I get in conversations almost daily about style of music in church. I could summarize the conversations I have with people into two different groups:
- Doesn’t like the music and continually pushes for something to change. Threatens to leave if nothing changes.
- Likes the music but just left their previous church and is so thankful that the current church has better music.
Rarely do I meet someone who humbly says, “I don’t love the music but I’m staying because this is our home.” It’s usually more like “I don’t love the music but the church meets my needs in other ways so I’ll stick around.”
Now obviously I’ve left off the group of people who do like the music and are genuinely humble about it. Usually those people aren’t as vocal, but I am thankful for those who are.
The problem with this liking or not liking the music at a church is that worship isn’t about you. Obviously the music a church does during their corporate gatherings needs to be understandable within the culture but it’s ultimately for God, by God, not us.
So when we choose to say “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it” (more common), we have a fundamental misunderstanding of worship. Worship isn’t something we can evaluate into like or didn’t like categories. Worship is something God is stirring in us. Worship is us responding to what God has done and will do. Worship is much more than mere music.
In some ways I much prefer it when people say they didn’t like the music. For me it’s a teaching opportunity about true worship and it’s a chance to look at my own heart to see how I had turned corporate worship into excellence evaluation.
When older people think the music was too hip, and when younger people think the music wasn’t hip enough, I often view it as a success. The modern church has taught us that worship is about us; it’s about catering to our likes/wants/desires. The reality is that we’ve been subtly taught that worship is something that it isn’t.
(For more on this subject, and to dive deeper into what worship truly is, check out this series titled “A Theology of Worship”)