For decades, members of churches across the world have experienced a vast array of worship styles, hymns, songs, arrangements and bands, yet one critical question has gone curiously unanswered: Why hasn’t someone taken the time to definitively rank super expensive worship instruments in order of their awesomeness?
That day has finally arrived.
After years of research, thousands of Sunday morning services and EXTENSIVE Google searching, we’ve ranked 12 modern worship instruments and accessories, once and for all.
1. A Huge Glass Drum Cage
It’s hard to say when exactly elaborate glass drum cages became a staple of many modern American churches, but these days, it’s hard to visit any mega- (or, really, semi-mega)-church and not see some poor drummer locked in what looks like some large, pentagon aquarium.
Because of their expense, the amount of stage real estate required and the sheer audacity of their presence, drum shields easily earn the No. 1 spot.
Is It Necessary? Does your church meet in a Soviet-era concrete bunker with extremely poor acoustics? If the answer is yes, then this accessory is extremely necessary, and it is money well spent.
2. Pipe Organ
The original super expensive instrument of worship. You know it’s a cool addition to a service if it’s actually built into the walls of the church and contains an extremely complex array of buttons and pedals that no human under the age of 75 has ever figured out how to play.
Is It Necessary? In most cases, those huge pipes are an essential part of the structural integrity of the church, so yes, they are very necessary.
Fun fact: In some churches, it is completely appropriate for anyone in the congregation to randomly blow their ram’s horn at any moment during the service without warning or explanation.
Is It Necessary? Without question.
4. Flesh-Colored Wireless Mics
You can just barely see them (obviously, any other type of vocal amplification could be distracting).
Is It Necessary? Does your worship leader incorporate boy band style choreography into the service? That’s what we thought. Obviously, the mic is necessary.
5. Extremely Complex Guitar Pedal Board
A favorite of worship band electric guitar players, these insanely complex configurations of guitar effects pedals are what’s responsible for that killer reverb when your church’s electric guitar player decides to add a three-minute solo to “Oceans.”
Is It Necessary? If they were honest with you, the guitar player would admit that like half of those pedals aren’t even plugged in.
6. A DOUBLE Keyboard
Picture caption: Take one step closer to either keyboard, and I will have you removed from the service.
Is It Necessary? Does your keyboard player have two hands? I think you just answered your own question.
7. An Old, Gray Overhead Projector
Sure, fancy PowerPoint setups have made old-school transparencies obsolete, but analog is making a comeback.
Is It Necessary? You expect people to sing along, don’t you?
8. Assortments of Random Percussion Instruments
Including—but not limited to—egg shakers, rainsticks, bongos, congas and cowbells.
Are They Necessary? Almost never.
Fancy, but in a Dave Matthews Band sort of way.
Is It Necessary? Only if it is exclusively referred to as a fiddle.
10. Bass Guitar
Even though it’s indisputably the most boring instrument in any band, the bass is second only to the drum shield in number of churches that use it every week.
Is It Necessary? Yes, even though they are rarely audible to anyone in attendance.
11. Praise Flags
Often homemade and adorned with glittery fabric representations of crowns, flames, lions or doves, these worship service accessories are often regulated only to “flag team” members.
Are They Necessary? Of course.
12. Guitars of Any Kind
Let’s face it: Guitars—electric and acoustic—have completely taken over most Sunday morning services. They’ve had their day. It’s time for a new instrument to get its moment to shine. Let the Keytar revolution begin.
Are They Necessary? Not if someone KNOWS HOW TO PLAY THE KEYTAR.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.