Worship Mythbusters: Ten things that damage a worship ministry and hamper worship in a church

  • Church politics: not everyone can or will be “pleased” by the style of worship at a church, no matter how many services, styles, video venues or times for worship. Pleasing people, in general, is a bad idea, right?
  • Biblical illiteracy: a worship ministry that does not commit to biblically presenting a complete Jesus or filter song choice or content biblically will risk teaching the congregation a lesser picture of Jesus.
  • Utility over Artistry: a demand to see music, and other expressions of worship as utility, and not understanding art hurts the ability to authentically express. It makes worship a means to something rather than the end.
  • Church politics: not everyone has gifts to lead or can be in front all the time. The goal in worship leadership is to serve the church, not your own desire to be leading upfront or showcasing talent. When personalities clamor for the stage, it hurts our worship expression.
  • Not letting the kids take over: keeping worship for my generation and not giving the younger mentorship, exposure and leadership opportunities in worship means the church loses the future. Remember, they are the church of the future, they are the church.
  • Worshiping excellence: pushing the worship team to be so non-inclusive that only a small elite become the musicians, singers and tech might hurt the church since losing one of these individuals means a huge hole and loss of excellence.
  • Lack of Excellence: if music, lighting, speaking and whatever is available is not done well, the church loses gifted people who would rather not subjugate their gifting to poor planning, execution or leadership. (So, with 6 & 7 there is a sweet spot each church has to find–value doing your best, while not making it a club!)
  • Christian subculture: when music selection is limited to only a small group of writers from a couple publishers and there is one radio station in town your veteran church members listen to, we potentially live in a ghetto. The goal is not to keep our worship expression in a bubble but to reach the world. Make worship style indigenous to reach and reflect your community, not the choice of Christian publishers marketing to veteran Christians.
  • Church politics: song selection, use of drums, volume, personalities, who gets to play, friends, complaint cards…
  • Me, myself and I: the trinity of selfishness perhaps is the root cause of all of these. Worship in a local church is “us” worshiping our God. Even when we feel our personal need to worship is important, gathering with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of worshipers is something special and not about me or you in that moment.

Which of these is the worst offender, you think?

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

80 comments

  1. Rich, u still have your TWC login? We need to submit this whole series some time!

  2. Rich, u still have your TWC login? We need to submit this whole series some time!

  3. Rich, u still have your TWC login? We need to submit this whole series some time!

  4. Rich, u still have your TWC login? We need to submit this whole series some time!

  5. As far as which one is the worst offender, not sure I can say… but one thing I recognize as super important is #2. I think it’s so important that the lead worshippers are spending time in the word, tracking with the pastor, and giving God ample time to build the set list according to where He wants to take the church for that particular gathering. I notice a big difference in the services where I have done this kind of prep versus whippin’ out a set list last minute.

    1. That is right! Plus, having a “biblical worldview” is important for any leadership role, especially worship.

  6. As far as which one is the worst offender, not sure I can say… but one thing I recognize as super important is #2. I think it’s so important that the lead worshippers are spending time in the word, tracking with the pastor, and giving God ample time to build the set list according to where He wants to take the church for that particular gathering. I notice a big difference in the services where I have done this kind of prep versus whippin’ out a set list last minute.

    1. That is right! Plus, having a “biblical worldview” is important for any leadership role, especially worship.

  7. As far as which one is the worst offender, not sure I can say… but one thing I recognize as super important is #2. I think it’s so important that the lead worshippers are spending time in the word, tracking with the pastor, and giving God ample time to build the set list according to where He wants to take the church for that particular gathering. I notice a big difference in the services where I have done this kind of prep versus whippin’ out a set list last minute.

    1. That is right! Plus, having a “biblical worldview” is important for any leadership role, especially worship.

  8. As far as which one is the worst offender, not sure I can say… but one thing I recognize as super important is #2. I think it’s so important that the lead worshippers are spending time in the word, tracking with the pastor, and giving God ample time to build the set list according to where He wants to take the church for that particular gathering. I notice a big difference in the services where I have done this kind of prep versus whippin’ out a set list last minute.

