Over the past 20+ years, I have been blessed with a number of opportunities to lead/accompany worship in song – mostly (but not always) from behind a keyboard of some sort.  During that time, I’ve born witness to (and scars from) numerous “worship wars” dealing with style (primarily) and substance (on occasion).

Putting together a worshipful and effective musical worship service is not as simple as grabbing some songs from a hymnal/binder/web-page and running with it.  Lyrical content, style, instrumentation, flow and theme are some of the key elements that have to be considered in effectively leading corporate worship.

It is in this vein that I’m thinking about starting a new (likely infrequent) series: “Worship Music in Review”.  (If it flops, #1 might be the only edition.)

For this edition, I’d like to look at a currently popular song from Passion 2010, which is being incorporated into some churches’ worship services, Chris Tomlin’s “Our God”.  Before we go on, watch the embedded video (if you don’t know the song) and read the lyrics.

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VERSE 1
Water you turned into wine
Opened the eyes of the blind
There’s no one like you
None like you

VERSE 2
Into the darkness you shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There’s no one like you
None like you

CHORUS
Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God you are higher than any other
Our God is Healer
Awesome in power
Our God
Our God

REPEAT VERSE 2

CHORUS

BRIDGE
And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against?
Then what could stand against?

CHORUS

CHORUS

BRIDGE

CHORUS

Structure: As modern worship music goes, this is fairly standard in structure (only two verses, a chorus and a bridge) and it has a fairly tight range.  This makes congregational singing easier, since you don’t have as much worry about, in terms of range.  (For contrast, consider “How Great Thou Art?” – where if you start on the wrong pitch for the congregation, most will drop out – or screech – at the end of the chorus.)

Structurally, most of Chris Tomlin’s worship music fits into both “modern” and “blended” structures, since it is structurally similar to so much of what congregants hear on the radio or in other venues outside of worship.

This particular song would likely fit better in the middle of a worship music set (if at the beginning of a corporate worship service) than as an opener, since its introduction and opening verses (and the first chorus) are rather subdued.  Only when it moves to the bridge does the percussion crescendo and a double-time feel kick in.  From this point out, the energy and focus of the song moves between the chorus and the bridge (which I have some issues with, and which I’ll look at here in just a bit), and it can then drop off and allow for an acoustic/A Capella close.

Stylistically, this song could also fit after a sermon/communion/offering meditation, since its start is subdued (which allows for a smooth transition between the left and right brain of the participant) and then builds in emotional import and intensity.

Lyrics: For me, the lyrical content of a song is the one aspect that trumps all others.  If the song does not lyrically make the cut – or is theologically dodgy (think “Above All” or “In the Garden”), chances are I will never use it in a worship setting.  While I generally do not have a problem with most of Chris Tomlin’s music, “Our God” has some high spots and some problematic sections, which are a mixed bag for me.

The verses and the chorus have a positive theme that I’ve found missing in much of church music (including hymns) – the exclusivity and supremacy of God:

Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God you are higher than any other
Our God is Healer
Awesome in power
Our God
Our God

The one fully Biblical source of pride we have – in the power, majesty and exclusivity of our God in comparison with the false idols of this world – is fully front-and-center in this part of the song.  I’m sure that there are worship directors who would steer clear of this song, just because of the postmodern aversion to absolute truth claims and exclusivity.  That is an impulse that should be avoided.

However, what kills this song for me is the bridge:

And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against?
Then what could stand against?

It is not that this is wrong, theologically.  In fact, it is pulled directly from Romans 8:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

What is missing for me is twofold: 1) The focus of the bridge is no longer on God, but is on us and our “invincibility” when we are with God; and 2) It is without context (from the rest of the song).

Just as biblical verses can be taken out of context and misapplied, so can these verses be abused within music (perhaps even more so, since music works on a deeper, subconscious level of the mind that reinforces and guides behavior without the need for clear logical connection).  In this case, one of the characteristics of the Western church has been its misappropriation of God as being “on our side” in matters of war, politics and personal conflict.  Without grounding in the context of Paul’s words, the congregation – and its individual congregants – are left to supply their own context, which may or may not be what was intended by Paul’s writing.  How so?  Let’s look at the remainder of Romans 8:

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

From the context of Paul’s writing, it is clear that Paul is not declaring that God will clear away the physical and spiritual forces that oppose and oppress us.  Rather, he is affirming that those forces of opposition and oppression cannot separate us from the love of God.  This song does not provide any context for this key – and very important – distinction.  This is a distinction that we in the western church consistently get wrong (particularly churches with degrees of word-faith or prosperity focus), and that I take pains to avoid when choosing worship music.

