In the late 1980’s, early 1990’s, the worship wars were in full force. It was traditional v. contemporary, hymn v. chorus, guitar v. organ. And, life in the church was interesting, to say the the least.
Worship styles are many, and they’re evolving, too. I can remember arriving in Fort Worth, TX, to attend seminary, and Michelle and I visited churches for several months before we made the move to join one. The one epiphany I remember about that process was that no two churches were alike in worship style. It ran the gamut…if you can imagine it, it existed.
I’m asked often if our church is traditional or contemporary by inquiring minds. Compared to what? It’s relative, I suppose. More contemporary than some, more traditional than others.
Several years ago, my pastor, Mike Lee, and I concluded that we would not be focused on style. Granted, some styles attract believers, some attract non-believers. And, when it’s “blended”, no one is happy. Yet, our decision to focus not on style, but the Gospel instead, was freeing.
Our sole purpose in our worship is to sing and preach the Gospel. So, it’s not the style of a song that we focus on…it’s the text. The text must present the Gospel.
So, with that in mind, here are 3 things we celebrate in our worship as we sing, pray, read Scripture, and preach:
1. We celebrate who God is. God is our Creator, Redeemer, Friend. He is omniscient, omnipresent, wise, all-knowing. He is a God of wrath, and He is a God of love. He’s all these things and more. In a word, God is holy. Thrice holy.
2. We celebrate what God has done for us. God is not only holy, but God has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross for your sins and mine. Grace is extended to mankind, and those who call on His name will be saved. Thing is, left to my own desires, I would not choose God. I’d choose sin, and I’d choose to worship something other than an Almighty God. Yet, God opened my eyes to see the beauty of His grace.
3. We celebrate the preaching of the Word. Our pastor preaches the Word. We don’t provide “5 Ways to be a Better Person”, or a series on parenting, or “How to Deal with Guilt”. We preach the Word, the Gospel, and, ultimately, all those things and more are answered. God has spoken to us in His Word, and we celebrate that.
When we focus our hearts and minds on those 3 reasons, the focus of our worship becomes abundantly clear. It’s not us, it’s God. Worship styles are what we want; the Gospel is what God provides us to, ultimately, bring Him glory.
Soli Deo gloria!
1. An interesting account of Billy Graham’s crusade in England in 1954. This is a testimony of trusting God.
2. Wow. Here’s an interesting article on what we wear to church. Does it matter?
3. A two-day, 12-inning game rises to the top as the best collegiate baseball game of the season. This is why we love college baseball.