The Friday Pickle: Do We Love Tech Too Much?

Posted by Craig Borlase on 22 May 2015

If you were a young Christian in the UK during the first decade of the millennium, the chances are that you’ll be familiar with the story behind Matt Redman’s ‘The Heart Of Worship’; how it came out of a time when things had got a little stale at his local church and the leader, Pilavachi, ‘banned the band’. For a few weeks services took place without any PA, without any musicians, without any overhead screen with lyrics projected onto it and without any worship leader. If there was singing in a service it was because someone started a song on their own and the others joined in. It was like a crazy a crossover between a Quaker service and an episode of The Apprentice. 

It’s easy to dismiss the idea of doing the same thing in your own church as a gimmick. But the truth is that banning the band worked at Soul Survivor Watford. It was awkward to sit there in silence, nerve wracking to be one of the first voices to shakily offer up a song, embarrassing when nobody else joined in. But those moments were a hard reset to a church that had got really good at doing Really Good Worship. Gradually people learned to sing again; not because of the crowd or the band, but because it meant something. 

Could that same lesson have been learned without ditching the tech? Perhaps. But the sudden silence and shaky vocals provided such a shock to the system that it was impossible to ignore. 

That was a while ago, back in the days when tech meant PA systems and overhead projectors. A lot has changed in the decade or so that’s followed an it’s true that tech and modern worship have become intertwined. And here at WeAreWorship we love tech. It had helped liberate our creativity and has brought excitement and innovation to small churches with tiny budgets. It has helped the worship movement far more than it has hindered it.

But some things don’t change. We can still get stale, still find that people are going through the motions when it comes to sung worship. We can still make idols.

Is it time for a tech fast at your church? Is it time to do something unexpected and awkward in an attempt to reset things? Is it time to step back a little and remind ourselves of the real reason we do all this?

If the very idea sends shivers down your spine, then the answer is certainly YES.

And if this video leaves you smiling, there’s another YES for you.

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