If this potential error was simply part of a bridge that was clearly not the focus of the song, I might have fewer reservations, but the prominence of it (with the build before the first bridge, and the centering of the bridge in the climax, with the seven-beat musical exclamation point repeatedly tagged after it) is very problematic for me in choosing this one as a regular worship song.

In a way, the song becomes almost schizophrenic – in conflict with itself in determining its message.  Which is sad, since the verse/chorus structure was so promising.

The Verdict:

While I think this song is strong, instrumentally, and has a focus (in the verse and chorus) on God’s exclusivity, which is sorely needed in the church, I do not think I would ever want to use it in a standard worship set.  Rather, if I was going to use it at all in a worship service, it would require someone (a pastor, worship leader) to provide the missing context that would soundly connect the supremacy and exclusivity of God with the power of His love to prevent anyone from separating us from Him.  If this context was provided, though, I think this song could be very powerful in a “special music” setting, to emotionally underscore a teaching message about the power of God’s love in saving us.

Interestingly, another song from the Passion 2010 worship set that also uses the latter section of Romans 8 as its core, is probably a better choice – Healing is In Your Hands.  Even with supplied context around Romans 8, I would probably choose this song over Our God.

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35 Comments(+Add)

1   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 17th, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I have a wide and flexible range for worship music. I have written well over 100 worship songs and I imagine many have “dodgy” theological words. I have no problem with songs that venture outside the “orthodox” parameters of doctrinal thought.

The “Our God” song, to me, does not venture outside acceptable Biblical thoughts, and I found it edifying. And i found this statement most true and edifying:

” In this case, one of the characteristics of the Western church has been its misappropriation of God as being “on our side” in matters of war, politics and personal conflict.”

2   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
August 17th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Chris,

Thanks for the review. I used to be rather choosy too when I was still leading worship. I like Chris Tomlin, but frankly, his stuff sort starts to run together after a few minutes. He has a lot of one note songs.

I agree the bridge is a bit sketchy, but for me it was verse 2:

Into the darkness you shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There’s no one like you
None like you

I’m not sure the focus here is entirely as it was in the first verse. There is a disconnect between the idea of ‘God shining out of the darkness’ and us ‘rising out of the ashes.’ I’m not sure I see the connection between either of these.

He spends too much time thinking about what God’s greatness means for us–as if God or God’s power is merely a means to an end.

jerry

ps–why does everyone always pick on ‘In the Garden’?

3   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 17th, 2010 at 7:46 pm

ps–why does everyone always pick on ‘In the Garden’?

Probably because it’s such an easy target (and it’s pretty insipid)…

4   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 17th, 2010 at 7:52 pm

I have no problem with songs that venture outside the “orthodox” parameters of doctrinal thought.

Actually, I have more of a problem with songs that venture outside of orthodoxy than with a sermon that makes a brief venture outside of orthodoxy. Our minds were created such that our memory recall is far more efficient if words follow a tonal pattern (either in chant or in music), and if we say/sing/write them as part of our learning process. With this in mind, I try to stay cognizant that folks are much more likely to recall (or subconsciously revert to) words they have sung than what they have heard preached. As such, I want them to recall things which are within the realm of orthodoxy, lest their praxis possibly led astray by my choice of music…

5   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 18th, 2010 at 9:54 am

I expect people to think. I expect them to think theologically… about everything. As N.T. Wright has said, the problem with being a theologian is that you can’t cover everything (paraphrase). Of course context matters, but the context of corporate worship is greater than just the context of the rest of that song. I’m much more concerned about errant theology and lyrics that reinforce unChristlike attitudes in our songs than I am about lyrics that are theologically sound, but can be misused and abused.

