In days of old, church music leaders studied in seminaries and colleges, receiving degrees like Master of Church Music (MCM) and Master of Sacred Music (MSM). Part of their curriculum was a thorough study of music history, with particular attention to the history of the music which shaped their field of traditional church music.
Unfortunately, to date, for modern worship leaders there is no counterpart to such a degree. I have argued elsewhere that anyone who wants to take the predominant genre of modern worship (i.e. rock) seriously needs to study the history of this genre the way traditional “worship degrees” have studied the roots of the music they would lead. (For more on this, see my post, “Why Every Worship Leader Should Study Rock History.”) Until seminaries and colleges with their “worship degrees” and “worship emphases” catch up to this more robust vision of training modern worship leaders, it is incumbent upon us to self-educate.
A new documentary looks promising to this end. Modern worship, along with rock and roll in general, is indebted to the gospel tradition in the United States for much of its style and structure. On June 3, 2011, Rejoice and Shout, directed by Don McGlynn, was released in select theaters. But most of us will probably have to wait until it comes out on DVD, because the viewings seem to be pretty limited. Though I have not seen it, it appears to be one of the best documented histories to date, according to some sources.
I don’t think worship leaders can go wrong seeing this film. Go out there and educate yourself! And visit their site for some helpful explanations and a great preview video.
HT: Justin Taylor, Brian Auten