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Back in the sixties there were musicians (like Bob Dylan and the Beatles) who said anyone over 30 should not be trusted. Speaking to a national audience of hippies who were circling the universe on LSD, it all seemed very logical.

Many years later, while walking to the auditorium at my church after praise and worship had begun, I noticed a large number of people milling around the atrium. I overheard the conversation of how they couldn’t wait until the music service was over so they could enter the auditorium. Upon further investigation, I discovered that it was not that they disliked the praise and worship, but strictly the music was so loud that it was hurting their ears. Inside the auditorium I noticed some were actually wearing earplugs in order to protect themselves from permanent hearing damage.

I thought it was a little strange that the music and sound were cranked as high as they were, so the next day I brought the worship leader into the office to just discuss with him where the sound levels should be. It was not my intention to criticize, but just to find a way for the sound to be brought to a level that was not distorted.

I myself am a musician. In my early years I worked in at a recording studio as a studio musician and played in several bands. I minored in music at the university and enjoy electronics. All I am saying is that I am not a total novice in the area of music and sound.

However, when I brought this subject up to my worship leader, you would have thought I had accused his mother of being a terrorist or a space alien. He became furious and he made a very interesting statement. He said, “We gear our music for the younger people and if the people over 50 don’t like it, they can just go someplace else.” Well, we did have some go someplace else, but it wasn’t the people over 50. It was the worship leader.

When a worship leader tells the pastor, “I don’t tell you how to preach, you don’t tell me how to do my music,” then something has gotten completely out of balance in the area of authority.

Several years ago I was at a conference where the speaker was doing his best to be heard above the band. But as he would scream into the microphone to be heard, the music was cranked up higher, which made him scream even louder. The end result was no one could understand a word the man said. He might as well have been back in his hotel room because the message he brought to the meeting was never heard.

When the church assembles together, there are not two church services – one being music and one being teaching. No, there is one service consisting of worship and teaching of the Word. It’s not just the sermons that teach us, it’s also the songs. They work together. The words that the notes carry to the hearts of the people should always be in line with the Word of God. If the desire for performance outweighs the desire to please God, it is the church that suffers. If you wouldn’t teach it, you shouldn’t sing it!

The musicians are ministers and have a responsibility to give honor to God through singing His Word. For them to be defiant and play whatever they want as loud as they want is not only disrespectful to leadership, but displeasing to God. Instead of giving God honor, it actually does the opposite.

Research has shown that excessive volume causes permanent ear damage. But because of the music culture, the noise level at concerts and many church services have surpassed the limit. I am not against contemporary Christian music, but when people are subjected to decibel (db) levels in Christian concerts and church services that can permanently impair their hearing and require them to wear hearing aids later in life, it not only lacks common sense, but exposes pride and submission to the culture of the day instead of to the purpose of proclaiming the Word of God.

There is a reason that the military today uses protective earplugs for their soldiers while firing weapons. It’s because they know excessive noise will damage their ears. There are very few World War II pilots or soldiers who did not complete their lives without hearing aids. The previous generation didn’t know, but we do.

I know I have talked a lot about the physical ear, but it’s the spiritual ear that concerns me. Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matt. 11:15). What He was referring to is the ear to your heart. If Satan can deafen your hearing or cause you to miss what the man or woman of God is saying because you are unable to hear with your natural ear, then he can hinder what you hear with your inner ear. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). Jesus said that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He uses many methods including popular culture that destroys.

The scripture tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19) and we have a responsibility to maintain it. Why? Because a well maintained body will function so that we can proclaim the Word of God here on the earth.

One question is this: Why is it that so many must have the music so loud? Keep in mind that the ones controlling the sound and the ones playing the instruments have often been exposed to years of abuse to their ears, so to them, it’s not too loud. In fact, they require it to be loud to hear it properly because of the damage they have incurred. But we must renew our focus on the worship of the Father.

When Jesus spoke to the demonic spirits, He did not require a microphone or a cranked up sound system. All that was required was the Word of God. The Word of God is powerful whether it’s spoken loudly or whispered. The power is in the Word, not in the volume. The authority He had did not increase nor decrease by the volume of His voice.

It’s time to bring reality back to our praise and worship.

Copyright © Larry Ollison Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Larry Ollison
Web site: Walk On the Water Faith Church
Dr. Larry Ollison is founder and Senior Pastor of Walk on the Water Faith Church and founder of Larry Ollison Ministries. With over forty years in the ministry, he is a very popular speaker nationally and internationally and ministers the Word of Faith through radio, television, Internet, and daily e-mail devotionals. As the author of eight books (including The Power of Grace, The Practical Handbook for Christian Living, Breaking the Cycle of Offense, Life is in the Blood, and recently released The Paradise of God), he is in frequent demand for radio/TV interviews, book signings, and magazine publications.

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