts any less offensive to you, but it would hopefully put you in the right frame of mind to read and post.

Your last sentence raises an interesting question about this discussion though. Are worship experiences somehow hurt by critiquing songs. Music seems especially powerful at suggesting associated memories. Does criticizing songs that are cheesy, but not necessarilly heretical, associate these songs with this criticism in the minds of those who formerly worshipped with them in Spirit and in Truth?

Personally, I think that such discussion certainly can and does that…but I’m not sure that this is always a bad thing. Those that are able to use even bad worship songs to worship probably can worship with other worship songs, whereas those of us whose are bothered by bad lyrics may be so distracted that it is very difficult to even focus, more less worship with them. Worship leaders are often more trained in the technique of making music than in the aestheics of poetry or theological concepts. This is also often the case of most of the congregation (the average person is far more likely to be exposed to music than poetry in the course of his day). So when the music leader is picking songs, he may think “Oh, the sermon is about holiness and this songs has the word ‘Holy’ in it, and it has a good beat!” or “We should sing about brokeness, and this song also makes me feel so sad and broken when all those minor chords come in” without realizing that the songs lyrics are either mind-numbingly cheesy and dull or even theologically misleading (as in the aptly named “Jesus is my girlfriend songs"). Even if the hypothetical worship leader knows that this song is not that great lyrically, he may be tempted to think “But the music is so moving…I can get past the lyrics and worship with it anyway…” or “Ok, so this song is dumb, and even if Peter and I know this, everyone else always has teary eyes and their hands raised when we sing it…let’s do it anyway.” If honest critiques such as this thread can make others realize how second rate (and I’m being generous, C.S. Lewis called church music lyrics fifth-rate) some worship lyrics are, perhaps the songs will be rightly considered so ridiculous by congregations that they will (mercifully) die out and really good worship songs with really good lyrics AND music will be written.

Of course you could say that every has their own opinion about what makes a good or bad worship song…and you could say that everything is really relative, that their are no absolutes, and that we should all define our own standards…and then you could come be in grad school with me and fit right in.


Doug [Visitor]• 06/27/04 @ 19:37

I was wondering then what constitutes a ‘good’ worship song? I agree that lyrically some songs shouldn’t be sung in worship because they are not theologically sound. I think that worship leaders need to be taught basic theology. They need to know what the Bible says about worship and about God. In my experience this is usually not the case. Worship leaders are chosen simply by the fact that they are the best musicians. Churches do not take into consideration that worship leaders need to be trained because it is a vital part of the church.
I don’t know. Maybe its because I come from a small church or something. Does anyone feel like this?
Ultimately worship is for God and God alone. We don’t sing


Joel [Visitor]• 06/28/04 @ 10:31

I was wondering then what constitutes a ‘good’ worship song? I agree that lyrically some songs shouldn’t be sung in worship because they are not theologically sound. I think that worship leaders need to be taught basic theology. They need to know what the Bible says about worship and about God. In my experience this is usually not the case. Worship leaders are chosen simply by the fact that they are the best musicians. Churches do not take into consideration that worship leaders need to be trained because it is a vital part of the church.
I don’t know. Maybe its because I come from a small church or something. Does anyone feel like this?
Ultimately worship is for God and God alone.


Joel [Visitor]• 06/28/04 @ 10:31

Very well put, Doug. I’ll go a couple steps more and say people here are being naive about how bad most worship songs are. It’s shallow to react with “But God listens to our heart not our words, God chose the worship leader, it’s not about us.” Here comes the heresy.

Considering all the deeply loving and profoundly beautiful acts of sovereignty that Christ showers us with, it’s just plain insulting to give back merely enough effort/thought to come up with “nothing, nothing, absolutley nothing is too difficult for me.” This is the heart of the issue for me. I/we’re not saying, as a worshipper, to protest these songs. I’m pleading to the songwriter community to stop being so lame. And that can go for many issues in most churches, but let’s stay focused, shall we? As God’s children, we have the most inspiring love, the most incredible power, the most humble friend, (and other unmatched characteristics) of which to be moved by, specifically, moved to write a song, and yet most of the time worship writers resort to endless repetition and cliches. But so does Dave Matthews I guess. Seriously though, there are songs written about pets that more accurately reflect the passion I want to be worshipping with.

To be honest, I have to take back something I said. I do strongly encourage each worshipping church-goer to wildly protest “The Happy Song.” This is the only song I feel so strongly about though.


Jared [Visitor] • http://www.bunkface.com06/28/04 @ 22:07

Church is not a broadway musical. Everytime I hear Come Share the Lord, I think Jean Veljean is going to enter the church building and we’re going to start an uprising against the French government.


Jeff Puckett [Visitor] • http://www.livejournal.com/users/jpuckett06/29/04 @ 12:19

No it is not a broadwey musical but 80% of christians forget about God and are too happy being traditionalist caught up is what was successful and engaging 30 years ago and failing to take the church out into the world.

ed


Ed Lawrence [Visitor]• 06/30/04 @ 07:27

Exactly! We do spend so much time trying to get people to come to us, let’s try this or do that taht’ll get them here. We should be out there going to them! What we do on Sunday is so far from a biblical model of church. Yet people hang on to the tradition of things. We have created a consumer mentality in church. I go to this church because they offer “A.B. and C.” or i don’t like that church because thewy don’t have “E.F. and G.” Sunday morning is a very smal aspect of what we should be trying to accomplish in bringing people into a relationship with Christ. People want everything they need spiritually wrapped up into an hour and 15 minute psckage and they want it to sustain them until the next week. There is no maturity or discipleship, or accountability. Slip into church and slip out.

Trix


trix Daddio(craig) [Visitor]• 06/30/04 @ 15:28

I’m a little confused about what the last few posts are saying. It seems like they are complaining about “traditional” worship (whatever that means, its most usual sense is hymns but here it seems to be being used somewhat differently), the refusal of the church to go out into the world AND the consumer mentality (which from a church leader’s perspective might lead to more “seeker-senstive” worship. What should Sunday Services really be? Should we be intentionally reaching out to non-Christians and gearing our services to making them feel comfortable, or should we be challenging the flock?

This is something I’ve thought a lot about since moving to Lexington. The two churches I find myself most drawn to here are vastly different in their approaches. One, a 10,000+ mega-church, tends to see Sunday mornings as the light and fluffy get-people-interested service. Another, a 300 member Presbyterian church is pseudo-liturgical and sticks mostly with hymns and responsive readings. The sermons more or less reflect this attitude as well.

My inclination is to say that when the church gathers to gather it is for the encouragement and edification of the believers. We should be aware that outsiders may enter (cf 1 Corinthians 14), but in general I’m not sure we should focus on them. I’m not sure evangelism should usually consist of bringing people to church so much as it involves being Christ out in the world, sharing our message and (most importantly) loving as Christ loved.

All this really has very little to do with cheesy worship songs though. I guess I tend to think that whatever genre a church uses to worship, it should be done to the best of our ability. Thus, it really doesn’t matter all that much whether it is hymns, Broadway-esque music, Rap, or whatever, as long as we are working to ensure that the songs conform to the highest standards of the genre and have true and meaningful lyrics. There is a long and rich history of redeeming fluff and cheesy genres to make something meaningful and true (Hamlet the Revenge/action movie, Jane Eyre the romance novel, Perelandra the pulp 1950s space story). I’m not quite ready to define an aesthetic for praise music, but I think that one important point is that is appropriately and excellently uses the conventions of the genre of song it is trying to be.

Doug


Doug [Visitor]• 06/30/04 @ 18:04

holy crap, i didn’t realize we could piece this apart so much. way to go! let’s keep theologizing this issue while i keep singing romans 16:19!


gringo [Visitor]• 07/01/04 @ 22:16

My friend Amy told me about this site, and i was greatly entertained (despite some theological (?) hair-splitting…speaking of which, does anybody have an opinion on whether or not adam and eve had belly buttons?!). I too have some quibbles with songs sung in church today. The ones that REALLY bother me are the theologically incorrect ones. For heaven’s sake, we must worship God in spirit and in TRUTH. I feel keenly the tension between talent and heart in worship leaders. At my church, we have had a talent NON-Christian play in our band before! And at my Christian school, our worship through song is halting and painful for anyone with any pitch because of our worship leader with a great heart, an indifferent voice, and no rhythm. If the pendulum swings too far either way, we are in a dillema. One song i find interesting is “Create in Me a Clean Heart” (probably not the real title), in which we sing the psalm of David after his sin with Bathsheba. This song is heart-felt and biblical, but, in actuality, not true today: “Cast me not away from Thy presence, Oh God/Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me…” Although true in David’s time, after Jesus’ death for us, and Pentecost we need no longer fear the Spirit of God being removed from us. It makes me wonder: should we sing something thoroughly Biblical and yet no longer applicable?
One song I thought of this morning that always entertains my often-too-literal-self is from Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the LORD is/a strong tower/the righteous run into it/they are saved.” I have had to bit my lip while picturing various upstanding church members running full speed at and wacking into a big tower, thereupon falling down unconscious. Ah, the joy of worship.
Thank you for such a refreshing blog.


monica ann [Visitor]• 07/02/04 @ 18:44

p.s. i totally agree about “a huge bell i ring” or any other song where someone ties themselves into pretzels to rhyme (e.g. “please burn away the dross"?! like they would ever use that if they weren’t stretching to rhyme with “loss"). to prove once and for all my hypocrisy, i also dislike it when there is no effort to rhyme. :)


monica ann [Visitor]• 07/02/04 @ 18:48

Doug–Where was the C.S. Lewis quote in your last post? Did I miss it? I only skimmed, of course.

Everyone–How about a new list: “Top Five Worst Posts on this Topic"? I’ll bet that would generate some discussion.

If only Jared hadn’t posted six times….

-peter


peter [Visitor]• 07/08/04 @ 00:13

Peter,

Visit the Los Angelos public library catalog and look up the author of “Perelandra” (referenced in my last post). :)

Staying true to my persona
(just like old Jack Lewis),
Doug


Doug [Visitor]• 07/08/04 @ 14:31

I vote to have the post topic removed completeley…However i keep coming back to it to check it, like a dog returns to it’s own vomit!

Trix(Craig)


Trix Daddio [Visitor]• 07/08/04 @ 16:28

i think that worship songs were meant to praise our Lord and Savour Jesus Christ and not to critisize the way they were written and sung. i thin that if we have a heart that wants to praise God, it won’t matter what the song is…our lives should be worship. i guess that we all have different tastes in music but i think God would ultimately love it if you would push that aside and enter into worship because he is worthy.


Sam [Visitor]• 07/10/04 @ 23:05

I repeat…Let’s remove this post topic completely! Poor Sam and the other people to just come onto this site, won’t have bothered reading all the previous posts, and we’ll have to rehash and explain everything again. I don’t have that kind of time…I’m too busy trying to blow a little bubble inside a big bubble, because i don’t have anything going for me!(See main page post for explanation of the last tyrade)

Trix


Trix daddio [Visitor]• 07/11/04 @ 00:38

Trix, Thanks for the idea, but I don’t think I’ll delete this post. When this happens on your blog, you’ll be free to delete whatever you want, but I like it. Yes, some people have been offended. Some people haven’t read the context. But some people have been encouraged. The important thing is that everyone has been able to think about it and say what they think. These are things I value. If anyone is really bothered by what they read, they’re free to click the little red X on their browser.


danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com07/11/04 @ 15:07

I totally agree with you, I suppose mostly waht i was getting at, is i was hoping to move on to a new topic…obviously worship is sooo passionate to all of us and that is why it has created such respons. I am in complete agreement that this discussion is healthy, and that is why i am glad for the post and all the opinions, I myself am not in any way offended, and i am often challenged to move outside my borders of reasoning through the well scripted posts here…Like i said, just hoped for a new topic that would invoke the same though challenging responses.

Trix


Trix [Visitor]• 07/11/04 @ 15:15

Ok, if you want to move on then stop adding comments. :-)

I’m thinking about posting some of my favorite worship songs. I wonder if that would help.


danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com07/11/04 @ 16:12

i think that sounds like a terrible idea.

i hate everything.

Trix


peter [Visitor]• 07/12/04 @ 19:27

i thought worship songs were written to get recording contracts primarily…


raul [Visitor]• 07/15/04 @ 09:42

“Better Is One Day”
How many times can you sing “better is one day” without running out the back door screaming for the Christ to return.


Scott Hill [Visitor] • http://www.murrietavalleychurch.com07/15/04 @ 15:10

Thank you all who are regulars at this blog for posting such a lively and transparent discussion about our “worship songs". I am a full-time youth pastor so I hear quite a bit of “worship songs” at church, in student services, in the hundreds of CDs I pick up through the years, at camps/conferences/retreats, etc. etc. And some of it is REALLY bad. I think it’s important for us to be honest with one another about that fact. While we’re at it, we can add that we have each created/done things in Jesus’ name that were at least equally BAD. I have had so many flops in my student ministry “career” that I often wonder why God still uses me. I guess that’s just another lesson in grace. Thank God that His grace covers our own shortcomings, as well as those of cheesy “worship song” writers. And, for the record, the worst “worship song” is the one with the bridge that yells “I’M ALIVE, I’M ALIVE, I’M ALIVE, I’M ALIVE!!!” Are we really trying to convince ourselves of the fact? Or are we merely making as deep a theological statement as “Grass is green", “Rocks are hard", “Poop is brown", or whatever little factoid it seems would be fun shouting at the moment? Just for fun, think of any other little descriptive phrase that you can and sing it in your head the next time that song is played–that will bring the joy of the Lord to your face for sure! : )


Ben McClary [Visitor] • http://www.connect2ccc.org07/18/04 @ 17:24

“Better is one day in Your courts, than thousands with this song…”


Ben McClary [Visitor] • http://www.connect2ccc.org07/18/04 @ 17:25

“I could sing of your love forever…and this song is getting close…”


Ben McClary [Visitor] • http://www.connect2ccc.org07/18/04 @ 17:25

Actually, all things considered, I don’t mind the actual lyrics to the “I’m Alive” song all that much. I agree that bridge is ridiculous, but in my experience most worship leaders drop it anyway. It also has the unfortunate “I bow all of me at your feet” line. There’s actually a whole slew of songs which fit into the “If only they fixed that one line…” category. The “You’re the best” song is among them. Maybe even the “huge bell” song (although I think the rhythm of that song is a little complicated for corporate worship).
Doug


Doug [Visitor]• 07/18/04 @ 21:29

So I think what we’ve concluded here are the following statements:

1. It’s okay to criticize worship music.
2. Because plenty of it is actually from Satan.
3. Still though, we are bad Christians for sharing these thoughts.
4. But at least there are a lot of us.
5. The Happy Song really is the worst worship song ever written. And maybe the worst song in general.


Jared [Visitor] • http://www.bunkface.com07/18/04 @ 22:37

My favorite worship song of all time is anything by…whats that guys name? Oh yeah, and Peter, thanks for writing on my behalf, i do hate everything, but i’m working on it.

Trix


Trix [Visitor]• 07/20/04 @ 02:02

Actually when you hear the bridge “I’m alive, I’m alive” over and over and over it starts to sound like, “five alive, five alive". That’s when I start to get thirsty….


Joel [Visitor]• 07/20/04 @ 11:03

Man, Five Alive. I used to love that stuff. If only I could get as excited about Christian music.


sara [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com07/20/04 @ 21:51

There was a band at NYR that loved to play “this is how we overcome". And everybody sang it while jumping up and down. And I think to myself “jumping up and down is how we overcome?” What are we overcoming? laziness? arthritis?


aulo [Visitor]• 07/20/04 @ 22:18

Hey, Doug–

Obviously you didn’t remember my second post on this topic, where I wrote:

“The worst worship songs? ‘Could Have Been Songs.’ Songs that could have been great worship songs if the worship writer had allowed himself to step out of his subjective attachment for a few minutes, even just to ask, ‘Hey, are there any lines or images in here that just don’t work for you?’”

Or perhaps you DID remember it. There’s no easy way to suggest this, but your last post sounds suspiciously like plagerism. There, I said it.

It may sound like I am shamelessly directing all glory from this thought straight into my head and away from you. Perhaps I am. But in my defense, it is rare that I have an original thought, and I don’t want you stealing this one. Besides, why are you trying to make this about me at all? It’s about you, and your stealing. I expect a written apology, and I can only assume that God expects passionate and clearly articulated confession of repentence. Perhaps you should even sing “Create In Me A Clean Heart,” but I cannot say for sure.

When you have done these things, we can be friends again (probably).

Humble in Christ,
Rob


Rob [Visitor]• 07/21/04 @ 17:09

Rob,

Screw you and the small truck you tried to rent.

-Doug


peter [Visitor]• 07/21/04 @ 19:45

Rob,

In Doug’s defense, you did rent a small truck.

-peter


peter [Visitor]• 07/21/04 @ 19:47

Rob,
Yes, you may have said _some_ things that are vaguely similar. But maybe you were stealing from things I said in those so-called “discipleship” meetings we used to have (now I see it was just you mining my choicest bits of insight so you could use them in sermons and on blogs). After much prayer and fasting I’ve decided a public rebuke is the only way to go. Consider this confronting you alone, with another brother (Peter, come to my aid here) and in front of the church of the net (in this fast-paced day we have to speed things up, I’m just being culturally relevant). Consider this your first and last warning. I don’t want you to be guilty of the sin that leads to death, but I also don’t want to be judged for praying for you. Through God’s grace I’ve been granted the ability to show you mercy and have purchased some extra large rocks to make your stoning as swift and painless as possible.

Your loving brother in Christ,

Doug


Doug [Visitor]• 07/21/04 @ 21:12

I hope everyone on here is speaking from personal experience. I mean because…you’ve all lead worship before right? You know how much time and prayer goes into it right? Oh ok, good. I was worried that you’re all pew warmers, who have too much time on your hands. Seriously though, I came across this sight only because I was looking for a song for the service I’m supposed to be leading tonight. Now I don’t even feel like it. I’ll be up there wondering, who am I offending? And who’s criticizing me? How can I please all these people? When in fact, isn’t worship about God? That’s what I thought anyways. You know, sometimes we have to do things we don’t want, like, God forbid, sing a song that doesn’t make us happy. Of course, there are songs I don’t like, but it’s not all about me. And it’s not all about you either.


gwen [Visitor]• 07/24/04 @ 11:14

*feeling properly scolded*

now I understand, the words don’t have to apply to actually praising God as long as the worship leader assures me that it is..and as long as I can hum a catchy tune.


aulo [Visitor]• 07/24/04 @ 22:50

“I’ll be up there wondering, who am I offending? And who’s criticizing me? How can I please all these people?”
Gwen it seems to me that you think that leading worship is about you. I hope that you have understood the purpose of this blog entry. Let’s not be so judgemental!!!


Joel [Visitor]• 07/26/04 @ 09:11

I must say that I’m with Gwen…while reading these posts, the thought came to me as well that it would be hard to please some of you.

I’m not sure the author of this blog had intended on this becoming what it has turned out to be.

It was funny to see someone say “let’s not be so judgemental” when that is the exact road this blog has taken. Practically every post (with the exception of the first one) is filled with judgmental critisism.

It’s ok to have an opinion about a song…there are plenty that I don’t like and a few that I just don’t get. But, when you sow mercy, you reap mercy.

I am a worship leader and I understand that a song should be one the congregation enjoys. People sing more from the heart when it’s a song they enjoy singing. But how do we please everyone?

One person HATES “Trading My Sorrow” and the guy next to him loves it. Another person will puke if they hear “Shout to the Lord” one more time, when the woman in front of them, who knows the story of the song’s creation and has the same experience of the writer, loves the song because it touches something deep in her which sends her into deeper worship of God because she knows He understands her pain?

So what do we do? I’ll tell you what I do. I pray. I seek the Lord for the songs I sing and leave the rest to Him. I do not rely on the reaction of people to tell me if the worship set was good or not. If I’ve done my best, then that’s all that’s required of me. If people want to criticize, then they will criticize…nothing I do will change that.

So sing on worship leaders! Sing to the Lord…not to the crowd.

Be Blessed Today and Always!


Tonja [Visitor]• 07/26/04 @ 10:07

Why are so many worship leaders “me” focused. God calls his people to worship…not to be lead in worship.

Trix


Trix Daddio [Visitor]• 07/26/04 @ 14:47

PEOPLE PLEASE!!! This is getting WAY out of hand, and I don’t think it’s honoring God. Now for the last time, the past tense of ‘lead’ is spelled ‘led.’

I’m sorry to anyone I’ve offended (except, of course, Rob–I think we can all agree that we are now to treat him as an unbeliever; thanks for leading the way here, Doug). I know that you made your best attempt at spelling, and I am sure that God saw your ‘almost’ and credited it to you as correct.

I hate Webster and all his cynical friends.

-p


peter [Visitor]• 07/27/04 @ 01:34

‘led’ is also used as the past participle.

-p


peter [Visitor]• 07/27/04 @ 01:36

Didn’t you mean to say “thanks for LEDING the way Doug?” and please, let’s leave Emannuel Lewis out of this…I don’t remember that t.v show being that cynical…Gary Coleman and Different Strokes on the other hand!

Trix


trix Daddio [Visitor]• 07/27/04 @ 14:53

i like chocolate donuts!


j [Visitor]• 07/27/04 @ 16:16

Yes, chocolate donuts are great!


Bobby [Visitor]• 07/29/04 @ 12:54

hey, i just stopped by, and just wondered..

ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????
ARE YOU GUYS CHRISTIAN??????

Somebody who IS Christian, and believe in God, don’t be confused by these Satan-Worshippers.

Just sing to God w/ All your Heart.

Praising and Worshipping..

it’s like you’re bagging for your tiny-dirty-worthless life to God.

and when you’re bagging for life, do you think you can think of anything else???

don’t get smart, and don’t complain about melodies, lyrics and instruments.

Melodies and Instruments, for me, it’s not important. why? because i’m not a talented musician?? NO

i bet i am better musician than ALL of you.
I Learned music when i was in age of 5.
i can play Five different instuments perfectly.
but i don’t care about melodies and instruments.

Why? the Hearts are Important.

I saw one group which had Guitarist and 6 people. They can’t sing in tune, and Guitarguy can’t play at all!!!

but they sang So Loud and sang w/ ALL their HEARTS. after they were finished, i had tear in my eyes.

guys. Heart is important. nothing Else.

if you think"this lyric sux, i can’t understand..” or “this lyric doesn’t go w/ the music", you’re Messed Up Already.

and about the Lyrics.

try to understand it, look through bible and find that verse. if you can’t find it, ask somebody.

you say lyrics are too hard, and it’s grammatically wrong, but when you understand it, it comes together, stronger.

Sing with All your heart.
God Bless you


Beom [Visitor]• 07/29/04 @ 23:34

Don’t try to Tackle me because my grammer isn’t very good. i came to USA exactly 3 years ago.


Beom [Visitor]• 07/29/04 @ 23:36

The was the greatest thing I’ve read on this whole page. I miss Eric Wright.


Jared [Visitor] • http://www.bunkface.com07/30/04 @ 00:39

I miss Eric too :(


brendoman [Visitor] • http://brendoman.stumbleupon.com07/30/04 @ 01:10

Feeling appropriately guilty for my “Satan-worshipping"…


Sarabi [Visitor] • http://www.xanga.com/javasnick07/30/04 @ 09:34

Beom
That’s true but we are also called to love with all our minds as well. God gave us brains so we need to continually think about what we are singing in churches. I like this page because it shows that people aren’t just mindless people going through the motions. It shows that they care about the songs that we sing when we worship an awesome God.


Joel [Visitor]• 07/30/04 @ 12:46

hmmmm, interesting site! I laughed, I agreed, I thought of songs that have come and gone. I do believe that some praise and worship songs will definitely stand the test of time. I haven’t sung “Shine Jesus Shine” in ages, and that’s ok. There are others I have forgotten about. And that’s ok too. And I do think that poorly written praise and worship has done one thing for me: it has helped me appreciate those timeless hymns all the more. When planning worship I do try to plan for blended worship, using some old and some new. I also try to incorporate them into movements, so that the songs are appropriately used with some sense of purpose and not just thrown out there.

Sing with your heart? Yes, of course. And depending on the mood, sometimes a praise and worship song will resonate with me and how I want to epxress myself to God and sometimes it won’t. The thing I realize is that not every song and not every worship service will speak to me in the same way. What hits me one week may not even stir me the next. It’s important to see the bigger picture and think about how the CUMULATIVE act of faithfully offering ourselves to God in prayer, in hearing his Word, in bringing our gifts and offerings, and yes, even singing our praises will build us up for a lifetime.

And sing with our minds. I feel that the songs need to complement what’s going on in the theme of the worship service.

This website and blog has been somewhat fun because it’s afforded a chance to laugh at ourselves…I know we do take worship seriously, and want it to be the best it can be. But as worship leaders and pastors we’ve all had our moments of blunders, or even moments during the singing of our songs that “this isn’t working” yet we keep on anyway…
We’re not perfect and our worship isn’t perfect…But God expect us to make sure it’s perfect, he wants our hearts, and he wants our lives.

Let’s keep working at it!
Rick


Rick [Visitor]• 08/01/04 @ 22:21

instrument worship is the devil, barry poyner told me so


aulo [Visitor]• 08/02/04 @ 18:14

Aulo, who are you? I assumed you were someone who found the site with Google, until you dropped that name.


danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com08/07/04 @ 01:11

aulo went to cccb, he’s hosted by ebrandon.net
he’s a cool guy and counsels meth users

aulo’s site

he’s also friends with Jen (kansaswolf)


gringo [Visitor] • http://www.whoisgringo.brendoman.com08/07/04 @ 14:43

Ok. But how do you know Barry Poyner? And how do you know that I know him?


danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com08/07/04 @ 17:26

Well I heard you talk about Truman State before (my wife graduated from there this year) and I also think I heard you talk about the Church of Christ. Nobody can be in Kirksville and involved in the COC without knowing Barry. When I was just dating my wife, I’d drive up to K-ville from Moberly with my roommate Brandon (host of ebrandon.net), I tried to hook Brandon up with Mandy’s roommate, Crystal Shriver, who went to church with Barry Poyner. Anyway, Barry’s a good guy, but it’s frustrating talking to ppl from that church about Christian liberties. Crystal told me that they don’t recognize the church of christ in Macon because they have a kitchen in their basement. That kind of stuff.


aulo [Visitor]• 08/07/04 @ 18:58

dude, i cannot believe you brought up the kitchen issue again.

that really hacks me off, i can’t talk to either of you. ever. again.

sinners.


gringo [Visitor] • http://www.whoisgringo.brendoman.com08/07/04 @ 19:53

I think you may have it backwards. Barry’s church had a kitchen, the one in Macon didn’t. In fact, I was told before I went to school that I needed to drive to Macon every week so I could go to a ’sound’ church, viz, one that didn’t have a kitchen. I went to Kirksville instead, a liberal church compared to the one I grew up in, and that’s why some poeple think I went down the tubes. I could go on. If you want to swap some stories you can email me.


danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com08/07/04 @ 21:00

I guess I do have it wrong, all I know is what I’ve heard from Crystal and Brandon, nothing first-hand. Sorry for the misunderstanding


aulo [Visitor]• 08/07/04 @ 21:22

oh, and I counseled Meth users while I was in Kirksville, Gringo, here in Kansas City it’s mostly Crack and Herion :-)


aulo [Visitor]• 08/07/04 @ 21:43

To the author of this ridiculous website… I was on the web searching for good worship songs and stumbled onto this. I would not want you to be the worship leader at my church. I don’t think that anyone who refers to themselves as a cynical jerk can efectively lead anyone into the presence of God. Instead of spending so much time tearing down songs that exalt a holy God, why don’t you write some yourself if you think you can do better… but I guess griping and complaining is easier(even though God teaches against it).


Thad [Visitor]• 08/09/04 @ 13:32

Thad,

I’ve been following this discussion since its inception but have not decided to post until now. Several people have, like you, offered criticism of its existence; however for some reason yours strikes me as the most illogical and bitter. In fact, some might say yours are also the words of a cynical jerk. After all, your post was nothing more than griping and complaining.

However as a brother in Christ, I do not wish to call you names or even call your objection to this discussion into question. You are entitled to do so, and at times some posts have come pretty close to crossing the line. I guess it’s just the presentation of your thoughts that bothers me.

First, you say you were “on the web searching for GOOD worship songs.” Clearly, then, you admit the existence of bad ones. What makes them bad? Would you tell anyone they’re bad? Would you sing them if they were bad? When you find one on the Internet, how do you decide if it is good? Were you looking on the Internet for good songs because your church been spending too much time playing bad worship songs? Does the fact that a song exalts a holy God make it good by default? Will the good songs you’re looking for be good for everyone? What will you do if the songs you find are not good in everyone’s opinion? The author of this discussion simply wants to discuss these questions rather than ignore them as you have chosen to do.

Second, I wish you had read the entire first post. You challenge the author to write something if she thinks she can do better. In the 4th sentence of the post, she admits she cannot: “In no way have I or would I ever pretend to be able to write a worship song.” I agree that if Christians believe there is a problem, they should do everything in their power to solve it. One solution would be to write new songs. But, lacking that musical talent, what would you have someone do? The author has chosen this discussion, but you find it unacceptable. Is there another way to improve music in churches? Perhaps we should simply look on the Internet for better songs.

Finally, I am irritated because you fail to recognize that the author is willing to include these “bad” songs in worship for the benefit of the whole church body. If you read all 150 or so posts in this discussion, you would quickly find that though these people are disappointed by many songs, we all know that the body of Christ is more important than any individual.

After leaving this website, I hope you were able to find the good worship songs you were looking for. In a short while, I expect that this same author will be posting a list of her favorite worship songs, and perhaps you can check back then to see how these same people feel about songs that inspire them to fall at God’s feet and become immersed in His holiness. Thank you for your time.

by His grace,
Tim


Tim [Visitor]• 08/09/04 @ 14:21

Somehow people who criticize what is going on here miss a few important things:

1. You are judging this conversation as not leading anyone closer to God because we are judging that some worship songs are not leading us closer to God. So we are engaged in the same critical task.

a. The difference is, first, that you think that this discussion could never lead anyone closer to God because it doesn’t edify you. We very plainly say that just because a song doesn’t edify us, that doesn’t mean it can’t be hearfelt worship for someone else. In other words, the first big difference is the kind of selfish blindness that leads to the problems in worship most of us are frustrated with: namely, that people assume whatever is slightly meaningful to them has to be meaningful to others and, conversely, whatever is unappealing to them must be unedifying to everyone. We speak for ourselves, but you try to speak for everyone when no one made you their spokesperson.

b. The second difference is arrogance veiling itself as a pious defense of God’s holiness. We never venture to say that God is displeased with people when they sing these songs, but you assume you can speak for God in saying that this conversation displeases him. The real difference here is that we are willing to be questioned–even inviting it. You aren’t willing to hear disagreeing opinions, so you set yourselves up as defending God so that to question your opinion is to question God. Not only is this unfair and cowardly, it’s also dangerous. Just ask the prophets of Jeremiah’s day who said they spoke for the Lord when they were really only spouting their own opinions. We speak for ourselves, but you try to speak for God, and has he made you his spokesperson? Be careful.

2. The most popular dissenting line seems to assume something strange: that God accepts any gift offered to him; therefore, there is no need to offer the best things to God, just the most “heartfelt.” Where does this idea come from? Certainly, God meets us where we are. That’s the whole incarnation principle. But take a closer look at a few passages of scripture: Malachi 1.8: “‘When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?’ says the LORD Almighty.” This has less to do with the heart of the worshiper than with the quality of the sacrifice. Some sacrifices are better than others. After all, that’s one of the major points of the book of Hebrews.
So what disqualifies a sacrifice? We could come up with our own opinions, but in the end God is the judge. None of us is pretending to know that God is displeased with one song or another. What we do know is that some songs are less effective at leading us into his presence–not everyone, just us. But as more people add their name to the list of those who think the thrill is gone from “Trading My Sorrows,” it starts to become clear that songs have a prime. So let them pass after their prime, then bring them back in a year or two as retro worship. Then they’ll be cool again.

Sorry for the long post. I hope God isn’t displeased with me. What am I saying? He’s sitting right here telling me what to type. And now he wants a hotdog. Later.


peter [Visitor]• 08/10/04 @ 13:27

Maybe we should blame King David for some of the worship songs, he wrote most of them!

While we’re at it, and we are at it…What do you think about the ridiculous copyright laws to have to pay a license fee to show lyrics for worship songs. I completley understand the need to pay for the right to record someone’s song, but isn’t paying to display someone’s worship song lyrics, missing a bigger point?

Trix


Trix Daddio [Visitor]• 08/11/04 @ 19:07

wow


gringo [Visitor] • http://www.whoisgringo.brendoman.com08/14/04 @ 17:23

Not-so-anonymous confessions of a “Worship Leader":

Amazing what you find via Google. My reaction to this thread- I laughed, I cried, it made me mad, it made me think.
I was glad to see I only use two songs on the original list of five.
From my perspective, I strive in prayer and preparation to offer God a pleasing sacrifice and do a thoughtful job of leading a congregation of 250 in song every Sunday. I learn a lot through the experience. I have learned not to take criticism too seriously. I have learned you can’t please everybody. I have learned to laugh at my own mistakes, musically and spriritually– and I have most importantly learned that I am but one of many examples of an imperfect vessel through which God chooses to do His work. Frankly, God is often glorified in spite of us, rather than because of us.
Thanks for the humorous observations. I’m glad I’m not alone in how I feel about “I’m Trading My Sorrows,” “Every Move I Make” (never thought about the similarity to “Centerfold” before) and that little “you’re the best” line in “Knowing You.”
That said, let me add that I’m troubled by an arrogance I often observe in the Christian community that is disguised as “honesty.” It seems to be a favored sport to criticize anything “popular.”
Ed: What would you do differently? You eschew the traditional and lampoon the contemporary, so what do you want?
Peter: What in your eyes constitutes a proper musical sacrifice? If only professional quality musicians make cut, well- there may be a lot of quiet churches (Hmm, that actually may not be a bad thing.Come to think of it,silence is actually very musical).
Well, back to my Google search for worship music.

Jim


Jim [Visitor]• 08/15/04 @ 00:49

Here are a few nominees-

1) “When The Spirit of The Lord Moves In My Heart (I Will Sing Like David Sang)". You know this one, you merely change one word every verse Sing…Clap…Dance. A couple of funny stories from a church where I was one of four worship leaders who took turns. We had a team who insisted on doing this dreaded number. Once, when we were having Sunday service in the park, this couple who was drunk took the verse seriously started swing dancing in front of the stage! Pretty funny, especially since I wasn;t the one leading worship.
One year, this same group did this same song for Easter. We had a visitor who had just returned from Israel, and I remember looking up during this verse, and I see this guy spinning and dancing like a whirling dervish! Of course, no one else really ever danced to this song.

2) “Trading My Sorrows"- My drummer begged me to do this song, but I’m sorry the…."yes Lord, yes Lord, yes, yes, Lord…” “No way, no way, no no way…”

3)New Category: Spiritual Warfare Songs- “Mighty Man of War"- The whole post-Carman, “we’re gonna kick the devil’s butt” mentality has a real militaristic tone that even makes this political conservative squeamish.

4) “I Love You With The Love of the Lord"- Very syrupy, and Heaven forbid the worship leader makes you turn to the person next to you and sing it. (AAAGGGHHHH!!!!!)

5) “Worthy, You Are Worthy"- nominated just because of a lack of lyrical substance. This song must’ve taken 5 minutes to write.

Jim


Jim [Visitor]• 08/15/04 @ 17:13

Unless I misread my Scripture, according to Galations 5:22-23,"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” In what I have read here, I have found cynicism. Why? Where in Scriptures do you find that God has given you a spirit of cynisism? Yes, there are a lot of worship songs out there that are not good. Yes, there are a lot of “worship songs” out there that are not worship song. Yes, there are a lot of “worship songs” out there that are not Scriptual in anyway, but where did the spirit of cynicism come from? As a worship leader, there are a lot of “worship songs” that I have refuse to include, but I don’t sit around and criticize these songs to other Christians. The spirit of criticism is not from God. We’re told in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute(admirable), if there is any excellence, and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” We are called to be Christ-like and Christ wasn’t cynical. If you have found yourself to be cynical, it’s time to hit your knees, spend time in the Scriptures, and time in prayer asking God to reveal to you what causes you to look at things through eye other than His. If you are cynical about anything, how long is it until you become cynical about God? Give Satan an inch and he’ll take a mile. Give into him a little and before long, he’ll have all of you. Believe me. I’ve been a Christian for 32 years now and I’m ashamed to admit that I questioned God and I stood in defiance of God for four years after my father died. At the end of those years, I committed a felony. I destroyed the lives of several people that I loved. I tried to commit suicide because of the shame and guilt that I felt when I had a Divine intervention. No, He didn’t manifest Himself to me. No, He didn’t audibly speak to me. He use a picture of my son to get my attention. As I knelt crying, I felt His Spirit asking if I was finally ready to get right with Him. I spent four years away from the people I loved. I got God’s forgiveness, but I still had to pay the concequences for my actions. It all started by my letting cynicism enter my life. I wish I could help you understand why it’s dangerous to let Satan have any part in your lives. It doesn’t just affect you, it affects your loved ones, your church, and those unsaved watching your lives. If they see no difference in your speech, lives, or attitude than theirs, how will you ever reach them for Christ? Don’t give Satan a foothold in your life. Get rid of that cynical spirit. Memorize Philippians 4:8 and live by it.

Your servant in Christ,

Greg


Greg Wilcher [Visitor]• 08/15/04 @ 22:50

You mean criticism isn’t a spiritual gift?????
Uh oh… I gotta tell someone about this…

john


Lil' John [Visitor]• 08/16/04 @ 08:54

Cynicism: An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others. I got that from dictionary.com.
I don’t think that there is a spirit of cynicism here. I think that we all are striving to give God the best–a striving for excellence. Criticism: The practice of analyzing, classifying, interpreting, or evaluating literary or other artistic works. I also got this definition from dictionary.com (at least the one that fit). Where in the Bible does it say that criticism is a sin? Sometimes constructive criticism is needed in order to evaluate and to re-examine our motives. This is especially true when leading worship. We need to be grounded in the Word and open to the Holy Spirit.
Just my 2 cents (in Canadian pennies!!).


