Ryan Peter. Writer.

The Worship Industry

See Christian writer Brian Mclaren’s little 3 min video about the “worship industry” (a term we all cringe at, I’m sure) here at

This has very much been my heart about this for a while now.

1) Worship music is too safe, lyrically and musically (some new songs I can guess the next line easily- “I lift my hands to you my King, and with my voice I sing…” Before I even know the song I know what the lyrics are going to be… not cool! And most lyrics are not honest enough, but very hype driven, IMHO.

2) A lot of music is too safe, musically. Although I can understand that difficult songs musically make it difficult for the congregation to follow. But I don’t think it’s something complex musically that’s the problem, it’s only melody. You can have complex music with a great melody. Melody is how people remember easily.

Man, and lets not talk about the magazines, record companies, internet sites etc. that promote the “next rising worship stars.” I mean, making an industry out of art has always been a problem but here it gets mixed up with a personal relationship with the Almighty God and Saviour of the world.聽It’s just wrong on so many levels!

Free to discuss here at my blog – some further discussion is also here –

Leave a comment

  • avatar image
    John S
    June 11, 2007

    Whoa good topic,hope everyone is open to a good debate here.It’s also something that’s been on my heart for awhile.

    So without further ado here is my little rant on it!

    First off I disagree with calling worship art,I agree the problem is mixing an industry with the personal relationship with God,but worship is not art.

    Worship is out of a love relationship first and foremost with our Saviour,where as art can stem from love or it could be for purely commercial gain,worship should not fall into this worldly understanding or label we refer to as art.By thinking of worship as art or an art,which both have distinctive meanings ,we start to put a human understanding of art into the mix of worship,whereas the understanding here should come from God’s word then everything else can follow.

    Ok that’s the art matter out of the way or opened up to further debate.

    Secondly : When it comes to worship we as musicians and worshipers are the first problem as change always starts with yourself first and then once that has happened the world around you seems to look a little different.

    How are we the problem?Well when did worship become this safe structured beautiful art as opposed to dancing like a mad man in your underpants? The answer is simple when we let it.When did worship become events?Are we really that far off that we need events with the best lighting ,best sound ,best muso’s?Don’t get me wrong it’s awesome to do that but it comes down to our hearts in it. I feel if there is the slightest hint of self gratification and this is us the musos / worshipers getting glory by doing these things,then I think we failed the third test of unto as Michael mentioned yesterday. We have become so indoctrinated by everything having to be the best we miss the fact that God just wants our hearts and lives to reflect this and worship Him, rather than just our music,”True worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth. Worship is about giving to God and not us receiving.

    Our responsibility as ‘frontline’ worshipers is to get of this mindset of only wanting to play with the best musos / sound guy and playing the new worship hits, to rather spending a lot more time in God’s word,praying and just worshiping Him for all He is,out of this heart attitude new songs will be written that aren’t safe,new revelations and changes will happen and affect others as we are seeking a relationship first and out of that love relationship with Christ all things fall into place.

    That’s all my rant for now,I have a lot more to say on this but,but this is sufficient for now.

  • avatar image
    Peter E;eazar
    June 15, 2007

    I can’t say I am convinced that worship is music, though it has always included music.

    Biblical worshippers had a kind of narrative style and a poetry that just flowed from their hearts. Rhythm and Rhyme was not important, so I assume that even the sound was less relevant than the content. It was a primitive form of singing in tongues, where they just flowed – i think of the psalms, etc.

    He Stray, never thought to look for a site till you mentioned it yesterday.

    Great site – thanks

    I have often posed scenarios to see what a thing could be like. So here’s one. Imagine that Eskom shuts down for 6 months and we have no electric sound, no mikes, etc. What would happen? Would people drift off in boredom and abandon church. Is it the music that keeps us together?

    I think we might find a more spontaneous, spiritually amplified expression, the kind that persecution would force us to find. It would be less “led” and more “participative”, less “visual” or “symbolic” and more “heart felt”. It would be less “structured”, more “spontaneous”, less “episodic” and more “continual”.

  • avatar image
    November 1, 2007

    Your scenario is probably exactly how they worshipped in the early days. Often, I’d actually like for us to unplug, put some candles up and worship like the ‘ancients’ did. Maybe I can convince the elders to do that one day 馃檪

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