Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Basic Reasons why I am "Pro-Acapella"

Basic Reasons why I am "Pro-Acapella"

1)  It's the Early Church.  The early church was acapella.  Some may argue they didn't have the means or buildings to use different modalities of worship in the first century.  Whatever the argument, they were still acapella.  Good enough for me.

2)   It's Simple.  The entire New Covenant seems to move Christianity away from the externals and focuses on the internals.  We already know God focuses on internal heart and motivation with passages like 1 Samual 16:7 and Micah 6:6-8.  But the people of the Old Testament didn't get it.  The Pharisees seemed to focus on every external law with visual showy additions.  They encumbered the simple plan that God had for His relationship with His people.  Yet in Jeremiah 29:29 He prophesies of a New Covenant to come that will be written on the hearts of men, with no need for externals like phylacteries, priests, animal sacrifices, and worship performed by the hired temple musicians.  Rather, the New Covenant seems to be that which strips away all the necessity for external stuff that we get focused on an idolize.  Acapella worship to me is the epitome of this simplicity.  It keeps us from "depending" on any one person or group to "lead" our praise to God.  It keeps us from idolizing bands and groups and instruments.  It's just simple, like the gospel, like the church.

3)  It's Efficient.  There's no setup and take down of instruments.  I don't have to pack anything to go to a third word country.  There's no time wasted in between songs of praise with tuning, switching instruments, or tons of practice by our worship leaders.  No offense, but I'd rather our worship leaders be out cleaning up tornado debris than having to practice for worship tomorrow.  It's even efficient in that most people can jump in and sing within the 3rd syllable of the 1st verse.  I love it's efficiency.

3)  It's Uncool.  As churches are increasingly tempted by American culture to be bound by entertainment, consumerism, marketing, salesmanship, showmanship, and spectating, the acapella worship is a theological breath of fresh air.  Acapella is anti-cultural, it's different, it's "peculiar worship" from a "peculiar people."  One article I recently read says, "only the church of Christ and the Eastern Orthodox church worship acapella in the entire world of Christianity."

4)  It's Inclusive.  Everyone is welcome to join.  No solo's here.  We're working on unity.  Sing until your heart is content.  Sing melody, sing harmony, whatever you choose, just sing with us.  We're not putting anyone on a pedestal here or excluding anyone.  We're just asking you to join in.  That's what acapella worship is all about. 

5)  It's What God Wants.  Simply put, the word "sing" is in Ephesians 5:19.  Paul wouldn't have penned that directive to the good people of the Ephesian church if God didn't want it.  Since God wants it, I'm going to do it and encourage everyone to do it.

6)  It's more like Jesus' Gospel.  Jesus had a heart for the poor and the destitute.  Most churches in the world can't afford amazing worship fineries.  When I go to third world countries and meet in their homes for church, what do we do?  We sing.  Singing is the poor man's praise.  I don't go toting expensive heavy setups to Honduras, we just pour our heart out in vocal song.  It's easy access to worship for anyone and everyone, you don't have to be privileged for it.

7)  Finally, it moves me.  When I pour my attention, time, effort, and heart into it along with Christians around me, it moves me.  It's passionate, it's encouraging, it's humbling... it's worship.  I love it.

I hope it's clear why I choose to worship in our services as acapella.  If it's exampled in the early church, it's intrinsic, it's anti-cultural, it's inclusive and it's what God wants, it's for everybody, and it moves me, then that's where I'll be.  Won't you come too?

"The Churches of Christ: What Makes Us Who We Are"

Ashley's Uncle Dan Williams preached this sermon recently in Arkansas.  I enjoyed it so much I just thought I'd share.