Bring back the organ!

Throughout the 1990s, churches experimented with the “seeker-friendly” or “Willow Creek” philosophy of church marketing. One of the underlying premises of this philosophy was, if you want to attract “unchurched” people to your church, then the last thing your church should resemble is–a church. Pulpits had to go, replaced by flimsy music stands that could be removed at a minute’s notice. Baptismal fonts and Communion tables had to be kept sight unseen (only to be brought out for the midweek “believers’ service”: Sunday was reserved for the “unchurched”). Many churches got rid of the choir (as we saw last time) in favor of more showbiz-oriented “worship teams” or “praise teams”. In some cases, the choirs stayed around, although they were usually relegated to the role of background singers for the “stars” on the worship team. But even if the choir escaped the axe, the organ (and the organist) almost never did.

So far, the American church in the 21st century is exploring emergent and missional philosophies. (I realize that these terms are not synonymous, but there is considerable overlap between the two.) One of the encouraging aspects of these current trends is that churches have finally realized that most worshipers are longing for a sense of connectedness to historic Christianity. People want to know that they are part of a larger story: a story that began long before we arrived on the scene and that will continue long after we are gone. Seeker-friendly churches could not deliver the goods in this area. Seeker-friendly worship was extremely tied to its own temporal and geographic context, whereas emergent or missional worship tries to reflect a more global view as well as what Robert Webber called the “ancient-future” outlook. One important element, however, is still largely missing:

Bring back the organ.

If you ask the average person on the street what a church is “supposed” to look like, they will most likely mention pews, stained glass windows, pulpits, altars, etc.: all those “churchy” furnishings the Willow Creek movement tried to eradicate. Similarly, in surveys, people routinely associate church music with hymns, choirs, and organs. In Western culture, the sound of a pipe organ is probably the most “churchy” sound people can imagine. For some reason, church leaders have got it in their heads that “people don’t want that,” but this is mistaken. Marva Dawn, in Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down, cites a survey of American Christian teenagers which reveals that the type of music they deem appropriate for worship is music that is characterized by all these “churchy” elements: choirs, hymns, and the organ. Adults suppose that teens will consider rock and roll the most appropriate for worship, since that is what they prefer to listen to in their daily lives, but this is not the case. So by removing “churchy” music and instruments in the name of “what the young folks like” actually results in an environment that young people actually find fake and, frankly, embarrassing. If the survey Dawn cites is any indication, when young people go to church, they want it to “sound like church.” They want it to “feel like church.” Most churches can take one simple step that will go a long way in recapturing that feeling:

Bring back the organ!

Besides the fact that most people connect the sound of a pipe organ with church more than any other sound, there are many sound reasons (pun intended) for retaining (or recovering) the use of the organ as the primary instrument in worship.

1.   The organ is the best man-made instrument for supporting congregational singing. I say the best man-made instrument, because the best instrument for encouraging singing is the human voice itself. One sings more freely and with greatest confidence when one is surrounded by good singers. But if one is going to have accompanied singing in church (discussions of accompanied vs. unaccompanied singing will have to wait for another time), instruments that most closely resemble the human voice in terms of sound production will encourage better singing than instruments which differ from the human voice. The human voice is a wind instrument: supported air is sent through the larynx, causing the vocal folds to vibrate, thus creating sound. The organ is a wind instrument too: actually a collection of wind instruments all in one place (reeds, flutes, trumpets, etc.), and one person can play them all simultaneously. The piano is a percussion instrument, not a wind instrument. As soon as a note is struck on the piano, the sound immediately begins to decay. That does not encourage sustained singing “on the breath.” This is not to say that the piano is not a great instrument, or that great music has not been written for the piano: I am a pianist myself and love the instrument a great deal. But it is not well-suited for accompanying congregational praise. Neither is the guitar. The guitar is, technically, a stringed instrument, but it is played as a percussion instrument (by plucking or strumming the strings), not in a sustained manner (bowing) as other stringed instruments can be played. Guitar-led congregational singing is inevitably throaty singing, and is usually pretty anemic as well, except for those who are singing into microphones, and then, of course, their voices are being artificially amplified or “lifted up,” and there should be no artifice in our worship. Forced, throaty singing does damage to the musical instrument that God gave each of us (our voices): God’s people need to learn to sing “on the breath” (note: this is not the same thing as breathy singing!), and accompanying singing with wind instruments, such as the organ and/or a brass choir, is one of the best ways to encourage healthy singing.

2.    The organ is made up of choirs. In my previous article (about choral music in the church), we saw that biblical worship is all about choirs. If Christian worship is fundamentally choral worship, then it follows that instrumental choirs would accompany the singing of human choirs (remember that the congregation itself is one of those human choirs). One should assemble brass choirs, woodwind choirs, handbell choirs, etc. to use in worship, but it is impractical to use these on a weekly basis. (I do not recommend the weekly use of a church wind ensemble or orchestra, as they are almost always out of tune and do not play together, due to their limited rehearsal time. It seems more desirable to have these groups make contributions to worship frequently enough that their gifts are being employed, but not so often that their performances sound thrown together. Worship should not be artificial, but it should not be shoddy either.) Employing the organ is a way to have wind-ensemble-led congregational singing every week. Furthermore, the various choirs (ranks) or families of pipes that make up the organ mean that there can be an almost limitless variety of tone colors in the worship service. A talented, thoughtful organist will change registrations as necessary to complement the changing moods of the various stanzas of the hymns that are sung.

3.   The organ is a powerful instrument. It is no wonder that the organ is called “the king of instruments.” Such power is useful in painting a picture in worship of the majesty and grandeur of our God. Now many instruments can produce loud sounds, but in the case of the organ, it is the instrument itself, not the performer, that is the source of this strength. A pianist must exert his strength to play loudly, drawing attention to his own might. Playing the organ indeed requires great skill, but the player himself is dwarfed by the sheer magnitude of the instrument, so the “Look at me!” factor is much less in the case of an organist than with a pianist, guitarist, or other instrumentalist. It helps to have such an instrument in worship that points beyond ourselves, particularly one whose power comes not from the one playing it, but from the wind, as God reminds us that life is to be lived “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit (Heb. ruach, “breath” or “wind”), declares the Lord of hosts (Zechariah 4:6).”

