Friday, July 6, 2007

When it comes to worship music...

...our goals should be simple, and in this order.
1) Music that honors and glorifies God
2) Congregational Unity

Here's the thing with unity...we want it, we know God wants it, we know it's important; after all, it is by our "love" that they'll know we are Christians. Still, it's not easily attained in the church today, especially when the issue is music. Why, I wonder? I have a few thoughts on why unifying a church around it's music and worship is so challenging;

1. We forget the purpose. I think the number 1 reason we struggle with unity is we put "me" before "Thee." The extremely popular Matt Redman song, The Heart of Worship, addresses this issue head on...especially the lyric, "I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made it [worship], it's all about You, it's all about You, Jesus." When discussion of musical preferences arise, you can be sure that the "heart" of the issue has been lost; that heart being to glorify Jesus and bring an offering to Him.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." - Romans 12:1

2. When unity is the goal, we all must move towards the center. If the goal is to unify in music and worship, that means all of us moving towards a central place; a common goal. That goal we already identified in the point above. However, it must be noted that in moving towards the center, we all must give up some of our personal preferences. This is never easy, but it is important; especially as we, in humility, consider other's needs above our own.

3. We wrongly forget that music issues are "subjective" (opinions) and not "objective" (matters of right/wrong). Now to be sure, there are some who would disagree with that statement; some who would argue that there is a "right way" and a "wrong way" to worship. However, most of those arguements fall apart when examined with Scripture and with our own church history (see Good to Remember for more on this). This is a common thing for all human beings. When we are passionate about something, we "feel" like it's a matter of right and wrong when really, it probably boils down to a preference. When it comes to worship, it's all about our relationship to God. Once you realize that, it follows that no two people relate to God in the same way. Thus, if we are all relating to God in different ways, then it follows that when we come together for congregational worship, we're not all going to connect to God the same way with every melody.

It's time for the church to rise above the "worship wars" and seek unity. There are lives at stake; lives that will spend eternity separated from God and that should be the church's focus.

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