7 Reasons the Worship Style Should be the Same in All Services  

Sometimes I’m surprised that “worship wars” are still a reality in some places. Some of the same questions we faced twenty years ago are still on the table today. Thus, the question for this post is, “Should a church with multiple services also have multiple worship styles?” Here are some thoughts on one position: “The worship styles should be the same in all services.”

  1. This approach promotes unity in the church. It’s easier for the church to remain “one church” when the worship styles are the same. Creating “two churches” is less a possibility.
  2. It makes preparation easier. The worship team has one preparation, regardless of the number of worship services. Further, it requires fewer resources that many churches do not have (e.g., the church doesn’t have to have multiple worship teams).
  3. It forces the worship team to involve every generation in the worship. They must think in terms of, “How do we reach both an older and a younger generation with our worship?” If they lead well, they can’t cater to only one generation.
  4. It decreases competition. Members don’t have to choose a service based on worship style, and the almost inevitable competition between services (an “us vs. them mentality”) is lessened.
  5. It reduces the possibility of consumerism. That is, offering multiple styles is to invite people to choose worship based on their preference – and that very choice can promote worship based too much on self.
  6. It promotes multi-generational worship. Often, churches with more than one worship style find that the services divide among generational lines. Having one style that seeks to address all generations avoids this division.
  7. When done with excellence, God-centered worship can reach all people. Sometimes the reason people don’t like the worship is not because they don’t like the style; it’s because it’s boring and poorly done. That approach won’t work with any style.

Let us know your thoughts. 

 

 

10 Comments

  • Paul R says:

    Hi there.
    I’m a Roman Catholic, and have been following your blog for a couple of years and always like your posts, and this one’s no different. All your points, above, are superb.

    So, if I’d have an addition (as an affirmation of your points), one of the things for me, is that for Catholics, the main definition of orthodoxy “ortho-doxa”, is “right worship” as in “doxology”. (q.v., Josef Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, The Spirit of the Liturgy)

    I’m not gonna say “the Mass” embodies it in a triumphalist sense, as I clearly see you as an equal brother in Christ, but one of the problems I had as an Evangelical, was the increasing diversification of “worship forms”, often which seemed a bit too easily yoked with the culture in order for it to be “attractional”.

    I suppose the point I’m making is that, theologically, the Mass is about Jesus Christ, not us. If we get anything from it, it’s bonus. The time we give – especially if we are bored – is a sacrifice for him as we’re not benefitting, and so unity and form based in objective criteria, rather than subjective, or personal, fulfilment.

    In short, searching out services or churches based on what we receive (your point 5) or how much we “feel blessed” by it, rather than it being an expression of God’s glory for his own sake, irrespective of my own feelings or disposition towards it as being all about God, not me, seems to be a growing problem you’re trying to tackle (if articles at The Gospel Coalition are anything to go by).

    • Mark says:

      Even liturgical churches have a few forms of the service/mass, modern English, Elizabethan English, and Latin. At the end of the day though, what is said at each is still closely related.

  • Mark says:

    I respectfully disagree. I think that differences in the services are reasonable, and it works to keep peace. I grew up in a one-service church where the older people got exactly what they wanted and the younger people got nothing they needed. Unless the pastor is top notch and has been well trained, it is very difficult to deliver a short sermon that everyone can benefit from. Additionally, the application of the Gospel portion of the day that younger people need to hear would likely upset some of the older congregants because the lives of the younger are so much different today. I can honestly say that I have been envious of those people who lived in places where they got more than one service to choose from, though the sermons were the same, but the really lucky ones got a separate service with a younger clergyperson who gave a different sermon altogether. Besides, the younger aren’t going to be allowed in leadership anyway. Why not give them something that will benefit them?

  • Tony Watson says:

    If you had asked me this a year ago, I would have likely have said A-men to every one of your points, but then God called me to a church that has two different morning services with two different styles and my feelings have changed. It’s actually quite beautiful and there are people on both style preference that would be frustrated if we tried to blend it. I think it’s different in different situations. For 22 years before becoming a Senior Pastor I was a Worship Minister who was told at just about every church he came to “we want you to ‘blend’ us”. I did that and I found it successful in those venues – though there were always people on both “sides” who wanted more of this and less of that. Are there challenges with the two services? Certainly – getting the people from both services together is a challenge – but we try to accomplish that through scheduled activities periodically and to a certain degree through Sunday School. It can work and I would say here in Palestine, TX, it does work and I would not recommend changing it at all.

  • Bill Coen says:

    Yep, the wars continue….

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    Chuck, this approach confuses unity with homogeneity. They are not the same thing. We don’t have to embrace the same worship style to be one in Christ. If you carry this approach to its logical conclusion, then not only should the worship style be the same at all services but also at all churches. I believe that it is a serious mistake to force all services into the same Procrustean bed. The way we worship is a way we express our faith. Different people express their faith differently. No one worship style fits all.

    In my neck of the woods we have a number of attractional churches that have adopted a contemporary version of the Sandy Creek revival style of worship–worship set, sermon, invitation, with a short prayer and a collection squeezed in somewhere. The same thing is done at all the services. These churches, while they are reaching a segment, of the unchurched and lightly churched population as well as attracting their share of church hoppers are unsuccessful in reaching other population segments. Why? What they are doing does not resonate with everybody.

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