    1. That is right! Plus, having a “biblical worldview” is important for any leadership role, especially worship.

  9. I don’t know if we can single one of these out as the worst, but number 10 definitly can make all the rest of them worse, and ‘Church Politics’ is probably a biggy, especially since it appeared 3 times. The scary thing about Politics is that sometimes we are ‘playing the game’ with out realizing it, and then people get hurt

  10. I don’t know if we can single one of these out as the worst, but number 10 definitly can make all the rest of them worse, and ‘Church Politics’ is probably a biggy, especially since it appeared 3 times. The scary thing about Politics is that sometimes we are ‘playing the game’ with out realizing it, and then people get hurt

  11. I don’t know if we can single one of these out as the worst, but number 10 definitly can make all the rest of them worse, and ‘Church Politics’ is probably a biggy, especially since it appeared 3 times. The scary thing about Politics is that sometimes we are ‘playing the game’ with out realizing it, and then people get hurt

  12. I don’t know if we can single one of these out as the worst, but number 10 definitly can make all the rest of them worse, and ‘Church Politics’ is probably a biggy, especially since it appeared 3 times. The scary thing about Politics is that sometimes we are ‘playing the game’ with out realizing it, and then people get hurt

  13. i love that you put #6 there with #7. i also love that in #5 you don’t leave it at, “so just hand it over to the kids.” you insist that generations work alongside each other, not apart. it’s hard work, but you’re right. good post!

    1. Yes about #5, but there will be a time–the sooner the better–that the mantle is passed. Really, we have to LET GO! 🙂

  14. i love that you put #6 there with #7. i also love that in #5 you don’t leave it at, “so just hand it over to the kids.” you insist that generations work alongside each other, not apart. it’s hard work, but you’re right. good post!

    1. Yes about #5, but there will be a time–the sooner the better–that the mantle is passed. Really, we have to LET GO! 🙂

  15. i love that you put #6 there with #7. i also love that in #5 you don’t leave it at, “so just hand it over to the kids.” you insist that generations work alongside each other, not apart. it’s hard work, but you’re right. good post!

    1. Yes about #5, but there will be a time–the sooner the better–that the mantle is passed. Really, we have to LET GO! 🙂

  16. i love that you put #6 there with #7. i also love that in #5 you don’t leave it at, “so just hand it over to the kids.” you insist that generations work alongside each other, not apart. it’s hard work, but you’re right. good post!

    1. Yes about #5, but there will be a time–the sooner the better–that the mantle is passed. Really, we have to LET GO! 🙂

  17. Great article! Thanks! I think they’re all important, and should all be in place in our ministries. I have heard #3 so many times over the years. I still hear people refer to the music time as the “warm-up” to the message. To them, it’s purpose is to prepare us to hear the message. While I think that can definitely happen, that point of view misses seeing music and other expressions of worship as an end in itself, as you said. Good point.

  18. Great article! Thanks! I think they’re all important, and should all be in place in our ministries. I have heard #3 so many times over the years. I still hear people refer to the music time as the “warm-up” to the message. To them, it’s purpose is to prepare us to hear the message. While I think that can definitely happen, that point of view misses seeing music and other expressions of worship as an end in itself, as you said. Good point.

  19. Great article! Thanks! I think they’re all important, and should all be in place in our ministries. I have heard #3 so many times over the years. I still hear people refer to the music time as the “warm-up” to the message. To them, it’s purpose is to prepare us to hear the message. While I think that can definitely happen, that point of view misses seeing music and other expressions of worship as an end in itself, as you said. Good point.

  20. Great article! Thanks! I think they’re all important, and should all be in place in our ministries. I have heard #3 so many times over the years. I still hear people refer to the music time as the “warm-up” to the message. To them, it’s purpose is to prepare us to hear the message. While I think that can definitely happen, that point of view misses seeing music and other expressions of worship as an end in itself, as you said. Good point.

  21. Man I agree with all that. I know for me Church politics really make me frustrated. I don’t have much tolerance for them at all. Even makes me not want to go to church at times when it is bad. That is NOT GOOD!.
    Overall Number 7 frustrates me the most. Anyone in the band knows that I am not immune from frustration towards myself. I am not one to shy away from a hard guitar part or solo. But maybe I should know my limitations too. 🙂

    1. Its tough to keep excellence in a church setting. While it is important to not become a clique, it is also important to recognize that certain people have higher levels of gifting and perhaps even time to make commitment to a ministry.

