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March 23, 2011

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Worship Wars 6: Do We Love Our Traditions More Than We Love People?

by Kenny Lamm
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Note: For best impact, begin with the first post of the Worship Wars series.

Last week’s post looked at what it means to have a missionary mindset in our times of corporate worship. Continuing in this same direction, I have embedded a video of Bruce Frank, lead pastor of Biltmore Baptist Church in Arden, NC, recorded at the 2010 annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of NC.  In it, Bruce asks, “Do we love our traditions more than we love people?”

While Dr. Frank’s comments were directed to a much wider audience than worship leaders, I believe the message is very applicable to matters of corporate worship. I encourage you to sit back and listen carefully to his words.

Next week, we will consider unified worship, a better term for blended worship.

As always, I invite your comments.


This video is part of a library of resources on the Find It Here website.

 

Worship Wars: Next post in the series

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  1. Riley
    Feb 12 2013

    The biggest problem I have seen in this transition is that a people have been raised in a certain style of worship and this becomes their comfort level. For example, ppl of the 30s-60s had a more traditional worship and this became ingrained to their minds. Most of it accompanied the technology of the time which was for the most part acoustically based.

    For example, most churches held a strict standard of acoustic music choosing rather to have a piano or organ than experimenting with electronic instrumentality. Most, believing superstitiously and erroneously that drums, horns, strings and other instrumentality were not of God. Their belief that high liturgy emanating from German Pietism was the ultimate worship style.

    The counter belief was that other accompaniments tended to pagan influences from the world. In other words, they were associated with worldly music, and was not to be introduced to church circles. As we moved into the 60′s, when more electronic instrumentality hit the mainstream, and “hippie” based ministries began the use of electronic platforms, singing simplistic verses, and straightforward worship songs, rather than complex anthems, took over. The trend of these ministries was to attract younger people with less formality, coming to God with a pure heart and singing simplistic love songs to him rather than singing songs about Him via traditionalism. The impact result was a mass exodus from that generation to the contemporary styles of worship. We saw a tremendous movement toward intimacy and worship that was interactive.

    Old line churches in a grasp to stay relevant have either conformed to the blended styles, mixing the old and new within one worship service, chg’d altogether, or stayed irrelevant and slowly died due to lack of vibrancy and new converts. This has been a demise in the main line denominations! Some errantly have introduced the “lessening” of doctrinal standards, which is even more dangerous.

    Many mainline churches, in the attempt to keep their membership high, have advocated many of the doctrines of the day, and have “unwittingly” introduced apostasy into mainline churches. Rather than giving up their worship styles, they’d rather keep that style, which creates a membership vacuum; pure hearted emerging believers and leaders transfer to contemporary churches and the result is the Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalians etc, have accepted membership of “unbelievers”, who accept their aesthetically based high liturgical styles of worship that they probably grew up on, but refuse to change their personal behaviors that may be anti-thetical to the Word of God. They left the church to pursue their predilections, and then return with their sinful behaviors. If challenged, they threaten the livelihood of the congregation with their threat or blackmail to leave en mass thereby crippling a struggling congregation. The result is that these churches maintain the worship outwardly, but lose out on the standard of ministry, doctrinal integrity, holiness and purity required of the Lord.

    Black churches have tended to follow the pattern of white churches, but in the black ministry, especially in old line Baptist or AME, the focus was on aesthetically “pleasing” music, because it was tied to culture, education, wealth, prestige, and affluence. The old line black churches tended to not move away from this, because it tied into the a “pride” of the race that we could replicate or duplicate aesthetically pleasing, high liturgical worship of that of our counterparts.

    The problem associated with it is two fold, it is not based on following God and his pattern for His church, but it is based on ethnocentric pride. Secondly, it is not addressing the impact of the global culture surrounding the black church. Many of the black churches emerged to prominence during the 1920s-1930′s and the affluence was then contained within the community. Many of the worshippers then lived, worked and built an economy within the community. Mainly because we were not allowed to move into the move into the affluent suburbs simply because of racial segregation.

    However, over the past 70 or 80 years, the wealthy African American has been allowed to move into the more affluent suburbs, and the neighborhood that they grew up in have become increasingly disadvantaged.

    Conversely, most of these churches are still within the communities that they were once very prominent a half of century ago. The members are commuting in, from out of the neighborhood. The congregation continues with their same worship styles, and leave back to their homes in the more affluent neighborhoods.

    They don’t spend a significant amount of time to reach out to the understanding the culture of the neighborhood. They become arrogant, haughty, disjointed, and irrelevant to the “culture” of the community that they are “called to”, because they refuse to give up their right to their way of worship. Therefore, a cultural bias, and divide takes place and their is no true communion and understanding of how to reach the lost. The attitude becomes, they need to come on board to what we are doing, rather than us go down to where they are. There seems to be no mediation, and the result is the systematic demise of the churches because of attrition, and the community, because there is no impartation of what God’s standards are, or reach to help them understand that He died for them right where they are.

    Wholehearted, we must invest truly in understanding this dynamic, because I believe that this is the crux of the heart. Worship is very tied to the centre of who we really are. Our styles are tied to our growing up and our emerging self. Depending on when, where we grew up, it is tied to our core personality. Therefore, I am not for throwing the old out, because it was what got the older generations over. Their must be a critical analysis on how to build multi-generational and multi-cultural worship out of one church, and move to unify the variants into one global, relevant and powerful ministry!

    RWR Ministries

    Pastor Riley Roberts

    Reply
  2. Aug 9 2011

    Wowsers! Preach it brotha! What cows do we need to shoot? Scary stuff. Did the crowd clap? Can I go to his church? Let’s go win us some brand new souls with some brand new methods!

    Reply

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