I've been a worship pastor for 18 years. Much has changed for us with regard to worship in the church. New technologies such as big screens with moving video backgrounds have found a home in our places of worship. That's not a bad thing! It's also not the "bees knees" as they say. Well some people use that phrase.
It seems that the one thing that unites the churches of God today is that we love to fight about worship style. As Stephen would say - "You stiff-necked people!" GET OVER IT! Are you too blind to see that it is not the Father who has caused you to be so opinionated about music or to prefer a certain style? No, it is the evil one who divides us. Too many of you have chosen to love your music style more than you love the One you're attempting to sing to. You have forgotten your audience is the living God. He is not impressed by your style! He is interested in your broken and contrite hearts! Psalm 51.
When did it happen that we began to replace loving God with music appreciation? Do we really expect that God will one day place a crown on our head and say; "I'm so glad you forced your new songs into the the fabric of church life, totally relevant, dude?" or will He say "Thank you for fighting to keep hymns in the church. Those are my favorites too?" Absolutely Not!
I understand all the reasons and all the arguments people offer for adding technology and for calling upon various styles and they are not bad reasons. We want to be relevant in our methods. This is a good thing. We desire to sing our songs in musical languages that our guests, who may not have a church background, can understand. This is noble. I'm in agreement with these motivations, however (COMMA, DOT, DOT, DOT) let us keep our primary motivation for music and its accompanying technologies centered on Christ.
Colossians 3:16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
The psalms and hymns and spiritual songs help us fill our lives with the richness of Christ. We sing the attributes to God to remind ourselves, Who it is we worship. We sing out the truth about God's love for us as an encouragement to each another. We sing our praises to God out of thankfulness for all He has done and all He will do. The body encourages the body. There is just something about singing it out loud that helps us internalize the richness of Jesus and allows Him to fill up our lives. It can't be reproduced by listening to a song on the radio. It must be done out loud and in cooperation. (It is called cooperate worship, right?)
Sing, Sing, Sing! People of God, sing TO each other and be encouraged. Sing WITH each other to God and give Him thanks and praise. Sing AS ONE body and dwell in unity! This is what psalms and hymns and spiritual songs can help us do. What God meant as a tool to remind us to be filled with His richness and to unify us, the evil one has used to divide us. The evil one has no greater joy than dividing the people of God.
Father, forgive me when my pride has derailed my best efforts to worship You. At times I have made an idol out of my own tastes and traditions. Forgive me, Lord, when I've failed to encourage others because I pretended that style was synonymous with worship. I long to be filled with the richness of Christ and to encourage others to be filled with the same. Help me use ALL psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, new and old, as a medium for the body to worship and give thanks as one.