Worship fan mail…

I’ve been putting off doing this blog thing for years, but I really must dive in. I’m excited about doing my first webinar for Worship Leader magazine today, and need to get a link posted for one of my references. I’m going to finally give it a try.

I’ve spent a good portion of the last 10 years working on resources for worship planning: Scriptural references, assigning topics to songs, writing suggested spoken intros for the songs, devotionals on contemporary worship songs, creating hundreds of sample worship sets for leaders to consider, and selecting songs to be used in collections, downloadable sites, and put in current hymnals.

As a worship leader and teacher myself, I want that planning process to be easier and easier.  There are so many great resources out there, so many songs that could be used, but it is very tough to keep track of them.

“Of the making of worship songs, there is no end.”  Ecclesiasticals 3:12 (Heumann version)

And even when you select them, everyone has a strong opinion on them (whether they’re entitled to it, or not!). I’ve discovered, though, that as Solomon said, “there is nothing new under the sun.”  Maybe you can relate to these notes…

A newsletter prepared by the Lutheran Hymnal Project of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has noted that the following item was recently included in the Texas District supplement to the Lutheran Witness:

“Please! NO more new hymns. What’s wrong with the inspiring hymns with which we grew up? When I go to church, it’s to worship God, not be distracted with learning a new hymn. Last Sunday’s was particularly unnerving. While the text was good, the tune was quite unsingable and the harmonies were quite discordant.” (This letter was written in 1890, and the hymn that elicited the complaint was “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”)

“Was it the organist’s idea or yours that our peaceful worship service was shattered by that new hymn last Sunday? The music was sacrilegious; something one would expect to hear in a den of iniquity, not a church! Don’t expect me even to attempt to sing it next time!” (I Love To Tell The Story – written in 1874)

“Pastor, I am not a music scholar, but I feel I know appropriate church music when I hear it. Last Sunday’s new hymn, if you call it that, sounded like a sentimental love ballad one might expect to hear crooned in a saloon. If you persist in exposing us to rubbish like this in God’s house, don’t be surprised if many of the faithful look for a new place to worship. The hymns we grew up with are all we need.” (Just As I Am – letter dated 1865)

The Stanza, Vol. 27,No. 2, Fall 2003

We are not alone!

(PS: this quote has been attributed to Nicky Gumbel of the Alpha Course, who quoted it in a sermon, but I was able to trace the source to “The Stanza,” but have not found the publication on-line, just a quote from it.)

4 Replies to “Worship fan mail…”

    1. Thanks for venturing to a very new blog, Kevin, and thanks for your kind comments. I hope we’ll see you again on November 19 when I cover the rest of the notes.

      Interesting that you should comment here, as my wife’s mother lives literally right behind your building there in Conway, and her sister and family just a few blocks away off Tyler! We’re there frequently (she attends Second Baptist), and maybe we could have coffee with you when we’re out there again! Blessing to you!

      1. (Sorry it took me so long to reply. I didn’t have the box checked that would notify my via email of follow-up comments.)

        Wow! That means she lives very close to me & my wife since we live in the neighborhood behind the church as well! Very cool!

        I’d love to get together the next time you’re in town. Just shoot me an email at kmckelvy@fellowshipconway.org, and I can give you my cell phone number from there.

        I plan to listen to the recording of your next webinar. Our staff meetings are usually on Monday afternoon, so I won’t be able to attend live.

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