In a previous post, I listed four ways that Worship CDs are impoverishing our worship. But are their effects only detrimental? By no means (certainly not)!
1) Worship CDs help our Churches Overcome Petty Inter-church Squabbles. Contemporary Worship Music has been a (perhaps THE) key factor in settling down the charismatic/ traditional baptist / Presbyterian church wars. In a T4G world, you younger readers did not even know about the wars, and are better for it. It is compelling to hear other believers worship Christ, and Worship CDs are often how believers from other traditions hear that devotion.
Is there a downside to downplaying doctrinal distinctives and careful theological nuance? He who has ears to hear, let him hear. But there is some good to celebrate here.
2) Worship CDs Made “Black” Music More Available to “White” Churches. Often, European-based styles of music best transmitted in written form. The African-diaspora primarily transmits its music via a rich oral tradition. When gospel music is recorded, it enriches more churches (including churches that are primarily White) by widely sharing that musical language. This may be a key factor into the glorious recent trend of more racially diverse churches.
3) Worship CDs Launched a New Era in Songwriting. While there have always been Christian songwriters, Worship CDs have become an impetus for the creation of many new Christian songs. Are all the songs exemplary? Of course not. But the good songs (or “hymnody”) as well as the bad songs (perhaps “hym-naughty”?) combine to make this a particularly prolific era for Christian songwriting.
4) Worship CDs Encourage Local Church Musicians to Grow Musically. Recording is a unique tools which enables a musician to become more aware of how they actually sound. Church bands often rush tempos, so that (as my genius drummer friend once said to me) “It feels better than it sounds.” A number of church Worship Ministries have benefited from the very process of recording their songs (with a click track) and listening back to them.
These are some ways that the production and proliferation of Worship CDs have enriched our Worship. Are there others?