If you’re trying to think more pastorally about worship, then you should read this interview. It is both a model of what pastoral thinking looks like and a display of some application of thinking pastorally in the local church context. Bobby Gilles, over at My Song in the Night has a great set of Q & A with Bruce Benedict of Cardiphonia. My favorite two parts of this interview:
Bobby Gilles: What do you say to a pastor or worship leader who says “Hymns won’t work in my context. People here want new music”?
Bruce Benedict: I’ve been reading through Jamie Smith’s book Desiring the Kingdom getting ready for the Calvin Worship Symposium coming up. In the book he talks a good deal about how our world does a better job of recognizing and forming our desires than we often realize. And how the church needs to begin to treat people as more than heads on sticks. Our worship/music ministries really reveal this. People want new music in church constantly because that is largely what we are used to being fed by the world. Even my work-week is typically filled with the latest album and records coming out…
Bobby Gilles: What do you think is the relative importance or balance in the relationship between singable tunes and interesting tunes?
Bruce Benedict: Great question! This is something I’ve been wrestling with a lot lately. Especially as I’ve realized that what will sound great on a recording isn’t always what will work well for corporate singing…and I think we have to be honest about how each approach requires a different mindset when we sit down to song write.
Because so much of what we are writing is also what we are thinking about, in terms of recording, we can get ourselves into trouble. I think this often provides much of the rub, too, between what we like to sing and what we want to write to record. This is a tension we need to talk and think about a lot more…especially in terms of being intentional about how we write.
So much of our life is spent listening to music and we are often hard wired to think about what kind of music sounds interesting to us. Thinking about what is singable is a lot harder. I often chart out songs I’m working on in a notation software as part of helping me to think through ‘singability’. I also preview a lot of new songs in monthly potlucks with my musicians where we talk through new songs.