Over the past two years I have been helping a friend launch a new service at the church he pastors in Toronto. It has been a very interesting experience as I have had the opportunity to implement a strategy for church worship that I believe strongly in. The strategy aligns with my philosophy, derived from the Bible, that worship should be done excellently (see Psalm 33:3) In essence instead of hiring one worship leader we have been bringing in four excellent musicians, one of which is a worship leader, every Sunday. You can imagine, it is a great experience, and solves a common issue with start-ups or small churches: poor music.
Yesterday was another amazing day playing with my friends Eric and Rick and my old friend Kevin Birch. Playing music at a high level is inspirational in and of itself, and I think the effect of great musicality is often lost in the philosophy of worship in the church in general these days. Too many churches value participation over excellence at the expense of properly informed views on Biblical worship. Please note I am referring specifically to the musical expression of worship, but excellence should apply to all our offerings of worship to God.
Although I receive a fair amount of criticism for this view, it should be noted that I do not hold this view vacuous of other Biblical truth. I believe in the importance of the heart and spiritual maturity of leaders, but all cannot be covered in one post. What I think can be agreed on by all those involved in this service is that the out-workings of the philosophy have been reflected to the benefit of this church service plant within a church. In essence, the music is a non-issue every week. Although it is excellent, it simply facilitates worship, does not hinder, does not create debate, it simply serves the church. The musical competence creates a loving barrier to those that might want to hi-jack the worship agenda with any other. We simply worship in spirit and truth with excellence. Who can really criticize that?