Contemporizing Praise and Worship

sonsanddaughters_albumcover_v2Praise and Worship in the church has been evolving through the years. Just as how commercial products undergo innovation and are modified to suit the current trend and wanting of consumers, praise and worship has also changed to attract the current generation, keep them excited, bring them into a worshipful experience, and hold them from stepping out of the church. Old aged Christians seems to be more moved by the biblical lyrics and familiar melodies of hymnals and are more accustomed to expressing their reverence to God through singing classic hymns or slower and softer worship songs. On the other hand, the younger generation are more accustomed to singing and listening to worship songs that resemble the sounds and musical style of the secular mainstream music. To them (not everyone), hymns are unattractive and boring and they are more excited and alive with contemporary worship styles and loud and upbeat praise songs.

For more than a decade, the Hillsong Church music team, who helped in the P&W revolution did not just influence the Philippines but the whole world. They have written and produced hundreds of songs that churches have gratefully embraced and had fit in their worship playlist. Personally, I also think that they (Hillsong) have inadvertently helped in the oblivious infusion of the “secular-like” style of music construction in praise and worship celebrations to some churches. Sadly too, many negative issues have been written by other Christian groups against them about how they perform and conduct their worship celebrations. Aside from Hillsong, other groups emerged with similar styles such as Planetshakers, Lakewood and Jesus culture in the U.S.. Other individual artists such as Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes and many others have also rose to fame because of their contemporary music style and the beautiful songs they’ve written. The contemporary Christian Music have remarkably grown. The GMA Dove Awards hugely expanded and have become grander, Klove have attracted millions of listeners and the CCM continues to grow in parallel with the mainstream secular music.

Lauren DaigleThough the P&W musical genre has diversified, it always is made up of two ordered categories – a set of fast and slow and a song for in-between (a transition song from fast to slow). Many churches today have adapted the sequence and it seems like it might go on for a long time.

In the past months, I was not excited nor looked forward to the next hillsong or planetshakers songs as I did before. Their newest albums didn’t quite stir a worshipful impression for me (I dont know about you). I have observed that their songs have gotten me to focus more on its musicality and into being a Christian form of art rather than a plain worship song with honest lyrics of reverence to God (This is my observation, and not of the people behind the songs). This has led me to think that putting too much technical emphasis on musical elements and construction may not always be a good idea, and that it could compromise the very purpose of why we worship.

So right now, as I decided to take a break from the hillsongs and the planetshakers, I found out unintentionally that there are not so popular groups who seem to genuinely express their worship in their musical styles. Their raw and simple production made their songs more honest and compelling for me to worship GOD with renewed passion. Here is my list:

1. All Sons and Daughters.

Leslie Anne Jordan and David Alan Leonard who lead the band were artists who originally created and wrote their music for the church congregation to sing on their worship celebrations. Their lyrics reflect their raw and honest questions and expressions of their passion and understanding of GOD. However, due to their music’s unique contemporary folk sound, they have attracted the attention of Christian Music producers thus propelling them into the mainstream Christian Music Industry.

My favorite All Sons and Daughters Songs:

Great Are You Lord

Rising Sun

All the Poor and Powerless

Wake Up

GOD With Us

2. Celebration Worship

The Glory of You

You Amaze Us

3. Centric Worship

All The Saints (Holy Holy Holy) – Anthony Skinner & Michael Farren

Come Alive (Dry Bones) – Lauren Daigle

4. Soulfire Revolution

Fire Fall Down

5. Rend Collective

Second Chance

My Lighthouse

6. Audrey Assad

Good To Me

Restless

List will be updated again soon…

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