Good talent was often stifled in Worldwide Church of God. They very often did not allow excellent gifts to be used. I often think of singers in this regard. We had a number of excellent singers who were not allowed to perform for us. Their talents were left unused although they often wanted to share their gifts with us.
Then, with the new changes, in my area anything went. Any who wanted to show their stuff were allowed to do so, whether they had any ability or not. There is always a number of people who either think they sing well, or they don’t really care. They want to do it anyway. Most of the performances after the changes were absolutely insults to the congregation. It was a disgrace to allow people who did not have the talent for that to be allowed to mar our services as they did. Sometimes people would even request that certain very poor performers not be allowed to continue. However, it was a new game in town and any who wanted to screech, or whatever, were freely allowed to do so. Personally, I came to the point I could stand it no longer. Each person I’ve mentioned this to in the time since agrees with me on this. And I have a strong appreciation for singing well done.
The last several of my years in WCG it seemed to be marching toward the Charismatic directions. In my early years (growing up in a Pentecostal church) the congregation would become very disruptive, oftentimes during the singing. This would take the form of people shouting, yelling, raising arms, claiming to be talking in tongues, etc. Sometimes this would go on to such an extent that no preaching was done. People would remain in emotional manifestations, sometimes even falling onto the floors and just carrying on in a way I was never comfortable with. I had no choice as a child about being there but as soon as I could make my own choices I got out of there.
There were many reasons why I left WCG (control and abuse being two). But I didn’t like the new music1, although I tried to. It just didn’t fit with me. I missed and yearned for many of the old sacred hymns that told the story of Jesus and the gospel message of salvation. The incremental Charismatic movement was one I could not be comfortable with.
These activities fit into what is known as the Charismatic movement. WCG was definitely heading toward that direction when I left it. Nothing surprises me about them. I came to the conclusion before I left them that they were heading into a New Age practice (there are many practices of it). I was very uncomfortable with it and left. I’ve never regretted getting out of there. I actually believe they will say or offer most anything to enhance their numbers and income.
Note: Today GCI (formerly WCG) has praise bands, praise and worship music, and members are free to clap to the music and raise their hands and arms.
Footnote by ESN:
1 Modern church music continues to evolve. Much of the “praise and worship” music does not have substance or proclaim the Gospel, and the words are soon forgotten. Some of these songs that formerly would only use the word “God” (eliminating almost entirely the words, “Jesus,” or “Christ,”) are now starting to just say “You.” This will appeal to a variety of religions, including a one world religion. Christian contemporary music is usually worldly, ecumenical and charismatic.