If there’s a stereotype about church, it’s of an old creaky building with an organ playing softly while people scurry about with hushed voices. There was a good reason for the stereotype. The church can be a place of meditative prayer and the serene mood creates an atmosphere for this. But that’s not the whole story. This week, I was reading about the first introduction of music to the worship of God in ancient Israel. And it changed some of my preconceptions about God, music and the worship He desires. Let me explain.
Last week, I gave an update on the Wonder Worship Conference and some of the lessons we should take away from the contemporary worship movement. But the learning doesn’t just go one way. There were many lessons I learned that might be more associated with our heritage in traditional worship. What became clear to me was that we need to listen to one another and be shaped by God’s Word as we seek to grow in expressions of corporate worship. Let me share what I learned.
On Saturday, I attended the Wonder Worship Conference along with seven members of our worship ministry. For me, it was an opportunity to reflect on what God is doing in this area of the church. This week, I’d like to look at some of the lessons people should learn from the contemporary worship movement. Next week, I’ll address some of the lessons I feel people should learn from what I’ll call the traditional worship stream. My hope is that as people on both sides of this discussion are able to listen to each other in light of Scripture, our preferences will give way to greater unity in how we approach this topic. So, let’s start with what you should learn from the contemporary worship movement even if you don’t like guitars and drums.
People often comment on whether they enjoyed the worship on a Sunday morning. But have you ever stopped to consider whether God enjoyed it? How would you even know whether God enjoyed it? Here are three questions to ask of your worship this Sunday.
Last week, LifeWay Research released a report on people’s beliefs in society today. What was clear was that although many people identify as Christians, their beliefs are often at odds with what the Bible teaches. As Bob Smietana summarized, “Americans love God and the Bible, [but] are fuzzy on the details.” I suspect the same could be said for Canadians. I’d like to look at this report over a series of posts and try to help clarify what the Bible does teach in these critical areas. I’ll start with worship.
I love our church family and there’s no place I’d rather be on a Sunday morning. But I deliberately took time to visit other congregations during my vacation. Learning from other churches and getting to know the rest of the body of Christ is important to me as a pastor. Over the last several weeks I got a wide spectrum of worship experiences. None of the denominations was baptist. From Anglican to Christian Reformed to Brethren, the churches all had different traditions but were thoroughly evangelical, teaching Biblical messages focused on Scripture. From a church that met in a park, and another in a modern facility, to another that gathers in a building that dates to the 1800’s, it was clear that there is a great variety in church building aesthetics. I’m still trying to shake the image of the pastor preaching from his lawn chair.