One Hillsong church leader recently claimed that if elderly people – in particular – don’t like the ear-piercing, thundering and rock-n-roll style of their “worship” music that they have a spiritual heart problem.
The revelation regarding the hearts of the elderly came to Gary Clarke – the senior pastor of Hillsong London – by attending a Rolling Stones Concert. No kidding. This isn’t satire.
Clarke told the cameras:
I attended a Rolling Stones concert…and I was stunned at how old the crowd was. Because if you’re a Rolling Stones fan, you’re going to be old; let’s face it. But how old they were! But the Rolling Stones were still the Rolling Stones. It was still horrendously loud and its production value was off the charts. It still sets the bar on what a stadium events looks like. They were in their 70s and all the people in the crowd looked my age. They were all screaming, they were all shouting and not one had earplugs in. I sat there and thought, “Volume is not an age thing, it’s a internal thing” because not one of those old people in Twickenham were complaining about the volume…It was an eye-opener for me.
Perhaps – and this is just a crazy idea – maybe a contrite and sincere solemn assembly of worship shouldn’t be modeled after a Rolling Stones event. Maybe God Almighty doesn’t want to be worshipped the same way pagans engage in revelry. Maybe God’s not interested in a geriatric worship leader with his shirt split open, rocking the microphone as the crowd is swept away into mindlessness.
Clarke also conflates the elderly at a Rolling Stones concert and assumes these are the same people who desire more reverent, brain-engaged and thoughtful worship. For the most part, these are probably two entirely different groups of people, with pagans at their worship service and the elect of God at His.
You can watch the video below.
Maybe there’s more to the complaining that old people have about contemporary, that it’s about them, and something they’ve got to learn to get out of themselves and progress. Because, people my age are more consumed with what’s suiting them and lost sight of what we’re supposed to bring through; there’s an emerging generation coming through.
The Bible teaches us to have far more respect for the elderly than this.
“You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. – Leviticus 19:32
The reason why the elderly don’t prefer such loud music isn’t because they prefer a different kind of worship. They just prefer worship. Spectator-driven stadium debacles in which the sound of the performance drowns out the worship in the pews (or stadium seating) is not worship; it is entertainment.
How loud should your worship music be at church?
If it’s so loud you can’t hear the people around you, you’ve missed the point of corporate worship. You should be able to hear the sound of your voices singing together in solemn praise.
Turn it down, people. The sound from the pews should dwarf the sound of the stage. And God bless those old people.
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