  22. Man I agree with all that. I know for me Church politics really make me frustrated. I don’t have much tolerance for them at all. Even makes me not want to go to church at times when it is bad. That is NOT GOOD!.
    Overall Number 7 frustrates me the most. Anyone in the band knows that I am not immune from frustration towards myself. I am not one to shy away from a hard guitar part or solo. But maybe I should know my limitations too. 🙂

    1. Its tough to keep excellence in a church setting. While it is important to not become a clique, it is also important to recognize that certain people have higher levels of gifting and perhaps even time to make commitment to a ministry.

  23. Man I agree with all that. I know for me Church politics really make me frustrated. I don’t have much tolerance for them at all. Even makes me not want to go to church at times when it is bad. That is NOT GOOD!.
    Overall Number 7 frustrates me the most. Anyone in the band knows that I am not immune from frustration towards myself. I am not one to shy away from a hard guitar part or solo. But maybe I should know my limitations too. 🙂

    1. Its tough to keep excellence in a church setting. While it is important to not become a clique, it is also important to recognize that certain people have higher levels of gifting and perhaps even time to make commitment to a ministry.

  24. Man I agree with all that. I know for me Church politics really make me frustrated. I don’t have much tolerance for them at all. Even makes me not want to go to church at times when it is bad. That is NOT GOOD!.
    Overall Number 7 frustrates me the most. Anyone in the band knows that I am not immune from frustration towards myself. I am not one to shy away from a hard guitar part or solo. But maybe I should know my limitations too. 🙂

    1. Its tough to keep excellence in a church setting. While it is important to not become a clique, it is also important to recognize that certain people have higher levels of gifting and perhaps even time to make commitment to a ministry.

  25. Great stuff, Rich…I love the acknowledgment of balance in excellence. Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Great stuff, Rich…I love the acknowledgment of balance in excellence. Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Great stuff, Rich…I love the acknowledgment of balance in excellence. Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Great stuff, Rich…I love the acknowledgment of balance in excellence. Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Well written, Rich. Interesting that you put the concept of the Christian subculture on this list. Hadn’t thought about that one before.

    1. Rick–That “Christian subculture” is a damaging thing if we are not careful to much we do in ministry, not just worship ministry!

  30. Well written, Rich. Interesting that you put the concept of the Christian subculture on this list. Hadn’t thought about that one before.

    1. Rick–That “Christian subculture” is a damaging thing if we are not careful to much we do in ministry, not just worship ministry!

  31. Well written, Rich. Interesting that you put the concept of the Christian subculture on this list. Hadn’t thought about that one before.

    1. Rick–That “Christian subculture” is a damaging thing if we are not careful to much we do in ministry, not just worship ministry!

  32. Well written, Rich. Interesting that you put the concept of the Christian subculture on this list. Hadn’t thought about that one before.

    1. Rick–That “Christian subculture” is a damaging thing if we are not careful to much we do in ministry, not just worship ministry!

  33. […] Ten Things not-to-do in a worship ministry. […]

  34. […] Ten Things not-to-do in a worship ministry. […]

  35. […] Ten Things not-to-do in a worship ministry. […]

  36. […] Ten Things not-to-do in a worship ministry. […]

  37. Not Letting the Kids Take OverYes, we need to empower them to become leaders in *their* community, which is not necessarily *our* community. We do not want to teach our youth music teams to be clones of our music teams. We need to let them lead in their own way with their own songs and with their own style. One of the biggest mistakes we make is to think that we are doing everything right and our youth teams absolutely must do it like we do. Go through your teenager’s iPod and see how much of it, if any of it, sounds like what you’re currently doing in your church.

    Christian Subculture
    Sometimes I think it’s the other way around: the Christian music radio station in our community is cutting through a much larger cultural/musical swath than is our church, and, our church is the one who’s drawing from the same small list (Brewster, Tomlin, Hughes, Redman, Hillsong, Crowder…) of songs and writers. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that more people have found Christ by listening to our community’s Christian radio station than have found Him during our church’s music sets.

