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Kauflin on Worship Music

Bob Kauflin’s new book, Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008), is gaining a lot of attention and rightly so. Through his work at Sovereign Grace Ministries Kauflin is one of the leading voices on worship today.

I knew I would agree with Kauflin on the core issues of worship. I was also delighted to read the following quote about the type of music we use. This is a lengthy quote, so I will simply cite it and plan to follow up with observations in another post. There is much wisdom in this quote.

“As I understand it, the best music enables people to genuinely and consistently magnify the greatness of the Savior in their hearts, minds, and wills. That’s a standard that will never change from culture to culture, generation to generation, church to church.
To flesh out this standard of excellence in your church, you’ll probably have a
musical center that effectively communicates to most people in the congregation. The songs sung in churches in rural Idaho, downtown Manhattan, Nottingham, England, and Bharuch, India are going to sound different. They should.

When it comes to innovations, remember that Scripture doesn’t mandate that we push the envelope, artistically speaking, on Sunday mornings. Artists will always be searching for new and fresh ways to express their gifts, but congregations must be able to hear the message without being distracted by the medium. When we meet to worship God, we’re not aiming to glorify creativity but the Creator.

And as a practical matter, edifying the church means using songs that everyone can sing. What’s on my iPod isn’t always the best place to start when I’m picking songs for congregational worship. I need to think through the musical level of the people I’m leading. I generally look for songs with melodies between a low A to a high D that are easy to learn and hard to forget. I also try to avoid complicated rhythms.” (p. 106)

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