PT1: The Art of Squeeze
Updated: Feb 12
It is a challenge to squeeze modern music into a liturgical framework - especially if the music is along the "stadium worship" side of the fence. The voice ranges (from "C to shining C") are far out of reach, and many songs are "me" or "I" centered, which flies in the face of much of our Christ-centered liturgies.
Music chosen within a liturgical format needs careful thought to make sure it is complementing the liturgical flow at any given time in the service. We don't choose because we like the music, it has a cool tune, or any other reason. We choose music that fits.
Music that fits happens on at least two levels. Firstly, it must fit snuggly within at any given place in the liturgy. For example, one wouldn't choose an intimate song for a recessional, nor would one choose a rousing battle song for first Communion.
Secondly, it needs to fit culturally to the ethos of your people.You need to constantly be asking yourself, "Will this song play in Katy? (or whatever town you live in)." The hardest hitting songs are those that have been incarnationally chosen for a time such as thistime in your church. Thus, an amazing worship song has the potential to fall flat because it's been infused into a culture it was never intended to play in.
And this brings us to our third point. There is real relationship between you and your people. They have highs and lows. They are dong life just as you are. Somedays they are transfigured in glory, other days not so much. The same is true for the church as well. In the ebb and flow of normal parish ministry choosing songs prayerfully can play a huge part in enhancing and embracing God's purposes for your people. Songs declaring the kingdom's expansion may be particularly appropriate if your church is undergoing a building program, for example, or songs that speak God's hope into seasons of darkness may do well if a beloved member has passed, or there is an internal crises going on in the church.
Finally, seasons of the church yearneed to play into the music that is chosen. Pentecost is all about the Holy Spirit, Advent is all about preparation, Lent is all about humility, and so on down the line. These opportunities provide a brainless way to choose music at the least. It may mean having to shelve really great stuff for the season, but the impact of bringing them back in in their appropriate times will be powerful.
In this series I hope to help the liturgical worship leader gain a better understanding of the service, the church year, and share some tips about music flow and progression that he or she will be able to immedeaty implement into their church culture.