Last night, Cheryl, one of our praise team members invited us over to her house to watch a video of Jeff Walling and his son. They were talking about passing the baton to our children in worship.
Worship is such a complicated mess, not because God created it that way, but because we have made it that way. Worship has always been about God, but we so easily make it about us and our preferences.
One of the things that struck me from the video was about blended worship. Jeff was saying that the big problem with blended worship is that most people are going to dislike at least part of the service. And you know, he is right. It doesn't matter how I weight our service. If it is on the contemporary side, then I get complaints from those who like more traditional. If I weight it traditional, I get complaints that there was not enough contemporary. If I don't sing enough presentational songs, then there are complaints. It seems that no matter which way I turn, there is no way to make everyone happy.
(Then the light bulb starts to glow)
Then I am reminded that worship is about God and not about anything else. I am convicted that we need to teach our churches better on the subject of worship. We fail to tackle the preference issue because we are afraid we will step on toes. Jesus was not afraid to step on a few toes. My toes need to be stepped on. Your toes need to be stepped on. It is not just those who like the old songs, but also those who like the new songs. To be honest, if we are truly trying to reach the younger generation, most of the church would be uncomfortable with worship including myself.
What do we do? Pray. Pray for boldness to speak when we need to speak and pray for wisdom to keep our mouths shut when we need to. Pray that the heart of our people are focused on God so much that they don't notice how many of this song or another is being sung. Pray that if the do notice that they imediately think of all the people that are worshipping God because of that song even if it doesn't help them personally.
Humans are selfish beings. Every sin that we can committ, roots itself in our selfishness. I pray for forgiveness all the times that I have sinned by demanding my preference in worship. I pray that all of our churches can pray for forgiveness for demanding our preference and failing to pass the baton to our younger generation.
Father, we need your Spirit to guide us. May our worship be about You and You alone. Forgive us when our selfishness takes over. Give us the wisdom and the courage to step out of our comfort zones so that the younger generation can be involved in our worship. Help us to teach the younger generation that thier way of worshipping is important, but that the way thier grandmothers worship is important as well. In all things may you be praised and honored. Through Jesus, Amen.