I just read this quote over on the rockworship.com website.
"What trends in church and worship styles do you see? Are they positive or negative?
Mark Driscoll: I’ll be happy when we have more than just prom songs to Jesus sung by some effeminate guy on an acoustic guitar offered as mainstream worship music. Right now most worship music is still coming from the top down through such things as Christian radio and record labels. But the trend today in a lot of churches is writing your own music to reflect your culture and community, and I pray this trend of music from the bottom up continues. "
First of all, I agree with Mark that most of the songs we sing at church are very weak. I've been leading in an 'interim' position at a local church and I've had a few harsh discussions with the lead pastor over the music. He asked me why we sing so many hymns (since once every other week is a lot) and I told him that all the other songs the congregation knew were drivel. His knee-jerk response was "well, teach us new ones" to which I simply scratched my head, because there aren't many.
Secondly, I really think that Mark should at least meet me before he suggests that I am "some effeminate guy on an acoustic guitar". I honestly think he said it purely for shock value, but doesn't make him any less a jerk. Attacking the guys who are giving their hearts and their time to the ministry of God is not going to encourage them to write better songs. Try harder next time.
Of course, my calling Mark Driscoll a jerk isn't gonna get an apology. Not that I wanted one from him.
But I digress, the point is that the songs we sing in church are often very syrupy. I agree with him that there is too much coming from the top down, but the question I then must pose, is who put them at the top anyway? Why do we continue to buy music from people who write and release music that is so shallow?
I offer up for evidence that none of our so called "Christian music labels" are in fact Christian music labels. Each and every large Christian Label is a subsidiary or a one of the big 5 Secular Labels. At first it looks like a good deal because the majors are majors for a reason. They have distribution systems and advertising monoliths already in place. The problem as I see it is this; The "Christian Label" has to answer to some one else, who gives them their priorities. I.E, the major label has money on it's mind and it's mind on it's money. The Christian label's job should be only to encourage the artist and advertise the artist, but they have quotas and sales figure to keep in mind. They are simply not instruments of ministry like they could be. That's not to say they aren't doing good things, but they aren't doing the best thing.
So to recap; Mark Driscoll is a jerk, but he's kinda right.