When a group of church members complained about the loud worship music, a pastor’s response to the complaints was completely off the mark.
Nearly two years ago, I wrote a post about the volume of the music in contemporary churches and why it could be a genuine danger to parishioners’ hearing. The post was titled, “When Worship Music is Too Loud, What Do Worshippers Do?” and it’s a question that apparently still has no easy answer, especially if you attend a church you love, but find this part of the service physically uncomfortable just because of the decibel level.
I pointed out that the “solution” some churches offer is to simply hand out earplugs. There are worship pastors out there who apparently believe that this is a solution to the problem.
If any one of them ever visited a restaurant and complained about an ingredient in their dinner, only to be handed a clothespin they should clamp down over their nose so they could just continue eating the meal without tasting the offending part, I’m sure they’d be flabbergasted. And while they were being flabbergasted, they’d get up and walk out, never to return to that restaurant.
Yet they can’t seem to see that for someone suffering through music that hurts their ears, their offer to plug them up with foam is somehow acceptable.
But recently, one of my readers left a comment that really made me angry. Not at the commenter, but at the way she says her church responded to such a complaint about loud worship music.
Here’s Heather’s comment from that post:
Thanks for sharing. I feel like I am walking into the Twilight Zone recently at the church I have been attending over 15 years. It amazes me that the volume of the music is acceptable. It is so weird to me that I now have to plug my ears during worship and sometimes I look around and wonder, “why isn’t anyone else bothered by this?” The pastor has mocked, from the pulpit, those who have brought up concerns about the loud music saying that they should respect the musicians who work so hard to lead us into worship. These people were not gossiping, just bringing up their genuine concerns. So, I know that if I say anything the leadership will just have a “canned answer” for me to defend their reasons for doing what they do.
Any pastor who responds to complaints about music being unpleasantly and even painfully-loud by saying the sufferers should “respect the musicians who work so hard” should seriously rethink things.
Perhaps, it might occur to a pastor who spent even a few seconds of thought on the complaint that people who are complaining about the loudness do respect that hard work his musicians put into their ministry. Maybe those people who are complaining want to actually enjoy the fruit of all that labor. And maybe it’s the loudness of it that’s keeping them from doing so.
When the volume is so high that people begin to become unable to enjoy and be spoken to by the music, how is that “respecting” the musicians’ hard work? Or the parishioners, for that matter.
And if your lack of genuine concern about such a complaint has people in your congregation ready to leave church, how is that serving God?
What would Jesus do? I suspect He’d look pastors with that kind of attitude in the eye and say two words: “Do better.”
But maybe that’s just me.