Anybody own a treadmill? I do. I actually use it during the winter when it’s too cold for South Carolina blood to run outside. But did you know that about 40% of people just don’t use their home exercise equipment? Just takes up space in the basement. Also, they’re kind of boring. In fact, I have to take a tablet downstairs to watch Netflix or read a book just to keep myself going. I believe that part of a Worship Pastor’s job should be to eliminate songs that function like a treadmill. So what are these “Treadmill songs?”
Songs that take up space in your service
Again, treadmills take up space in the average American basement. How much square footage is taken up by unused exercise equipment? True, probably not much. But, in a worship service, every bit of that square footage, or time, counts. Every second should be designed to bring people closer to Christ. If you’ve got a song in your setlist that is taking up space, it needs to go. Quickly. Otherwise, you just wasted 2-3 minutes of precious time. It could be a song that you know doesn’t connect with your culture or community. It could be a song that doesn’t say anything in the way of Christ. It could be a song that doesn’t tell a story at all. Get ‘em out.
Songs that go nowhere
Once again, treadmills are ridiculously boring. Over the years, creators have managed to implement screens and other amenities to keep treadmill users excited. They even have one system that allows you to select different running routes (including famous ones like the Boston Marathon). While running, the treadmill adjusts incline based on the actual route. That’s pretty cool. But at the end of the day, you were really just running in place in your basement. You went nowhere. Songs like that need to move out of our repertoire as well. Songs that don’t go anywhere. They leave people, spiritually, in the same place as when the song started. The song gave no spiritual growth and no glory to God. These songs are few and far between, but even having one in your setlist is too many.
Let me be very clear: I am not talking about the so-called “7/11 worship songs” that some people complain about. That’s a moniker that needs to die quickly, as David Manner pointed out in a great open letter to haters of modern worship music. Thanks, David! There is also plenty of room for repetition, as we see in the Bible (Which Justin Taylor humorously points out in the most awesome of ways here). No. I’m talking about songs that really just don’t speak about God, to God, or to what we do as Christians. Get ‘em out.