7-11 Worship Songs

Eclectic: /ik’lektik/ Adjective: Deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

When it comes to music, I like forms of classical… jazz… pop… country… oldies… rock… and polka.  You name it and there are songs in that genre that I enjoy greatly (Except for Rap).

When it comes to worship music, I am just as eclectic.  I like forms of high church… traditional… contemporary… and blended.  I even like some songs I don’t like because some of my brothers and sisters in Christ like them (That does make sense if you’ll think on it a little).  I am now at the point that what is most important to me is that THE NEXT GENERATION is drawn to worship God in a form and style they identify with.  As long as the message is God exalting, I don’t care about the instrumentation… volume… or length.

However, there are some who take an element of joy in downing worship styles (And churches) that fellow believers enjoy… and this saddens me.  There is one phrase I’ve heard so many times from so many people I’ve grown sick and tired of it.  They say, “I don’t like 7-11 songs. You know, the kind that repeats the same 7 words 11 times?!” (Followed by a snicker).  They must not have ever read the Psalms…

Ps 136… “Your steadfast love endures forever” is repeated TWENTY-SIX times!  (But it’s not 7 words… repeated 11 times.  So I guess it doesn’t count)

Ps 148… “Praise him” is repeated 6 times.  “Praise the Lord” is repeated 4 times.  But I guess that doesn’t fit the mathematical formula either.

Ps 150… The word “Praise Him” is repeated 12 times in 6 verses.

Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-4… “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

“WHEN IT COMES TO WORSHIP… others are more important than me?!”  Yep!

“When it comes to preferences in style of worship… others are more important than me?”  Yep!

“When it comes to kinds of I’m not the one who is most important?”  Yep!  That’s right.

Worship is about one thing… GLORIFYING GOD.  For me… if the younger generation is drawn closer to God through a style of music I’m not a fan of… and that style glorifies God… then I’m for it!  I’m for reaching the next generation to carry on the faith!  If a particular worship style aids in doing that… I’m for it.

Psalm 7:4 “Tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.  5 He established a testimony in Jacob… 6 That the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, 7 so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments and appointed a law in Israel…”

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13 comments on “7-11 Worship Songs

  1. Bill Springer says:

    Thanks for taking that stand. No Christian can really argue against that concept. We MUST glorify GOD; not our selves. The person(s) selecting Sunday’s songs needs to find those “glorifying” songs in every style of singing, and use them to make the point that worshipping God is an exercise with many facets.

  2. Richard Pepper says:

    Ron, I agree with you that the present generation likes the 7-11 praise music and that is fine if it meets their needs and allows them to worship. It is not a setting in which I can worship. More and more churches are turning to the contemporary service resulting in fewer and fewer tradditional services. A retired professor at McAfee siminary once told me , that there weren’t any students at the school that came from a traditional church background. This sounds as if there is a future trend towards a contemporary church as they become pastors. I have been a member of a church since 1969 that has been had a traditional service. We now have a blended service and the traditional service, and that is fine, but I don’t want to see the time come when the tradional service is vanished to history.

    • pastorron7 says:

      Good to hear from you my “Israel” friend! I pray all is well with you.

      Personally, I don’t think the “traditional” service will ever be vanished to history. What is contemporary today will one day be traditional. In fact… over the years… styles of worship have transformed from one to another. One believer sees what we call traditional as contemporary because they are of the high church bent. What I’m trying to be careful of is making something a law that is actually a tradition. I’m trying to be careful that I do not cause others to stumble away from the cross.

      Being a pastor, I have a unique view of the church. I see the faces of people as they worship through song. What bothers me is that I observe the “deer in the headlights” look on many people’s faces when they’re in a traditional styled service. The “Old Hymns” don’t move them… or at least that’s how it appears by the look on their face and unwillingness to participate in singing praises to God. However, when there is life and passion in worship (High Church, Traditional, Blended, or Contemporary) it is plain by: Participation, expression, and joy.

