Posted by Craig Borlase on 23 August 2013

I’ve sung ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ in a Ugandan village without any electricity,  heard all kinds of Delirious songs filling the air of Mumbai slums and listened as ancient-looking Aboriginals blasted out ‘When I Survey’. But every time we worship at my church we sing in English and sound like Mumford and Sons on a Coldplay appreciation day. What’s all that about? 

Should we be bothered by the way that western worship music appears to be spreading across the world with all the pace of a colonial superpower? Should we be worried about the fact that churches in the developing world think that they need to sound like those of us in the west - especially when we know that often it's us flabby westerners who have the most to learn from connecting with Christians living in poverty and persecution. Should we be trying to teach our own churches how to sing different melodies, to learn different rhythms and sing in other tongues as a reminder of the breadth, wealth and beauty of the global church?

Or is this one of those politically correct Friday pickles that’s completely ridiculous? Church should be accessible and sung worship is simply a culturally conditioned response to the love and glory of God. What good will it do to learn songs from people we’ll never meet living in cultures we’ll never visit? Do we really think we’ll be better Christians once we learn how to sing in Esperanto while wearing a Sari and cooking goat stew?

What's your take on it all? Do you import? If so, why? What works? And what doesn't? And if you don't, why not? Would anything make you change your mind?

Modern worship is thriving, and the church is growing most rapidly in countries where English is not the first language. Wherever you stand on the issue, these next few years will see these questions resurface again and again. 

 

More like this

Why on Earth are Worship Leaders not Making Disciples?

The sad truth is that it’s easier to write songs, record albums, and play shows than it is to make disciples. Aaron Keyes wants to change that.

Five Tips for Leading Worship When Tragedy Strikes

These days it seems like every other week there’s a breaking news crisis that sends shocking images to the front pages, spreads fear like a virus and gives us all pause for thought. So what do you do when tragedy strikes in the very week that you’re on the rota to lead? We asked Paul Baloche for his top tips...

The Wonderful World of Shadow Projection

Shadow Projection could be the best thing to happen to Visual Worship that you've never heard of. Maybe.