A little over two years ago, I posted (on my personal blog) some thoughts why we don't use multi-tracks in worship at my church.
I won't repost the whole article, but the link is here if you want to read it. But I'm not just here to rehash an old blog post. As the use of backing tracks grows, I'm realizing a disparity among the churches who use them and those who don't. Here it is: the churches using backing tracks never are the churches I expect.
When you research tracks, the overwhelming thing you'll hear is that tracks allow you to add in parts of the song you don't have. Then the examples will be something like, "your bass player has a flat tire and can't get to church; with tracks, just unmute the bass channel and you're all set!" or "maybe you're a small church without a drummer; these tracks will give you the full band sound you're looking for, with the ability to control drum volume."
The problem is that I don't know any small churches who use backing tracks. It seems as if the churches who might most need the versatility of multi-tracks are never the ones who are using them. In my experience, the only churches i know using tracks are big churches with big music teams, complete with a rhythm section, multiple guitars and keyboards, as well as vocals. Which means that loops, programmed kick drums and string sections seem to be the features most utilized through track software.
So, what's the point? If I'm not using this resource, why should I care about it? (Much less, write about it!)
Because it's an industry. Worship leaders are more targeted and marketed-to than ever before. And if we're not careful, if we don't ask questions about the stuff we're told we need, we'll just keep wasting money on stuff that's not really made for us. Because there's nothing wrong with a church (big or small) using backing tracks. There IS something wrong, however, with a church buying something because a company told them they need to buy it.
Be careful with your budgets, worship leaders. Make every purchase count toward what God's called you to do. Just because somebody buys a full page ad in a magazine or site you like, that doesn't mean it's for you. If it works, work it! If not, that's okay! Let's be wise about the resources we buy!