So. I am a member of and monitor a certain musicians’ forum. Over the past week, a robust, and sometimes personal, debate has broken out over types of worship in church. There has been much back and forth about traditional, modern, contemporary, emergent, liturgical, etc. worship, and quite a bit of hubbub over the types of instruments used in worship and even which require the most talent and are the most/least traditional/contemporary.
As I read these posts, which are increasingly antagonistic, I am saddened and shocked that this many people think the ONLY way to worship is their way.
1) Isn’t God big enough to love all praise? As one person put it, “God inhabits the praises of all of His people”. You bet! Why are people wasting time arguing about the organ vs. the piano? Or praise and worship songs vs. traditional anthems? Isn’t God big enough to love all praises, all styles of worship? Mine is.
2) Is there any doubt as to why recent surveys have noted that people with “no religion” are gaining on denominations? Churches, in particular, seem to have a very hard time integrating the new and the traditional. Look, we all have our preferences (mine happens to be Southern Gospel and Bach, as disparate as that seems). But, our ministries must think outside the walls and determine what worship reaches the most people. How can we connect with more, communicate with more and call people to action when we’re stuck in the traditional rut?
To grow and thrive, your ministry has to be big enough and open-minded enough to experiment with new music, new styles of worship, new locations, and new technology.
3) If you don’t wake up and make changes soon, it will be too late. Every week I see the attrition in ministries all around me. It’s the basic principle of addition and subtraction: when the outgoing exceeds the incoming, your doors close for good.
Do you see the parallel here between the reticence of many ministries to take up social media and use new technology to extend their reach and the same fear that paralyzes worship leaders when it comes to new styles and instruments? Enough of the squabbling already.
It cannot be about you, friend. Or me. It must always be about Him and those we are trying to reach and serve. If that means blowing the doors off the building with heavy-metal worship music or creating social media campaigns that provide an unheard-of level of transparency into our ministry, then so be it.
Bach wouldn’t get it, but I do.