    Church Politics
    Church constaints present us with a challenge: within these constraints, how do we still provide excellent and heart-and-mind-moving worship? If J. S. Bach (or John Williams, or Yanni, or Billy Joe Armstrong) had to work within these constraints what great stuff would they put together? If we could give Michaelangelo only three colors of chalk, what great piece of visual art would he come up with?

    1. Dan… The key is to reject “us and them” and to see our younger people as part of the same community. It’s not about who is doing it right, it’s about mentoring and passing on our faith–a reproducing faith. Those who are younger have a different bent and way of doing things but it is us who are older who need to change. They are not the church of the future they are the church. Let’s not minimize mentoring and passing on transferable reproducible things God gives us.
      Not sure Christian radio is really much help Dan. The issue is iPod verses broadcasting. Our little worship sets mean more because of the context. Liturgy verses a soundtrack.

      Politics is more than a challenge, it’s a wet blanket to Gods gifting being used. It is damaging. The idea is to lift lids rather than settle for less. Right?

      1. Rich, I think we’re on the same page here save that I submit it *is* about doing it right within the sub-communities in which we have influence. There are some doors open to our younger generation that are not open to us, and yes, we need to teach them how to adapt and choose the right wrench for the job. Our tendency is to tell them the wrench we invented will always work. Also, just as they (younger people) are not the church of the future: they are the church, we (insert your generation here) are not the church of the past: we are the church.
        In your original post you said: “Make worship style indigenous to reach and reflect your community”. Irrespective of medium or context, Christian radio, at least in our community, may be the more indigenous.

        I agree, let’s not lose our zeal to reduce damaging, meaningless politics. But, where the rubber meets the road is, given the constaints that you know will be in place when you walk into your church venue next Sunday — constraints that you have not been able to mitigate over the last week, or month, or year, even though you tried — how are you going to rise above them, and possibly because of them, orchestrate an awesome time of worship? If your church committee or lead pastor gives you a constraint of a 95 Db maximum, how are you going to make music so good that it would be ruined at 100 Db? When God constrains the beauty of the blue sky on a rainy day we get a rainbow. Right?

        Keep up the good work, Bro!

        1. The less we sound like Christian radio, the more indigenous we are! Those of us who live in the Christian bubble need to be careful to compare ourselves to ourselves. Len Sweet says “in tune with Jesus, in touch with the world.” That is the balance.
          And, about the politics. Church politics damages things, Dan. Its like telling a sprinter that having one leg is fine and that constraint still allows him to run. We need not cut off legs. Church politics (as described above) hurt, not just are a challenge. Its like breaking a glass. Its a challenge to pick up pieces of glass but you cannot ever again drink from those pieces. This why the scripture tells us to get right with our brother before coming to worship. So, it is a deeper issue than just having constraints. Its being sure we are in unity.

          1. Rich, I gather you are talking about more than just music selection, so what am I missing? Our community Christian music station:A. Plays a larger cross-section of musical (and cultural) genres than does our church
            B. Is available 24 hours a day — our church is available for 3 hours on Sunday with 50 minutes of music
            C. You can stumble onto the radio station — in our community no-one stumbles into our church
            D. Gives a message of peace, hope, and salvation
            E. People have been saved by listening to this station
            Why wouldn’t I want to sound like this?

            Isn’t 95% of church politics simply a matter of a difference of opinion? In matters of the words of Jesus, stand firm like a rock. In matters of opinion, bend like a willow.

            This is your blog, Rich, I won’t be offended if you need to cut this off.

  38. Not Letting the Kids Take OverYes, we need to empower them to become leaders in *their* community, which is not necessarily *our* community. We do not want to teach our youth music teams to be clones of our music teams. We need to let them lead in their own way with their own songs and with their own style. One of the biggest mistakes we make is to think that we are doing everything right and our youth teams absolutely must do it like we do. Go through your teenager’s iPod and see how much of it, if any of it, sounds like what you’re currently doing in your church.

