bono

Too Much Bono in the Church?

Aaron Niequist says U2 is the perfect model for a traveling rock show, but a potentially unhelpful model for weekly church.

About ten years ago, I wrote a piece called “Everything I Know about Worship Leading I Learned from an Irish Rock Star“. But after seeing U2 last week in Chicago, I no longer agree with what I wrote. Let me explain…

The concert was incredible. I’ve seen U2 over a dozen times, and the first half of last week’s show was one of my favorite performances yet. (The second half felt a little tired.) Bono’s voice was in top form, and the journey they took us on was powerfully stunning. I loved it and am already looking forward to their next tour.

But as I marveled at Bono’s ability to create such an epic worship experience, it occurred to me that this anthemic, euphoric, cathartic, euphoria is the perfect model for a traveling rock show, but a potentially unhelpful model for weekly church. And yet so many worship leaders–myself included–have been trying to emulate this mountaintop experience every Sunday morning for years: “Did people lift their hands in the air? Did they sing loudly? Did they have a deeply authentic emotional experience?” These questions, learned from traveling rock stars, have come to define so much of the current Christian worship culture.

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