Recently, while trying to put my son to sleep, I searched for videos on YouTube, Bogtube, as well as other Russian websites to find videos of worship “прославления” in Russian churches. What I found really disturbed me, to the point of wanting to scream.
Now, I love Hillsongs’ worship – their songs, their style, and this blog is not criticism of Hillsongs worship. But, what’s disturbing is that so many Russian churches, and probably safe to say American churches as well, have just copied Hillsongs to the point of singing the same songs, doing the same music, the same intros… you get the point. Instead of allowing talents to be developed, new songs to be written, different instruments to be used, and culture to be displayed in each church’s worship style – all that churches are doing are plagiarizing Hillsongs.
After watching video after video, church after church, youth group after youth group – everyone is singing the same songs (even though they are translated), using the same style, and I think frankly, that type of worship disappoints God. I believe God likes diversity, and if you don’t agree with me – look around; look how differently we are all created! Why not be creative in how we worship God, and not just plagiarize someone else?
Often as young leaders, we are quick in criticizing the style of worship of our parents – and the fact that they never sing new songs, and should get rid of the Зборник/Hymnals, because they interrupt the development of creativity, song writing, and uniqueness in worship. And many have moved away from the hymnals to full blown worship. Sadly though, the youth and many churches have moved away from a Hymnal/Зборник that had 2,000 songs, to a list of about 20 to 30 worship songs. Basically, we went from being traditional, to being even more traditional.
Today, all uniqueness, creativity, and originality is gone from our worship services. All we do, is what Hillsong is doing. Yes, Hillsongs is original, unique, awesome, but, that does not mean that every church should do exactly what they do! Walking into today’s Charismatic/Pentecostal churches, I can almost predict the songs that they will be singing – since there are only 30 to choose from (lol), and one can even predict the intros, the pauses, and at what part of the songs people will raise their hands. I believe God wants more than that. It’s a lot easier to just try to copy Hillsongs; the lyrics, chords, and videos are readily available everywhere. But God wants us to put our heart, talents, creativity, culture, and style to make the worship experience unique, and special.
My wife is a great cook. She never likes to cook the same thing twice. Even if she cooks something that was really good, the next day – she cooks something different, something new. And, when I sit down to the table to eat, I can’t wait to taste what my wife has prepared! When we worship God and prepare our thanksgiving offering, lets make our offering of song unique, special. Yes, it will take more time to prepare, it’s more difficult and requires more practice and dedication, but I believe it will please God.