4.    The organ is a very expensive instrument. Yes, I see this as a plus, not a drawback. Too often churches assume that “good stewardship” means being cheap, but some things are worth the money. Christ’s honor is worth the money. We live in a nation littered with disposable-looking metal buildings erected as houses of worship because it was the cheap thing to do. Contrast this with the great Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals of Europe, which took centuries to complete. Those who began building those churches never lived to see their completion. In many cases, their children never lived to see the completion of these churches. That is dedication to something bigger than one’s self. That is looking past one’s own nose. Evangelicals gather in their disposable buildings and play disposable music on disposable instruments. An organ installation, by contrast, is a permanent thing. It says, “We are committed to excellence in church music, and we want to encourage that excellence for many, many generations to come.” Isn’t Christ’s honor worth that? Spend the money on something that will last. Let the world keep its disposable music.

5.    The organ can help create a “church culture.” The church should not follow the world; rather, in all areas, including the arts, the church should lead the way, setting the example of excellence, and let the world follow suit. For the past century or more, the world has led the way and the church has followed suit, usually with results that are far from excellent. Evangelical Christians in particular have been known for creating inferior copies for themselves of things that already exist in the world. This is what Francis Schaeffer referred to as “the Evangelical ghetto.” Or, as Ken Meyers has put it, Evangelical Christians have learned to be of the world but not in it. Instead of aping the culture around us, the church should be creating a “church culture” that is superior to anything in the world. In church music, the organ is the cornerstone of the “church sound” and thus of a church musical culture. With the exception of some concert halls and old-time movie palaces, churches are pretty much the only buildings where pipe organs can be found, and since the organ is not a portable instrument, that also means churches are pretty much the only places that pipe organ music will be heard. This means that the sound of church music will be unique. A renaissance of interest in pipe organ music will also mean that those churches with fine pipe organ installations will be in demand as locations for recitals, which can only help further the church’s visibility in the community.

Colleges in this country have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of organ majors. It is no wonder: young people have grown up in churches in which, if there was a pipe organ, it sat in a corner gathering dust. Since so few churches are looking for organists, the job prospects for young people who might desire to become organists are slim, so they major in something else. But it is not too late. Forward-thinking churches can, and should, endow organ scholarships for the purpose of raising up a new generation of skilled, theologically-minded church organists who can help create a new, more excellent culture of church music. If your church’s organ is in disrepair, have it fixed. If it has fallen into disuse or is used rarely, have that problem fixed too. Search for a gifted, dedicated organist (i.e., one who takes his/her job seriously and will practice accordingly), and reward him or her handsomely for undertaking this important part of leading in worship (you pay peanuts, you get monkeys). We need to restore the “king of instruments” to a place of prominence, as it can help us exalt the King of kings like no other instrument can.

Bring back the organ!

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About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
This entry was posted in Bible, Church, Liturgy, Music, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

75 Responses to Bring back the organ!

  1. Rodney Wood says:

    Thank you so much for this excellent article. I was thinking about you today and hoping to see you soon. – Rodney

  2. Jim Franklin says:

    Absolutely! Thank you, Edith for that much needed reference.

  3. RevJATB says:

    Anonymous comments will not be approved. Neither will comments with false email addresses.

  4. Pastor Buddy says:

    While we’re at it, lets bring back the harpsichord, harp and lyre. Surely the more ancient the instrument the more holy. The truth of the matter is that God wants us to worship in spirit and truth rather than tradition and preference.

  5. RevJATB says:

    “Pastor Buddy”:

    Congratulations on completely missing all five points of this essay. Not once did I state, imply, or even hint that “the more ancient the instrument the more holy.”

  6. Ken Williams says:

    Excellent article. Should be required reading for every pastor and every person attending seminary. In our situation, even though a contemporary service was added a couple of years ago in which the organ is not used, it is used in all other services, along with twin 7-foot grand pianos. In the past 18 months or so, several families have started attending our church because they missed the organ in their former churches!

  7. Dennis Myers says:

    What an excellent piece of writing. I am an older budding organist, and a former teacher of
    English. It’s a delight to read a finely written article on a truly enlightening subject. Congratulations! Dennis.

  8. John Murdoch says:

    I read your excellent post after seeing a link to it in the Rodgers Organ “Voices” email newsletter. Thank you very much for a very thoughtful article.

    With regard to point 4 (“The organ is a very expensive instrument”): must it be so? The development of virtual instruments is transforming music (very little “studio” music you hear today is actually recorded from a physical instrument) and the organ is no exception. Hauptwerk is perhaps the most well-known “virtual pipe organ”–but there are others, and the commercial organ vendors (Allen, Rodgers, and others) are validating the premise of VPOs by offering their own versions. Those virtual instruments provide that small-building, small-budget church with access to the majesty and grandeur of the pipe organ–when the million-dollar (plus!) budget of the real thing is simply not feasible.

    (It’s not just a small-church thing, either. When Salisbury Cathedral began a three-month restoration of their magnificent Father Willis organ, they maintained their regular worship service–using the Hauptwerk console of their principal organist, and the VPO sound set of their own organ, recorded by Milan Digital Audio.)

    I’m the music director of a small, urban congregation in Pennsylvania. My official music budget is $800–the de facto music budget is however much I spend from my own pocket. But the VPO allows me to bring the pipe organ back to our worship service.

    I think that’s a very positive development.

  9. Richard Van Auken says:

    Excellent article – much truth to be told. A good organ being able to go from a whisper to a roar, whether pipe or really good digital is still the best
    instrument to accompany a congregation and praise God as we should.

  10. Dewey Jacks says:

    I agree with Ken Williams 100%,…every pastor should be REQUIRED to read this five point,well written essay because every word of it is truth. Though my church has a “blended” service,we still use the organ. A church I used to attend told me to leave because I was not in favor of the organ being done away with and replaced by a synthesizer along with the old hymns of the faith being replaced by “all contemporary” music. That really saddened my heart beyond belief as I felt the organ played a VERY IMPORTANT part in the music of the church,…and I STILL feel that way!

  11. Dan says:

    I think where things want wrong with the Willowcreek movement was when instead of saying, “This is what worked for us in our community.” they started preaching a message to church leaders telling (or implying to) them, “Do what we did!”. Some churches abandoned core ministry values in pursuit of a quick fix to their church growth problem. My own fallible opinion.

