“Worship Music Sucks, Why Bother?”

Posted · 4 Comments

houseworkThis is a guest post from my friend David Lee who has played keyboards for Ross Parsley, New Life Church and Desperation Band. Being involved with worship music on both the congregation side and the creation side, he has some interesting and opinionated perspectives on worship music, which is sure to make for some great conversation. Read, enjoy and comment. -Jed

I hear this ALOT! I used to ask myself this a lot too! But now, I don’t ask that question anymore!

First off, I’ve heard that the OBVIOUS answer is that “religious people” don’t spend alot of time focusing on playing tasteful music.

As “good” as this sounds, to me this is an ABSOLUTE farce! Two things make a load of crap:

1. EVERYBODY believes in something! Even Atheists. Even is you don’t believe in the absence of a God, that’s STILL a belief, and you’ve still chosen a side!!! Either way, what you believe has NO bearing on your ability as a songwriter or a musician. Your not a bad writer because your religious, your a bad writer because your a bad writer!

2. What someone believes is GOOD music TOTALLY objective opinion!!! I know ALOT of non-religious people that LOVE christian music, there just all 30-50 years old. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just that people from there teens to 20’s don’t get it! Besides, the only reason why there isn’t christian music for teen’s through there 20‘s is because no christian in that age group buys music (Ask EARTHSUIT about that). There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a free market and that’s just how it is!!!

HOWEVER, this is when it gets weird: when “christian raised” teens are FORCE fed this type of music growing up. All that really comes out from that are public school teens that have NO sense of musical reality, and try to show “normal” kids christian music. That’s why people ask “Worship Music Sucks, Why Bother?”

This is MY personal belief on writing and performing music. You should write and perform what you believe in…PERIOD!!! People who write great love songs have had LIFE CHANGING experiences with the opposite sex! People who write good fight music had ISSUES with work, growing up or whatever!

I write worship music! Here’s a couple reasons why:

1. Nothing’s impacted my life more than God! Period. If you need an explanation for that, read JOB 38-41 (Yes…three chapters, in fact, read the book)

2. The difference between Worship music, and every other music, is that Worship music is centered around the Love of God. If you don’t know what the God is capable of, then you should look into it. God has the ability to move mountains, split seas, and smooth the valleys(Read JOB 38-41), but instead of being so dramatic, God would rather spend his time being MADLY in love with us! I couldn’t think of ANYTHING else that would be worth singing songs for!

Here are three verse’s from Job:

Job 1:21, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”Job 38:1-2, “Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said, ‘Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?'”Job 42:5-6, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

-D. Lee

Click here to see D. Lee’s Twitter Page

4 Responses to "“Worship Music Sucks, Why Bother?”"
  1. Adam says:

    So I’m not so convinced that the answer to that question is really why do you write worship music, rather explain why it doesn’t suck.

    i do like the point about if you’re a bad writer, it’s just cause you’re a bad writer. but so often we hear bad worship music because people think it’s so easy to write a worship song, (which is why there’s so much of it that the public hears, take the big k-love names for instance) there’s not a whole lot of musical mind-blowing going on there. There is a ton of christian/worship music that is insanely cool/fun/musically incredible, such as lincoln brewster, david crowder, and desperation band.

    the people that call out into question why worship music sucks is because they’re only exposure to it is what they hear on a passing radio station or what they’re force fed in catholic or pentacostal churches where there’s an organ and not much else, or an acoustic guitarist who sings really show tunesy.

    it’s like punk rock. granted, there are some good punk songs/artists, but most of them just know how to play power chords and sing “my life sucks, i hate you” to reiterate his point, if you’re a bad writer, you’re just a bad writer. and unfortunately a lot of mainstream christian worship music is done by bad writers.

  2. rhoy pamparo says:

    “What someone believes is GOOD music TOTALLY objective opinion!!!”

    this is key … really, what is considered good music?

    great article. thanks for sharing.

  3. Jed says:

    Adam-I think he is saying that worship music sucks because a lot of people are writing worship music without conviction. If more people would worry about writing what they believed there would be better worship music and writers by default will be better writers. I think a big part has to do with who the writer is trying to reach, which I wrote at the bottom of this comment.

    Rhoy-that has more to do with it than most people realize. Glad you liked it.

    My Take-I feel the answer to the question is in the first “2.” He starts talking about how different target markets from forties and fifties to the teeny high school crowd. Almost every time I start asking “Worship Music Sucks, Why Bother?” I soon realize I talking about a music that was not intended to connect with me, rather, connect my mom or my fifteen year old cousin. No wonder I think it sucks.

    In most church situations, the congregation is somewhere between new born and dead. That is a huge demographic of people to reach. This is why music in churches can be generic. And dare I say, this is why music in churches (in some situations) should be generic, but, of coarse done well.

  4. William Shakespeare says:

    “Your not a bad writer because your religious, your a bad writer because your a bad writer!”

    Dare I suggest that you’re a bad writer because you’re a bad writer? Obviously this is a tautology and not really one worth debating.

    I have been going to church every Sunday for about 9 months and have to sit through the most awful, banal, insipid and mind numbingly stupid “worship” songs that all have the same three possibly four chords in them. They are all played in an earnest largely self-affirming manner that leaves a lot to be desired. When the band changes every week and every week it sounds exactly the same, that says an awful lot about the songs, and not very much about the players.

    I studied music throughout high school and got a degree in music performance. I listen to a wide range of styles and am really very open minded. I am quite forgiving when it comes to simple pop songs. But there is something about so-called “worship” music that simply defies belief. It’s like each song is a parody of the one before it. The words are dreadful. The chord progressions are dull. The so-called “worship” aspect is non-existent.

    Truly inspired music is not three chord pseudo-country. God created Bach. God created the Beatles. He did not ask any non-musicians to rise up and write crappy music to praise Him. That’s the devil, man. When people talk about Satan being among them and taking them away from God, he is in the three chord nonsense shoved down so many congregations throats week after week.

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