Not once has anyone ever come up to me and remarked on how much they were affected by the copyright dates on the songs we sang at a service all being after the year 2000.
No one has ever told me how much they were really ministered to by my new guitar.
I’ve never heard someone say that their life was changed by the new chord progression we used on the second verse of “Here I am to Worship”.
I haven’t heard of anyone seeing Jesus as more precious because of the new drum shield/acoustical panels we bought.
No one has ever been impacted more by the Gospel because we played a song almost exactly like the recording.
We got in-ear monitors a few years ago and I don’t think the Holy Spirit came down in tongues of fire that first Sunday. I think I’d remember that.
And it’s not like using in-ear monitors, drum shields, new progressions, new songs, and good arrangements is a bad thing. It’s just that they won’t change anyone’s life. Only Jesus will.
The assurance that “my shepherd will supply my needs: Jehovah is his name…” brought peace to a new widow and now single mother.
The truth of the Gospel that “from life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny…” comforted parents who had lost their infant son.
The good news that “…he must win the battle” assured a congregation after learning they will probably lose their building.
The grace of God that “breaks the power of canceled sin and sets the prisoner free” reminded a man lost in sin that there is always freedom in Christ.
I’m sure the equipment we used, the arrangements we rehearsed, and the time we put into choosing these songs all contributed to helping people sing these words. But the widow, the bereaved parents, the shocked congregation, and the lost man found no comfort, no hope, no peace, and no life in what we had to offer. Jesus is who shined through, and Jesus is who they encountered.
I think way too many worship leaders, worship teams, creative teams, video producers, choirs, and choir directors get lost in a sea of creativity and artistic expression and classic works and new songs and great equipment and fresh arrangements and ten rehearsals and burn themselves out trying to make great music. I love Bob Kauflin’s line that “music is a great tool but it’s a terrible idol”. Indeed.
All this is is a simple reminder that we have a great Savior and he is the one who will change people’s lives forever. Great music for the sake of great music is a waste of time and people’s tithe money. Great music to present our great Savior who is the hope of the world is why we (should) do what we do.