This is an excerpt from a worthy post I read yesterday at Challies.com:
It is ironic that music, an element meant to draw Christians together in mutual love and service (see Colossians 3:16) has become a force for significant division within the church. It just goes to show, I guess, that we can make a mess of pretty much anything. In their book The Compelling Community, Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop point out 3 common errors of musical style can stifle local church community:
Music that’s difficult to sing corporately. When you shape your musical style with the entire congregation in mind, you battle a consumerist mind-set that wants music that “appeals to me.” And you emphasize the breadth of community we should expect to find in a local church.
Music with limited emotional breadth. Much of church music is happy music. But if that is all we ever have, we substantially dilute the Christian experience.
Music that feels like a performance. Little can build a feeling of congregational unity more than hearing the whole church sing their hearts out in passionate praise to God. We should design our musical style with this in mind.
Above all, we must teach our congregations that congregational worship requires sacrifice [emphasis added]. If we’re serious about displaying the diversity that the gospel brings to a local congregation, then each of us will make sacrifices in the type of music we sing. But through that small sacrifice, we enable congregational unity that sings a much more profound note of praise than any individual could ever produce on his own.
My experience as a church musician and director resonates deeply with this. I hope you’ll take a moment to read the entire post.