What Hollywood Can Teach Us About Church Music

Russ Mohr says we need to keep the classics alive:

Last night, while relaxing on the couch, I overheard my wife streaming a movie trailer on Facebook. I immediately rolled my eyes. It was for a new Cinderella movie. “Well, so much for Elsa,” I said. “Now they’re gonna start pushing new Cinderella stuff to all the toy stores out there.”

I watched for a moment, and in my best crotchety-old-man-internal-voice, wondered why we need another Cinderella movie. Why do they keep remaking old films? Are they out of ideas? Aren’t they making enough money on princess stuff?

And that’s when it hit me: it’s a classic. That’s why they keep remaking so many old movies. Storytellers find it necessary to keep them alive, to reinvent them and pass them on to new generations, lest these timeless tales go the way of the Blockbuster video store.

As the trailer went on, I wondered if my kids would have ever known the Cinderella story – or many other old standards – apart from the suped up modern versions. In many cases, probably not. And while my inner old man was annoyed at that thought, a part of me was satisfied to know that the stories will live on. New actors, CGI animation, corny new songs, creative liberties and all, the story will live on. And that’s a good thing.

I recently attended a worship conference where a couple speakers mentioned the importance of our music’s longevity. One of the speakers, Harold Best, suggested we ask folks over age 65 what songs they have carried with them through life – to discover what songs have strengthened their devotion to God through the years, songs they leaned on through thick and thin.

Those are good, lasting songs. Yet our catalogs are full of songs that will be “played out” within a couple years. For the most part, those are not the songs you find yourself building a life of faith upon.

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