Biblical faithfulness, theological correctness, gospel centeredness, musical richness, and congregational accessibility are the five big boxes you should be able to check. If a new song is really popular but doesn’t check all five of those boxes, then maybe you shouldn’t use it.
There’s other good points there too, so go read it.
I recently came across Routenote, an online distributor – a way to get tracks onto Spotify etc. – without any upfront fees, so I tried it out with a track I thought I’d mixed pretty well, and which wanted to add to a playlist of songs we’re introducing at church over the next few months.
Yesterday I posted about how I’ve quite Twitter (sort of). However, lest it seem like it’s a no-regrets, heroic charge into the disconnected future, I thought it worth noting what my reservations have been in partially disconnecting from social media.
My biggest fear, if I’m honest, is I think what makes social media so powerful to begin with: importance. Why haven’t I deactivated my account before now? Why am I still on Facebook? Because I’m human, and I want people to know what I think; my selfish heart wants to be recognised for my contributions. For example, my inner dialogue asks things like: who will listen to your new song if you can’t tweet about it?
The other side of that is the ego-boost of being ‘in-the-know’, keeping up on the latest ideas in those things I’m interested in. Now, being able to read articles and keep up with the latest in things like music circles is not necessarily bad – there is much value to be gained from that (and to be clear, I’ve connected and learnt from a bunch of really great people via social media), but there can easily come a point when it becomes an end in itself, when it becomes idolatrous and a distraction from the incarnational aspect of, say, making music. I confess that I’m scared of missing out on good things by disconnecting, but at the moment, I’m more willing to pay that price, than pay the price of staying on Twitter.
About five minutes ago I deactivated my main Twitter account – specifically, the @findo one. I’ve had the account for about 6 years, and had 1000+ followers, and have long had a love-hate relationship with it, but I feel like it’s time to call time on it. Here’s why:
1. I haven’t actually looked at it in about two or three weeks, and the last time I logged in was also after such a period. This is largely due to the fact that I removed the app (along with Facebook) from my phone a while back. I think I’m just over it.
2. I don’t want to keep developing a habit of pulling out my phone / opening a tab to be ‘fed’ tidbits of information every time I am ‘bored’ or have a break in proceedings. I think our brains need that time to just process and think about stuff, especially to be creative.
3. I’m tired of caring about things I don’t care about. I know this is harsh in some cases, but so often I catch myself getting emotionally involved in the latest Twitter hoo-ha about x who said y, and frankly, most of it is of no real consequence to my life.
4. I want to be more incarnational. This is related to the previous point. Getting sucked into the Interwebs priorities is a distraction from the priorities of the people and responsibilities around me. I mean, actually around me.
Despite the claims that online community is equivalent to offline community, I don’t believe it. I see no evidence that my recent lack of presence on Twitter has concerned any of my followers, which is exactly what is to be expected – social media is all about transient posts and we only pay attention to what is right in front of us at any given moment. Unlike incarnational community, there are simply no holes when people aren’t there, and I’m just not willing to invest in that kind of thing at the moment.
I have 30 days in which I can reactivate it if I realise I’ve made a terrible mistake (and I haven’t quite gone cold turkey as I still have my @aborrowedflame account..). Quitting Facebook might be a little more difficult.
A lot of excellent new worship music came out this year, and here is my inexhaustive, subjective list, in no particular order of my favourite (i.e. most listened to) worship albums. If you feel like buying them, please consider doing so via my Amazon store.
When we gather for worship, we’re not just expressing ourselves to God. It’s not about what we can do for God. It’s not about connecting with God individually. It’s not about passion or emotion.
It’s about retelling our story. A true story. A story that most churches don’t really tell. A story most Christians don’t know.
That’s where I think the historic Christian liturgy is especially helpful. Week after week, season after season, year after year, we participate in the drama of salvation history. Our history. It’s not supposed to be fun. It’s not supposed to just be inspiring. It’s not supposed to produce intense emotional response. It’s a microcosmic, disciplined, anticipatory remembrance of who we were, who we are, and who we are to be.
The thing is, every church has a liturgy, whether they realise it or not, even those churches who explicitly reject a formal liturgy. It’s OK not to have a formal liturgy, but as worship leaders, working in a contemporary, informal context, we still need to be putting together services which help our people, week after week, to engage with and enter in the story of redemption. I would argue that when we dive into the story, we will see real growth, as the congregation is formed and shaped by the gospel of Christ.
And from the second article:
The only common touch point between worship and church growth is found in God’s Word. The Lord Himself said that if He is lifted up, He will draw all men. The work is His, not ours.
I am not an overt champion for any one specific musical or worship style. I am, however, more and more convicted that we need to be proclaiming Jesus more victoriously and intentionally than ever before.