If there was ever anything that was cause for very diverse views among church parishioners it is the subject of appropriate music in church. There is no doubt that music plays a huge role in modern day churches. Just how that music must be done is cause for serious debate.
Here is the crux of the debate.
If we are going to make church relevant and appealing today to younger people, then we have to have music in the church that they are able to enjoy and relate to. On the other hand, music which is loud and modern can sometimes place emphasis on the wrong things, and can become more like entertainment than worship. It can also leave a lot of the older folk stone cold. So how do we mix the two? How do we reach the younger generation while also keeping the “oldies” happy.
I can’t really come up with a solution, and every church will find their own ideal style, but I can give my opinion. Music in the church is supposed to be all about worship. People need to be moved to worship by the music. So it should never be so professional that everyone comes and attends a concert. But music can be brilliant and excellent and moving and all those things and still lead people into worship.
On the other hand, just because you sing older, more traditional songs in the church dos not automatically mean that this will lead people into worship, because the “words are better”. I think a lot has to do with the worship leader / band leader, who must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Then the music must be done in such a way that it centres the attention on God, and not on the brilliance of the lead vocals or the lead band member. I have been in services with one person on guitar and found myself easily able to worship, and I have also been in churches with massive bands with drum kits and lights and smoke machines and have also been able to worship.
It really is not about the loudness or the style. It is about the presence of God. I believe that God can work with any music, from the old organ to a tape machine to a massive band. God moves by His Holy Spirit and changes the mood / atmosphere when He finds people who love and worship him.
I personally love a blend of old and new songs. I love up tempo songs with a good band, but I also love it when things go really quiet and contemplative. God is not in the music. God dwells in the hearts or people but uses music to draw us to him.