      When it comes to worship it is more about the audience of One… namely God. He is to be worshiped in Spirit and in Truth. That can be done in any style or musical presentation. Personally… I think THE most solemn expression of worship is on our face before God in complete and utter silence and submission.

      Thank you for your comment. And don’t worry… the old great hymns and traditional worship will never pass away.

  3. kewlbigdan says:

    I disagree with your premise that its ok to be repetitive as long as it makes the youth feel good. Singing Praises to our Lord God is not about making US feel good. If my son came in the house and said “Dad your awesome, Dad your awesome, Dad your awesome, Dad your awesome, Dad your awesome, Dad your awesome”(Repeat), after the 3rd time I would know he was being sarcastic and this was not heartfelt. It was noise.

    The Bible warns not to be repetitive for repetitions sake. And taking your quotes from Psalms is a common tactic. The Psalms do not repeat the same words continuously, the only known location is Holy Holy Holy, The example you gave is separated by other lines and you know that. “by deceit you shall known them”
    I hope God can forgive his Churches for their arrogance.

    • pastorron7 says:

      Big Dan… I don’t think you read my post closely. What I wrote was, “What is most important to me is that THE NEXT GENERATION is drawn to worship God in a form and style they identify with. As long as the message is God exalting, I don’t care about the instrumentation… volume… or length.” I said nothing about it making them feel good and that made songs okay.

      I think you missed the whole point of my post by not reading it closely.

  4. pdlye says:

    Actually I LIKE that 7-11 joke, but not as a blanket statement that condemns choruses. There are choruses that are repetitive that have nothing to say. I would not justify THOSE choruses by pointing to scripture and only pointing out the repetitive lines (not the lines in-between or it’s author). That would be a bit like comparing a Rembrandt painting to how I painted a room in my house. Yes, I used a brush as well, but that’s as far as the comparison should go.

    Your other points are WELL taken. I should not be self righteous or arragant in supposing my particular ‘style’ is the accepted style in heaven. The music is part of my worship of God, not about pleasing me. Give me a hymn, give me a chorus or contemporary Christian music. Whatever the medium, let the message be meaningful, scriptural and God glorifying.

    As a side note, I have recently heard rap music that would cause some hymns to blush when stood side by side and the substance of the words compared (yes I could understand the words when he sang). I am not a fan of rap, but I LOVED this stuff (loved it to recommend it . . . not buy it ;)

    • Punk's Post says:

      I was going to chime in, but your post already notes about what I wanted to write :) I once heard a minister of music get up with a keyboard and teach us “How excellent is thy name, Oh, Lord, How excellent is thy name, heaven and earth together proclaim, how excellent is thy name”. That is fine but he sang it over and over and over. The congregation was clearly uncomfortable as it began to feel more like a tribal chant, like he was trying to drum up passion…

      I now attend a church where the people have asked “Lord, how do YOU wish to be worshiped?” and sought answers in His word. Church is for CHRISTIANS, not for the world! We come to fellowship and worship and learn then go out and tell the Gospel and bring others into the fold :) We don’t need to change styles for the masses. And that is funny what you mentioned about rap–not my fave either, but I happened upon a Christian station that was playing what I would describe as rap and I was very impressed with the lyrics! Don’t think it’s appropriate for corporate worship, but it was a pleasant surprise.

