Bethel and Elevation dominate worship music, but what are the alternatives?

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Bethel and Elevation dominate worship music, but what are the alternatives?

August 24, 2023 -

In silhouette, a woman raises her left hand into the air during a worship service. © By aradaphotography/stock.adobe.com

In silhouette, a woman raises her left hand into the air during a worship service. © By aradaphotography/stock.adobe.com

In silhouette, a woman raises her left hand into the air during a worship service. © By aradaphotography/stock.adobe.com

If you’re an avid listener of worship music, you’re probably familiar with Elevation Worship, Maverick City Music, Bethel Music, and Brandon Lake. They are powerhouses in a genre that has captured the attention of 68 percent of Americans within the last year.

Hits like “Jireh,” “Goodness of God,” and “Gratitude” have collectively received over 200 million streams on Spotify. These statistics should inspire anyone who hopes in the gospel as they show that music praising Jesus is being spread all over the world.

Those household names are not the only ones providing great music for our ears though. Several other worship music alternatives are producing songs to God and should receive our attention.

Fellowship Creative

Fellowship Creative is associated with Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas. Their music flows from the heartbeat of the church’s congregation and seeks to bring glory and honor to God. According to Lisa Young, this is what worship music should naturally do. But Young suggests what makes the group’s music live up to their creative nature is that “anyone can understand its lyrics, and it is relatable because words in their songs are written from the experiences of people within the church.”

Fellowship Creative doesn’t want its listeners to get caught up in lyrical church jargon and offer a statement of submission and praise to God without understanding its true meaning. They want a worshipper to know exactly what they’re proclaiming.

One song that generates this type of clear praise is “Even So.” Its lyrics praise God for being present through life’s hardest trials even when surrounding questions go unanswered. We may not understand why a trial is occurring in our lives, and we may not be given an answer that explains our hurt. But God is there to carry us through every storm that might come our way.

Audacious Worship

Another interesting group is Audacious Worship, out of Audacious Church in the United Kingdom. They bring a unique, hard-rock sound to worship music. A hit that exemplifies their sound is “Give My All.” The drums are punchy, and the group’s rock nature is conveyed throughout, equating their identity with God alone.

Some may find rock music to be problematic for worship, with its loud, aggressive sound. But biblically, there’s nothing wrong with this. See the psalmist’s intent to “shout for joy” to the Lord (Psalm 66:1), worship him “with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn” (Psalm 98:6), and praise God with the clash “of resounding cymbals” (Psalm 150:5). Boisterous and passionate worship was welcomed by biblical writers.

The Ineloquent

Worship songs can also assume a calmer, simpler nature. One group that provides this type of worship music is The Ineloquent. Their name might produce curiosity in worship music listeners. And their name might have resulted from The Ineloquent’s simple lyrics. But it’s these simple assertions that make their lyrics truly eloquent. They exhibit humility and recognize the imperative work of our loving, Holy God.

One song that captures the musical nature of The Ineloquent is “Grace.” Its words espouse God’s grace as the answer, the only source of hope for all humans. In light of where we could have been, we are given access to Jesus, who will never leave us.

Worship without limits: 3 biblical characteristics of worship

Worship is critical to the Christian faith, and we should keep the following biblical exhortations in mind when engaging in this act of submission.

First, worship should be to the Lord Almighty and no one else (Exodus 20:2–6).

All glory should (and will) go to God. Our God is the source of love and fulfillment. He is the creator of the heavens and the earth, the solution to the problem of our sin, and the One who will be exalted forever in eternity.

Second, worship should be filled with praise.

Praise is “the expression of approval or admiration for someone or something.” And our praise is a way of responding to God.

May we express our approval and admiration of God based on the reasons listed above and as a response to his constant work in our lives. Returning to Psalm 150 captures the nature of praise beautifully: “Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness” (Psalm 150:1–2 NIV).

To me, the most important words in this psalm are: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6 NIV).

Praise should be found in all worship, no matter where it occurs.

The psalmist also provides us with one last characteristic to keep in mind: praise should occur continually!

We are to praise the Lord anywhere we are, without ceasing, forever and ever (see Psalm 71, 104, Psalm 145, etc.). This means that worship is not only confined to an expression of song. Whether at school, on our job, or during activities around the house, worship should be the motive of their occurrence.

In everything we do, let us worship God without limits!

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