  12. Jsnet Keida says:

    One word-Amen

  13. Pieter Visser says:

    Clergy in general have always been the problem with church. Jesus NEVER said “follow me I will give you whatever you want” He said pick up that cross and follow me. God is awsome! God is WAY beyond our understanding. Many clergy are confused, the think they are God or know Him real well. Much confusion gets me BIG time. Its all about Jesus. Thats wrong!!!!!!!!!!! Its all about GOD through Jesus and His example of how to live. Music should be of the highest standards in the highest form. Music should NOT be entertainement EVER. Never be show!.. Never ever about “me”
    Pieter

  14. Herman Dost says:

    Excellent article! Having been a church organist for the last 60 years I agree with the value of the organ in support of congregational singing.

    I also agree with John Murdoch on the exciting development of the virtual organ and have a 3-manual console with Hauptwerk in my home. It enables me to recreate the sounds of famous organs from all over the world. Milan Digital has done a tremendous job on Hauptwerks’ development.

  15. Having been an organist in the 60’s Charisimatic movement, yet having a traidtional Pentecostal heritage, and now pastoring a growing Pentecostal Holiness congregation in the heart of the Bible Belt, I have watched church music transition from hymns, gospel songs, and now contemporary choruses. This is one arena where you actually can be “all things to all men,” utilizing the blended approach…The key however is that both your vocal and instrumental musicians …1) Have a heart for worship, not performance; 2) Spend prep time before God, seeking the anointing of the Holy Spirit; and 3) Live their musical testimony after they have left the platform. We use an organ, Yamaha Clavinova, electronic drums, guitars, trumpets, and an acoustic piano w/a praise and worship team who has learned to go from a performance to praise mentality. It works… People have begun attending our church just to hear the prelude music.

  16. As a minister of music and an organist, I believe the organ is an integral part of any type of worship service. Today, some churches are using the organ with contemporary music. Anyone who says a synthesizer sounds like a pipe organ is just plain dead wrong. Ken Williams had it 100% right on the money and I’ll add Seminaries of all denominations should have that requirement. AMEN!!!!

  17. Gail Langhorst says:

    I think church trustees should read this to realize one needs the organ, not just trying to spend money for flair sake.

  18. Rron Mitchell says:

    I am an orchestra director for my church and I agree that to sound like church music should be heard and sung, the organ is the sound I want to hear. I am a trumpet player and love to play in church, but when it comes to listening to the hymns and singing, the organ is, for most, the instrument. A service with guitars twanging and drums that exceed my ear drums is not music dedicated to God and Jesus.

  19. Ernst Cupido says:

    Excellent article.
    I’m not an American (citizen of the USA) and neither a practicing christian. But I used to participate in church services for a period in my life, and all of my life have loved “true” (=traditional) churches and church organs.

    As an organ lover (I’m using a Hauptwerk instrument) I read frequently organ forums and with amazement and disgust I have noticed those new and contemporary music movements in church circles appearing and the frequent problems that cause for maintaining a proper organ in function – at the very least.

    I felt very touched by this essay. Though being an outsider, it seems to me that the author hits the nail on its head.
    I’m European and with the life experience I have honestly believe that in church the touch of history, being part of a chain, and having a music power above ordinary human contribution, is an important issue.

    Ernst Cupido

  20. Dan Kooiman says:

    As an organist with a Graduate Degree in organ performance, who was invited to retire in 1980 when the pastor decided to sell the big Rodgers and move to more contemporary worship, I have not played in church since. Cannot tolerate the modern “no music” accompaniments. Would rather not go to church than to listen to the horrible music. Perhaps there is still hope.

  21. Mac says:

    Thanks for this excellent article. I hope to see a resurgence of organ in the church. People lose interest in the seeker-sensitive worship because there is no substance to it. Traditional worship can be equally flat, but one cannot argue that the organ is the only instrument that people always associate with church. Rock and roll is something people associate with entertainment. Maybe one day people will quit trying to make church an entertainment experience.

  22. William Memmott says:

    Will there be organs in heaven? I presume so. Big ones! And by the way, I’ve experienced many souls come to CHrist through choir and organ involvement. That’s iinda Principal for me!

  23. Jerry Black says:

    A well written article. The main contribution
    of the organ is the sustained sound. When I
    have attended “guitar” services, the singing gradually ceases and I believe that the lack of
    sustained sound was the cause. As the music went on you felt as though you were singing a solo.
    Admittedly, I am an organist who has served churches for nearly 60 years. A good organist
    can help a congregation sing better and can
    add much color to solo and choral music.

  24. LAJ says:

    There are still Lutheran churches that use pipe organs every Sunday. Not every church body has caved to the entertainment type of music for it’s worship services. Let’s pray that more churches return to organ, hymns, and choirs.

  25. Dennis Beertwell says:

    AMEN to all points which endorse the return of the organ to church worship services. I have been a church organist most of my life (over 50 years) in the Foursquare Church. Now that is all gone and replaced by so-called ‘praise & worship music”. Unfortunately a great deal of this new music is written by people who are NOT musicians who don’t know the difference between a rest, a breath, or anything else truly musical. This makes the new music difficult to sing/play and it does not ‘get ahold’ of the heart and stay there like the hymns and gospel music of the past. Why change something that has worked for at least a hundred years! A lot of this change is suppose to ‘entice/draw’ in the young people. Oh yeah, where are they???

  26. orgpheus says:

    Thank you so much for this excellent article. Besides being organist in an Australian inner-city church, I have a four-manual VPO console that I also take out to show that the organ is not an obsolete, dead instrument at all, but on the contrary. Everywhere I go, there is positive feedback. Pipe organs and VPOs also mutually support each other as they both work relentlessly to promote and preserve this magnificent instrument for future generations – despite the inane stereotypes of popular “culture” and ephemeral trends.

  27. Ingrid Bock says:

    I saw this on the Facebook page of an organist friend, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m a professional classical musician, and I like almost all types of music, including bluegrass, rock, pop, Celtic, country…you name it, pretty much (with a couple of exceptions). But in church, anything other than traditional organ music leaves me absolutely cold. Tradition in church is very important. You’re so right–I want to feel part of something very old, which will continue long after I’m gone. Being aware of that continuity makes one think about immortality, for one thing. I struggle with joining a church, because I was raised Unitarian and love much of what the UUs stand for, but traditional organ music is conspicuously absent (at least the bland pop stuff is also absent). Thank goodness I get to hear a lot of organ music on Pipe Dreams. Long may the organ flourish–thanks for helping it!