I’m very much in agreement with much of what you have said, but I think that your criticism here is lacking the context of discipleship.

6   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 18th, 2010 at 10:04 am

I’m much more concerned about errant theology and lyrics that reinforce unChristlike attitudes in our songs

And is not the notion that “God is on my/our side”, when applied to conflicts in daily life an unChristlike attitude, or am I missing something?

7   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 18th, 2010 at 10:16 am

It is (unChristlike), but that goes back to the usage in context issue. My point is that if a given congregation is effectively discipling others, such notions are corrected (or the right thing taught from the beginning) in the community and discipleship relationships.

8   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 18th, 2010 at 10:20 am

I should point out that my comments do not mean that I think this song should be sung all the time by everybody. I don’t think my worship would be diminished if I never sang this again. I just think that the idea that a song is theologically sound until taken out of context is not reason enough to write it off.

9   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 18th, 2010 at 10:38 am

My point is that if a given congregation is effectively discipling others, such notions are corrected (or the right thing taught from the beginning) in the community and discipleship relationships.

Agreed. Even so, I’m not sure I’ve ever known a congregation to be this effective, particularly when it comes to “seekers” (realizing that this is a loaded word) and visitors.

I just think that the idea that a song is theologically sound until taken out of context is not reason enough to write it off.

Point taken.

I like the song, personally. I wouldn’t have a problem playing it in church as a special number (with some tie to the overall message/flow).

My only concern is how it would be included within the context of congregational worship. The placement of the bridge, itself, and its musical prominence within the song (including the forceful ‘hook’) makes it somewhat militaristic, IMO. I know people who have recently moved into the local community who are Christians from the Middle East, and the blending of faith and conquest are particularly sore points for them, which the Western church rubs raw, at times.

It probably wouldn’t surprise you, but I’d also never put “Onward Christian Soldiers” in a congregational singing rotation, either…

10   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 18th, 2010 at 10:41 am

And FYI – I’m pretty open to style and inclusion of a wide spectrum of music in worship, recognizing that music ministers are pretty much in a “no-win” situation, week in and week out. If my church added this song to a worship set next Sunday morning, I wouldn’t rake our music minister over the coals for it. If he asked me what I thought, I’d tell him, though.

One reason I chose this song to open this possible series of articles is because my position is contrary to my normal MO (which is more inclusive), knowing that I’d probably take some heat for it…

11   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 18th, 2010 at 10:52 am

He has a lot of one note songs.

This is actually a reason his songs tend to be more singable in a congregational context – a tight musical range within a song gives it more versatility, when choosing the key to sing it in. A wide musical range, on the other hand, tends to have a limited starting key set, and sometimes requires the singer to either a) switch registers; b) sing uncomfortably high/low; or c) stop singing – all of which are contrary to worship.

I agree the bridge is a bit sketchy, but for me it was verse 2:

Actually, Jerry, I didn’t have too much of a problem w/ verse 2, because a) the listener can connect line 2 (”out of the ashes we rise”) with line 1 (”out of the darkness You shine”); and b) musically, the middle part of a verse (like this one) is often a “throwaway” – it is the lyrical content of a song that is least likely to be remembered.

In this song, the musical prominence of the middle section of v2 is pretty low, and – even if it might be confusing – to Christian’s point, the soundness/context of this (in the scheme of the song) is probably unimportant. There are very few “perfect” songs, and things like this I’m often willing to let slide.

(Though I remember once being accused of trying to make hymns seem “out of date” by including the line “Here I raise mine ebenezer” in “Come Thou Fount” – when the version I was playing was the David Crowder version … The accuser was an utter moron (apart from this particular observation), a compulsive liar, and an elder at the church, but like I said, music ministers are in a no-win situation…)

12   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 18th, 2010 at 11:25 am

Re: switching vocal registers – I’m reminded that songs that require a change in vocal register can be sung smoothly, if the break in register is at a natural point in the song (see “You Never Let Go” for an example). This can work in a worship setting, but generally (if the register switch is required mid-song) is uncomfortable for the singer.

13   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 18th, 2010 at 11:47 am

Register changes are always uncomfortable for singers like myself.

