I had a bit of a chuckle after reading this anecdote from a book:
“Not long ago, I attended a gathering with a congregation other than my own, and I thought my ears were going to bleed.
The moment the preservice music began, the congregation collectively shuddered and stood cringing under the instrumental blast for the next thirty minutes, until the sermon began.Â We hoped that the volume would modulate downward after the sermon, but it didn’t. The preacher left the platform and the onslaught continued.
I couldn’t resist the temptation to pull out my iPhone and use an app to check the sound levels. While the app surely isn’t the most accurate measurement, it measured sustained levels well over 110 decibels, which can be damage-inducing. (By contrast, our sound engineers at Sojourn are trained to keep sustained volume at about 90 decibels or below, at which they have varied levels of success.)
The irony of this, of course, is that I was in a traditional service, and the instrument in question was a roaring pipe organ.”
It’s a quote from Mike Cosper’s book on worship, Rhythms of Grace: How the Church’s Worship Tells the Story of the GospelÂ (the context is a chapter about sound engineering in support of congregational singing).
I’ll try to post a full review of it after I’ve read it completely.Â But so far Mike outlines a biblical theology of worship similar to David Peterson’s “Engaging with God” — but in a much more readable way. He’s thoughtful and pulls in helpful ideas from other “worship” books out there (e.g. Bob Kauflin’s “Worship Matters”, DA Carson’s “Worship by the Book”).
Mike is very sharp with application as well (particularly on his own church context, Sojourn Community Church), and is notably supportive of formal liturgies to shape how the gospel is retold during gathered worship.
(If you’re interested, the publishers have made the first two chaptersÂ available here.)