Joel [Visitor]• 08/16/04 @ 09:37

I love this thread


aulo [Visitor]• 08/16/04 @ 13:52

I can understand what he’s saying about cynicism, but again, that’s not what this is about. If we always just settled for what was handed to us, never challenging and expressing our need for something bigger and better, our lives as well as our spirituality and theology would be centuries behind. I mean, people from Michael Moore to Aristotle prove that. Along with Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther, Leonardo DaVinci, etc. And believe it or not, we can even include Jesus and all those people in his ancestry from the Old Testament. Now I don’t think worship music is as world changing as literacy or democracy was (could it be though?), but it seems under Greg’s thinking, all these people were also cynical.

Is this spirit of cynicism in the Bible? Well Moses fought pretty hard to change the way his people were allowed to worship. Joshua killed a lot of people trying to find a better home. David worshipped publicly in a way nobody would back then (and hopefully now either). Esther freakin told her king to step off. Hosea married a prostitute out of obedience. Daniel, Joseph, Paul the Apostle, every disciple, Rahab, and not to mention Jesus again. How can you say this isn’t in the Bible?

I understand what Greg said though and I think he’s said some valid things, obviously coming from a very personal place. This forum, however, is not a bitter spewing of doubt and apathy. Aside from a few “you guys are sinners for talking about this” posts, nothing said here comes from anger or from a mind turned away from Christ (very much the opposite in most cases). …Anyway, this dialogue has been made several times already. If anybody else has a problem with these comments, please read through the discussion before you post something somebody’s already said.

(Side note: I only bring up M.Moore to show a modern line between cynicism/criticism. Not claiming to disagree or agree with him and please can this be the last time he’s mentioned here so this doesn’t turn into a completely different discussion. Good then.)


[Visitor]• 08/16/04 @ 18:09

It’s good to know we’re not the only ones doing this… check it out!

http://www.holyobserver.com/detail.php?isu=v01i04&art=repeat


Sarabi [Visitor] • http://www.xanga.com/javasnick08/17/04 @ 09:59

Jim,

You asked what I would say qualifies as a proper musical sacrifice, in reference to my point that God does not accept everything that is sent his way. I hope this doesn’t get too confused. Here goes:

A big source of misunderstanding in this discussion comes down to this: People are speaking not from different sides of the issue, but from different perspectives when considering worship songs. Some confuse a thought from a different perspective with a lie from the pit of hell. Now, I am not saying that everything is about perspective and there’s no room for telling people they’re wrong, but in this case there are two perspectives at work:

1. This post was begun, and continues predominantly in the “from below” point of view. This is a consideration of worship from our perspective as worshippers, which means that it’s concerned with what connects us to God most deeply and effectively. Songs that are distracting are therefore not effective worship songs–not because we’re consumers who are only interested in what we can get out of worship, but because we need worship leaders who can lead us deep into the presence of God.

2. Much of the criticism of this conversation comes is in the “from above” perspective. This attempts to view worship from God’s perspective, and therefore sees it as arrogant that anyone would decide for God that some songs are crap. The next step is to say what it is that God accepts, and the general feeling seems to be “everything.”

My point is that some songs fail as worship because they do not lead people into God’s presence (some put the fault in the songs, others in the cynicism of the people singing them). The point is that when we are viewing it from below, worship just doesn’t happen for some people with some songs.

But I felt compelled also to take on the “from above perspective and challenge the idea that God accepts just anything sent his way. I don’t know what the criteria are for what worship God accepts or rejects–that would have to come from a careful examination of what God has told us he wants (i.e., looking at scripture). I think that some people have rushed ahead of themselves–and this discussion–in assuming they know what kind of worship pleases God (any song no matter how poorly it connects God’s people to God) and what doesn’t please God (this conversation, which is more a challenge to them and their beliefs than to God).

That’s how I see this discussion. I don’t know what God’s criteria are for acceptable worship–maybe we could start that conversation. But though I don’t know the criteria, I know that God does not just accept any praise flung his way.


peter [Visitor]• 08/17/04 @ 14:52

I’ve been thinking about your earlier post, Peter, and about the discussion of good vs bad worship. It seems clear there is worship that God doesn’t accept (the blighted offerings of Malachi, Cain’s grains, etc.) but I also think of 2 Corinithians 8:12 “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.”

How does one reconcile these ideas? I think those that insist that its the motives/the heart that is behind the sacrifice are probably actually right. However, too often I think we use as an excuse for offering less than our best. Sure God looks at the heart of the giver, but I think the heart has to have more than just sincerity in it. We must select the best of our worship song flock for the altar. The songs we pick may not be perfect, but they must be the best we can do. Offering less than that, however sincerely and lovingly we give the gift, seems ungrateful and dangerous.


Doug [Visitor] • http://darkriver.brendoman.com08/17/04 @ 16:23

And if a song’s stupid lyrics make worshippers laugh rather than have their heart on God, then the song has failed in two ways. It’s not the best offering possible, and it fails to foster the right motives.


danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com08/17/04 @ 17:32

Doug,

What’s this “2 Corinthians” you speak of?

I don’t really have anything to add to the good v. bad worship criteria (in the so called “from above” perspective, anyway). Your point is well made, and I think that the verse fits well in this discussion of worship.

Here’s a preliminary question: Is there a standard for an offering that is either met or not met apart from any consideration of the giver? We’ll call this the objective standard.

Question 2: Is there a standard for an offering that is either met or not met solely on the basis of the “heart” of the giver (we’ll need to define ‘heart,’ I think)? We’ll call this the subjective standard.

Question 3: How do the objective and subjective standards relate? Do they have to balance? Does one trump the other? Do they both have to be met in order for the offering to be acceptable?

This is just one suggestion for developing our little conversation. Others are welcome, as are modifications.


peter [Visitor]• 08/17/04 @ 19:06

Wow. What an animal. I googled this looking for “Dimestore Prophets” an old band I used to work with.

Anyway, I stumbled across this thread, and I have to admit, after leading praise and worship for 10 years, I really appreciated it.

The thing is- there are musical tastes and cultural differences and that’s okay. I always knew that in picking songs, not every one person is going to love every one melody, every one lyric, etc.,

now that i am no longer leading worship, i admit, that there are certain songs that are not my favorite - i sort of squirm over some of the songwriting, but i do try to worship anyway. i have my faves. but something, that i have noticed, is that it does help in the humility and attitude of those who are leading worship. our current worship leader is so cool and so sincere, that i find myself WANTING to like all the songs he likes. he has a gift.

i have had this discussion with my boyfriend who has played guitar for 20 years and isn’t crazy about many worship tunes. i did challenge him that it is a choice and an attitude. you would be amazed and what you can get out of a song you are sick of, if you plead with God to show you a new song…or a new way of worshiping.

When you become “desperate” for the Lord…all those semantics to the songs you don’t care for simply melt away.

i seriously doubt they have these kind of discussions in third world countries where they are not allowed to worship in public.

we have a privelege. let’s make a choice and be grateful.

but i admit, i did laugh alot while reading this thread. i think it all comes down to balance and being honest.

Theresa


dizzygirl30 [Visitor]• 08/18/04 @ 03:41

The discussion of Worship songs brings up some important questions, “Do we truly worship?” “What is worship?” “When does worship start and when does it end?” “How do you worship?” We use worship songs to “get us in the mood” to “worship” God (often read “get us ready for the Pastor’s message"). I have told the church’s congregation several times that worship begins when we wake up and ends when we fall asleep, but is that true in our lives? Can we worship God from the time we wake up til the time we go to bed or is that just a nice but unattainable thought? We have a lot of Worship Leader and Team members that hang out here, from what I can tell, so I’m asking you to give your opinions about my questions. Now, to make it harder, answer the question and back up your comments with Scripture, if possible. As Worship Leaders, do we inspire our congregations to worship by our lives, “stage presence", or our “charisma"? As Worship Leaders would we rather hear Josh Groban (one of my favorite singers {not Christian music, by the way}) sing worship songs for money or hear the praise songs from a tone-deaf, couldn’t carry a note in a bucket, fingernail on blackboard church member? Where are our hearts in the worship service? Do we cry when we sing certain songs (the good kind of cry because of God’s goodness) or are we unflappable? When we approach a worship service, is it with prayer or with calculations to evoke a certain emotion? Do our hearts break as we sing “It is well with my Soul” to a congregation who has a woman with two mastectomy and has just been told that she has lung cancer? Were are our heart? Do we have hearts of worship? What in our lives drive us to our knees to worship? Do we worship because of God’s blessings, or because of His forgiveness? Are we seeing ourselves through God’s eyes or through our own eyes? Do we praise God’s Holiness or just sing about His Love forever (I do like this song, by the way)? Where does true worship start?
In my opinion, we have to go to Isaiah 6:1-8 to start. The king had died and Isaiah, the most godly man in all Judah saw God sitting on a throne. He then saw the Seraphim hiding their faces with 2 of their wings, hiding their feet with 2 more of their wings, and flying with their last 2 wings. He then heard the Seraphim echoing back and forth, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Host” What was Isaiah’s reaction? I am majorly screwed (my paraphrase, not quite Scripture). “Woe is me! For I am ruined.” Isaiah saw God as He is and then saw himself as he was and came to the conclusion that he was a sinner. “I am a man of unclean lips and am from a nation of unclean lips.” Nothing that comes from my mouth is Holy. All this from the most godly man in all of Judah. If, as Worship Leaders, we see God as he truly is, “Holy, Holy, Holy” and we see ourselves for what we are, sinners without hope, we’ve taken the first step toward true worship. Then one of the Seraphim took a burning coal from the alter and put it on Isaiah’s lips telling him that his sins had been forgiven. God then asked “Whom shall I send, who will go for Us?” Isaiah’s response was “Here am I, send me". Isaiah worshipped God with his actions, his willingness to be used by God. What are we willing to do for God and the furthering of His kingdom? What actions are we doing that would be considered worship? Is worship only singing praise to God or is it more than music? Can picking up an elderly shut-in saint and bringing them to church be considered worship? As Worship Leaders our “job” is to have songs aimed at “getting the congregation in the right frame of mind for the services", but is that considered true worship?
I am eager to read your responses.

Your servant in Christ,

Greg Wilcher


Greg Wilcher [Visitor]• 08/21/04 @ 00:15

P. S. Sorry about the hard-hitting questions, but “as iron sharpens iron” Christians should sharpen other Christians. It boils down to do we really, really, truly want to worship God? Are we willing to open our sinfulness to God’s Holiness and make the appropriate changes? Tough questions but worth digging into to answer, to find out where we stand and why.

Your servant in Christ,

Greg Wilcher


Greg Wilcher [Visitor]• 08/21/04 @ 00:25

My head hurts…


Trix Daddio [Visitor]• 08/21/04 @ 12:12

Greg,

We tend to use the word “worship” in a number of different ways. I agree that we should think of singing, giving, praying, taking communion, and listening to a sermon as part of a larger life of worship. But there is something special about meeting weekly, which we do 1) tp coporately express our devotion to God, and 2) to encounter his presence in the community of saints. As you point out, such encounter with God and expression of praise often starts with contrition, but often exhibits itself in practical love, empathy for the hurting, thanksgiving, celebration, adoration of God because of his divine attributes, and in many other ways.

Isn’t it appropriate, then, that we seek to give voice to all these forms of worship in our songs? That can be challenging work, but I don’t subsribe to the notion that simply because God CAN work through the worst situations, that we shouldn’t strive to do our best. As worship leaders, we should strive to meet that challenge, to give voice to all the expressions of praise waiting to be sung.

It seems that most of the criticisms here come from a motivation to make our corporate worship better: to allow our brothers and sisters to more fully express their devotion to God, and to allow them to more fully experience his presence. Making that a part of a larger life of worship is important, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t concern ourselves with the particulars of our church services.


Nate [Visitor] • http://poorartists.blogspot.com08/23/04 @ 21:51

Greg
You asked approximately 26 questions in your long post!!! Could you cut it down to one or two so that our heads don’t explode? Can you do that? Is that possible? Will you? Won’t you? Please? hehe.


Joel [Visitor]• 08/24/04 @ 08:17

Shouldn’t there be a prize for anyone who answers the 26 questions correctly? At least a weekly drawing? Well said Nate, anyone who has taken the time to carefuly comb over the posts instead of just grabbing the hot buttons would pick up that all of this comes out of a desire for better worship, the heart to draw closer to God. One of our church’s core values is “Everything with Excellence” That means that we put everything we do under a microscope. Do we miss the mark sometimes…Yes! Does that mean that nobody was blessed…No! But it also means that we don’t say to ourselves “Well, we know that some people were blessed, so let’s just do that again.” No, we look at how we can improve on that.

Trix


Trix Daddio [Visitor]• 08/24/04 @ 12:03

Did a google. Found you. Kindred spirits.

Need help. But first, my all-time favorite top worst worship line is from my all-time favorite top worst worship songs (those horrid River songs - and I am one who unfortunately KNOWS what this “river” is “they” sing about)

-"dancers who dance upon injustice.” And my church sings this frequently. I’ve even asked the music “minister” what that line means. Looked like he had lice! (Scratching his head and all!) Still plays it.

Help me here - I truly need your input into this.

“Lord, Reign in me, Reign in your power, over all my dreams in my darkest hour….lord reign in me again.”

1. Does God reign in me?
2. And if he does, does he have to reign in me “again” like, where’d he go that he has to come back again.

I’ve searched but I cannot fine one scriptural support to this song. Can you?


Lisa [Visitor]• 08/25/04 @ 00:16

Well… I really like ‘Lord I lift Your name in High… it’s like one of the only ‘worship’ songs with the gospel in it!

You guys should all check out EMU - www.emu.mu they have some rally great biblical stuff… (or my stuff too… :p )

I really don’t like emotion driven songs… they need to proclaim God and the gospel!


Andrew [Visitor]• 08/25/04 @ 06:11

Lisa, here’s my best attempt:

‘reign’ and ‘in’ should go together, as in, “i need to be reigned in, because i’m going astray like a wild horse.” that’s where the ‘again’ part comes in–i was put in the stables, but then i jumped the fence and roamed free again. now i need the Holy Cowboy to bring me back.

it’s all clear once you see it from a horse’s perspective.

“over all my dreams in my darkest hour"–i can only assume that this is referring to dreaming at night. so all those sinful day dreams get exempted from the song. that’s good news indeed!

-peter


peter [Visitor]• 08/25/04 @ 12:26

For clarity’s sake, we could sing it:

Lord reign me in, reign my heart in . . .

I think I’ll start singing it that way. Maybe we could use sugar cubes and oats for communion to really drive the message home.


danny [Visitor] • http://danny.brendoman.com08/25/04 @ 18:41

Lisa
I think that you have to take the whole chorus (well whole song i guess)into context:

Open up the doors and let the music play.
Let the streets resound with singing.
Songs that bring your hope,
And songs that bring your joy.
Dancers who dance upon injustice.

I think that the last part is about celebration. When a person comes to Christ there is much celebration and joy both up in heaven and down here on earth. For the justice part look at Micah 6:8.

As for the river songs. I think some of them are okay but they have to be sung in the right context. Which river song are you referring to anyways? What is the river that you know about?


Joel [Visitor]• 08/26/04 @ 13:11

There is a movement afloat in churches across the world who are teaching an aberant gospel. This movement is called the River Movement. You can go to your local bookstores and get books about it (most are written by River Movement folk about how great the River Movement is).

In a nutshell, the River Movement states this: God is moving in a new and different way in these last days. In this new and different way, God is speaking to His people by His prophets (not Isaiah, Ezekiel, Amos and Joel). These modern-day prophets are speaking new and different things from God. And if you, the Christian, want to be where God is at, you better listen to these modern-day prophets cuz they have “the revelation” from God and you don’t if you aren’t with them. So you have to get into the flow with them to be in God’s will. They call the place of God’s new revelation the River.

There are also many “streams” in this River. There is the stream of prophesy, which I mentioned. There is the stream of intercession - and many other streams.

I have seen this River myself first hand. I went to a church years ago when we lived in a large city. We were there for a year. Then we moved away. When we went back for a weekend visit, the church had “gotten blessed” by God and they were in this River. It was very sad to see it. The people were acting demon possessed (literally, they were acting drunken, falling down, even vomiting in the aisles). They had been doing this “blessed” thing they said for 2 years. The guest speaker could not read out of the Bible. He was too overcome with the “Spirit” to read. He could only shout and make “Cock-a-doodle doo” sounds. (Well, he did manage to point his finger at my husband and I for not getting in the River - we were sitting normally - like you do at church - and since we weren’t making drunken revelings, we were condemned for not being in the River spirit.)

This River movement is making headways into my church now. At least one person has been trying to bring it in, but since I know what it’s all about, I’m trying hard to reveal it for what it is. This person is trying to bring in false prophesies to the ladies and I am standing and saying, “but this guy is a false prophet.” He said that there would be a cure for AIDS in 2002 and that has not happened. He said God would be president of the USA in 2000. And that did not happen. Let me tell you, folks, this is a weird movement but people, intelligent people are FALLING for it. Satan is wily and he’s bamboozled some very dear friends of ours. Not only are there these weird outward manifestations of the River, their theology is all wrong - as I’m sure you’ve been able to pick up from the little I’ve said here.

I found an excellent article on this River Movement. Just found the article 5 days ago but it is so accurate. I recommend you read it and see if you don’t see the meaning of the River songs after you do. It will open your eyes up to some of the issues we’ve seen discussed on this list. It’s a long article, but it reads easy, like a testimony. Please let me know what you think after you read it. I’m very interested in hearing your opinion.

And it is because of their wrong theology that I’m questioning that song about God reigning in me. (But this song is just a tiny little side issue.)

So here’s the link. I hope it is ok to post. Danny, I’m sorry if it against your policy and ask that you remove it if it goes against your wishes. The article is called The Way of Cain and can be found here; http://www.apologeticsindex.org/r06.html


Lisa [Visitor]• 08/26/04 @ 14:16

Which river songs are you talking about? Are you referring to every single song that has ‘river’ in it? I am just wondering because I think we need to make a distinction here.
I have never heard of this movement so it has piqued my interest. If its from God it will stand the test of time but if not it will die out.
And I just thought the River referred to the one in Revelation…


Joel [Visitor]• 08/27/04 @ 11:08

I’m talking about the river songs put out by the River Movement people. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly who the River people are cuz many of them don’t come right out and declare who they are. They go by many different names. Most have been written in the last 15 years, give or take.

Satan can only imitate what God has done. He can only counterfeit true things. There is a true river - absolutely.

And there is now a false river.

We must do as the Bereans did and examine all things. If we come upon a river song, look into it. Don’t take it at face value. Really read it. Does it glorify God or does it glorify the river and/or the things in the river?

If you read that article I linked, you’ll start to understand the differences in the true River and this false one.

Has anyone read it yet? What do you think?


Lisa [Visitor]• 08/27/04 @ 15:42

Hi. Thank you for your answers, Nate. I agree that we should worship God in our songs. Scripture tells us that whatever we do, we should do it to glorify God. Hey, Joel, I don’t want your head to explode, but I can be long winded sometimes (imagine that). Trix, the only one that can say whether the answer to my questions are correct is God Himself, so I wouldn’t hold my breath for a weekly drawing just yet. There are so many ways to worship God and I was interested in everyones thoughts about my questions. What touches my heart and puts me in a worship mood might never get the congregation to worship and, conversely, a song that doesn’t cause me to worship, might break anothers heart and cause them to worship God. Lisa, thank you for the website. I bookmarked it for future reference. I did read the link and feel that if God’s people would read their Scriptures, then they wouldn’t be so easily taken in by all these cults out there. Heb. 1:1-2 tells us that in times past God spoke to us through the prophets but now He has spoken to us through His Son. These people who claim that God has given them some “new” or “special” revelation haven’t read Paul. Paul wrote that if anyone even an angel comes preaching any other gospel, let them be accursed, eternally condemned. He was saying that they would be damned for all eternity. That’s a pretty scary thought, but you don’t mess around with God’s Word. Thank you for the warning on the River Movement. We must remember that anything that takes God’s glory away from Him is of Satan. Remember that Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. I am looking forward to all the responses to your posting and to mine. God bless you and your walk with God.

Your servant in Christ,

Greg


Greg Wilcher [Visitor]• 08/28/04 @ 23:37

I’m as stumped about this River Movement as anyone else. I’ll ask around down here and try to find out who’s responsible.

Just thought I’d set the record straight.

Love,
Satan


Satan [Visitor]• 08/31/04 @ 14:35

P.S.: I wrote the “Yes, Lord” song.


Satan [Visitor]• 08/31/04 @ 14:35

I knew it!


aulo [Visitor]• 08/31/04 @ 16:59

Listen, I’ll take credit for all the boy bands…Yes it’s true that they all sold their souls to me and I did write their songs…But for the love of the dark forces of evil, DON’T TRY TO PIN THAT “YES LORD” SONG ON ME!

Deceitfully yours,

Satan
Official Title: Prince of Darkness


Beezelbub [Visitor]• 09/02/04 @ 23:00

I can’t believe I haven’t seen mention of “The Trees of the Fields will Clap Their Hands.” Again, not all scripture references translate well into worship. Somebody had to have been stoned out of their heads in order to piece together this incoherent piece of drivel. My IQ drops about twenty points every time its played at my church. I usually spend the entire ‘hymn’ thinking to myself “where’s a sniper when you need one?”


Phil [Visitor]• 12/30/04 @ 08:20

I don’t know if you were just asking random people about what the river means to them in songs, but the river symolizes how if we drink from His river we’ll never go thirsty again and it is like He is flowing through us.


Joe Oxley [Visitor] • http://www.xanga.com/oxleyman8701/03/05 @ 19:44

What are examples of “best” praise songs? I think I need about 200 opinions to get a sense of where you all are coming from. Someone tell me what songs grab them and make them worship Him…I’m dying to know…Anybody got a message from heaven?


Garry [Visitor]• 01/03/05 @ 22:33

They tell me I have A.D.D.
They just don’t understand.
Oh, look, a chicken!


James [Visitor]• 01/23/05 @ 22:53

I’ve read through about half of these “comments” and I now find it no mystery what is wrong with “the church". How have we become more concerned with the songs we sing, than with the heart in which we are singing them. Example: David’s Psalms which are songs and poems of praise that sometimes, maybe just to me, are difficult to sing. Why? I’ll let you figure it out. But, would I or you be so bold as to question the heart of David, who was a man after God’s heart? This is what we are doing by “voicing” our opinions. We are questioning the heart of the writer. You might say, “oh no I just don’t like the song.” Fine. But, let me ask you this, if a man writes something for God, from God, what right do I have to judge that work? The only right is given through the test of God’s word, NOT our opinions.


Curt [Visitor]• 01/28/05 @ 10:04

I just have one question for all of you posting on this blog:

What would an unbeleiver think about Christianity, the way Christians worship, and the way Christians interact with each other if this blog were the only source of information?

We are to be a light to the world–is this blog adhering to that biblical mandate? (OK, that’s two questions–give me a break!)

-Kevin


Kevin [Visitor]• 02/09/05 @ 22:14

this might be one of the funniest blog’s ever and would now like to add a few pithy comments of my own:

1) I am a white dude who does not ever dance. I do not sing worship songs that suggest otherwise. I have to believe that even in heaven in front of GOD, he would kindly ask me to stop moving my body. It is not pretty.

2) I am a typical male…when I sing or hear a song with the word ‘lover’ (many worship songs use this word)-I think about sex with my wife. I know that I can think about bedding my wife after church-its all good-but not what I want during worship. She knows this too and cringes when we sing songs containing this lyric-guys I know you feel my pain on this….

3) The Happy Song/Trading My Sorrows/Every Move I Make (NA NA song) are banned from my car, church, my kids CD players, etc. THEY ARE DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH!

4) First, I love U2. However, I despise the trend by groups to use one of their songs in worship medley or on a worship album. C’mon guys, get creative!

5) “Preachers preach! Singers sing!". Worship leaders, stop talking over the words. If the words need explanation get a new song!

6) I really hate when my wife gets rid of all my pleated pants and replaces them with flat front…oh, wrong place for this topic.

McD in Dayton


[Visitor]• 02/16/05 @ 20:16

Kevin: If this blog were the only think an unbeliever knew about Christianity, then may God have mercy on their soul. I have a question for you. What if those five songs that Sara listed were the only thing that an unbeliever knew about Christianity?


dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/03/09/05 @ 10:23

Someone posted a link to this on a message board I go to and I was like BRENDOMAN WENT TO CCCB! haha. I wasn’t disappointed with this at all (too bad that much can’t be said for Central)and I agree with the author fully. Its even worse on some of these songs when people are jumping around and waving their arms around and you just want to be like DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE SINGING?!

And for the record, I have seen someone dance “like we’re dancing now.” I don’t think we’ve ever done that song at church where someone wasn’t dancing. Then again, I’m one of those crazy Pentecostal kids.


sierra [Visitor]• 03/12/05 @ 12:09

Something David Crowder said kinda itches at my brain. He said, “I’ll try harder.” Now first of all, I know I’m taking this to mean more than he meant by closing off with that, so don’t imagine me yelling and attacking him. But worship, of any kind, is just an overflow, a by-product, of loving God with our entire selves. And I believe faith is also. So how exactly do we “try harder” to write better songs or to have stronger faith? It’s just a natural expression of what we can’t hold in. Just like the best love songs, and the most enraged political songs, are born or true passion and don’t take much effort to write, I hope the worship leaders who still write music spend less time working on a song and more time, I don’t know… discovering it? The same goes for me, and the strength of my individual faith. But “try harder?” I guess really all that means is to let myself be more vulnerable… in a sense, try less.


Jared [Visitor] • http://www.bunkface.com03/13/05 @ 22:26

I am not alone - what a relief! Next time I stop singing a line in a song (or pretend I can’t sing it because I have to do something vitally important like scratch my ear or adjust my watch), I will not feel so isolated and a ‘bad’ as a Christan, like I’m letting God down because I can’t with honesty sing a line. Thank you!
Last week we sang ‘Above all’, a song currently very popular in our church (Michael W Smith wrote it). As a P&W song I have trouble with the chorus line, ‘Like a rose trampled on the ground, he took the fall…’. I know it’s pretty and peotic an’ all, but it’s such a strong image I end up thinking about the poor rose instead of Jesus. Plus, the simile falters because roses don’t take the fall for anyone ‘cause, well, they’re roses. Maybe it’s just my personal frailty, but that line really it irks me! Perhaps the song would be better in another context (ie solo with explanation attached).
Anyway, thanks for your insights and I’ll endeavour to think clearly (and humbly) about what we sing and say in our church.


Kath Henderson (Australia) [Visitor]• 03/17/05 @ 06:04

I emailed David Crowder at the address listed on davidcrowderband.com to confirm that the above post is actually from him. I just got the reply and it is a genuine comment.


dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/03/20/05 @ 22:02

Kudos for Crowder.


Lulamae [Visitor]• 03/21/05 @ 13:58

I would have to add in there the horrible “Prayer of Jabez” song. Cruddy tune and even worse lyrics. And yes, I know it’s “scriptural". It’s as much scriptural as singing about not retrieving my horse that’s fallen into a well on Sunday.

This thread rocks!


Jeff Patrick [Visitor]• 03/26/05 @ 00:41

to all the people who think that all of the christian world is above criticism, i would just like to say, be real. people that christians are supposed to reach out to appreciate REALITY. they like it when people are real with them, and can honestly admit when a song is bad. and not all songs glorify God by the way. not all songs have some deeper meaning. and just because a song has a biblical reference doesnt make it a good song. i realize that many of you dissentors may have had good intentions but you are just coming across as hoity toity and holier-than-thou. BE REAL! some songs are bad…

I would like to add to the list 5 of my personal worst songs. Any song that repeats the same thing over and over… case and point: 1. DAYS OF ELIJAH! (There’s no God like Jehovah!… i counted 16 times one sunday that this was repeated) 2. SING. just take a look at these lyrics (now is the time for all people from every land to come together… and the chorus: Sing, sing unto the Lord. Open up your heart, make a joyful noise in the sanctuary, sing!….) its about praising the act of praising. not praising God. 3. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE… this is the most overplayed song. and its only about us. besides the fact that it’s annoying. 4. LET IT RISE (let the glory of the Lord rise among us… oh- oh- oh, let it rise!) its not even praising God, its about us. 5. MERCY IS FALLING (mercy is falling, is falling, is falling. mercy it falls like a sweet spring rain. mercy is falling, is falling all over me. hey-oh (What the heck is hey-oh?!?) i receive your mercy. hey-oh i receieve your grace. hey-oh i will dance forever more.) and thats the whole song. that one doesnt even need explaining….

man, what a day that would be: mercy falling, glory rising… hey-oh! lol
that was fun. feel free to comment. -Ali


This is something that I’ve struggled with for many years. I’ve actually felt like I was losing my passion for worship. So much of the worship music that is sung today is difficult to follow, and in reality doesn’t even lead you anywhere. As a musician, and a worship leader I find the tension to try to be more professional and “modern” with my playing style. After all, we’re trying to reach a new generation. However, in the process we’ve created worship songs with such complex rhythms and melodies that no one can sing along with them. Oddly, I have found that one of the greatest cd’s put out recently was by Big and Rich. Secular country artist. Given, their music is definetely not that godly, although there are a few songs on the album that have great themes, I’ve nearly worn out the cd. I can’t get the songs out of my head. They are so catchy and singable.I haven’t played any of my Christian cd’s that much, the music is just way to busy and too much high range sounds that give me a headache! I feel guilty because I find myself humming their tunes more than I do worship tunes, but I think that definetely proves my point. Modern worship songs aren’t catchy or even that enjoyable to sing to. Like someone said previously, half the time I spend trying to figure out what I’m singing. It’s crazy. Anyway…hopefully there are some of us who can rise up and write some anointed, singable, enjoyable and just downright awesome Worship songs and take the Church into God’s Presence for real.


Andy [Visitor]• 04/04/05 @ 01:34

Wow, how can some of you bash the worship that is sent to the throne of God by people with humbly hearts. I mean… surely, you know better than God as to how His Spirit flows… right? I think some of you really should consider this again. I’m not saying that some of you aren’t saved, I don’t need to. Although, some of you, I am sure of, are not. I wouldn’t exactly bash the offering to God… Worshiping should be done in spirit, and in truth, Jesus didn’t say to worship in criticism and dislike for the music. Any song to the Lord Jesus should be “Your song” because He saved you from eternal Hell, you shouldn’t be picky about what you praise Him with.


VoiceofOneCrying [Visitor]• 04/04/05 @ 16:44

It’s not that I don’t think that songs that are written by many of the “commercialized” worship artists today don’t flow from a heart for worship, it’s just that it’s their experience of worship, and it’s very tailored to their own tastes and style. I think that as we write music for congregational singing we need to write stuff that is more friendly for congregational worship. Personally speaking, I write alot of music and for me its worship, but there is little chance that it would be embraced by a congregation for corporate worship.


Andy [Visitor]• 04/04/05 @ 23:25

Once again I feel the need to post.

The John the Baptist wannabe said s/he was sure some of the people posting weren’t saved. I’ve checked my records down here, and I am unable to corroborate that claim.

Not that I wouldn’t mind more company.

Just checking in,
Satan


satan [Visitor]• 04/06/05 @ 16:07

wow this site is wonderful, haha i play every sunday on the worship team and myself have wondered what the crap am i singing and how is this suppose to help lead people to worship God. songs like Days Of Elijah, when we go into the theres no one like Jehovah i just feel like im at a hoedown, then there’s this song called Sunrise, “sunrise im gonna praise the Lord, Sunset Im gonna praise the Lord, how the heck can God be glorified to that? 1st off im not even awake when the sun rises 2nd of all when the sun sets im usually doing something other than praising God. i utterly hate that song. Trade n my Sorrows, so sick of playing that song i swear ive played that song at least 2000 times. And Lord I lift Your name on high, i feel like im playing sweet home alabama or something, or “raising God to the roof” when I “lift his name on high". its weird how i get more out of “secular ” songs sometimes than i do “christian songs” for example the song Grace by U2, talks about how Grace makes beauty out of ugly things, and it hit me as bono was singing it, that God gives us grace and God makes us beautiful being as though we are ugly and full of sin, now i know its super cheesy but its true. or songs by Damien Rice called “coldwater” or the song i want u to want me, haha jk. but props on this blog


adam [Visitor]• 04/07/05 @ 15:25

If you are going to write P/W songs please do not write meaningless crap. Put some thought into it, please. With the success of the “worship cd’s” out there, everyone is trying to score a “top ten” hit instead of writing genuine, heartfelt songs. My wife and I have gotten so sick of the lame praise songs that are out right now that we started writing our own. We slip our songs into the worship and usually get a great response. We dont tell people that we wrote them unless they ask. But you can tell there is a hunger for songs with substance in the congregation. You dont have to cram a twelve point sermon into a song, just write about God from your heart. Write about what God has done for you, how he makes you feel and how much you love him. Avoid cliches like “God above like a dove with his love” and avoid too much repetition.

My Personal Top 5 Worst

01. Lord of the Dance - Roger Hodges
“You’re the Lord of the dance You’re the dancing Lord”
This song just sucks. Really sucks. I keep seeing Jesus in tights doing the Riverdance.

02. Open The Eyes Of My Heart - played by every Christian band known on earth - and John Tesh.

Overplayed and overplayed and overplayed and overplayed and…

03. Jehovah Jirah/Blow The Trumpet in Zion/Garment Of Praise and other pseudoJewish songs of the “lets pretend we are Jewish” type

04. “River” songs. Down the river and through the woods to Jesus’s house we go

05. Songs with great choruses and crap verses. “Awesome God” comes to mind “When He rolls up His sleeves He ain’t just puttin’ on the Ritz” What were you smoking when you wrote that line Mr. Mullins?

And dont even get me started on the U2/Creed clones!


jay [Visitor]• 04/22/05 @ 02:31

you should all check out the book “and now lets move into a time of nonsence” by nick page.
great book. comedy genious, especially the use of the dedication.

but also a serious discussion on the content of worship.

worth a read.


gremble [Visitor]• 04/24/05 @ 09:44

hello all, some one said that they dont like songs that sont appear to fit together well, i like songs that havemultiple ideas in them, thats why i love a lot of what radiohead do.
especially stuff like paranoid android, three distinct concepts involved in that song.
some songs that have 5 mins and 4 verses saying exactly the same thing leave me with my mind wondering.
they dont present the big picture of god.
dont know know, your a lot americans and im a brit. so i suppose we always understand music a little better, thats why the cool american bands make it big in the uk before he states, white stripes classic example.
bye.
anonymous, miserable brit.
sometimes called jimmy


gremble [Visitor]• 04/24/05 @ 09:56

Ummm….. Thanks everyone you have all just ruined my abilities to worship. Every song I hold dear and near are forever tainted by hip movements and grammar instructions. I wonder if people critiqued Van Gough like this.


scott [Visitor]• 06/01/05 @ 11:27

Our 2 Cents worth:

Songs we hate, in now particular order. We’ve also felt compelled to explain our thought process.

1. ‘The Trees of the Fields Will Clap Their Hands’ (Proof that all scripture is not suitable for adaptation into worship music. Might as well write a worship songs based on Ezekiel 23)

2. ‘We Choose the Fear of the Lord’ (Our church frequently chooses this Vulcan Funeral Dirge to open a worship service. This one just sucks all the energy and enthusiasm out of the sanctuary. Its one of those ones composed by a no talent hack who changes one word from the previous verse and tries to pass it off as a new verse. While you choose the fear of the Lord, I’ll be waiting out in the car.)

3. ‘Father We Love you, we worship and adore you’ (Same reasons as above. Makes me feel like looking around for a long, sharp object to puncture my ear drums.)

4. ‘Change my Heart oh God’ (Slow, listless and unimaginative tune. Combines most of the potter & clay cliches popular in ‘christian’ music today’)

5. ‘As For Me and My House’ aka ‘The Family Song’ (I don’t know why, but it makes me want to kill the home-schooled families sitting within a three-pew radius)

6. ‘Be Still and Know that I am God’ (No I’m not! Every time this one comes up, I just wait for lightning to strike the worship team dead)

7. ‘King of Kings and Lord of Lords’ (Let’s pretend we’re Jewish, and while we’re at it, let’s do so at least four times over. No worship team can ever cut this one off. They just keep going on and on and getting faster and faster. Eventually people just stop singing and they get the message. I usually pretend I’m preoccupied with something important like reading my bulletins from 1999 or trying to quietly open my package of Dentyne Ice without annoying those around me.)

8. “Open the Eyes of my Heart Lord” (Often accompanied my half-assed actions. There’s only so many times the word holy can be repeated and still retain its meaning. This song exceeds those limits. Usually performed several octaves too high. Not recommended for people prone to ear aches. Another song that worship teams can’t figure out where to end)

9. ‘Down at your Feet oh Lord’ (Nothing particularly doctrinally or musically wrong. Just horribly over played at our church. Once or worship teams learn something new, they beat it to death, and insist on making the rest of us party to it)

10. ‘He is able, More than Able” (Sounds like it was written using a thesaurus. The crappy melody was an after-thought. The words ‘accomplish’ and concern typically belong in inter-office memorandums)

11. “Heavenly Father I Appreciate You” (See above. Also one of those songs that takes changes a few words from the previous verse and calls it a new verse)

12. “My Life is in You” (Sing, Sing Again, Repeat as Necessary. The commercial I saw for that crappy worship CD showed people jumping up and down uncontrollably with hands in the air. I thought that was happening at our church once. Turns out the lady was choking on one of those Campino candies. I love those things. Peach is my favorite.)

13. “Come, Now is the Time to Worship” (Wait a minute! That explains all the people in suits and dresses! It all makes sense now! One of those songs that presents the blatantly obvious as a profound revelation)

14. “Spirit of the Living God, Fall Fresh on Me” (Every lyric sheet I’ve seen insists that you repeat 3 times. Lots o’ melting and molding cliches again. Really dreary melody. Makes me dozy and inattentive for the rest of the service)

15. “Down the Mountain the River Flows” (and it brings us Pepsi wherever it goes. Crap! Now I’m thirsty and I want to go skiing!)

16. “I Could sing of your Love Forever” (Maybe in heaven, but not here on earth. I’ll sing this one through once maximum. So far, I’ve done an excellent job at surpressing that dancing feeling, foolishness that it is.)

