Posts Tagged ‘worship style’

My FREE Music


Can church capture the concert experience?

March 16, 2011 2 comments

What’s the appeal in going to a concert? I guess I should define what type of concert in order to better answer the question. There are lots of different types of concerts that appeal to different people for obvious reasons. I could enjoy most any concert, when there is a good performer of any genre (minus a few). Let’s just narrow the playing field a little and say pop/rock. For a big ticket group, it will be a sellout crowd who stops what they’re doing and has made arrangements and purchased a sometimes very expensive ticket to gain access to a certain venue. They have bought a seat, but they will not sit in it. They will stand and be engaged with what happening on the stage. Whether it’s a sci-fi looking light show or an intimate moment with one instrument. Not only this, they have memorized the songs pertaining to this concert and are ever-ready to chime in when the lead singer points the mic their way. They are absorbed in the moment and not just them, but rather everyone around. They’ve all come for the same. It’s a shared experience…a common exuberance. It’s a beautiful sound when countless people raise their voices in one accord. Yes, birds sing, but no other creature can come together and create such a moving and awesome sound as singing in unison. Single-minded and one in purpose.

I was listening to a live album the other day and these thoughts came in flooding my mind. That fact proves they were already there, just filed away for future thinking. I guess they can be summed up in the question “Why can’t church be like a concert?” Granted, there are major differences and for good reason, but couldn’t we take the best of the concert-going experience and apply it in our corporate worship gatherings? I realize our local praise band isn’t a international sensation and our light setup is not the flashy type and probably shouldn’t be. But, often the most moving time in a concert is when all that pizazz is stripped down anyway. I know worship is much more than singing, and I know there are examples where what I’m describing takes place in the local church, but allow me to make some unfortunate observations.

While I agree that church should not be like a concert the church-going crowd could learn something from the concert-going multitude. (At the same time concert attenders could learn from church! That’s not the point.) I’m just going to throw these points out at random and you can add to the discussion as well. As I mentioned in the description, concert-goers have dropped a pretty penny to get a seat. Church has no cover charge. Sure, there’s an offering plate that is passed. Is the amount given the same? More? Less???

Let’s move on. The concert-goer stands and does not complain about not being told to sit. Nor do they complain about the music being too loud. They sing out loud and strong, not caring about who is around them. They are not distracted by much of anything but are fully engaged. They are enthusiastic and make a joyful noise. They are prepared and dressed for the occasion. They have studied and done their homework on the subject. They don’t need the lyrics on the screen because they know the songs already. They don’t need to see the set list in a printed bulletin so they can plan their early exit to the nearest restaurant. They are open and uninhibited. They share a common interest and will remember fondly and cherish this mutual experience with others who were there. They go home happy and content having fellowshiped with their fellow man.

I recognize that Church can’t always be a high like a concert. And things must be done in order. I get that. But we could glean from some of these attributes. When I lead worship, it’s never my goal to perform like in a concert. In fact, I would pray, “Lord, make us invisible, let them see you.” That goes against the grain of the concert experience. That would never be a performer’s goal. People get fired up to sing about anything. And at church we have something great to sing about! When we come to God’s house to worship the only one who is truly worthy of praise and adoration, I sure wish we could corporately duplicate in a sincere way the passion that’s in a concert crowd.

This whole thought-process is dependent upon a modern worship music perspective. I’m not trying to get into the worship wars of traditional vs. contemporary. That’s for another post, and I for one can worship in a traditional setting or any other. Worship is to God. It’s not about our preferences. There are multiple expressions. Like I said, that’s not what this post is about. What can you add to this comparison or contrast?

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