What’s next in worship?

I was watching Gungor perform recently. If you don’t know who they are, take a moment to watch the video here. Heck, take a moment to watch even if you do know who they are because…well, your day will be a little brighter for having done so.

I was mesmerized not only by the unique sound emanating from the stage, but by the sheer talent, the outrageous skill of the artists before me. The video here doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of what these artists can do. Every time I have the privilege of seeing them, I’m struck by the instrumental stew. A mixture of musical tools to create unexpected beauty. It’s undoubtedly very different from most of the “big sound” worship music that has dominated in the past decade.

As I watched them I couldn’t help but wonder, “What’s next in worship music?”

Then as I read an article and noted how Michael Gungor described his band as “a collective of musicians who play liturgical post-rock” it struck me. What if instead of trying to replicate what’s out there churches started down a different path?

As a creative, with few opportunities to do much “creating” these days, I wonder how many other artists are out there thinking:

“Man…I don’t play an electric guitar. I don’t drum. I don’t play the bass. I can sing, but not like Chris Tomlin. All I can do is play [insert atypical musical tool here]. There must not be a place for me.”

What if churches started shaking the trees in their community to see what artists came out from the pews?

What if one local church band didn’t look like the next?

What if our worship bands consisted not only of guitar players and silky smooth vocalists, but all manner of acoustic instruments and voices of unique tone and character?

What if they gathered to create original music rising out of the experiences and stories unique to their local community?

Imagine the kind of worship music that would come from that.

Imagine the kind of community such an endeavor would encourage and build among artists.

Imagine if that was what’s next.

6 thoughts on “What’s next in worship?

  1. I think that’s an awesome idea!
    I’m reminded of an interview I saw with Tom Waits. He was talking about his love for unique sound and told a story of how he put piano strings on a garbage dumpster just to see what kind of sound it would make.
    It would be awesome if the church stepped outside of the box and used whatever they could to make a joyful noise for the Lord – even a dumpster with piano strings.

  2. I really love the idea of Christ following artist not being bound by what someone else is doing. The question that keeps rolling around in my head is, as worship leaders/artist, is our art and leadership about “our” expression or to facilitate the masses to express their love for God?

  3. The two can complement each other. Worship that begins as a personal and authentic expression first is some of the most powerful in leading others.

  4. I have often wondered the same thing myself. As a guitar player that sings nothing like Tomlin, I would be all for a church that grabbed hold of God given creativity with both hands and let their teams run with it.

    New expressions of Christian faith, new forms of worship, and alternative church service formats are all going to be increasingly required as each successive generation finds the archaic formats and current expressions inaccessible at best.

    A church service in Africa should look nothing like a service in the UK or in the USA. Things are going to change, I can feel it!

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