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Original Message
  • Re: Praise teams (by Ann, December 10 2004, 10:12 PM)
    • Donnie Cruz (no login)
      Posted Dec 13, 2004 3:01 AM


      I’m assuming that you read music. Are you saying that you are not “so concerned” with the alto part when you’re 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, wouldn’t you? Then, as you become familiar with the song, you sing along with progressing confidence until such time that you don’t need to rely on the “Praise Team” anymore … correct?

      Personally, I find it easier to learn and remember my part directly from the music notes because I shouldn’t have to listen to someone else first. Reading and singing the words to me are simultaneous or concurrent, i.e., when I’m 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 singing—without the Praise Team—should 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 Team”—is 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 learned—via the hymnbook or the screen—one 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 “aren’t part of our vocabulary in these times,” were you referring to words such as “Thee, Thou, Thy or Thine,” etc.? If so, I’m sorry, but these words would be my personal preference any day over “you, your or yours”—even if capitalized—in 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 pinion”—perhaps?), would it be that much trouble to look up and learn their definitions? There really aren’t that many and, therefore, should be no reason to trash the “hymns” in order to embrace the contemporary “praise” songs. Don’t 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 God’s will—but not beyond that, though. Of course, that’s 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 disguise—however you slice it. The “choir” would have such a negative impact in churches of Christ, but the “Praise Team” is a little fuzzy, deceptive concept—and the same churches would not likely question such a scheme. Why can’t 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 singing—and it does not take a “Worship Leader” to accomplish this—is already there to help others learn.

      The key question is—Are ALL the 12-18 “praise” songs that are sung in the entire assembly period being learned? I don’t think so!!!!! I really don’t think so. Therefore, that’s 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 wouldn’t 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 you’re exactly right about their “talents”—that’s easily proven when they’re 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 God’s Word; commemorating Jesus’ sacrifice, death and burial via the Lord’s 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)?

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