Sometimes I'm surprised that "worship wars" are still a reality in some places. Some of the same questions we faced 20 years ago are still on the table today. Thus, the question for this post is, "Should a church with multiple services also have multiple worship styles?" Here are some thoughts on one position: "The worship styles should be the same in all services."
- This approach promotes unity in the church. It's easier for the church to remain "one church" when the worship styles are the same. Creating "two churches" is less a possibility.
- It makes preparation easier. The worship team has one preparation, regardless of the number of worship services. Further, it requires fewer resources that many churches do not have (e.g., the church doesn't have to have multiple worship teams).
- It forces the worship team to involve every generation in the worship. They must think in terms of, "How do we reach both an older and a younger generation with our worship?" If they lead well, they can't cater to only one generation.
- It decreases competition. Members don't have to choose a service based on worship style, and the almost inevitable competition between services (an "us vs. them mentality") is lessened.
- It reduces the possibility of consumerism. That is, offering multiple styles is to invite people to choose worship based on their preference—and that very choice can promote worship based too much on self.
- It promotes multi-generational worship. Often, churches with more than one worship style find that the services divide among generational lines. Having one style that seeks to address all generations avoids this division.
- When done with excellence, God-centered worship can reach all people. Sometimes the reason people don't like the worship is not because they don't like the style; it's because it's boring and poorly done. That approach won't work with any style.
Let us know your thoughts.
Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
This article originally appeared at chucklawless.com.
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