I agree- Balance is the key, of course, but sometimes we 'major in the minors' and introduce a legion of artificial barriers and restrictions based on a few people's opinions being taken as gospel, especially when they align with our own personal biases.
I am not saying we shouldn't be guided by those with experience and know-how, but so much of it is based in personal preference, we have to understand that it is just that- personal preference.
And that's a good thing. God can be worshiped and praised in more than one style, as long as the Biblical requirements of Spirit, Truth, and the correct protocols are met.
The fact it is so open to interpretation is why styles can (or should be able to) flow in and out of our worship. However, it can be a double-edged sword that causes people to get too attached to "their" style and create that artificial barrier to letting the Spirit influence through any style.
I love a nice baseline. I was blessed to have my son play in the praise team for years—I raised him on progressive rock influences, so he always played something interesting, but not over the top. I think the bass is an instrument on par with all the others, not just a "filler."
I see the same issue with modern P&W piano—many are not really trained and don't have much of a left hand. When I hear a really good traditional player on a nice arrangement it strikes me how important the left hand is in delivering the bottom end to a song in an engaging way.
There's no place like homepage.
I guess I don't consider it "simplifying" worship so much as keeping it clear. I am not against the thought you just made of God working through the music through the Holy Spirit, but I just don't see in 99% of the worship bands even the capability to do so or the coordination of the players to do so. Having a "free for all" within the worship time for the musicians cannot allow for a clear message to be sent through the music. Now, don't get me wrong, a well fitted guitar lick or bass lick planned out seems like a great idea to build some sort of emotion.
I think the main point is keeping the worship time sing-able and typically, too much from instruments cause us to listen rather than engage. I think as a general rule, what is being taught is correct, but there are clear exceptions. It comes to knowing the audience. When I play for our homegroup, I have to think about what songs are going to engage people in that setting which is not faster songs with a lot of energy. Those songs are great and we shouldn't restrict the Lord's work, but the audience of worshippers should be led to engage in a way they will engage, not be forced to do something they don't identify with or identify as something else. P&W might with what is being proposed might work as one offs or in the right groups, but most of the time it will turn into a concert.
God works in our cultures and LOVES all cultures (maybe not some specifics, but cultures). He loves the Ethiopians reserved reverence, he loves the Kenyans jumping up and down while praising him, he loves he (white - in general) American worship style, he loves the (African American - in general) American gospel/soulful worship. Neither is better or worse and no one can claim that it should be "this way." So I agree, we should not restrict the way God wants to work, but I think that going outside culturally is not how God would work in the local church based on his love for each culture. I don't believe we are supposed to be "comfortable," clearly being comfortable is the exact opposite of what we should feel during worship. If we culturally make the music a distraction then we've defeated the point of worship. I personally think that more times than not, it would be a distraction to the American church in general that culturally is in this style and the general rule holds true and should be taught. Not as a limitation for the few times that one might feel led to bust something out, but to best meet the worshipper's culture and therefore not create any barriers for them to meet with the Lord. I think you are talking the exception, not the norm.
Further, I really don't think the skill is there to allow it to happen organically. Most worship teams are not a group of skilled musicians, in fact I’m sure most would agree a humble, Holy Spirit led teenager who just learned guitar is more desirable that dropping Eric Clapton in the band for a solo (big extreme clearly, but that is what we are dealing with). Creating songs have their place and some groups are doing that, but they are not going to dominate the charts or Sundays because they are simply too difficult for the team (if I'm on it it's too difficult ) or/and culturally it is more distracting than helpful.
I am well aware that this could be a cultural thing. I find it funny that in one thread we are talking about adding more to the worship time and in another there is a clear "we need to just cut out instruments" feel. I think that it is a good indication that there is no correct answer; it is about the culture of that that group of people worshipping God. And in that case, the general rules being taught fit the culture of most American churches (good and bad). Maybe culture is changing, it always does, and we'll have to adapt...