17. “Find me in the River” (Not likely. Our church baptizes people indoors. Besides, standing on your knees in a river is dangerous. Especially if the current picks up and you get swept into a hydro-electric dam. This one doesn’t make an ounce of coherent sense. The writer probably had ADD, as he drifts aimlessly from rivers to thorn bushes to valleys. Geography lessons in worship. Yea!)

18. “Deeper” (Anyone who doesn’t know how to swim should stay close to the shore. The lifequards will only warn you once. I doubt I will be running to Him or flying to Him any time soon. I wasn’t aware you can get to heaven on foot. I don’t have an airmiles card either.)

19. “Did you Feel the Mountains Tremble” (Actually no. We live in a flat and desolate area suited mostly to wheat farming. I’ve never been to the ocean. I thought I heard the ocean roar once, but it turned out it was just an airplane. Inanimate object such as gates seldom respond to my verbal commands. The car broke down on the 401 once. “Work you worthless piece of crap!” I shouted, but it didn’t listen.)

20. “Every Move I make I Make in You” (Sounds like a jingle for a highly potent laxative)


Phil & Ben [Visitor]• 06/19/05 @ 11:32

It might behoove some of you to examine the heart behind your excoriating critiques of worship songs that are meant, NOT to please your personal musical or poetic taste, BUT RATHER TO EXALT THE GODHEAD. These complaints are so self-centered, it’s insulting to the God that is worthy of genuine praise. Our energy should be used for uplifting Christ, but this post is a blackhole of negative synergy. Just consider this, prayerfully.


name [Visitor]• 06/23/05 @ 09:28

Hi “name"…it might behoove you, when you attack other people’s hearts, to not do it anonymously.


davel454 [Member]  http://www.mindfulmission.com06/23/05 @ 10:53

By the way…a couple of weeks ago we sang two songs at church that blew me away:

One went something like this: “Take me away so I can be with you". All I could think of the whole time was this: “Kill me, so I can be with you". I was trying to figure out why we were singing suicidal songs…

The next song had a line about laying my head upon your breast…


davel454 [Member]  http://www.mindfulmission.com06/23/05 @ 11:03

“This post is a blackhole of negative synergy.”

What does synergy actually mean, anyway?


jksterup [Member]  http://www.brendoman.com/kyle06/23/05 @ 11:11

This thread is awesome.

I’ve been a worship leader for 15 years and we have a SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITY to worship with our hearts AND minds. You worship leaders who were offended by this thread need to realize that it’s more than just rehearsal and practicing your instrument.

We have a solemn duty to provide worship that is in spirit AND truth. Some of you are bent out of shape because we’re criticizing worship that is well intentioned. Others are bent because we’re criticizing something that people work hard at.

There’s more to it than that. GOod intentions are worshless without Truth and if we’re singing shallow theologically incorrect songs, we’re worshipping in spirit, but not in Truth. Conversely, if we practice real hard and are hitting all the right notes, but don’t have thr right attitude behind it, we’re just making noise.

This thread is beautiful because it hopefully inspires people to THINK more critically about the “ritual” of worship.


Roland [Visitor]• 06/23/05 @ 18:38

Wow, I don’t know any of the songs on the Top 5 list, and only a couple of the others mentioned (although I didn’t read through the ENTIRE thread). These are not the same songs that we sing in black churches (at least not the churches I frequent).

But I can definitely relate to some of the categories. We certainly have our share of “movement” songs, which I think should be for Children’s Church only. And songs that sound like you would sing them to your significant other ("no one can hold me like you, Lord", what were they thinking?).

By the way, the Five Blind Boys of Alabama (very old black Southern gospel singers) did a recording of Amazing Grace to the tune of The House of the Rising Sun.


LAmom [Visitor] • http://lamom.blogs.com06/23/05 @ 21:49

The South Park episode that mocked Christian music was brilliant. The “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs must go. :-)


Roland [Visitor]• 06/24/05 @ 00:03

I’ve been to this site before.
And had wanted to post stuff,
but I had so many things to say about it,
both good and bad, that I eventually gave up

But here I am again,
and I’ve finally found
what I wanted to say

Just worship.

I think you guys should listen to “Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman.
Then come back and tell me what you think of worship.
And here’s the story behind if you’re interested:
http://www.higherpraise.com/worship/worship_whenthemusicfades.htm

O and by the way
I’m no worship leader.
I’m not the best singer.
I just love worshipping Jesus.


Paul [Visitor]• 07/14/05 @ 02:16

I don’t think there’s anybody who’s commented here who doesn’t love to worship Jesus.


Kyle [Visitor] • http://www.brendoman.com/kyle07/14/05 @ 07:50

Okay, I’d kinda have to agree on ‘Come, now is the time to worship’ I don’t think that I really bother singing it, especially when it’s in the middle of the service! And since it’s like, ‘come, now is the time to worship’ I don’t remember any lyrics that praise God directly.
Well, I don’t really think that grammer is a big deal when it comes to songs if it’s not really noticible, but it’s awesome to worship Jesus.


Ben [Visitor]• 07/14/05 @ 10:27

*whew* It took me two days, but I finally read all the comments on this post… “I laughed, I cried, it moved me, Bob…” As I read the first half of the posts, I couldn’t stop laughing! So many songs I have refused to sing certain lines of, refused to play in worship sets, or just don’t sing…(I’ve been leading worship music off and on for 10 years, by the way…) Good to know I’m not the only one.

It was rather cathartic to go through all this. Just knowing that other people feel the same way I do about certain songs helps me to focus on God when hearing “bad” music, rather than the music itself. I’m something of a perfectionist, so off-key singers and sub-par musicianship bug me as much as bad songs. Sometimes I find it hard to worship with music in a congregational setting for those reasons, but some of these posts have challenged me to rise above the fact that sometimes church music is bad… (By the by, I currently attend a non-instrumental church, which in itself sometimes drives me nuts. I’m just glad they don’t mind me playing my guitar other places…)

I was also slightly miffed that a couple of songs I like are on this list, but at the same time I appreciate the the input. I don’t hear a lot of these songs as often as people in more “progressive” churches, so I may just not be as tired of them. And as far as “La la na na” songs, I usually leave that part out when I use them. I appreciate knowing that certain songs have really run their course for a lot of people. I’ll be more careful about using them in my song lists!

In a related note, I find it difficult to sing as part of the congregation. I don’t mind leading, because that’s when my God-given talents are supposed to be used! I try to play and sing perfectly so as to not be noticed. I don’t want anything to detract from people’s worship. However, when I’m not leading, I seem to distract people… Some of it’s “good", as in, “I heard you singing, you have a great voice!” But I feel sad because people were looking around for me instead of paying attention to what they’re singing. Some of it’s middle-of-the-road, “Wow, you’ve got a powerful voice, I heard it over the crowd at NYR!” God just gave me a powerful voice, and *usually* that’s a good thing! Then there was one person in college who nearly squashed my ability to sing freely in groups. This person’s comment (on more than one occasion) was, “You just sing loud to call attention to yourself! You’re so selfish and prideful!”

Gag.

At what point does my free singing impinge on another’s freedom to worship? Do I just ignore comments such as those three because “my heart is right", or what? My middle of the road “solution” for now is to either not sing at all, or sing tenor, which is low enough most will not hear me. Reading all this has made me think more about this particular issue, because it’s really stymied me for a while. Especially now that there’s no instruments in my church to help drown me out! I love to worship God in song, but I don’t want to hinder others in that quest. Just thought I’d throw that out there.


kansaswolf [Visitor] • http://ebrandon.net/kansaswolf07/20/05 @ 22:37

Hey, I love music and think it’s one of God’s greatest gifts! On that note, I really can sympathize with those who blanch at bad lyrics or repetition.

BUT, be careful guys! Cynicism is a powerful tool of Satan. Try looking on the bright side, acknowledge God in everything, even crappy songs! Other people may really connect with something that is totally rancid to you. It’s all for the glory of God and won’t be perfect or worthy of Him til Heaven.

Not even the great songs are worthy of His holiness.


Ross [Visitor]• 08/20/05 @ 17:50

Cynicism is a powerful tool of Satan.

I guess, but it’s also perfectly normal. There are plenty moments of cynicism in the Bible. I think even Jesus was cynical toward the Pharisees.


brendoman [Member]  http://brendoman.com08/21/05 @ 01:03

Thank you so much for the comment Ross. You’re absolutely right about music and cynicism. As a worship leader, however, I can sympathize with those who hate or dislike certain songs; nevertheless, I have to play songs which minister to the congregation. For instance:

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. - KJV

All songs have there place in God’s kingdom. It’s more about the way we worship, not about what songs we worship with. It’s our heart that really matters.


Michael [Visitor] • http://mamargio.blogspot.com09/20/05 @ 17:26

I hesitate to even bring this up, but didn’t Enter the Worship Circle do a song called “Because I Am So Sick?
I remember cracking up over the title.
Also, they used goats-foot rattles while stomping on baking pans during the recording process.
Is this even Scriptural?
Does anyone know??
More disturbing was the fact that there was no disclaimer in the album notes saying “No goats were harmed during the making of this album.”
Cerainly food for thought.
John


praisemaker [Visitor] • http://www.recentrainfall.com09/22/05 @ 01:52

I humbly apologize for leaving the ‘t’ out of ‘certainly’ in the previous post.


praisemaker [Visitor] • http://www.recentrainfall.com09/22/05 @ 01:54

Ohhh yeah…. The song was actually called “Since I am So Sick” and it is on Enter the Worship Circle. Another interesting song title on that album is “Whatever Thing.”

They do have some cool songs though.

I wish they would put out an Extreme, or Desperate Worship Circle album. That would really put them at the cutting edge of a radical, Jesus Freak emerging generation.


praisemaker [Visitor] • http://www.recentrainfall.com09/22/05 @ 02:03

Also, they used goats-foot rattles while stomping on baking pans during the recording process.
Is this even Scriptural?

I don’t think electric guitars and drum kits are necessarily scriptural. I think the important question is: Is it beautiful? Is it interesting? Is it enjoyable to listen to?

Not having heard the music, I can’t really say, but it’s certainly intriguing.


jksterup [Member]  http://www.brendoman.com/kyle09/22/05 @ 08:43

WOW. THIS DISCUSSIONS GONE ON A LONG TIME HUH ?
HOPE NO ONE MINDS ME POSTING A COMMENT, JUST BEEN TRYING TO READ THRU THE DIVERSE OPINIONS WE ALL HAVE ABOUT THE ‘PRAISE & WORSHIP’ IN OUR CHURCHES.
WHAT CAN I SAY ? WELL, I AGREE WITH THE STATEMENTS THAT SOME SONGS MUSICALLY, LYRICALLY, STYLISTICALLY ARE NOT GREAT PIECES OF ‘MUSIC’ AND NOT ‘MY’ PREFERENCE REALLY. I DONT ‘LIKE’ SOME AT ALL.
BUT I THINK…HE DOES. OUR GOD. JESUS. THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO COMES TO “INHABIT THE PRAISES OF HIS PEOPLE". HE SEES IT ALL
A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENTLY, AS LONG AS ITS DONE “IN SPIRIT & IN TRUTH"…I THINK ‘GOD THE SPIRIT’ AS JESUS CALLED HIM APPRECIATES MUSIC IN A DIFFERENT WAY TO US MEN & WOMEN.
OF COURSE…WE COULD THEN DISCUSS WHICH SONGS ARE IN SPIRIT & IN TRUTH AND WHICH AREN’T …BUT WHO ARE WE TO BE ABLE TO SEE THAT…ONLY OUR HEAVENLY FATHER KNOWS.
AND WHO AM I TO SAY ANYTHING TO ALL OF YOU?…..NOBODY.
I JUST KNOW THIS IS WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS SHOWING ME. MAYBE HE JUST WANTS US TO GIVE HIM OUR HEARTS A LIL’ MORE.
GOD’S LOVE TO ALL WHO READ THIS.


LOWLY NO-ONE. [Visitor]• 10/10/05 @ 08:30

Hey, guys. I know this isn’t just CCF posters, but I’ll just throw it out anyway. Just wanted to say: I heartily apologize if I ever picked a song to sing at CCF that really drove you crazy. Everybody learns, you know. It just takes some of us longer.


Josh S. [Visitor]• 11/14/05 @ 09:26

Josh, I think you always picked pretty good stuff. And besides, the song that one person can’t stand might be another person’s favorite.


dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/11/14/05 @ 11:16

Or, then again, the song that’s one person’s favorite might wreck another person’s whole spirituality.

Josh, every time you led “Shout to the Lord” I peed myself and sobbed like a little baby. But, hey–as long as it’s your favorite. Okay, not really. Do you still play? Where the hell are you, anyway?


peter [Member]  11/16/05 @ 01:19

Pedro,

I’m at Purdue University. I’m a doctoral student in cognitive psychology. I study interface design and visual perception. I play sometimes. Kirsten and I help with the music at a college ministry here.

You really like it when I do the echo part on “Shout", don’t you? “You’re my comfort!!!!” Oh yeah.

Josh


Josh S. [Visitor]• 11/16/05 @ 08:00

Josh,

Good to hear from you. Remember on the Spring Break trip to Malibu when I was leading worship and stopped before “Shout” to ask that no one sing the tricky echo part? Yeah, I didn’t realize until someone told me much later that the young woman leading with me was one of the girls who loved singing that part.

Great job, Peter.

Although, she was never one of the ones who tried to sing it despite not being able to with skill. (Which is a grammatically strange way of saying that she was a good singer and didn’t distract people from worship by singing the part.)

That was the same trip Doug went ballistic about that “Your Will” song. The next week Leida, who was not on the trip, asked me to lead at CCF with her, and she chose “Your Will.” She also chose “Shout to the Lord” and sang the echo part. That just goes to show you how unspiritual Leida was at the time. At least I think that’s what it means.


peter [Member]  11/16/05 @ 13:33

Hello!


Krystal [Visitor]• 11/17/05 @ 04:01

I don’t think I went on that one, but I remember hearing about your valiant stand. That’s why I said I liked singing the echo part so much.


Josh [Visitor]• 11/17/05 @ 07:16

WAIT A SECOND. This site is extremely entertaining and before I start with my “I rebuke thee speech", let me contribute to the madness with my own pet peeve: I hate old hymns that are the most depressing sounds on the planet. Well, I can’t actually think of any right now because I’ve done everything in my power, in recent years, to keep hymns out of my song diet. But you all know what I’m talking about.

I agree with a lot of the things everyone is saying. But hey, we all have different opinions and I’m not sure it’s worth the entertainment value to ruin someone’s experience with a song. Yeah, some of the words make absolutely no sense when you really think of them, but if one person out there is truly moved and actually exalts God in the process of singing it, who are we to make fun of it. I stopped reading about 6 comments into this (after several laughs) because I’m afraid to come across a song that means a lot to me, being made fun of.

Yes, you’re all very funny and obviously superstars now, but are we adding to the kingdom or taking away from it?


Jason [Visitor]• 01/09/06 @ 02:21

One of the most annoying worship songs I can think of is “Every Move I Make.” Talk about a “hip thing.” Plus, the words are fluff and dribble. There is no substance to them (along with many of the other songs mentioned here).

I like a lot of worship songs, but unlike Jason (01/09/06), I also have a balanced diet of hymns as well. A balanced diet is a healthy diet.


Aaron [Visitor]• 02/06/06 @ 10:34

Yeah Aaron! I was beginning to think that I was the only old-school hymn lover around – here’s to a healthy diet :)


Victoria [Visitor]• 02/12/06 @ 00:07

Peter -

Eric, James, Seebass, and I loved the Hough Stand at Malibu. At that point, we made t-shirts with your face that we wore everyday underneath our other shirts.


Lucas [Visitor] • http://wardx2.livejournal.com/02/16/06 @ 23:34

Hey, all.

Thank you very much for an entertaining and somewhat educational HOUR AND A HALF. Yes, I read through the whole thing. That’s the kind of time I have on Saturday night when I’m not on the worship team tomorrow.

Here’s the challenge I am faced with: Our Jr, High youth group consists of about twenty, at least fifteen of whom are not church kids – they’re just from the community and the nearby schools. Our youth pastor has a vision to teach them about worship even though the majority of them do not know Christ. One out of every four weekly youth nights has been designated worship night (the kids still come, incredibly). The worship team for these nights is composed of four students between grade eight and grade ten (or tenth grade, to translate to American), and myself (twentysomething). The worship leader is a tenth-grader who has a heart to worship and a rock band on the side. I am the “coach” (and percussionist). He picks the song and schedules the rehearsals, and my job is to make sure he’s on the right track, holding to the vision of the youth pastor, adhering to a theme, critiquing songs, repeating songs enough that all these kids who have never heard them before (and don’t even have a concept of worship) can learn them, but not so much that they get irritating, and cetera. Following this discussion has been a delightful romp and at various points I have agreed with some arguments on both sides of every issue. In this context, however, where the “congregation” cannot, in one sense, worship God at all, having no relationship or experience on which to base worship, I’d be interested to hear (read: read) comments.

The singing part of the worship time looks like this: we play and sing to the best of our ability; the youth pastor sings, as do any other sponsors present that night and the few kids from the church; and the other kids either stare at us, talk to each other and make jokes, and laugh at the lyrics. Of course, they don’t know Jesus, so they’re prone to laugh at (or at least have no understanding of) the lyrics of even songs you would call good ones.


Keith [Visitor]• 02/18/06 @ 20:13

I just couldn’t resist commenting! I came across this site when I Googled “bad worship songs.” Believe it or not, I was looking for bad worship songs for an assignment at the Christian university I attend. I have to rewrite a popular worship song, fixing the mixed metaphors, bad theology, or inspecific wording. I think its great that there’s other Christians who are critically thinking about what they are singing. When I go to chapel and I see all my peers singing one or another popular worship song, while they’re shaking with emotion and pushing their hands in the air like they somehow have to keep the roof from collapsing, I have to ask what exactly we’re doing. I have nothing against expression of worship, but I believe that God is not impressed unless we are actually thinking about what we’re singing and what it means to us. And I’m afraid that a lot of the time, all we’re thinking about is how nice it is to be singing a song with all our friends, and how the band is moving us to the point where we have so much energy that we just have to start tapping our feet or raising our hands or clapping. Music is manipulative. It just is. And I hate to be manipulated. So sometimes when I go to church I just sit in the pew and try to think about the words and block the music out of my head.
That was kind of disjointed, but I just wanted to say that I really appreciated reading the discussion, and that it’s definitely something for us all to continue thinking and praying about.
Grace


You guys are wonderful!! I’m 45, the head worship leader at my church, and I completely resonate with what most all of you are saying, especially the first several entries of this blog from a couple years ago (I ran out of time and didn’t read most of the second half – sorry). I’ve been guilty, in various seasons or spans of years, of most of the stupid things you all are complaining about. So, thank you for reminding me to have a brain. And thank you for validating why I’m currently on the track I’m on.
I’m really thankful for my pastor, who has a great knack for avoiding extremes and stupidity. He encouraged me a couple years ago to try to create “new” music which is accessible to our community of yuppies, yet does not try to copy what other churches are doing – to try and make something unique and new that would be truly a reflection of who we are, where we are in history and in our town. Sounds like exactly what most of you wish you had in your churches!! So for us – which is different that what it would be for you if you were doing this – the music has become kindof a mix of classical and bluegrass, with original chords and melodies put to classic hymn lyrics from the past three or four hundred years. I’ve avoided really whacky hymns with strange words none of us have ever heard of, or simply written new wording here and there to patch things up. And the result is very fresh and I feel honored to be a part of it. To see what I’m talking about you can hear some song snippets from our CD from www.crosssound.org/bainbridgehymns and I think you could probably even get one for free if you made a compelling case to our church secretary (who receives the email if you submit the order request). The normal CD cost is fifteen bucks… but ALL fifteen bucks go to help homeless people in central america. You can also listen to snippets of the music at that web address. I’m not trying to sell a CD (hopefully that’s obvious), I’m just trying to point you to an example of what we’ve done in response to all the stupidity that you all have so excellently articulated. May we all be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Discussions like this help renew my mind. Thanks!!

P.S. Just checked the music snippet link, and it’s pretty mushy stuff compared to what you probably enjoy, but the point is to create stuff that is an expression of who YOU are, not what someone else is.


Kevin [Visitor] • http://www.veatchdesign.com03/13/06 @ 17:12

267 comments?

lord have mercy.


gringo [Member]• 03/14/06 @ 01:51

Funny how I don’t know of any songs by any of you!

I came by this site by accident and after reading the horrific contents (language included) I thought I would just leave it alone since I think most of you have such a high opinion of yourselves that no one else’s comments will even make a dent. But after leaving for a few hours, I still find my blood boiling and in utter shock of some of the stuff I have read! How can some of you call yourselves worship leaders and then go on swearing and bashing actual Godly worship leaders like Tommy Walker, Kirk franklin and many more that God himself has actually anointed and blessed! Did you ever think about the fact that maybe, just maybe it is not all about YOU! That those songs that you are bashing, critisizing and making fun of are the exact songs that have brought many people to the actual throne of Christ. I am glad that I will not have to stand before Christ in your shoes and be accountable. But congrats, you have let the devil win this one! Shame on all of you that have slandered, or put down the work that God has done through someone else! So much for uplifting each other with brotherly love!


Trina [Visitor]• 03/17/06 @ 16:44

Thanks for weighing in, Trina. And thanks especially for being willing to judge people and question their motives. I know it wasn’t easy for you to do since Jesus commands his followers not to do it, but you went the extra mile to do that for us. Thanks! I really enjoyed your subtle suggestion that people who posted in this discussion are going to hell. Thanks for uplifting us with brotherly love!


dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/03/17/06 @ 17:22

Saying she doesn’t want to be in your shoes when you stand before Christ isn’t implying you are going to Hell. Dan do you call yourself a Christian? A Christ Follower? And if so we are to be like Christ right? Can you see him criticizing people who, although in your opinion may not write great music, still did it for God?

And you say that She is judging you…well aren’t you judging the works of other artists?

Granted I don’t enjoy some of the music in our Church…I enjoy a more upbeat rock vs vineyard but I also believe that I don’t come to worship looking for something for me…I come to give something to him.

Like I said…I don’t think “the Big Guy” would look at this post and say well done my good and faithful servant…but that’s just my impression on the post…and really my opinions don’t matter…but His do.

Cheers


Shane [Visitor]• 03/18/06 @ 10:23

I have it on very good authority that Tommy Walker plays with Barbie dolls.

I’m just saying… Barbie dolls.

Let that one simmer for awhile.


peter [Member]  03/20/06 @ 01:53

Cannot believe this blog is till getting posts almost exactly two years after it’s creation!I’ve had a good time reading all the bashes, crashes, and upsets that are represented.

Obviously, worship is a huuuuge deal to many, if not all Christians. Churches have fallen because of the division caused by changing the style of music with the changing of the times. The Loyalists have left and the Moderns can’t afford the pastoral staff, sad but true, the worshiper is searching for more meaning and a “real” encounter with God. Something akin to Moses’ mountaintop experience. Problem is, worship has to do with the life lived during the week, and can’t be suddenly “turned on.” If during the week one is seeking God actively, than Sunday mornings (whether it’s all hymns or all music published during this century) a person can conceivably enter into that mysterious place of God’s presence. Of course, if the Holy Spirit is devoid from beforementioned pastoral staff, better find another church, no matter how much you like the music.

Well, my testimony: My husband is a worship leader and I am his accompanist. I’m from a non-denom church and he was raised Wesleyan. There is a scripture that says something about wives submitting to their husbands. This had been a hard one for me to pracice when it came to worship. If he did a couple songs I couldn’t relate to, I’d have quite the attitude (not exactly conducive to leading worship, or even being an effective Christian). What worked for me was to forget about the created words and focus on the Creator. Wouldn’t you know it, I was able to worship.

This attitude adjustment has helped me through so many “Lord, I Lift Your Name On High"s and “Shout to the Lord” (not a bad song, just overdone), oh and “As the Deer"s.

Thankfully, when it comes to preferences, praise the Lord there is never a service where all the songs are on the top 5 worst list! That would require me to have the patience of Job and the heart of David, something I’m sure I’ll only get with the assignment of my halo.


Rita [Visitor]• 03/22/06 @ 14:54

Is making critical comments about music that God’s people sing to come into God’s presence really necessary? The music has nothing to do with you and everything to do with God. It wasn’t meant for you. I wonder what God thinks about the music - if it is sung with a pure heart, I am certain He loves and accepts it from His worshippers.

Again, how is this constructive, friend? I think you should consider this closely.


Daniel [Visitor]• 03/28/06 @ 13:05

I believe that this site is very effective and helpful for worship leaders. Many times we grow up singing these songs without thinking about the REAL meaning of the words. And if this site has generated this much hype, I’m sure there are people in the congregation that are thinking the same thing. We want to make a JOYFUL noise to God, not just any noise.


Noah [Visitor]• 03/29/06 @ 12:42

God doesn’t listen to the words or the music. He listens to your HEART. Unfortunately, Humans can’t listen to the heart so well. We mostly HEAR your voice and HEAR your music. So if we, as worship leaders, plan to reach the unchurched, they unsaved, etc…, as worship leaders, we must strive toward the best music/lyrics we can accomplish. Colosssians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men”


Reed [Visitor]• 04/16/06 @ 02:52

hi, danny and sara!

i read the ENTIRE thing–i can’t believe i read the ENTIRE thing. can you believe this post has gone on as long as it has? i’m amazed. can you believe peter busted me out when i wasn’t even around to defend myself!?! grr…(wait: yes, i can). ; )

anyway, i hope you’re well. emma gets cuter every day.
hugs,
leida


leida [Visitor]• 04/28/06 @ 14:18

Leida (if that’s even a real name…),

Maybe this topic isn’t about YOU, did you ever think of that? All these people doing their darndest to please God by posting, and all you can think about is how it appeals to you.

Shame. Guilt. Hemorrhoids.

Oh, and sorry for ruining your reputation, here and elsewhere.


peter [Member]  04/28/06 @ 20:04

Where are the cutting-edge Polka-worship bands?
John


praisemaker [Visitor] • http://www.recentrainfall.com05/04/06 @ 23:47

I was looking for scripture on dance and music as a way to show one’s love to God and came across this blog. very interesting to me as a praise band member. We do all the songs listed and, all I can say is that our congregation appears to move into a very real time of worship and praise, even during the songs I don’t care for…and isn’t this the intention?

and the none of the songs talk about sex, drugs, killing etc so that alone elevates them a bit, right?

that being said, I have to admit I had a good chuckle!


stacey [Visitor]• 06/13/06 @ 02:15

I have attended a spirit-filled interdenominational church my entire life and have sang most, if not all, of these songs at some point or another. A few months back my church had a conference. When asked what they thought about it, someone remarked that it was just emotionalism. I personally did not think that the service was emotion-filled. Some people, including myself, were raising their hands, while others sat in their seats. We weren’t raising our hands because we felt obligated to do so, or because others were doing it. We were raising our hands because the presence of God was so strong in the room that we couldn’t help but not to. And, some weren’t receiving visions because they made them up or read into something that wasn’t there. They were receiving the visions because they were having a real encounter with God.
That is what my church is all about- having a real encounter with a real God. My pastor often says that we are not having church just to have church; having church really doesn’t matter. We are having church to win the lost to Christ and see people being freed from their addictions. We are having church to prepare ourselves for the battlefield. We are having church to learn to be Jesus to a hurting world every day. And, we are having church to tear down the church walls and go into all the world with the gospel of Christ.
I said all this to say the following: I think that you are focusing too much on what’s wrong with songs. Rather then spending your time on things that will really count for eternity, you are finding pleasure in nitpicking (to be concerned with or find fault with insignificant details) worship songs. As one of my pastors spoke about a couple of Sundays ago, I think you all need an update from God. Because when you do, “it will bring you to new levels of worship” (point 6 of the sermon; he referenced Psalms 144:9). If you are truly in love with God and worshiping Him, how well the song is written or sung won’t matter.
Besides, where would worship be today if it weren’t for people such as Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, David Crowder, and the like? I urge you to read the lyrics to Todd Agnew’s song “My Jesus” and get a new mission in life.


anonymous [Visitor]• 06/19/06 @ 10:56

Being a worship leader, no doubt, one of the most challenging things to do is to find songs that are good. In the sense of being: biblically sound, good song form, honest, not cheap, not shallow, and yet singable corporately. There are many songs that are mentioned that are supposedly bad. I would like to know some of the songs that people love, that really help them to praise God. It is easy to give examples of songs that are not liked, but what about songs that you do like? And why do you like them? I have found that the most popular worship songs out there are not necessarily ones that are condusive to worship, many are simply “popular” and that is it! I love to praise God with worship songs that have substance and truth. I don’t need to sing a sermon to praise and worship God, but there must be some biblical presence, there must be truth. What are the top 5 greatest Worship Songs? This list is much harder to do, anyone up for the challenge?


Rob V. [Visitor]• 06/22/06 @ 02:34

I’ll take a stab at it! In fact, I’ll make it a top fourteen. These songs are in NO particular order. Drum roll please…. :)

How Great is Our God- Chris Tomlin
Holy is the Lord- Chris Tomlin
Wonderous Cross- Chris Tomlin
We Fall Down- Chris Tomlin
Forever- Chris Tomlin
Shout to the Lord- Darlene Zschech(I know some of you are sighing right now. I’ll admit that I’m tired of the song, too. But you have to look at the facts. It is one of the most played and sung songs.)
Blessed Be Your Name- Matt and Beth Redman
The Heart of Worship- Matt Redman (and another sigh from some of you people)
Agnus Dei- Michael W. Smith
Above All- Michael W. Smith
I Could Sing of Your Love Forever- Martin Smit (Delirous?)
I Will Worship- David Ruis (sung by Jeremy Camp and Big Daddy Weave/Barlow Girls)
Here I am to Worship- Tim Hughes
Come Now is the Time to Worship- Brian Doerkson

So, here you have it. You may be wondering why there are five Chris Tomlin songs. I heard the other day that he owns 20% of all worship songs. That is why I included five of his songs. Right now he and John Rivers from K-LOVE radio are rewriting the top 20 worship songs and counting list. The list is not out yet.


anonymous [Visitor]• 06/23/06 @ 14:38

One song: “Heaven is in my heart” by Graham Kendrick. Not only is heaven not in my heart (isn’t that some kind of crazy buddhist belief?), but i resent having to sing the “Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh” bit before it. Once again, another example of an appaling lyricist trying to make up for his lack of talent/blessing with random monkey noises.


spartacus [Visitor]• 06/26/06 @ 18:41

WOW - quite a discussion, I must admit. If I may, I’d like to make a few comments on some of the first posts. I do agree with most of you that there are some very BAD ‘worship songs’ out there. But do you know why they were written? Like ‘Heart of Worship’. Some of you seem to freely bash it, holding back nothing in your critical or cynical comments, depends who hears them. Do you know why the lyrics were written orginially? I could be wrong, could be spreading a vicious rumor, but I have heard that the song originated because a church had lost touch with worship. During worship time people would talk, ignore the songs, ignore the worship leader - so the church decided to stop singing altogether. For 6 months there was no singing in the church - no music. The lyricist for the song wrote it after the 6 months, and it was the first song they sang when they ‘re-introduced’ singing in the church. “I’m coming back to the heart of worship - where it’s all about You, all about You Jesus.” Now, I know it gets a little repetitive . . . who cares. Think about what it’s saying! I can tell by some of the comments on this site that some of you have drifted away from what it means to really worship God. Quite frankly, it’s not about YOU, it’s not about what you like, it’s about what is nice and pleasing to the Lord, is it not? And these songs that appeal to your more emotional side - are you that much of a MAN that you can’t let your emotions free? Yes, some of the songs that repeat the same line over and over and over and over (you get the point) are annoying because they are so repetitive - but not because they appeal to your emotions. If we serve God the way He wants us to, we serve Him with EVERY PART OF US - even our emotions. If jealousy is the main reason for writing in this blog, because you as a lyricist have nothing on the K-LOVE top 10, I can understand your desire to rant about some songs that you think are theologically unsound, or just plain lame songs. You feel cheated because your ‘perfect’ worship songs have not reached the level of achievement that some of these other, less qualified songs have. Very understandable. As for the English scholars that think songs with poor english have no right to be sung in worship -I understand where you’re coming from as well. We as American citizens have perfected english as a speaking language - how dare song writers demolish our ideals of perfect society. I mean honestly, is that really that big of a deal? Cause if so - maybe you should go reread some of your own comments. Might make you think twice about the ‘judging’ of others english abilities. Speck in his eye - branch in yours? I resent that I was unable to read all of the comments, there have been quite a few since sara started this site up. For the most part, I enjoyed reading how disagreeable Christians are these days. And if anyone dislikes how the politics and traditions of the church have kept younger generations from showing up at church, it’s me - so I comepletely understand where most of you are coming from. 5 most horrid Christian songs out today - sounds like a very constructive site to set up. I have but one question - did you set it up so that worship leaders would honestly stop playing those songs? I wonder how many worship leaders have come across this site and been like “Holy freaking cow, am I seriously still playing these songs?! What am I thinking?! What was God thinking when he called me to this job?!? I mean what is wrong with me?!?!” Now - the most recent comments I like. What are the top 5 songs out right now? Instead of taking a LONG, over-drawn out debate over what people are doing wrong, lets focus on what is going well. What songs SHOULD I play to make sure the younger generations are enjoying the singing part of worship? Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, right? I think those who dwell on the past are . . . doomed. So lets move past the mistakes of past song writers, or songs that have been played till they had no life left. Lets focus on what we should be doing - what can we do now to better promote the excitement of worshipping the only wonderful, loving, merciful Christ? The most recent anonymous mentioned Chris Tomlin - good man. I can’t say that I have delved too deeply into how biblically correct his songs are - but they are great worship songs in my book. David Crowder is doing some amazing things I think. Even Steve Fee and Todd Fields, in conjuction with Louie Giglio have put out some amazing worship songs. Ones that even appeal to the more emotional side of a person - but none-the-less, ones that focus on the worshipping of Jesus Christ. Being someone who has refused to play certain songs in worship services because I down right detested them, I understand why this blog started, and why so many people have come here desiring to have their voice heard. But as a follower of Christ, I choose to push ahead and make disciples, not to allow my criticism be my claim to fame. So to you lyrcists, write your lyrics, publish your words of adoration. And to you cynics, be cynical of Satan. Make your point known - there are bad worship songs - list them - recommend people to not sings them - and then move on with life. I don’t understand why so many of you have spent SO much time making sure people understand why you hate said songs. Move on with life - point out what people are doing right - maybe more people will pick up on what the younger generations desire. I long for the day when blogs like this aren’t necessary - i fear it is a long way off. There have been enough people commenting on this site that if each one of you would go tell one worship leader what you WANT to hear (not what you dislike, but what you like) you could reach out to so many youth and young adults - and yes, even older adults who are open to change. What are you going to do with your life today?


TJ [Visitor]• 06/27/06 @ 12:56

You may be wondering why there are five Chris Tomlin songs. I heard the other day that he owns 20% of all worship songs.

Ummm…no he does not. Do you realize how songs that would be? There is no possible way that Chris Tomlin “owns” 20% of all worship songs.


davel454 [Member]  http://www.mindfulmission.com06/27/06 @ 15:54

A comment was made by the originator of this blog “I am assuming (at the risk of being wrong, of course) that the others who have made similar comments are also of this personality type that finds it humorous and cathartic to rant about something and then let it go.” Unfortunately, I believe it can snowball into criticism of those who write music for publication. After all, these are artists and most (if not all) of these praise songs were written for commercial interests because that is the vehicle for wide publication and support of the artist.

While I agree that this is meant to be cathartic, it also may have degenerated into a life of its own. We are to build up the church. I can’t imagine this blog doing that.

I don’t believe anyone understands true worship. I think we do the best we can. I also believe that even though some of these songs have been worn out in church services, they still have potential for reaching other people for Christ. I give Saddleback and “Purpose Driven” as an example. The church is in great need to reach people of this generation. Music that people enjoy can do that where no amount of preaching can.

I think it is great that this blog is the only one out there promoting this kind of criticism.


Dale [Visitor] • http://go2thereach.com06/30/06 @ 00:44

I think it’s a shame that this is the only blog out there promoting this kind of cynicism. If we aren’t cynical we’ll simply end up kidding ourselves that our worship is amazing. I’m not saying God rejects substandard or less than wholehearted worship (although there are plenty of examples in the OT of God rejecting worship), nor am I saying that Christian songwriters and worship leaders are deliberately writing poor quality songs or songs which fail to glorify God. What I am saying is that Christian songwriters have a responsibility to avoid writing songs which actively hinder us in worship. As such, we have a responsibility to ensure that they don’t churn out drivel. Would you put up with your Pastor exclaiming “na na na” or “oh oh oh” in a time of prayer? Would you be prepared to sit through a substandard sermon because it rhymed or because you adored the man delivering it, or because his “heart is in the right place"?… Me neither.


spartacus [Visitor]• 07/07/06 @ 08:09

As a songwriter and worship pastor, I am sure that many other writers are penning excellent worship songs. They just never get heard outside that writer’s local church because the music industry isn’t interested. Anyone who thinks that the worship genre is any less about money than any other genre is kidding themselves.

“We stand before You, broken and weak.
We come with nothing to lay at Your feet.
The cross where your righteousness and mercy meet
Offers hope, offers peace.

Healing compassion gives sight to the blind.
Reaches the dying and brings them to life.
Leaving the darkness for Your perfect light,
Lord, we come. Lord, we come.

Hallelujah! This sacrifice,
The blood of Christ, covers me.
Hallelujah! Love paid the price,
Hallelujah! I am free, I am free.”

Copyright 2006 trentsmithmusic
all rights reserved

I am grateful that God allows me to write songs that my local church can embrace and call their own–I hope someday others can enjoy them…that part is up to God!


