Are worship “wars” still alive and kicking in 2011? I say yes. Because we are so emotionally connected with music, our preference will many times outweigh the purpose behind why we sing what we sing.
“Speak O, Lord and renew our minds, help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us. Test our thoughts and our attitudes in the radiance of Your purity.”
We sing for God in worship…but, unfortunately, it seems styles still play a part in people’s perception of worship. Why is that? Worship has changed since 1950 when we compare it to 2011. Change is adapted well in technology, restaurants, vehicles, and other areas of life…why not church/worship?
Change has made our life particular and personalized…similar to ordering something at McDonald’s. We order a hamburger with no bun, light on the onions, and one pickle…small fries with no salt, and unsweetened ice tea with no ice. We then get in our car and turn the temperature to 68 degrees and turn on a CD of songs we have selected for our listening pleasure. We arrive at church for evening worship and sing songs that are not our preference! It’s your response to those songs that determines your attitude of your personal worship offering to God.
In the Old Testament, God was particular and personalized with His offering commandments to Moses. Chapters among chapters in Leviticus alone depict the circumstances and requirements of God’s offerings. Our choosing not to sing the songs we “don’t like” in worship is like bringing a sick calf to be sacrificed in the Old Testament. God knows we can do better. God knows we can offer more. It is our attitude and heart that is lacking in our worship.
When will the church realize that the music used in worship is an offering to God? We are commanded by scripture to sing many types of songs…not just songs people are “familiar” with. If you are big into labeling things in worship, allow me to be technical for a moment…all songs (after they are written) are “traditional” to a degree. After the initial introduction to the composer, the songs get repeated by the composer, soloist, choir, and congregation over and over. The newest “contemporary” song becomes old after its second performance. In a way, all songs are traditional if they are ever repeated in any context, no matter what year they were composed.
The sooner all ages of the church stop labeling music and choosing sides, the sooner God becomes glorified instead of our personal preferences deciding whether or not we will worship at that given moment in the service.
Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”
Finally, also remember that this is not written to say new music, alone, is the way for churches to go. Nor, should we have 2 hymns and 2 new songs in each service. Leaders, be true to the Holy Spirit’s calling to enrich worship through His leadership and participants of worship, be open to God’s calling in your life to sing for Him. Follow His commandments to sing a new song and sing with joy!
As you plan worship, covet it in prayer. Plan as a staff, thematically, so your music supports the main Biblical message provided by the Pastor. If God is leading you and your Pastor and He gives the Pastor a message to bring, the music should support it!
If your passion and heart are focused on the saving lost souls through the church, your focus is not on the color of paint, size of the screen, style of music, or where the offering is placed in the service order.
Do worship “wars” remain? Yes. Is God leading people to re-focus their minds on worship itself? I pray that is the case. Does it start with me? Yes. Just like on Facebook we can “become a fan” or “like” of all styles of music because it should point us to Jesus.
“I’m coming back to the heart of worship, when it’s all about You, it’s all about You, Jesus.”