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Towards a Church Culture of Creativity: Part 1 of 2

Updated: Jul 1

Is it fair to call a lot of live church worship music 'Christian karaoke'? I read an article in which the author encouraged readers to contemplate whether much of the current live church worship music is more like "Christian karaoke". While this isn't an accurate comparison, the question raises some valid points to consider. In my opinion, it's primarily a question about creativity and originality. Overall, church worship music is chosen to lead the congregation in worship and facilitate an atmosphere of devotion and reverence. The primary focus is on the lyrics and using music to connect with God. These are commendable goals and are not in question. The problem is that much of today's live church worship music involves team members listening to an audio recording or reading sheet music or chords and replicating the song as closely as possible. While I, like many others, appreciate hearing a familiar tune that has helped me connect with God before, or enjoy learning a new song, the lack of originality is problematic. Every song we sing at church, programs, or events was written by either one person or a group of people. However, most of the time, if not all the time, these songwriters are not from our church or area. The writing, sharing and leading of an original worship song by such a staff or lay person may sound something like, "I'd like to share a new song that I wrote. I was reading [scripture passage] and [these words] stood out to me and made me reflect on..." or "I was walking downtown and found myself thinking about how God is...". Messages, or sermons or homilies in church services are generally original, as are dance performances that are included in some services. Most church communities can do more to foster a culture of artistic creation in music, drama, and other forms of art. I'll explore some ways that we might approach this in a future post (Part 2 - next week).

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