A music directors journey away from CCM

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by Salty, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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  2. FriendofSpurgeon

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    Thanks --- good article. Personally, I enjoy both hymns and contemporary songs. However, I think "our kids" are missing a lot when they don't ever sing the great hymns of the faith. Our church (Presbyterian) has a good blend of traditional/contemporary music - even in our contemporary service. The music at our son's church (Baptist) is overwhelmingly contemporary. Then again, the average age is less than 30.
     
  3. JohnDeereFan

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    When we planted our church back in 2008, we put our foot down and decided we would not have contemporary music.

    I'm not against contemporary music. If you look at the "what are you listening to now" thread, you'll see that I listen to a very wide assortment of contemporary music.

    But we said no for a couple of reasons. It's just not a good vehicle for the message and most contemporary Christian music is (a) shallow, (b) theologically weak, at best, and (c) just not very good.
     
  4. FriendofSpurgeon

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    While some contemporary music may be shallow theologically, I'm not sure that most of it is. In fact, contemporary lyrics may be more meaningful to today's culture than singing about a "balm in Gilead."

    A lot of it may involve knowing your congregation. A friend once told me that if he were planting a church in Africa, then it would be unlikely that he would have organ music. I think the same logic applies here. At my son's church, the music is overwhelmingly contemporary, but you have loads of 18-30 year olds coming every week to hear the Gospel.
     
  5. Reynolds

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    Our church has split 2 times in 4 years over the style music people want in worship. Music can be a strong foothold for Satan to use to cause division. Music style is not worth turning a 500+active member church into a 125 "active member" church of which a good third of those "active members" come about once a month. The ironic thing is that the church is 1/4th its pre music fight size and is still split about 50/50 on music style.
     
  6. FriendofSpurgeon

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    Very very sad.
     
  7. JohnDeereFan

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    And what about those of us over thirty who want church to be for grownups? We have hymns and we grew from 24 people to nearly 400 people in just a couple of years.
     
  8. OnlyaSinner

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    While some contemporary music may be shallow theologically, I'm not sure that most of it is. In fact, contemporary lyrics may be more meaningful to today's culture than singing about a "balm in Gilead."

    Not sure that citing a spiritual from the days of slavery is the best example, but there are certainly some theologically shallow songs in "traditional" hymnals, and modern songs with lots of biblical "meat" rather than milk. My personal issue with a goodly portion of contemporary Christian music is how strongly its style matches that of rock musicians who openly flaunt their immoral lifestyles. If the stories of Mozart's "playboy" lifestyle are true and I had lived in 1785, I probably would not have wanted his wonderful music in church either, lest its association with openly sinful conduct be a stumbling block. 230 years later, that association is no longer a real issue. (And there is no intent whatsoever to liken Mozart to current pop and rock musicians!)
     
  9. Salty

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    :thumbsup:
    and I trust that now your church has expanded its ministry by starting new churchs!

    Salty

    ps - oopps thats for a different thread.
     
  10. JohnDeereFan

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    We had always planned to, when it got this bit, but we're so far out in the country that it's a bit of a challenge.
     
  11. wpe3bql

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    Music, be it "Religious" or "Secular," will probably always be a point of contention among humans.

    Take your typical Church of Christ---instrumental music during worship services is taboo. Vocal music, OTOH, is "of the Lord." About the only positive thing I draw from that is that their singers sing very well....Maybe because they don't have any piano/organ/guitar, etc., to help them "carry a tune."

    Then there's the CCM vs. hymns only. As others have already posted, there's good and not so good elements in both. I do enjoy some of the "more mellow" CCM. My point is that I really don't think the Holy Spirit stopped "inspiring" people to compose music after, say, 1950. Surely He didn't say something to the effect that the intervening 65 years "I'm not going to allow anyone, any where & under any conditions whatsoever to compose music!!"

    My musical tastes can't be "put in a box." Personally, for the past 45+ years I've really grown to enjoy "classical" music. As far as I know, I don't think any of the "classical" composers were IFB/KJVO.

