The United State of Worship
- Tuesday, July 01, 2003
On a hill overlooking Nashville, Tennessee, sits what used to be a quaint and spired church, designed to draw eyes and thoughts heavenward. Now, done up in Goth black, the building houses a bar and music club. One night not long ago, however, it became a church again, as the band Sonicflood filled it with worship music. The packed crowd alternately raised their voices in praise and lowered their heads in long, silent prayer.
A twentysomething man with spiky hair and metal-studded nose, lip and eyebrow, looked around at the amalgam of ages and personalities. "The music drew me back," he said, meaning back to the Christianity of his youth. "Now I'm attending church again and talking to God all the time."
Worship music will do that. It turns you to God, draws you closer to him.
"More people than ever seem to be hearing it and participating in it," says Jeff Deyo, Sonicflood's former lead singer. "It's amazing, the movement of God through music right now."
Of course, God's people have always sung his praises.
"What we're seeing today is a revival of praise and worship music," says Mac Powell, lead singer of the Christian rock band Third Day. In 2000, the ten-year-old band released
Already one of Christendom's top stars, Michael W. Smith scored his biggest record when he released
Boom is right, and not just for Smith and Third Day. Worship music is thriving, whether it's in church or on CDs. With a whopping 5.7 million albums sold,
Pastors have noticed an increased interest in worship music, as well. Recording artist Terry MacAlmon reports that the number of invitations he receives from churches around the country to lead worship "has exploded. The congregations are bigger and more passionate about praising and worshiping God." And sales of his worship albums have spiked accordingly: from a few thousand two years ago to a quarter-million this year.
This worship resurgence is hardly limited to America's neck of the woods, either. "This is a global phenomenon," says Valerie Davis, marketing director for Vineyard Music. "In the past four years, we have planted music ministries in New Zealand, South Africa, the U.K., Canada---a lot of countries. A worship album we just recorded in Turkish is going gangbusters. People all over the world are hungry for worship."
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