My Response to Contemporary Worship Critics

I just returned from the Jesus Culture conference in Sacramento this past weekend.  Amazing!  I was so blessed by the worship led by Chris Quilala, Kim Walker-Smith, Bryan & Katie Torwalt, and Matt Redman.

So it’s ironic that on my way home, I stumbled upon a recent post by Dan Cogan entitled My Journey Away from Contemporary Worship Music.  It obviously struck a nerve with many people as he has received more than 500 comments (and counting) on that post.  It struck a nerve with me too.

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I was raised in a very traditional church with very traditional worship.  I know all the old hymns by heart and love them dearly.  But I have also grown to love contemporary worship.

Many of the critics complain that contemporary worship music is too loud, repetitive, just a show/performance, not deep enough, or not “spiritual” enough.  I guess that would be fine to say…if worship were about you.

But worship is not about you.  Not about how you feel when you’re singing it.  Not about how loud it is.  Not about whether the words repeat themselves too often or not. 

If you leave a church service saying, “I didn’t get a lot out of the worship today” you have missed the point.

Worship isn’t provided to please you, it’s to please Jesus.

Do I think contemporary worship brings pleasure to God when He hears it?  Yes, I do.  I think it makes Him smile.  I think He is honored.  I think He helped those worship leaders write those songs.  And I think He’s proud of His creation.

Christians can passionately defend their preferred style as the most honoring to God. But in reality, that’s all it is – their own preference, not God’s. There is no “best” or biblical style of music. Worship has nothing to do with the style or volume of the song. Whatever is offered to God in spirit and truth is an act of worship and He enjoys it all.

I think He likes all kinds of worship music.  Fast, slow, loud, soft, traditional, and contemporary. 

He likes it all.  Therefore, I like it all too.

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  1. Quintus N. Sachs M SEN says:

    Dear Stefani,

    Read my remarks on LinkedIn – then everyone will be able to read my opinion. Feel yourself embraced and loved He likes us all. Therefore, I (want to) like us all too.

    God Bless,


  2. Nina says:

    I’ve too often heard this same criticism of contemporary worship and completely agree with your defense. In my experience, the volume and repetition makes a way for the carnal mind, with all of its distractions, to be pushed aside so that one can be set free to truly worship in spirit and in truth.

  3. Sherry Lynne says:

    Hi Stefani,

    I full heartedly agree that worship is done in honor of Jesus, praising Him. I sing worship into attendees’ hearts as a healing light for our Jesus, in providing biblical stress management seminars. It doesn’t matter what kind of platform I am on, I always try and remember that we all have one audience, our Lord, and the opinions of others is not important. His is the ONLY opinion that matters. Jesus is all about relationship and our heart connection with Him. So when we worship, the only important thing to have, is a sincere heart. Joy and Blessings to You, Sherry

  4. Tony Steele says:

    Nice Post. While i believe that the smoke and light shows are too much the key is that in all things we are pointing to the Lord and not to ourselves which there can be a danger of when someone slips into ‘performance’mode. There can be a place for loud (in the time of David going into battle the army was led by loud music proclaiming the banner of the LORD) bower there is also a time for quiet during worship so that we can hear the quiet still voice of the spirit and allow the body of Christ to minister to itself.

  5. Morenzzy says:

    Worship ain’t about anyone and will never be!!! If you are not comfortable worshipping God in a certain environment, please go look for another…

  6. Bob says:

    Some simple questions about worship based on Ephesians 5:19:
    1. Do I enter in with others?
    2. Does it come from my heart?
    3. Is it directed to the Lord?

    “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts” Ephesians 5:19

  7. Jim Marshall says:

    I think all music that is offered in worship to the Lord has a place in the body of Christ. Some songs are not my favorites, but I always think of Psalm 22:3 that says God inhabits the praises of His people.

  8. In as much as God does discriminate, sometimes, some worship songs are repulsive to Him. It depends on the spirit with which it’s offered. Remember too that the sacrifice of the wicked are abomination to Him.. Though God is not moved by the melody but the order: purity and reverence involved. In as much as God frown at polluted animals as sacrifice to Him; He will equally not accept polluted worship songs.

  9. Tracy says:

    Thank you Stephanie! “He likes it all, so I like it too!”
    I love your take on this! I personally subscribe to the ‘audience of one’ mentality, meaning that I do not expect to agree with all forms of worship, but the key point for each worshipper is to maintain focus on the LORD- the “audience of one’! My opinions mean nothing because I can’t really tell if someone is worshipping from their heart, but God can! Let’s enjoy all styles of worship that we possibly can. I say let 1000 flowers bloom!

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