    Christian Subculture
    Sometimes I think it’s the other way around: the Christian music radio station in our community is cutting through a much larger cultural/musical swath than is our church, and, our church is the one who’s drawing from the same small list (Brewster, Tomlin, Hughes, Redman, Hillsong, Crowder…) of songs and writers. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that more people have found Christ by listening to our community’s Christian radio station than have found Him during our church’s music sets.

    Church Politics
    Church constaints present us with a challenge: within these constraints, how do we still provide excellent and heart-and-mind-moving worship? If J. S. Bach (or John Williams, or Yanni, or Billy Joe Armstrong) had to work within these constraints what great stuff would they put together? If we could give Michaelangelo only three colors of chalk, what great piece of visual art would he come up with?

    1. Dan… The key is to reject “us and them” and to see our younger people as part of the same community. It’s not about who is doing it right, it’s about mentoring and passing on our faith–a reproducing faith. Those who are younger have a different bent and way of doing things but it is us who are older who need to change. They are not the church of the future they are the church. Let’s not minimize mentoring and passing on transferable reproducible things God gives us.
      Not sure Christian radio is really much help Dan. The issue is iPod verses broadcasting. Our little worship sets mean more because of the context. Liturgy verses a soundtrack.

      Politics is more than a challenge, it’s a wet blanket to Gods gifting being used. It is damaging. The idea is to lift lids rather than settle for less. Right?

      1. Rich, I think we’re on the same page here save that I submit it *is* about doing it right within the sub-communities in which we have influence. There are some doors open to our younger generation that are not open to us, and yes, we need to teach them how to adapt and choose the right wrench for the job. Our tendency is to tell them the wrench we invented will always work. Also, just as they (younger people) are not the church of the future: they are the church, we (insert your generation here) are not the church of the past: we are the church.
        In your original post you said: “Make worship style indigenous to reach and reflect your community”. Irrespective of medium or context, Christian radio, at least in our community, may be the more indigenous.

        I agree, let’s not lose our zeal to reduce damaging, meaningless politics. But, where the rubber meets the road is, given the constaints that you know will be in place when you walk into your church venue next Sunday — constraints that you have not been able to mitigate over the last week, or month, or year, even though you tried — how are you going to rise above them, and possibly because of them, orchestrate an awesome time of worship? If your church committee or lead pastor gives you a constraint of a 95 Db maximum, how are you going to make music so good that it would be ruined at 100 Db? When God constrains the beauty of the blue sky on a rainy day we get a rainbow. Right?

        Keep up the good work, Bro!

        1. The less we sound like Christian radio, the more indigenous we are! Those of us who live in the Christian bubble need to be careful to compare ourselves to ourselves. Len Sweet says “in tune with Jesus, in touch with the world.” That is the balance.
          And, about the politics. Church politics damages things, Dan. Its like telling a sprinter that having one leg is fine and that constraint still allows him to run. We need not cut off legs. Church politics (as described above) hurt, not just are a challenge. Its like breaking a glass. Its a challenge to pick up pieces of glass but you cannot ever again drink from those pieces. This why the scripture tells us to get right with our brother before coming to worship. So, it is a deeper issue than just having constraints. Its being sure we are in unity.

          1. Rich, I gather you are talking about more than just music selection, so what am I missing? Our community Christian music station:A. Plays a larger cross-section of musical (and cultural) genres than does our church
            B. Is available 24 hours a day — our church is available for 3 hours on Sunday with 50 minutes of music
            C. You can stumble onto the radio station — in our community no-one stumbles into our church
            D. Gives a message of peace, hope, and salvation
            E. People have been saved by listening to this station
            Why wouldn’t I want to sound like this?

            Isn’t 95% of church politics simply a matter of a difference of opinion? In matters of the words of Jesus, stand firm like a rock. In matters of opinion, bend like a willow.

            This is your blog, Rich, I won’t be offended if you need to cut this off.

  39. Not Letting the Kids Take OverYes, we need to empower them to become leaders in *their* community, which is not necessarily *our* community. We do not want to teach our youth music teams to be clones of our music teams. We need to let them lead in their own way with their own songs and with their own style. One of the biggest mistakes we make is to think that we are doing everything right and our youth teams absolutely must do it like we do. Go through your teenager’s iPod and see how much of it, if any of it, sounds like what you’re currently doing in your church.

