Sheer Volume

A topic that comes up regularly at church is the volume of worship. With a congregation as large an varied as we have at CCLS, it becomes an impossibility to make everyone happy. We have senior citizens that would like it to be fairly quiet, some are not entirely convinced we need drums. Others, want a rocking worship experience, these folks are usually the ones that are younger, or maybe more pentecostal in their church experience.

There is a lot of variety in what is currently happening in modern church worship. Some are quiet and reflective. Some are upbeat, youthful, and loud. Some are like a concert. Some are like a bad Vegas act. (see cable TV)

Over the last couple decades Kelley and I have come up with unwritten policy as far as what we want to see at CCLS. Borrowing from Star Trek, I call these things “Prime Directives” for worship. Here they are.

  1. As far as volume goes, we want two things: The worship leaders to be able to hear the congregation singing, and the congregation to feel like their voice is part of the whole. We believe that this is a “happy medium” and will best accomplish the second thing…
  2. We want our worship experience to be comfortable for as many as possible, and to have a “family feel.” That is, that it is not a professional show. We are not striving for musical excellence, but intimacy. While we do not like a lot of mistakes, or sound issues, we also realize that they will happen, and they often serve to remind us of our humanity.
  3. The goal of our worship time is not enjoyable music, but an authentic time of intimacy with Jesus and celebration of God’s goodness and blessings. Music, is only the vehicle to get us to that destination.
  4. We don’t allow distractions like dancing, waving etc. Usually folks who come from a more expressive background take a while to figure this out. We like people to be thinking about God, not the guy in front of them waving his arms in rapture. We do allow folks to raise their hands as this is a biblical expression of worship, we just discourage distractions.

I would love to get your comments and feedback on this issue. -Jim

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