You've made some very good points Steensn (or should I call you Don Quijote?) and I agree about the whole culture aspect to a point. However, culture really wasn't my point at all. You're right, God appreciates all cultures and the styles of music they use to worship Him. I agree completely, but my point was more about P&W in general being restricted, i.e. simplified, and guided by the worship leader rather than by the Holy Spirit.
In our church the worship may come to a point where it's almost silent for a short time while the Spirit moves and touches the church. Then often we play some soft melodic music and just improvise and flow in the Spirit. It actually sounds pretty good as long as we're being led and not leading ourselves. Actually it really depends on how the pastor is being led as well because he usually starts directing the flow of the service at this point and might act as the worship "leader" at that time. It really all comes down to being led by the Holy Spirit and not the flesh....i've been guilty of the latter once or twice
The point i'm trying to make is that EVERYTHING should be led by the Holy Spirit through His worshipers. So when I say that we have creative license to improvise I don't mean we just start jamming out to our hearts content forgetting the purpose of Worship, it just means we're being led by the Holy Spirit and each one of us has to be on board and understand the flow of worship can change according to His will. The fact is most of the musicians and singers, while some are VERY talented, are inexperienced, but when being led by the Holy Spirit can make beautiful music.
I mentioned we're a Hispanic church. Yes. However 90% of what we play is contemporary/rock, and since most of us listen to all types of rock especially the indie and harder styles it comes out in our style. And when my brother (main drummer) comes back from the air force next month.......it's gonna get LOUDER and HARDER! And if my other brother (singer-pianist) decides to come back to town from school the vocalizations will sound much more gospel haha. Yet we make it all fit! Glory to Jesus!
I just consider it pure worship when you open your heart to play all styles (sometimes within the same song) and let the Holy Spirit lead everything. And really, the only clear message that should be sent through worship is "God you're awesome". Worship is first and foremost a service to the Lord. As a side-effect everyone within ears length will join in the same Spirit....
I love the first half of this, it is a powerful way of letting the Holy Spirit in. And listening to where the Spirit is leading is key, having the band ready to follow that direction is also key. If "fancier" music works for you congregation, by all means go for it. But it isn't the norm and the mainstream songs and big song writers are not going to write for the abnormal... or they wouldn't be the mainstream
It's not good or bad, it just reflects the culture. There is reason this style doesn't work in other countries, because their culture is different. Even in America the mainstream doesn't work in all churches.
I don't we disgaree that bass is not a focal point, it isn't. I don't think we disagree that a good bass rift can enrich our worship from time to time, it can. I don't think we disagree that the Holy Spirit is to guise worship. Where I think there is a difference is that we shouldn't say outloud what is practiced by most worship leaders so as to now artificially restrict worship. I bet if I went to your church I would see you guys practicing the same things that are being taught by the main worship leaders, you might just say it's better not to make them guidelines so they don't restrict anything at all. I believe guidelines help hone skills that we can use to be the most effective as worship leaders.
We are to study the word to prepare ourselves for when sin creeps at our door so we are better prepared to make the right decision through the Holy Spirit's power. I also feel we are to prepare ourselves and for when we lead others so that we can make the best decisions through the Holy Spirit's power. Just like me reading it's wrong to lie is paramount to me making the right decision even with the Holy Spirit's guidence (because it only clarifies and re-affirms the Holy Spirit), I think the same situation present themselves to us as worship leaders. If we prepare, study, and know the culture and word we are better prepared to make the rights decision in the moment with proding from the Holy Spirit for that culture.
I mearly went down this route to help explain why I felt bass lines are so simple in modern worship. The combination of reasons above is why I feel that is the case and if we changed culture, I believe the reasons would be void accept for the talent part. A minority of people are going to enjoy and benefit for more complex music in this culture and in most cultures. Even the music prior to what we have today was simple for a clear reason, so it could be singable. No one played Bach style piano in church to sing to, it just doesn't work typically. Again, there are always exceptions to the rule, but in general I think history backs up the fact that music that is focused on leading people to a sense of worship has been more simple than complex. I think that it as well is a good rule that doesn't get in the way of the Holy Spirit, but isn't a hard rule in all instances.