14   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
August 18th, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Here are some thoughts on another worship song…Bob’s Bloggery

I wonder if, sometimes, musicians throw in the ‘throwaway’ lyrics because they know people won’t be thinking about them and, thus, it won’t really matter.

15   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 18th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Register changes are always uncomfortable for singers like myself.

I’ve heard the folks who sit around you tell me that, as well…

16   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 18th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I wonder if, sometimes, musicians throw in the ‘throwaway’ lyrics because they know people won’t be thinking about them and, thus, it won’t really matter.

I would say that it differs from musician to musician.

Rich Mullins, for example, spent as much time w/ the mid-verse lyrics as with the hooks & key phrases. This definitely shows, as you end up with words (or complicated phrases) in his songs that you don’t normally see in modern music. David Crowder and Andrew Peterson are also similar to this.

Michael W. Smith (as your link notes) seems to be at the other end of the scale, where I’m guessing he knows what key words (or rhyming syllables) he wants in a phrase, and the “filler” between isn’t all that important. I see Tomlin as closer to the MWS end of the spectrum than the Mullins/Crowder end…

17   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
August 18th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Speaking of Michael W. Smith, I really like Ancient Words.

Which got me thinking about the more simple songs. I think they bring value to the community in that they are the chants of our time. Just so long as you don’t expect me to chant the same thing more than twice. :)

18   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
August 18th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I suppose, then, this is why I tended to gravitate more to Mullins and Crowder. We used some Tomlin music in the worship but mostly because it was easy. I like the MWS ‘New Hallelujah’ song, but found it better suited for larger gatherings than for sunday mornings. I liked the struggle that came from learning Mullins and Crowder music and getting the congregation not only singing those lyrics, but thinking of what they mean also.

I get the impression from Crowder/Mullins that every single thing about their songs matters/ed. Mullins often has crazy little phrases that are difficult to sing and sound choppy, but they are beautiful poetry..and they say what he means. (I’m thinking of some of the lyrics on Legacy, Liturgy…).

Sometimes I’m under the impression that Mullins didn’t really care if the song was ‘catchy’ as long as it got his point across. Or maybe he was just a bit rebellious when it came to producers/record labels. I can imagine him with a smirk on his face as he says, “the line here is, ‘while off in the distance the smokestacks were belching back this city’s best answer.’” That’s a great worship lyric.

I tend to think honesty matters more than catchy.

19   John Hughes    
August 18th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I’ve been involved in church music all my life, including various stints as worship leader. I too, enjoy a full spectrum of musical styles. We currently attend a “blended” service at a large Houston mega church, with choir, praise team, praise band + full live orchestra so we have a pretty rich musical program.

My main complaint with the use of todays “Chrisitian Top 40″ as congregational worship songs is their unsingability for the average worshiper. The majority of these songs seem to be written by and for tenors and 9 times out of 10 the congregation ends up as spectators instead of participants.

To me it’s simple. If it is a congregational song then it needs to be singable by the average joe. It’s not rocket science but it amazes me how our worship leaders (who are usually tenors) are oblivious to this a lot of the time.

Side note: we have currently added “Our God” to our cadre of congregational songs. I would rate it a 6 out of 10 for singability.

We also sing “Healing in Your Hands” and I would rate that 10 out of 10. It is imminantely singable with a manageable range.

20   John Hughes    
August 18th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Worst worship song ever: “Hold Me Close to You”.

Gag me with a double does of schmaltz and then slap me out of my sugar induced coma.

No mention of a deity whatsoever. Might as well be singing it to my wife.

21   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 18th, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Jerry,

I recall Rich talking to us (my youth minister & my family) right after Amy Grant recorded “Praise to the Lord”, and discussing the changes she made to the song. Not to say that all of them torqued him off, but a couple of them he seemed pretty worked up over:

1) She completely removed the bridge, which was almost word-for-word taken from Psalm 113;

2) She changed the words “Madding Crowd” (a reference to the Thomas Hardy novel) in the third verse to “mad’dning crowd” (which loses the original meaning).