    Christian Subculture
    Sometimes I think it’s the other way around: the Christian music radio station in our community is cutting through a much larger cultural/musical swath than is our church, and, our church is the one who’s drawing from the same small list (Brewster, Tomlin, Hughes, Redman, Hillsong, Crowder…) of songs and writers. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that more people have found Christ by listening to our community’s Christian radio station than have found Him during our church’s music sets.

    Church Politics
    Church constaints present us with a challenge: within these constraints, how do we still provide excellent and heart-and-mind-moving worship? If J. S. Bach (or John Williams, or Yanni, or Billy Joe Armstrong) had to work within these constraints what great stuff would they put together? If we could give Michaelangelo only three colors of chalk, what great piece of visual art would he come up with?

    1. Dan… The key is to reject “us and them” and to see our younger people as part of the same community. It’s not about who is doing it right, it’s about mentoring and passing on our faith–a reproducing faith. Those who are younger have a different bent and way of doing things but it is us who are older who need to change. They are not the church of the future they are the church. Let’s not minimize mentoring and passing on transferable reproducible things God gives us.
      Not sure Christian radio is really much help Dan. The issue is iPod verses broadcasting. Our little worship sets mean more because of the context. Liturgy verses a soundtrack.

      Politics is more than a challenge, it’s a wet blanket to Gods gifting being used. It is damaging. The idea is to lift lids rather than settle for less. Right?

      1. Rich, I think we’re on the same page here save that I submit it *is* about doing it right within the sub-communities in which we have influence. There are some doors open to our younger generation that are not open to us, and yes, we need to teach them how to adapt and choose the right wrench for the job. Our tendency is to tell them the wrench we invented will always work. Also, just as they (younger people) are not the church of the future: they are the church, we (insert your generation here) are not the church of the past: we are the church.
        In your original post you said: “Make worship style indigenous to reach and reflect your community”. Irrespective of medium or context, Christian radio, at least in our community, may be the more indigenous.

        I agree, let’s not lose our zeal to reduce damaging, meaningless politics. But, where the rubber meets the road is, given the constaints that you know will be in place when you walk into your church venue next Sunday — constraints that you have not been able to mitigate over the last week, or month, or year, even though you tried — how are you going to rise above them, and possibly because of them, orchestrate an awesome time of worship? If your church committee or lead pastor gives you a constraint of a 95 Db maximum, how are you going to make music so good that it would be ruined at 100 Db? When God constrains the beauty of the blue sky on a rainy day we get a rainbow. Right?

        Keep up the good work, Bro!

        1. The less we sound like Christian radio, the more indigenous we are! Those of us who live in the Christian bubble need to be careful to compare ourselves to ourselves. Len Sweet says “in tune with Jesus, in touch with the world.” That is the balance.
          And, about the politics. Church politics damages things, Dan. Its like telling a sprinter that having one leg is fine and that constraint still allows him to run. We need not cut off legs. Church politics (as described above) hurt, not just are a challenge. Its like breaking a glass. Its a challenge to pick up pieces of glass but you cannot ever again drink from those pieces. This why the scripture tells us to get right with our brother before coming to worship. So, it is a deeper issue than just having constraints. Its being sure we are in unity.

          1. Rich, I gather you are talking about more than just music selection, so what am I missing? Our community Christian music station:A. Plays a larger cross-section of musical (and cultural) genres than does our church
            B. Is available 24 hours a day — our church is available for 3 hours on Sunday with 50 minutes of music
            C. You can stumble onto the radio station — in our community no-one stumbles into our church
            D. Gives a message of peace, hope, and salvation
            E. People have been saved by listening to this station
            Why wouldn’t I want to sound like this?

            Isn’t 95% of church politics simply a matter of a difference of opinion? In matters of the words of Jesus, stand firm like a rock. In matters of opinion, bend like a willow.

            This is your blog, Rich, I won’t be offended if you need to cut this off.

