It's time to start coloring outside the lines

Colouring outside the lines…

Colouring Outside the Lines

This may be considered a little controversial, but here goes…

In discussions with worship leaders all around the world, I hear people asking how they can sound like the latest Bethel/Elevation/Hillsong/(Insert Big Name Church) worship album.

There is talk of downloading backing tracks and loops.

Arguments over why the song can’t be done because the worship leader can’t sing in the right key.

Questions over what should be done with the keys player who hasn’t learned his specific part from the album.  Again.

I find myself wondering if maybe we are creating a homogenous paint-by-numbers worship scene, where every note is perfectly placed, every melody mirrored from the original.

It’s like we have a colouring book and we colour within the lines, copying the original colours perfectly before returning the book to its owner.

Here’s the thing though:

God has made us to be creative.

He has given us the ability to make up our own melodies.

To sing our own songs.

To put a different twist on songs we hear on the radio.

He has given us freedom of expression and imbued us with His infinite creativity.

And yet we squander this gift it by trying to sound like everyone else…

We tell ourselves that there are rules, that there are lines we should respect.

We convince ourselves that these artists have created the ultimate arrangement of the songs we sing and so we create carbon copy churches,

Pasteurised praise.

But Jesus, who we are called to imitate, to be like, did not colour inside the lines.

Sure, he stayed on the page and didn’t stray off the paper, accidentally drawing on the table like my children have done so often, but He did not stay inside the lines.

See, in Jesus’ day there were strict rules about worship.

There was no “work” on a Sabbath.

Women were not considered equal.

Prayers were said for the purpose of being seen as pious.

The best wine was not to be served last.

Fishermen were not ideal followers and a self respecting rabbi would never eat with a taxman.

Jesus broke the rules.

He coloured outside the lines.

And He calls you to unleash your creativity.

He wants YOUR worship.

YOUR expression.

YOUR church’s expression of love.

How would you feel if your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend only ever used quotes from films to express how they felt?

Or only expressed his/her love by repeating Hallmark card greetings?

It’s time to let your music express who you are.

It’s time to write and sing songs that reflect where you are on your journey, both as an individual and as a church.

It’s time to stop worrying about reproducing other people’s worship and start letting your crayons stray outside the lines.

It’s time to embrace the messy mass of colourful lines that may not look as polished as some other churches, but that truly express who YOU are and who YOUR church is.

After all, God’s already got a Hillsong.

He’s already got a Bethel.

He’s already got an Elevation Worship.

Truth is, what He really wants,

is YOU.

AB

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