    But men such as J.S. Bach and G. F. Handel were certainly used of God to compose some pretty good works. Handel's Messiah is considered by some to be "the crowning achievement of all English sacred music."

    Nothing can change my sometimes gloomy personality better than listening to a 1966 performance by Sir Colin Davis conducting the London Symphony Orchestra & Choir in Messiah's grand choral finale "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain" and "Amen."

    Bach wrote many cantatas that were based on Biblical themes.

    Felix Mendelsohn supposedly converted from being a Jew [He was a direct descendant of the Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelsohn.] to Lutheranism. He even hyphenated his last name to be "-Barthodody" so the Germans wouldn't think he was still a Jew. His D Minor Symphony #5 (a/k/a "The Reformation Symphony") takes Luther's "Ein feste burg ist under Gott" ("A Mighty Fortress is Our God") in the symphony's fourth movement and "does wonders" with it.

    Franz Joseph Haydn wrote many works that convey Biblical themes. Within his "Emperor" String Quartet one hears the tune for our "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken."

    Even Ludwig Van Beethoven's Symphony #9 ("Choral") provides the musical basis of our hymn "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" (Although that wasn't Beethoven's "original intent").

    Enough about classical music, though.

    I have before me The Complete Book of Hymns: Inspiring Stories About 600 Hymns and Praise Songs by William J. & Ardythe Petersen. This 690 page book was published by Tyndale in 2006.

    In its contents you'll find the story behind, for example, the 1988 Rich Mullins' "Awesome God" [p. 15]; Bob Fitts' 1984 "Blessed be the Lord God Almighty" [p. 17-18]; Terry Macalmon's 1989 "I Sing Praises to Your Name" [p. 38]; and Henry Smith's 1978 "Give Thanks" [p. 658].

    Of course there's plenty more "Praise Songs" you'll find within the book's two inches.

    My point is that just because a song is "new" does not, per se, mean it's "satanic" any more than, say, the music of our "Star-Spangled Banner" is.

    Anyway, "That's My Story, and I'm Sticking With It!!" :thumbsup:
     
  12. Salty

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    Saying you Typical COC... is incorrect as many COC's do use instrumental music
     
  13. wpe3bql

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    Okay, I stand corrected on that. My statement was based primarily on (1) Most Church of Christ congregations in my area still do not use instruments in their corporate worship services (Some will use a woodwind instrument [a/k/a pitch pipe]); and (2) I worked for many years with a "lay person" of a Church of Christ that is located about 30 miles away from our work center, and he also verified that his Church of Christ never (& still doesn't) use instruments in its corporate worship services.

    In my "home area" in SE PA I don't believe there are any "Churches of Christ." We do have what's known as United Churches of Christ, but they are completely different. UCC's came about as a result of a series of Protestant denominational mergers in the middle 1950's (1957 I believe).
     
  14. FriendofSpurgeon

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    At our son's church, they do something very interesting. Each week, they list the various songs that were sung on Sunday and how they fit into the sermon. Contemporary or traditional, I think that it's a great idea. Here's an example of a few of them.

    Death In His Grave: We sang this song to reflect once again on the fact that the death and resurrection of Jesus changed the course of human life--that the end goal of human existence is no longer death, but resurrection.

    It Is Well: This song offers a sense of perspective in the face of grief by claiming that regardless of what happens in the world around us, we can be unflinchingly joyful about the future. Though this is true, I mentioned yesterday that this can come off as somewhat dismissive of the pain that we feel in the midst of evil, and that Jesus' response to the death of Lazarus in John 11 tells us that the fact that things are going to be ok does not mean that they are currently ok, and we do not have to pretend that they are. With this in mind, when we sing about the future hope that we have in Christ, let us not do so looking past our present pain, but rather into it, saying, "This too is being redeemed by God."

    Lord, I Need You: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at the songs is working within us to transform us into people who live like Christ. We sang this song to remind ourselves of this, and to express our awareness of our dependence upon God.

    Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.
     
