Finding That Heavenly Sound

Sun through trees with a background of the sky with cloudsThe servant was just doing his duties as usual.  But when he entered the composer’s room that day, something was different.  In the room was a man in a huge white wig intensely focused on writing a manuscript.  The man looked up, tears in his eyes.

“Is something wrong, sir?”

“No, everything’s well.  I’ve seen a vision of heaven!  The composition…the notes are coming to me if God Himself is writing the music through me!”

“Are you still working on the oratorio then?”

“Yes.  This part is called the ‘Hallelujah Chorus.'”

Fastforward 370 years…  Handel’s Messiah is still being sung in churches and concerts all over during the Christmas season.  He heard a heavenly sound.

In the 20th century popular music was more unified than nowadays.  There was popular music, and then the 60s revolutionized the music scene.  Hard rock and hair metal came in the 70s and 80s and then punk rock and the two would juggle back and forth setting the trend.   Each trend starts to wear out and someone new comes along.

In the 90s came grunge.   The hair-metal bands that weren’t innovating soon faded more and more into obscurity.

As the millenium approached popular music diversified more and more till we come to nowadays, where music is more independent as people each look to themselves and their ipods.  And so we have now have tribes.

Thoughout the decades as the music trends came and went, it seemed like Christian music kinda followed along, copying whatever was cool at the time in order to be the “sanctified version.”  Sort of like when the Simpsons had a youth rally and a band called “Pious Riot” played.

But these days seem to be different.  As God keeps working on the church to become more authentic, creative arts are showing up on the scene more and more.

New current sounds of worship seem to be showing up all the time, as people seek God and are hearing that heavenly sound.

I particularly enjoy what’s coming from IHOP and Bethel, and just discovered the Digital Age (comprised of members of the David Crowder Band). Sons of Korah are also great as I like the ethnic sound.

Some of the trends coming up in today’s worship seem to be sort of Coldplayish vocals, lead guitar making use of delay similar to Mono or U2, dramatic long drum builds, looping, and cutting edge synth sounds.

It seems worship is developing it’s own sound.  Though there are definitely secular influences, I don’t think of modern worship as a “sanctified substitute” these days like much of Christian music of the past.  In fact in the coming years I think worshipers are going to be actually setting trends.

I once heard it said that the composer doesn’t really create, he or she “finds” the music.  We have to have spiritual ears to “find” that heavenly sound.

Once I saw Mike Bickle and Misty Edwards on the internet speaking on secular music.  I personally don’t mind listening to it, but I didn’t mind hearing their angle on it.  They suggested fasting secular music for certain periods time.

But many don’t care for radio-friendly Christian pop.  So where do you learn then?  Mike suggested getting together for at least an hour and singing spontaneously with the Scripture and jamming with the instruments and seeing what comes.

What’s exciting is that any team can do this.  Just the other day I heard a couple of our younger guys just jamming on simple chords before church and it sounded great.  Nothing fancy, but they were hearing a current sound.

Christians are also expressing what they see spiritually in the visual arts like painting, dance, and even multimedia.

This time around the “stars” will be the regular people in the local church.  As music and the arts start to flourish, the focus will be on God Himself.

I’m excited to see what comes next in worship.  What new sounds, visual arts and technologies will we see and hear in the next coming years?

Be open to the Holy Spirit.  To the regular church helpers out there: The new sounds will come with you!

Category: Arts and Music, Worship | 2 comments

  • I really enjoyed this post, Josh!