As for word choices, I don’t know of any more than one song that includes the word “mendicants” (Mullins) or “antonym” (Crowder)…

My main complaint with the use of todays “Chrisitian Top 40? as congregational worship songs is their unsingability for the average worshiper. The majority of these songs seem to be written by and for tenors and 9 times out of 10 the congregation ends up as spectators instead of participants.

This is somewhat true, though with a tighter range, a song need not be Tenor/Soprano only – it just requires shifting the key. Tomlin’s song “How Can I Keep From Singing” has a wide range, and can be a Tenor/Soprano-only song if you start it in the wrong key (which I’ve done at least once, in a camp setting). With Tomlin, in general, our church drops his songs a couple of steps in pitch, which is about right for a cross-section of congregants.

With that said, though, the lyrics and flow of “Christian Top 40″ do not always lend themselves to congregational worship (thinking primarily of Casting Crowns and similar bands). Many of the songs are not really designed for a community worship service, and seem stilted when inserted into a song set. And even so, you don’t want your normal rotation of songs to vary so widely that everyone’s constantly learning a new song (which hampers the teaching and participatory elements of musical worship)…

22   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 18th, 2010 at 5:31 pm

We may be missing the point. Is the singer of a worship song actually worshiping from the heart? If a person worships to a doctrinally challenged song, while another person just sings a “orthodox” song, which one does God desire and receive.

In the end it is about the heart and not so much the structure, key, and doctrinal particulars – especially when most of the song is Scripture itself.

23   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 18th, 2010 at 5:47 pm

If a person worships to a doctrinally challenged song, while another person just sings a “orthodox” song, which one does God desire and receive.

I’m not sure that really gets to any of the points made here – I’m examining this topic from the standpoint of a worship leader selecting how to lead, and with which songs – not trying to judge the hearts of the singers.

As a music leader, it is no less important to be doctrinally sound than for the teaching portion of a corporate service to be doctrinally sound.

In the end it is about the heart and not so much the structure, key, and doctrinal particulars – especially when most of the song is Scripture itself.

Well, then, why not just toss a bunch of Scriptures and Christianese words into a hat, pick some at random and slap them against a catchy hook & driving beat? If you assume that the only purpose and influence of music is the moment in which it is sung in corporate worship, then you’re right – a gauzy collection of platitudes with “Jesus” or “God” tossed in now and then will be sufficient, since it is only the heart matters. Why even bother translating the words to English, in fact? Let’s just sing in Latin/Hebrew/Greek…

I think there’s a strong case to be made, though, that corporate worship is not really about the individual and the “heart” of the individual, but about the corporate recognition and worship of Jesus. As such, it is also a time in which what is said & sung is a form of instruction to the congregation, because music is far more “sticky” (i.e. consciously recalled and subconsciously applied) than simple words. As such, there is a responsibility of leadership to most fully utilize this time for the glory of God, rather than as a time to entertain or to pass off shoddy theology as acceptable if it’s got a pretty tune.

24   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 18th, 2010 at 5:56 pm

“As such, there is a responsibility of leadership to most fully utilize this time for the glory of God, rather than as a time to entertain or to pass off shoddy theology as acceptable if it’s got a pretty tune.”

I know many ODM sites that have used almost the same principle.

Shoddy theology = that which I find shoddy. Many would include men like Bell well within that description. Music is expansive and we should take care not to think more of ours than we ought. It usually implies or outright decries divine approval of mine and divine disapproval of yours.

25   Joe    http://christianresearchnetwork.com/index.php?s=john+chisham
August 18th, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Speaking of implying divine approval and direct revelation, have you seen Ken’s missive called “the gloves must come off?”
*Hi Ken*

26   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 18th, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Shoddy theology = that which I find shoddy. Many would include men like Bell well within that description. Music is expansive and we should take care not to think more of ours than we ought. It usually implies or outright decries divine approval of mine and divine disapproval of yours.

Rick

It’s possible that you’ve missed the audience/intent of the article – my assumption is that you have some level of control over the music selection (not that you are a worshiper w/ no connection to the worship leadership). So, in this case, “shoddy theology” = theological messages/teaching that is contrary to that which the worship community leadership would present in their expository teaching to the congregation. In this particular case (”Our God”), I believe that the leadership in my particular non-denominational denomination churches would generally disagree with the usage of “If our God is for us, who can stand against us?” in application to personal and national conflicts – a subtext that seems fairly wide open in the song. As such, I would want them to have the ability to provide such context if we were ever going to use the song in a worship setting.

