by Jeff Brumley, ABP News
There are times, Shaun King says, when worship music should be energetic, light or joyful. That's when instruments like pianos, drums and guitars do the trick.
But then there are times when the sound needs to be "bigger and in your face," said the senior pastor of College Park Baptist Church in Orlando. And that’s when you need an organ.
"When there needs to be a bigness that envelops everyone in the room, the organ can do that," said King. King's church has had an organ all of its 85 years, and today blends it into an integrated worship style that ranges from praise and worship to orchestral.
Experts who play, study and make organs say King's attitude is becoming increasingly common in churches across the denominational spectrum. The organ – whether in electric, digital or pipe form -- is enjoying a comeback after suffering declines in the 1990s and early 2000s, despite price tags that range from the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.
"There are a lot of naysayers who say the organ is dead, but that's simply not true," said Frederick Swann, an internationally acclaimed organ master who performed on Crystal Cathedral broadcasts for 16 years.
Swann, who also consults, leads organ workshops and gives recitals around the globe, said interest in the organ waned as modern worship forms surged in the late 1980s. As a result, university organ programs suffered from lack of interest and organists became generally harder to find.
"But they are now burgeoning with students again," Swann said of the college programs. And organ recitals held by churches are increasingly packed coast to coast, he said.
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