  28. Sadly the classical organ has become a thing of the past as I have found many churches has replaced their organ with an acoustic grand piano. There are not too many who can play the classical organ, and the only organ being now used in worship is the Hammond organ or drawbar type instrument. The classical organ is fading away, unless we do something about making it more appealing again. I have played the classical organ since childhood and even after playing keyboards professionally with bands, I still prefer the classical organ over the Hammond/drawbar organ.

  29. John Marks says:

    Thank you. I am forwarding this excellent bit of reasoning everywhere I think appropriate.

  30. Daniel, organist and choirmaster says:

    This is an excellent read that I plan to take back to my church! We just built a new worship space and I feel that the organ got the back burner on the list of priorities to a certain extent. We are a campus setting church and our historic building that we outgrew still has a pipe organ and will be used for smaller services but we really need a good organ in the larger space too. I am a trained muscian with a degree in organ performance somebody along the saw the importance of having my there. This is an Episcopal Church. We are not a large mega church and I think that Episcopal Churches as well as other mainline protestant churches everywhere should stop trying to compete against the mega churches and focus on being authentic in worship.

  31. Trys Bennett says:

    Agreed, except for the point about orchestras. The church I attend has a small string & wind orchestra at our traditional 11:00 service that plays repertoire and hymns every week. Our director ensures that they are well prepared and in tune — quite a wonderful addition to the service that also includes a choir, organ and handbell choir. To the above comment about bringing back the harpsichord — there is nothing wrong with a harpsichord in church. We have used ours in a service on special occasions when the repertoire suited it, and we use it at times for our Celtic service and concert series. As to a more contemporary service, we also have an excellent Jazz ensemble at our 9:00 service. To me, a church is just not a church unless it has an organ.

  32. Adrian Anderson says:

    Thank you for that excellent essay ‘Bring back the pipe organ’

    The detatched nature of the sound of the organ also makes it ideal for Worship. Often the pipes speak some distance away from the console and the organist.. In the same way light streams through stained glass windows to worshippers below evoking a sense of the numinous.

    Adrian Anderson

    Northern Ireland

  33. Thanks for a thoughtful and well written article. It supports our own mission to build excellent pipe organs which beautifully support and lead the congregations prayer and praise. With your permission I would like to post this on our website/facebook.

  34. Joe in Midland says:

    Funny how some people take things literally. It’s not about “the organ” as you say in your article. It’s about hymns and prayer, not entertainment. I am 59 years old and have NEVER gotten emotional in church listening to a band, or guitar and tamborines. I have gotten emotional listening to the organ and the choir because I was caught up in prayer and hymns and listening to the words of God speak to me. At least with the organ I can hear God speak to me. God doesn’t come through to me as clearly through the din of the guitar or the backup singers. I go to God’s house on Sunday…not God’s “crib” or club. I don’t go to church for the “entertainment”. Christians need to stand up and demand to hear the the words of God and teach our children and grandchildren what church is really about. If our children and grandchildren are “bored” sitting in church it might be because they were not clearly instructed on what church is all about. Expectations have not been clearly set and defined. Too many of us have gotten lazy and have permitted video games, movies, and cartoons to replace interaction, christian instruction and just plain talk. I’m all for entertainment and for having a good time but on Sunday I need to listen to the gospel so I can live my life as a better Christian

  35. Jeni says:

    Just love the article. It should be required reading for all pastors and would be music leaders. Our church is dumbing down our music and I resigned over it. Keep up the good work.

  36. Elizabeth GM says:

    I enjoyed this article and the comments. I have returned to the pipe organ after 40 years, and found that it came back to me faster than I expected. I do see a problem with the aging of our congregations, including me. There are not enough young people taking it up. Many churches have beautiful instruments, but no one to play them.

  37. Joseph T. Bohanon says:

    I enjoyed this article very much, I miss the organ.

    I served as a science professor in a Christian college for 46 years, One of my colleagues who taught English and had a similar tenure made the following observation: “Contemporary Christian music is second poetry put to third grade music,”

  38. Dick Bolks says:

    Who wrote this great article. I would like to know as would other friends I’ve sent it to.

  39. RevJATB says:

    I did! 🙂

  40. P. A. Lalor says:

    I think this is an excellent article and should be required reading for all Clergy especially in Catholic Church.

  41. Jim Obermeyer says:

    I agree with the web site. I pastored for over 30 years and think it sad to go to church and not hear the organ. I am all for bringing it back. It is so majestic to sing with organ and you truly can blend music to give the well rounded worship service that will be worshipful and meet the needs of people for all kinds of music. There is some contemporary music that is beautiful and can be blended. After all, all hymns, songs etc were contemporary at one time.

  42. Craig Miller says:

    I like drums, but when my former church started to allow the electronic drum kit to be played during hymns like Holy, Holy, Holy, I had to take a break for a couple of years. When I came back to visit, they had removed the organ entirely. How sad. Your article could not have been more on-target.

  43. What a great article! Of course, people who think differently are likely not going to change even if they read this article, unfortunately. However, at least there are people like you out there trying to change mainstream thought!

    As for virtual organs, I can see the merit of a concert organist having such a thing in his/her home for practice purposes. However, in a small or even tiny church, I would much rather play even a tiny pipe instrument than a virtual.

    Why are we putting virtual organs in tiny churches–organs whose resources are too much for the room? And if the overall volume of the virtual organ is turned down due to the room’s small size, then each individual stop is too soft.

    If a tiny church can only afford/have space for a 3-rank pipe instrument (which suits the room and can sound plenty grand and majestic in a tiny sanctuary/chapel), a rather flexible yet legitimate unit organ spec can be derived, such as:

    Pipework:

    (All enclosed except 1-12 of Stopped flute)

    16′ Stopped flute, 73 pipes
    4′ Principal, 73 pipes
    4′ Gemshorn, 61 pipes

    Total 207 pipes

    Stoplist:

    Manual II

    8′ Stopped flute
    4′ Gemshorn
    2′ Principal
    1-1/3′ Gemshorn-quint (top 7 repeat)
    1′ Gemshorn (top 12 repeat)

    Manual I

    8′ Solo principal (tc)
    8′ Gemshorn (1-12 from stopped fl)
    4′ Principal
    4′ Stopped flute (50-61 from gems)
    2′ Gemshorn (50-61 from prin)

    Pedal

    16′ Stopped flute
    8′ Stopped flute
    4′ Principal
    4′ Gemshorn
    2′ Gemshorn

  44. Roy Knight says:

    I serve a traditional United Methodist which has and appreciates a 70 rank pipe organ. It was built in 1966 and has had extensive renovation. It is wonderful to see a congregation that has not been so easily influenced as to dispense with the pipe organ. Indeed it is the centerpiece of our music ministry.

