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What kinds of “emotions” does contemporary worship elicit?

An important thought by Michael Riley about the kinds of emotional responses contemporary worship elicits.

Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Cutlure, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and three children.

3 Responses to What kinds of “emotions” does contemporary worship elicit?

  1. I appreciate your thoughts very much. I go to a large (1,100) give or take a few) church and yes we have contemporary music there. We sometimes have a 10 piece band on the stage. I am also a musician but do not play with the band. I have been in attendance of this church for around 5 mos now and was talking to a friend and brother in Christ the other day about something that was bothering me. ( I love the songs and as a musician I love all the instruments including the drums) When I first began going to this church I was looking forward to playing with the band. That has actually since changed. You see the thing that has come to bother me more than anything is that I go to church to worship, praise, grow in my faith and understanding, and fellowship. When the band gets up and begins to play the singers do runs (musical term for sentences with your voice or instrument) and leave the congregation behind. I can’t follow and I get music. I also notice when the guitar is on distortion I fail to heed the lyrics because my attention has gone to an instrument. The same happens with the drum and the violin or piano. So the worship time that I seek to have is not so much worship rather a band performing and I may as well go to a CCM concert and try to sing along there. Often times my spirit drops during that time and is acutely raised when I hear the speaker preaching about those truths. I go to church for content and depth in all areas and I am currently fighting with whether this is the right church for me or not. I sit in the front 3 rows so honestly I don’t see what other people do during that worship time and during the sermon. I just know what I feel and get out of it. I am a 31 year old male that loves music so much so it was an idol for me over the last 5 1/2 years of my life. That sin has been eradicated since and I have found a new dedication for my time spending much more time with God in His word and in prayer. My soul is so blessed right now and music is not out of my life but has drastically taken a new direction. I am also a songwriter and composer, so for me to speak this comes from the heart and against the fiber of who I was. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Bobby

  2. This is a great article that addresses a problem of performance based “worship” seen in a massive amount of churches. Thanks for posting this! This is a problem in many churches I have seen.

  3. On occasion, by necessity, I have attended services where a ‘milder’ form of CCM is employed. My spirit and mind does not soar to thoughts of praise and worship on any level, but rather, I feel a deep grief and a sense of sorrowfulness. The lyrics are usually shallow and man-centered; the music is easy and dominant, and the choir has just one volume. Some congregants move their bodies to the beat. Older members just stand there as if they were in a grocery store checkout lane. Here’s my emotion: hopelessness. The people don’t know that they don’t know, and who among them will teach them otherwise?

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