I agree, though honestly one of my favorite bands of all time is Dream Theater and I could honestly worship the Lord to their if those guys, masters that they are, were doing their thing for Jesus.
I would love me some Bach style piano to worship to! :P
I don't know, I guess when I think back to the times of David, or when we get to Heaven for that matter, I can just picture a much more extravagant, fluid, and complex style of worship. That's what I strive for.
I'm enjoying this conversation friend.
sorry maybe I'm crazy and am missing it, but give me a band, worship or otherwise, where the rythm section drives the song, any day of the week. If you want to move people, then move them with a solid bass and drum line and some rythm guitar or piano. Let the lead players play some fills, but give some respect to the bass and drums for a fill or 2 as well. I am all about the groove, even in deep worship there is a groove, even down to pads on keys there is a groove. A bad the works well together works well together.
I am a bass player that leads worship have been for twenty five years, some of the best times I have ever had in worship have been when the band does it's thing for Jesus. I mean peel the paint type stuff, where there are solos by everyone. It is worship and it is the best place to be. I agree on the contemplative side as well but from time to time it's time to enjoy our Savior and celebrate what he did for us and I can't think of a better time than worship, yes even on a Sunday morning.
I won't waste your time with examples but think about it, we serve a risen Savior, maybe it's Easter and I'm pumped about it, but Jesus is alive and that is the message for me in worship. Yes we have plenty of times of just an acoustic guitar leading people, just the congregation singing, just one singer and one instrument the whole song, but we also have the balance of bass solos and guitar solos and drum solos.
Few questions, you mention you use bass and drums to fill often, I'm wondering how often? Is it the main fill? Is it a song a week? Is it a wrong every few weeks? Just trying to get an idea of what the subject terms we often use mean quantitatively.
All great questions, in rehearsal we try to establish a solid foundation before we add some fill. The hook of the tune is what distinguishes that song from any other, so we start with that and then we work through the song and try to not step on each others toes, a drum fill into a chorus is a great way to say something is happening musically. A bass fill in between stanzas of a verse or into vs2. We just kind of map it out, nothing set in stone and if someone misses it, oh well.
I am a pretty expressive bass player, but I encourage the musicians and singers to play and sing how they feel, and if they feel little of nothing then play the page. As for frequency of these events, I say as often as possible. 2-3 songs a weekend that usually consists of 5-7 songs, worship lasting from 25-40 mins. Guitar players get the majority of the solos, (read 75%) but drummers and bass players get a chance to shine as well. We also do band jams, like opening songs that make a direct reference to the message, that are straight up rock tunes. (U2, Train, Leeland, Whickham, etc)
As far as impact of songs not tailored to bass players: I do feel at times like the recording worship world has missed an opportunity to advance their rhythm section beyond the above mentioned U2, Snow Patrol thing and into something a bit more, maybe it's easier to sell records that only have cool guitar, when was the last time someone listened to a worship band because of the bass player (Freddie Hammond, amazing) RHCP's or Switchfoot (great bass player) I do love me some U2 though, but like the movement that a great bass, drum hook can provide, oh yeah and talk about giving your guitar and keyboard player something to play over. I understand my role and started playing bass in a 3 piece power trio, so I play a lot of extra notes. Always have and always will, I have made a career out of it. What happens when it is just a 3 piece, piano bass and drums, guitar bass and drums, do you want a boring 8th note stab or a groove that allows the band to sound fuller and more complete. Start with the foundation, the same a Christianity, start with the foundation, bass and drums, challenge your bass players to listen to more than the kick drum, listen to the snare or bell of a ride cymbal, play something with the drummers fill that matches his movements. Harmonize with the guitar player on a turn around or opening riff, it's cool and fun and breathes life into some songs and the bass player doesn't become a shoe gazer.
Bass has a powerful effect that no other instrument can provide, so a challenge to you worship leaders, go the Motown way with all of your songs, you won't be sorry. Establish a solid bass, drum groove (ala James Jamerson or Verdeen White) and build the song from their, that means when they drop out, the song truly drops out.