Kenrick Buchanan (left) and worship bandmate Josh Gibbs. Buchanan doesn’t really listen to Christian music: “I find much of it vapid.”
As our lord and savior stated in the Book of (Even More) Revelations: “Those who choose to worship me in the most awesome fashion will form ‘bands’ and e’en plug in their musical instruments to convey a concoction not too far removed from that of Creed.”
I heralded a flock of these musicians and what follows are their words of worship-rock wisdom.
The Good Book of Bill Maeda (Maeda has played with Horizon SouthBay and Spectrum Church, among others) reveals the inner workings of how new members are often chosen for worship bands.
“Sometimes, unfortunately, it comes down to need. It shouldn’t come down to filling a spot due to need, but when you don’t have a bass player, it is easy just to fill the spot. Here is how it should work, and, mind you, it does work like this in a lot of churches in San Diego. Basically, you identify yourself as a musician, you get to know the other band members, the worship leader. You hang around, go to practices, learn the songs, and after a period of time, which might be two weeks to two months or more, they begin to see you as committed. You have to be willing to pay the price, and the price is patience.”
The trials and tribulations of playing in a worship band are detailed in the Book of Kenrick Buchanan’s Revelations. (Buchanan has played with the North County Church of Christ.)
“It is really hard, and I’m actually getting a break from it after starting this transition back in 2007. I have never been paid for my service, but it is like having a second job, and it has become hard for my kids, as my wife is also part of the band. I think it is easier to join an established band than to just start a band from scratch. There are moments where I really enjoy it, and there are times when I just want to walk off the stage. It is hard to get people into any kind of mood at 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning. I get tired of chasing people down to get them to keep their commitments, and I’m disheartened to see so many people just kind of show up but never get involved in any way. It has made me really cynical, if you can’t tell.”
Later verses of the Book of Kenrick Buchanan speak in depth regarding the type of material these bands often tackle.
“I know of some churches that create really great original material. They are lucky to have good songwriters. I don’t listen to contemporary Christian music regularly, as I find much of it vapid. But because this is still new for our church, there is a lot of good material out there that we have not burned through yet. We do try to theme the music to the service or message of the day, but we have rotating preachers, so it doesn’t always work out. I just make sure the songs sound good together either key/tempo/message wise and hope for the best.”
Nestled within the Good Book of Bill Maeda are verses that reveal the relatively new struggle between traditional church services and more contemporary services with worship bands.
“I have often said that music gets people to church and God keeps them there. I’m not saying that it is right or wrong...I know some churches would say that the full-blown worship band is not needed, that it is the world, the flesh that has invaded the church. But the future of the church is in the young people that go there. Older people will retire and younger people will take their place. The youth at church is so driven by music. I think that the full-blown worship bands are here to stay.”
The Book of Anthony West (West has played in the Tree of Life and the Roots Messianic Worship Bands) also reveals why people enjoy these contemporary-style services.
“They are very entertaining. People do not go to church anymore to hear the Gospel and hell-and-damnation preaching; they go to be entertained and get their ears tickled.”