Trent [Visitor]• 07/10/06 @ 12:41

I cannot believe how this thread continues to get comments. That is great. Sara - good work!! :)

If it means anything to anyone, the last time I participated in a music team at church we played Prince, U2, and Ben Lee songs. :)


dave [Visitor] • http://www.mindfulmission.com07/11/06 @ 08:57

I like to read things that make me think, and this site has done just that. I am the Director of Young Adult Ministry at my church in North Dakota, and we are starting a young adult service this fall. We have over 20,000 college students in our community, and the service is to be an outreach to unchurched and those who have left the church. As we’ve been planning the essentials of worship, music keeps resurfacing at the top of the list. Realistically, the lyrics and theology of the songs aren’t that important. Authenticity in the presentation is. That means that the music must be “performed” well. The singers must be on key, and the band has to sound good. Many young people have no interest in the church because they can’t relate to the music or how it is led. Therefore, we must bring them into the church with good music. Romans 12:1 says “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.” Young people won’t offer their bodies as living sacrifices if they don’t understand the sacrifice that Christ first made for us. They won’t understand Christ’s sacrifice if they don’t know who He is and how He loves us. They won’t know who He is and how He loves us if they’re not first shown that by others. And what better way to experience the greatness and goodness of God’s love than joining others in praise and worship of Him in some sort of gathering. That’s our job as worship leaders. We are given the great responsibility of creating a place where believers can gather together to praise God and learn about His infinite love. If good music is the way to get them in the door, no matter how materialistic it may sound, then we need to offer good music. You are right that there are a lot of songs that are overdone, and even more that really don’t have much Biblical truth. But when people open their mouths, open their hearts and offer their lives to Christ, God is glorified. I like to think, and this site has let me do a lot of thinking. I am reenergized and ready to lead worship with all that God has given me.

p.s. Keep on changing lives with CCF. CCF has been the rock that has kept my girlfriend solid in her faith for the last three years, and I am grateful for that. I’ve been to one worship service there (Feb. 5 2006) and the Spirit was present. Praise God for that wonderful ministry!


Derek [Visitor]  07/18/06 @ 12:55

Are there any songs that you all DO LIKE? If so, why do you like them? I love looking at what we do as much as the next leader, but without a standard of valuable songs vs. our own ignorant opinions, this thread can’t go anywhere but down from here… I have enjoyed reading Paul Baloche’s latest book on songwriting for worship (see http://www.worshipmusic.com/1933150033.html).


Kevin [Visitor]  http://www.manleybaptist.org07/21/06 @ 18:29

Good call. Hundreds of postings on bad songs with very little suggestions on what are good ones.

I once heard Matt Redman speak. He said he wrote that song specific to address an issue and experience his church was dealing with at the time.
The fact that others have used it as a “worship” song isn’t his issue. Plus, he and Tim H have written the most singable and valuable songs of the last ten years…not discounting Delirious who broke through in the early 90’s with real, actual, good songs of worship that didn’t sound like Maranatha drivel.


Erik [Visitor]  07/24/06 @ 18:49

Ironically I found this site as I was googling for the song “Days of Elijah” -I love this song and looked forward to hearing it on a TV show before going to work - That was in Jamaica - now I am in Trinidad and they don’t have the same show..Bummer. I must confess that I had a good laugh at the various comments although I was somewhat shocked at some of the language. I also have to say that I know absolutely none of the songs except the one I mentioned and Amazing Grace. We still sing very traditional songs and then to we have several local hymns which I love because of the joy and rhythm in them although I have noticed that more and more I am hearing songs that are totally foreign to me. I do miss some of my teenage-days oldies but I understand that churches are trying to get the interest of the “young” people so they use their music. What we actually do over here is have different types of services - Folk Mass on Sat for the younger crowd. Then two sessions on Sunday etc. I actually cant think of songs that I really dislike - what drives me around the bend is the style of singing sometimes. As you will realize I am somewhat old-fashioned so I don’t understand why there is this need to modernize old songs. I always think - Hey write your own song to mess up.
Well spoke longer than expected - just very happy now… and yes absolutely amazing that after two years people are still commenting - isn’t the Internet amazing!!!


Lisa [Visitor]  07/29/06 @ 19:01

Hello! Wow, talk about the comments thread that never ends.

I wholeheartedly agree with the #1 song on the original list being where it is. There is a whole category of songs, of which “Your Love is Extravagant” is the most egregious example I know, where the lyricists have taken their imagery from the Song of Solomon and addressed it to Christ. I call these songs “homoerotic Jesus fantasy” songs, because no heterosexual male should be comfortable singing them. I have no desire to smell his “intoxicating fragrance,” thankyouverymuch.


Ransom [Visitor]  http://mcclare.blogspot.com07/31/06 @ 18:14

Surfed across this page using “worship cliches” to see if I got them all for “The (Maybe Slightly Cliched) Worship Song".

Great to see so many against the “valley of the shadow of the shallow” / “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs. The rotten things scamper and spread like cockroaches, but unfortunately unlike cockroaches they have fans. Oh well, if enough people jump on the songs at once we might be able to get rid of them…sorry fans, but you really can get better.

Some of my pet dislikes for the list (added to those above already mentioned ;)):

The Greatest Thing (in all my life is knowing…someone or other)
There Is None Like You (song possibly about a philanthropist pediatrician?)
I Feel Like I’m Falling
Madly (managed to make my list without even hearing it. Read about it on a message board a few weeks ago, that was enough.)

And just for those who suggested to add 5 good ones here is a set of Geoff Bullock’s:
Holy One Of God
This Kingdom
Holy
Have Faith In God
Blessing Honour

We don’t need every song to be a 39 verse (of at least 8 lines each) exposition on 5 attributes of God and 3 main doctrines…(but wouldn’t that be cool? ;))…but I think we should be doing a lot better than the level of some current songs.


Pete [Visitor]  http://christiansmusic.blogspot.com/08/02/06 @ 13:38

Sorry, I did not read all of the posts- but I did read several days worth. There’s lots of good stuff & lots of garbage. Music is, to some extent, subjective. I happen to like a lot of the songs mentioned. They have been a vehicle for honest and sincere worship in my life. If the songs aren’t up to your standards, for those of you who write, strive to write something better.


Rebecca Carpenter [Visitor]  http://kitchensongs.com08/03/06 @ 16:25

wow. if there is any site where Christians are giving God a black eye, this is it. This is in no way edifying the name of Jesus. how can you possibly believe that this is in any way Christlike? Just because you have some ignorant opinion on a song that God has given an individual, where does Gods word say that tearing down your brothers and sister is permitted. HELLO it doesn’t say that. You folks should really examine your hearts. Don’t get mad at me, if you don’t agreet with me, get mad at God, cause he is the one you have the problems with. You wil l answere for what you are doing. If a lost person stumbles upon this sight, and i’m sure it happens, I wonder what they think about it.
they probably think that you are a fake, you need to read the book of James where it says your toungue is a little member and boast great things, that is what you are doing. YOu folks need to go to the word of God and reconsider what you are doing. I truly believe you are on dangerouse ground


Jared [Visitor]  http://www.jaredplaysgibson@yahoo.com08/05/06 @ 17:37

The problem is we have worship leaders who do not know what worship is. Worship is NOT thanking God, or asking Him for something. (There are times and places for that, but it isn’t worship.)

Worship IS recognizing who HE is and acknowledging those things.

That is worship. Everthing else becomes fluff, or about US… ugh. If our intention in worship is to glorify God and please Him… then the songs we choose to sing should reflect that.

Worship is easily confused with begging God for stuff or singing about ourselves or singing ABOUT God instead of TO Him.


Beth H [Visitor]• 08/07/06 @ 12:47

If a lost person stumbles upon this sight, and i’m sure it happens, I wonder what they think about it.

Nah…they will probably think, “Wow…there are actually Christians who agree with me about these terrible songs. Maybe Christians are not so bad after all!”

Then they will see your comment, and think, “Yup…I guess they still are judgmental.”


dave [Visitor]  http://www.mindfulmission.com08/07/06 @ 17:19

i think some of you people need to stop being so critical…we worship god for god not for you and your opinion…so back off


Blake [Visitor]  08/08/06 @ 21:10

ok. im confused. why do you people waste your time thrashing songs? that people poured sweat and tears into…its completely rediculous…infact it makes me sick. if you dont like song, thats your opinion…do us a favor and keep it to yourself. half of you dont like these worship songs because you hear them so often, and i bet you dont even think about the words. your to busy shuffling your feet,dady dreaming, and saying “i hate this song” when your suppose to be engaged in worship. you hear john 3:16 all the time, but i bet you wont say you hate it…think about it. your so focused on yourself, and what you want to hear…that you dont even think about the hours the worship team put into the songs…so examine your hearts before you type another message. ask yourself. is what im about to say bringing honor to whom honor is due? is what im about to say going to glorify god? think about!


Blake Appleby [Visitor]  http://myspace.com/blake12708/11/06 @ 20:20

i agree…keep it to yourself.
why “as christian” cant we be positive?
hello…this is a christian site.
lets talk about the great things of god, and how we praise him through song.


Jermey Kyman [Visitor]  08/11/06 @ 20:22

Hey here’s a thought for all the critics, How about you post links to the the great songs that you have written? What’s that? Oh, you haven’t written any songs? why? Cus you’re no talent religious biggots who are a complete waste of space.

cheers


religion hater [Visitor]  08/12/06 @ 06:57

Dear Religion Hater,

I just couldn’t let your comment linger as the last one on this thread. You hate religion? Fine. So do I. There is a lot about religion to hate. I just want you to know that God (who desires a relationship with us, not a religion) loves you very much. He loves everybody, even non-religious “biggots” who can’t spell.


Steve [Visitor]  08/16/06 @ 09:06

There really is a biblical precedent for unbridled ranting. Just read some of the Psalms David wrote when he was in distress.


Jeniferber [Visitor]  08/22/06 @ 17:14

I started to read this posting with enjoyment and empathy. For better or worse, I have been a participant and leader of many of the “bad” worship experiences that people have posted here. Laughing at myself was healthy and educational. I’m trying to keep what we do as leaders of worship pure. Yet I was left feeling unsatisifed with the experience of reading through the entire post because I think it deteriorated into a rant, and a cynical rant at that. To all who were offended: I have my own personal list of most disliked worship songs as well. Does that make me a bad person? Our church is 3,000 members and growing. I lead worship 5 times every weekend. I have a responsiblity to glorify God and serve the congregation. Does that mean I cannot dislike a song or two? I have actually changed lyrics in songs that I felt were not theologically correct in order to not toss out the baby with the bathwater. I.e. a small change to 2 words saved a song. Does that make me judgemental? Here is another example: I never sung the song “Meet With Me” in corporate worship because I think the sentiment is selfishly focused. To all who “hate” the above posted tunes: I actually have picked the song “Trading My Sorrows” to sing in church this weekend because I felt led by the Holy Spirit to include it. Is it my favorite song? No. But will it bless the congregation and God this weekend? I pray it will. I believe the Lord laid it no my heart to include. Bottom line: Here’s why I felt motivated to post - I loved the original postings and the humor and intelligent perspective was fanastic and enlightening. The compalining and moaning was a bit much. That said, there is flat out not enough discussion on this topic. The responsiblity is too great to arbitrarily pick songs because it makes someone tap their foot or shed a tear. We must be Spirit-led in what we do in glorifying God and serving the assembly. I pray that God uses discussions like these to educate and help His body focus more clearly on why we do what we do in sung worship.


Pastor Mike [Visitor]  http://www.mountainsprings.org08/24/06 @ 13:45

music is a gift from God. praise songs are gifts to God, while others are meant to bring people to know God. *forget what you read here young man, take your songs into the world and bring others to Jesus*


Joshua [Visitor]  08/27/06 @ 03:20

Well, google ‘cheesy worship songs’ and you are number 1! Congratulations!

My wife and I regularly have to keep from laughing duing worship at our church. Many of the songs we sing are just fine, but some, if you start to dig into the lyrics a little bit, they are just unbelievably shallow and others are downright funny.

In fact, just yesterday, we sang a song that opens up with:

I roll out the carpet
of my repentence
I roll out the carpet
Red with forgiveness

Its a local song, so most of you probably have never heard it. My father-in-law installs carpet for a living, and everytime I hear that song (aside from having absolutely no idea what it means) I have an image of him rolling out a carpet and kicking it around into place. The rest of the song is ok, but I just can’t get by the first line, I’m too busy laughing and looking around in amazement how other people can sing that passage with a straight face.

Oh, and I’m still cracking up over the “homoerotic Jesus fantasy” comment above. I too, have no desire to expereince the “intoxicating fragrance” of Jesus.


David Benham [Visitor]  09/04/06 @ 11:31

I dont know who you are but i can tell you that it shouldn’t matter what you or I think about a worship song. All that should matter is that we’re praising an ALMIGHTY GOD who loves to hear the praises of his people, even if YOU hear it all the time. Or even if you don’t like the beat or the words. God does not care if we sing the same song a million times as long as we sing it to him in an act of worship and singing the song from your heart and not singing it just cause its what everyone else is doing. We have to get it through our heads that its not people in the church that we’re tryng to entertain. No one should be trying to entertain anything or anyone. “It’s about him and only him".


James [Visitor]• 09/12/06 @ 22:39

Is everyone who posts here very young? Teens, twenty-somethings, still immature thirty-somethings? I hope so.
I wonder what God thinks of all this.
I wish I hadn’t seen this site.
Don’t bother with a reply; I won’t be back.


Kay [Visitor]  09/15/06 @ 15:58

wow… see, now that personifies the attitude from other, older Christians that makes me nver want to go to church again. Thanks for reaffirming that.


brendoman [Member]  http://brendoman.com09/15/06 @ 16:07

Hello All
I was just wondering…..what what are the top 5 BEST praise and worship songs?
Are we able to thank those who have been blessed with the gift of brining those to or shall we find even the negative in the best?


Mike [Visitor]  09/18/06 @ 20:37

Great site–I hope everyone keeps posting comments on all sides of the issue (then we could “sing of your posts forever…").

I am a worship leader, and have led our congregations in most of the songs listed in this post, and will continue to use them (although I might have to keep myself from laughing when we sing the part about “like I’m dancing now") in worship.

I also consider myself an intellectual–which is just as must a God-given gift as musical talent, and I find cynicism to be a very helpful and refreshing way to reevaluate those things (like praise songs) that we often tend to put on a pedestal and worship as idols–rather than what they lead us to. Songs are not sacred. God is.

Not only am I a cynic, but I’m a songwriter. I say this for those of you who accuse others of not having the ability or experience of creating songs as they are critiquing them. I welcome criticism of my songs, and sometimes I’ve even engaged of making fun of my own stuff. Let’s not be Christians who are guilty of taking ourselves too seriously, ok?

And finally, what happened to the apparent post by David Crowder? It is referred to and linked to, but I don’t see it. Was it removed, and if so, why? I love his music (well, maybe not the “I’m alive” part) and also the things he has written and discussed about worship. I’m curious what he had to say about all this…


Neal [Visitor]  09/28/06 @ 13:15

Neal, you’re right. Crowder’s post must have got lost in an overzealous despamming. I managed to find it in an old site backup and I restored it. Here it is.


dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/09/29/06 @ 07:33

Just discovered this post. I’m a month late!

Don’t throw stones… songs I particularly dislike include: God of Wonders, Agnus Dei, It Is You, Be Unto Your Name… that is, any song that says God is merely “Holy Holy” and not “Holy Holy Holy.” That’s akin to saying God is “pretty good at this Holy thing", rather than GOD IS THE QUINTESSENTIAL FULLNESS OF ALL THAT HOLINESS CAN EVER BE.


Nick Alexander [Visitor]  http://www.nickalexander.com09/29/06 @ 12:17

I agree with Pastor Mike and Neal. I enjoyed the beginning of this post, because of how funny it was. But I feel that now it has turned into a cynical rant that is trashing songs.

The people who wrote all the songs everyone has mentioned obviously wrote them for a reason. The Lord laid someting on their heart, and they wrote a song.

It seems that many of you are complaining about the arrangement of a song. Well, I think that you should bring that up. A pastor needs to create an atmosphere in his church that accomodates the freeness to worship God and learn about Him. Well, if the arrangement of a song is hindering you from worshipping God, then you should mention that in a respectful, eloquent way to your pastor/worship leader. Be courteous. Those two people hear a lot of bad things already, and they don’t need to hear another complaint from you.

All I’m saying is that this blog forum is getting old. I happen to enjoy a lot of these songs, and I’m not taking offense about people not enjoying songs, but be a little more courteous. Different songs speak to different people and I know that people’s lives have been changed by songs that I particularly don’t like.

Your worship leader (hopefully) prays and listens to God on what he should play that weekend and I know that my worship leader plays songs he particularly doesn’t like because the Lord laid it on his heart. After the services, people have come up to him and told him how their lives have been changed by the song.

Being a worship leader is a hard job.

I also just wanted to say, the fact that David Crowder posted on this site is cool!


Jessica [Visitor]• 10/01/06 @ 14:09

This seriously may be the funniest/truthinessest post ever. I’m involved in Campus Crusade for Christ here at Northwest and I guarantee that I’ve heard every one of those songs at least once (if not multiple times) They are decent songs and I have been moved by them on occasion, but they are pretty tacky. Of course this is coming from a guy who thinks Underoath, Emery, Anberlin and As Cities Burn are the greatest Christian bands ever.


Ben Koehn [Visitor]  http://www.myspace.com/kenboehn10/01/06 @ 15:29

A quick word about “river” songs: I think the issue isn’t so much about rivers, per se, as much as it is that so many cheesy songs happen to also have river references. That being said, check out Ezekiel 47. Now that’s a river. It’s the river that flows from God’s temple and brings life to the Dead Sea. Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” It’s an interesting passage, because the scripture Jesus says he’s quoting aren’t anywhere in the Old Testament. What Jesus is doing, most commentators agree, is interpreting Ezekiel 47 for us. You see this imagery then a third time at the end of Revelation,in chapter 22, where there is a river flowing through the middle of the city. It parallels Ez. 47. It doesn’t strike us as odd today, but when that was written, cities were built up on hills for protection, not in valleys. The image of a river flowing through downtown is a picture of God’s incredible provision, and of the security that will exist in heaven. So I say, Flow, River, Flow!

Now to admit to changing lyrics: I always alter 2 songs when I lead them. Hillsongs “Worthy Is The Lamb” - I will not sing, “The Darling of Heaven, Crucified.” I just can’t do it. So we sing, “The Ruler of Heaven, Crucified.” The other song is “Redeemer, Savior, Friend.” The line, “Oh, Redeemer, redeem my heart again,” isn’t really theologically acurate, I don’t think, since redemption is a one-time act. I change it to “Redeemer, come fill my heart again.”

“Days of Elijah” I actually like, musically. But theologically, I squirm. Is it saying that all this prophesy is being fulfilled, like, um, today? These are the days those guys wrote about? Tim Downs, in his wonderful book “Common Ground", even dares to question if Jesus ‘ plea for laborers to go into the harvest because the fields are ripe, was really meant as an eternal statement. He posits that it was meant for the time when he said it, but the fields today are no longer ripe. The whole song gives me pause…


Rob Webster [Visitor]  10/03/06 @ 00:10

I agree that there are “bad” worship songs as well as “overplayed” worship songs. Whole-heartedly. But reading through comments, I noticed that some people were saying that songwriters today were writing shallow worship songs. I agree to some extent on that, and I understand that whoever it was was not making a blanket statement. Have you guys ever heard Phil Wickham’s stuff? It’s really good. They lyrics are biblical and deep. I really like the stuff he’s written.


Stephanie [Visitor]  http://www.myspace.com/h121210/03/06 @ 13:00

*First, I like this site.

*Second, to the people who are offended because they feel that all these “worship” songs are written to glorify God, and we should not be critical of something that gives God glory…I understand.

*Third, we can find reason to give God glory in, well, anything–not just something created by someone who claims to know God, and not just through something that claims to give God glory. The early church started the whole trend of taking secular art/ideas/celebrations, and Christianizing them, using them to give glory to God (after all, he is Lord over all, and he has given mankind the ability to create-whether they recognize him as the source or not)

*Fourth, if anything can be used to glorify God and you are offended by criticism, please be consistent in your non-criticizing.
If you are comfortable criticizing, remember Ephesians 4:9 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” ie don’t be too harsh, and recognize everyone has opinions, and that your thoughts are just that.
(Personally, being a worship minister-as some of you are-I benefit from criticism such as this. there are songs I don’t like and it’s not helpful to me to be in a corporate worship setting being distracted by songs I don’t like. Likewise, I want to try and aid you in your worship, not distract you)

*Fifth, there is a difference between sincerety and truth. Some “worship” songs (and even a few old hymns) are Biblically incorrect, and when there are persons who are somewhat spiritually immature, they get their theology from worship songs. In this case, these songs are actually detremental to their faith and not helpful (don’t ever base your theology on what a song says–hold to Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."–this includes examining what your pastor/church/blog friend says)

*Sixth, One statement I read troubled me “If you are truly in love with God and worshiping Him, how well the song is written or sung won’t matter.” Not only in reference to point five, but by the mere fact that everything we do should be done to the best of our ability, with excelence as if doing it for God (how ironic).

*Seven, Someone mentioned wanting to turn and yell different directions when “Shout to the North". I picture REM’s video “Stand". And FYI, it’s on my list. :)

Well, seven is the number of completion, so I bid thee well. God Bless.


outlawpolyester [Visitor]  http://www.christoncampus.org/messageboard/10/03/06 @ 16:16

Danny,
you forget that worship is not about you. It’s about worshipping God, and praising Him. Enter into His presence, focus on Jesus, and put away your humanistic desires. These songs were meant to exault God, not give you an emotional high. Have you truly entered into His presence? His Glory? Is God just some higher power that needs to be acknowledged and regurgitated prayers and songs? NO! Love the Lord, your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37) Humble yourself, and remember what Christ did for you. Peace, brother.


Adam [Visitor]  10/03/06 @ 20:13

Wow, I only got through half of the comments on this blog, but I get that the original author and those of you who know the person are being a bit facetious, and I actually think the broader issues of too much repetition and just out-and-out nonsensical songs is a good one for the Christian community as a whole to discuss. And it alarms me–really alarms me—that some in the Christian community think it’s “sinful” and “Satanic” to be critical of works that were SUPPOSEDLY written to glorify God…How do you know whether they were or not??? Especially if you can’t make heads or tails of the lyric. I’m not saying God can’t use it…I mean, I’m a crap person most days and I know for a fact God has used me on some of those days for His good…but, still. How do we know the intention of the writer?

Not all art is of good quality, even if the artist had the best of intentions and was filled with zeal and his heart was overflowing with the joy of the Lord. I commend their heart for God, but I’m not going to count their art as being good if it isn’t, because I’m honest. And as a songwriter and singer, if I produce crap, I want people to constructively criticise my work so that I can improve it. Not LIE to me and tell me that it’s awesome so I continue to produce the same mediocre crap.

As far as the repetition of songs goes, that drives me nuts. I sing on the praise team at my church, and we are guilty of this. But, our repertoire is limited, and our piano player is clueless to how to play any of the worship music that is even 10 or 15 years old…he plays it like some theatre musical…he plays every song like that…I’ve been praying really hard about this, but I’m having a hard time getting into worship because the way he plays some songs can be really cheezy…which I know is completely me. And the singing of the same songs over and over and over and over is getting old. After you’ve sang it 10 Sundays out of 20, you start to forget what it’s saying, and sing it like you’re a robot. That’s not worship.

And another point…do you know how many popular hymns are melodies from old Irish pub songs, with Christian lyrics? So I’ve got no problem with secular songs being “converted” if you will to Christian songs. There are some secular songs I can sing to God with no problem.

And David Crowder is awesome…I read his response to this topic…If you haven’t heard A Collision, it’s awesome, both musically and lyrically. And I agree with the previous poster who mentioned Phil Wickham. He’s pretty good.


Dani [Visitor]  10/03/06 @ 23:43

Ok…all of you are missing the point. I can’t believe what I have just read! I saw alot of comments about how you’re sick of people singing about being a friend of God, and letting him hug us forever. Are you kidding me?? God is more than just the BIG guy up stairs. He is powerful, mighty, all knowing, but also the lover of our souls, our father. Most people don’t know the Father’s love. I have felt the “warmth of His embrace". You can “feel” God. You have to slow down, stop being so cynical, and rest in his presence. And singing is biblical. HAs no one read about the singers being sent out in front of the army? Please stop making fun of songs that have had an impact in my life.


Amy Davis [Visitor]  10/10/06 @ 09:39

I guess you guys haven’t run your life into the ground on the verge of complete self-destruction and cried out to God in utter despair. I have - and He met me there and I felt His loving embrace. There was nothing homo about it.

Perhaps you haven’t grieveously sinned, repented - yet felt unwothy even to come near Him - and then felt His Blessed Presence as he pulled you near and told you “You are my Beloved, my Beloved".

I have experienced this while singing “cheesy” worship songs.

I love nothing more than to Seek His Face and Gaze on His Beauty PSALM 27.

Maybe some of these songs only make sense to someone who’s been forgiven much - so they will love much.

Perhaps God views these some of these worship songs like a father views a child’s “gifts” of a crude crayon drawing he puts on the refrigerator, His heart is touched.


chunkeroo [Visitor]  10/12/06 @ 22:32

Wow, yet another “you guys aren’t spiritual enough” post from someone who has no idea who we are. Bo-ring!


brendoman [Member]  http://brendoman.com10/14/06 @ 04:20

i got to this site when i typed in top worship songs because i was looking for worship songs to play for my youth group tomorrow and ironically i found “5 worst worship songs". so i clicked on it to see what this guy had to say. I was really saddened what i saw and also by all the people that agreed with what they had to say. IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU DONT LIKE THE SONG. worship is not about you or if you like the song or if it “spoke” to you or not. Its all about God and glorifying him for what he has done for you. the lyrics “im coming back to the heart of worship, and its all about you, ITS ALL ABOUT YOU JESUS” speak this point loud and clear. All of those people who had to keep themselves from laughing while singing some of these songs obviously did not have their hearts in the right place. It shouldnt matter whether or not we like the song. The important thing is if God liked the song because thats who you are supposed to be singing to.


Eva [Visitor]  10/15/06 @ 02:04

Eva, come on now. You’re quoting The Heart of Worship like it’s scripture. There’s something wrong with that. Bad songs are bad songs. I think God does care about stuff like that. But it doesn’t matter what I think, apparently, because i’m a horrible person whose heart is not in its proper place and i’m not spiritual enough to realize that “The Happy Song” is pleasing to the Lord no matter how crappily it is played. I get it now. I have seen the light.


brendoman [Member]  http://brendoman.com10/15/06 @ 09:14

Come on, Brendan. Don’t you remember that scripture in 1 Crappalonians when Jesus said “Everybody’s singing now, Cause we’re so happy"? Gosh. You are such a heathen.


sara [Visitor]  http://brendoman.com/dbc10/15/06 @ 15:53

Since no one can prove or even come near to proving gods existance isnt this thread just a figment of peoples imagination ?


Its not me [Visitor] • http://sodamnfunny.co.uk10/15/06 @ 16:06

“Please stop making fun of songs that have had an impact in my life.”

oh please.


gringo [Visitor]  10/15/06 @ 16:44

Making fun of these songs has a positive impact on my life. So, please don’t criticize me for it.


dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/10/15/06 @ 19:05

just because you think a song is “crappily played” does not give you a good reason for dissing it. yes this is america and technically you have a “right” to say whatever you want but to openly bash a song that some one wrote as an ACT OF WORSHIP to GOD is kind of low, no? i mean does it really matter what you think when it comes to worshipping? isnt the whole point of worshiping God to bring HIM glory? think about that.


Eva [Visitor]  10/15/06 @ 22:46

since when did it become a litmus test to like all “worship” songs?

i’ve found this liberating because after going to a bible college for a few years and attending dorm devotions once a week, chapel twice a week, and then church on top of that and then whatever else i felt that i actually needed at the time… yeah, i heard some of these songs a lot and they became crap to me. i got tired of them. god forbid he get mad at me for thinking that way.

personally, i think he laughs at it too. thinking “oh, here we go again.” but i’m not taking myself too seriously here… i think that’s part of why some folk get so hung up on this.

big deal?


gringo [Visitor]  10/16/06 @ 02:00

So quality counts for nothing in God’s eyes? Somehow I doubt that. But what do I know. I’m a heathen. And how do you know what the writer of the song’s intentions were? Maybe they just needed a song to round out the album they were working on. Who knows.


brendoman [Member]  http://brendoman.com10/16/06 @ 02:22

I like to think of “Shout to the North” as a drinking song (which makes it very hard to take it seriously). Just think about it: during the chorus, pretend you have a big mug of beer in your hand, and sway back and forth, and when you get to the phrase “Lord of Heaven and Earth", sing it like a pirate. I’m not joking–this is all I can think about when they sing it in church. My husband has to smack me every time I start laughing.


wendytime [Member]  10/16/06 @ 10:13

My new favorite is “I’m a friend of God". Because when I die and go to heaven, me and the creator of the entire friggin universe are going to play texas hold em and talk about girls like I currently do on Friday nights with my friends.


Justin [Visitor]  http://www.ebrandon.net/adamsfamily10/16/06 @ 14:52

that made me lol. good call… yeah. i’m gonna go tell cassidy’s, the local irish pub, to hit that one up.


gringo [Visitor]  10/16/06 @ 15:00

Arr, I’m such a good person. My heart is so pure that I’m angry at you for putting your hilarious opinion online. In fact, I’m so close to Jesus that I hate you for saying something that I disagree with. Why did you make me and all of the non-christians in the world read your personal journal?

_____________________________________

How has no one posted on the terribleness of Charlie Hall’s song “Sweep Me Away?” First of all the whole “Sudenly I feel..” thing is so creepy anyway… like, whoa Jesus you snuck up on me and now we’re holding hands. I have a hard time seeing how that worships God. Not to mention the repetitiveness, or the crazy Charlie Hall hippie yell that you have to do the chorus in. The title suggests, Sweep Away my ability to think Jesus. Hey but props to Charlie Hall though, I seriously doubt he knows or cares that we try to sing it in church sometimes.

To rip off Rob Bell in his excellent book, Velvet Elvis, I think its helpful to consider that the word Christian makes a great noun, but a crappy adjective. Like: Sara is a christian. (Noun) God loves all christian music. (Adjective)

The trouble comes when you start calling things “christian” just because they seem to relate to, or vaugly reference Christianity. There are books and newspapers full of things throughout history that have been called Christian that God probably wants nothing to do with (and who knows, this devil site maybe one of them). So I don’t think songs are any different. In short, calling something worship music and singing it in church doesn’t make a song good, or make God like it. Would you want to worship a God that that were true of??


Jesse [Visitor]  http://www.i'msozealousi'mangry.com10/16/06 @ 16:21

well if this says nothing else it does say that we are all passionate about worship! Good songs, bad songs, all of this is nothing. Worship is a state of the heart and mind. Not only the words that are coming out of your mouth or the same three chords being repeatedly played on a cheap guitar through a badly run sound system. I think the funniest thing about this thread is the passion with which the conversation is being carried on! I am a worship leader and have been for a long time. I have done ALL of the worst songs listed in this thread and will do some of them again, but that isn’t the point anyway. The point is God’s people encountering God’s presence, seeing His glory and responding. I really don’t care what song it is! U2, Sigur Ros, and Dave Matthews Band are some of the bands I worship to most often! (clafication I don’t worship the BANDS I use thier songs WHEN I worship GOD!)
I don’t have a top 5 list made up of the worst Worship songs ever because wow how do you pick 5 out of that MASSIVE grouping! Infact the original list shows how new you are to worship (or should I say bad worship?) What about golden oldies like “Mighty Warrior", or “I Belong to Jesus", or the ever popular “Our God is an Awesome God” all songs I have sung and loved at some point, which stand out glaring to me as UNWORSHIPABLE now.
To all of you who are angry with this thread: lighten up! learn to laugh at yourself! I bet God laughs at some of the things we bring him too! And let me say this. No song has ever REALLY changed your life! It may have helped you get to GOD who changed your life but that is ALL it did!!!
To all of you who are a little too excited about this thread. Understand that worship songs no matter how cheesy mean something to somebody. It’s ok to laugh about them but realize that in a few years people are going to have hardy laughs about the songs YOU cherish most right now! I hope you are one of those peaple!
I wrote to much sorry
Josh


josh Hawkins [Visitor]  http://mysite.verizon.net/joshyhawkins10/18/06 @ 10:06

If you have so far been protected from the worship song I should explain that is an alternative to what are commonly called hymns. The words and music in the majority (and there are notable exceptions) are trivial, self-centred and misleading - as well as appearing to have been written by well-meaning people who possess little understanding of Christian theology and none of the required skills of prosody. One reflects that they have had their songs snapped up by hungry ‘Christian Resources’ publishers who know they are on to a hot number in the current rush for what they call ‘relaxed worship’; even worse, clergy have felt able to feed them to their flock, lambs and all.

But I do wonder if songwriters and composers of this terrible stuff have been given the wrong instruction leaflet. I imagine it going something like this:

How to write a Worship Song
First of all, remember that writing words and tunes is something anyone can do. It comes naturally. It’s not like skateboarding or football. They take skill. Anyone can write a worship song. Don’t have hang-ups about being neither a poet nor a composer. There’s no real ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Just make sure you feel good about your song. If someone tries to show you where you’ve gone ‘wrong’ (as they will put it), just smile and say a prayer for them.
All the same, here are some tips.

1 Just write the music
Fun time! You can play some guitar chords? Fine. So you know what to do. The best way is just to run through a few of your fave worship songs and jot down the bits you’ve always liked singing. Then join them up. It’s really easy! You’re feeling really creative? O.K. Make some of the notes longer and some shorter. If you’re really inspired you could actually change a few of the notes - so that it sounds different from the other songs.
Things called ‘rests’ are really important, especially at the beginning of lines. They are the chief trademark of the worship song. Change the number of rests in each line. This makes people concentrate because it’s not easy to sing. It also gives your percussionist a chance to share personal insights on the skins.

2 Just write the words
The words ‘just’ and ‘really’ are good value. They tell the singers that worship is both easy and ordinary. It also signals that what they are about to sing is quite innocent of cogent thought.
You could begin with anything from ‘Yes, Lord’ to ‘I just really, really, really want to -’. Some experts suggest that a certain feeling of sincerity can be added by including either just a few Scriptue expressions or those used in prayer meetings. Your song doesn’t have to ‘say’ anything. This is why worship-song writing is so easy. Be just as relaxed about words as you are about music. In fact, it is important to be relaxed about everything in that fun time of Worship that comes before or after what older people still call ‘The Service’.

3 Two hot tips
RHYME makes a song satisfying to sing. So do make last words rhyme as often as you can. But be prepared for it to get harder as you proceed. You’ll find yourself having to think. Then drop it. Never be hindered by the need to think.
SCANSION and METRE are good value but tricky. They give the song a lilt and make it pleasant to sing, but even professionals find it takes a long time so it’s best not attempted. Remember, this is only a worship song. No sweat.

4 Just connect tune and words
Now that you’ve got the tune and the words, what faces you is the really difficult and boring business of fitting the two together - the only really essential bit that does mean you’ve got to think. Sorry, but there it is.
But don’t worry! Here’s what you do:

i Play your music over.
ii Sing along
iii Allocate words to notes.

Now and then, of course, you’ll have to stretch the shorter words like ‘me’ over four or five notes in order to fit them to your tune. If you really like the way it sounds you may find that you’re running out of notes. No problem! Just bunch up the last few words on the last note or two. Don’t worry about the congregation getting this wrong. Again, it makes them think. Congregations are good at miming the words if they can’t quite see where they come in the tune.

5 Just share your song
Share your song with others. The way you do this is to share it first with a kind publisher. (You never know, it might be the sort who actually pays you for it!) Forgetting the money for a moment: if you share it in this way your song becomes your own sacrifice as well as the congregation’s. Publishers of worship-song books are hungry for new items and they seldom refuse a song. There are dozens of Christian songbook publishers. Some un-spiritual people point out that publishers make a lot of loot in selling song books because they automatically sell in hundreds. Unfortunately, this does happen to be true, and as royalties come in you will have to shut your eyes and think of higher things, like your next song.

6 About critics
Here’s a final thought: you’re only sharing. Anyone who offers criticism is un-spiritual. They want only the inessentials of the faith - such as song-words that ‘say’ something (what does that mean?) and tunes that are ‘good’ to sing. These folk are worldly. Take no notice of them but pray for protection from their wiles. There was once a caring, sharing worship-song writer who once actually listened to the critics and thereafter wrote stuff that rhymed all the way through and kept the scansion and told stories and ‘said’ something.
Well. I ask you.
_______________________________

Or something like that - and, yes, it’s all very comical if you can stop yourself thinking about facts, which for sensible people is difficult. Because however hard we slam the stable door marked ‘Sense’, the horse called ‘Nonsense’ has bolted. Hymns (in the present sense of the word) are well on their way out. Hymns are no longer understood, just as the perception of sanctity, of the immanence of the Holy Spirit within a dedicated building, is not realised. Entertainment and ‘togetherness’ are in. Songs are in and songs will dominate.
Try imagining yourself in 2020. In a handful of the country’s cathedrals you might still find a ‘hymn book’ as we know it today. In the rest, you will find only the plasma screen (hoistable when the increasingly meaningless Altar really has to be visible).
And what appears on the screens? Worship songs. Except that they won’t be called that. The term will then be passé. In the more dignified places where it has been decided to retain something of the old-fashioned in the memory of something or other, they will sing the same songs, a great many of them simply tinsel pap, but they will call them ‘hymns’. Elsewhere, who knows what they will be called.
The celebrity cult will be the engine. Even today you can see websites - a frightening number of them - featuring chart-topping worship songs and chart-topping worship-song singers. Who will it be next week?
So, for old and young, the worship song of today will be the accepted Christian mode of congregational singing. I am convinced of that. And if the songs, hymns or whatever our grandchildren decide to call them, are to measure up to those hymns we love to sing today, with words as illuminating and music as uplifting, who is going to do something about it?

1 The Clergy
The Clergy. When is one of them going to do some putting-down of foot and announce that all songs that have little or nothing to say will be thrown out and that no more of their kind will be tolerated?

2 Publishers
Who will be bright enough to see how to break into the blatantly profit-powered system that publishes trash and gleefully watches the moolah flow in?

3 Lyricists and composers
Beside all else, they have to be people who understand the difference between adults’ songs and children’s songs and write without confusing the two. (Incidentally, when will someone point out that the all-age or ‘Family Service’ succeeds only in alternately irritating old and young? Children need their own service, with children’s material and led by the experts.
At the very least, lyricists need to have a broad grasp of scripture and to be able to apply that knowledge to the words they write - almost to be a good teacher. They have to be able to put into words the feelings, the aspirations, that arise from that knowledge, the thoughts and questions that flow daily into the head of even the most devout. And they have to do all this without being either limp-wristed or bumptious.
Of composers I can say nothing. To me, they are celestial beings. But musicians they must be if they are going to serve those in the congregation who prefer something other than what a musician-hero of my teenage years called ‘metronomic drumbeats and sterile, four-square rhythms’*.

