From Pastor Bart’s blog:
In our faith communities we individuals want our preferences understood and adopted. If it is traditional worship with resounding organ at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, the pastor and leadership of the church better leave that experience untouched. Or, at the other extreme, if it is more indigenous worship with screeching electric guitar and pulsating drums at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, the “old guard” better not say a word. Churches, it seems, do one of three things: (1) Maintain tradition at the cost of new opportunities for ministry; (2) Institute indigenous at the risk of disenfranchising the faithful of many years; or (3) muddle into the middle with a combination that often serves neither preference group very well.
So what do we do? Is it better to go with the new rock music and waving hands and swaying bodies, and turn off the older crowd? Or is it better to maintain the traditional hymns with their wonderful theology, and turn off the kids? Is there, in fact, a happy medium??? I wish I knew.
It seems to me that the Church needs to consider first their own faithfulness to the high calling of Christ. Is the Gospel being faithfully preached from the pulpit every Sunday? Are the children being taught the Word of God? (Are the adults being taight the Word of God???) Are the sacraments or ordinances being duly administered? Are the missions being supported?
Matthew 6:33 NASB
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
People will ask, “How do we attract the unchurched? Don’t we need to give them what they want? Don’t we need to become seeker-friendly?” If you look at the early Church, you find that evangelism was what they did outside of the church gathering. You don’t get them into the church and then evangelize them, you evangelize them first, because the Church assembly is for the Body of Christ. It’s not for the unbelievers. That seems to take care of the “seeker-friendly” thing, in my mind at least.
I can remember when I was a youth in the late 1960s and early 70s. In my local church we had a quartet of young people that I sang in, and we sang what was, at that time, contemporary Christian music. When we sang in the church service, I never felt any rejection from the older folks, only support. And that’s surprising because adults and their children have always been at odds over the kids music. Maybe it was because of the Christian lyrics.
But today contemporary Christian music is a great bone of contention in the church, a great dividing line, a watershed, if you will. Much of the problem is with the music itself. The older folks don’t like the wild, loud music that wears the CCM label these days. Perhaps more important, at least in my opinion, is the weak, shallow, even nonexistent theology of much of that music. Not all of it, mind you, but much of it. And this music is dividing us, not just the older from the younger, but the church itself! What is the solution to this dilemma?
First of all, the local church needs a faithful pastor, not necessarily a great preacher, but a pastor who faithfully preaches the Word of God every Sunday, studies the Word of God faithfully to prove himself worthy of his calling, and seeks every day to live out that call on his life, with all that entails. The pastor has to be the teacher of the church, and a rock for the Lord whom the church can count on.
Secondly, the congregation must come together, prayerfully seeking the Lord’s face under the guidance of the pastor. The committees, the worship committee, the church growth committee, must all be made up of praying believers. And the whole church, with the pastor, must come humbly before the Lord in prayer, constant prayer, for the Lord’s guidance in this matter. It doesn’t work if the church tries to do things of their own accord. That’s what a social club does. This is the CHURCH. It is rightly the Body of Christ. We must, in all things, with prayer and supplication, make our requests known to the Lord. We cannot forget this! We must not belittle prayer! The church that belittles prayer is no church! But I believe that if the church, and its pastor, come humbly before the Lord in prayer about this, the Lord will hear us, and will bless His Church. Nothing is to difficult for Him!
And what will that solution be? I don’t know, but I know the One who does!