Posted by Craig Borlase on 6 February 2015

That video to How He Loves. Free guitar tabs. Pinging set lists to your band members’ iPads. New Song Cafe. Seeing what other worship bands do with songs. Using projectors and images in worship. Accessibility. Immediacy. Accountability. What’s not to love about the way that the internet has impacted modern worship?

After all, back in the dark days when all we had were endless sheets of paper chord sheets stuffed in the bottom of a music case, worship was a whole lot smaller. We lived in silos, little cultural ghettos where we were influenced mainly by those other worship leaders who we actually saw live.

But not today. Geography is irrelevant. Culture is open. The world of worship - much like the worlds of entertainment, politics, news and home baking - will never be the same again. Call it democracy or the sight and sound of ordinary people in action, the simple truth is that things are different now.

Different, yes. But are they necessarily better?

Is it really a coincidence that the rise of the internet and the rise of the worship ‘industry’ have gone up in step? People used to worry about worship tipping over into performance, but we’re living in the days when a stylist, video budget and strategy for shifting merch online are highly likely to feature in the prep for a new worship album. Thanks to Tim Berners Lee, we’re no longer responsible for helping to bring people around us into the presence of God, we’re getting sidetracked by the false assumption that we also need to be telling the rest of the world about it too. The internet has made broadcasters, pr hacks and salespeople of us all, whether we like it or not.

In making worship accessible, the internet has drained it of some of its edge and bite. Instead of helping us to express our different sounds, it has made us sound alike.

And we haven’t even got started on the issue of copyright violations and online piracy.

It’s a pickle alright.

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