Having said all that, we have to face the likelihood that the Christian world is re-entering the age of the folk song, where the song is written by the singer and those who want to sing along make the best of it. In that case we might as well accept that we’re all sunk and can go home and drown in the pink-and-purple soft focus of the BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise’.

©2006 Paul Wigmore

*Christian Darnton, You and Music: Pelican, 1945.


Paul Wigmore [Visitor]  http://http//:www.paulwigmore.co.uk10/18/06 @ 11:30

If you have so far been protected from the worship song I should explain that is an alternative to what are commonly called hymns. The words and music in the majority (and there are notable exceptions) are trivial, self-centred and misleading - as well as appearing to have been written by well-meaning people who possess little understanding of Christian theology and none of the required skills of prosody. One reflects that they have had their songs snapped up by hungry ‘Christian Resources’ publishers who know they are on to a hot number in the current rush for what they call ‘relaxed worship’; even worse, clergy have felt able to feed them to their flock, lambs and all.

But I do wonder if songwriters and composers of this terrible stuff have been given the wrong instruction leaflet. I imagine it going something like this:

How to write a Worship Song
First of all, remember that writing words and tunes is something anyone can do. It comes naturally. It’s not like skateboarding or football. They take skill. Anyone can write a worship song. Don’t have hang-ups about being neither a poet nor a composer. There’s no real ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Just make sure you feel good about your song. If someone tries to show you where you’ve gone ‘wrong’ (as they will put it), just smile and say a prayer for them.
All the same, here are some tips.

1 Just write the music
Fun time! You can play some guitar chords? Fine. So you know what to do. The best way is just to run through a few of your fave worship songs and jot down the bits you’ve always liked singing. Then join them up. It’s really easy! You’re feeling really creative? O.K. Make some of the notes longer and some shorter. If you’re really inspired you could actually change a few of the notes - so that it sounds different from the other songs.
Things called ‘rests’ are really important, especially at the beginning of lines. They are the chief trademark of the worship song. Change the number of rests in each line. This makes people concentrate because it’s not easy to sing. It also gives your percussionist a chance to share personal insights on the skins.

2 Just write the words
The words ‘just’ and ‘really’ are good value. They tell the singers that worship is both easy and ordinary. It also signals that what they are about to sing is quite innocent of cogent thought.
You could begin with anything from ‘Yes, Lord’ to ‘I just really, really, really want to -’. Some experts suggest that a certain feeling of sincerity can be added by including either just a few Scriptue expressions or those used in prayer meetings. Your song doesn’t have to ‘say’ anything. This is why worship-song writing is so easy. Be just as relaxed about words as you are about music. In fact, it is important to be relaxed about everything in that fun time of Worship that comes before or after what older people still call ‘The Service’.

3 Two hot tips
RHYME makes a song satisfying to sing. So do make last words rhyme as often as you can. But be prepared for it to get harder as you proceed. You’ll find yourself having to think. Then drop it. Never be hindered by the need to think.
SCANSION and METRE are good value but tricky. They give the song a lilt and make it pleasant to sing, but even professionals find it takes a long time so it’s best not attempted. Remember, this is only a worship song. No sweat.

4 Just connect tune and words
Now that you’ve got the tune and the words, what faces you is the really difficult and boring business of fitting the two together - the only really essential bit that does mean you’ve got to think. Sorry, but there it is.
But don’t worry! Here’s what you do:

i Play your music over.
ii Sing along
iii Allocate words to notes.

Now and then, of course, you’ll have to stretch the shorter words like ‘me’ over four or five notes in order to fit them to your tune. If you really like the way it sounds you may find that you’re running out of notes. No problem! Just bunch up the last few words on the last note or two. Don’t worry about the congregation getting this wrong. Again, it makes them think. Congregations are good at miming the words if they can’t quite see where they come in the tune.

5 Just share your song
Share your song with others. The way you do this is to share it first with a kind publisher. (You never know, it might be the sort who actually pays you for it!) Forgetting the money for a moment: if you share it in this way your song becomes your own sacrifice as well as the congregation’s. Publishers of worship-song books are hungry for new items and they seldom refuse a song. There are dozens of Christian songbook publishers. Some un-spiritual people point out that publishers make a lot of loot in selling song books because they automatically sell in hundreds. Unfortunately, this does happen to be true, and as royalties come in you will have to shut your eyes and think of higher things, like your next song.

6 About critics
Here’s a final thought: you’re only sharing. Anyone who offers criticism is un-spiritual. They want only the inessentials of the faith - such as song-words that ‘say’ something (what does that mean?) and tunes that are ‘good’ to sing. These folk are worldly. Take no notice of them but pray for protection from their wiles. There was once a caring, sharing worship-song writer who once actually listened to the critics and thereafter wrote stuff that rhymed all the way through and kept the scansion and told stories and ‘said’ something.
Well. I ask you.
_______________________________

Or something like that - and, yes, it’s all very comical if you can stop yourself thinking about facts, which for sensible people is difficult. Because however hard we slam the stable door marked ‘Sense’, the horse called ‘Nonsense’ has bolted. Hymns (in the present sense of the word) are well on their way out. Hymns are no longer understood, just as the perception of sanctity, of the immanence of the Holy Spirit within a dedicated building, is not realised. Entertainment and ‘togetherness’ are in. Songs are in and songs will dominate.
Try imagining yourself in 2020. In a handful of the country’s cathedrals you might still find a ‘hymn book’ as we know it today. In the rest, you will find only the plasma screen (hoistable when the increasingly meaningless Altar really has to be visible).
And what appears on the screens? Worship songs. Except that they won’t be called that. The term will then be passé. In the more dignified places where it has been decided to retain something of the old-fashioned in the memory of something or other, they will sing the same songs, a great many of them simply tinsel pap, but they will call them ‘hymns’. Elsewhere, who knows what they will be called.
The celebrity cult will be the engine. Even today you can see websites - a frightening number of them - featuring chart-topping worship songs and chart-topping worship-song singers. Who will it be next week?
So, for old and young, the worship song of today will be the accepted Christian mode of congregational singing. I am convinced of that. And if the songs, hymns or whatever our grandchildren decide to call them, are to measure up to those hymns we love to sing today, with words as illuminating and music as uplifting, who is going to do something about it?

1 The Clergy
The Clergy. When is one of them going to do some putting-down of foot and announce that all songs that have little or nothing to say will be thrown out and that no more of their kind will be tolerated?

2 Publishers
Who will be bright enough to see how to break into the blatantly profit-powered system that publishes trash and gleefully watches the moolah flow in?

3 Lyricists and composers
Beside all else, they have to be people who understand the difference between adults’ songs and children’s songs and write without confusing the two. (Incidentally, when will someone point out that the all-age or ‘Family Service’ succeeds only in alternately irritating old and young? Children need their own service, with children’s material and led by the experts.
At the very least, lyricists need to have a broad grasp of scripture and to be able to apply that knowledge to the words they write - almost to be a good teacher. They have to be able to put into words the feelings, the aspirations, that arise from that knowledge, the thoughts and questions that flow daily into the head of even the most devout. And they have to do all this without being either limp-wristed or bumptious.
Of composers I can say nothing. To me, they are celestial beings. But musicians they must be if they are going to serve those in the congregation who prefer something other than what a musician-hero of my teenage years called ‘metronomic drumbeats and sterile, four-square rhythms’*.

Having said all that, we have to face the likelihood that the Christian world is re-entering the age of the folk song, where the song is written by the singer and those who want to sing along make the best of it. In that case we might as well accept that we’re all sunk and can go home and drown in the pink-and-purple soft focus of Songs of Praise.

©2006 Paul Wigmore

*Christian Darnton, You and Music: Pelican, 1945.


Paul Wigmore [Visitor] • http://http//:www.paulwigmore.co.uk10/18/06 @ 11:31

People said some of the same things when your blessed “hymns” were written in the first place. I love hymns and I long for that kind of depth, meaning, excellence, and creativity to come back to our worship services, but I honestly believe we had to walk through this period of transition, as rocky and dificult as it has been, to get back to that place, and NO I do not think we are there yet. What there is NO place for is crass commercialism (which we are flooded with at the moment) OR (and this is for you Mr Wigmore) acidic cinicism which adds nothing of value to the conversation. I appreciate your word to the clergy and to the publising community. Worship has lost much of its heart reality, and it is because of the endless flood of vaccuous, drivel filled, cookie cutter worship albums. It is the heart reality we MUST return to and it is the heart reality that we treasure in all of the hymns AND worship songs that will stand forth when this is all over and be counted as valuable.


josh Hawkins [Visitor]  http://mysite.verizon.net/joshyhawkins10/18/06 @ 13:04

wow, i will not try to disagree that there are songs, worship songs that may not be rated high, but i am more thankful that God is not a man, and not you to my very delight, because i believe some if not all the songs you listed has touched a life in one way or the other, if God approves a song i will be a little bit histant to disprove of the song. but on the othe hand i understand that we have to provide something out there so that the world will not laugh at our ignorance but i will rather make no gramatical sense and let God be glorified than do and take the praise for myself.


victor [Visitor]  10/18/06 @ 20:52

Hello to all. I was just introduced to this website not too long ago, and I’d have to say it’s pretty great. Sure there is the occasional comment that goes too far and ,inevitably, offends people, but for the people who take a loving approach to their comments, this site is great. We can all relate to a worship service when we have allowed the quality of the musicianship or the content of the songs to get in the way. Whether it be a song that corporately doesn’t work well in bringing God’s people into His presence (which is what worship is all about!), or songs with anticlimactic endings or redundant chord progressions. Ultimately everyone has a pet peeve that they find it hard to worship to. And I am definitely not above saying that I don’t have worship songs that I find it hard to worship to, (i.e. We want to see Jesus Lifted High…what is that whole clapping thing for anyway…i just feel gay when i do it) but anyway..our ability to persevere through the worship songs that we consider “dry” is what God honors most. It is so easy to worship to good music, but the character and integrity of our worship is tested when a song starts playing that we do not like. This is something that I am definitely working on, but have I arrived? Not by any means! I still have those moments where I try to the best of my ability not to laugh hysterically in the middle of a service, (and to say anything else would be dishonest for myself as well as many of you). As a musician and a songwriter I experience many frustrations with the current state that “Christian” or even “Worship” music has become. We have commercialized the music on a ridiculous scale and have allowed songs with extremely shallow lyrics to be published and labeled as “Worship”
The church must get back to the raw inner cry for intimacy with the one true God. We can no longer allow songs, that many could sing to a girlfriend, to be played in church or labeled as worship. We cannot because the focus of the music isn’t on Christ…and that is who we are claiming to worship. It is imperative that we get back to the worship that God desires…God centered worship! Our songs must reflect and bring glory to the character and majesty of The Lord. As songs are written, they should be speaking of a revelation about His glory that He has so graciously allowed us to encounter. We must no longer bring God down to what we thing is a level that we can somehow comprehend, because the truth is we will never be able to comprehend the majesty of our Father.
I believe shallow worship songs and worship for that matter are the result of a wrong idea about God. If the Church focused more on God and less on a means to pursue God, this wouldn’t be a problem that we are writing about, but that is not the fact. We must get back to the main focus of worship….Jesus.

Landon


Landon Williams [Visitor]  10/20/06 @ 17:46

“our ability to persevere through the worship songs that we consider “dry” is what God honors most.”

i dont think “god” really gives a crap.

“We must no longer bring God down to what we thing is a level that we can somehow comprehend, because the truth is we will never be able to comprehend the majesty of our Father.”

i dont pretend to comprehend scientology nor islam nor many other beliefs and i’m sure they say the same thing.

i guess what unnerves me, and please don’t take offense, is your religious banter and words. they really don’t make much sense and i really don’t think most of us understand this spiritual talk/lingo although we act like we do.

leads me to this… i think i’m a deconstructionist.

some songs suck, some don’t.


gringo [Visitor]  10/21/06 @ 14:11

Hey, at least your being honest. But your ignorance of what you claim is “spiritual talk/lingo” isnt a valid excuse for your narrowminded view of worship. If your “some songs suck, some don’t.” opinion is all you care about in worship than i won’t even bother arguing my point with you because it would be a waste of my time and yours.


Landon Williams [Visitor]  10/22/06 @ 11:00

Ok - so religious banter and spiritual lingo is off limits but you are a… ehh hem… “deconstructioninst?” At least practice what you preach gringo! Thanks


Josh Hawkins [Visitor]  10/22/06 @ 17:23

Hey but God doesn’t “give a crap” about our perseverence in worship even when a song is dry, so why would he care if we contradicted ourselves within 3 sentences….just a thought. Josh maybe you could answer that for me? Or maybe gringo could…


Landon Williams [Visitor]  10/22/06 @ 20:20

You know, your replies really bother me. Here’s why, I was being honest and I prefaced my statement with asking you not to take offense thinking that we could further this little discussion. Instead, you call me ignorant, narrowminded and then I’m called a hypocrite.

You’re ignorant of the word deconstruction.

Here’s the definition to help you miscreants out:

“1 : a philosophical or critical method which asserts that meanings, metaphysical constructs, and hierarchical oppositions (as between key terms in a philosophical or literary work) are always rendered unstable by their dependence on ultimately arbitrary signifiers; also : an instance of the use of this method {a deconstruction of the nature-culture opposition in Rousseau’s work}
2 : the analytic examination of something (as a theory) often in order to reveal its inadequacy”

I very well think “worship” could be something done when breathing, sweeping the floor, or even opening a can of tuna. That said, I still have extreme doubts.

I guess what really unnerved me was thi statement “If your “some songs suck, some don’t.” opinion is all you care about in worship than i won’t even bother arguing my point with you because it would be a waste of my time and yours.” Frankly, it’s really the other way around… you just don’t want to hear it and you accuse me of contradicting myself? Then don’t argue your point especially if don’t make sense in the first place and can’t appreciate another person’s opinion. We’re not all like you, we’re not all cookie cutter. It’s really not that big of a deal honestly. We’re so wrapped up in subjective meanings we forget AIDS, poverty, homelessness, etc. Wasn’t this the exact same damn thing Jesus railed on? Religiosity?

Look, we’re arguing over “spiritual” words here, something that I find so subjective. Your words remind me of the characters from that film entitled “Saved!”

Yeah, I think I’m a deconstructionist and I doubt the Bible’s validity. Does this make a hypocrite? Does this make narrow minded? Does this mean I’ve contradicted myself? Does this make me ignorant?

The only thing this does prove is that some songs suck, and some don’t. I’m forced to come to the only logical and easy explanation. It’s not even worth getting a fight over and throwing slanderous words around such as what you did.

Oh, it proves one more thing… your absolute failure and refusal to carry on a conversation.

More than you’ll ever know son, more than you’ll ever know.


gringo [Visitor]  10/22/06 @ 21:46

To boot, I’m no rocket scientist and I don’t claim to be smart nor do I claim to be a theologian.

So enlighten us Mr. Williams and Mr. Hawkins. Are you like the few others who know something we don’t?

Did you forget the title of this post? I recommend rereading it again.

Sorry folks, I really don’t mean to take the piss out of this conversation.

Move along, nothing to see here but inane comments and useless rebuttals. Move along.


gringo [Visitor]  10/22/06 @ 21:52

Please explain to me how my comments don’t make sense then. I will gladly enlighten you. Sure you can say God doesnt give a crap, but why? Is there any intelligence behind your word choice, or are you just once again ripping apart someone else’s view, without giving your point of view. Let’s forget about the harsh words, becuase they came from both sides. I honestly am sorry if I offended you, but I am quite interested in what you would rather have me say. So yes, I would like to continue this little discussion without any unecessary fighting, and once again I apologize.


Landon Williams [Visitor]  10/23/06 @ 14:46

no thank you. not my cup of tea.


gringo [Visitor]  10/23/06 @ 18:41

sorry danny, sorry guys… i’ll try not to let this happen again. bah.


gringo [Visitor]  10/23/06 @ 18:46

Likewise…


Landon [Visitor]  10/23/06 @ 19:51

Yeah Mr. Hawkins and Mr. Williams…enlighten us…like Gringo, i want to try to understand what you have to say…


Caleb Taylor [Visitor]  10/26/06 @ 14:41

I think Landon and Gringo both have pretty good points, Landon’s being that worship should ultimately revolve around the greatness of God, be that in the person of Jesus Christ His son,or the Holy Spirit, or God the Father, or all of the above. And we do that by proclaiming/revering/regarding/understanding/singing
or whatever else you do, how great/worthy/holy/awesome/divine God really is. But I really like Gringo’s point about the fact that at the same time we say a LOT about worship that sometimes just comes across as words that often get repeated and have ambigious meanings. Like how worship is supposed to “bring us closer to God” or like when Landon said the pushing through dry songs is “what God honors most.” I’m not really disagreeing with that statement but at the same time, I’m not really sure I’m qualified to comment on what God honors most.

I’m with Gringo when he says that worship can happen in a lot of ways besides just singing, so maybe we shouldn’t say as much about worship, and just try to do it more, and give others the freedom to do it diffently and not judge and hate when we disagree. I hope God honors that.

Anybody want to take a stab at a definition of worship?


Jesse [Visitor]  http://www.i'msozealousi'mangry.com10/27/06 @ 12:24

Wow, I like how you put both sides in perspective! (and just to clarify) by saying “pushing through dry songs is what God honors most.” I was exaggerating to make a point, but in the future I can see how a statment like this might lead to problems. So I guess I’m saying thanks for seeing both sides of the argument….Good work!
And i too agree with Gringo in the fact that worship can happen in a lot of ways…maybe that will help us put more thought into our future comments?


Landon Williams [Visitor]  10/27/06 @ 15:48

I still want to see Mr. Hawkins defend himself…..


Caleb Taylor [Visitor]  10/27/06 @ 16:11

landon, was your last comment sarcastic? it seemed so to me. like gringo, i don’t buy all the spiritual lingo crap. it’s not my…cup of tea


rob thorpe [Visitor]  10/27/06 @ 16:16

Rob,
My comment was sincere, and honestly I wasn’t trying to be sarcastic. I don’t think my comments earlier were “religious", in fact I think my view of worship would be frowned upon in many denominations….but I definitely agree with Gringo in the fact that worship can be anything…and I am sorry that our argument got out of hand…. I don’t mean to use religious words, but I couldn’t find any other way to explain how I felt at the time…So I guess I have this question…What do you think could maybe change in my explanation….or what sounded religious to you? I am not asking this in a sarcastic manor by any means…I really want to know and maybe I could explain what I was trying to say in less religious terms?

(just for clarification)

My last statement “maybe that will help us put more thought into our future comments?”

In saying this, I wasn’t trying to be sarcastic. This statement was for me as much as it was for anyone else.

Landon


Landon Williams [Visitor]  10/27/06 @ 17:08

sorry landon, but i’m not buying it. i don’t see how…after your pedantic rant, completely disagreeing with gringo, you choose to…hold up a white flag and say that you now AGREE with gringo! pick a side and stay there. everything you say is void.


rob thorpe [Visitor]  10/27/06 @ 23:55

Rob…idk man. i don’t think you can call Mr. Williams out like that. but…Mr. Hawkins…why aren’t you backing you Mr. Williams like you did before?


Caleb Taylor [Visitor]  10/27/06 @ 23:57

Rob,
So because I agree with one thing Gringo said means I am holding up a white flag and suddenly deciding to agree with him….please man be reasonable.
That is where my aggrement with gringo ends ….I completely disagree with gringo accept for that one statment, but we ended the arguement….why jump and a attempt to restir what has already been setteled?

If everything I say is void then maybe you’ll listen to Solomon…

(Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own…Proverbs 26:17)


Glossoli (New Name) [Visitor]  10/28/06 @ 19:51

One of my worst liked worship tunes is “Only a God Like You” (not you God but a god like you). What is up with that. Every time I hear it, it makes no sense.


hot.dog [Visitor]  10/31/06 @ 14:08

Mr Caleb Taylor I have no need to defend myself agaist idoit drummers like yourself
God bless!


Josh Hawkins [Visitor]  11/05/06 @ 19:46

When i think of all the worship songs I don’t like, its hard to make a list but I guess I’ll take a stab at it.

1. Indescribable
2. How Great Thou Art
3. Amazing Love
4. Trading my Sorrows
5. Enough
6. Mighty is our God
7. As the Deer
8. To God Be the Glory
9. Take the World but give me Jesus
10 Take Me Away
11 All Who Are Thirsty
12 You
13 Let Everything That Has Breath
14 Our Father
15 Release Me


Peter Young [Visitor]  11/16/06 @ 17:44

Since no one can prove or even come near to proving gods existance isnt this thread just a figment of peoples imagination ?Comment from: Its not me [Visitor]

This is way off topic. The thread is about worship music, not the existence of God. But, if you ever come back, I’d welcome an email from you.


Rebecca Carpenter [Visitor]  http://www.kitchensongs.com11/23/06 @ 22:14

I’m new to blogging. Wow - too much to read, but a great topic. I wish there was a sight that analyzed songs for their strengths and weaknesses. Know of one? Want to start one? I have long been troubled by the entertainment of worship, the excitement over music and songs, rather than God. I love the energy of modern worship, but I’m most moved spiritually by the simple worship songs of Maranatha.


Street Witness [Visitor]  12/04/06 @ 10:52

Colossians 3:16 - 17 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” I wanted to start off with this verse because I believe that without even having to state a position on the topic the bible already has. As Christians we are called to… “sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Which means the active emotion no matter how ridiculous the song seems to us should be “gratitude in [our] hearts toward God!” I don’t see gratitude emanating from these statements. I don’t see a group of believers crying out together in worship toward our creator. If in worship we were truly brought into a place of intimacy and focus on God then these thoughts about “the worst worship songs” wouldn’t come up because our hearts cry would be in reverant worship of God. I have been just as guilty as everyone here of feeling angst towards a song sang at church because it’s “too overdone” or it’s “too slow” or it’s “to performance minded” but a pastor recently exhorted me saying that it shouldn’t be the song, worship leader, or tempo that I focus on, I should have an attitude of worship towards God because it is for Him…not for me. Also having been a guest, interim, and youth lead worshipper for many years I have struggled with this, but as a lead worshipper if I am too busy struggling with how “lame” the songs are then I am distracting myself from the true goal of bringing others into worship. Together we are called to “worship in spirit and truth” [John 4:24] and that means that it is a joint effort to worship God…as well as an individual effort. When we lift our voices together in heartfelt worship our spirits are together empowered. Let me leave you with this, “For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? This detour doesn’t come from the One who called you into the race in the first place.” [Galatians 5:6-8 The Message] God’s goal isn’t to see us attack each other. If you attack someone’s heartfelt songs to God; there worship prayer if you will, then you attack them, there calling and there very existence as being a “true worshipper” it isn’t our place to judge, only to love. Lets stop attacking worship songs and as a result the people who wrote them and start actually worshipping, loving, and focusing on what really matters, Jesus’s commission to us. “He said to them, ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” [Matthew 28:19-20]

-Blessings and Love-
Sean Thomas


Sean Thomas [Visitor]  http://www.myspace.com/945202812/06/06 @ 04:35

I am confused with the purpose of this site, confused at the fact that it exists. It seems that a lot of recent talk has just been about who is arguing what and who is defending what someone else is saying. This seems almost a bit childish, I’m sure as people you have your own opinions but there is just tons of bickering going on. If it is worship that you are all discussing, talk about how you can make it better. Don’t go on to talk about the fact that you don’t like a certain song or that you don’t know what the song is talking about. And what is with the fact that the site was started out ‘The Top 5 Worst Worship Songs’? Try being proactive, either getting over yourself for a song or two, or try to find out what a song might mean. To often Christians are complaining that the church is doing everything wrong but yet make no attempt to fix it. Maybe if you would spend more time doing something about worship you might have more enjoyment out of it. Or better yet, try to understand that worship is Ultimately for God not for ourselves. I don’t ever remember Scripture saying, ‘Worship the Lord your God…and make sure it sounds good.’ If anyone wants to let me know where that is in Scripture please let me know. ‘Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’ 1 Samuel 16:7, I know the Lord was talking to Samuel about someone’s physical appearance, but the idea remains the same. We as people look to what is outside of us and not in, ‘God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth,’ John 4:24.
Also, a part of me is just upset with what this site represents because of what is said on it. This site tells non-Christians that even Christians cannot get along with each other. Rather than coming alongside to help one another, we complain, say what is not good about something and place preference over faithful worship. So maybe this forum shouldn’t be called ‘The Top 5 Worst Worship Songs’ but maybe we could talk about something that is uplifting and encouraging to other people and other Christians. Until non-believers see us as being loving and encouraging to one another they won’t want to have what we have. What we have is salvation in Christ, so how about we show people that it is worth having.

P.S. Hats off to the guy above me (Mr. Sean Thomas) finally looks like someone is saying something that is worth listening to.

If anyone wants to talk to me directly you can email me at patcoolchurch@yahoo.com


Patrick Carlson [Visitor]  12/06/06 @ 04:43

my least favorited song… hmmmm probably a chinese one since dont understand lyrics sorry i let the chinese down


amonomous [Visitor]  12/07/06 @ 00:51

Just wanted to say in response to the last couple of posts - I appreciate your admonishment to bickering Christians. We should always encourage and build each other up because it honors God and is a good witness to others. However, at the same time, I have known non-Christians who have left churches because they were so disgusted by the worship music. I can’t say exactly what songs turned them off, but I know the songs belong in the cheesy category.

I don’t think all of us Christians can or will agree on what’s good worship music, and in fact, I think we should maintain healthy criticms because we’re created that way, and we need to be responsible with our worship music. However, if the past couple thousand years provide any evidence, the bad songs will probably weed themselves out. I don’t know any songs from centuries ago that I don’t like. “O sacred head now wounded” is one good example.


laura [Visitor]  http://laura.bostonblogs.org12/09/06 @ 14:10

Yeah I believe you are right about Healthy criticisms. However, labeling a forum site “The Top 5 Worst Worship Songs” isn’t a good way to start that. There is a difference between healthy criticisms and just complaining without purpose.


Patrick Carlson [Visitor]  12/11/06 @ 14:20

Laura I think that you may find that the real underlying reason those people you know left the church was not because they were so disgusted by the worship music but a deeper issue. (possibly to do with the church community, I don’t know!)


Josh [Visitor]  12/14/06 @ 23:20

I’m glad to see a site devoted to truthtelling about annyoing worship songs. I have sung at a few different churches for about six or seven years, and it’s funny to see how each one gets in its own worship song ruts–leading off with “Come, Now Is The Time to Worship,” for example. Someone mentioned “The Heart of Worship” being more about us than God, too; looking back, that’s always annoyed me about the song–apologizing for something I never really felt convicted about.

I also hate songs that indicate some sort of action–raising hands, dancing (already mentioned), whatever; I hate it when anyone up front tells me to ‘tell the person next to you, “XYZ!"‘ And I’m supposed to do it excitedly and repeatedly, as if it were such a novel and amusing thing to do. So anyway, music or people in who tell me to perform some particular action when all I really want to do is worship in my own particular…idiom…really chap my hide.

Having said that, I don’t want to criticize the songs or people too harshly, since I don’t know what’s beind them. Someone mentioned “Shout to the Lord;” I happened across the story behind it:

“As Australian worship leader Darlene Zschech (pronounced “check") revealed in an interview with Today’s Christian Woman (March/April 2001), she didn’t set out to write a globally popular praise song when she penned “Shout to the Lord” in 1993. “I wrote it when I was feeling discouraged. I felt I could either scream and pull my hair out—or praise God.”

“Darlene and her husband, Mark, had two babies at the time and were struggling financially. Out of the stress came words that would eventually be performed for the Pope and the President of the United States as well as by congregations worldwide.”

Something to chew on.


johnnybock [Visitor]  12/18/06 @ 18:35

Does any of this really matter? There is someone out there who all of these songs speak to. Who are you to judge them and put them down. All of you are just adding on to what the world already thinks, that Christians are hypocrits. This is a stereotype that I, myself would like to break away from, and with christians like you, how can I.
These songs are songs that people wrote for God. Several of the comments describe how they feel these songs sound as if they were refering to girlfriends. But is God not suppost to be our First Love, our BestFriend, and our Savior.
By the way that “river” that you speak of, it is the holy spirit flowing through someone like an unstoppable force, feeling His love deep inside our souls just flowing through us, to where there is no way that we cannot be sharing God’s love.
As Christians this is what we should be doing. Sharing God’s love. Not giving a cynical views on Worship Songs, songs that are meant to worship God, no matter the rythym, or words, or wether they rhyme or not. None of this matters. Only God matters and someone, anyone chooses to worship Him.


amber [Visitor]  12/20/06 @ 10:09

By the way that “river” that you speak of, it is the holy spirit flowing through someone like an unstoppable force, feeling His love deep inside our souls just flowing through us, to where there is no way that we cannot be sharing God’s love.

Ok, that may be your interpretation of “river", but you didnt write the songs, so i guess i wonder how you can make a blanket stament and define “river” for everyone, when many people interpret it many different ways. I like your interpretation, dont get me wrong, but i dont know if i would make such a sure comment on a song i didnt write.

Secondly, your comment, and i quote, “All of you are just adding on to what the world already thinks, that Christians are hypocrits. This is a stereotype that I, myself would like to break away from, and with christians like you, how can I.”

I am not disagreing with the fact that every song has, at one time, touched someone in some way, but just because people dicuss their frustrations with a particular song does not make them hypocrites. Constructive critism is not a bad thing, and I’m sorry that people push the envelope in some comments, but for the most part, these people are not hypocrites. Dont be naieve enough to believe that you are the only person here who is unhappy with the attitude the world has toward Chirstians, because your not. Constructive critism does not cause the world to frown upon Christianity, if anything it shows them that we can be real, and explain in a loving manner (which most people have, not all i agree) the things we dislike about songs.

I think you have good reason for your comments, they just didnt sit well with me because they direct the people on this sight as a whole, while it should focus on the people who are actually involved in this “hypocracy.”

Thanks


The Edge [Visitor]  12/21/06 @ 21:41

How in the world has this post been getting comments for the last 3 years! This is Crazy!


Brad Moss [Visitor]  12/22/06 @ 11:57

I didn’t read all of the post, I did read a lot of them :), but I think the idea here is every time we gather coorporately or privately to worhsip God it should be a “fresh” offering from our hearts. What is being communicated somewhat on this site (I’m not a big fan of bashing the honest creativity of someone else even if I don’t like the song) is that some songs have become “stale". (Yes, there are many Biblically inaccurate songs out there - a separate, but valid discussion to have). I would say, however, songs getting old and burned out have to do with overuse by leaders and a wrong focus and judgement on the behalf of congregants. Song writers and worship leaders have the task of communicating and leading effectively. (A darn near impossible one with the consumer mentallity of most western churches these days) That does mean being relevant to your specific community, clear and biblically sound in our message, and make our offering to God with a whole heart - whether it’s Mary Had Little Lamb, O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing, or - gulp - Trading My Sorrows. Now remember, I won’t be brave enough to say all, but I’m sure most of the songs mentioned here were someones God-inspired creativity at some point. It’s good to keep that in mind as we also offer healthy and hopefully polite critiques.

blessings


Higher Place [Visitor]  http://www.praisenation.net12/22/06 @ 22:35

I wonder what everyone’s favorite five songs are? BTW I’ve played on worship teams for years and have been known on occasion to insert certain “borrowed” guitar parts from other songs…


Adam [Visitor]  12/23/06 @ 16:36

I may agree with some of these comments but if it is in scripture and you end up singing it at least you can be sure of this..it is life-giving, convicting, a two-edged sword, God-inspired and for crying out loud, beats anything heard on secular radio, CD’s etc. Don’t you have better things to pick apart. Get out and share the truth and love of Christ with people so they won’t go to hell. Please, pick a more noble battle.


Sharon Mysicka [Visitor]• 12/30/06 @ 14:17

Oh man! This has been an interesting couple of hours. I read 92% of what was here and as a worship leader, I can honestly say, “Help me, Lord!”

Our church experienced a split about 2 years ago because of THIS-because of the “type” of worship that was being emphasized.

That is why, after 3 years, this blog is still getting comments…it’s that big of a deal to people. You are talking about heart stuff here, folks. This is the way we express our love, our adoration, our thankfulness, our devotion to our Savior and Lord.

If I showed up at the construction site where my husband works with 15 baloons and a ukelele singing, “You are so beautiful to me” I can guarantee you that there would be a mixed response. His boss would wonder what in the world kind of woman I was, his co-workers would think I had lost my mind and he would be embarassed to death, and really upset that I didn’t sing “Steamroller".

It would have been important to me that I expressed my love to him in a way that was meaningful, dare I say it, PERSONAL!

That is one of the many challenges that we worship leaders face. How do I make this corporate and yet personal all at once? Like an earlier post stated, if the Holy Spirit lays it on my heart to sing “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever”
by golly, I’d best be doin’ that if I want to do my duty effectively.

An aside: We did this song 2 weeks ago for the first time at my Pentecostal Holiness church. An alcoholic man came to the front during worship to be ministered to by the church and said he hadn’t felt the love of God so strongly in any place in over 10 years.

Why? We’d let God lead.

Are there really crummy songs out there?
You’d better believe it. Does it do anyone any good by pointing out our really crummy opinions of them? Probably not. I have counted only 5 posts on this blog that have actually brought a joyful, positive response up in me-the one about the guy with ADD and the chicken going by cracked me up!

I guess what I’m getting at is the way that we each express our passion for our Savior is as individual as what we choose to wear to Sunday morning service.

You may not think my Dad’s seersucker suit and white hat are appropriate or in good taste. What you don’t know is that they were a gift from someone he loved very much and he wears them WITH PURPOSE. Because of what they mean TO HIM.

I say this with all the love I can muster-sit down, be quiet, and grow in the grace and knowledge of the one you are {SUPPOSED TO BE} singing for-the audience of one.

Be theologically sound, be as professional as your Praise Band can be,
be sincere, and by all means, be relevant.

Until you have come out of what the person behind you or beside you has come out of-until you know the reason behind the tears coursing down their cheeks, or you know why the joy expresses itself in a ‘whirling dervish’ dance keep your Judgements, your {uninformed} opinions, and your incredibly mean-spirited, although certainly well-intentioned “rants” to a minimum.

I’m reminded of a very popular song from a couple of years ago…
“You don’t know the cost of the oil in my alabaster box…”

Until you have lived it and come out on the other side of it, keep it to yourself…PLEASE.


MamaMarsh [Visitor]  01/04/07 @ 01:08

Oh my gawsh. I really dont think you should be complaining about worship songs, or having a list of the ones you think are the worst. Yahh, there are some songs that my worship leader sings that arent my favorite, but I mean they are all to glorify God so thats all that should really matter. If you really love God, then it should all be about Him and not really how you feel about a song. I dont know, thats just my opinion.


Brenda [Visitor]  01/05/07 @ 00:18

Umm wow man…I will have to say that there’s something wierd and twisted about your opinions. Like most of the ppl here are saying, these songs are for God. And Btw you should check this site out http://www.praisecharts.com/ccli

If you want to be critical, this site tells you that Pretty much all those songs you complained about are all on the CCLI Top 100 woship songs of today.

thanks :P


Greg [Visitor]  01/07/07 @ 00:48

I know this is an old post but just stumbled onto it through Google… loved it! I’ve been leading worship for years and I can’t stand these songs. new people don’t know them and most people who have are kind of sick of them as well.

thanks for the post and the blog.


Mike Jones [Visitor]  http://mikejonesblog.com01/11/07 @ 16:44

After reading some 300 comments, i think it is clear that there are songs that are not theologically sound or even not logical at all in terms of tunes and words. With the help of all who read till this point, let’s put together a list of worship songs that is theologically sound and at the same time ‘flavorful” (not sure what better word to use). At the end of the day, it is up to the worship leaders to decide which are good and which aren’t.


deming [Visitor]• 01/16/07 @ 19:40

OK, I’m dating myself. I’ve been worried over the last 10 years or so that few current worship leaders even cared about the quality of the song (as opposed to the quality of the performance). I loved reading these comments! I’ve tried to ignore the current rash of trendy but flawed songs for worship. Songs I grew up hating were “I Stand In Awe Of You” (mostly because the worship leader would not tell people to stand or not stand, then some would stand, then the whole place would be awkward), and “They Rush On The City” (the words are from the prophets predicting the destruction of Israel for its failure to repent, yet the song is sung as a celebration!).
Some years ago Steve Taylor wrote a song (that still makes my laugh) called “This Disco,” about the push for churches to have trendy worship and be popular. ("[We’ve] got no need for altar calls–sold the altar for the mirror balls. Do you shuffle? Do you twist? ‘Cause with our “Hot Hits” playlist now we say, “This disco used to be a cute cathedral where the chosen cha-cha every day of the week. This disco used to be a cute cathedral where we got no room if you ain’t gonna be chic.") Paralleling the 5 worst worship songs are the five rules of a worship song: playable; singable; makes sense; corporately applicable; correcly biblical. A song without all five might be a nice song, but it ain’t a worship song. It’s a song.
And dittos re: “Breathe.” Any song with vague, kind of “New Age” imagery, combined with no direct reference to the deity (like “Jesus” or “God"), makes me nervous (let alone figuring out what I think about being “desparate.” Am I desparate about really being saved? Is there any reference in scripture to being desparate for God after one is saved?)


Jeff [Visitor]  01/20/07 @ 08:45

RE: Deming’s idea of a resource list. Is there a site with lists of “sets” of songs that fit nicely together, follow the five rules, etc.? My church really (dare I say “desperately") needs sets of playable songs that are in the same key (no key change required), say up tempo sets of 2-3 songs, then slower sets of 3-4. It would be great if such a site existed, with indices for topics, scripture references, writers & publishers. What a great tool for us undertrained, mediocre, volunteer worship leaders! I don’t want to be like Darlene Zchech (or however you spell it) or Paul Beloche (miracles would have to happen!). I just want people to walk out saying, “I wish we would have sung more.”
P.S. Some songs just need “tweeking.” I know it can make songwriters and singers a little perturbed, but to me it’s no big deal to alter some lyrics to make a song corporately applicable and biblically sound.


Jeff [Visitor]  01/20/07 @ 11:15

I totally agree that we should be examining the worship music that we are singing. However, I think John Piper had it right when he said that we shouldn’t make the mistake of comparing the worst worship songs with the best hymns because there’s a lot of lousy hymns out there too (either theologically or musically or both).

