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Archive for September 2009

Sunday Setlists 09/27/09

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This is part of Fred McKinnon’s Sunday Setlist series. I play electric guitar on our team, and sing a little.

This Sunday was absolutely awesome! We’ve recently made a change to our Sunday morning rehearsal in which we spend the first 20-30 minutes just worshiping as a team, usually with just one person on acoustaic guitar or keys, and everyone else singing.  It has made a real difference. As it has been said, “You can’t lead people to a place you’ve never been.” Going into the presence of God ahead of the congregation (so to speak) makes it that much easier to lead them there when the service starts.

The Time Has Come – Hillsong United

Dancing Generation – Matt Redman
At the beginning of the service, a bunch of the youth came to the front to worship/dance, and it totally electrified the atmosphere, and when we started this song, the church just flew off the handle! It was great. I’ve NEVER seen that many people dancing in our church! In fact, it startled me a little. For the first few measures I was focusing on the guitar part and so didn’t look up, but then when I did, the whole church was bouncing up and down. It was awesome to see the church cutting loose!

Salvation is Here – Hillsong United

Greatest Gift – Matt Redman

Here in Your Presence – New Life Worship
This is the second Sunday we played this song. Last time, we didn’t really play it well, I don’t think, but this Sunday we nailed it. And what was even better, the congregation really entered in. I mean REALLY! It was truly a breakthrough Sunday, and it was awesome to be a part of it. Without question, this will become a favorite.

You Never Let Go – Matt Redman

Offering:

Revolution – Hillsong United
Fast, fast, fast. But tons of fun to play!

Written by jeffrossman

September 28, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Worship and Technology

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Yes I love technology
But not as much as you, you see
But I still love technology
Always and forever

I recently read a little bit of an article about the use of technology in worship – I only read a little bit because it made me angry. Here’s what I read:

“The importance of any technology is found in its utility. This is especially true in our worship communities and events. What can it do to solve a problem or meet a need? If you have technology being used without this focus, you have given way to gadgetry.” (see it in context)

Let me say this up front – I wholeheartedly disagree. That being said, I also understand where the author of this article is coming from. It is possible to get sidetracked with technology. But isn’t it also possible to get sidetracked with the music? Or the preaching? Or any individual element of the service? The reality is that whenever we lose focus on the only worthy Object of our worship, we have become sidetracked, and thus that emphasis, wherever it is placed, becomes a distraction. Be it technology or otherwise.

So what exactly was the problem I had with the above statement? The problem I have with it is that it utterly left out the immense potential of using technology as a creative outlet. The article wasn’t all bad, but to reduce technology to its “utility” is a gross underestimation of its potential. What is the utility of a painting? Or a sonnet? Or a piece of music? None of these have any sort of utility or practical use whatsoever, because art exists on a non-utilitarian plane. Art is an expression of the soul, and our soulish/spiritual impulses are rarely utilitarian. In fact, often those impulses defy utility! I’m a musician, and every now and then I try my hand (and usually fail) at writing a song. I will spend hours hammering out the chords, the lyrics, the melody, and then go back and make minor adjustments, and then major ones, and then I scrap it all and try it from a completely different angle, and so on. From a utilitarian viewpoint, those hours were lost (especially since I rarely come out of that time with anything good). The rational part of me screams about what a waste of time it was to try and write a song, “Think of all the other useful things you could have been doing!” And yet something else in me feels strangely fulfilled and happy, despite my apparent failure. I actually ENJOYED the process! So, technology has the same potential.

If technology is ONLY permissible in worship if it is utilitarian, then why do we put pretty background images behind the lyrics displayed on the screen? It is because we acknowledge that on some level, “pretty” is better than “boring.” However, utility is rarely, if ever, beautified – because beauty serves no function. Art has no practical purpose.

I personally believe that if we could get the people who run our sound systems, and operate the lights, and who run the lyrics, to begin to view themselves as artists, adding beauty and artistry to the worship experience through their several duties – rather than automatons fulfilling some utilitarian function, we might actually get better results out of them. When you view someone’s job as little more than an unfortunate necessity, they will probably feel the same about it.

Someone once said that our projector screens are the modern day “stained-glass windows.” Most people scoff at that idea, but imagine the possibilities!

Someone once insinuated that the sound system is as much an instrument as a guitar, or keyboard, and the sound person is putting on a performance just as much as the people up front. What if we chose to really believe that, and what if our sound technicians really started to believe that?

What if we viewed the lights in our sanctuary as serving a function other than simply illuminating the darkness. After all, the whole idea of the stained glass window was to change the color and shape of the light that came into the sanctuary – now we have almost unlimited capability to do the same with modern lighting equipment.

All of these things are utterly un-utilitarian, and yet they all have incredible potential to enhance the worship experience for those who attend our churches. And that’s my two cents.

Written by jeffrossman

September 10, 2009 at 8:05 pm