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Do Church Worship Bands Keep People From Singing?

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Worship music and church worship bands have won the Sunday morning song battle – there’s no question about that. Even in big traditional services, I’ve seen choirs in robes singing modern worship songs. (Admittedly, it looks strange to have a robed choir trying to be cool).

Make no mistake, I love worship music. My wife Kathleen and I often play it in the car driving around Los Angeles, and I listen to it from my phone on the road. But I also grew up before the worship music era. Back then I grew up playing the piano in church and signing classic hymns, so I have the perspective from both sides of the fence – and here’s what I’ve observed.

Do Church Worship Bands Keep People From Singing?

Worship music and church worship bands have given a platform to remarkable musicians in the church. I’m amazed at the skill level of many church singers and band members. And with more and more school music programs being dropped, church is becoming a powerful draw to young people interested in pursuing music. The Fender Guitar company recently released a study that confirms that one third of the guitars sold in America are sold to members of church worship bands.

Worship music has gained the respect of music lovers outside the church as well. Numerous worship albums have been recognized by The Grammy Awards, as well as received other secular honors. Whether they identify with the spiritual aspects or not, they recognize the high quality and excellence of many Christian artists.

It’s just good music. While I do have a beef with some simplistic songs (particularly those that repeat a single line 50 times or others that aren’t even scriptural), much in the genre is very engaging. Plus there’s a wide range of worship styles which makes it even more widely received and accepted.

But I do have one issue: The congregation doesn’t sing anymore.

In most churches today, the worship time has become a concert. People love the music, but they don’t know the words, and so they just watch. I visit churches pretty much for a living, and as I look around during the services, the vast numbers of the congregation are watching the stage and listening – not singing.