1. DON’T PLAN – Zero, zilch, nada, none. Don’t plan what the congregation is singing, don’t plan who is playing the instruments, don’t plan who is going to do the special music, don’t try to get really smart and figure out a way to connect the music with the pastors sermon, give NO THOUGHT to the musical portion of the worship service until you step onto the platform.
2. DON’T PRACTICE – Who needs practice? If the goal is BAD music, nobody needs practice, that’s who! Not the choir, not the band, certainly not those unsuspecting folks who will be called upon to deliver the special music! If everybody just “wings” it, I guarantee you that you are well on your way to a truly bad musical experience for everyone in attendance!
3. DON’T TUNE – Piano tuning is time consuming and costly. (It will just have to be done again in a few years anyway!) Don’t tune the guitars and other stringed instruments and if you absolutely think that you have to, wait and do it while the worship service is actually going on. Nothing says “bad music” better than out of tune instruments.
4. TURN IT UP AND RIP THE KNOB OFF – Crank the song leader and praise team’s microphones up sky high. Get that music turned up to almost unbearable levels. Make it all about those on stage, and forget those folks in the audience. Everyone over 50 isn’t going to like it, but they’d probably find something else to complain about anyway. (Besides, all they do is pay a large portion of the bills – who needs ’em ?)
5. NAME THAT TUNE – Introducing a new song now and then is not good enough if the goal is a truly miserable music service. Find the most obscure, unknown, unsung hymns and praise choruses of the last 500 years, and then sing them in rapid fire succession. Audience sing-a-long participation will be down to near zero in no time, and it will give greater opportunity to hear the out of tune instruments.
6. HIDE THE LYRICS – If you are singing new stuff, folks are going to need the words. Don’t let them have them. If you are using hymnals, distribute them throughout the congregation at a ratio of 1 for every 30 or 40 people. If you are projecting the words on the wall, make sure they don’t keep up with the song – that is extremely annoying and will have folks saying “this is a really BAD musical experience” in no time! (If that doesn’t work, try putting the words to a completely different song up.)
7. ENDURANCE TRAINING – Get those folks in the audience up on their feet, and then leave them there. 30 or 40 minutes, an hour if possible. After a while they will forget whether they are in a church service or in training for an “Iron Man” competition, and the pain in their feet will only be matched by the pain in their ears.
You see folks, the quality of music in a Church service really has not as much to do with musical styles as it does about doing things with organization and a commitment to excellence. It’s when we put ourselves, our preferences, and our agendas ahead of worshiping God that we get ourselves in trouble. (That goes for the folks on the platform as well as those in the pew!)
I believe that reasonable, fair, mature Christians can get through the “worship wars” safe and sound with a little compassion, compromise and common sense.
Otherwise, we are just going to sentence ourselves to many more BAD musical experiences.
The lost deserve better.
The LORD deserves better.