Why we chose a church with bad music!


guitar-756326_1920I recently read this simple little blog, and one response to it, and it seemed so natural, rooted, mature. I felt it expressed something of a call to remember simplicity in all our “attractional” platform driven churches. I’m not advocating it as a model…just a reminder:

Shaun Groves writes:

I’m often asked to speak to worship leaders and their volunteers. I’ll sing or speak in a church’s services and then spend the afternoon – or at least lunch – with the musicians of the church.

I’m often asked what my church’s music is like. And the answer seems to surprise. It makes sense that a musician would go to a church with excellent music right?

The music was so bad the first Sunday we visited the church we’re part of today, that the then worship leader stopped twice to start over. And that’s why we came back.

300 people up early, gathered in a cinderblock elementary school cafeteria, sitting on cold metal folding chairs. Not because they loved the music, but because of love.

For each other.

For God.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with great music. We’re told in scripture to make music with excellence. Once. We’re told this once. Only once. So it’s not the top priority for me as a church member, or a leader of the musicians at our church today.

And this informs everything we do.

We ask musicians to commit for only six months at a time, no matter how good they are, because we don’t want them to burn out – because we love them more than excellence.

We ask musicians to spend time with God daily in prayer, scripture, meditation and silence and offer resources that teach them how – because communion with God is more important than excellence.

We ask musicians to be at church even when they’re not on stage – because church is a community we love, not a gig.

We practice so that we can be free to think about Who it is we’re singing and playing for, so that we can worship with our church family without anxiety or distraction – because participation is more important than facilitation.

Take away the lights. Reduce the sound system to two speakers on sticks. Swap the seats for folding chairs and the sanctuary for a cafeteria that smells faintly of burritos. Miss notes. Flub chords. Would you stay?

Why are you part of the community you call church?

This post was commented on by a lady called Kris… Again, so profound….She said:

“I love this post. I currently attend a church where I have more things about it that I dislike than like. I honestly feel like I would be tremendously happier worshipping elsewhere, but in the grand scheme of things, my complaints are petty, and I know this. And so we stay. I stay because I know that I’m there to worship in community, not to necessarily have a great time doing it. I stay because I serve in this community and I know that God wants me in that position right now, even with all the warts of it. I stay because the bottom line is, worship is about Jesus, not Kris.

I used to really struggle with this, I wanted to go to church to be fed, to gorge on spectacular worship music and earth shatteringly awesome sermons. I know it was wrong. God’s given me new perspective (Thankfully) And so I stay at my too-uptight-for-my-liking church, where the worship music is sometimes dull and occasionally off key. I repeat the well-worn liturgy and struggle some weeks through less fiery sermons than I’d like. And this is not only right, but good. I’m there because God has called me there for HIS purposes, not my own. I stay because I can SEE God working in our Pastor, whom I adore, and in the families there. He is teaching me so much about this–about the Love He has for this community I’m part of, and He’s teaching me how to love and serve them as he does. It’s amazing. And hard. And sometimes I cry a little about how hard it is. But it is so good.”


Visit Shaun’s blog here.


5 comments on “Why we chose a church with bad music!”
  1. Ross Dilnot says:

    This is a fine line to walk. IF we put professionalism and slickness before the moving of the Holy Spirit …. IF we have a performance mentality rather than a worshipping mentality, then we have walked onto the wrong side of that line. But worship (here specifically music and singing in church) is one of the key ways we engage with Father in a service and when it is done poorly that can be a distraction to the worshipper – particularly for musicians and no doubt others too. Too often I have been in churches where there is a “that’s ok, it’s for Jesus, He understands” mentality and I’m afraid I don’t buy that. In all we do we should aim to work at it and perfect the gift God has given us. We may never reach the quality we see from Hillsongs, or other mega church worship teams, but that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying the basics like timing, being in-tune, being sensitive to the Holy Spirit and have the gift of worship leading is vitally important. As a pastor, people in churches I’ve led would not accept it if I had not developed over the 10/11 years I’ve been doing this. If I’d said “it’s ok, I’m doing this for Jesus, He’ll understand”. So why do we accept it with other areas of ministry in the church? Thank you for this article though, very thought inspiring.

    1. Bless you Ross. I suppose this article is just the “tension” to the skills/excellence perspective you quite rightly point out. No doubt we need both. Blessings.

  2. I’m encouraged as I read this, ‘Why we chose a church with bad music’. After being a worshiper for several years, using my voice, I have recently found myself being the sole musician in our Church, so have started to lead with the keyboard. I was certainly thrown in at the deep end and although everyone is encouraging, I know that my playing is far from perfect, that there will always be better musicians than me! I hadn’t played the piano seriously for 40 years! But God, perhaps in His infinite wisdom, took away our talented and gifted musicians so that I could be given a chance. As each service approaches I am full of nerves, but then when the worship begins I never want to stop. Isn’t God good! A Worshiper in Christ

  3. We Christians learn from early childhood to endure low quality programmes and performances. I was brought up on boring services and meetings! But the main question is not, can I sit through it every Sunday – it’s: Would I bring my friends, and would they want to come again?

    1. don says:


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