I think I have talked about this before but just as a refresher, I spent a large part of my childhood in a pretty charismatic church. (I wont go into the fact that it was Lutheran. Don’t think too long or hard about a charismatic Lutheran church. Your mind will explode)
People sang and raised their hands and waved their hands and did other weird things with their hands etc…. People danced. People shouted. People blew horns (literal horns, made from rams horns, its called a shofar) People waved banners. People ran around the alter. We built life sized versions of the tabernacle. People laughed. People cried. No one walked on coals or handled snakes but people spoke in tongues and prophesied and people were slain in the spirit. People were healed of physical illness. People were NOT healed of physical illness.
And people made up songs. And they made up different parts to established songs. And sometimes (most of the time) those songs would go on for hours. Literally. Seems like I can remember not leaving that place till 2:00 in the afternoon sometimes. And as I think back on it, it feels like the time of musical response after the message was one big long holy roar (if you dont know what that is just ask me sometime 🙂 I love it. I thought it was great and I am super happy that I grew up there. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I was in Charlotte this past weekend and me and Jessica (my fiance) visited a church that was pretty similar to that. I knew about this place growing up. We had friends who went there. So since I was in town this past weekend I decided to go.
From a musical standpoint, things were, in one way about what I expected and in another way not what I expected. A few observations:
- The band was awesome. They knew what to play and HOW to play it. This is impressive given…..
- The worship leaders pretty much just made things up. They played songs with intros and verses and choruses. But the order was largely up in the air. One can only believe that they were just being led by the Holy Spirit on what part they should do next. The band had to follow. And they did it perfectly. Also…
- The worship leaders just made up whole vocal parts. Little choruses and lines that we repeated. The words weren’t on the screen. They couldn’t be. The lines were just made up.
- The worship leaders were both girls. Honestly this was fantastic. Both were confident, strong leaders who were led with enthusiasm and authenticity. One of them did all the acoustic guitar work for the morning and they were both killer singers.
- The congregation responded with LOADS of enthusiasm. The people were ready to worship from the very first note that was played. They didn’t stand around. They didn’t need the band to bring them and get them reved up. They sang and danced and shouted. It was great.
- THIS CAN BE DISTRACTING if you aren’t ready for it/used to it. I understand that.
Anyway, all that to say, I thought it was great. I don’t have the time right now to get into all that I think on this topic and this post is getting long already.
Suffice it to say, there are lots of opinions on what musical worship should look like. I’m not going to comment on what I think about that right now.
I’ll just say this, its possible that we have almost completely removed the the role of the Holy Spirit in our worship. On the one hand, doing what that band did this past Sunday morning is difficult. It takes preparation. It takes musical excellence. It takes confidence. It takes leadership.
On the other hand it really just takes one thing, listening to the Holy Spirit.