WORSHIP IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
It's inevitable. Change will take place. When I was a child, the
only drum that was found in any church was a bass drum in the
Salvation Army band. The instruments in churches were an
organ and/or a piano. Along with hymns, congregations were
singing tunes written by Ira Stamphill, Ralph Carmichael, and Bill
Back then, few could have imagined the changes that have taken
place. Now, the smallest church has a full band. From Keith
Green, Rich Mullins, and Andrea Crouch to Paul Baloche, Chris
Tomlin, and Lincoln Brewster, the church has been blessed with
many incrediable writers of worship songs. And all this within a
span of only 40 years.
Some may look at the changes as negative and others may look
at the changes as necessary improvements. The church has been
fragmented by the likes and dislikes we all have in music. Some
churches have even resorted to dividing services between those
who subscribe to hymns of yesteryear only and those who opt for
strictly contemporary styles.
Yet, the style of music is not what worship is about at all.
Focusing on God is. If we succumb to focusing overtly on the
band, the writer of a tune, or the tunes themselves, we may be
Is worship for us? Is it just a concert? Well, actually, a worship
service IS a type of concert, just not for us. We all perform for
the King of Kings. Please bear in mind, I did not say "sing for
the King of Kings". I said "perform". A person may worship
without singing. The important thing is finding a way to connect
in integrity with the congregational expression. If we completely
shut down, it is not only sad but it's an insult to a God who is
worthy of worship.
Over the next forty years, change will take place again. Who
knows? The coming generations may return to some past style,
or take on forms of expression that are beyond our imagination
today. So, the danger for those attached to the current genres
will be close-mindedness to what may be ahead. The safe
approach is to focus on the eternal truth of the person of God and
hold loosely to rigid methodology.
Remember, one day we will bow in worship before the very
throne of God. Style will not mean a thing to us. Do we have any
inkling of what it will sound like? No. But two things will be as
vital in our worship expressed then as they have always been. 1)
The direction of the song will be God-ward, and 2) There will be
truth in the content of the song.
"Great and marvelous are your works O Lord God, the
Almighty; Righteous and true are your ways, King of the nations!
Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone
are holy; for all the nations will come and worship before you, for
your righteous acts have been revealed." (Revelation 15:4)
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