Archive for May 7th, 2009


We Need More Holy Spirit – Part 2

Several weeks ago I posted on the subject matter of a lack of reference to the Holy Spirit in our modern worship songs.  In summary, I was a bit surprised when it occurred to me that contemporary, popular worship songs made little or no reference to the third part of the trinity.

I am sitting in the conference hall of the Vineyard USA National Leadership Conference in Galveston, TX right now.  We just had a time of corporate sung worship and I will say that I stand in a position of humble revelation that the church still loves, sings to, and worships the Holy Spirit.  As we worshipped I furiously typed the words to the tune we sang with abandon:

Come Holy Spirit, Come in your power

Come inhabit our praise, Come now and reign in our lives

Come Holy Spirit, Come Like the Wind

Come be Lord of our hearts, Come fill Your church once again

“As Children” by Jeremy Riddle (copyright Mercy/Vineyard)

I had an opportunity to meet some great Jesus followers here at the event and have some discussions about the state of worship in the church and it’s future, which got me thinking about something:

From the perspective of a professional marketer (a worshiper first and a marketer second yes, but experienced nonetheless) I sensed there might be intelligence built into the trend to fill a growing need within the non-charismatic evangelical church market.

A couple of years ago I was at an industry worship conference in a deep conversation with the head of said conference he remarked, “yeah everyone wants contemporary now.”  In a chat with a long-time worship pastor from the Assemblies of God denomination (a guy who had labored for years in helping many churches move from plant to mega size) said to me “I guess that [contemporary worship] is what everyone wants now, so we have to do it.” 

Could it be that the lack of Holy Spirit in contemporary worship based in a marketing plan by the contemporary worship music industry to reach, or rather, feed the evangelical church (and subsequently profit from it)?  The charismatic church, and even the mainline denominations have sung of the Holy Spirit for decades, and in the case of the latter, centuries.  But the modern evangelical church that hugs the conservative side of the road to appeal to a broader audience is making a conversion from old school worship to contemporary worship and could it be that artists and songwriters are softening their message? (Read my post on decline in CD sales here).

The larger the audience the more distilled the message typically becomes in order to appeal to broader commonalities within the audience.  Specialty shifts and lowest common denominator comes into play.  Niche is replaced by “reach.” 

As I said before, the Holy Spirit is a bit controversial.  Is the mentality:  let’s just remove the controversy and leave the palatable aspects of God!  Heck if we do that more people will hear about Jesus right?

The cross is an offense and removing the offend-able aspects of Jesus has been a strategy of Satan for ages.  If you don’t believe me, just ask yourself how many “blood” songs have you sung lately?  The blood is an offense.  I wrote the lyrics “a body broken atoned for my sin” into the song “Savior of the World” and at first the people who heard it met it with chagrin.  They were not used to this kind of poetry.

Removing the blood is like removing the Holy Spirit.  It is a strategy to extricate the whole truth from the lips of God’s children.

I am guilty of man-pleasing.  I don’t think any worship leader can escape that.  With some perspective though I think I truly understand how far popular contemporary worship has strayed from the commands of the faith.  Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength.”  If we leave out the Holy Spirit, we are not following the commands of God.

Worship and prayer being replaced by business and corruption.  Sound familiar?  Think about Jesus in the temple.  Let’s not let this next generation down by not writing about the fullness of God in our worship songs.  Let’s start a revolution.  No barrier between people and their worship of God.



May 2009
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