The Friday Pickle: Why Should I Play Music That Old People Like?

Posted by Graham Gladstone (WorshipLeader.com) on 22 January 2015

As a young worship leader, I was guilty of at least thinking the title question.  Zealous for God, I wanted to play music that would stir emotional responses and those stuffy old hymns with words I didn’t get really didn’t fit the bill.  I wanted to give people the opportunity to really pour their hearts out to God, singing authentically to Him (and if I really probe my motivations at that point), what worked for me would be best for them.

Sigh.

As I’ve grown, God has taught me to appreciate the diversity in His Body; He has shown me that while His glory is the highest goal, true worship will build up all believers, as different as they may be.

To answer the question “Why should I play music that old people like?” I want to explore three responses: 1. Contemporary worship music is not the only authentic response to God; 2. We must be intentional about building up the whole congregation; 3. Those older songs provide theological and emotional depth to our repertoire.

1. Contemporary music is not the only authentic response to God.

Writing my intro, I realized what a doofus I was – “I wanted to give people the opportunity to really pour their hearts out to God.”  The unspoken assumption there is that contemporary worship music (CWM) is the only way to enable people to authentically address God.  What I was doing – asking older people to sing almost exclusively Hillsong and Vineyard songs – was akin to asking an octogenarian to craft a meaningful and heartfelt Valentine’s message to his wife of sixty years using a Snapchat app.  It’s possible, but it’s just not natural.

It’s a reality – people express themselves in very different ways – and that manifests itself across age, race and class.  To assume that CWM has the monopoly on heartfelt expressions of worship is to deny many people the opportunity to worship God in natural, heart-felt (to them) ways.

2. But, you may ask – what are we supposed to do?

Have a service that includes hymns on pipe organs, anthemic worship songs with modded guitars, spoken word, country music and Gregorian chant? ...

[Read more from Graham & the full article at WorshipLeader.com.]

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