Worshiptogether.com: Rock music for church from the revival generation

The marriage of rock music and church music has often been, well, rocky. Just think of the Catholic priest in the 1960s who changed the lyrics of Beatles songs to reflect a Christian message. Unfortunately, songs like “I Want to Hold His Hand” did little more than show that the church was desperate to try anything to reach young people.

Now the tables have turned. Baby Boomers worked hard—and, many would argue, successfully—to bring contemporary musical styles into the sanctuary. Today’s young people, on the other hand, aware of the church’s loss of cultural power and the need in a post-modern world to be more explicitly evangelistic, want not so much to bring rock music to church as to bring church to rock music.

Representative of this effort are singers and songwriters like Martin Smith and Delirious, Matt Redman, Charlie Hall, and others who call themselves the “Revival Generation.” These artists are grouped under the marketing label “Worshiptogether”; their website is www.worshiptogether.com

The day I logged onto the Worshiptogether website the first thing I noticed was a picture of a young woman with her hair in pigtails wearing a tank top and jeans. There is nothing sexual about the picture. She’s on her knees, looking up with her arms outstretched in a posture of prayerful surrender. This picture illustrates much of what Worshiptogether is trying to promote—significant worship experiences for young people, experiences marked by informality, authenticity, and passion.

The website serves primarily as a marketing tool to sell CDs, songbooks, and sheet music, but there’s much more here: free Bible study materials, articles on a variety of subjects, and information on worship center conferences. While you browse the site, you can listen to a selection of songs from their catalog on “WT Radio.”

The site also offers the Solero Music Viewer. SMV is a free downloadable program that allows you to view and print music available for purchase from the site. The program allows you to play the music with MIDI voices, to vary the tempo or transpose the piece at the

Today’s young people want not so much to bring rock music to church as to bring church to rock music.

Robert (rkeeley@calvin.edu) and Laura (laurakeeley337@gmail.com) Keeley are codirectors of children’s ministries at Fourteenth Street Christian Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan. Robert is also a professor of education at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Reformed Worship 61 © September 2001, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.