In comprising worship services for the church, and selecting songs, there is a balance and tension between the practical and the ideal.
That is, where we are versus what we could be.
Here's an example: I visited another church one time for a prayer service- this church was at the time experiencing great growth and revival. After worship, we sat down, and an associate proceeded to preach from Hebrews. The entire book. In one sitting.
The nerd that I am, I liked it. The group I was with became so bored several got up and left.
This isn't to say that its "more spiritual" to preach through all of Hebrews in one sitting. Thats neither here nor there. However, it's valuable to nurture ourselves to become well-rounded for the sake of depth and enabling experience.
By "enabling experience," I'm referring to ways of doing things that are rich and deep that folks would be unaware of if they had not experienced it before. We want the church to be able to worship in different ways at different times.
Most songs that seem to "work" may tend to be as follows: 4 minutes, verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus. Top 40-esque.
Some of my favorites fall into that category. Nothing wrong with them.
We want to nurture the church to be able to have songs "work" for them that may have more dynamic range, and be a bit more abstract in sections. "Woah's" in the below song are not meant to be unintelligible or reduce singing our theology (not much theology in a "woah"), but it may create an environment where the heart and spirit "sing" in a different way. Where not all "singing" is matching what the lead singer is doing at the time. Where prayerful verbal worship comes out. I don't care if you are singing the "woah's" with us. My heart is that in that environment, you'd get lost in Jesus. That where you are, you'd sing your own song. Go ahead, watch the video- but don't be too quick to dismiss as emotionalism or frenzy. Look deeper at the heart there, and what else we could have.
At Western Reserve, you may have noticed we're doing more hymns recently, and worship respose songs tend to be very scriptural and deep lyrically- but you'll also notice songs we're doing like "With Everything," below. It's to nurture, to equip- a "next step."
We don't go the full 11 minutes. Doesn't matter.
It's good for us to have anthems that follow an unusual map, that have musical interludes where the church can worship expressing their own gratitude and ascribe glory from where they are. To get lost in the majesty of Jesus...
That's our heart. That's the WHY behind a song like this. Listen to the lyrics... they are so pure... full of surrender, desire for Jesus and His Kingdom...
Church, listen: you are free.