Most of the and worship leaders I get to talk to tell me that the one question they consistently get over and over is, “What type of services does your church have?” which really means “Is your service contemporary or traditional?” This question has been the Pandora's Box of many churches we have worked with. On one hand every church wants to be on the cutting edge, doing something hip and cool that will attract new members and offer something “different.” On the other hand is the battle to hold onto and honor the traditions that the church was founded on. It seems like this is the never ending, unanswerable question that continues to boggle and confuse churches across the country.
We have been to churches that have started separate worship services, created separate spaces, hired separate teams and re-branded themselves in order to make sure they are targeting the “right people.” In many cases, however, I feel like this has caused more harm than good. I have seen churches fall into an “Us vs. Them” mentality. The people who go to the “Traditional” service won't dare step foot in the “Contemporary” service because “It's just a bunch of noise.” And the “Contemporary” service goers would never think about going to the “Traditional” service because “It's just old and out dated.”
Last Fall we had the privilege of leading worship at First Baptist Glen Rose. Glen Rose is a small town of about 2,500 people in north central Texas known for dinosaur fossils and the play “The Promise.” It is a close knit community that, even though it has every modern technology, can still feel like a place that time forgot. Everybody knows everyone else, and people hold strongly to their values and beliefs. As we were waiting for the service to begin, Michelle and I were talking with Kent, the Music Minister. We were chatting about worship styles and types of services and I asked how FBC Glen Rose handles that issue. Kent told me that FBC only offers one service and it depends on what fits best with the message each week that determines what style of music they do. “Some weeks we do more traditional songs like hymns, some weeks we sing more contemporary stuff and some weeks a combination of the two, it just depends on the week. We don't say we are either “Traditional” or “Contemporary” we just have church.” Wow! What a great idea! Instead of getting caught up in the struggle of trying to putting a label on their service, they just do what works best each week to enhance the message. What a refreshing idea!
I feel like in some places this way of thinking is starting to catch on, but for some reason some churches still feel the need to label on their services. There area churches that like to say they have a “Blended” service doing both traditional and contemporary music which seems to be a “compromise,” but I want to challenge you to forget the labels! Just have church! You are never going to please everyone in every service. However, you can create a culture that knows that your church is going to do it's best to clearly communicate the message of Christ in which ever way works best that week. When we start to do that we can begin to put an end to the “Worship Wars.”\
Romans 12:4-6 tells us that even though we have many members we are one in the Body of Christ. That doesn't mean that we will always agree on everything. In my opinion, it means that we need to work together to make sure that everything we do, whether “Traditional” or “Contemporary” is pointing people to Christ.
These are my thoughts, I would love to hear yours! Feel free to leave a comment here or on our Facebook page! Thanks for hanging out with me today!