Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Robin Mark's take on "The One Thing"

Friday evening, we hosted the world famous Chuck Wagon Gang here. Some of you won’t have a clue who I’m talking about. Long story short, The Chuck Wagon Gang got their start in Texas back in the 1930’s and -40’s as a cowboy-style band on a live radio show sponsored by a flour company. They usually incorporated a Gospel song into each broadcast … and people loved it. Accompanied by a single guitar and singing traditional SATB harmony, the Chuck Wagon Gang outlived the radio show and still sings Gospel concerts today.

Though their style is not really my preferred diet, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening’s performance. They were very professional and did everything extraordinarily well. As I spoke with them before and after, I was impressed with their warmth and genuineness. There was no “put on” and no “concert personality.” They are genuine followers of Christ and they share their joy when they sing. Their fan base seems to be primarily those who are already in the family. The main level of our sanctuary was very full of people who drove from miles and miles around to get here for the concert. Some of them were as enthusiastic as college kids at a Passion worship event.

As I think about that experience, I’m reminded of the following advice from contemporary worship musician Robin Mark.

To thine own self be true – be true to who you are and where you’ve come from. Be true to the culture and musical style that God has developed in your heart through all the unique experiences that you have lived.

Don’t be embarrassed that your style might not be the in thing – who really knows these things? Don’t be fooled into thinking that if only you could emulate someone else’s “happening” style or apparently relevant creativity, you will somehow touch a greater number of people than otherwise.

• • • Be true to yourself and worship.

A couple in my seminary church sang a western-Gospel style music, Jack on lead and Rita on harmony, with him on guitar and her on an upright bass (that was about twice her size). When they sang in worship, it was always done very well, and people connected because it was an honest expression of who they were. Leading in worship is not a time for show or for wishing we were as edgy and “happening” as the big dogs. We bring who we are before God and ask Him to use us to touch others.

That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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