In my daily blog reading I ran into Issac Wardell’s followup post on the Bifrost Arts 2013 conference. Here you can find recordings of each of the conference talks relating to the themes of worship, community, and mercy in the life of the church.
David Bailey’s talk on “Contextual Creativity in Worship” caught my eye. His vision for music as a reconciliatory tool is uplifting. His humor on our denominational differences is refreshing. A couple key points:
- He acknowledges that churches are incredibly diverse organizations, yet there can be unity through diversity. Indeed it is scriptural.
- Aural culture vs. literacy culture. Not everybody learns the same way. We all have different educations, experiences, and learning styles. Yet the power of stories connect with everyone. Is my song selection is biased towards doctrine over response?
- Hymns speed through a bunch of awesome doctrine at 1000 miles per hour. Wesley and Watts are master craftsmen at infusing congregational song with doctrine. This is great if you have studied the doctrine, read Romans, and know the tunes, but what about giving some time for the singer to digest and meditate on one point entirely? (skip to 37′ for his discourse on this.) I am often skeptical of the ‘retune’ choruses that Tomlin et. al. splice into hymns (Amazing Grace + ‘My chains fell of…’ is a classic example). Why mess with perfection? But Bailey made me see the value in these additions.
- We have our denominational emphases: Evangelicals, the cross and personal salvation; Mainline, the kingdom of God and social justice; Baptists, the resurrection and the power of the Gospel over sin; Charismatic, the holy spirit; to name a few. But we have the Good News, and it includes all of these things. What are we forgetting in our own church contexts? We need to preach the whole gospel, not our Christian tradition’s preference of the Gospel.
Check out the full talk here: David Bailey – Contextual Creativity in Worship: Practices for Diverse Congregations
David also runs an “equipping ministry,” Making A Melody:
Making a Melody is a ministry department of Artist In Christian Testimony International. We use music as a tool in the reconciliation process. Music is a great tool for connect people, cultures, and communties, creating shared experiences that can be a bridge for deeper relationships. We are an equipping ministry that provides resources and trainings for Christian communities that are commited to cultural diversity.
Check it out here: http://www.makingamelody.com/mam-questions/