We should be applying the same filter to newer music and older music.

Still worshiping,

C.


Clymmer [Visitor]  http://my.opera.com/clym01/21/07 @ 07:23

Wow! having just come across this site, maybe some of the people writing these criticisms should read the word, get down on their knees and repent for being so judgemental, just because a song doesn’t appeal to one person it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t speak to another. Songs in worship are ministry not just to give a hype. It is biblical to enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise and as we get into the Holy of Holies it is personal and it often becomes intimate with the Father just as a christian is someone who has a relationship with God. why shouldn’t we sing songs that take us to that place. O GOD OPEN OUR SPIRITUAL EYES!! I find it more offensive some of the language used during some of these comments!.


Janis [Visitor]  01/23/07 @ 07:30

“maybe some of the people writing these criticisms should read the word, get down on their knees and repent for being so judgemental,”

I guess judging and critiquing a song automatically puts me in a group of one who doesnt read the word or pray. Please Janis that statement is sterotypical and ignorant. I dont see how you are in a place to judge the prayer or devotional life of people on this sight, as you naturally dont know all of the people writing comments.

“why shouldn’t we sing songs that take us to that place.”

We should, but if a song doesnt take me there, at least there is a sight where I can share my opinion of why it doesnt and what could make it better.


The Edge [Visitor]  01/23/07 @ 21:39

this is great! I’m beyond words right now! whether I agree or not with some of these posts, I’m just happy to find a place to vent about crap worship tunes. I’m not even sure where to start and what to contribute to this extensive masterpiece, but I would like to start by addressing the 2 previous posts.

We should be quite critical of worship tunes! I’ve been leading worship for about 10 years and I’ve seen an amazing amount of shlop put forth from some great bands as well as some really bad ones. Here’s a couple of thoughts:

First: We’re followers of Christ. Gifted by him with talent, passion and inspiration. The “worship” music we play and sing for the king of the universe SHOULD be the best it can be. Our musicianship should be constatnly evolving and growing and breaking through new ceilings of creativity. And our theology… Listen, music is a powerful force and the fact is, the lyrics of our songs can shape the theology of the people who sing them. So our theology had better be thought out, prayed out and checked out by people wiser than ourselves before we feed it to a hungry congregation. I believe we’ll be held accountable for our carelessness on these matters.

Bottom line: You can’t polish up a turd with words like “Worship", “Church", “Christian” or “Jesus” and make it into anything other than a turd.

I need to take some time to come up with my top 5 worst tunes. But in the mean time, here’s a line I’m thinking of working into a song. It doesn’t rhyme yet, but I think it’s accurate.

“Jesus, Jesus
I worship you
because if I don’t, you’ll kill me.”

Give me your feedback…

-Nathan


nathan [Visitor]  01/24/07 @ 14:49

Nathan-

I don’t know how accurate that is and you’re right- it doesn’t rhyme. But, it may inspire spontaneous worship in a forced, compelling sort of way. There’s nothing like threats to get them going!


Rebecca carpenter [Visitor]  http://www.kitchensongs.com01/26/07 @ 17:09

Nathan I love your thoughts but I know if I wholeheartedly agree with you line.

“Jesus, Jesus
I worship you
because if I don’t, you’ll kill me.”

Maybe a little harsh? I dont think that would get me to worship as much as it would make me cry…or laugh? God desires our worship and it brings Him glory, but by no means does he NEED our worship, therefore why would he kill us if we didnt. There is an beauty in our free will, and I agree, God should kill us for not worshiping Him, along with many other reasons, but I love Him all the more because he doesn’t, even when we deserve it.


The Edge [Visitor]  01/27/07 @ 11:21

** Please excuse my mistake, i meant to say, “I dont know if I wholeheartedly agree with you line.”


The Edge [Visitor]  01/27/07 @ 11:24

thanks for your input. I appreciate the discussion and thoughts of those who have posted here.

My song lyric was obviously pure sarcasm, but I wanted to make the point that we often forget that God is as much Justice as he is Love. I think the common misconception is that love overruled justice and sent Jesus to the cross and that love continues to overrule justice which gives us a bit of breathing room to sin and live like idiots (or just write bad music) because we’re not going to get what we deserve.

I think the lyric is completly accurate though incomplete in the spectrum of why we worship the King. The end of Romans 11 paints a picture of God as the ultimate and unparalleled king of the universe and us as his subjects. Being his subjects means that we are subject to his authority. Which also means that we have to be all about what the king is all about. I feel that a lot of the worship music, worship leaders and even the culture of the church is missing what it is that the King is all about.

what do you guys think?


nathan [Visitor]  02/03/07 @ 14:48

Interesting topic! Touched on it slightly in my post here: http://snowjunkie.wordpress.com/2007/02/06/do-songs-go-stale/


I think the common misconception is that love overruled justice and sent Jesus to the cross and that love continues to overrule justice which gives us a bit of breathing room to sin and live like idiots (or just write bad music) because we’re not going to get what we deserve.

Good stuff here, and I agree, just because we are “Christians” does not give us a free pass to a sinful lifestyle automatically covered under the blood with no real change of heart and direction (repentence). Along with this I think many will be supprised at the judgement seat, especially those who wrote worship songs that are not worthy of who God is. A.W. Tozer put it best when he defined idolotry as nothing more than thinking unworthy thougts about God (Scripture to back this definition can be found when Jesus says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength".), so how much more will we be judged for writing those unworthy thoughts down on paper and calling it worship? Sorry to all of those who bash this sight, but quite frankly the content of a worship song should be tested and judged, if the song does not reveal something of worth toward the character of God, than the song has failed miserably.
So often people automatically view critism as a “bad” thing, when really it is essential, as long as it is done the right way.
“Which also means that we have to be all about what the king is all about. I feel that a lot of the worship music, worship leaders and even the culture of the church is missing what it is that the King is all about.”

The King is all about songs that glorify him and are worthy of Him, anything less is just noise.

feedback?


The Edge [Visitor]  02/05/07 @ 19:19

I whole heartedly agree we need to keep a “sound theology” check on the content of our songs. However, creative illustrations and metaphors are all throughout scripture. Although I may not “get” or like how some one is illustrating an concept, doesn’t mean it deserve excommunication from the Kingdom. LOL But I will say, at least “most” people who write songs of worship are making an effort to connect with God and express creatively what’s in their heart. So, I am finding finding that healthy discussion and critique are good things. However, as The Edge said above, it needs to be done in the right way.


Scott [Visitor]  http://www.praisenation.net02/07/07 @ 14:02

Nathan-

That lyric was meant to be sarcastic? I thought we were on to something.


rebecca C. [Visitor]  02/09/07 @ 12:37

HAHA!!!! Okay, this was the last thing I needed to read today. I’ve been a worship pastor for 7 years now, and week after week after week I choose songs from a long list that eventually all look and sound the same to me… it can get very discouraging… like today. I’m having one of those “OH MY FREAKING GOSH IS THERE ANY GOOD SONGS OUT THERE AT ALL?!?” kind of days and I stumble across this post (which I realize is now years old). Anyway, I have to say I couldn’t agree more, but now I’m even more discouraged about finding new songs… I really can’t stand 90% of worship music out there. I’m also ashamed to say that as a Worship Pastor I’ve put the congregation through many songs that I’m embarrassed to admit now. All I can say is that it seemed good at the time.

Anyway, I realize that nearly everyone who has commented here is some sort of cynic (and believe me, so am I) so I’m taking a big risk here… but maybe you could check out some of my original worship music. I got so frustrated with trying to find good worship songs that I started just writing my own. You might hate it, you might like it… who knows? Anyway, check it out. My website is www.darylwilson.com. I’m on iTunes and Myspace and all that. Just Google me.

Anyway, great post.


Daryl Wilson [Visitor]  http://www.darylwilson.com02/09/07 @ 13:06

Daryl,

Wow, i didn’t have time to listen to every song on your website today, but the stuff i heard was great. I like the unique style of music and the lyrics are relevant and reflect the wonder of God. I respect you putting yourself out there like that, not an easy thing to do for many people.

P.S. The ebow is always a nice touch!


The Edge [Visitor]  02/10/07 @ 19:49

Wow, I was searching for… I forget what I was searching for. But I think I spent over an hour on this site reading through everything. I can’t believe this discussion has been happening over three years.

Great topic. I seriously thought that I was the only person on earth that felt that there is something wrong with certain worship songs.

I whole-heartedly agree with the Jesus-erotic-fantasies thing. I thought I was the only one that thought that, and every time I bring it up, my friends would think I’m a pervert. Bun those guys, I’m glad I found people who agree.

And to someone from last year who talked about “Shout to the North” as a drinking song, OH MY GOODNESS I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT THOUGHT THAT TOO!!!!!!!!!

I think that the person who said this:

I think it’s a shame that this is the only blog out there promoting this kind of cynicism. If we aren’t cynical we’ll simply end up kidding ourselves that our worship is amazing. I’m not saying God rejects substandard or less than wholehearted worship (although there are plenty of examples in the OT of God rejecting worship), nor am I saying that Christian songwriters and worship leaders are deliberately writing poor quality songs or songs which fail to glorify God. What I am saying is that Christian songwriters have a responsibility to avoid writing songs which actively hinder us in worship. As such, we have a responsibility to ensure that they don’t churn out drivel. Would you put up with your Pastor exclaiming “na na na” or “oh oh oh” in a time of prayer? Would you be prepared to sit through a substandard sermon because it rhymed or because you adored the man delivering it, or because his “heart is in the right place"?… Me neither.

had the best post ever. Yea.


Jeff Pak [Visitor]  http://www.xanga.com/jeff_pak02/15/07 @ 01:25

Ok I cant resist …… To Him who Sits on the Throne… I mean come on…. I just think of someone sitting on the pot which ruins the song. Fortunately this is an older one and we dont sing it much anymore… Nothing wrong with the song I guess, just my strange association to the song.


Andy Wist [Visitor]  02/16/07 @ 14:40

Haha, can’t say I have ever thought that, interesting none the less. Now I can never listen to that song and engage without at the very least a smirk. Thanks…


The Edge [Visitor]  02/18/07 @ 22:40

OK, nothing could have prepared me for the hilarity (and smug displays of self-righteousness by BORING detractors – yes, I said boring. Please, please get more offended. And tell me off and then tell everyone not to bother replying because you’re so offended that you’re never coming back. Please!) that has ensued over three freaking years of this madness! What!? I mean (at the risk of drawing more ire), what. The. Hell.

I laughed until I had tears in my eyes for about the first 30 comments, until the firestorm came, and it totally harshed my buzz, dude. Can’t we weed out the stupid, “God only cares about our hearts” comments? Because God doesn’t only care about our hearts, and the pharisaical negativity is literally killing me right now, and do you want that on your consciences?

If polyandry were legal, I would marry Peter and Rob as soon as I could find out who they were, kidnap them, and somehow rig up patched-together tapes of their voices from the phone conversations I had been recording for months, to make it sound like they were saying, before an extremely elderly, nearsighted and mostly deaf but implausibly still legal justice of the peace or perhaps equally myopic and salty sea captain, though they (Peter and Rob, I mean, not the justice of the peace or that dear old sea captain) would probably have to be sedated, that they would indeed consent to be one, trinitarianally, with me, both of them, and the three of us could ride off into the sunset of witty matrimonial bliss, trading gentle barbs and trying to out-clever each other for the rest of our days, our waning years suffused with the joy of knowing that, though I had kidnapped them, somehow, again implausibly, it didn’t matter, that they had grown to love me in spite of our felonious beginnings, and we would sip tea while we sat in our triple rocking chair on our front porch in some beautiful country without an extradition treaty with the United States and fondly reminisce about how it all began on a fateful day when someone started a post about five worship songs that they didn’t particularly enjoy.

Good times. Yeah, good times.


Laura [Visitor]  02/21/07 @ 22:03

HAHA! easily the greatest post on this sight, probably to ever go on this sight, your cunning story is unparalleled. I cried for the first time in a long time. Thank you, it meant a lot…really.


The Edge [Visitor]  02/22/07 @ 19:39

High praise indeed from a member of U2 or perhaps a razor salesman?

It was nothing, ami, my pleasure.


Laura [Visitor]  02/22/07 @ 20:04

Haha, yes, but I’m sure the first time you heard “Where the Streets Have No Name” you cried(or i would at least like to think you did), so I thought it only my obligation to return the favor.


The Edge [Visitor]  02/22/07 @ 21:02

I’ll admit to a single, shimmering tear and nothing more.

“The” (may I call you by your first name?), not to diminish the delight I’m taking from this little exchange, but where are the other wit-virtuosi? Have they abandoned this apparently interminable thread?


Laura [Visitor]  02/22/07 @ 22:59

Your guess is as good as mine. It would seem as if that were the case though. I came long after their latest posts, so I am probably not the most ideal person to answer this pressing question. And I agree, this exchange has been rather delightful.

Dave


The Edge [Visitor]  02/23/07 @ 14:32

So it’s Dave, not “The"? Curious little turn of events.

Give my regards to Bono.


Laura [Visitor]  http://madenoughtopray.blogspot.com02/23/07 @ 23:12

Sure thing.


The Edge [Visitor]  02/24/07 @ 06:25

I don’t think WORST or CRAP should be in the same sentence as WORSHIP! I think most of you are forgetting that the people who sings composed these songs did it in prayer and what THEY were feeling at the time or what they felt others would feel. There are some songs at my church that I feel are played out, but HATE? I don’t think I HATE them. If there are songs that I feel don’t fit our youth ministry or the church, then we change it up a lil’ but to fit our culture and the things that we agree with. If you all are so critical about the songs you sing for worship, THEN WRITE ONE YOURSELVE! Write a whole bunch of them so that we can criticize YOUR songs. It’s not right to judge worship songs so NEW TOPIC ALREADY!!!


Just Me [Visitor]  02/27/07 @ 18:21

i completely and ultimately agree with ‘Just Me’. People have definitely prayed about the lyrics to these songs and you have absolutely no right to be their critic! If you have a problem with those songs then right your own. Don’t post a whole website about it so other people can just contribute to this idiocracy! These song came from the peoples’ hearts and anyone who would mock that obviously doesn’t have a heart themselves. Crap,Worst, and Hate are words that should never be used to describe something that glorifies our God and Savior. I’m only 14 years old and i know that this is wrong. Do us all a favor and just grow up.
~jay


jay [Visitor]  http://aim.com03/03/07 @ 15:43

A point worth noting from all these posts is we gotta be careful what we write and sing.

Otherwise, looks like people are simply expressing their personal song tastes, nothing more!

A better title for the original post would be “5 worship songs I dislike the most.” Your personal taste and/or the over-usage of a song doesn’t decide if it’s good/bad.

For all you “trading my sorrows” bashers, saying ‘yes’ to the Lord does help to trade my sorrows for the joy of the Lord. Also pls re-read 2 Corinthians 4:8-10.

For all you “Every move I make” bashers, try reading Acts 17:28 again.

And btw, repetition is an important ingredient of an effective song - secular or worship. If the worship leader repeats the repetition too many times, blame the worship leader not the song.

God bless
G


Gangai [Visitor]  http://www.gworship.blogspot.com03/07/07 @ 06:30

Hey, awesome post. What about the musicians though? I play guitar and can practically fall asleep while playing most of these worship songs. I know its about the heart but it seems like most writers tried to make their songs as boring as possible


Speedrcr [Visitor]  03/07/07 @ 09:14

Hi Speedrcr

If you are bored playing worship songs, pls take a break for a few months, pray about your calling in the worship team and discern where the Lord is leading you…no point doing something for God without the passion and calling for it.

God bless


Gangai [Visitor]  http://www.gworship.blogspot.com03/07/07 @ 23:49

Gangai,
Good advice, however I have prayed about this for a long time and I am where I need to be. Music is my passion in life and God has given me the ability to play for Him. The thing is I am playing for a young adult group, I myself am only twenty, and everyone there including myself listens to either metal or heavy rock. I am finding more and more that the worship music of today is not up to the standards of the youth of today. We all feel that on sunday morning worship music is great but when it is all young adults we want something louder and faster. I don’t ever remember God saying you can only play slow repetative songs to me. I’ve always felt God wants to be worshiped from the heart and in my heart and the hearts of the group I am leading is fast harder music. Right now were at a place where we don’t know where to go. Any Ideas????


Speedrcr [Visitor]  03/08/07 @ 06:32

synergy is: synthetic energy - which I can only guess means it came from a can of that liquid caffeine in a can.

Top of my list: I could sing of Your love forever - because when I learned it the leader literally did sing it FOREVER and EVER. I think he couldn’t figure out how to end it - or he thought if he sang it enough times, we’d like it… nope - I literally do NOT sing whenever this is the choice. I stand and wait for it to be over and try to worship anyway.


Gingr [Visitor]• 03/10/07 @ 23:58

Great topic! I totally agree on “River” songs. For hymns how about “Jesus is Fairer", or whatever the title is. So much for hymns having more meaning!


Kevin [Visitor]  03/12/07 @ 16:08

Laura,

Thanks for your kind words, even if they did form a bit of a run-on sentence. I have never enjoyed running so much.

I am a bit rusty on the wit, you see.

As for we harbingers, I think that our simultaneous abandonment of this conversation came about because it is all too clear (as you point out) that most of the people finding their way to this thread like to vent, scream, and generally do anything besides listen and respond.

What’s worse, the rest find their cynicism affirmed without embracing the longing to connect with something deeper. There’s not much that I dislike more than seeing people run to the next church that is doing something new and exciting, only to find themselves equally bored but more empty. I have not wanted their praise because I know that I too will go the way of “Trading My Sorrows.”

If you can believe it, this started out as a quest for meaning and depth, and the wit helped to release the tension created by the unfunny thought that perhaps there is nothing deeper than what we now see. And as the Cynics made fun of the Pharisees for being uncool and pretended to be our friends, the Pharisees preached judgment on pretty much everyone and proclaimed themselves our enemies.

There was never any program to take over the internet, spread chaos and apathy, undermine anyone’s ministry, or even create a popular website. As I see it, the perceived impact of this thread has actually made it unsuccessful and unappealing for those of us who began together.

The tragic irony is that we began out of a desperate desire to know and feel and experience at the deepest level what it means to be loved by God. And for daring to say that some songs do not lead us to that place no matter how much we want them to and no matter how many times we repeat them, we have been told that God does not, in fact, love us.

So we have been looking elsewhere for meaning and conversation. But I at least like to check in periodically to see how things are going, and I am happy to have met you here. I’ll tell Rob that you say hello–it will be a good excuse for talking to him.

-p

ps: Thanks for asking about The Edge–I had been wondering for awhile, although I am not sure if I would have given more or less credibility to his comments.


peter [Member]  03/18/07 @ 01:36

Couldn’t have said it better..and I wasn’t even one of the original people posting. Wow…


The Edge [Visitor]  03/19/07 @ 17:29

I just think its funny that so many people call themselves Christians and yet bash songs that are worshipping Christ. You people should reevaluate the reason that you are singing worship songs. Is it to glorify yourselves or God? If it is the latter then should it really matter whether YOU like the song? i think not. And if you have a problem with worship songs, you should put more energy into writing your own rather than tearing other peoples down. Also the fact that this topic is like three years old is really sad. Maybe you should do a topic like TOP FIVE FAVORITE SONGS.


triple.jump.queen. [Visitor]  03/20/07 @ 22:30

Triple.jump.queen,

I am terribly sorry I call myself a Christian and still choose to give my opinion on worship and worship songs. I am also sorry that I “bash songs that worship Christ.” I find humor in that statement in itself. Do the songs alone worship Christ, or is it the heart behind the one singing the song that truly glorifies God? I can belt the chorus to “How Great is our God", lift my hands, and still have no real experience with God if my heart is not in it. The point I’m trying to make is that no song, whether I like it or not, worships God. The worshiper uses the song to connect with God. It is noting more than a tool, and if one is to use this tool for corporate worship, he better make sure the tool is in good working condition and does what it is meant to do; lead God’s people into worship. Sure I can worship to songs I don’t like, and often do, but does critiquing why I don’t like a particular song make me any less of a Christian than you?
And just to clarify, I have written worship songs, and as a worship leader I expect people to give me feedback, even if it is negative. I embrace feedback because it makes me better and helps me understand how to help others connect with God, while it also shows me what pushes them away from wanting to worship. Naturally I cannot please everyone, but feedback helps me find a middle-ground. Though I might want to stop worship leading now that my Christianity has been questioned. As Peter said, “most of the people finding their way to this thread like to vent, scream, and generally do anything besides listen and respond.”
Congratulations, you have added yourself to this group of people.

p.s. Peter, if you could direct me to any new means of meaningful conversation it would be much appreciated.


The Edge [Visitor]  03/21/07 @ 16:17

As worship leaders, if we are in tune with the Holy Spirit, He will guide us to the songs that He desires to be sung in worship. HIS is the “voice” we should be listening to - not the voice of the contemporary music industry that tells us to select flashy, upbeat, popular songs currently on the Top 20 radio play lists. I often feel “led” to use these newer songs, but am often guided to incorporated contemporary versions of hymns, and songs from the 70’s through the 90’s. I believe it’s important to serve each person who comes to the table, not just the teeny-boppers. People who came to the Lord when “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever” was first released might find that song to be very meaningful - just as our senior citizens are spiritually moved by hymns. I think many young people might have a wrong understanding of the scripture “Sing to the Lord a new song.” Perhaps it just means to sing with a heart that renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Joyce [Visitor]  04/12/07 @ 18:55

You picked out a difficult topic.

You picked out famous songs.

And you justified why you inserted them into this topic.

And did it well.

Good One!!


Freddy [Visitor]  http://www.webhome.com.au04/18/07 @ 05:09

I am a strong believer that a worship leader does not just play, sing and lead others to do so. The worship leader needs to select the proper songs to set the mood for the entire service. The worship songs selected if done correctly and transitioned with comments, could be a sermon in themselves. Therefore, what I am saying is that some songs that come across as being bad in one service could actually be a cornerstone of another service. I think too many worship leaders select songs for their enjoyment that bring back memories from their past or that they just enjoy singing. The job is to create an offering to God. The lack of effort that gets put into the song selection sometimes is mind boggling considering this reality. I am not directing this to any leaders that may be reading this as I probably don’t even know you. This is just an observation from churches that I have attended and from discussions with others.

I submit a challenge. Explain to me how a sad song could be a worship song. Or perhaps an easier mark would be how can a mellow song be a worship song? (1Chr 13:8) David, a man after God’s own heart, was celebrating with all of his might before God with music. In another verse, he ripped off his clothes and danced in worship. Try that to As The Deer Panteth.


David Smith [Visitor]  05/03/07 @ 10:12

Somehow the fact that Danny is the director of his church’s worship planning team, coupled with his reference to the Sovereign God Almighty as “the Big Guy,” renders this post as incredible (meaning “un-credible"). Further, while I agree with Danny’s conclusions, at least in part, I would suggest that a more appropriate way to evaluate a worship song would to put on the mind of Christ and determine what might please Him. Just some food for thought, that I pray the Lord would bless.


Bill King [Visitor]  05/05/07 @ 21:43

speedrcr,

there are so many great upbeat songs out there. i listen to 89.3 KSBJ or your station might be KXBJ or KYBJ. whatever, its still a great Christian station. Mom parents lead the worship at our church and i, myself, am the drummer. they listen to this station all the time and use many of these songs at church. there are awsome artists who play on this station like jeremy camp, the newsboys, casting crowns, philips craig and dean, stacy orico, and so many more. please give it a try. thanx


jay [Visitor]  http://aim.com05/07/07 @ 11:53

the edge-

yes it is true that it is the person, not the song, who worships Christ. but should someone who worships Christ bash (yea i said it) the songs they use to worship Him? i don’t think so. do what you want to praise God but don’t try and sway the oppinion of people who aren’t stupid enough to bash Him themselves.


jay [Visitor]  http://aim.com05/07/07 @ 11:56

the edge-

you claim to be “critiquing” these songs when really your just being cruel to the ones who poured their hearts out while writing these songs of praise.

You claim to like critizism yourself but if you liked it that much than you wouldnt want to quit worshiping for someone critizing some dumb site made. you added yourself to peters group by whining about songs you dont like… BURN!!!!!!!!!!


jay [Visitor]  http://aim.com05/07/07 @ 12:01

I’ve been a worship leader for about 20 years. I had an older lady ask me once why our church didn’t sing more hymns. (At the time, we did at least one a week, in the context of our worship.) I asked her why and she answered something like “when we sing hymns we can get our theology from them and don’t need to read our Bibles!” What a horrible thought - that we would trust ANY song, hymn or contemporary worship, for our theology. I visited a church yesterday and they did a modern version of “At the Cross.” The last line of the first verse goes “Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?” Ok, so if I am getting my theology from the songs I sing, then I must be a worm, right? The last line of the chorus says “It was there by Faith I received my sight and now I am happy all the day.” So, if I am not happy “all the day,” then I’m not a Christian, right? The point here is that worship songwriting is an expression of the writer’s heart and he/she are not necessarily trying to write another book of the Bible. Although blatant theological boo-boo’s should be avoided, if we all see these songs as expressions of one person’s worship that we can somehow join in with, it will make worship more enjoyable for all of us. Comments??


Musiken [Visitor]  http://www.kensockwell.com05/07/07 @ 12:20

i agree w/ musicken.
if we get into the songs of other people then that’s fine. we’ll have a whole lot more fun worshiping if we understand the feeling beyond the music and lyrics.


jay [Visitor]  http://aim.com05/08/07 @ 11:56

The edge-

you ask if by doing this u are less of a Christian? well the Bible says that we should bear good fruits and think on a good report. all your doing is thinking of the negative in these songs. i don’t see anything good coming from this site. so yes, you arent acting very Christian-like


jay [Visitor]  http://aim.com05/08/07 @ 12:01

Wow I really am speechless…thanks to all your venting, “burning", and preaching of the word, I am a changed man! Thank you so much Jay! You have really enlightened me..

I see what you mean Peter, but more than anything I guess it really disappoints me…


The Edge [Visitor]  05/09/07 @ 06:51

i appreciate your reply… lol i just like commenting these types of sites when i accidently come across them… i was just trying to stand up for others who feel the same way but don’t want to say anything :)


jay [Visitor]  http://aim.com05/09/07 @ 11:49

Hi y’all,
Ok, I’ll try to make this short…
Some really good points I’ve seen here and many I don’t. That’s OK right? Those lyrics look pretty silly by Chris Tomlin Romans 16:19 which I’ve never heard… but have you ever considered how silly some secular songs that are “classics” are? ex: Louie Louie, whoa baby, we gotta go, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,… check out some Chile Peppers for some really bizarre lyrics that just work with the melody and instruments. But, I agree that the WORDS are first and foremost important and need to be biblically based. That being said, I think anything that speaks the Truth and is going to reach the target audience (congregation) is good. Of course we should be trying to plan the set so it matches thematically with the preacher’s message, honors God, doesn’t contain too many “I” songs, and has a natural flow that brings people to that “river". Yes I’m going to play “devil’s advocate here"… trading my sorrows… tell the guy to stop shaking his hips if it looks stupid… what about the song? It’s very biblical, and it encourages obedience and submission to God, “yes Lord"… come now is the time to worship…. so if it has to be first the problem is??? it’s all based on Revelations… i agree that the word “come” is awkwardly phrased,… draw me close, well if the congregation doesn’t “get it” because they haven’t had private prayer time after reading the psalms, or scripture of Jesus telling his disciples that “now you are my friends", if “no one can snatch you from my hand” or Paul telling us that “we are in Christ and He in us” has not been a place where they’ve been… then what better way to teach them that this “God thing” is not just cold doctrine and rules to obey but is about a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST as He tried to tell us with mercy, tenderness, love, understanding, forgiveness, then I’m missing something. I agree that us “guys” have trouble with the whole tenderness thing and some songs are less biblical and more sounding like a romantic love song, but even then, be careful not to just dismiss the “heart” as not a topic to be delved into during worship. For me, “Wild at heart” by John Eldridge really convicted me that a lot of unmet need for that kind of depth in a relationship with God can keep us from expecting everything from our wives, or worse, seeking that kind of passion via affairs and porn surfing. I’ve been a worship leader for 7 years and have supported my family gigging for over 20 years so I’ve seen a lot of the “real world". Several in my church travel to Nashville every summer to a music conference featuring some well known artists who usually show great humility and talent and wisdom which is very humbling. Their “mantra” down there is that they offer up ideas of how they do things but do not try to say “this is the only right way".
The last thing I will say is that I have found that in the end, it is good to avoid a critical spirit, sarcasm, and cynicism. The world has enough negativity already and it is our lob to reflect light rather than darkness. As funny as the account of someone making an obvious scene because they didn’t like the song Romans 16:19 really shouldn’t be on a worship team until they realize it’s not about us.


Donnie [Visitor]  05/10/07 @ 13:46

Well said, Donnie. Worship is both the simplest, and yet the most complicated thing we do in the name of the Lord. There are many worship songs that drive me Up tHe WaLl! However, I usually just try to avoid leading them and not make a big deal about it to others. I’ve always naturally been a sort of rebel… looking to stretch comfort zones and find new things. But as I have matured and gone through incredible times of testing (and pain,) I have realized that my opinion really isn’t as important as serving the body of Christ and creating an atmosphere where the majority can enter in. It’s a matter of dieing to ourselves as leaders. Do I like “As the deer?” No… great scripture, lousy song. BUT if my pastor asks me to lead it, I will do so with all the conviction that I lead the songs that inspire me.


Musiken [Visitor]  http://www.kensockwell.com05/10/07 @ 14:54

Hey Danny, I forgot to applaud you for generating discussion. Musiken, I’m a rebel at heart too. I used to be one without a cause like James Dean but now I’m a rebel with a cause like Jesus (except I’m sure as heck not perfect).
I dislike “as the deer” also but I have an awesome pastor who doesn’t micromanage and an unbelievably talent and spirit led music minister who has an open mind about style.
Something I learned once from a preacher;
If you can imagine that a song is like a vase filled with water…
the vase equals the style of music… african(funk, gospel) American/British (Rock), latin(spain, central, south america), etc etc. and it really doesn’t matter because the TRUTH is the water which is the words when they’re supported by scripture… the TRUTH is unchanged no matter the vessel that holds it.
God bless y’all.
by the way, I dislike the song Instruments of Your peace although the words are from the beatittudes… and if you don’t like a lot of stuff, just write your own as we do.


Donnie [Visitor]  05/10/07 @ 18:07

If a worship leader is capable and spirit-led, even semi-crummy songs can turn out pretty good. And if the leader & team don’t have a clue what they are doing, the best song can turn ugly. I have a real problem with those who get up and have a set of songs stuck together and call it worship. The song that doesn’t make any sense to me at all is Praise Adonai.


Becky [Visitor]  05/21/07 @ 23:10

While I don’t think I can add anything to this topic that hasn’t already been said, perhaps I might be able to give a better perspective of what makes music inherently “good” or “bad".

I happen to perform with a major symphony orchestra in the US. It is a privilege for me to perform with some of the best musicians in the world on a weekly basis. I don’t tell this to pump up my head, on the contrary, I feel that I have a pretty good grasp on what “good” music is, and that I can accurately give an educated opinion on what makes a good (and bad) worship song. In addition, I have been involved in church music for practically my entire life, as both of my parents are professional musicians.

I will echo some of the comments on this site about various songs that have been talked about to death – seriously, who didn’t laugh out loud at some of the “Trading My Sorrows” and “I Could Sing…” comments? The reason they are funny is because they are true, and if you don’t believe that, remember that the Lord has a sense of humor. I would agree that some of the comments are sarcastic in some ways, but true.

I would caution any of you who have brought up the fact that the “words” make the song, not the music. I completely disagree. There has to be a certain level of musical integrity to any song *long* before any word is added to it. Not to get technical, but if the chordal and melodic structure in a song is horrible, then I don’t care if you add the greatest Biblical, God-inspired words to it, it isn’t going to be good.

Secondly, can we please stop with the “How can you criticize a worship song” garbage. There has to be some kind of standard when it comes to judging a worship song, and before you say that the standard should be whether the words glorify Christ, I refer you back to my first point about the need for the music to be good before the words are added. Because of the nature of my experience with the Christian contemporary music scene, I listen to a ton of new Christian music, and I for one, will have the CD on in the car and zone out, only to listen again a few minutes later and wonder, “Is this the same song?” For Heaven’s sake, the reason Christian contemporary music isn’t taking the world by storm is because most of the songs out there are unimaginative, un-tuneful, toxic musical waste. Re-hashing the same chords or pratically the same music is not going to get people to jump on the CCM bandwagon.

Thirdly, I have a real problem with worship leaders and pastors who feel like they must pick songs to sing based on the topic of the sermon. While I would agree that perhaps occasionally this is necessary, again, I refer you back to my first point, that picking songs based solely on the text is *backwards*, and I can not emphasize this enough. Sometimes this will work out, but too often it doesn’t. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat through (or played through) a worship set of 5 or so songs, 3 of which are absolutely horrible, only to find out they were picked because the words lined up with the sermon. Gee whiz, what is the church worship scene coming to? This is equivalent to having the air conditioning and the heat on at the same time. It makes no sense.

Fourthly, and this is just personal taste, I can’t tell you how aggravated I get when after a particular song in a worship set, the worship leader feels the need to improvise melodically with some of the same words that were just sung in the song. This aggravates me because I look around and see nobody, and I mean *nobody* joining in. I’m sure there are churches where the congregation will join in, but for the most part, the worship leaders appear to be doing this for themselves. I realize that sounds judgmental, but I’m just calling it as I see it. There is no need for this. Seriously, how do you expect an entire congregation to get something out of you closing your eyes and singing something that nobody else can join in with you? The intent of worship in the church is to bring an entire body of people into the presence of Christ, not to wonder what in the world is going on onstage, and, “Am I supposed to sing, or…", and, “Now what do we do?” kind of thing. I bristle when this happens because there is no way a worship leader is thinking corporately when they pull this stunt. I guess somewhere, in some worship manual, it says that worship leaders should start singing whatever they want to after a worship song has ended, and the pianist/guitarist/whoever has to guess at what they should be doing. Give me a break, this doesn’t work and it’s merely self-promoting ignorance.

Corporate worship in the church is lacking because in my opinion, under-qualified worship leaders and pastors are making decisions and choices that are detrimental to the overall cause and goal of bringing an entire congregation before the throne of Christ in the most efficient way possible. Because a lot of churches (not all, but many) make the decision to employ worship pastors based not on musical talent, too much of the time, the quality of the music on Sunday morning services will be sophomoric at best. Take it from someone in the business, everyone, and I do mean everyone, has an opinion about music, whether they are educated in the arts or not. Perhaps a better point to discuss is, why can’t churches attract the best musicians in their particular area of the country? I consider my service at my church to be something that I am happy to participate in, and I’m grateful to the Lord for my talents, and I am glad I can give back to Him a small portion. I am shocked at what is called “good” music in the church anymore. Any church would never consider hiring a pastor that was an amateur speaker. Has the church stooped so low that we have stopped caring about quality and begun caring only about unqualified personal musical opinions?


Chad [Visitor]  05/23/07 @ 08:21

The Happy Song needs to be banned world wide.. if I hear that song and have to dance or follow in a conga line, I don’t know what I’ll do..

But the thing about these so-called “horrible worship songs” is that in my parish, it has brought a lot of people back to the masses. It’s not just the ol’ folks with their hymn books to their noses. However, being involved in the music ministry and having to sing these songs continuously can drive anyone up the wall.


Kallie [Visitor]  05/29/07 @ 21:15

• [ predic. ] (of a person) having a great need or desire for something : I am desperate for a cigarette | [with infinitive ] the government is desperate to clean up Rio’s streets.


Daniel Kim [Visitor]  05/31/07 @ 16:01

Desperate • [ predic. ] (of a person) having a great need or desire for something


Daniel Kim [Visitor]  05/31/07 @ 16:02

Yes, some of these songs are definitely not the most interesting, and do not make any sense, but instead of dissing them, we need to remember that we are singing these to God, and whether or not we like them doesn’t matter because it isn’t for us, but for Him. Such as the Happy Song… yes, it does get on my nerves sometimes too, but when we sing that song, we are not singing it merely to sing it, but because we are excited for what Jesus has done in our life. We should be excited that we are saved and that He has changed our life. Think about that next time you sing any worship song.


Alexis [Visitor]  06/04/07 @ 17:57

I nominate “More love, more power” as the worst worship song of the lot by light years. Besides the fact that it sounds like a dirge, it is strangely reminiscent of a certain well known scene in Oliver Twist. And anyone who has read Ephesians 1 will know that God is not like that.


James McKay [Visitor]  http://www.jamesmckay.net06/07/07 @ 17:55

Hello all. I’ve numbered my points for those of you who are skimmers:

1. Unnecessary repetition is usually not welcomed (in worship songs or on blogs). I’ve spent a good amount of time over the last couple days reading every post on this thread. It’s unfortunate others didn’t provide this courtesy to those who would eventually read their posts one, two, or three years later (such as myself). If they had done so they may have realized their ‘comments’ had already been submitted (multiple times), and replied to.

2. I would like to add “I stand in awe” to the list. I have nothing against the lyrics or music to this song, but the associated posturing. This tends to be one of the “slow down the pace” songs that’s played later in the service. It’s not uncommon for music leaders to ask everyone to sit down before singing the song (or any “slow down the pace” songs), so they can get rested (I assume for the upcoming message). All is well until the music builds and the first line of chorus breaks in, “And I stand, I stand in awe of you”. At this point inevitably someone in the church thinks to themself, “the song says ‘I stand’. But I’m sitting. I should be standing.” And then one by one people start to stand. As others begin standing, those still in their seats break out of their worship trance and think, “that’s right. I just sang ‘I stand’. I’m sitting. I should stand up also.” Some are still confused about whether to sit or stand…they were just told to sit down. Those still sitting are usually the people who are enjoying the standing break too much to get back up, those still in a trance not conscious of the words they’re singing (despite all the action going on around them), or those (such as myself) with problems, who choose to boycott this position change.

This is my problem, although the word “stand” is used in the chorus I give it a snowball’s chance in Hell that the author’s original intent was for the meaning of “stand” to describe the bodily position of being on one’s feet. The verse describes how wonderful, great, and big God is, then the chorus breaks in and we are to sing about standing..are you kidding? Does this add more than singing “I am in awe of you?”

