I’m starting a new writing schedule today! On Mondays my husband & I spend a lot of time talking about Sunday’s services & activities (usually over a cup of Chick-Fil-A coffee). We talk about what went well and what didn’t, any issues that have arisen, and what needs to be done this week as a result. So it was only natural when I was thinking about making a writing schedule that Mondays would become the day that I reflect on some aspect of Sunday and share it with you! (don’t you feel special?) 🙂
We had a great discussion this week with my PW virtual community group about worship music in church, and it reminded me of the term “Worship Wars.” Ever heard that term? It’s basically when church members argue about which style of music is most spiritual and decide what kind of songs will be allowed to be sung on Sundays during the worship service. I remember being a preteen at a church that forbade all music except hymns and southern gospel. I used to “get down” to the likes of The Imperials and The Statler Brothers. In my Christian high school I had a teacher call Steven Curtis Chapman a perverted heathen who “gyrates his hips to the applause of the crowd” and stated that we should be content with singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” in our chapel services because that was “God’s music.” I was in the midst of discovering DC Talk, Audio Adrenaline & Newsboys so I relegated myself to being a closet Christian rocker…listening to that kind of music in the privacy of my own home but never expecting such sounds to be heard in church!
In Bible College I was shocked the first time we sang “Awesome God” in a chapel worship service! Then they played “Shine” by the Newsboys during a special service, and I caught a glimpse of the President of the university rocking out without shame for anything except his very “white” moves! Oh, the freedom!!! I was SOLD on the new praise & worship movement! Delirious?, Matt Redmond, and Hillsong because instant favorites. Fast forward to the first church my husband pastored…we were in a small town in the Appalachian mountains in a very “established” Baptist church. The first time they asked me to sing I bought the sound track to “Shout to the Lord,” and even though I couldn’t sing it like Darlene Zschech I thought it was at least worshipful. No one complained directly, but from then on, when they asked me to sing, it was with a group… with a song already picked out.(That probably has more to do with the fact that my voice sounds better in a group…but song style had a little something to do with it, too…) From then on I was relegated to singing songs like “Oh, Come Angel Band” and “Rank Stranger“…yes…that’s an actual “church” song… 🙂
Even though my husband was the pastor, there really wasn’t much we could do about the music. We tried adding a praise team that would sing some of the more modern songs in addition to the old ones, but I couldn’t get anyone to sing in the praise team with me and the church members complained about not knowing any of the songs. We had to resign ourselves to singing along with whatever the choir & church members wanted. The amazing thing I discovered was that I was able to find a way to worship God while singing those songs I didn’t really like (or in spite of them…I’m not sure…) I realized that I could not allow my preference for a different style of music to keep me from worshiping the Lord every week. Now I’m in a church that has a blended service (which may just be a term for “nobody’s happy with the music” even though the intention is for everybody to get a taste of something they like…) We sing the great hymns of the faith like “How Great Thou Art”, a couple of songs I wish were not in the hymn book like “Do You Really Care?” and a LOT of Bill Gaither songs, most of which are easy to worship along with, such as “Because He Lives.” We follow that up with our praise team singing modern worship songs like “I Am Free” and remade hymns such as “Wonderful Cross” (aka “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross”).
I am blessed to be able to worship to tunes I know and love, but I now realize that worship is possible no matter what song is being sung. Worship is not about me…it’s about HIM. If I need a song that suits my own preferences in order to lead me into worship then I’m not truly focusing on God. Our God is so amazing that I should be able to worship Him no matter what song is playing in the background! And I often remind myself that worship is not limited to Sunday morning worship services…I may have to worship God with a Gaither song or Hymn #249 at church, but I can look forward to worshiping Him with the likes of Superchick & Mandisa while I’m doing laundry on Monday! It’s just important that I worship!
The question for today is What is your favorite worship song? Do you have trouble worshiping on Sunday morning? How do you worship throughout the week? I’d love to hear your thoughts…and I hope you enjoyed the links I included in this post…it was sure fun looking back on my “music memories” this morning!
PS I wrote a sketch about just this sort of thing for my Creative Arts team to do in church. I try to use humor to hit the tough issues because when people are laughing it’s hard for them to take offense…Feel free to download the script and use it in your own ministry. I only ask that if you do, just add a little credit line at the bottom because it is an original one written by me…and if you change anything in it please don’t make it snarky or preachy…:) Click here and it will open as a Word document.Worship Consumers