  40. Not Letting the Kids Take OverYes, we need to empower them to become leaders in *their* community, which is not necessarily *our* community. We do not want to teach our youth music teams to be clones of our music teams. We need to let them lead in their own way with their own songs and with their own style. One of the biggest mistakes we make is to think that we are doing everything right and our youth teams absolutely must do it like we do. Go through your teenager’s iPod and see how much of it, if any of it, sounds like what you’re currently doing in your church.

    Christian Subculture
    Sometimes I think it’s the other way around: the Christian music radio station in our community is cutting through a much larger cultural/musical swath than is our church, and, our church is the one who’s drawing from the same small list (Brewster, Tomlin, Hughes, Redman, Hillsong, Crowder…) of songs and writers. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that more people have found Christ by listening to our community’s Christian radio station than have found Him during our church’s music sets.

    Church Politics
    Church constaints present us with a challenge: within these constraints, how do we still provide excellent and heart-and-mind-moving worship? If J. S. Bach (or John Williams, or Yanni, or Billy Joe Armstrong) had to work within these constraints what great stuff would they put together? If we could give Michaelangelo only three colors of chalk, what great piece of visual art would he come up with?

    1. Dan… The key is to reject “us and them” and to see our younger people as part of the same community. It’s not about who is doing it right, it’s about mentoring and passing on our faith–a reproducing faith. Those who are younger have a different bent and way of doing things but it is us who are older who need to change. They are not the church of the future they are the church. Let’s not minimize mentoring and passing on transferable reproducible things God gives us.
      Not sure Christian radio is really much help Dan. The issue is iPod verses broadcasting. Our little worship sets mean more because of the context. Liturgy verses a soundtrack.

      Politics is more than a challenge, it’s a wet blanket to Gods gifting being used. It is damaging. The idea is to lift lids rather than settle for less. Right?

      1. Rich, I think we’re on the same page here save that I submit it *is* about doing it right within the sub-communities in which we have influence. There are some doors open to our younger generation that are not open to us, and yes, we need to teach them how to adapt and choose the right wrench for the job. Our tendency is to tell them the wrench we invented will always work. Also, just as they (younger people) are not the church of the future: they are the church, we (insert your generation here) are not the church of the past: we are the church.
        In your original post you said: “Make worship style indigenous to reach and reflect your community”. Irrespective of medium or context, Christian radio, at least in our community, may be the more indigenous.

        I agree, let’s not lose our zeal to reduce damaging, meaningless politics. But, where the rubber meets the road is, given the constaints that you know will be in place when you walk into your church venue next Sunday — constraints that you have not been able to mitigate over the last week, or month, or year, even though you tried — how are you going to rise above them, and possibly because of them, orchestrate an awesome time of worship? If your church committee or lead pastor gives you a constraint of a 95 Db maximum, how are you going to make music so good that it would be ruined at 100 Db? When God constrains the beauty of the blue sky on a rainy day we get a rainbow. Right?

        Keep up the good work, Bro!

        1. The less we sound like Christian radio, the more indigenous we are! Those of us who live in the Christian bubble need to be careful to compare ourselves to ourselves. Len Sweet says “in tune with Jesus, in touch with the world.” That is the balance.
          And, about the politics. Church politics damages things, Dan. Its like telling a sprinter that having one leg is fine and that constraint still allows him to run. We need not cut off legs. Church politics (as described above) hurt, not just are a challenge. Its like breaking a glass. Its a challenge to pick up pieces of glass but you cannot ever again drink from those pieces. This why the scripture tells us to get right with our brother before coming to worship. So, it is a deeper issue than just having constraints. Its being sure we are in unity.

          1. Rich, I gather you are talking about more than just music selection, so what am I missing? Our community Christian music station:A. Plays a larger cross-section of musical (and cultural) genres than does our church
            B. Is available 24 hours a day — our church is available for 3 hours on Sunday with 50 minutes of music
            C. You can stumble onto the radio station — in our community no-one stumbles into our church
            D. Gives a message of peace, hope, and salvation
            E. People have been saved by listening to this station
            Why wouldn’t I want to sound like this?

            Isn’t 95% of church politics simply a matter of a difference of opinion? In matters of the words of Jesus, stand firm like a rock. In matters of opinion, bend like a willow.

            This is your blog, Rich, I won’t be offended if you need to cut this off.

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