Our regular correspondent Hadleyblogger Bobby has written often and well lately on the state of modern church music, particular regarding the influence the pop music culture has had. Here are his most recent (and insightful) comments:
A recent question came up today about kids in church: Why do they not want to sing?
At a recent worship service at church, the question came up as 30 teens (and some adults) went on stage to do a dance to a pop song -- they were in identical tee-shirts and jeans -- and danced to the song. Later that day, I noticed the choir was down to just 12 members -- all adults -- singing to karaoké, and most of the singers are senior citizens.
Why are the kids turning away from being vocalists and wanting to dance to the latest pop song? If this continues, then five years from now, we may see the choir fade out and the teen pop dance take over. Sadly, I see it happening, as the teen pop dancers have taken more opportunities in worship, and the choir has been faded to the background. Is this what the youth want in church to dance and to ban singers?
Why ban the message?
It's truly sad that we've gone down this road that the choir's role is being reduced. In 2003, when the new building opened, the choir was ejected from the Christmas program for puppets, and teen pop dancers were able to dance to a routine during the show when the poor choir (which I was a member at the time) was sent to the sidelines. The emphasis has turned away from the choir and towards the teen pop dancers. Kids are more likely now to watch kids dance a hip-hop routine to a rock tune from "TobyMac" instead of seeing a group of mature adults belt out Bach.
In fact, the solo vocalists have been eliminated. Solo and teen pop team dance is permitted.
Has the influence of MTV and even the multiculturalists' attempts to ban classics resulted in the decline of sacred song, the organ, and the choir in favour of rock bands, canned music, and sometimes very secular songs.
I questioned some teens on the Point of Grace message board for their support of Switchfoot, a San Diego-based rock band leading the modern charge in secularising sacred music, as they are actively involved in affiliations with alcohol, and from some researchers (thanks to teen fans), promoting underage drinking.