Being Unique in Worship
A few weeks ago Josh and I went to go see the DC film Shazam. We absolutely loved the film and had a great time seeing some of our favorite heroes come to life on the big screen. This movie sparked a conversation with us, however, about how the DC universe is trying so hard to compete with Marvel Studios that they’re beginning to change the way their films are made. Marvel has a great blend of humor and action, as well as a lighthearted story. However, DC has been known for a more dark and realistic view of superheroes, which wasn’t as popular with viewers. With the latest DC releases, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam, we’ve seen a shift in this approach. DC is beginning to make their movies more like Marvel to compete. I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t this a worship blog? Why are we talking about DC and Marvel?” First, I’m a huge superhero nerd, but also this trend of “following the leader” doesn’t just happen in superhero movies, it happens in worship as well.
In the last 15 years, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in worship ministry. We went from hymnals to screens, pews to chairs, and simple stages to massive stage platforms with rigging and lights. With all of this change, there have been many churches follow this model. We’ve seen huge churches spring up, such as life.Church, Elevation, Fellowship Church, Harvest Bible Chapel, & the list goes on and on. These “megachurches” are doing great things for communities and are doing a great job at spreading the gospel, but this leaves the local church feeling empty at times. Many local churches are trying so hard to be like these larger churches, but in doing so, they lose what makes them unique. Just like DC changing themselves to be more like Marvel.
One of the biggest misconceptions that Josh and I face is that Worship Innovation exists to bring about change in worship to better fit the industry. There are many worship blogs out there that are based on elevating your church’s production and making you feel you need fancy equipment to lead worship. Worship Innovation isn’t one of those blogs. Josh and I have one goal, and that is this: Bring Creative Solutions to Local Churches. That’s our tagline and our mission. The heart of Worship Innovation is excellence in everything you do. Being excellent doesn’t always mean having the best equipment, it means doing the best with what you are given. We don’t want to change your church’s vision for worship, we want to help you execute your vision most efficiently and excellently as possible.
Every church is different, and every church has a different vision. Your church’s vision might not be the same as one of these larger churches, and that is perfectly okay. As worship leaders, we always want to innovate and create new experiences for people, but the end goal should always be to accomplish the vision. Don’t just follow the herd, follow your vision wherever it leads. I’ve seen many pastors be upset with themselves and feel they’re failing because they aren’t getting large numbers in their church. They feel insignificant because they aren’t able to buy hazers for their church to make their lights look cool, but listen to this: The purpose of our worship isn’t to have great music, awesome lights, and breathtaking visuals; it’s to declare the great name of God, to show his awesome power, and his breathtaking mercy. That’s our goal in worship. If we can accomplish this with hymnals and pews, then we achieve the goal. If we can accomplish this with crazy lights, hazers, multi-tracks, etc. then we also meet the goal. Every church is different. Own up to the differences and focus on leading the congregation in worship because that is, and always will be our main focus as worship leaders. As much as Josh and I love to talk about creativity and new ways to do worship differently, the end goal is always to enhance worship for the church and not take away. Different churches have different cultures, and, sometimes, our solutions won’t work for your church’s culture. That’s fine. Own it. Follow the vision. Spread the gospel. That’s the mission.