  45. Thanks for this article! I have found all this to be too true in my experience as a professional church musician. Years ago at a Presbyterian church where I worked, the youth were asked if they really liked popular-style religious music, and they answered that they liked some of it, but they also like the traditional music. More recently I directed a Gregorian chant schola at a Catholic church, and most all my members were college students. One told me how embarrassed she and her friends were to be at a confirmation at her home parish, where the service was dominated by “contemporary” music designed to appeal to such youth, when it actually wasn’t anything they identified with at all. This same schola member was the one who would sit as close to the organ pipes as possible during my postludes so as to absorb the whole sound experience as much as she could! I always find young — and not so young — people fascinated with the pipe organ. I also always have found that it is by far the best medium for leading congregational song bar none.

  46. RevJATB, while I agree with much of this, your tone seems to imply that all churches can afford pipe organs and degreed organists, and that’s what I take offense to. To say “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys” is an insult to volunteers (1 of whom was my late aunt who was my first piano teacher) and the woman who replaced her, still volunteering at age 91. I began serious organ study at age 25, and am thankful to even be paid for it, as I consider it service to the Lord! I don’t like “praise bands” or guitars totally replacing the organ, but you have to have a balance in today’s church to reach younger folks. Note I didn’t say TOTALLY replace the organ–you just have to have a friendly BALANCE, and just avoid the services you don’t like, right? Send me your email so we can have more friendly discourse on this.

  47. Tom Bara says:

    Hi RevJATB,
    I love this article and agree experientially with your 5 points about organ, and intuitively with the historical arch that you present in the first three paragraphs. I am the organist choir director on a worship team that includes two pastors and a music director whose passion and energy are invested in developing contemporary praise band services. As the primary resource and proponent of classical music worship in our church, I feel like the “pep club” compared to the “cheerleader squad” that you mention in your choir article. I do ok, and the organ and choir remain alive and well in my church, but the political energy and savvy to keep this going in this environment is exhausting sometimes. I would love to present this to my pastors, but I need more facts. How much documentation do you have for the trends you describe? To what surveys do you refer in the opening paragraphs? Are “Willow Creek” “Seeker friendly” “Emergent” and “Missional” universal terms? What geographical region are you from? I suspect my region may be going though the part of the process that you refer to as happening in the 90s. Does that mean I have to wait 20 years for the historical pendulum to start to switch direction?

    I am generally not a “bloggee;” I came across a link to your article in facebook and by some remote chance clicked on the link. (I never click on links.)

    If you get a chance, I would love it if you could drop me an email with your real name and what church you work in.

    Thank you for your thoughts!

    Tom

  48. Drew Meyer says:

    Hello,
    I have the privilege of playing a 119 year old organ every Sunday. Even better, it is in a church where people ask me to play loud! It is great to read an article like this. I am printing it for our Pastor.

  49. A well written, insightful, and intelligent essay that touches on so many aspects of the organ and the organist in our churches today. This should be required reading for Pastors, Directors, and Organists… I’ll be posting this on my facebook page and hope this will continue travelling over the internet world to shed light and much needed information on the organ in worship. Well done!

  50. Dave McConnell says:

    I am thankful that my church pastors and leadership has the wisdom and foresight to offer multiple worship styles, with instrumentation that suits each style.

    We are blessed to have an truly amazing pipe organ, as well as pianos, guitars, drums, brass, strings — and human voices.

    All play their role in creating stirring, meaningful, joy-filled worship experiences by creating an atmosphere where our members can meet God by whatever path they choose.

    What it comes down to is personal preference, not divine decree. There’s no need to denigrate another’s personal choice because it doesn’t match your own.

    God surely does not care about the instruments in our sanctuaries. God cares about what’s in our hearts.

  51. Sharon says:

    Thank you for sharing. It is refreshing to read that people do appreciate the music that comes from an organ in church. I have been an organist and pianist for over 50 years, and have also provided special music on my accordion. It is great to suggest that this be required reading for pastors, directors, and organists. Elders, deacons and persons in similar positions should also be required to read it. Also, it could not hurt to have it read by the busybodies who like to tell everyone else how things should be done. Don’t think for one minute that everyone listens to the pastors, directors, and organists in the church.

    More importantly, God will speak to us whenever we are willing to listen. I personally prefer an organ/piano used in church services, but a well-directed praise team prepared to worship (instead of perform) can add to worship, but it takes the right blend of hymns and organ music to get the maximum benefit from worship.

    Older organs do reach a point where they need repairs or even replacing and sometimes this expense can be a burden on congregations, unless a member or several are willing to fund it. We found a keyboard that when it is plugged into external speakers has a beautiful pipe organ sound, so if there is a will, there is always a way to get the sound of an organ.

    In keeping the organ, it is important to remember that qualified people are required to play it. That does not mean they have to be degreed, but they need to be compensated. There is more to playing the organ for church than showing up and playing at the designated worship times. Organists prepare worship music other than music that is sung, practice, and also need to be prepared to worship, and they must commit to playing at designated services. Practice and preparation time involve many hours that church-goers don’t see. Also, some churches also expect their organist to be their choir director, which involves even more time, both at church and away from church.

    Yet, too many organists are taken for granted! Whether they agree to volunteer their time or not, they need to be compensated for their expenses. I can’t tell you how many times I have encountered a church who begs me to play their organ, but is not willing to cover my expenses. Musicians are no different than contractors or anyone else who does work for the church, and they need to be paid according to local wage rates, because they also have overhead expenses in operating their own business.

    So when you decide to keep your organ or bring the organ back, remember that you will need someone who will commit to playing it.

