Worship: Traditional Or Contemporary?

Q. As always, I respect your insight into the Lord’s word for our life and thank you for your time in ministry.

What are your thoughts around the whole contemporary service movement which seems to be growing and growing? In fact, I am part of a growing one now working on the sound team (technical end). I have read several articles by authors who feel that this type of worship, which focuses a lot on the experience and setting, is not biblical and may be offensive go God. I surely would never anger the Lord by doing something deliberate against his wishes and up to this point feel that I have been led to do this type of work for the church. The past does a great job with the message holding very tight to the truth in scripture, not candy coating anything. The music is the only difference between services.

A. The purpose of worship is to enter into the presence of God. Done right, music and physical environment can really help facilitate this. Anyone who has studied Jewish Temple festivals understands the important role that music and pageantry played. No matter the format, coming into the presence of the Lord in worship is never offensive to Him.

A well executed contemporary worship service brings me closer to God than a traditional one, although I miss the towering theological statements that some of the old hymns make. For that reason when I was a worship leader I always included at least one traditional hymn in the mix of worship songs we sang, and selected music that would progressively turn the worshipers away from the distractions of their routine lives and carry them directly into the Holy of Holies. I felt that the worship service had achieved its purpose when people were totally focused on the Lord whether on their knees or standing with their arms raised, spontaneously offering their thanks to God, with hearts ready to receive His word. A traditional service with its 3 or 4 hymns spaced through out among the announcements, offerings, formal prayers and the like never did that for me.

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