With this week's blog post, I would like to talk about a very controversial topic within the realm of church music: Styles of Worship. That's because music and worship styles have caused many problems in churches over the past 20-30 years. Some churches have even split over what style of worship to use (which seems ridiculous to me). But at the same point in time, I do believe that your style of worship is important. I mean, if you were to ask someone to visit your church, what's one of the first questions they would ask? That's right. What style of music do you have? Is it contemporary, traditional, or blended? Now, here at MPBC, many people would say that our style of worship is contemporary. We have a praise team, a praise band with drums and electric guitars, a worship choir, lights, screens, etc... Others might say that it is a little bit blended because of the songs that we do (every once in a while we do a traditional hymn and a number of our "contemporary" songs are actually rearranged hymns). I am fairly certain that no one considers us to be traditional. But I don't consider us to be any of these. My goal when planning worship services isn't to be contemporary, traditional, or blended. My goal is for us to be UNIFIED.
Here's what I mean by that: regardless of what song we sing, what instruments are played, or who is leading it, I want us all to worship. I want everyone, young and old, to participate and to worship. That's because worship isn't about styles or musical preferences. Worship is about acknowledging that someone (God) is greater than we are. And it shouldn't matter what type of music we use because I hope that we can all acknowledge that God is greater than us.
I have known of churches and even worked at churches where song selection and song type was very regimented and governed by people and leadership within the church. For example: at every service, there were to be two hymns sung with piano and organ and 2 praise songs accompanied by acoustic guitar and keyboard. This was what they decided a "blended" service should look like. The goal was to have a little bit of everything so that everyone was happy. But what typically happens in a service like this? Instead of it making everyone happy, it makes everyone mad. Instead of being grateful for the songs and style they like, people like to complain about the songs and style that they don't like.
That's what is so great about Unified worship. My goal is not to use a certain number of hymns or praise songs. My goal is to lead people in worship of Jesus. That's it. And so, when planning our corporate worship times I don't worry about what type of songs we do. They can be praise songs or hymns. What I concern myself with, is will these songs help lead people to Jesus? Can these songs be sung in Spirit and in Truth? Can people come to church at MPBC and through the music and worship experience and have an encounter with Jesus? Because that's the ultimate goal. It's not about hymns or praise songs or guitars or organs. True worship is about Jesus.
So, maybe at some point in the future, when someone asks you what type of music your church has, your answer won't be contemporary, traditional, or blended. Maybe one day we can even get past calling it Unified. Maybe one day, your answer will simply be "We just worship Jesus".