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Saying Goodbye: David Crowder

Back to the Vulgate?
Yet Crowder admits, some of that mystery also came from the services being presented in a language other than what the people were speaking. Martin Luther felt strongly about this issue (obviously not in favor of it), as do many people of faith today. There is a time to discover which worship practices are becoming idols in and of themselves. And, this is a contemporary issue as much as a traditional one. It’s not just a question of when should we trade the organ for a guitar it’s also have our projected motion visualscapes covering the entire back wall of the sanctuary become a distraction?

“For us it’s always been we want whatever we’re doing to be an authentic extension of what we are about,” says Crowder. “So if, as musicians and humans, we are exploring different ideas and sounds, it should come out in how we lead. It’s authentically part of who we are. But if the motive is ‘we want to be cutting edge,’ it feels contrived. It works when it’s an extension of who we are, and we can’t help but explore how to move people through this or that media. There is a very significant shift that happens with a change of motivation, and the results between the two are almost polar opposites of each other.

“So I think that’s why a lot of times you go into a setting and the creativity feels very contrived. And there are other moments where you go in and it honestly moves you. I really feel like there’s an authenticity there that is all based on motive. But on the other side, I also feel like there’s an equal falseness to just tear rituals down because we feel guilty for having them there. The key is not to build or tear down media, but to find humans that are part of our community that God has gifted in unique ways and allow them to express their giftings in a visible way to move us as a community. If that is happening, you don’t have to worry about the falseness.”

Saying Goodbye
As worship leaders, as pastors, as people who simply live in this world, it is important to examine if our hearts are truly passionate about our mediums of displaying Christ or if we are simply drawing lines between numbered dots because that is what we have done for so long. As Crowder says, it’s a matter of authenticity. And where the David Crowder*Band is concerned, this question recently became more poignant, and it began the process of tearing down the ritual of David Crowder*Band.

“We have always had a bizarrely long term vision in terms of our six records,” shares Crowder. “But we could never see past record six. And we would talk and talk about it wondering what could be next. But as we were about to start this last record, we decided that we really needed to sit and think and pray and talk to the people around us and figure out if we are going to continue doing this just because it works. Or if we should be open to something new. After some time, everybody came back and there was a real cohesion and sense among all of us: ‘Yeah, this is it. This is the end. And it is painful.’

“But as scary as it sounded, we knew we were going to have another chapter coming. We have talked about the band as a sentence, and now, we are at the end of the sentence. It’s time to put a period on it. But after the full stop, it will be time to write a new sentence. And I hope the best sentence is yet to be written.”

“Now we realize that there’s almost a multiplication in what we are able to do,” continues Crowder. “All the guys want to keep making music and have even already started working on stuff. That part is really exciting. And for myself, I’ll continue to live the way I’m wired. And I feel like I’m wired to help figure out ways to serve the Church musically.”

Of course of all our rituals, one of the most complex is understanding that there is a time to say hello, and a time to say goodbye. The David Crowder*Band has chosen their final record, Give Us Rest (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]), to represent their goodbye, “And it’s all centered around the Eucharist,” finishes Crowder. “And so we thought, man, this is a great place to finish things up—to just come back around this. I guess the period at the end of the sentence would be Christ and his sacrifice, and his in-dwelling.”

That sounds about right for a faithful band of worship leaders who have continually moved forward in creativity while relentlessly keeping the focus on Christ and his victory. Maybe we should call it an exclamation point.  

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