  5. Jeremiah says:

    I hate 7-11 songs. They are pluralistic, emotionally-driven, but without substance (unlike the Psalms). They are way too heavily weighted to “praise” with very, very little weight given to instruction. I’m not talking about individual songs, but the whole group of 7-11s taken together. The Psalms contain a wide range of ideas expressed to God and to the readers. and that is the way our worship is supposed to be (Colossians 3:16). With music, the music itself communicates just as much as the words do. Most 7-11s, regardless of whether or not their words are taken straight from the Bible (such as from the Psalms) have music that sounds almost like something from Walt Disney and seem to be trying to illicit that same kind of response, which is why recent advertisements for CDs of Twila Paris’s songs show auditoriums full of people reacting very emotionally, but how substantive is that response, really? Another reason that I hate them is because are produced by song-mills, where writers write them under pressure for profit. This is a FACT, because a an industry insider has revealed it to be so, and many of these mills are located in Nashville, TN. Consider the complete lack of well-thought-out poetry. Seven-elevens sound like something a five-year-old could write whose life is easy. The songs that have withstood the test of time (written by such greats as Fanny J. Crosby and Charles Gabrielle) were written by those who had experienced great hardship and withstood temptations and leaned upon God. Their heart-felt words were written with so much imbued substance and written by those with so much talent for lyrics and musical score, and because of that, many of them have withstood the test of time. Yet, the “new songs” of 20 years ago when I was coming along are rarely sung now, and the new songs of 10 years ago when I attended a Christian college are largely forgotten, ever replaced by the latest piece from a Nashville song-mill only to disappear forever eventually, perhaps only saved for another generation in some songbook but rarely if ever sung. The 7-11s fail on every count. We should call our young people upward by producing quality songs for the next generation that are substantive and written because someone had something that they HAD to tell, a real story of faith and praise, and the one writing it and telling it should be doing so with the talent and skill they possess or someone that possesses that which writes the final words and musical score for them. The test of time will prove their worth.

    • Pastor Ron says:

      Jeremiah. Thank you for your comment! I’d like to think through a few things…

      Remember “See others as more important than yourselves,” and “Who are you to judge another,” (Romans 14)? While I agree you have a right to your own preference in worship, I am a little troubled by what you wrote. Let me explain…

      I don’t particularly like the hymn “Bulah Land.” I’ve heard it sung so many times at funerals (Many of them badly), I wince when I hear the first chord. BUT, there are many of my brothers and sisters in Christ that do love it! Because I love for their hearts to be lifted in worship, I love to sing what they love to sing in worship! Worship is first about God… Then others worshipping God… Then me. I am third.

      I’m concerned that I sense a critical spirit in what you wrote. I sense little care that others in the faith ARE brought closer to God through songs that are different from your preference. Southern Gospel isn’t my favorite style of music, but if members of my faith family are brought closer to God, GOOD!!

      Have you heard the recently written hymns… “In Christ Alone?” or “I Then Shall Live?” Both are recent and excellent in theology and substance! But I guess I’m more eclectic in my joy regarding worship songs than some… and that’s okay… either way!

      Songs written for profit. Hmmm… do you remember when Paul said that he didn’t care if some people preached the Gospel with the wrong motivation… AS LONG AS THE GOSPEL WAS PREACHED (See Philippians 1:15-18)! God has… can… and will use even Baalam’s donkey to bring glory to Himself!!

      Do you remember how God viewed Michal when she judged her husband David’s worship of God? If not, you might want to take a look. 2 Samuel 6:16-23…

      Just a thought.

      Ron

  6. Greg Musgrove says:

    I think what bothers me most about praise choruses is how quickly so many churches have adopted these as their main source of music. I’m 46 and grew up in a pastors family where traditional music ruled. So the old hymns have depth and meaning and substance. They were also written to be sung congregationally. When they were first introduced in my youth group in high school, our youth choir sung them or we sung them at church camp. Then the church slowly started to use them as opening songs, replacing “traditional” opening hymns like the doxology with choruses, I was okay with that but then steadily over time it was all we sung. Our 56 year old music director will throw in a hymn once in awhile but only one that would transition into a chorus/praise song but not all 4-5 verses as in the hymnal and not the original hymn as written.

    So how am I to be fed spriritually? I try to use it as singing praise to God but these songs don’t move me the way singing “Amazing Grace” or “A Mighty Fortress” or “Crown Him with Many Crowns”, songs that move me to tears sometimes and allow me to sing forth in joy and honor of God. It’s not to say that singing “Open the Eyes to my Heart” is not a good song, it is but I’m just moved to sing it 15 times, as I counted this past Sunday at church. It was more of a marathon singing campaign in hopes that #15 was the last time we’d sing so we could sit down. I’m sure some in the church were quite moved and that’s awesome but I saw many who were rolling their eyes and distracted by the repetition so much it took away from the actual worship.

