Thursday, June 02, 2005
When I was hunting for a new church to serve back in 2002-2003, one of the questions I got asked was "What do you think of contemporary worship?" I was just looking over my answer again the other day & thought it was worth sharing. I'm assuming by 'contemporary worship' that you mean that the music used in the worship services is more than just the same 50 hymns out of the Baptist Hymnal and involves more musically than a piano and an organ. In that case, the answer is that I both personally enjoy contemporary worship and believe it's a more effective way to reach people with the truth of the Gospel. To expand a bit, I think that contemporary worship at it's best is more than just a change in musical style. It's a conscious effort by a church to break down the artificial wall between "performer" and "spectator", to use all of the senses in a whole-hearted attempt to honor the God who has lavished us with His grace. Nothing is out of bounds - the most recent cutting edge technology or the most ancient practice of the faith - when it lines up with Scripture and helps us to give Christ the glory He so richly deserves. We have to move from the concept of those on stage as "performers" and the people in the congregation as the "audience". Soren Kierkegaard describes a better model - where the members of the congregation are the performers, the people 'up front' are the prompters, and the audience is God - an audience of One. That, more than musical style, is at the heart of contemporary worship.