I have noticed when singing from the hymnal in 4 part harmony that I am sometimes so concerned with the alto part being sung right that I don't really listen to the words I am singing. Over time I have been able to learn the songs better while looking at the screen. As for a praise team. They are singing to God while using their talents to lead the songs of praise to our Lord. I don't feel entertained by them but uplifted. And a word about the older songs. Some of them are so old that the words that are used in them aren't part of our vocabulary in these times. I sometimes wonder. What does that even mean? I just think many people have a hard time with change. I do love many of the older hymns but I do love many of the new ones too.
<font size=3 color=indigo face=Times New Roman>Ann,
Im assuming that you read music. Are you saying that you are not so concerned with the alto part when youre looking at the screen without music notes and listening to the Praise Team? If the song is completely new to you and without the music notes, you would have to listen to the Praise Team
first, wouldnt you? Then, as you become familiar with the song, you sing along with progressing confidence until such time that you dont need to rely on the Praise Team anymore
Personally, I find it easier to learn and remember my part directly from the music notes because I shouldnt have to listen to someone else first. Reading and singing the words to me are simultaneous or concurrent, i.e., when Im learning a completely new song. [We can get really technical about this matter of learning music especially when other parts are involved. But with the lead part, the one who leads singingwithout the Praise Teamshould suffice the need of the congregation. Guess what I just thought? Since the Worship Leader (how I detest this man-made designation!) sings the lead part, anyway, there is really no need for the soprano singers on the Praise Teamis there? Yes? Yes?]
You said, Over time I have been able to learn the songs better while looking at the screen. [Does this mean that when you look at the screen, you do not look at your Worship Leader? Or, do you look at them alternately?
] I would say that over time, regardless of how the song is learnedvia the hymnbook or the screenone learns the song progressively better each time. The advantage of using the hymnbook or the paperless hymnal is that the music notes are available with or without the presence of the Praise Team.
Speaking of some of the so old words in hymns that you said arent part of our vocabulary in these times, were you referring to words such as Thee, Thou, Thy or Thine, etc.? If so, Im sorry, but these words would be my personal preference any day over you, your or yourseven if capitalizedin alluding to our Father in heaven. I believe reverence and awe should be primary in our use of words in songs and in the manner that we sing these songs. I would avoid disrespecting my Creator as my buddy or buddy-daddy, etc., which seems so commonplace in our prayers and songs, especially in those non-scripture-based songs written by secular authors. If you meant other words that are not so modern (e.g., ebon pinionperhaps?), would it be that much trouble to look up and learn their definitions? There really arent that many and, therefore, should be no reason to trash the hymns in order to embrace the contemporary praise songs. Dont get me wrong. There are certain scripture-based contemporary songs that would be considered hymns.
As for a praise team, I must honestly say that as much as I despise the exclusiveness of the terminology, their efforts in helping teach new songs would not be against Gods willbut not beyond that, though. Of course, thats the main excuse that the Change Movement advocates have in employing the services of the team. But there are other implications. The Praise Team is essentially a Church of Christ Choir in disguisehowever you slice it. The choir would have such a negative impact in churches of Christ, but the Praise Team is a little fuzzy, deceptive conceptand the same churches would not likely question such a scheme. Why cant the Lord be satisfied with simple congregational singing when/once someone leads or starts it?
I would not question the task of the praise team members not going beyond helping others learn new songs. But even at that, the team is not necessary because songs that are new will have to be learned gradually anyhow, and the one leading singingand it does not take a Worship Leader to accomplish thisis already there to help others learn.
The key question isAre ALL the 12-18 praise songs that are sung in the entire assembly period being learned? I dont think so!!!!! I really dont think so. Therefore, thats hardly what you would call teaching others all the songs. While the Praise Team members honestly and sincerely believe in their type of ministry or mission, I and many others honestly and sincerely question the performance aspect. I wouldnt expound on this issue at this time except for the fact that when microphones are used and applause follows, performance obviously becomes the name of the game. And youre exactly right about their talentsthats easily proven when theyre being listened to.
Actually, we ought to look at the big picture. Do you envision the early New Testament Christians having a great and wonderful worship service with a wonderfully choreographed corporate musical worship program with [what did the apostles call them?]the Worship Leader and his/her Praise Team? Or do you envision the early New Testament Christians meeting in the synagogues or in houses with their minds directed upon the study of Gods Word; commemorating Jesus sacrifice, death and burial via the Lords Supper; and giving to help the needy? That they ... letting the word of Christ dwell in [them] richly, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Col. 3:16)?