  52. I agree with the idea that the organ is important for traditional worship. I am a part of the Praise Team that leads worship at the 9:45 service at our church. We are not show-biz oriented in any way. I suspect there are some out there that might go in that direction. But to say that Praise Teams are show biz oriented would be just as unfair as saying Tradition Hymns are Dirge-like. Neither would be true, at least in my church as well as all of the other churches I have visited for their contemporary service. I think either extreme is counter productive to the growth of a church. A good mix of Contemporary and Traditional services is best to let all parishoners find their way…and occasional blended service to see how “the other half” worships is nice too. Makes all of us in my church apprciate the efforts of folks we don’t always get to see and hear…..For what it is worht, I hope we never go the route of getting rid of the organ.

  53. Merfyf says:

    Interesting!   I actually agree that an organ can make a building ‘feel churchy’, but I’m not in agreement that a ‘churchy’ feel is what we should be striving for.  I also agree that there are probably churches out there who strive to accomplish the ‘show biz’ factor in their ‘worship’ time which brings praise and glory for themselves.  I agree that this is wrong.  

    The object of our worship should be God!  The way we worship should be from our hearts and through our lives because worship is more than a song!  

    With that being said, I don’t think we can judge others’ worship because it’s not like ours!  If some churches choose to worship with hymns and organs, that’s fine!  If some choose to worship with keyboards, guitars and drums, that’s fine too.  Most importantly people should be led to worship the One, True King with their hearts and voices no matter what the vehicle.  People gravitate to houses of worship where people worship similarly to their ‘style’.  

    When we hold on to tradition simply because ‘that’s what we’ve always done’, then what’s the point???  Traditions are man made and should not be worshipped!  Traditions can be useful if they point people to Jesus, but if traditions are just to make a place ‘feel churchy’, then they should be removed!  If people hold on to traditions more than God, then traditions become idols and should be destroyed!

  54. RevJATB says:

    Merfyf, I think you missed the point. The problem lies precisely in one of the comments you made: people gravitate to houses of worship where people worship similarly to their ‘style’.” That is not good. Worship is about the body worshiping together, not splintering off into special interest groups where we only associate with people exactly like ourselves. The church should not be mimicking any “style” out there but rather create its own unique culture which may then influence the world. My contention is that, since the organ (the pipe organ anyway) is almost exclusively associated with houses of worship, it is much better suited to achieving these ends than, say, the saxophone or electric guitar, which will inevitably be associated with other contexts.

  55. Merfyf says:

    But who is to say that organ is the ‘style’ that is pleasing to the Lord??!!?? And I believe this preference is limiting to those who have been given the gifts and abilities to play other instuments! Can they not worship the Lord through guitar or trumpet or violin? And can I not worship God while listening to them play?? In corporate worship I believe there needs to be some sort of order to things, but I think that the splintering of the church comes from one person’s preference in worship being looked upon as superior to other forms. My preference is for God to be worshipped whether through hymns or worship choruses or organ or harmonica or simply voices! As long as God is being glorified, that’s true worship!

    I also understand that the church should be unified, but not all church attendees can fit in one building. Why do we all need to be cookie cutter Christians? If what one group was doing was wrong, I could understand your point. The body of Christ should be unified in making God’s name famous and not so concerned with unity in the style we sing or the decorations of our buildings.

    I really appreciate your article! I love that so many people can have so many different points of view and we can sharpen each others convictions and beliefs! AND we can still be on the same team and worship the same God! I believe we just need to disagree on certain preference issues with LOVE!

  56. As a Lyricist and student of trends in congregational singing/worship, I’m stimulated by this thought-provoking article, and would like RevJATB to identify himself and his context to me. Many of the comments focus on what WE like and feel, and most speak out of a Western liturgical tradition. What about focusing on what GOD likes, and on the global liturgical traditions? My own background is in western culture, but as a South African who has worked cross-culturally most of my life, I’m blessed to be able to recognise the value in all cultural expressions of Worshipping God in Song, and in my personal experience nothing surpasses the unaccompanied spontaneous harmonies of Africa’s voices in congregational song. My regret is that, like so much Contemporary Worship singing, the lyrics have been dumbed down. So while I, as a westerner, fully endorse Rev JATB’s article, I would argue that it is the LYRIC that is universally important in our songs of worship. Are the words of the songs/hymns under-girded by Scripture? Are they expressed in a meaningful way? Are they crafted with an excellence worthy of our excellent God? Issues of musical style and instrument are cultural variables.

  57. Nathan says:

    I am the chair of my church’s music department, and was very pleased to find this blog. Thanks for this spot-on essay, and also the review of the best book I’ve ever read on the church music debate (like RevJATB and Merfyf have had above), T.David Gordon’s “Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns”. Please, if you have not read this book, do so; the author is concise, respectful, well-reasoned, and highly qualified to write about the topic. At the very least read the review on this blog.
    But I must enter this discussion! Style is part of substance Merfyf; style is never neutral. Style brings emphasis to an aspect of something, much like how you say something is usually more important than what words you use. Music has a ‘lyric’ (what Dr Gordon calls a ‘meta-message’) all its own, which can run counter to the words put to it. Secular pop musical composition styles are developed from a godless commercial perspective; it must entertain or else it doesn’t sell. Does God ask us to pitch a product? One cannot just paste Christian lyrics on pop music and expect it to come out suitably sanctified for a meeting with the God who is a consuming fire (Heb 12:28-29)!
    We must bring an offering like Able, not like Cain; our offering of art should imitate the order and majesty of our Creator rather than that made in our image and preference. God cares very much about how we depict him among ourselves, giving the community of faith three commandments (1,2, & 3) that pertain to how he is depicted (Deut 5:7-11).
    What’s more is that the kingdom of God is not an egalitarian democracy where one person’s opinion is supposedly equal to another’s. We exist within the hierarchy of creation, where logic and science are valid strategies for answering questions; all is not relative, just subject to opinions about ‘style’. (Notice Paul’s language ‘test’ regarding God’s will in Rom 12:1-2). It has been the quest of the church for 19 centuries to develop art that is suitable for approaching God. It is astonishing that in the space of a few decades it has jettisoned this without any debate, only the odd assumption that what is past is passé. The above article about the use of the organ takes aim at your relativistic attitude, and it seems to have hit the mark.

  58. RevJATB says:

    Allow me to make a couple of brief follow-up comments:

    1) Yes, I am aware that our expressions of worship are culturally conditioned. No, I am not making a blanket statement that is applicable to all cultures throughout the world. I think that should go without saying, but someone always wants to try to pick something apart. I do believe, however, that we are pitifully bad at traditioning our OWN culture to successive generations. We know virtually nothing of our OWN culture, our own history. All we know is what pop culture sells us. We can, and should, do better.

