I just read this great article on worship on the Renewing Worship website and felt led to write a quick post here if only to share this great article with you and get you thinking a little about this today. It seemed important, and for me, “seeming important” usually translates into “do something for me, Chris”. Yes, Lord. Here it is.
The article was titled “Why Grandparents and Grandchildren Can’t Worship Together” You can see that article here: “…Worship Together“. Of course, once you read the article, you will realize that yes, they CAN.. but DO they, or WILL they?
Here’s the deal: The article shows a great worshipful AND evangelistic attitude that both my husband John Stevens (who has been in music ministry for close to 30 years) and I have been keenly attuned to for years. Real worship music is worship, however you package it, however you plan it, whatever groups you involve in it, and whichever people are worshiping (or leading worship) if Christ really is glorified in the process.
The preference for Traditional Sacred music or the preference for Contemporary Christian Music is not what makes today’s church right or wrong. It is not what makes it worth going to or not. It is not what makes a congregation a megachurch or a small church.
It is more, as the article denotes, a deference to traditional or contemporary worship songs.
It is when we look more at Christ Himself than we do at what we think we should be doing… or not.
Or course, praise and worship songs should be grounded in real Christian principles and solid theology. We don’t want to be worshiping the wrong things, worshiping ourselves, or worshiping the fact that we worship either. If all we sang were songs that said “we sing” and “we lift our hands up high” and “I wanna dance all day””, we wouldn’t get much from our worship, would we? I’m kind of thinking God would not get too much from that either. Maybe SOMETHING, but not too much and definitely not what He deserves. HE DESERVES THE PRAISE. WE DON’T.
Other than making sure our theology is right on spot (and our focus is right on spot as well), if we can forget our preference and give deference to it instead, we might just find our way through the postmodern church.
What is amazing, John and I have discovered, is that many 21st Century worshipers love ALL God’s music – all types, all styles, all kinds of musical and artistic types – if it is really presented as a means of worshiping a Great God and reaching others with. As the classic worship book “The Heart of the Artist” by Rory Noland makes clear, the intent of leaders and “artists” within the church must be of humble servant-hood, stressing the word “servant” there.
It does help if the “presentation” of music is done well. It seems to help more even when the “execution” is done with Christian joy and with a warmth for those fellow life travelers out there in the seats. (Consider a populist approach where music is for EVERYONE’S use and benefit, not just for the elite.) 21st Century church goers will and do respond when they are embraced as a part of that worship experience! Such all-inclusive worship is cherished even by those who prefer the additional or extended contemporary choices we have today.
What is also amazing though, we have discovered, is that those 20th Century worshipers who have moved forward in life and embraced the postmodern worshiper, the older generations standing right alongside the younger ones, have been some of the most amazing people anyone could ever come in contact with. Instead of bringing the house down with sarcasm, criticism, and maybe sometimes even anger, they have built God’s House by allowing God’s entire Church to come together in an experience that only the Holy Spirit can truly understand.
20th Century worshipers who are willing to stand with and beside Christ’s worshipers of today are what allows God’s Kingdom to expand and grow while showing the Biblical principles and lessons of yesterday are still there and relevant! THOSE kind of 20st Century worshipers ROCK (figuratively and sometimes literally too.)
Such deference to preference makes for a multigenerational church with multigenerational worship for a multigenerational GOD!
Yes, I do believe it is the deference of those within the contemporary Christian church, and not the preference of any, that really allows Christ’s Church to grow and go onward throughout the years. Without that deference from all sides, we would never get to experience a time where the older generations AND the younger generations can all come together in a special time together that can only be outdone by all the generations of all times of this entire world all together up there in God’s great big Heaven some day.
Psalm 78: 6 … so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. (NIV)
Hat tip to Ken Nuss, Worship Pastor at Jasper’s First Baptist Church in Jasper, Alabama, for posting the article “Why Grandparents and Grandchildren Can’t Worship Together” on his Facebook page which I picked up and which inspired this article. Thanks, Ken for the article, and again, thanks Holy Spirit for the nudge.