Hello, the title of this post is a little different... It may even seem contradictory. But in a few minutes you will understand where I am coming from in this post.
Yesterday I sat down with an older gentleman in my office to complete a business transaction. In casual conversation I learned he was a Christian and he told me which church he and his wife attend in Houston, TX. He was very animated and excited about his church and I complimented him on this. I always feel it important to convey to others your enthusiasm for your church; this is often the first step in that person wanting to know more about your church. After all if you are excited about going there, your excitement ignites curiosity in their minds to know more.
I continued to discuss this gentleman's church building project, size of the congregation (around two thousand), and many other facets of this work. When I questioned him about his church's music program he explained they only sing acapella and there aren't any instruments utilized in his church. I am familiar with Christian organizations that do not use music in their services so this was not a shock to me. However I was surprised when I asked him their service times. He very happily let me know that his church conducts services seven days per week! I asked him more about this and he explained that in the early church services were held around the clock and sometimes spontaneously - and his congregation feels that by conducting services every day of the week, all members have ample opportunity to be in services. I could only agree to that.
What's the point of me relating this account to you? Here is what I realized and what I've been thinking about the past day or two: this man's church is well-attended, is a huge organization with churches in numerous countries, and does not utilize music in their services. Furthermore they hold services seven days per week. If this man is very excited about his church and is inviting others, maybe us musicians/singers/worship leaders need to step back and realize that not every one of our Sundays must be 'perfect' from a musical standpoint. I know there is a habit to get pulled into the performance mindset for Sunday or midweek services - after all, we only provide much music for one or two services per week and we want everyone in the congregation to feel God's spirit and respond to the Holy Ghost. So we have a tendency sometimes to over think each worship service, each song, every aspect of every service. When you compare all the music we provide for each of our services vs. the Christian who attends a church with no music or very little, and you still see that Christian growing in Biblical knowledge and understanding, you are forced to realize that as minstrels/worship leaders we just need to focus on ushering in the presence of the Lord into our services -- and not be over focused on who sings the verses to this song, or which pianist is playing for this song....
Please understand I am not advocating sloppiness or a lazy approach to our ministry -- only reminding you to realize that God doesn't *need* any one of us to accomplish his work -- we only are allowed to assist in ushering the presence of God into our services. And since this is the case, why be preoccupied with having a perfect studio sound when we should be worshipping and praising God with our whole hearts (not our performance facades) as we sing? After all, God inhabits the praises of His people - let's set the atmosphere for God to show up! Let us refocus on what is important when we minister to our congregations.