Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way

“Lord it’s the same old tune, fiddle and guitar;
where do we take it from here?
Rhinestone suits and new shiny cars,
it’s been the same way for years.
We need to change.”

– – Waylon Jennings

Those are the opening lines to the Waylon Jennings song Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way.  The other afternoon I was enjoying the Florida sun and this song shuffled on and filled our backyard.  I was struck by how the song’s criticism of Nashville and country music is just as pointed today as it was in 1975.  Waylon was singing about how the Nashville machine had gotten away from the roots of country music – the song – and things like radio play, new cars, and those rhinestone suits had become more important.  The same things could be said about any genre of music today.  Is the commercialism of the song or artist more important than the songs being written?

But I spend my days playing music in the church and I was struck by how those thoughts might be just as true for our churches, we may also need a change.

Is today’s church using the (metaphorical) same old tune, fiddle and guitar from 10, 20, 30, or even 50 years ago and expecting the same results?  Or are we doing the same thing and expecting something new to happen?  Are we seeking to be relevant for today’s generation, or are we expecting today’s folks to adhere to the practices of the past?  This doesn’t mean that the actions and traditions of the past are no longer valid – quite the contrary – they are highly important because the faith of past generations are what today’s church stands upon.  But is today’s church getting a little hung up on the rhinestone suits and new shiny cars?

Many of our churches are at a generational and cultural crossroad.  Doing things the same way they’ve always been done will surely please those who lived through the past – but in doing so are we responding to the needs of today’s seeker?

Are we going to journey together into the future or will our churches fixate on how things were done in the past and ignore the needs of today’s generation longing for the Love of Christ.

We need to change.

Let’s end with a little Waylon…


There are those times when a song will grab me.

I’ll throw in a CD while driving the kids to/from school/dance/swimming/church/life to give a band a listen, or just to listen through a “mixed tape” to find some gems for use in worship – and one just jumps out!

The City Harmonic

One of my new favorite bands – The City Harmonic!

I just liked this song – then my wife picked up a couple of their albums and I have to say – the City Harmonic is friggin’ awesome. First they are writing great lyrics and doing something a little different in the midst of all the music that is written now days for contemporary worship. And secondly their songs are great – fun melodies with infectious hooks – plus such an amazing energy that comes through the music.

I’ve been…to the mountaintop…

Feel free to check out their stuff:

How to write a worship song (in 5 minutes or less)

I saw this video posted and I was smacked in the face with a few things…

One being that I really love sarcasm. Really.

Then I realized how close to the truth this bit of comedy really was, and like great comedy it didn’t exaggerate what something may be – but rather held up a mirror and to show the absurdity of some of the songs we may sing in church.

The number of songs that follow those two forms spelled out is staggering.

Then again are we as churches demanding more?

Are we as worshipers looking at the lyrics and holding them to the standards of Wesley/Watts/Crosby and others?

Are we as songwriters trying to write better songs – or are we simply banging out a dozen songs to record and get on the Worship Conference Circuit?

Let’s do better.