My best guess is the intended definition of “stand” to be used was “to remain”…that as we learn more about Him every day we continue to remain amazed by what we’re discovering. If this is the case, shame on you for standing up, when the author actually wanted you to remain…sitting (that is unless you were already standing up, then you should remain standing).

I do grant the slight possibility that the author was describing standing up in awe of God. And certainly he is worthy of us standing up, but not too long unless we have an anti-fatigue mat like one the Wal-Mart cashiers stand on. This would be quite original for a music writer. To the best of my understanding the posture most closely associated with awe of God, or His presence or glory, would be bending the knee, bowing, or looking away. This author would be breaking into some uncharted territories with standing in awe.

For those interested in reading the full lyrics of this song I’ve attached the following link. Or for those music leaders planning to spite me by playing the song next week and having everyone stand for the chorus, the chords are also provided:
http://www.higherpraise.com/lyrics1/IStandInAwe2.htm

3. There’s no need to let any of the comments on this thread “ruin” your worship experience. If you are having a difficult time managing persistent negative thoughts, try to take control of this thoughts by turning them into prayer. For example, in the past I had the opportunity to sing next to Peter Hough. During the song ‘God of Wonders’ he frequently made sounds like a spaceship was launching as the phrase, “God of Wonders, beyond our galaxy” was sung in the chorus. Believe or not, I still hear these spaceship sounds 6 years later when we sing the song at church. At first it bothered me, mostly because I started laughing so hard I couldn’t sing anymore, but then I found something that helped. Now when I hear this song, instead of letting it ruin my worship experience, I chose to let it remind me to pray for Peter’s salvation.

4. No one be personally offended by Peter “the river” Hough. Although the electronic community created by blogging is great in that it permits discussions such as this one to occur, one of its shortcomings is it is difficult to understand the personalities/biases/backgrounds of those who post. This is a recipe for misunderstandings, especially when anything controversial is discussed. That anyone would criticize Peter for being cynical or critical is absolutely hilarious to me. If anyone has talked with Peter for 2 minutes they would understand this as a dramatic understatement. And although this type of cynicism would not be considered a spiritual gift by most, I would at least consider it a talent. Peter’s ability (and willingness) to critique taboo topics was an example to me to not be afraid to question things, even if they’re considered “Christian”. This new freedom to doubt commonly accepted “Christian” things has allowed me to ask questions, search for answers, and in doing so, strengthen my spiritual foundation (as well as realize that some “Christian” things were merely sand and not worthy of building a foundation on).

p.s. Peter never revealed the truth about why he is so opposed to “river” songs. Sure he discussed his problem with the ambiguity of the interpretation of “river”, but that’s just the start of his problems with these songs. Some of you may have heard of Pavlov’s experiment to condition dogs to salivate when they hear a bell. Peter would be quite lucky if he only salivated when he heard “river” songs, unfortunately they cause him to suddenly lose all muscle tone in his bladder, and well, there’s a river. You can see how he would be frustrated by the multiple possible definitions for the word river.

That’s all for now…for whatever it’s worth. phil


Phil Hart [Visitor]  06/15/07 @ 18:52

hahahaha. This is hilarious! I thought that I was the only one. A lot of good points.

I’ve noticed several songs lately that start with something like: “I’m finding myself at a loss for words….” or “I don’t have the words". You get the idea. ok…………."I’m at a loss for words, but I’m going to go ahead and write a whole song about it ,anyway.”

One more……..songs that say “we lift our hands". I guess there’s nothing really wrong with the song itself, but try looking around while a group of people are singing it. Are they listening to the words that are coming out of their own mouths? just an observation.- Rob


Rob [Visitor]  06/17/07 @ 21:06

I’ve never left a comment before, even though I’ve been reading comments on this site for two years - I keep checking back every few months to see what’s been added. I’ve been involved in church music my entire life (I’m a grandmother, so that’s a long time). I have played piano for worship singing for years. I am in agreement with many of the postings here regarding bad worship music.

I want to respond to those people who say it is not right for Christians to criticize worship music because “the people who write songs have prayed about the words", or “are only trying to glorify God", or something to that effect.

My much younger sister is a professional singer who has been involved in the Christian music world for the past 20 years. I won’t tell you who she is because I haven’t asked her permission to use her name. She lives in Nashville, TN and has recorded several solo CD’s as well as sung backup for many of the most popular contemporary Christian artists. Because of her inside look at the Christian music world and what she has told me, I have gained some insight into the whole thing.

Christian music is a BUSINESS. Songs are being cranked out for people to make money ! Many of the largest Christian record labels have been bought out by secular music labels who just want to make money, not praise God. There’s LOTS of money in Christian music, so don’t fool yourself into thinking that everyone who writes worship songs for the Christian market has prayed about the lyrics! Many of these people make their living writing these songs and, in my opinion, just want to make them marketable so an artist or group will record them or a worship book will print them, and they, the songwriter, collect royalties.

I know there are song writers who are committed Christians who do pray about their writing and are blessed by God by also making money doing it. Others write whatever it takes to sell them!


Melanie [Visitor]  06/21/07 @ 09:38

Hello to all. I must admit that I did not read this blog word for word. Some of the posts that scrolled well beyond the entire length of my screen got passed by after reading the first few lines. But I must say that it is quite hilarious reading the posts different people have made.

My wife and I have been leading worship separatly and together for about 8 years. I am 24 and she 21, and while we have only been married for a year now, we look back on our worship leading “careers” and at least I have been guilty of singing many if not all of the songs listed at one point or another. We have found that just in the last year of leading worship we have truly looked at it with an intention to be very biblical is spirit and truth in all that we play. There are a lot of good new worship songs out there, and there are a lot of bad worship songs out there right now. Let us all take the initiative and not automatically accept a new worship CD by “insert famous worship leader here” and begin playing those songs just because we know that every other church is going to be playing them. Lets look at our church body as a community. What songs will minister to them, what songs speak truth not only into the life of the church as a whole, but that church you are specifically leading for. Maybe it means that you write some songs for the church. Just make sure you run the songs by people you know and trust before singing them in front of the congregation. Honesty is important, and we need to look at ourselves with the same filter we look at everyone else. If one song is hard to follow along with so you write one that you feel is appropriate with 4 key changes in it. That may not be helping the situation.

Anyways, to the songwriters, keep writing songs that praise God for who he is, what he does, and what he is going to do in all of our lives. Make real songs that admonish our God but also songs about how “I” or “we” long to please him. If I had to sing all day long in the service about all the great and awesome attributes of God, thats fine I suppose. But I could go to thesourus.com and type in “Wonderful” and come up with most of the adjectives used in all the songs. Lets be real in worship. No stencils for proper worship length or posture position. Just honest praise to our creator.

Now that this post is as long as those that I scrolled over, I must be branded a hypocrite and sign off. But let me first revisit one song that I think is one of the worst worship songs ever. I saw it mentioned only once (it could have been more though). “Hop on the Bus.” I mean seriously. WOW. I would honestly rather sing the happy song over and over in a worship set then sing that song. For your viewing pleasure I have included the lyrics to the song below. Peace out ya’ll.

Chorus:
Hop on the bus
God’s on the move
There’s a seat for me
There’s a seat for you
It don’t matter
What you’ve done
If you believe
In His Son
And what He’s done
And what He’ll do
God’s on the move

This ain’t no time for kickin’ back
Ain’t no time for sittin’ on the side
The ticket for this journey you can pay
By puttin’ trust in Jesus Christ

It’s time for a refreshing course
Time for a renewal of the soul
The power of His Gospel here and now
Is something supernatural


Trevor Flynn [Visitor]  http://www.myspace.com/thflynn06/22/07 @ 13:24

Wow. I applaud you! I was going to post “Trading My Sorrows", but you’ve got it on there. I couldn’t agree more with some of the stuff you said in there. As a fellow worship leader for Campus Crusade for Christ at KSU I constantly have to make sure that those songs don’t sneak into my set, or else I become very embarrassed that “Yes Lord Yes Lord Yes Yes Lord” are the only words coming out of my mouth.

Again, I loved it!


Jeff Means [Visitor]  06/23/07 @ 14:30

Not all songs are meant for all people.

And for Melanie- I don’t think that making money is evil. Those investing money in Christian music have a right to make a profit. It takes money to have songs produced, recorded, mastered, distributed and promoted. These are only a few of the many expenses incurred. To paraphrase Paul “I really don’t care why Christ is preached, as long as He is preached.”


author unknown [Visitor]  06/25/07 @ 22:16

I’ve developed a new strategy during worship services.

I’ve simply stopped ad-libbing. Unless what’s being sung is word-for-word what’s on the power-point screen, I simply won’t sing it.

A worship band’s ability to stick to the music the way it was written is a good way to measure to what extent they’re leading worship and what extent they’re performing.

Using my strategy, if the worship band feels compelled to repeat the chorus ten times or go back to the first verse or la-la-la-la for six minutes, I appear superior to others by being the only one with enough sense to stop singing and stop humoring them.

I also stopped singing anything that isn’t an actual word. You will not get a single “La-la” out of me.

I also stopped singing anything that references dancing. I mean, really, I’ve not once felt like dancing, so who are we kidding anyways?

I also refuse to sing songs about rivers and fire that don’t adequately explain what the river and fire are supposed to represent.

I also won’t sing a song that doesn’t even reference the Lord directly.

I also won’t repeat a single line more than twice.

That really weeds out quite a bit of sub-standard worship music for me.


Guest [Visitor]  06/30/07 @ 18:12

Being a critic is the easiest job in the world. Try writing a better song! And I feel sorry for those of you who are not able to “dance” or sing la la because of a hang up in your obviously superior intellect. Rivers and Fire are both references to God in the Bible. And as far as “Jesus is my Girlfriend…” songs; when he said “I am going there to prepare a place for you…” Contextually he was basically saying the same thing a bridegroom would say to his bride…I’m going to take you home and have my way with you. How’s that for “feel the warmth of your embrace…” Or does that make you feel uncomfortable - because Jesus would never want that!


Yohann [Visitor]  06/30/07 @ 22:04

ok, ok…God of Wonders


Yohann [Visitor]  07/01/07 @ 21:29

i have to admit, i did find some of these posts humorous, but i have to wonder if most people are completely missing the point of worship music. i don’t think that “worship” songs are sacred in and of themselves, but if during a worship service all you can think about is picking the songs apart, you’re obviously not doing what you’re supposed to be doing…which is worshiping our God…if you’re singing the words of the songs that are about our Lord but inwardly your just mocking how stupid you think they are, are you not (in a sense) mocking God as well? for we’re not supposed to take His name in vein. yet, all too often we ignore what we’re actually saying to Him in these songs and , apparently, choose to disect simple songs. i’m a musician myself and my dad and brother are in a worship band. i’ve been known as their “critic” for awhile now. no, the singing’s not always the best and the music’s not always perfect…some of the songs might not be the best musically and sometimes the lyrics may be too simple or perhaps too complex. but the basic gist of singing the music is to worship the One who saves us. if you don’t like a partlicular song, fine, don’t sing it. at least then you’re not mindlessly rattling off praises to the Lord. but if these, as you call them “worst” worship songs enable some people to really truly worship God, who are you to mock thhose songs? if someone can genuinely worship the Lord with them, then they’re obviously not all that bad. just make sure when you’re critiquing worship music not to forget the One whom we worship with them.


christin [Visitor]  07/02/07 @ 02:20

I think that it is great that some people actually think about the words they sing in church. I have been a part of worship teams since I was 13 and when I started leading I started paying attention to the words I was singing. I was dissapointed in most of the words such as the “Like we’re dancing now” in I Could Sing of Your Love Forever. I never included that part when I sang it because I could not justify lying to the congregation or to God for that matter.

As for adding on to the list of bad worship songs I would like to add “Shake this planet". Okay, this song belongs to the old people trying to reach the younger generations by hacking away a curent popular styles of music. It is a (shutter) a worship hiphop song. There are two reasons that this song makes it to the top on my list. First, the guy who lead the team at the time used the worship team to show off and not to glorify God and would not listen to rest of the team when we all said that the song would suck I think it takes a guy like this to lead a song like this. Second the song just out and out sucks it made me embarrassed to be part of the team. I have included the lyrics as proof you may check out the song at your own risk.

Shake This Planet
Henry Seeley
‘Planet Shakers’

The Holy Spirit’s got me pumpin’
Goin’ with the beat
This place is jumpin’
to the sound
the demons can’t stand it
cuz’ tonight
we’re gonna shake this planet

we’re gonna shake this planet
and turn it upside down
we’ve come to praise Him
where His presence can be found

we’re gonna shout His praises
for He’s the One Who reigns
We’re gonna sing it
till the whole world’s been saved

shake this planet
turn it upside down
with the Spirit
come and make a sound
save this generation goin’ down
fill us ‘cause tonight we’re gonna
shake this planet

©Henry Seeley / Planet Shakers Ministries International Inc.


Mike Stanton [Visitor]  07/03/07 @ 16:38

dude… it’s a good thing you’re not a worship leader. Read John 7:38. I wish Jesus hadn’t used the word “river"… cause I can’t figure out what he means… Maybe, just maybe, all those folks that wrote songs about “the River” were referring to this scripture.
Anyway, have you ever been in a worship service where God moved while these “worst” worship songs are being used? They’re pretty powerful. I wouldn’t call anything that God uses or inspires the “worst” of anything.
Just my opinion… take it, or get over it.


Jamin [Visitor]  07/03/07 @ 17:51

Haha. It is awesome that someone actually dares to exercise a good critique on this issue, with all the “sacredness” around worship acts.

I am a worship leader in Mexico, and my pastor always comes up with these amazing themes each Sunday, and I’ve found there are so many modern songs so shallow in message, that they fit in any context. The current ideology seems to be to cry out to God with stuff as deep as my young sister’s “I want my mommy!” We must remember that worship songs are sanctified because of the very purpose of worshipping God, but they still are manmade tools. Seriously, most modern Christian songs are not powerful in lyrics anymore–not that Christian music was ever an impressive work of art. What I’m saying is that very few composers are studied in music; they just pour out whatever simple emotion they feel, and WE (as the church) take the job of exalting those childish moans.
-Stephen


Stephen Cardoza [Visitor]  http://www.myspace.com/edgaropolous07/04/07 @ 12:58

my vote for worst song is “god is a friend of mine". i have never been a fan of songs that consist of only one verse sung over and over ad nauseum. whatever happened to writing songs like “amazing grace"…with lyrics that actually tell a story? lyrics that can be understood by the lost as well as those raised in the church?
i’m a proponent of bringing back some of the church music written in the middle ages. when people had to worry about the black plague and crop failures, i think they tended to write more heart-felt songs about God’s mercy, because they really needed it. Nowadays, in our air-conditioned cushy seat santuaries, we can only get ourselves to sing about God bein our buddy, and any hard times that we feel are translated to worship lyrics that sound like being rejected by a girlfriend.
Also, why are all worship songs basically sung in the same style? all worship music sounds basically the same to me. why not have jazz, classical music, techno, hip-hop, bluegrass, hawaiian, african etc. influenced songs? there’s a big world of music out there, and most worship music is stuck in one white-bread category.


jeremy [Visitor]  07/10/07 @ 15:59

Although everyone is entitled to their opinions we are also supposed to excercise holding the tongue. I wonder if any of your criticism is actually helping in building the body of Christ. Our perhaps your views are beyond the inspiration of the Holy Spirit which has given these songs to his bride. Maybe sharing your thoughts with a friend would help you relax a little. For certainly I cannot suppose that God’s purpose for you is that you post a website like this. Perhaps you should try exerting your energy in a more productive way which edifies the body and not tearing it down.


David [Visitor]  07/15/07 @ 21:00

demon is in your mind thats the reason why you do this, say sory to the lord jesus before it takes late, any song of god made by the people he blessed is anointed, you are not a christian i think you are a satanist, i cant believe in you.


mico82 [Visitor]  07/20/07 @ 19:14

WOW! This place is funny. I love it. I love the variety.

I am probably older than many of you, however, I have to agree with what Stephen Cardoza said….we are childish basically and the songs represent, somewhat, the extent of much of our maturity in Christ. Secondly, I completely agree that Christian music has rarely been super-creative or deep. It is nice. Please look up the origins of the word, “nice.” Yes, I was an English major, but also a music minor…. I sing often on the Worship Band, lead etc., and sometimes I too am embarassed of our song choices…My husband, leader/guitar player, often leaves out, “Oh I feel like Dancin’…” because it IS foolishness to sing it there. YET, I LOVE TO WORSHIP GOD and DO TRY VERY HARD at those difficult moments to “suspend my disbelief” in the same way a person does in a movie where the characters fall in love in two days…hmmm…another subject. Point being, the songs can ALL be used of God and are often used regardless of our likes dislikes. We each must deal with the convictions He places in us through the Spirit and reckon with it. But it’s not my job to tell you that you are wrong for NOT liking a song…for goodness sakes, does everyone like strawberries? NO! God made them and I can’t imagine NOT liking them, but there are plenty who don’t. So I don’t judge you and I understand your humanness to dislike certain songs and I know that it is still a choice to ignore our own irritations with a situation and still be soft in the hands of God! May He bless all of you. This was fun to read and fun to write you too.
rachel


rachel [Visitor]  http://www.rachelrivero.com07/25/07 @ 17:55

I happened to end up here by doing a random search, and I couldn’t help but laugh at seeing some of my own sentiments.

One song (which I really love!) is “Knowing You". For better or for worse, though, I can’t sing the words “You’re the best” with a straight face.

But yes, I would have to agree with others that coming up with good lyrics is difficult, having tried my hand at it myself. Just about every song writer has a least one bad apple. My favorite lyricist of all time, Stuart Townend, has a number of them.


Random Passerby [Visitor]  07/26/07 @ 10:56

To whom this may concern…
I myself found this site on a random search for a college music class. I plan on majoring in music and minoring in theology, I am also a Youth worship coordinator/leader. Im probably much younger than most of you here but I take great responsibility for whether I would just pass by this opportunity to share my opinion with those who would listen or continue on without saying a word. At first I found it amusing that someone had a “least favorites” in their worship libraries, as Im sure everyone does. About the time that I saw that it wasnt only a least favorites, but was also a matter of critisizing others’ works to praise God; that is when it became something much more serious. I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions; In my own worship band everyone has the one or two songs that they dislike doing a certain way. Renditions of fast or slow, acoustic or electric, or perhaps it is just too common of a song, but it is a way to praise God none the less. I noticed that never did you say that you didnt preform thses even to your lack of understanding the words, or whether the words gave you certain notions to react in certain ways. From here all it looks like that you have done is publicize your misconceptions or self evident onpinions of things that you may understand, may not, or could care less to, and in my opinion as long as your words and reactions do not hinder another from coming to Christ you have done nothing more than condemn a few works of art that others use to praise a God who loves us. For example, Your love is extravagant is one of my favorite songs, trading my sorrows is a wonderful song in the right settings(if you dont like the way its played change it, no one will kill you), I personally like those “Jesus is right next to you” songs like draw me close, Come, now is the time to worship is a unique song but touches just as many as any other song, and the only reason i didnt say anyhting of the first song was because ive never heard it.


John [Visitor]  http://www.myspace.com/asilenceunbroken07/28/07 @ 22:04

I have a few to add! How about “Every Move I Make"? First of all, it is a lie, every move I make I do not make for God, nor is every step for Him, or every breath. I can try, but the song doesn’t say “every move I make I’LL make in you.” It implies that we already make every move for God. Furthermore, I feel like I am 5 when I sing “lalalalala". Especially in this song.


Mike [Visitor]  07/30/07 @ 14:56

This is a great list and one that should be expanded. Anybody offended by this needs to join another committee at their church. That way they won’t have time to be offended by stuff like this.


caryoder [Visitor]  07/31/07 @ 17:05

Honestly, I was pretty shocked of the list myself. Yeah you do have some nerve, dunno if i should applaud or criticize this…yeah maybe some songs are not exactly “politically” correct and not gramatically aligned to your taste but FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE THESE SONGS ARE INSPIRATIONS TO ALOT OF CHRISTIANS!! As a Muslim convert, who was pretty much stranded by my family when they found out, I relied on these songs and my prayers to give me strength and joy in the Lord. MOST IMPORTANTLY, I TOTALLY RESENT YOUR COMMENT ABOUT THE PHRASE “OH I FEEL LIKE DANCIN’…” IN “I COULD SING OF YOUR LOVE FOREVER,,,because you know what? I DO FEEL LIKE DANCING and praying in tongues to a beautiful God smack in the middle of the church while simultaneously crying from the joy of his sacrifice FOR US! Rachel I believe it’s very timely actually but well I guess you all prefer standing in the sidelines clapping your hands or lifting them. God loves any form of worship and adoration,,,so plz dont take away from God’s pleasure,,,God bless


sAuLa [Visitor]  08/03/07 @ 01:46

I happened here randomly so here is my two cents”

Amen brother! I have been bothered by Christian worship songs lack of depth since I was a child, and I was always met with blank stares when I brought it up.

I know God is great and awesome, so why do I have to repeat it the same corny way in the chorus 50 times? I have been told the songs have to be simple for everyone to connect with and understand, but I don’t buy that because if you are a new comer to the church who doesn’t know christian imagary , you here lyrics such as: “Revival in the land this I know, as soldiers we fight with heart and soul", and don’t get me started with all the blood references.

I love Christ and being a christian, just wish praise and worship time held a little more depth, but like the woman below said, we just have to go along with it and deal cause it serves a higher purpose.

But I do pray for a great christian song writer/artist to come on the scene and reinvent praise and worship!
Lastly, for me DC Talk’s “Consume Me” is in my opinion the best worship song ever…but I don’t believe it is viewed as one.


Erica [Visitor]  08/10/07 @ 10:01

I have never liked “Heart of Worship” as sung in a worship service. It of course has “worship” in the title, but isn’t really a corporate worship song. It is a song of confession of a professional worship leader who had fallen for the glamour and fame. I personally have not done that (I’m not a worship leader) so why is it appropriate for me to sing about it?


matt [Visitor]• 08/10/07 @ 12:02

I read alot of the comments here until it started sounding like the “broken record” this topic can be.
The WT at my church had an assignment this spring to select 20 best worship songs and 20 to shelve.
The keep list came out in May. The tabulator finally sent out the shelve list yesterday. Oh, the conundrum that set off on the team email list!!!!!!

Most responders were wanting to know who voted these onto that list. I have admitted that I was one of those who put most of the songs listed there and when I submitted them, I gave my reasons.
Most of the team knows my biggest “ditch” hits: Most offensive: Heart of Worship, 2nd “Breathe", 3rd “Hop on the Bus", 4th “Come, Now is the Time", and 5th: almost every Chris Tomlin song ever written.

Here were the thoughts I had on the songs in question.
“Heart of Worship"–someone already wrote about the story of the song. In penitence Redman wrote the song. Now it almost sounds like bragging-especially if you’ve heard his latest live version. It’s one of the few my DH will turn off KLOVE while it’s playing. It’s as if we’re all singing about how “bad of sinners and how bad our pride was,but now, praise God, I’m not that way.”

Pity: my first intro to Redman was “Knocking on the Door of Heaven"-I miss that heart from that time.

“Breathe"-I wonder if saying the same thing over and over makes a song more spiritual. Hasn’t it become a mantra?
Do we really want to worship in hypnotic state or do we want to worship with heart, soul and strength?

“Hop on the Bus":not really worship, but great fun to play, I admit. Fortunately, we will only play this one at memorial services when requested and when the right people are on the team.

Most Chris Tomlin songs: again, I want to not worship in a hypnotic trance-that seems to be the bulk of what we sing-one phrase over and over. I want to worship in spirit and truth with heart, soul, mind and strength. I don’t want to check my intelligence at the door.
The verses never get emphasized enough and there are some good things in these songs there. Even my 20 something sons despise Tomlin songs. Between the predictable, repetitive chords, and the repeats-they’d just as soon check out until worship is over.
Tomlin’s best work has been on songs he didn’t write like “Indescribable".

There is a day and time for all things -see Eccl. 3. Most of these will fade away because they are just for our section of time. The strong truth will stay. Check out any Issac Watts lyric, or Charles Wesley or other classic hymns. No wonder “Hymns Ancient and Modern” has done so well.

I am officially off my soapbox now. You may commence throwing snowballs.
Lori


Lori [Visitor]  08/17/07 @ 22:03

okay.. um.. its pretty sad that someone would waste there time listing the worst worship songs instead of doing something worthy of your time.. dont ya think? i understand that all worship songs arent perfect.. but there not strawberries.. no offense rachel.. they are worship songs to our Creator, our God, our very Lover.. and you diss the songs we write for him… many of these songs help millions around the world get through the day… so what if its out of tune? so what if its not in beat?! Did God ask of us to be perfect in our music. i think you need to rethink all of what you are saying. To the people who wrote these songs… im sure that one song helped one soul to see God in a different light and change his/her heart. so im sorry if this sounds a bit forward.. but i disagree strongly.. not only of the songs.. but of the way you treat them… do you have any sense at all to know that these songs may have come from someones heart to their Creator? im sorry but you need to broaden your mind a bit..


Anna [Visitor]  08/18/07 @ 22:08

i have been leading worship since i was in the 7th grade and am currently half way through a Degree in Worship Arts and can i just say that of course our prefernces on such things have no bering on whether or not God is worshiped but its seriously good fun to discuss theese things for fun!! i have always despised the song “come now is the time to worship” i just wish i had written this list first! i dont think i would have added trading my sorrows becaue its so useful for singing with children and i also happen to love playing the bridge on that song because lets be honest on guitar its fun to do some power struming and so what if i shake my hips from time to time? but seriously just because we like or despise a song doesnt mean its good or bad BECAUSE WORSHIP IS NOT ABOUT US!!! so since its not about us anyways and we all know this…right?? then why not have a little fun at the expense of the noble worship leaders? please feel free to ask me about my most embarassing worship leading experience its quite good and involves everyones favorite “open the eyes of my heart!” (does 6 choruses of “holy holy holy sound good to anyone?) okay i think im spent way to go danny theres nothing wrong with being discerning. also remember always play “here i am to worship” in D because thats what Paul played it in….

blessings!
-Ephram


Ephram [Visitor]  http://www.Ephram.wordpress.com08/26/07 @ 17:24

Wow! As a worship team member, who plays bass, guitar, sings and works on the programming team, I find this list quite refreshing (you basically said what I sometimes think). I cater to the younger worship demographic. I build effects pedals for many worship team guitarist and I can tell you I think we all feel the same as you. I spend as lot of time around new Christian bands and I am always refreshed to here new praise and worship music from new young writers like these guys: www.ephesusband.com I think the reason some of the songs are mentioned here (on the above list) is because they are just old and somewhat stale (they just get used to much). If you don’t go hunting for new material and or spend time listening to new music you will never get out of what I call a worship music rut. That is not to say these songs don’t have their place and many people love them, but there are lots of good to great new song being written every day. I don’t want to disrespect any worship song or the heart of the person that wrote it. I just think God is a very progressive God and always wants us to move ahead in our faith and push ourselves be new everyday. I really don’t think there are bad (or worst) worship songs there are just ones that God lets touch you, and some that are meant for someone else. So get out there and listen to new young Christian artist. There not all writing rock songs some are very talented. The thing is you have to sometimes hunt them down.
www.heavenlytone.com (under development)
www.heavenlytone.blogspot.com


Alpha Omega Guitar Effects [Visitor]  http://www.heavenlytone.blogspot.com08/30/07 @ 19:57

I just wanted to let you know that this list made me laugh. The things you said are so true. Now that I am reminded of it, when we have to play these songs [I’m part of a worship team at my church] I’m going to remember your comments. Haha


bekka [Visitor]  09/08/07 @ 13:02

i hate “bessed be the name". it seems to me like this song is use in a witchcraft like manner. ohh, harry “potter” the people are’nt excited about Jesus this morning pull out that magical song that seems to get them moving.


glen kilbreth [Visitor]  http://crystalirismusic.com09/12/07 @ 19:43

i hate “blessed be the name". it seems to me like this song is use in a witchcraft like manner. oh, harry “potter” the people aren’t excited about Jesus this morning pull out that magical song that seems to get them moving.


glen kilbreth [Visitor]  http://crystalirismusic.com09/12/07 @ 19:44

I agree with you man. I have banned the praise team from playing “Trading my Sorrows.” It was like we were singing the words “Yes Lord Yes Lord Yes Lord Yes” for about half and hour. I also can’t stand “Heart of Worship.” I always hear different lyrics in my head; “It’s all about me, It’s all about me Jesus.” I understand that many people like these songs, but I think we should examine them lyrically and see if they really mean what we think they mean. Or are they just gibberish.


Ben [Visitor]  http://www.beachbumparadise.com09/13/07 @ 09:39

Hey. One thing is for sure: There’s just no accounting for taste. I’ve been a musician for many, many years, and the things that appeal to me do not always work for the average music listener/singer/church goer. The thing I always wonder above it all is if God is pleased. Is he pleased with the song? Is it an honest communication with him? Is it true? And even more important, is he pleased with the person singing it? To me, the worst songs are the ones that are sung by people with something other than worship going on in their hearts.
dave
09-15-2007


dave [Visitor]• 09/15/07 @ 19:43

I left a comment on someone’s blog saying the exact same thing about ‘I could sing of your love forever’. It always makes me laugh when it’s done in church and you get to the ‘oh I feel like dancing’ part and everyone is so sombre!!! Also makes me want to scream - “HELLO CHURCH! You’re singing something you clearly don’t mean!!! We’re not dancing now!”

I don’t agree with you about all the things you’ve said, but I think you make some excellent points.

One thing I’ve done with ‘Come now is the time to worship’ is sing it at the end - to make a point that once we leave, it’s time to worship with our whole lives, not just the singing at a praise meeting part!

And Matt, in reference to Heart of Worship - I think that can be a corporate worship song, because I know a lot of churches that have got caught up it worship being all about the music.

I guess I would say about any song you are looking at - know where the hearts are of the people you’re going to be singing prayers to God with?

And for anyone who cares, my pet hate song is ‘Days of Elijah’. I get what Robin Mark was trying to get at through the song, but the literal wording is pretty confusing and not quite true in my opinion!!


Laura Anne [Visitor]  http://brunettekoala.wordpress.com09/18/07 @ 12:05

Several posts have mentioned the “You’re the best” line in Knowing You. In one church where I worked in the last couple years, when the song was introduced, I changed “You’re the best” to “nothing less", printed the words that way and no one knew it wasn’t the original words. I guess if they sing it somewhere else they’ll be surprised! There’s nothing wrong with changing a lyric you don’t like.


Melanie [Visitor]  09/18/07 @ 12:20

FYI those are all awesome songs.
I love each and every one of them.
and we sing Come, now is the time to worship at the end of the set, too. It helps prepare a congregation to be in peace and quiet during the sermon.
p.s. the ‘river’ could signify Christ’s love, or peace.


Suzanne [Visitor]  09/19/07 @ 14:59

Don’t get me started. The worst one for me is not grammatical but…

Matt Redman’s Heart of Worship. EVERY WEEK we would sing this in chapel in college. And EVERY WEEK I would promise God that I was “coming back to the heart of worship.” God, what was I doing the rest of the week to worship? Why was I messing it up so I had to come back to the heart of worship AGAIN?!!

*sarcasm ends here*

Supposedly, Matt Redman was writing this after doing concert after concert. And getting caught up in performance. Well, I wasn’t there. I really was worshiping. Well, except when I’d get an attitude about singing this song.

(oh, I see you have 485 comments…I guess mine’s already been hit upon. Sorry if I’m repeating!)


oh amanda [Visitor]  http://ohamanda.com09/19/07 @ 19:49

Hey team, this is an interesting topic dear to my heart…

I am privileged to be worship leader in Parramatta, which is in Sydney, Australia. We have recently put the cleaners through several of our songs for varying reasons, the main being questionable theology or quirky double meanings…

Some of these you mention have been sung at our church and we have canned them, either for being quirky, ambigious or theologically questionable.

While we must be aware that the songwriter may could well have their heart in the right place, we must equally remind ourselves that songwriters - as do preachers - carry a responsibility to write sensible, theological, reverent songs that should paint a true, reverent portrait of our God (at least as much as we can in human vernacular) and should lead us to:
a)deeper DEVOTION
b)deeper commitment to SERVING GOD

I am tragically finding that the modern music, while being socially acceptable and sounding fantastic musically, is becoming more self-centred, less Christ-centred and in a few cases, bad theology. This is obviously not new or particular to our time. But I believe it’s getting more prevalent. Someone posted it further back: “sing a new song” is often the reason given for all the new material that is out there when in reality its a new song because only the believer, the spirit filled can actually sing GOd’s praise. That is irrespective of genre or time!

My 2 cents, God bless y’all


Drew [Visitor]  09/21/07 @ 01:17

Thank you!
I have been saying for years how I hate “trading my sorrows.” I get to that “yes Lord” part and I keep wondering what I am saying yes about. And do I really have to say it 1,000 times?
Thanks. At least I know there are other normal people out there!


Allissa [Visitor]• 09/23/07 @ 15:16

great post! actually, I have totally seen people dance at that point in “i could sing of your love.” truthfully, it’s almost worse than seeing them not dance at that point because it’s so very at odds with the music.

in college, we used to endlessly mock “you’re my all…you’re the best” and also the whole business of his banner over me is love. I know that song is kind of old. but “you do all things well, just look at our lives!” is such an ill-advised lyric. I get where they’re going with that but it just ends up sounding like “look at me! look at me!” and that really shouldn’t be the point.


Anie [Visitor]  09/25/07 @ 08:40

now that I’ve read some of the comments, I have a couple of things to say.

1. why do christians feel so threatened by critique? critique is not a sin, esp. not when it’s done as evenly and light heartedly as it’s done here. if we can’t laugh at our own foibles, we’re done for. besides that, can there be any change without honest assessment of where we are?

2. the answer is not to write a better song. it’s to sift the songs we’ve got, figure out what works and jettison the rest. If we’re going to use contemporary music, we’re going to have to sift through a lot of stuff that isn’t quite working to get to the real gems. I’m sure there are a few. this process has to be done.

3. that’s exactly what it is to gather a hymnal. you sift through the many songs out there and keep the best. The nice thing about a more traditional hymnal is you have the benefit of hindsight. You know what songs have endured over the years. There’s no possibility for that if you keep moving on to the next new song. keep what works! but there’s no shame, no sin, no error is criticizing what doesn’t. like I said, esp. when it’s done as fairly as it is in this post.


Anie [Visitor]  09/25/07 @ 09:04

This is a fantastic post. As someone who was a worship leader for years, being paid to sing songs and lead a band, it’s terribly refreshing to acknowledge that there are songs that just ain’t good. there are more problems with “I will not forget you” than the ones you noted. But yeah, I get this picture of Quasimoto ringing a huge bell…

We have to realize that worship songs are the hymns of our day. Some will fall out of fashion, and it’s not because they’re insincere, it’s because they are MEDIOCRE ART. No matter how much folks (legitimately!) were wanting to express praise for God when they wrote them, the art just isn’t there.

It’s okay to produce bad art (like “now is the time to worship” or “heart of worship") for God.

But to not analyze the problems with the songs and respond accordingly would be irresponsible, and disrespectful to the centuries of good art that have been produced to honor God before.


Ross [Visitor]  09/28/07 @ 20:51

First off, The Lord is probably more offended that you called Him “big guy” , then He is to the lyrics to these songs. I hope you put this much effort into the things of God as you do in the things of what you consider, the enemy. Get free you Pharisees! God alone knows the heart of man and praise and worship is as personal as the relationship! So glad I’m free!


pat [Visitor]  http://Set yourself freeeee!10/02/07 @ 11:08

i encourage you and all who agrees with Danny to consider the advice by David on 07/15/07 @ 21:00.

let us first know what is meant by the word worship, reset our perspective from me to Him and from destroying to building up.

yet i believe that songs need to be discerned and tested against the written Word, so that we can freely worship in spirit and in truth.

blessings to you.


dennis [Visitor]  10/04/07 @ 04:11

sorry, the first line of my comment should be “those who agrees with Sara…” and not “…with David..”


dennis [Visitor]  10/04/07 @ 04:17

Most of these comments got it all wrong. Worship is not the music, but its a lifestyle of devotion to God.

I love the ‘heart of worship’ song, because in life, I miss having the heart of worship quite a bit. I get it wrong and need to get back to the heart of worship. This song breaks my heart every time and redirects me back to a heart of worship in my life.

From time to time, I, like you guys and most Christians reduce worship to a 15 to 30 minute music set once a week at church. And that is irreverent, not bad lyrics. God looks at the heart, not the quality of the sound. The question does it bring the hearts of the listener to God that causes change in the person’s life.

Also, constructive criticism is fine as long as it is done out of love and not out of a critical spirit or just trying to be a smart ass.


Christslave [Visitor]  http://rivendellgathering.net/10/04/07 @ 22:48

P.S. The ‘Heart of Worship’ song explains whats wrong with all our lives, because we routinely make it about everything but Him, even in our work of the ministry. This song reminds us to come back to the true heart of worship.

The ‘Heart of Worship’ says everything I said in my last post, and I wasn’t even reading the lyrics when I wrote it. lol

The song says it all:

1.(WHEN ALL THE HYPE IS GONE AND I SIMPLY COME TO HIM)

“When the music fades and all is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring something that’s of worth
That will bless Your heart”

2.(IT IS ABOUT A DEVOTED LIFE, NOT THE SONG STYLE, GENRE OR QUALITY - YOU COULD SING OFF KEY OR SUCK MUSICALLY - GOD LOOKS AT THE HEART)

“I’ll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart”

3.(WHEN I/WE GET MY/OUR FOCUS OFF JESUS AND WHAT REALLY MATTERS TO HIM, THEN WE NEED TO GET BACK ON TRACK - AND IF ANYBODY SAYS THEY DON’T GET OFF TRACK THEY ARE LYING OR ARE OFF TRACK)

“I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
All about You, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the things I’ve made it
When it’s all about You
All about You, Jesus”

4.(WHEN WE REALIGN OUR HEARTS AND MINDS IT BRINGS US BACK TO JESUS AND HIS ULTIMATE WORTH)

“King of endless worth, no one could express
How much You deserve
Though I’m weak and poor, all I have is Yours
Every single breath”

This song passes all the tests of being a solid song that brings us to repentance and gives God the glory.


