Church, Music, and some other stuff

Stop Worshiping, It’s Time for “Special Music”

thumbnailI was recently at a church service where they actually still have “special music.” I say actually because I thought everyone did away with “special music” years ago when the pilgrims died.

I’m joking, and I don’t mean to offend you if your church still has “special music,” but there are just a few things about special music that I don’t agree with.  And please, if you are offended, there are plenty of other blogs/websites you can read besides mine. Just sayin.  Kidding…kind of

Special music to me is a big “everyone stop worshiping, it’s time for the special music” part of the service.  Question: Intimate worship to the creator of the universe isn’t special enough for you?  “Ok, lame worship is over, now it’s time for the SPECIAL music!” (“special” said in a very sarcastic voice of course)

My biggest problem with special music isn’t the title though (they could call it “super happy fun exciting time” for all I care), it’s that people come to church to experience God! Or maybe they didn’t and they don’t even know that an experience with God is what they need.  Either way, people are hurt and broken and an experience with God is what they need.

We have one or two hours to present God (most likely less if your church is still doing “special music”) and give people an opportunity to experience him.  AND WE’RE WASTING IT WITH “SPECIAL MUSIC?”  People need God! They don’t need to sit and hear Jim and sister Karen perform the bluegrass song they wrote.  People can get mediocre performances anywhere in the world.  What are we as a church giving them that they can’t get in the world?

Now don’t get me wrong, God can move through “special music.” God can do anything He wants.  He can move through a drunk homeless man. I know because I’ve seen it happen.  But the way we enter His gates is with thanksgiving and praise.  Our worship is contagious.

The spirit of God in one person can overflow into a room and affect everyone around them.  Are we giving plenty of room for the spirit to move in worship among gathered believers, or are we wasting people’s time giving them “special music” that they can get from a youtube video?

Disclaimer: I am truly sorry if I stepped on your church doctrine or something today.  I only write out of love and passion for people.  I am especially sorry if “special music” at church is the only gig that you can get right now.  But with all do respect, maybe you shouldn’t be reading this blog right now, but should be at home practicing.

I am definitely open to other opinions and learning other’s points of view. So what are you thoughts on “special music?”

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  1. Adam

    I think you really pointed out the negatives of special music only. I kinda thought “wha…” the whole time I was reading your post. By the time I finished reading, I realized what you were saying and agree. But I’m thinking, “This dude needs to see how we do special music.” 🙂

    I did away with the negative ideas you’re speaking of years ago… a couple years after the so called pilgrims arrived. At that point, it stopped being “special music” and became just “specials.” Like… we have special songs, special videos, maybe a special drama. The special song stopped being the last (and SPECIAL) part of the praise and worship and joined the list of artistic ways to support the sermon. I’m thinking similarly with Jim ^^^, only a little more thematic.

    And if church is a family and we’re in this together, there’s a lot to be said for creating an opportunity to hear Bob’s song he wrote – WHEN IT FITS.

    At my church, the special music is used sparingly… maybe bi-monthly or so… sometimes more. About half the time we use it to “open a window” into the topic of the sermon or as a closer to help us consider how to apply the sermon.

    • Shalon

      Hey Adam, Thanks for sharing! That’s good stuff. I’d love to see how you guys do it. As you can tell, special music has been ruined for me over the years. Thanks again! Glad to see you guys making something great out of special music!

  2. Jim

    I worked in a church for a couple of years where ‘special music’ was a requirement for every service. I hated it. Honestly.
    So when I was attending a conference at a pretty big church, I had an opportunity to ask their worship leader about how I could use special music as an act of worship. His advice was to use the “corporate” worship time for vertical songs, and “special” music for horizontal songs. I think if it’s used intentionally, ‘special music’ can be used very effectively.

    We still have a special song every week at my new church, but it doubles as our offering. I use that time to introduce new worship songs, give other people on the team a chance to lead a song, and to give new praise team members a first chance to sing. It works really well for us.

    • Shalon

      Hey Jim, that’s some good advice. I’m glad to see that you weren’t discouraged and made something good out of special music.

  3. Mike

    You wrote exactly what I’ve thought for a long time! Great article. Thanks for writing with an open heart.

    I think you meant “Are” instead of “Our”…Are we giving people plenty…

    • Shalon

      Thanks Mike! I was hoping I wouldn’t be alone.

      And thanks, I’ll fix that asap.