    I think many of those “new” people the churches are trying to reach, when looking for a church home are looking back for more of the tradition that church was known for, something they can grasp onto and find God. But I feel the church in general is leaving that past behind and conforming more to the ways of the world and less to the ways of tradition and spirituality. It works for some but I believe for far less than was intended.

    One last thing, many of these praise songs were written as solo’s for solo artists or as special music not as congregational hymns. I see some of these songs struggled being sung by a congregation and they simply don’t even sound right. I majored in music and music theory so I can speak from experience. Example “God of Wonders” a great song by Christian artists Third Day, but because of it’s tempo it is a terrible congregational song and sounds bad being led in church. It is just my opinion and my hopes are many are still being led to Christ in our churches, but with the direction I see the world heading we need to focus more on spirituality and heading back toward God who never changes and less in “new directions”. Praise God and may we bless His name forever!

  7. Vivian Wall says:

    There is a great need to be discerning with the choices of music in worship. I agree with the thought that the choruses now do not move us like the familiar great hymns that declared our faith and our theology with depth. When we visited churches, we notice only a few singing, and most of the folks our age do not have the opportunity to sing with all their hearts from their heart – and as my elderly mother said, (“I would like to hear songs I know by heart on the radio, or in church, because even if I could no longer see, I can hear the familiar music and sing by memory”. ) Instead I am hearing of more and more people staying home from church because there is really no purpose in standing or sitting through noise. I’ve heard both good and bad music in many styles. I just know I dread going to any church that ignores the hymns and testimony songs that gave strength in my dark days of chemo when the Spirit brought to my mind what had been committed to memory. It is part of the legacy I long to pass on. Worship teams need to be striving to meet needs of all ages, and some of those styles belong in youth only meetings. It’s a little like entrusting leadership too soon to babes, and then having the entire congregation pay the consequences. I remember a college prof telling us to put our hymnals down and sing them from memory – all the verses. And what a wonderful communion service it was, to have song after song sung by a very large congregation, no one using audio-visuals, but it being memorized, gracious and following the lead of our beloved Pastor, sung without instruments at all. It did not cater to any age group. We were college freshmen mingled with elderly people and tiny children. We were being discipled through music, in a respectful manner. We enjoyed 4 part harmony, 8 part harmony, descants, cantatas, hymns, old, old choruses, revival songs, and newer pieces, with joy and wonder that rang in our ears. But we were glad there were few guitars to drown out the people’s voices. The 7-11 music always seems like we don’t think God can hear us, and so we either have to repeat or yell or something and it’s too much like bad manners – like one is training a child to disobey by waiting for their Mom’s voice to hit a certain pitch. It does feel like mockery.

  8. Anna says:

    That last verse is Psalm 78:4, just for clarification.

  9. John Lody says:

    I think what is most important is that people who are stuck in their own preferences become more willing to learn about the vast heritage of christian worship. I don’t think worship should be a museum piece, nor do I think it should be just a mindless, feel good experience. The problem at the root of all this controversy is a general dumbing-down and self-centeredness among Christians, which is caused by the general dumbing-down and self-centeredness of the general population.

    The worst way for Christians to be conformed to this world is by buying in to its selfishness and stupidity, which are both rampant and ubiquitous. Christians should be both other-centered and willing to enrich themselves by learning from one another.

    Some modern worship songs pander to stupidity and self-centeredness and some do not. Those who favor a traditional worship style can be just as selfish and unthinking as the other side.

    The key, as with all things, is love, respect, and a willingness to learn from others and to be open to both other styles and also to critical evaluations of yours.

    A respect for the elders of the church would be commendable too. Christianity is both a personal experience and a historic heritage. We should be more open to immersing ourselves in the flow of the church through the ages.

    It’s not just all about us today, and it’s not just about what has been done through the ages; it’s about both.

    Be willing to learn and appreciate one another, but do not abandon discernment in the process.

    If something is just bad and stupid, or if something is just obsolete and unnecessary, then be willing to let it go for the good of the whole.

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