When I was saved in the mid-Seventies, the Word of God was the main emphasis in the Body of Christ. Now, I've found, it's worship. And many churches strive for that U2-quality band, with a multi-million pound sound system, hitting on all the genres as they go through the service. I've seen churches that are really INTO their worship, and sometimes I think, if you were looking in from the outside, you might find it a little strange. For example:
Spiritual Warfare Songs:
Strong, aggressive, militant and earth-shaking. These songs get the blood pumping, the feet stomping, hands clapping, diaphragms expanding, and normal people acting like week-end warriors. They are meant to build faith and get us back into the fight. The only problem is when Christian groups sing these songs out in public! What does the crowd think? More militant religious fanatics? (Hint: Spiritual Warfare Songs are best kept in-house!)
Filled with emotion, slow cadence and generally about how WE feel, these songs create swooning, swaying, sobbing and squeezing of hands. They have the feel-good factor and are more for the soul than the spirit. (Tip:We need to sing love songs to Jesus. But remember, we need to worship in Spirit and in Truth first, then let our emotions follow.)
These songs are packed with theology and have about 3000 verses. They tend to always start with our salvation and end with us in heaven. They generally cover the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation, but for those who don't like reading the Bible, they are essential for building truth into people's lives, a must for every church!
These songs are all about Christ or God - who He is and what He has done or is doing. They're big on crescendos, they often start off with a normal volume, but by the end your ear drums are blown out, and the song tends to stay with you for days to come. These songs are the core of worship - Core referring to Jesus and not our muscle core, even though many use the worship service as their free weekly aerobics workout.
These are your happy, dancing, clapping, smiling songs. They have one volume: LOUD! They have one speed: FAST! They have one theme: PRAISE! But the best thing about praise songs is they save us from having to hold hands with the person standing next to us. So of course, let's praise the Lord! (Anything to avoid touching the person next to me. After all, I am in church!)
Who Really knows what's going on
Most worship services have a pattern - two fast songs, three slow songs. But every once in awhile they surprise us and do three fast songs and two slows songs! Or they may even be extreme and really change it up, and start out slow and end fast. They do this to confuse us, disorient us, keep us on our toes while we're singing. That's why the worship team is always smiling and I'm always looking around. (Are we clapping here, or is this the raising your hands part?)
To Sum Up
Worship has always been key to church services, but in the past 30 years God has anointed worship to draw people to Himself, especially the younger generation. And just in time! If something hadn't changed, a whole generation would have been lost. God's presence brings worship to the forefront and re-energises churches all over the world today. Worship has become an art with songs for every occasion and every mood.
How does your church do worship? Which genres do you prefer?
About the Author: Dan is an minister/author/ pastor. He has ministered in over 40 countries to marriages, families and churches. He is now involved in a new social media ministry called getlifegroup.com, a online learning community helping people get closer to God and develop healthier relationships.