Modern worship is an interesting thing to say the least. I was raised in a church/denomination/fellowship where hymns were the norm. The foot stomping, hand clapping, celebratory time of worship was expected. Sure it was riddled with seven eleven choruses…you know…sing the same seven words eleven times and hope the Holy Spirit shows up but that is alright. I have fond memories of singing hymns by Ira Stanphil, Doris Akers, Bill Gaither just to name a few. It seems though there has been a shift not only with the songs we sing but what we sing about. Allow me to explain.
Somewhere in the mid to late nineties to today many of the popular worship songs have changed their message from “How great thou art” to messages of how we are worms. It’s as if the writers of these many songs tend to sit down with a pen and paper and turn their writing into one of those choose your own adventure stories using Christian buzzwords as the lyrics to these "songs of worship".
In Psalm 77:5 we read “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” The problem with songs laced with low life verbiage is that they are usually popular. When a song is popular you repeat those songs over and over inside your head. The problem with that is then we actually start believing it. We begin to live in a state of not measuring up. Scriptural reminders like we find in Romans 8:37 “No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” are tossed to the wayside. We negate the fact that “if God be for us, who can be against us?” It’s the classic idea that if you tell a someone something long enough they will start to believe it.
In the realm of modern worship music (at the risk of sounding male chauvinist) many of the songs we sing are geared towards women…mainly moms. Why? Because typically moms are the ones in their cars running around all over taking their kids places, going to work, etc. By pumping these types of songs through Christian radio they are heard over and over again. I mean that quite literally...have you heard the rotation on top 40 CCM? It should be top 10 songs. The problem with that is when we sing about ourselves and what a wretch we are…we add that to internal memory and constantly try to be something not even God expects us to be (on our own). Then the problem becomes even greater because what happens when we sing about how awful we are over and over? Well…we believe it. What happens when we believe it? We then say what’s the point and give up forgetting that God’s grace is sufficient for us.
Think about what we call that time of singing in church…we call it praise and worship. Praise is exciting and is about God. Worship…it can be slower or it can be faster but the very word worship (without doing a dictionary search) means all eyes on God. This means songs that talk about me, how I am undeserving of his love, the wretch that I am really any song that has the I/Me lingo is meaningless.
Personally, songs that lift up the name of Jesus and the awesomeness of God are really the ones that people need to sing to enter into worship.
But that’s just my opinion.