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Don’t you just love that “Worship Sound?” (including Record Review on Dispatch)

mtI know a LOT of worship leaders.  Even your very own Toby Morrell of Emery is a worship leader at the campus I lead, and he’s like my best friend ever, and Matt leads worship at his church as well. This is not a “bash church worship” or “bash any specific church’s worship” post by any means. BUT…

After attending many mega and/or contemporary churches around the US,  it seems as if the “universal contemporary church” is creating their own genre of music that we as Christians tag as “worship music.”  Honestly?  Why are so many talented and potentially creative musicians all going for that same “worship sound?”   Are we really trying to make a genre of music that fits into a “christian mold?”  If so, why?

I’ve already lost some of you.  Let me back up.

Here are some scenarios that have happened in real life.

1.  A worship pastor that regularly branches out and plays an unorthodox style of “worship music” was approached afterwards by a visitor who asked, “Hey, I loved the music, but do you guys ever play worship music?

2.  In a church that plays that “Matt Redman/David Crowder” standard sound, a guest worship team played a set with more of an urban/soulful approach to worship songs.  Afterwards, a group of worship leaders from the host church were asked what they thought, and their unexcited response?  ”It was interesting, I guess.

Its bad enough that we have our own language, Christianese, but we also have to have our own exclusive music style? I hope not.

The weirdest thing is that this musical style has been developed in the name of  relevance. Im afraid it may have the opposite effect.  @MattTCoNP nails this point here in his post, “Why Relevance is Completely Irrelevant.

The worst thing that occurs is when the music sounds “Christian” but the lyrics  barely, or don’t at all reference Jesus. Trust me, this happens, and clearly  is the worst of BOTH worlds: bad music with absolutely no purpose. Fortunately, there are a great deal of people getting this right as well, one being the record label, Mars Hill Music.  Their singular focus is on the message of the Gospel of Jesus, and it is unmistakable.  The music varies, but the exultation of Jesus and his work is always central in their releases.


As I write this post, I’m jamming an EP from one of Mars Hill Church’s (in Seattle) bands, The Dispatch.  It’s a simple and beautiful approach to worshipping Jesus through lyrical praise and creatively crafted melodies.  Its a cross between Sandi Patty and The Gaither Vocal Band.  That’s a joke people.  We can’t take ourselves too seriously.

This 4-song EP has two originals, “By His Grace” and my personal favorite on the album “The Word.”  Also included are remakes of “Solid Rock” and “How Deep the Father’s Love.”  Musically, this album is pretty much “guitar rock” with some piano and such, and includes male and female vocals, fast and slow tempos.  It also has some of those “gang worship vocals” that so many of us have come to love and embrace.  Lyrically, it’s solid theologically and as they should be, the songs are focussed on our Great Savior.  In my humble opinion, it’s one of those albums that boasts of immediate quality during first listen, but as you keep it bumping in that iPod, you slowly but surely find yourself not being able to get enough.  Here’s to Jesus!

What do you think?

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