Why Contemporary Worship Music Is Dead and Decaying


By Jamie Brown

It’s become clear to me that contemporary worship music is dead, dying and decaying. Think I’m wrong? I’m not. Here’s my proof. (Read it and weep. Really. Please weep.):

  1. The new songs aren’t nearly as old as the older songs.
    “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” was written in 1779! “Ten Thousand Reasons” was written in 2011. These new songs aren’t even close to being as old as the old songs. The old songs have been around for several hundred years! These new ones? Not nearly that long!
  2. Some of the new songs are trying to pretend they’re old hymns.
    Have you read some of the new songs? They’re trying to act like they’re hymns, with their deep theology and everything. It’s ridiculous.
  3. Whatever happened to singing Isaac Watts?
    Hasn’t he written anything new lately? Why aren’t we singing his new stuff? Even more ridiculous. We’re missing out on new material from the old hymn writers.
  4. Bad stuff
    Some of the new stuff coming out is really bad and unsingable. You think the old hymn writers ever wrote bad hymns and ended up throwing them away? I doubt it. How do you spell infallible? S-P-A-F-F-O-R-D, that’s how.
  5. Look in the old hymnals …
    See any of these new songs in the old hymnals? Nope. They’re not good enough to be in there.
  6. Repetition is never appealing.
    These new song writers have never studied great compositions like the “Hallelujah Chorus” or “Psalm 107” to see how you don’t need to repeat phrases to emphasize something.
  7. No time for filtering.
    We need to wait another hundred years (at least!) before we eventhinkabout singing these new songs being written, so we can make sure they’re safe for us to sing. Once these new songs are 100 years old, if they’re still around, then maybe we can sing them. Maybe.
  8. There aren’t as many new songs as there are old songs.
    We have more material from the last 2,000 years (not to mention all the years BC) than all of the songs written after 1970 combined! I think that says something.
  9. Our forefathers didn’t sing these new songs.
    If these new songs weren’t good enough for our forefathers to sing several hundred years ago, then they’re not good enough for me. My great-grandfather had never heard of Chris Tomlin when he was alive.
  10. We’re done being creative.
    There’s nothing more to be said that hasn’t been said, there are no new melodies that need to be written that haven’t already been written, and there’s no need to be creative anymore because we reached our creative quota in about 1913. Except for “In Christ Alone.” That one earns an exception. It slipped through just in time. Barely. But don’t tell anyone. We’re done. Really. Stop it.

In closing, contemporary worship music (hereafter referred to as CWM) is like a box of chocolates that you got for Christmas, and then forgot about, and stuffed away with all the Christmas wrap, and found it the next year, still shrink-wrapped, and wondered to yourself, “Will I die if I eat this?” The answer is “yes.” Yes, you will die, and the last thing you’ll ever have run through your mind is “I didn’t know this one had the disgusting strawberry liqueur filling.” Yes, you did know, because I’m telling you. Stay away from CWM and eat the older chocolate instead. Oh no, my analogy just broke down

Jamie Brown

Jamie Brown is the Director of Worship and Arts at Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax, VA. Before coming to Truro, he served at The Falls Church Anglican for ten years. Born into a ministry family and leading worship since the age of twelve, Jamie is devoted to helping worship leaders lead well and seeing congregations engaged in Spirit-filled, Jesus-centered worship. He’s currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Religion through Reformed Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Catherine, have three little girls. Jamie regularly blogs at WorthilyMagnify.com and has released three worship albums: “A Thousand Amens,” “We Will Proclaim,” and “For Our Salvation.”