Church Should Be Like A Good U2 Song

Humor me for just a moment. Listen to the song “With Or Without You” by U2 (I’ve embedded it below). I know, I know, you’ve heard the song a thousand times, but listen to it again. Trust me on this one. When you listen to it, pay close attention to what the bass, drums, guitar are doing.

Did you notice anything? Did anything jump out at you? Let me point a few things out. First, the bass line is very plain. The same four notes played again and again and again. Nothing special, nothing to attract attention. And yet the bass line is perfect. It is exactly what the song needs. It lays the foundation for the entire song.?The same can be said of the drums. Nothing special is happening on the drums. No chaotic, exotic solos, no bizarre beats. Simple, foundational, repeating. And yet the drums are perfect. They are exactly what the song needs. An extended drum solo would take away from the beautiful simplicity of the song. And the guitar is playing the same lick again and again with little variation. When you add all these things together the result is an absolutely fantastic song.?

When I listen to this song I can’t help but be reminded of the church. The church is made up of many people with many different gifts. Some people have public gifts such as leading worship or preaching. Others have “quieter” gifts, such as administration, hospitality, teaching children, ministering to the sick, or generosity.

In our celebrity-infatuated culture we tend to pay more attention to those who have public gifts. We can feel unimportant if we’re not serving in a public, visible way. But the reality is, the quiet gifts are just as important as the public gifts. God is just as glorified, if not more glorified, by those who serve quietly behind the scenes as he is by those who serve in a public way. In 1 Corinthians 12:14-20 we read:

For the body does not consist of one member but of many.?If the foot should say, ?Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,? that would not make it any less a part of the body.?And if the ear should say, ?Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,? that would not make it any less a part of the body.?If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell??But as it is,?God arranged the members in the body, each one of them,?as he chose.?If all were a single member, where would the body be??As it is, there are many parts,?yet one body.

A body couldn’t function properly if it was made up of only hands or feet or eyes. U2 can’t function properly with only Bono. The church can’t function properly with only preachers and worship leaders. God is glorified when every person uses their God-given gifts to serve him. We can’t all be Bono. The church needs bass lines and guitar riffs and drum beats.

If you are serving quietly behind the scenes, thank you. God is so pleased with your service. You are indispensable. You are adding your distinct part to the symphony of the church. To all our children’s ministry workers who toil in the midst of goldfish crackers, thank you. To all the ushers and greeters who make our church a friendly place, thank you. To all the sound technicians who make the worship band sound presentable, thank you. To all the lyric projector people, thank you.

When the church is working properly it is like a good U2 song. Let’s all strive to add our distinct parts to divine symphony.


Stephen Altrogge

I'm a husband, dad, writer. I drink too much coffee and know too much about Star Wars. I created The Blazing Center. I've also written some books which people seem to like. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook