I was talking to a sister in Christ the other day and she was sharing with me how her church is divided over the issue of worship style. The older generation wants their own, separate traditional service, while the younger generation wants one blended worship service. This breaks my heart, because the moment you split congregations into two different worship style services, you have created a divide between this one body of believers and in a sense have created two separate churches within one building.
God's Word speaks many times about unity. Jesus even prayed for us (believers) to be one in order to experience complete unity (John 17:22-23). Unity does not happen naturally though. In order to be unified we must show one another grace, love unconditionally and lay aside our selfishness (our personal preferences). God refers to this as "denying yourself" (Luke 9:23).
I lost my mother 10 years ago to cancer and I no longer have any living grandparents. Perhaps that is why I greatly desire to worship in a multi-generational church. I need older women to look to for counsel, I need peers to confide in when these parenting years are sometimes lonely and hard, and I need younger women and girls to encourage, mentor, and befriend. Shouldn't the family of God look, act, and function much like a family, which would include people of all personalities and ages doing life together and loving and serving one another? Will we have differences of opinion and preferences? Of course we will, but that is where selflessness, love, and service should be tested and put into action for the glory of God.
My son, the drummer
My children may have to deny themselves when only the piano is playing and we sing In the Garden, because that is not their personal preference of worship style, but they can still choose worship. My sweet friend "Miss" Marcie may have to deny herself when my son is up banging on the drum set to Who Can Satisfy, but she can still worship because she knows the worship service is not about her or for her because it's all about Christ and giving Him the praise and glory He deserves. The music portion of the worship service should help us focus on the presence of God. It is not a time to focus on how much you dislike the particular style of music that is being played. Oh precious church, may we not fight over worship styles, and may we never give up meeting together and all the more as the day of His return is approaching (Hebrews 10:25). When He returns, let's not be caught fighting over worship styles, but may we be caught worshiping Him together as one beautiful, loving, and unified body focused on Him and not our own personal preferences.
God said the world will know us by our love for one another (John 13:35). What does it say about our love for God and one another if we fight over the worship style in our church?
As a pastor's wife and a mother, I would like to share how much I love and treasure many old hymns. I grew up singing hymns and I desire my children to experience these beautiful songs in worship too. However, I also treasure a lot of the newer music as well. For me, it's not about the style of music or the instruments used, but rather the heart of the matter. As Matt Redman's song says, "I'm coming back to the heart of worship and it's all about You, Jesus."