A recent tweet from 9 Marks on Twitter asks the following question:
What are the dangers of performance music in a church gathering? Is there any role for “performance”?
Here is the response:
1. Performance music can focus our attention on the performers, or even on the music, rather than God.
2. Performance music can wrongly encourage a culture of passivity and entertainment. In many cultures today, especially in the West, we are used to being entertained: we see professionals acting on TV and in movies, we hear professional musicians on our iPods, and we have learned to expect entertainment even at church. But Christian worship is not fundamentally about being entertained. It’s about actively, personally engaging with God. When Christians gather to worship God they should not be passive consumers but active participants.
So does that leave any role for performance?
A small one, if any. While it seems that some performed music is within the bounds of addressing one another in song (Eph. 5:19), churches in the West today may do well to minimize performance and maximize congregational singing.