    2) This is not about one preference vs. another. The pop-music-in-worship crowd always wants to reduce it to that. As T. David Gordon has pointed out, my grandparents’ generation (the “Greatest Generation”) did not insist that church music sound like their musical preferences–Glenn Miller, Count Basie, etc. My parents’ generation (the “Silent Generation”) likewise did not insist that church music sound like their musical preferences–Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, etc. It was not until the Baby Boomers–the “ME” generation–came into their own, that worshipers began to demand that what they heard in church ape what they liked listening to on the radio at home or in the car. I am not advocating one generation’s “preference” over another. As Nathan points out, we’re not just talking about “style”: we’re talking about forms, and forms condition the message. The form has its own meta-message which may either support or detract from the message of the text. In other words, just because you can sing “Amazing Grace” to “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle” doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

  59. Pingback: All I ever needed to know I learned in the church choir.

  60. Derrick says:

    I am at a church that does a highly excellent Traditional service (Organ, choir, large orchestra) and Contemporary service (band, gospel choir, etc).

    I love organs and think they are great in traditional worship. However, we have been looking to replace our 8 year old organ. It IS too expensive to replace. If an Allen, Veritas, etc. brand of organ cost 100k+ dollars and is only expected to last maybe 10 years, then it is NOT a good investment from the church.

    It is a tough decision we are making. We may move to an organ simulator (most organs are digital anyway) with Music Com or related organ technology.

    I do agree it is great for leading in congregational singing and adds a ton to the worship service. The prices have gone mad. And yes I understand what it takes to build an organ. It is expensive, but with technology there are other options for organ sounds.

  61. S W says:

    There is another context in which traditional church music is being attacked, diluted and downplayed, in favor of the “popular.” That is, it is in part a political attack on religion itself masquerading as musical. From the Frankfurt School forward, one goal was to erode Western civilization because it was seen to be an obstacle to a growing power of the secular state. For this one sees erosion through various “trends” to minimize the traditional, because the traditional also supports the notion of a lineage of civilzation. There are English, German, Catholic, Protestant, and early American musical traditions of great value and quality. Edging such as these out of the chancel in favor of rock bands does not support religion, so much as wear it away over the long term. One sees an attack on various centuries-old musical traditions alongside the aggressive inclusion of politics into churches, and then in many one sees a dilution of that institution’s call to its members. Many churches are withering for their being so “modern,” because once traditional music is nudged aside, and once the sermons are progressively political and point to the state as authority rather than religion and God, it becomes obvious to me that your theme is part of a larger and wider attack on religion itself. The pop folks who want their rock band or, in my time, hootenany, interestingly enough rarely put enough donations to even fund their own costs much less the larger work. As I travel a great deal, I can testify that people flock in large numbers to classical religious concerts whenever the great works are offered. But rock bands? One can hear better rock bands in an arena. This trend has been an attack on the church itself, one avenue being the “tradition” of music. So it seems to me.

  62. Richard says:

    I highly recommend Dick Staub’s book “The Culturally Savvy Christian.” It’s a fine philosophy of church music as well as a great pep talk for those of us involved in leading worship–now nearing 50 years in my case!

  63. Scot Huntington says:

    This should be required reading for everyone interested in the organ and who is concerned by the current populist movement increasingly prevalent in some churches, which seeks to provide instant gratification through inappropriate and tasteless pop culture.

    Could I have your permission to put a link to this article on the Organ Historical Society website, or to reprint it there?

  64. Never in Western History, as within the past 2 generations, has the human race turned church music literally on its ear. – I love the comments countering this beautiful article with “what would God want” – well, for centuries, one can argue, “the organ” and that is the point of this article. Since the 60’s, churches in the US have become progressively obsessed with following contemporary trends, calling it “the living Spirit” and “the breath of God” when most of the time it is human, egotistical hot air. Church music is meant to release us from the daily world, into a time and place where we hear God’s voice speak to us, and not control the outcome. Church music has become more about “what people like” in the past 40 years, more so than in the 1,960 years before it. The point of the organ is listed in the article; a living breathing instrument. Yes, other instruments live and breathe, but the point is that only one can acoustically, and by itself lead an entire congregation in song. The organ. – I love the comment which states their music team went away from performance-based presentation mentality to one of spirit-based, but utters in the next sentence the fact of people coming to their church specifically to “hear” the prelude. How oxymoronic can two conjoining sentences be? – America as a whole has cultivated itself to become more interested in people’s immediate likes and wants, than truly focusing on people’s needs – and it sorely shows in church culture. The point here, is that all of this is greater than us, so why not leave the instrument that has always been larger than life, to lead us to a God that is larger than anything!? – We are blessed at our church to have the pipe organ as the center of leading music in corporate worship. There is no experimentation with tastes and styles and the focus of the music is releasing the mind and soul to the divine, not trying to control the outcome by judging if music is effective based on whether it is understood or a preference of style. The same with hymns: theology before melody. And here is the rub: look at contemporary hymn texts. Many concentrate on the feelings of our own experiences, rather than the focus going away from up to worshipful praise to our Maker. Read those new hymns, statements like “He is so good to me” is ego-centric and not Spirit-centric “worship.” — However, part of the alarming trend of organs being taken out of houses of worship also have to do with congregations not investing the money, even the smallest amount, in getting quality music leadership. Bad organ-playing for 2 generations can turn off the next 3 to anything “organ-ic”. One invests in a pastor, why not the same for the one leading the congregation in the joyful noise!? – Thank you for this fine article. It speaks from my heart as well. If we only concentrated on those parts of worship we can understand and control, then we are not releasing ourselves to come to God as the “little children” – The same goes for our music: an organ can transport to states of prayer and praise in a manner which practically no other instrument can on our glorious earth.

  65. theophilus says:

    Now is the time to resurrect lots of organs; the current “perfect storm” of economic woe/pop culture has exponentially accelerated the loss of excellent old pipe organs; generally once a church building is closed, or the congregation decides to go “Willow Creek:, one has maybe 30 days to get their old pipe organ before it goes to the landfill. Being an organbuilder, I get a frantic email about once a month from someone who cares, desperately trying to save yet another organ from destruction. Usually there is too little time, but mostly there is just no interest from any church, so the organ gets chopped up. Last month a nice old Pilcher organ in Ohio (won’t name the town) got cut up with a chain saw and unceremoniously tossed, because they needed more room for the band. It was in good playing condition. Most instruments like this can be had for free, but even with that as an enticement, no one seems interested. From my end, it looks unpromising, but perhaps a Phoenix will yet arise from the ashes (to use a totally pagan metaphor).

