Worship Venues

A fairly common trend in churches these days is to offer several different worship venues/services to allow people with different musical tastes to be in an environment where they feel comfortable. Churches like the Baptist church down the road offer a traditional service with choir, organ, and hymn books, followed by a contemporary service with a band, screens, and worship team. Other churches are even more specialized - they have a funk service, an alternative service, and an acoustic service. 

We currently have two services with a moderately contemporary feel - we'll never be confused as being "cutting edge," but we're not stuck in the seventies either.  I'm not saying our church will never go there but for right now, not having multiple worship venues is important to me. I like the discipline of it. 

On any given Sunday, there are two or three songs that I just don't like; only one or two that I do. At any church, not just ours. That's not abnormal. A "great" CD is one with 3 or 4 hits out of 10 songs - that's why iTunes is so popular.

Even when I served as a worship leader, there were only ever about two songs per service that I really connected with. I'm okay with that, because I've been around long enough to know that the songs that don't connect with me are meaningful to someone else, and help them respond to God more than my favorites. 

There is a selflessness involved in worship, and our music preference reinforces that. By creating many different music venues for a congregation, I worry that we're reinforcing selfishness and creating intentional disunity, which only serves to hamper spiritual maturity. 

A spiritually mature person doesn't worship better because of the style of music - he worships better because of what God is doing in his life.  


Josh and Aub said...


I think the Bible talks about us being unified in our awe and worship of what Christ has done for all of us. I don't think disunity comes from musical preference. Just a thought: When I talk to my students about churches the one thing that is brought up time and time again is "I liked the music." If we can use music as a tool to reach those on the fringe, why not? Playing one style forces selflessness on those who don't like the music to begin with. To those who prefer that style, they aren't challenged with being selfless at all. They are afforded the chance to listen to what they already enjoy. Why not challenge the mature believers to step out and embrace a music that might bring in the 'less mature' Christians and non Christians? Unity is a burden of the mature believer more times than not.

Chris Freeland said...

Hey Josh (or Aub),

Totally agree with you. Disunity doesn't come from musical preference, but music is the most common fruit of disunity.

Also - I'm not arguing that some churches shouldn't use music as a tool to reach those on the fringe. However, when "fringe" music is used exclusively, you've only shifted who the "fringe" people are. That's my argument - no matter which end of the spectrum you land on, you're alienating someone.

And you're also right about unity being a burden of the mature believer. Unfortunately, our churches aren't full of those ;)

Kara said...

Cory and I have this debate often. I think you hit the nail on the head. It is hard to find a happy medium especially in Woodward, OK! One day in heaven we will all have the perfect music of the angel choir!