Christslave [Visitor]  http://rivendellgathering.net/10/04/07 @ 23:22

499.


mr. parsley [Visitor]  http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=9a8_118687375610/09/07 @ 21:11

heh, kinda makes me laugh everytime i hear someone try to relate something they see or hear in church, just because they dont particularly feel comfortable about it, to witchcraft or pagan practices.

What do we say then about GOD himself who used a pagan ritual to demonstrate his relationship to Abraham and the Israelites? The whole cut-a-covenant ceremony in which one passes through the corridor made by animals that are cut in half, is Pagan in its roots. Yet God used it in Genesis 15 to make a covenant.

So do we get all fired up and tell God he shouldn’t have done that because it was a pagan ting and we don’t want to be associated with that?

It just seems funny to me how quick people are to label stuff they don’t quite get as WITCHCRAFT!!! AHHH!!

What would they think of King David being undignified dancing in an ephod for the Lord? AHH! A raindance, he cant do that, other cultures do that in sin! Heathen! You cant dance like that! lol

I think we need to be a little more sensitive and watch our tongues before we make accusations like this. Or label certain things that we are not personally familiar or comofortable with.


Adam [Visitor]  10/15/07 @ 12:13

heh, kinda makes me laugh everytime i hear someone try to relate something they see or hear in church, just because they dont particularly feel comfortable about it, to witchcraft or pagan practices.

What do we say then about GOD himself who used a pagan ritual to demonstrate his relationship to Abraham and the Israelites? The whole cut-a-covenant ceremony in which one passes through the corridor made by animals that are cut in half, is Pagan in its roots. Yet God used it in Genesis 15 to make a covenant.

So do we get all fired up and tell God he shouldn’t have done that because it was a pagan ting and we don’t want to be associated with that?

It just seems funny to me how quick people are to label stuff they don’t quite get as WITCHCRAFT!!! AHHH!!

What would they think of King David being undignified dancing in an ephod for the Lord? AHH! A raindance, he cant do that, other cultures do that in sin! Heathen! You cant dance like that! lol

I think we need to be a little more sensitive and watch our tongues before we make accusations like this. Or label certain things that we are not personally familiar or comofortable with.


Adam [Visitor]  10/15/07 @ 12:15

I’ve seen some worship teams do “Come now is the time to worship” at the very end of a song list. To say that we should always be in worship, even after the service.

For the first comment, “blessed be your name” is a very biblical song, worship is not a feeling, it is a decision. Even though you don’t feel like worshiping, you can always decide to anyway, and God honors it. I believe the enemy would like to make us think that we don’t have the choice, and have to go with what we are feeling.

There is a wrong thing about comparing this song with magic. Magic is divination and outside of God and calls on powers that are not from Him. This song only calls upon and worships God, therefore it can not be magic only obedience and worship to God.


Leigh [Visitor]  10/16/07 @ 10:02

Kay,
you need to realize that worship isn’t for you.
& despite the fact that you may not like the song
woship is to glorify God,
not ourselves.


Dannie [Visitor]  10/21/07 @ 19:09

Excuse me, but are you calling me “Kay"? If not, then I am assuming that you mean “okay", or at least “mkay", and if that is what you meant, then you need to spend some more time worshiping and less watching South Park. I, being condemned to hell several times over from readers of my post, am free to watch it all I want.

Can you tell I’m cranky?


sara [Visitor]  http://brendoman.com/dbc10/23/07 @ 16:15

Sara FTW. I’ll be right with you in hell if all these folks are right.


brendoman [Member]  http://brendoman.com10/23/07 @ 17:30

Lol, glad to see that the originators of this discussion are still checking out what’s going on here. FWIW Sara and Peter and Brendoman and any others of the original crew - those first 50 or so posts were PRICELESS. I was crying from laughing so hard. And then Crowder writing in was a bonus treat. Hey, keep the faith, keep up the good work, and keep doing honest criticism of bad grammar and bad music and bad art when it needs doing…. And don’t pay attention to any of the posts after #50 :-)…….


nate [Visitor]  10/23/07 @ 19:00

“blackhole of negative synergy”

I have no idea what that is, but I burst out laughing when I read that one comment. No offense to said commenter, but that was certainly one of the more random combinations of words I had ever seen.

My comment is not in the spirit of this post, as I will list my favorite worship songs (though most of these songs have been declared verboten in this forum):

1) How Great Thou Art - the most overplayed hymn in the US and I would personally sing it a million more times and still enjoy lifting it up in worship to our Lord.

2) Here I Am to Worship - another overplayed song, though with great meaning. The nine references to “I/me” are fine in this context of worship (just look at the Book of Psalms for an example of the liberal use of “I/me"…yeah David was looking for and in desperate need for some personal salvation).

3) I Will Offer Up My Life - personal choice as it was the song that was sung at my wedding. I like the imagery of song and the pouring out of ourselves in worship.

4) O Praise Him - a Crowder tune that is just pure worship and praise. Simple song with meaning and it is a well put together tune.

5) Son of God - by Starfield, this was a song I had recently come across. Another good tune that can work in worship.

6) As the Deer - listen to the version by Salvador. One of the things that I have started exploring is incorporating new voicings to songs that might have gotten tired and played out. It really gives a song new life.

There are “worship” songs that are just not very good, but as a worship leader, my criteria might be different:

1) Songs that are fuzzy scripturally (I could never get over my objections to the words to “Above All"),

2) Hard to sing in a corporate worship setting (too fast, too high/low, distracting music rhythm/changes, odd lyrics or lyric flow),

3) Inappropriate for a reverent worship setting (such as Christian Heavy Metal).

The most important factor is that whatever songs our team leads in worship, it must be in a way that allows people to get to that point where they can worship freely.

As for dancing, go to a Pentecostal service in the deep South and tell me that people aren’t making the church building shake with their worship. It is an awesome thing to witness. We all have different ways we worship, and I would be the first to admit that it is certainly not for me, but I have no problem singing about dancing.

By the way, I happen to like Chris Tomlin’s songs, and I like his song called “The River", so you are free to shoot me at any moment, but I hope that you can show me at least a bit of grace!

Praise the Lord and God Bless!


Mark [Visitor]  http://www.youtube.com/waysofworship10/31/07 @ 11:42

It would be really cool if there was some way to start at the beginning of the comments and read chronologically. There are so many references to the “earliest” comments being funny, but I don’t have all night to click back 10 comments at a time….


RatherNotSay [Visitor]• 11/08/07 @ 23:07

Hey this is so neat… to sit here in cyberspace and BLAST the songs from the hearts of worshpers who are trying their best to use their God-given talents to bring glory to their Lord… how loving… how kind… how…

… sad.


Dan McGowan [Visitor]  http://www.thenarthex.wordpress.com11/12/07 @ 06:25

I’ve been leading worship for several years now and usually have very positive response when mixing contemporary praise and worship songs with traditional hymns when planning the liturgy of the Mass week to week. No doubt some of the songs listed above are overdone and a little tired, and scripturally, at least a couple of them, are not the strongest lyrically. But several of the popular true praise songs (I think you have to make a distinction between p/w and pop Christian) fit very well in the context of the readings, etc. when they are approached properly. For instance, I’ve done Crowder (Only You Lord), Jared Anderson (Rescue), and Chris Tomlin (How Great is Our God) all during the same liturgy. “Only You Lord” is a great on-your-knees outpouring of self, giving it totally over to God and the lyrics of “Rescue” cry out to our Redeemer for help and protection. I usually take songs at a slower tempo and maybe build into full drums, bass, etc. trying to stay meditative at the same time. We can’t forget that several of these songs above, were written for a youthful audience and they are still a great way to reach out to our youth. Even though some teens/young adults would probably agree they have grown tired of these too, it stills gets them involved by creating some energy in the room when they dance or do motions, etc. Everyone has favorites for different reasons and I believe most of these songs will continue to be used because of the results they bring, not the artistic value we gain from doing them. It’s not about us anyway. Peace!


Michael Howard [Visitor]  http://michaelhowardmusic.com11/14/07 @ 12:12

Danny I get where you’re coming from. As a senior pastor who once was a worship minister and who still plays keyboard quite often, still leads worship occasionally, and sang in a trio tonight… I know from experience that every praise team member and leader has favorites and least favorites and…. hey sometimes we look at the lighter side of these songs. I thought your post was funny, witty, and just cool bro.

Can I say that my list of least favorite hymns usually includes “There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood” ? I mean, the blood of Christ is awesome, and I understand what it’s saying, but it DOES kinda sound gross… If that wouldn’t freak out a visiting seeker who wasn’t raised in Church, I’m not sure what will.

Anyway, thanks for the post. Hopefully, God will take a few of the really upset people and have them thrown down and tickled for awhile…


thecrazypastor [Visitor]  http://www.thecrazypastor.com11/15/07 @ 21:47

Hey Danny what Big guy are you talking about you got Allah You got Buddah You got Muhahmed you got oh Yeah Jesus Christ, who was is, and will ever be God. SO instead of calling him the Big Guy and making fun of the worship songs, that are supposed to be song to him. Why don’t you just sing whatever song comes to mind. Yeah some worship songs may not be the best, but don’t disrespect God by calling him the Big Guy.


Dorsey Ross [Visitor]  12/04/07 @ 05:53

Dorsey,
Why don’t you shut up. It was my wife who wrote the post, not me. I don’t believe in any of those imaginary friends that you listed. I’m not sure where you get the idea that “big guy” is disrespectful, but nobody cares what you think. I’m tired of people judging my wife’s faith because of this honest and very entertaining post that she wrote. She hasn’t written on this site for over a year because she’s so upset about all the hate that’s been showered upon her by the self-styled defenders of God. Your idea of God seems to be some insecure despot who can’t stand to be disrespected. Would the creator of the universe really be that concerned about what affectionate nicknames people use for him?

Danny


dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/12/04/07 @ 06:18

Danny I wasn’t trying to judge your wife’s faith, I was just trying to say that we need to becareful of what people call God. Their are a lot of other names that people can call God other than the big guy. Because honestly who or what is that. And I am sorry that your wife has gotten some bad emails from people about these worship songs. But if they are inspired by God to have people write them than I find nothing wrong with them although I realize that was not your wife’s intention to say they are wrong.


Dorsey Ross [Visitor]  12/04/07 @ 19:19

Okay, I think I wet myself!! I think it’s good to just laugh at ourselves once in a while. Let’s face it, some of this stuff is just schlock!! It’s not like all of our music is inspired holy scripture.

My current unfavorite is “I am a friend of God".


heather [Visitor]  12/12/07 @ 21:12

A little bit more…I have been involved in leading worship music for the better part of 20 years. For the last three I have been sitting in the congregation in a new church. Here’s what I’ve noticed. The non-melodic wordie songs, you know the ones with three verses, a chorus and a bridge, are not getting sung by the vast majority of the congregation. Somtimes we as musicians play what is new and interesting to us. What is moving us at the time. We are always looking for something new because it is our art form. The congregation isn’t. The “worship time” should not be performance art. We as leaders should be leading, directing, towards inclusive worship. A time where most participate. And by participate, I don’t mean watch the screens carefully so that you don’t mess up the words! I mean sing with abandon to the Lord.
Sometimes, that means - stay with me here, including a hymn. How Great Thou Art and Amazing Grace don’t really count here! We know when we are being patronized! Sometimes that means singing a song from WAY, WAY back.
It really is about our hearts when we worship.

I loved your post - I think we can laugh at ourselves and still be saved!! Heaven’s yes.

But it is about the heart of the worshipers. Are we worshiping in spirit and in truth. Sometimes I don’t sing a song because I don’t agree with it. Sometimes I don’t laugh at a joke in church because it isn’t funny and it’s not appropriate. Same diff.

When you are on the team and you have a song that the congregation sings back to you - I mean you can hear it over your own selves - They stand in one accord and sing with abandon to God of all Heaven, that my friends is a keeper.


heather [Visitor]  12/13/07 @ 06:57

You say you are the director of a church’s Worship Planning Team, then again in another blog site you said “I don’t believe in God at all.” How sad for you. How can you participate in worship service yet alone any ministry and say you don’t believe in God? I believe that if you are attending church every week and planning for worship service there has to be some kind of connection there with God or you put on some big front. I attend church with some people who are so fake at church it makes me sick. Don’t act just one way on Sunday and another way the rest of the week. Take the challenge to seee God does exist and let him into your life and realize how he has blessed you with your wife, daughter, job and the many other things in life.


believeinhim [Visitor]  12/14/07 @ 19:54

How many times do I have to explain this? My wife wrote the post. She was on the worship team. I (Danny) wrote the recent comment about not believing. But thanks for your armchair sermonizing!

Here’s another detail you missed, believeinhim. There’s this thing called the passage of time. That original post was written in 2004. 3.5 years ago. I did believe in God then and I was in the worship band. But now I don’t and I’m not. So, you’ve managed to misunderstand the person and the time.

And since great things come in threes, let’s round it off with one more thing you got wrong. I’ve taken the “challenge” of believing that God exists. He has been “in my life,” and you know what? I’m happier now that I’ve dismissed the idea. If you want to believe in God, go right ahead. I’ve tried it and it’s not for me.

If you’d like to know more about how I came to that conclusion, click on the faith/skepticism category and read some of what I’ve written recently.


dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/12/14/07 @ 20:36

Oh man, what a tool. This gets me thinking that we need a “reply to this"/threaded comments type deal.


brendoman [Member]  http://brendoman.com12/15/07 @ 12:39

Michael H, good point- Hey Danny - WOW! - I am so sorry that there are some people who have nothing better to do than criticize other people’s opinions on their blogs. It is really laughable. A blog is nothing more than the thoughts and opinions of another (human) person. I am a worship pastor of 10 years and I can totally relate to the thoughts posted about some of these songs. In my opinion, (wait, is it ok to have one?) it would be nice if some people would stop acting like middle schoolers and just take someone’s opinion for what it is - an opinion. Of course, I will probably be criticized for saying that, but I can live with it. Thanks for your thoughts, Danny’s wife.


Dan - a worship leader [Visitor]  12/17/07 @ 14:00

Sorry -uh…holey shmoley- 31,000 views and 518 comments later… and I only read the ones directly below until I realized it. Looks like I am not the only one who did that- he he - “thecrazypastor” said it all- Anyway, great blog post and comments - the “upset” ones should either grow thicker skin or stop reading random blog posts… btw - my most unfavorite is probably “Trading My Sorrows” (sorry, Darrell) although my church loves it…yeah we sing it frequently -as much as I can stand it. I also hate the “yes, Lord” part - ha


Dan - a worship leader [Visitor]  12/17/07 @ 14:45

I’m pretty sure people don’t usually comment 3 times in a row, but I have not been able to stop thinking about the older comments I have read here… so I just want to say one more tiny thing: The worst sin of all is pride, and people (myself included) can easily become prideful about NOT being religious: “Look how spiritual I am because I am showing everyone how un-churchy and cool I am” Gag me - I’ll bet that is more sickening to “The Big Guy” than traditionalists who don’t know any better. I think we all eventually come to the point where we acknowledge that we still have a lot to learn. Can we ever be too intellectual and witty for our own good? (Hey, this expressing an opinion thing is pretty liberating-but i’m too lazy to keep up my blog) Maybe we should all get a life, get off the stinkin computer and go show the Love of Christ to some real live people in our real life world…ok, now that really sounds religious.. Man, I just can’t win.


Dan - a worship leader [Visitor]  12/17/07 @ 17:27

How to tell if its time to blacklist a Worship Song.

1. The lyrics don’t flow particularly well and the rhyming scheme may have been devised by the lyricist’s deaf-mute sibling.
2. The lyrics sound like they may have been written using a thesaurus. A classic example is “Heavenly Father I appreciate you…”
3. The lyrics don’t even mention God directly.
4. The lyrics are vague enough that they could either be about God, your cocker spaniel, or your boyfriend/girlfriend.
5. The lyrics contain an awkward mix of old King James era English and modern slang, and are guaranteed to offend/confuse/annoy both the young and the old.
6. The lyrics contain numerous references to war, death and suffering, but are completely outside any meaningful context of spiritual warfare. Nobody’s quite sure what war is being referred to. In other words, the lyrics may have been written by a Klingon.
7. The lyrics seem unduly preoccupied with silver, gold, jewels and treasure. They may have been written either by a Pirate or a Ferengi.
8. The lyricist ran out of ideas before he even started and filled what would otherwise be awkward silence with even more awkward refrains of “la la la la la” or “na na na na na” or “yeah yeah yeah” or variations on the above.
9. The lyricist was likely a near-bankrupt university student who is trying to pay for the damage incurred to his dorm room during a weekend kegger. He has borrowed as many select lines and phrases from other worship songs as he could without being sued.
10. The lyrics contain numerous references to rivers, lakes and streams, but nobody seems entirely sure what the aforementioned rivers, lakes and streams are supposed to represent.
11. The lyrics contain numerous references to fire, but for no apparent reason.
12. The lyrics make no coherent sense. Period. They were written by somebody who doesn’t know how to swim, but insists on gambling with his life by going deeper anyway.
13. The lyrics encourage white people to jump.
14. The lyrics encourage white people to dance, for no apparent reason other than “’cuz we’re so happy.”
15. The lyrics make frequent mention of rainbows, clouds, or flowers for no apparent reason and in no meaningful context. The lyrics were either written by a florist or a flaming queer.
16. The lyrics are little more than a crappy paraphrase of an obscure scripture passage and are downright embarrassing when taken out of their proper context. The author wrongly assumed that any and all scripture can be successfully adapted for use as a worship song. A classic example: “The trees of the fields will clap their hands.”
17. The lyrics simply change a few words from the previous verse to create an entirely “new” verse that is just as dull, inane and repetitive as the verse before it. A classic example: “We choose the fear of the Lord.”
18. The lyrics actually contain words or phrases from languages other than English, Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic for no apparent reason and in no meaningful context.
19. The lyrics were written in King James English, but in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century and were already confusing and centuries outdated before they were even published. Subtitles should be provided for churches using PowerPoint.
20. The lyrics make frequent mention of vineyards or wheat fields for no apparent reason and in no meaningful context.
21. The lyrics describe Jesus or Christians as super heroes and could, with relatively few changes, be adapted for use as the theme song for a new Saturday morning cartoon series or a new James Bond movie.
22. The lyrics make sweeping generalizations about those singing, and assume that “In all I do, I honor you” or “I’m gonna be a history maker” or “Everbody’s singing now…”
23. The lyrics make frequent mention of mountains and valleys for no apparent reason.
24. The lyricist was once in a mental institution.
25. The lyricist chose to remain anonymous.
26. The lyricist chose to write under an assumed name.
27. The lyricist seemingly wrote out of spite or revenge against another person, denomination or was otherwise motivated by some sick sense of competition.
28. The lyricist was John W. Peterson.
29. The lyricist was once a practicing Christian, but has now renounced the church and has since joined a death-metal band. He or she has a lengthy criminal background spanning the years before, during and after he or she began writing worship music. He or she may have been involved in at least one goat sacrifice and the destruction of at least one hotel room.
30. The lyricist has a history of substance abuse.
31. The lyricist was writing about somebody other than God and most likely made a few quick changes to make a few quick bucks.
32. The lyricist was deaf and/or retarded.
33. The lyricist’s works turn up every several pages in your hymnal, but nobody can name any of his or her significant contributions to either classical or contemporary Christian music. He or she has been forgotten for a good reason.
34. Nobody really knows who the lyricist is. He or she is almost certainly dead, and his or her writings were translated from another language, probably Latin or German. Much seems to have been lost in the translation.
35. The lyricist had no last name.
36. The lyricist was most likely a Puritan, complete with the buckle on his hat and a poorly groomed beard.
37. The lyricist wrote extensively about trials, pain and suffering from his ocean front cottage in the Hamptons,
38. The lyricist was home-schooled but still felt compelled to offer his or her insight into the human condition.
39. The lyricist has composed for commercials in the past. “Down the mountain the river flows, and it brings us Pepsi wherever it goes…”
40. The lyricist’s works sound like they may have been written as human interest stories for “The 700 Club” and later set to music.
41. The lyricist has at least one illegitimate child and has written extensively about forgiveness.
42. The lyricist wrote extensively about being a “light to the world” but has never associated with anyone outside his or her church.
43. The lyricist has been with more than five different bands/churches in the past two years.
44. The lyricist was actually in your high school Christian fellowship group.
45. The lyricist only lasted a week in the mission field.
46. The lyricist has had dozens of pictures taken of him/her. He/she is not smiling in a single one of them.
47. The composer is the only person capable of actually performing the song the way it was written.
48. The composer sat down and wrote a Vulcan funeral dirge.
49. The composer chose to remain anonymous, but by the sound of the song, it was probably Helen Keller.
50. The composer decided to combine what should have been two mediocre worship songs into a single abomination. Lyrics were an after thought.
51. The composer was deaf and/or retarded.
52. The composer spent time in a mental institution.
53. The composer chose to remain anonymous.
54. The composer wrote under an assumed name.
55. The composer seems to have written for no other reason other than to find an excuse to include maracas, bongos and rainsticks into a worship service. Ironically, he/she has never spent a single day in the mission field.
56. The composer wrote the song by accident while sitting around a campfire.
57. The composer was John W. Peterson.
58. The composer only wrote the one worship song and was never heard from again. May have entered the Jehovah’s Witness Protection Program.
59. The composer was blind.
60. The composer and lyricist never actually met.
61. The worship team has a hard time performing this song without laughing.
62. The worship team misses several cues. Various vocalists and instrumentalists come in either too early or too late. The congregation awkwardly mumbles along.
63. The worship team can’t find a logical ending to the song. They just keep singing until the instrumentalists pass out, or the ushers reach for their tazers. The last few lines are repeated more than once and there seems to be a great deal of confusion as to the whether the last chorus was supposed to be repeated six times or seven times.
64. The worship team seems embarrassed.
65. The worship team has chosen to skip or completely eliminate entire portions of the songs as they are impossible to perform outside a recording studio, contain questionable theology, or are grammatically atrocious, or just plain hokey.
66. The worship team tries to fake enthusiasm for the idiotic actions that go with this song. Even the children in the congregation are pointing at the worship team and laughing. The actions are either overly simplistic or insanely complex. They may even include a poor attempt at sign language.
67. The worship team stops singing in the middle of the song as they have completely lost their spot and decide to take it from the top. The second time through is only marginally better than the first.
68. The worship team has given up on trying to keep a steady beat. The idiot with the tambourine has quietly disposed of it under the pulpit or thrown it in the baptismal tank. The moron clapping while still holding his microphone is the last one to attempt percussion of any sort.
69. The worship team finishes singing three minutes after the rest of the congregation has given up.
70. The worship team has turned their microphones off.
71. The worship team was bigger at the start of the service.
72. The guy running the PowerPoint is on a completely different song, but it doesn’t seem to matter as the worship team is completely lost and the congregation stopped singing ten minutes ago.
73. The guy running the PowerPoint has fallen asleep.
74. The guy running the PowerPoint gave up and went home.
75. The congregation is staring down at the floor trying to avoid eye contact with friends and family who are ready to burst into hysterical fits of laughter.
76. The congregation has decided to sit this one out and instead finish their peppermints with only minimal risk or choking to death. A few people are swaying or have their hands raised the help create the illusion of a dynamic church with powerful worship.
77. Portions of the congregation are half-heartedly singing along, while quietly fantasizing about moving to a different church.
78. The congregation has at least three trained marksmen, who, if they triangulate their fire, could end this service before things get any worse.
79. Portions of the congregation are trying to figure out a way to leave during the next prayer, assuming enough people have their eyes closed and the ushers are not blocking the exits.
80. Portions of the congregation are starting to seriously consider a return to hymnals and pipe organs.
81. The congregation was bigger at the start of the service.
82. The congregation is wondering who actually picked the worship team in the first place and how to go about rescinding their commission.
83. The congregation is now willing to consider allowing drums, granted of course that they can be used to drown everything else out.
84. The congregation is considering sending the worship team on an extended missions trip to the most hostile places they can think of.
85. The congregation is willing to consider a ban on any and all music written after 1980 and before 1850.
86. You are seriously considering conversion to the Hindu faith as you have seen their music videos on VisionTV and find their music less objectionable than what you are listening to right now.
87. You are considering coming to the church during the week for no other reason other than to install a series of remote-operated trap doors in the platform.
88. You begin to think of ways to kill the worship team. Making it look like an accident is only a luxury option at this point. The consequences of murder are starting to seem insignificant as you are now ready to see yourself as a martyr.
89. You have decided that if you bang your head really hard on the pew in front of you, you should wake up sometime during the last five minutes of the sermon, or during Wednesday night prayer meeting.
90. Monastary life is starting to sound pretty good to you.
91. You’re trying to figure out a way to work as many weekends as possible. You have determined that you can miss four out of every five Sundays without an elder visit and still get a tax receipt for your ‘tithes’ this year.
92. You’re tempted to stand up where you are and close the service in a word of prayer.
93. You’re laughing very hard and disturbing those around you. Several ushers are closing in on your position.
94. You are starting to dream about life as a deaf-mute. You are actively searching for long and sharp instruments you can use to puncture your own ear drums.
95. You find yourself taking at least three bathroom breaks during the service, each one averaging about fifteen minutes in length.
96. You find yourself reading bulletins in your Bible that date back to last year’s Good Friday service.
97. You leave the service mad enough to kill and are starting to wonder if there is in fact a diagnosable and clinically recognized nervous disorder called “worship rage.”
98. You’re starting to think that this particular church service would have been the basis of a great episode of Seinfeld.
99. You are lying underneath your pew in the fetal position with your hand over your ears, sobbing uncontrollably.
100. You begin to think of funny typos that you could insert into each PowerPoint slide, but then decide that nothing could be funnier that what’s already up there.
101. You long for the sweet release of death.


Visitor [Visitor]  12/29/07 @ 06:38

I appreciate that we do have a place (the internet) to speak freely about our likes and dislikes. I don’t believe that anyone is trying to be unkind, we’re just expressing opinions. I also believe that we all honestly desire to worship in spirit and in truth; expressing these opinions is in no way making fun of God or making fun of heartfelt worship. That said, here are my least favorite worship songs and hymns, although I can appreciate that other people may like them, and I do program them because I know that many people are touched by them.

In no special order:

Almost anything written by the Gaithers. They are sooo touchy-feely and emotional, and pretty much nothing else (like clear Scriptural references!) Gag. (Although I do like their children’s songs.)

Trading My Sorrows - I would be totally fine with this EXCEPT for the “YES LORD YES LORD YES YES LORD AMEN” part. Did the songwriter just get tired, or were they up against a deadline and had to write something quick, or what?

O Praise Him - Another one I don’t mind, until…"OH, LA LA LA LA LA LA…” as if David Crowder couldn’t come up with anything to put there. And you know that he could - I am not sure why he didn’t. And our praise band sings the la la section so meaningfully - which makes me want to giggle. (Terrible, I know) It kind of feels like we’ve stepped into an English madrigal at that point, full of nonsense syllables ("Now is the month of maying, when merry lambs are playing, Fa la la, la la…")

How Great Is Our God - because of the line that demands, “SING WITH ME!” Come on! Don’t just stand there! WORSHIP!! What’s wrong with you people! At this line I have to bite my lip to not laugh.

The First Noel - I like this tune, but there is a serious issue with the syllabification. Check out the verses that begin with “They looked up and saw a star” and “Then entered in those Wise Men three". Major problems with the flow.

Twas in the Moon of Wintertime - I really, really love this Christmas carol, but I wish they had rewritten the part about the “Mighty Gitchi Manitou.” It seems a teensy bit stereotypical of Native Americans, and also, I have no personal connection with the name. Do Native Americans today have a connection with that name for God?

In the Garden - I used to like this, until my church wanted to sing it every week. It really isn’t Scripturally accurate…

Old-Time Religion - Yes! The old-time religion that doesn’t even mention Jesus in the song! That’s good enough for me!

My Glorious - “God will save the day,” (like Mighty Mouse??) “and all will say, My glorious!” My glorious WHAT?? My glorious, my glorious, my glorious WHAT? Please learn to use appropriate English grammar.

The River of God - “and it brings refreshing wherever it goes” makes me want to take a red pen to the lyrics. I guess I can see how “refreshing” works, but shouldn’t it be “refreshment"? (Although that might sound like snacks that come magically floating down the river.) The words aren’t so hot - there are definitely better worship songs out there.

Shout to the Lord - only because I really hate having to drop down an octave after singing, “My Jesus,” to prepare for “My Savior” which is apparently when Darlene Zschech turns into a bass for a few seconds. But then later, it goes much higher. It is a very bad choice for congregational singing.

Note: There are a TON of hymns and worship songs that I LOVE. I don’t hate everything. And I have enjoyed reading everyone’s opinion.


A Worship Leader [Visitor]  01/03/08 @ 14:27

Curious, because I just read from another post that you don’t believe in God anymore. Does your wife still believe?

Whether you believe or not, you are in prayer and you are a child of God. God bless you.


A Worship Leader [Visitor]  01/03/08 @ 14:48

Here’s what bugs me. I am not a worship leader, however I am sick of all these self-indulgent performances with “praise choirs” fenced off to get the “best live sound", it truly disgusts me. Once I was at a vineyard in the early days and the first shot at a live recording was underway…the sound check interrupted the pre-service prayer, and in the middle of two songs, the worship leader stopped the band to start again, “because we really want to get it right this time"…one of the songs was stopped 6 times…
Enough already, get over yourselves, worship is great, but get out of the way once in awhile.


Sean [Visitor]• 01/31/08 @ 03:49

Where’s the list of Best Songs?


Moonchild [Visitor]  http://www.moonchild.ch02/04/08 @ 14:00

Best songs? There are plenty of those at other places and that isn’t what Sara wanted to write about.


brendoman [Visitor] • http://brendoman.com02/04/08 @ 14:56

“I disliked very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.”
C.S. Lewis “God in the dock”


Let's see how far we've come [Visitor]• 02/06/08 @ 12:50

that chris rice song, indescribable? makes me laugh. there are way too many “-able” adjectives in that song (i mean, the title itself…). it’s become a game to my friend and i to fill in every indescribable, untameable, uncontainable, et cetera with new words…unbelievable, irresponsible, incredible, inconceivable. now i can’t hear it without thinking of it. also, the melody of the chorus is rather monotonous.


justina [Visitor]• 02/16/08 @ 20:38

Justina-

“Indescribable” is a Chris Tomlin song, not Chris Rice.

Do you even know the Big Guy at all? Unbelievable.

Sara-

I love it that you held your tongue for so long, and then someone calling you Kay brought out a comment. Man, you must have known some girl once named Kay–how bad could she have been that being compared to her brings this out? I picture some buck-toothed, balding, hulk of a French woman stomping to the tune of “Yes, Lord” to kill puppies. Let me assure you that you are not entirely like that. I mean, you do still shave, right?

-peter

ps: I still got it! (maybe not.)


peter [Visitor]• 02/23/08 @ 18:31

Quit complaining about how cheap the wine is. It will do the trick. Just get drunk. Be intoxicated by the supernatural union of His Spirit with ours.


Et tu, Shawn? [Visitor]• 03/05/08 @ 23:46

Holy crap this is the greatest blog post of all time! Needs to be updated though. Would be very interested in hearing your thoughts almost four years later.

As for me it has always been Knowing You. There are a lot of bad lines, and many of them have been mentioned above, but I absolutely cannot get myself to sing “you’re the best” without clenching my fist and swinging it in front of me as if to say “golly gee Wally". It’s too bad too because the rest of the song isn’t bad.


Timothy Miller [Visitor] • http://thesearemychurchclothes.blogspot.com03/12/08 @ 16:49

This is the best blog EVERRRRRRRR! I want to thank all of you for expressing yourselves and speaking out about a subject sure to get anyone beheadded by most worship teams. Songs that are just not singable let alone lyrical or even make sense yet are thought of as some sacrid key to God’s presence that no one should question. Pleassssse!

My husband and I have been discussing this for years, We have an outreach band that plays only our own music in a Gosple blues, jazzy funky style at a coffee house. We try to create music that is very creative, tells stories and would appeal to a wide age range of the non-churched and churched. Most bands only seem to want to do cover tunes and cater to Christians (burns, praise gatherings and concerts). We get the guff because we want to have an event that Christians can use to bring their hurting and/or unsaved friends to so they can begin a spiritual conversation at the least. Christians get all confused because we are not a “praise and worship” band and it isn’t all about them.

The creative art of song writing and performing is dying in the name of formula writing, poor grammar and bad theology. Lots of bad theology! It is good to know we are not alone in the world in our thinking of what is happening to “Worship” music and the whole creative process.

I hate listening to our local Christian radio station that is owned by a national corp that could care less about my or your salvation but cares about their end $$. I am amazed at how many Christians are lulled into thinking they do care. Maybe the DJs do but the Corp doesn’t. The worship bands pull their song list from the radio and the music all sounds the same and is a compressed drone of sound over shadowed by a ok singer. Not really singable for most let alone a congregation. Hey Where are the guitar solos, keyboard solos or any other instrument? Are people getting so lazy that they are happy with knowing three chords and that’s enough? Where is the excellence that we are to strive for as musicians, composers and writers?

I miss the Chistian music from the 70’s thru the early 80’s when the Jesus people were loud and proud and excited about knowing God and artist’s like Keith Green, Leslie Phillips, Paul Clark, Michael and Stormie Omartian, Sweet Comfort Band and so many others wrote passionate songs telling stories of their lives and really praising God.

God please deliver us from mindless blather and bring back eloquence.


Alicia [Visitor] • http://www.wildlifecrew.org03/14/08 @ 21:37

I’m an athiest!


Dayna [Visitor]• 03/17/08 @ 11:37

Me, too.


dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/03/17/08 @ 14:38

It would be better if you both are atheists, at least then there is some hope of your finding God. But if you do believe there is a God, I’m not sure what can be done. Our words are important. I think that’s one of the reasons He is called “the Word.” He wanted us to remember to be careful and gracious when we speak and write. This blog is filled with posts by people who don’t seem to appreciate the power and importance of their words.

I’m out. This will be my last time coming to this site because I believe it is a sin for me. I have a really hard time not remembering certain words and images from words at the worst times. If I read an unholy and perverse description of a song or scripture, it is likely to come back to me while I am singing. And, I don’t want it to. It interferes and destroys true worship. God is after what goes on in our minds, not solely what comes out of our lips. The most important part of worship is exactly what these types of blogs set out to destroy.

Nothing I post here is more important than what goes on in my own heart. I’m just starting to figure that out. I want to think on good things. Much of what is written here is simply evil. It makes a mockery of God. If you feel safe making fun of God, you don’t know Him. You clearly have never heard Him speak. He is to be feared or respected. I don’t find enough of that here.


Et tu, Shawn! [Visitor]• 03/18/08 @ 18:37

Why is this god of yours always getting lost so that people have to find him? I thought I had found him for a while, but now I think it was all in my mind. The way I discovered that was to stop and think about what I was reading in the Bible, hearing in the sermons and singing in the songs. Once I thought seriously about it I understood that it couldn’t be true. So, you have a good plan, I guess: Don’t think about it too hard. Focus on what you’ve been told and ignore all criticism.


dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/03/19/08 @ 05:37

Dan-

Are you the Danny that started this blog?

I think it’s funny that you refer to your mind at all. Where did your mind come from? You use your thoughts, your ability to reason, your notion of truth to “decide” that there is no God and you miss everything.

My idea of truth comes from outside of myself. It comes from the idea of a supernatural Creator who is personable. I do not believe I am the by-product of a series of random events (evolution) because that theory (among other things) has no way of explaining truth. I, with all my heart, believe that some things are true and some things are false. I would bet that you believe the same thing. You already said so because you are an atheist, meaning you believe that God is not real. That’s a declaration of truth in your mind. So my question to you is, where do you get off saying some things are true and some things are not? Where does your mind and your concept of truth come from anyway?


Probably shouldn't be here [Visitor]• 03/19/08 @ 07:39

et tu shawn: once again, I’m amazed at how quickly people equate all worship songs with the word of God and that they are automatically holy just because someone mentioned Jesus. That has ALWAYS seemed silly to me, especially after finding out how the whole worship music/ccm industry works. But nope, it’s holy so of course we can’t say anything negative about it. Sorry to make you sin, brother.

Probably shouldn’t be here dude:

I would say Danny gets off saying some things are true and some things are not for the same exact reason you or I do. But of course, you say that because Danny doesn’t think there is a God, he’s wrong and misses everything, and of course you are right. So there’s no real point in arguing, is there?


brendoman [Visitor] • http://brendoman.com03/19/08 @ 09:46

i do not htink there are any horrible worship songs. all of our praise should be given to our creator so if i dont like the song i just pray. every worship song is written from the heart of a worshiper and God deserves all praise and loves it all.


hanna [Visitor]• 03/19/08 @ 16:49

dan:
I cant believ you can say that you cant find God, look outside your window, watch the sunset, look in the mirror, he created all. I totally agree with ‘probably s houldn’t be here’
he or she know what they are saying


hanna [Visitor]• 03/19/08 @ 16:52

Et tu Shawn/Probably shouldn’t be here,

Where did my mind come from? It comes from my brain, which is a collection of cells inside my head. My brain grew from the cells in the embryo I started as. I went through the same process that all mammals go through. There’s nothing supernatural about that.

I don’t share your belief that truth depends on something supernatural, either. I used to. Now my concept of truth comes from reality. Science has been the most reliable method for discovering truth, though it’s not the only one. If you say that I must believe in God to have any concept of truth, then you’re assuming what you’re trying to prove. It’s not very convincing.

When you describe evolution as “a series of random events,” you show that you don’t really understand what evolution is. Have you actually read about it? And I mean really read about what it is and how it works, not just glancing over some creationist talking points. More and more Christians are coming to terms with the reality of evolution. See this book review for an example: http://personman.com/book_review_the_language_of_god_by_franc

I encourage you to learn more about this. If evolution is a lie, then learning more about it will let you know for sure that you’re right. You should at least understand what you’re criticizing. I can sum it up for you in three simple points:

1. Organisms reproduce. 2. Reproduction does not produce perfect copies. There are slight genetic variations, most of which have no effect, a few are harmful and even fewer are helpful. 3. Organisms compete for limited space and resources, so only some can survive and reproduce.

Do you dispute any of those points? Do you agree that if they’re all true, the animals that are most fit will survive and reproduce, leading to a slow but steady improvement in the species? That’s all evolution is. The only randomness comes in point 2, but the selective pressure (point 3) is anything but random.