  66. Peter Vang says:

    Excellent article! I’ll share it with my colleagues here in Norway; I bet most of them will give their applauses to your thoughts.

  67. Pingback: Bring back the organ | Another Year of Insanity

  68. Dear Rev. Bankson,

    I have now read your essay “Bring Back the Organ” twice as well as all the comments here, and wanted to thank you for your contribution to the continuing discussion on music in the Church. While I agree with your sentiments overall, I would offer two small critiques of your article which I believe weaken its arguments. I hope these are taken not as an attack on your viewpoint, which they are not meant to be, but as constructive criticism.

    You cite a study which Marva Dawn cited in her Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down. I have read this book and the study which Dawn cites, and have also had personal discussions with Dr. Dawn on topics of worship music, and believe you might be misreading the results of the study. You say in your article that:

    “Marva Dawn, in Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down, cites a survey of American Christian teenagers which reveals that the type of music they deem appropriate for worship is music that is characterized by all these churchy elements: choirs, hymns, and the organ. Adults suppose that teens will consider rock and roll the most appropriate for worship, since that is what they prefer to listen to in their daily lives, but this is not the case.”

    Your point here, that personal preference does not determine what teenagers deem appropriate, is correct. However, it is also not a preconceived notion about “churchy elements” which drives that viewpoint. Rather, as Barbara Resch (who conducted that study), says in an interview in the LC-MS journal Commission on Worship (Vol 4, no. 1, pp. 3-4):

    “What it [the results of the study] says is that the kind of music that is heard in a church service seems to become the accepted norm for that context. Contrary to expectations, these representative teenagers do not bring to the church service their own musical preferences (e.g., rock and pop music) as the right music for that occasion. Rather they tend to accept as appropriate for that context the music that the church has already put in place, whatever that music may be.”

    The second critique is more general, and has to do with your mention of emergent and missional philosophies. While I certainly agree with your assessment of the theological trends toward these philosophies, I do not see these, especially bearing in mind the work of Robert Webber, as necessarily pointing back toward the organ. Again, I very much agree with your assessment of the organ as an instrument for worship, but to “reflect a more global view” I think also moves well beyond the organ, into musical and liturgical realms which many faithful, “emergent” churches have embraced in the last twenty years even while rejecting the “seeker” model of Willow Creek.

    Thank you again for your contributions to the discussion on music in God’s Church. It is one which I think is of critical importance to the church, and one to which you’re obviously committed.

    Peace,
    Br. Jonathan Hehn, OSL

  69. Barbara Gómez says:

    Thank you for this wonderful essay! I have forwarded it to almost all of my musician friends.
    I am a US citizen, brought up on organ music in my Congregational church in Arlington, VA, so when my small Episcopal church (the Cathedral Church of the Epiphany) in the Dominican Republic, where I have lived since 1962, decided to buy a new organ in 1987, I enthusiastically participated on the committee, and we purchased, from the Organ Clearing House in Erie, PA, the two-manual Tellers Opus No. 1 tracker organ (the only tracker on the island of Hispaniola – the other one was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti).
    This organ cost only $5,000, but minor repairs, tropicalization of valves, packing, unpacking and installation in Santo Domingo brought the cost up to $45,000. Shipping and paperwork for import were kindly provided by a local shipping firm. We added the mixture and a friend has since added more pipes for a trumpet sound. Everything, including these additions, was covered by private donations, and we have an organ fund for maintenance and repairs.
    Our beautiful organ, just the right size for our small church, turned 100 in 2006, and we gave it a fitting celebration, with four organists (from Europe, the Dominican Republic and Australia), a choir with soloists, a piece commissioned for the occasion (its composer came from Chile), two great-grandsons of the builder, and their cousin who had installed it for us 17 years earlier.
    I do not play the organ, but I sing, and I would never exchange this beautiful sound for any other!

  70. David Brown says:

    I agree totally with what you wrote because I am seeing too many secular songs ending up in church services I am in the chancel choir at my church and we sing a variance of anthems also with the organ its easier to hear your part when it is played properly I have been to a few contemporary services and I didnt feel the awestruck that I do when I do participate in a traditional service I feel like there is a time and a place for contemporary music but not really in a church service setting unless it is like an outdoor service or something of that nature

  71. Amy Krycinski says:

    Amen, “May it be so” a thousand times! Well said; very thoughtful comments from readers, too.

  72. Connie says:

    Thanks for an interesting article. My church is going through a crisis of sorts. We hired a pianist when our organist retired because we couldn’t find a replacement. Our organ is used only about half the time now and some of us are really missing it. I’m all for contemporary services with other instruments, but don’t want to give up our tradition either.

  73. Lanny says:

    The Reason praise bands and singers are invading the church is that when the church Session hires a young Senoir Minister and he is given all power or if he lied about how he loves tradional Worship Organ Choir robes Bach Widor then you be sure Out goes organ organist Music, Choir robes In goes the Praise music and the sacrid Music will be gone also he will the Hire a Worsip Leader who is into Praise Music . Organist stand up and fight this Horrable trend

  74. Michael Woodall says:

    Willow Creek, Prestonwood? They do what seems to work for them. Truth is however, lost people are not wandering around seeking. Only when God’s Holy Spirit begins to work is an individual called. What about the rest of us? Likely the ones who still tithe? Ignore our needs to worship and be fed spiritually to entertain people whop initially had no interest? Scripture is most clear-#1 purpose of man is worship of God, then evangelism.

    Another issue-our seminaries are now pushing out headstrong, determined preachers who know little about worship, yet “know it all.”

    One of the most stupid statements I ever read was in Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Church when he said churches need to take out their organs. I no longer will read any of his books. There is no one exact template that can be applied to all churches as far as worship styles go. As a musician, I have seen great differences all over the SE United States. One more valid than the other? Well, who is the audience of our worship? God or the unsaved? Worship or popular entertainment? Have we ever gotten this all goofed up. It will be much better in Heaven when this junk gets cleared up.

  75. Pingback: All I ever needed to know I learned in the church choir. | Know Tea

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