Learning to Worship from the Majority World

A few weeks ago, I found a great set of videos on YouTube, from a ministry called Heart Sounds. The organization records indigenous worship around the world. There is a lot we can learn about worship from our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. Here are some of my favorite videos, as well as some things that I’ve learned from them.

This video is from South Africa. The first thing I noticed is the richness of unaccompanied voices. I can’t help but wonder how some congregations in America would react if they had to worship without instruments. Too often, we depend on organs, pianos, guitars, or some other combination of instruments to lead our singing. Yet, the Christians in this video are more than content praising God just with their voices. The second thing I noticed was that the worship leader is actually leading. Her singing prompts the singing of the congregation. The worship is a dialogue between leader and congregation.

This one’s from Mongolia, and I think it’s the most interesting. It’s a blending of American style instrumental worship with Mongolian throat chanting which is typically practiced by Buddhist monks. What a great example of contextualization!

Next is a video from the Congo. I love the percussion in this song. It’s actually reminded me a lot of the importance of community in worship. Most of the percussion instruments being used are pretty insignificant by themselves, and alone won’t sound very impressive. (Anybody remember playing with percussion instruments in elementary school and being disappointed when you were the one stuck with the two sticks?) But, when the percussionists work together, they can create intricate, beautiful sounds and rhythms. In America, we tend to get too caught up with ourselves in worship. We’ll often close our eyes when we sing, completely ignoring those around us. Yet, the richest, most beautiful sounds of praise come when God’s people join together in harmony and intricate rhythm.

This last one is from a Himalayan orphanage. The children worship so loudly that their praise is actually heard in the villages below the orphanage. These young ones are proclaiming Christ to the world in their worship. How often is our worship heard by the world? Sadly, we often sing songs of praise in places where no one else can hear us.


Be sure to check out the rest of these videos here: http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=HSIOM


2 thoughts on “Learning to Worship from the Majority World

  1. WOW! Part of me is screaming, “NERD ALERT” while another is grateful to you for putting up such interesting things!!!
    You seem to neglect Latinos… are we too crazy for you? Too boring? What?? Why you gotta hate on us latinos, hermano?!
    Much love.

  2. That was great! I watched this in the early morning hours on Saturday and it’s really gotten me excited for the day! Oh and by the by, if you want to hear good American praise sans instruments, you should check out Susie’s church in Boston. All they use is a pitchpipe to get them started and all of a sudden there is harmony and everything! It’s nuts! Although, I gotta say I’m still partial to my worship with drums and guitars, but to each their own. 😛

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