Thoughts on Corporate Worship (Traditional vs Contemporary)

Lately God has been dealing with me about Worship (and in this blog I mean specifically corporate music and prayer styles in a service).

Southern Gospel. Traditional. Gospel. Cutting Edge. Emergent. Contemporary. High Church.

In his blog, Ryan Bolger said, “I remarked recently that I had attended a near lifeless traditional church. More recently, I attended a traditional service that was filled with life. What was the difference? It really came down to who got to play and who didn’t.” Read it here

He goes on to say it’s not about the music style it’s about whether the congregation is able to participate in worship or are they simply being sung to. That is an important distinction. Maybe the reason some “worship” services seem dead is because the “worship” leaders were never able to engage the congregation. The connection was lost between what was being sung and who it was being sung to. If, as “worship” leaders, we aren’t able to help people make that connection then there will be 10 on stage singing their hearts out to a group who are simply watching.

I’ve caught myself thinking that if we could only do more “modern” songs then people would respond better, or if we had edgier guitar riffs then all of a sudden we could reach those in their 20-30’s. And luckily before I could get too high and mighty I felt a check in my spirit that said there is more to it. Style of music I believe is important, but not most important. You can have the edgiest band around up there leading but if we, as a congregation, can’t engage and participate somehow it will all be for nothing. It will be a modern, contemporary, cutting-edge, concert.

I guess to me, corporate “worship” should be a reflection of Rev 5:8. In the passage it talks about the elders having a harp in one hand and a bowl of incense in the other, representing the prayers of the saints. How awesome would it be if our “worship” times were a 100, or 1,000 people, in unison, (one body) lifting up our praises to God. That instead of hearing hundreds of individual voices, He heard one unified, worshiping, praising, praying voice.

As I have more thoughts I’ll write them down…

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