The No Goofy Zone Discernment Ministry

The No Goofy Zone is a discernment ministry for saved born again Christians and all who are seeking the truth.We expose non-biblical trends in the church. We are making material available to advance understanding of issue's which endanger Christianity. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit.

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Location: Piqua, Ohio, United States

Former drummer for Gary Lewis and The Playboys and The Coasters. Tim has also played with Paul Baloche, Lincoln Brewster, Darlene Zscech and Hillsongs, Jeff Fenholt, SteveCamp among others. Tim founded The Simply Agape Project in 2001 to get free Christian music to the troops. Recordings have been made with Tim, and friends Alex Acuna, Abe Laboriel SR, Justo Almario,Steve Camp , Jared Ming and some wonderful Independant Christian artists.The Somebody Brave CD also features words of encouragment to the soldiers from Pastors, Moms, Dads, and Lt Col Brian Birdwell a Pentegon 9/11 survivor Tim is married to Donna Wirth and has four children Alan 25,Steven 23, Brittany 22, Bethany 21. Tim has played in numerous churchs as well as shows on TBN. Tim has also performed on JCTV on the show Generation Worship featuring worship leader Jared Ming. Tim has a book published worldwide titled "Pass The Plate And Let Us Prey" (My Search For Black and White Christianity in a Gray Nation)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Series on music in the church part 2

Worshipping Worship Music --
Something Isn't Right Hereby Scott MacIntyre
As a worship leader, I play and sing many of the newer worship songs that are popular around the country. I have no issues with contemporary music as a style...none. It's probably the only thing that Rick Warren and I agree on...that contemporary music has a place in the church. I never could track with those who tried to tell us that Satan owned all the music with an emphasis on beats 1 and 3. Geez...where's that in the Bible? I won't even bring up the old argument that Larry Norman had on his album liner notes over 30 years ago...that Isaac Watts put hymns to secular street music. (I thought I wasn't going to bring that up?)
Speaking of hymns, I love them. Well, at least many of them. In my college hymnology class, I learned to delineate between an actual hymn written 200 or 300 years ago, and the 'gospel' songs of the late 1800s. If you didn't know, there is a difference. Check out a hymnal sometime and notice the depth in the older songs. I haven't found a contemporary worship song yet that can compare to them. Cool thing is, most of them are public domain and you won't have to pay CCLI for the pleasure of singing them. But I digress...that's another subject.
As I attempt to learn new worship songs, it occurs to me that many of the modern day writers must either be eunuchs or belong to the Vienna Boy's Choir, or both. I can't believe how high these songs are written. The first time I heard "Open the Eyes of My Heart", it was being sung by Matthew Ward. No way I can sing that high. But I'm digressing again. In my attempts to learn the songs, I've had to alter both the key they're written in, and the manner in which the original recording is sung. And therein lies the problem. Vocally, I just can't keep up with these guys. I'm still trying to learn Mac Powell's vocal antics on "Your Love, O Lord". I'm starting to get the "yeah" part, but not much else.
So after church, one of my children invariably lets me know, "your doing it wrong, Dad". What do you mean, I'm 'doing it wrong'? "That's not how Mac Powell does it" comes the answer. Good grief...I'm not Mac Powell. I suppose if I smoked cigars for the next 10 years I might get there, but by that time, Mac's style is long gone and some other young kid will be the rage. I will admit, it is hard for me to emulate someone else. As a young guitarist, it was cool to play the "Free Bird" lick and have everyone think you were great. Problem is, I couldn't play it. A good guitar playing friend of mine once said that emulating another guitar player was like trying to walk in their steps. It just doesn't always work. Which brings me to my point (you knew I'd get there someday).
Why is it we feel the need to emulate all the popular worship music in our own worship times at church? Not only do we have to sing the same songs that everyone else is singing, but we have to sing them exactly the same way. Capo to the third fret and start with the Dsus chord of "God of Wonders" and the place will go nuts. Try it some other way and they stare at you. It's like worship is only possible when you do it the way Mac Powell, or whoever else does it. And it all leaves me wondering if we've not entered into a 'top 40' mentality when it comes to worship music. The songs we sing in the church are now determined by a few writers, singers, and record companies. Most others are not welcome. It's not like these songs are that good. They're certainly not as deep spiritually as most of the older hymns, and I seriously doubt they'll have the shelf life.
While I'm not suggesting we get rid of contemporary worship, I am suggesting we rethink our love affair with certain songs and artists. There is merit in having a set of universally accepted songs in the church, whether hymns or contemporary. But when people start pouting or whining when they don't hear their favorites, something is wrong. Unfortunately, such behavior is not limited to children. I can take a little whining from my 14 year old daughter. Grown people is another matter.
Back in the 90s, I recall that contemporary music began to take on a sort of blandness to it. Christian songs were getting a bit 'romantic' sounding, and it was hard to tell if someone was singing about his girlfriend or the Lord. Worship music began to grab more mainstream attention, possibly because people were tired of compromised music. Suddenly, everybody and their dog was producing worship music...even some of the same people who singing the romantic music before. Were they producing worship music because they were truly challenged to focus on worshipping God over the drivel they were singing before, or were they driven by sales? That's a judgement that I can't make. But there is clearly a hierarchy and dominance of worship music in today's church that seems driven and controlled by a well-established industry.
To all of that, I say "fine". Let them have it. I'm not going to change a machine as large as that. But I will do my best to encourage others not to worship what comes from their machinery. I will be just as prone to sing a song that is 200 years old or 10 years old, as I am to gravitate toward some newly released hot worship song. More than likely, it will be hot today and gone tomorrow. The shelf life is minimal.
As I have progressed (read:gotten older), I have found myself craving simplicity in worship. Songs, intros, transitions, and all the other mechanisms of leading worship are becoming less important. While I desire to be musically accurate, the last thing I want is to draw any attention away from the Lord and on to me. If possible, I'd even stand behind the congregation so as not to give them anything to look at to distract them from worshipping Almighty God.
May I never again place such importance on what the worship music industry is producing, and I no longer look for the latest 'hit' worship song. And we in the church need to stop expecting it as well. Otherwise, we will find ourselves guilty of placing demands and conditions upon worshipping the Lord. If we can't worship without an instrument or band leading us, or without the latest hit worship songs, than perhaps we can't worship. Perhaps we need to start exalting the Lord in the quietness of our hearts simply because He deserves to be exalted and worshipped. We may find it easier to exalt and worship the Lord in the corporate assembly, regardless of the worship leader's ability to emulate the current status quo of worship music. Perhaps then the depth of a 300 year-old hymn or a simple Psalm can bring us to our knees in praise and adoration, as easily as a modern worship song. Perhaps then our worship will be properly addressed in the right direction...towards our Lord who is above all.

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