A growing trend
If you tune in to Christian radio or stay abreast of the Christian music circuit, you’ve probably noticed a change in the music of late. When I say “of late,” I mean the past decade or so, with a quickening effect even in the past couple of years. What’s trending, in my view, is a concentration of very original, worshipful and spirit-driven songs and albums, as opposed to the extremely recognizable pop sound that’s dominated Christian music in the past. The change has been welcomed by audiences everywhere, and the proof isn’t farther than your FM dial. What used to be regarded as a lost and superfluous sector of the music industry (probably because most Christian ballads sounded exactly the same) has become a bit of a front-runner. Increasingly popular bands like Jesus Culture, Bethel Music, Hillsong United, New Life Worship, and Gateway Worship all fit this newer mold. I’ll describe why I think this change has occurred and is occurring, and why I think God is completely behind it.
Worship takes precedent over music
The predominant shift that’s taken place in Christian music is a focus on worship, as opposed to merely music. This ‘bend toward Heaven’ has essentially prioritized worship over any other expression of song or music, and I believe that God has blessed it. It’s a posture of dependence and an attitude of humility, and it’s positively affecting the church and the melodies we enjoy and choose in two ways.
1. It’s purifying the way we understand and practice worship.
2. Because it’s sincere and angled toward God, and not necessarily people, God is blessing it both spiritually and practically.
When we as the body of Christ return to the heart and the purpose for worship, which I believe is happening by way of this trend, we allow plenty of space for God to interact. Because it’s about Him and who He is and NOT about records, songs, repetition or money, something happens in the supernatural and the natural. I feel we’ve begun to reap the fruits of this movement. I believe we are seeing a generation of Christians approach worship in a more genuine way. I also believe practical and natural fruits are sprouting out of the ‘worship revolution,’ like:
- Better musicianship
- Better sounds
- Better originality
- Better instrumental and lyrical creativity
- Better authenticity
- A better complement to the work of the ministry
Is it not characteristic of God to care about quality and distinction when His people are gathering to worship Him with their whole hearts?
Revival’s precursor – WORSHIP
The change that we’re seeing in worship/Christian music is not a mistake, in fact it’s a sign of what’s to come. Revivals and reformations have happened before, and in some form or another can be traced back to a hunger and a thirst for God, in a way that’s distinct in contrast to times of non-revival. These periods typically don’t happen without crying, groaning, interceding, anticipating, and repenting. The reason I believe our return to worship is the beginning of a revival is because this shift in many ways encompasses the desperation and hunger that usually sparks it. Worship is a position that is compatible with revival. In other words, in order for revival to happen, there needs to be a collective heart that invites it. I believe we are getting close and our return to pure worship is the indicator.
“Revival, no matter how great or small in its ultimate scope, always begins with individual believers whose hearts are desperate for God, and who are willing to pay the price to meet Him.”
DEL FEHSENFELD JR.
In our world
To Ryan Lapp, worship leader for the new ministry, Live with Purpose Church, worship is more about a place than a thing. “It’s our goal to cultivate a heart of worship in each disciple that goes beyond a song,” he said describing the vision for the fledgling church plant. “Our focus is seeking God’s Kingdom first, and not our own,” he added. In keeping pace with the return to a heart of worship, Live with Purpose Church and many other new or upcoming ministries are well aligned with the first step in ushering revival, which is exactly why it’s coming soon. Speaking to Solomon in a vision in 2nd Chronicles, the Lord said: “and [if]’ my people, my God-defined people, respond (to repeated warning and disaster) by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.” (2ND CHRONICLES 7:14 – MSG) God is indeed ready for us, and it’s becoming increasingly apparent, especially through a new kind of worship experience that’s sweeping the American church, that we’re, too, getting ready for Him.
Joe D’Orsie – Communications & Spiritual Life Counsel firstname.lastname@example.org