Yesterday, I posted “7 Reasons the Worship Style Should be the Same in All Services.” Today, I offer a counter position to consider. There may well be good reasons to utilize different worship styles, including the following:
- Having a worship preference is not automatically a sinful attitude. A preference is just that: a preference. It’s when we make those preferences divisive and idolatrous that they become a problem. It’s possible to have a preference and still please God, however.
- Offering different worship styles may encourage more unchurched people to respond to the gospel. I’m aware that worship is for believers, but even Paul assumed that non-believers might be present in worship (1 Cor. 14:16-17). I admit my own bias here, but I suspect I better show my joy to believers and non-believers alike when I worship in a style I prefer.
- Such a choice doesn’t inevitably create self-centered, consumeristic believers. It could, but it’s not an automatic result. If people like the worship style, they may, in fact, be more open to hearing the words of both the songs and the Scriptures.
- Multiple worship styles create opportunities for service. Some musicians and vocalists have their own preferences – and some are better at one style than another. Having more than one style typically means having more slots to fill; thus, more members can be involved.
- Having multiple worship styles forces most of us out of our comfort zone to consider others. Many churches dealing with this issue have been traditional churches seeking to add a contemporary service. Churches in the opposite position, though, need to consider the same issue: contemporary churches must at least ask if their demographics might necessitate utilizing a more traditional service as well.
- Genuine contextualization sometimes encourages multiple styles. It’s interesting that many folks have no problem adding a Spanish-speaking, different-style service to reach Hispanics in their area; yet, the same folks would balk at using a different style to reach anybody who looks like them and speaks their same language. Others would conclude that kind of thinking often reflects a weak missiological approach to contextualization.
- It’s possible to use multiple worship styles but still be a united church. Sure, you have to work at it—but that’s the case with only one worship style as well. Unless we work at building and protecting unity, the number of worship styles is irrelevant. Some of the most contentious, divided churches I’ve ever known have had only one worship style.
Okay, what are your thoughts today?