[In the case of "In the Garden", the whole thing is pretty dodgy and "Jesus is my best friendy...", so I would not choose it (from the expansive plethora of choices) over hundreds of other songs which are focused on worship and convey our relationship to Jesus (if that is thematically appropriate with the rest of the worship service).]

I’m not condemning someone’s choice of this particular song (”Our God”) for their church’s worship – I’m just saying that I (as a worship leader) would not choose to use it in a normal worship setting, without any context. Sure it’s pretty, and it’s musically powerful, but I believe that there are factors beyond “it sounds good and people will like it” in choosing music for your church’s worship setting…

27   John Hughes    
August 19th, 2010 at 8:19 am

Chris L,

Filed under the “It’s a Small World” category: I have sung several times at the Milligan Chapel. Milligan used to hold an annual regional high school choir weekend workshop and performance. I could have slept over in your dorm room. ‘-)

28   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
August 19th, 2010 at 10:00 am

Filed under the “It’s a Small World” category: I have sung several times at the Milligan Chapel. Milligan used to hold an annual regional high school choir weekend workshop and performance. I could have slept over in your dorm room. ‘-)

Wow…

I’ve got some stories about that building (and practical jokes) that are probably best saved for later :)

As for staying in my room – I was in the dorm that the administration would NEVER consider allowing prospective students to visit. They finally raised enough money to tear it down in ‘92, so now it’s just a memorial wall and a parking lot… :( [Pardee Rowdies Rule!]

29   John Hughes    
August 19th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

They finally raised enough money to tear it down in ‘92,

Hey you forget I’m an old geezer. That would have been in ‘71 – 73′.

30   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 19th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

“The gloves must come off.”

I hope not my proctologist.

31   Neil    
August 19th, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Speaking of implying divine approval and direct revelation, have you seen Ken’s missive called “the gloves must come off?”

i have now… and it seems to be more of the same name calling. Nothing new. Nothing relevant. Nothing worth bothering about.

32   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
August 19th, 2010 at 9:19 pm

I disagree. The gloves must come off so to speak. We are on the down-slope of the new downgrade. Only people who are fooled by the Bells, McLarens, Pagitts, and Jones’ of the world cannot see this.

33   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 20th, 2010 at 4:43 am

The melodrama is almost embarrassing. “The Lord told me…” and “I want the world to know the Lord told me”. I guess the “gloves must come off” also means to self promote.

When Jesus said we should be a light to the world I guess He meant use gunpowder.

34   nathan    
August 20th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

well…back to the awesome worship discussion…

we just created a “Top 30″ of songs we’ll be singing for the 2010-2011 regular ministry season (8 months).

We chose songs from a wide range of sources. We also didn’t include hymns in the list, but made a master list of hymns too. So, in reality, we’ll have about 40-50 songs to draw from.

We used theological content, accessiblity (singable, etc. etc.), tone/genre (upbeat, anthemns, ballads, spiritual songs, etc.), along with some other considerations to choose the music we would use.

Out of the top 30 we’ll have about 15 that will be new and will probably carry over into 2011-2012…depending on how they are received and if they continue to help us say the things our community needs to say to God in worship.

all that being said…we’ve generally walked away from the Passion/Chris Tomlin material.

We feel like it’s totally played out, not feeling fresh, and there are some great resources out there that help expose us to a wide range of writers beyond what you hear on Xian radio–which me and my team generally avoid like the plague. ;)

We also have nurtured songwriters and about 15% of our music comes from “in house”…these songs have particular resonance since they rise from our own local context.

My vote for WORST worship song:

Your Love is Extravagant.

ick. double ick.
it actually makes me gag more than any “missive” from any of the online christianist taliban. and that’s saying a lot.

35   nathan    
August 20th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

btw, I highly recommend the Song Discovery CD’s that come from Worshi Together.

We don’t always get something useable from every CD that comes in the subscription, but it does expand our horizons beyond the radio airplay stuff out there and the McWorld Christian business.