One of the things that we get asked a lot about is worship. I have always disliked the question of whether our church will have traditional or contemporary music. For many older Christians who experienced the “worship wars” in churches over the years it seems as if there is no middle ground. A church either has an organ and sings hymns or there is a rock band on stage. For a long time I have believed that “traditional” shouldn’t have to be synonymous with poor music. And my experience with modern “contemporary” worship music is that their “modern” worship books were published in 1995 (Shine, Jesus, Shine anyone?). Not only have these two sides produced horrible music, but they have broken our churches into separate age groups because of musical preference. I am hopeful that the worship wars might soon be ending.
Thom Rainer hit the nail on the head with his article What Worship Styles Attracts the Millennials? He put exactly into words what I try to communicate every time someone asked me about worship. Allow me to expand on his three elements that we desire for our worship:
1. Rich Content
Music has a major part in a Sunday worship service. Music can inspire, motivate, excite, and it can teach. The songs we sing in church must have a deep theological meaning that is centered on the gospel. People need to sing about the blood of Jesus to forgive sins and the power of the grace of God.
I’ve worked with young people for 12 years. I’ve learned that one of the worst things that a person can be called is “fake.” People can tell when other people are trying to be someone they are not. When it comes to worship in church this means that we must be real. For example, not everyone is comfortable raising their hands during worship and so we shouldn’t guilt people into doing it.
Regardless of whether you sing songs from the 16th century, the 1990’s, or today, all of the worship must be done with quality. Any instrument can be played poorly or it can be played well. We will not sacrifice quality of music for size or volume level.
We desire to be a church with gospel-centered worship songs that stretch across the spectrum of music categories. What do you think is the most important element for a church’s worship songs?