  15. OnlyaSinner

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    [It Is Well: This song offers a sense of perspective in the face of grief by claiming that regardless of what happens in the world around us, we can be unflinchingly joyful about the future. Though this is true, I mentioned yesterday that this can come off as somewhat dismissive of the pain that we feel in the midst of evil, and that Jesus' response to the death of Lazarus in John 11 tells us that the fact that things are going to be ok does not mean that they are currently ok, and we do not have to pretend that they are. With this in mind, when we sing about the future hope that we have in Christ, let us not do so looking past our present pain, but rather into it, saying, "This too is being redeemed by God."]

    It's helpful in avoiding this reaction if one knows the circcumstances under which this hymn was written. Mr. Spafford had just suffered losses that were remarkably similar to those described in the 1st chapter of Job, loss of children and loss of worldly goods from causes as disparate as a shipwreck and the Chicago fire. Yet, as you've implied, he can rejoice that his sin "is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more."
     
  16. Salty

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    Here in the Greater Salt City area there are about a dozen COC's only one is non-instrumenta.


    Quite correct

    Congregational church (traces back to Pilgrims) Merged with the Christian Church (founded over a period of time. One of the first founders was Methodist James O'Kelly withdrew when thte Methodist developed into an episcopacy.

    Congregational-Christian church (1931)

    Evangelical Church started by Lutheran minsters in 1840

    Reformed church organized in 1793

    Evangelical&Reformed church (1934)

    UCC - 8 Jul 1959

    Today - an extremely liberal group

    info taken from Handbook of Denominations - 9th edition by Frank S. Mead
     
  17. wpe3bql

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  18. wpe3bql

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    Just a sincere question, so please take it in the spirit in which I ask this:

    Integrity Music (You can Google It for more details, etc.) "once had" (Not sure if they still do.) two CDs by Don Moen--"God With Us" and "God for Us."

    Both were recorded live "somewhere."

    Both of them are, for lack of a better description, "blended," i.e., there are some wonderful hymns along with "the 'dreaded' CCM."

    "God With Us" is primarily based around Don Moen's now-classic song, "God Will Make a Way When There Seems to be No Way." The story behind how God gave this song to him is quite moving in many ways.

    "God For Us" is primarily based on Bro. Moen's subsequent, and by now, also a classic song (but with a more "country/western style) "God Is Good, All the Time."

    Both have heart-breaking testimonies by people who were affected by each respective song and an interesting Bible-based narrative of how Jesus is: (1) With Us throughout His Word, and, (2) Why you can trust Jesus to be "For You." [NOTE: If you're not praising Jesus by the end of this narrative, well, Brother, maybe you need to analyze the reason(s) why you're not.]

    Moreover, "God For Us" has a concluding "Praise" chorus, "Hallelujah To The Lamb," is a more (shudder) "Contemporary(!)" version of George Frederick Handel's conclusion to the second part of his 1730s-1740s oratorio Messiah, known as the "Hallelujah" chorus. (IMHO, I'm thinking that "Herr Handel" [He was from Germany.] might just approve of "Hallelujah To The Lamb.").

    Both of these works are usually classified as "Praise and Worship Music" productions which today seems to be a sub set of CCM---which, "some" will say is the antithesis of the great yesteryear(s) from, say 1950 and backwards. (Whether you personally and/or your local church does is, IMHO, not really an issue over which I do not care to "debate" at this point--or really at any point.)

    My sincere hope, and the principal reason for this reply, is for you--and all who may be reading this post--is that, in our sincere desire to "contend for the music once delivered to 'us saints,'" we do not overlook the fact that "some" of what is rather arbitrarily classified as "CCM" could just possibly (remotely as it may seem) be somewhat okay for "us saints" to not only "listen" to, but also to (shall I be so bold and brazen to say) "love."

    Again, please....please, my brother, receive this posted reply not as a critical evaluation of what you and/or your local church have decided to do in this matter. FWIW, I spent 20+ years in the uniformed military service of the United States of America in order to "do my small, inconsequential part" to protect and defend not only "your" First-Amendment-Guaranteed-Right," but also God's-Word-Based principle of "Local-Church-Autonomy" to determine what is the best thing for your local church to do in this matter.

    Thanks in advance for taking your time to read this rather lengthy post.

    Selah.
     

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