One of the problems with a lot of CCM is that it was written to be sung by an *invididual *on a stage or platform, *not *by a group of strangers.
The exception would be the extremely simple “Praise and Worship Choruses.” But even these are often accompanied by an elaborate soundtrack and a “Praise and Worship Team” that sings in 4-8 parts, making it difficult to pick out a melody and join in the song.
Does this mean that CCM is “entertainment?” CCM artists would say, “No, it’s ministry, just like a sermon.”
But this limits the rest of us to sitting back and just listening, rather than joining in with the song. (Unless we are pop/rock singers.) Is this “good” music for Christians, who are attempting to worship Christ corporately, together?
I was born and raised in Protestant, evangelical churches, and saw with dismay that during many of the “Praise and Worship Times” in church services, the individuals would shut out the world (at the request of the Worship leader), close their eyes, and concentrate solely on Jesus.
So what’s wrong with that?
I can stay home and do that. But I can’t sing with a group of brothers and sisters in Christ by myself at home.
When I get together with them to worship, I want to be connected with them, singing with them, looking at them, smiling along with them (or crying with them during really good songs like Holy Holy Holy!).
Singing together is a very “intimate” act. I discovered that recently at a large conference (Protestant). I simply couldn’t join in with all the other 10,000 people in the auditorium. I didn’t know them. They were fellow Christians, but I wasn’t connected with them. (I’m still a little scared of Protestants after what happened to me in a Protestant church.)
I could sit with them and listen to the speaker. But singing with them required me to open myself up, breathe deeply, and let my voice be heard. It was simply too intimate an act to do with a group that I wasn’t sure I trusted.
And when I sing with fellow Christians in my church, I would like to sing songs that were written for corporate worship, not a private soloist with a lot more range and power in his/her voice than me.
It seems that the emphasis nowadays is not so much participation in singing or playing the music. Rather, we sit back and listen to concerts by professionals and we don’t join in unless they ask us to on a particular phrase or chorus. Or we might stand and sway and raise our hands and pray and “worship.” But we don’t necessarily SING along, because the piece is not written to be sung by the “audience,” but by the professionals and their fancy track.
In the past, most “religious” music was written to be sung by a group, the whole congregation. The music had strong melody lines and simple rhythms that even a child could learn with a few repetitions.
Yes, religious “solos” were written, but often within oratorios, which also had “chorus” parts throughout the work. Any singer with a basic knowledge of music could handle the chorus parts, thus allowing many people to participate. I recently read the story of Handel’s “Messiah.” The first “successful” performance of the Messiah was done by a CHILDREN’S CHOIR put together by Handel at a Foundling home! Can you imagine–kids singing the Messiah?!
But kids singing “Newsboys?” I don’t think so.
This is just my opinion, but I think that CCM is very selfish and man-centered. If only one person, or a small group of professionals, can actually sing the music, and all I can do is sit back and “soak it in,” it seems rather exclusive to me.