I used to think that really good music grows a church. Get the hottest band and singers in town and the people will come.
I don’t think that anymore.
I love to visit churches to see what they’re doing. I’ve been to huge megachurches with thousands of people and so-so, bland music. I’ve been to tiny, struggling churches with superb, cutting edge-music.
Great music, huge churches. Lousy music, huge churches.
Small churches, great music. Small churches, lousy music.
Great music sure won’t hurt a church, but my worship algorithms are telling me that it ISN’T the music that’s primarily growing churches: it’s the preaching.
If the preacher is theoretical, boring, irrelevant and clinical, the hottest music in town isn’t going to help draw a crowd.
If the preacher is relevant, personable and preaching on spiritual issues that matter to the common man, the lousiest music in the world won’t keep the throngs away. They’ll put up with anything to hear the Word speak into their lives (or sip coffee in the church coffeeshop until the music is over, then enter the auditorium for the sermon. Yes, this does happen!)
The quality of the music certainly does help once good preaching is in place. I can think of one megachurch that plateaued at a few thousand with a fantastic preacher and lousy music. With a new music director and a big change in the quality of music, the church has started growing again and has nearly doubled in size.
If music doesn’t grow a church then what effect does it have on a church? Your music style will attract a certain style of crowd. It’s no different from a radio station. Think of the different crowds associated with these music styles: Country. Heavy Metal. Classical. Can you picture what someone looks like who would listen to each style? How about: Cowboy hats. Long hair and tattoos. Suit & tie.
I see blended, orchestral churches attracting a “churchy” bunch in suits & ties and Sunday dresses.
Churches with cool rock bands and cutting-edge music are attracting the 20-30s.
What kind of crowd does your church attract? Who do you want to attract?