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What is the church? What's it supposed to be like and why

Contemporary worship

Postby Chinchilla » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:53 am

My wife and I (late 30s, fwiw) are involved in music ministry, and both lived out our faith lives attending exclusively Catholic, Anglican, or high protestant churches. We almost never attend anything but a liturgical church with organ, choir, vestments, hymnals, processing, etc.
She recently visited her parents' Methodist church, which had a (to us) fairly "blended" service labeled as "traditional". (Read: piano, drumset, no vestments, no pulpit, screens, etc.) We noticed they had not only a "contemporary", but also "modern" service, and researched these out of curiosity. In the "modern" service, the men in the band were wearing baseball caps on the stage. The "contemporary" service looked more like a living room than a church. The "modern" service looked like a stage at a dive bar. Obviously, the music was even further afield from what we consider reverent Christian worship than the traditional service.

For my part, I grew past the "worship wars" mentality and accept that what passes for worship in most evangelical churches does nothing for me, but feeds others - and that's good that those who need it can get it elsewhere. My wife, however, found not just the "traditional" service to be insufficiently reverent, but cannot fathom anyone finding Christian worship at such services (or, for that matter, a megachurch or contemporary evangelical service). She asked me why people attend them, and I was honestly at a loss.

So here's my question:

To those of you who attend a church service that would be considered "contemporary" (rock band, screens, preacher in street clothes), why do you do it? What brings you back each week? Especially those of you at churches where there is a choice, what are you looking for when you go to such a service?

To be clear, I'm not looking for worship wars in this thread. Those of you on our "side", please don't argue. I'd appreciate an honest answer, just for the sake of understanding "the other half."

Re: Contemporary worship

Postby jimwalton » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:57 am

What interests me is not the style, but the intent. I have a wide range of musical styles, and many of them can be worshipful if done with worship as the objective. I was on a worship committee, and we set out to answer 9 questions:

Who is worship for?
- to draw the community into a meaningful experience with God?
- for ourselves as God’s people, so we meet God in worship?
- For God, and it doesn’t matter about us?

Is one style of worship more pleasing to God than another style?
- Does God prefer quiet meditation or making a joyful noise?
- Does God prefer liturgy or the flow of the Spirit?
- Does God prefer that we worship in a style that we enjoy, or doesn’t it matter to him?

Is one style of music more pleasing to God than another style?
- Does one kind of music lead the heart to God more than another?
- Are there styles of music that do not belong in the sanctuary?
- On what basis should style of music for worship be chosen?

I have the opinion that musical styles are neutral (we can't say one is sacred and another is sinful). God created a world of diversity, and many kinds of artistic expression and forms should be welcome in the sanctuary.

Another factor: I did a Bible study on worship about 10 years ago. I found that for the most part (aside from some specific gatherings of repentance and mourning), worship in the Bible comes across as celebratory. Here are some notes:

What should be included in worship?
- Shout
- excitement
- with songs, with praise
- singing loudly, and for joy
- thanksgiving, exultation, acknowledgement of God’s greatness
- finding new ways to praise God (evangelization, awe, openly declaring His attributes)
- trembling before His holiness
- with music
- repetition in recitation
- including teaching, fellowship, communion, prayer, baptism
- a knowledge of God and his revelation of himself
- includes instruction
- with new songs, songs that truly lead into worship
- with all available musical styles
- with all available instruments, dancing – joyous celebration
- with everyone participating; each has something to contribute
- using spiritual gifts
- tithing
- Opportunity to share, to encourage
- a variety of the senses, including smell
- public reading of Scripture
- sensitivity to unbelievers who come to the service (seeker-sensitive, but not seeker-oriented)

Texts: Psalm 100, Psalm 95, Psalm 96, Psalm 149:1, Daniel 3:5, Revelation 4, Acts 2:40-47, Psalm 96:1, Psalm 150, Genesis 14, 1 Corinthians 14.1, 26, Hebrews 10.24-25, many texts from Acts, Eph. 5.19; Col. 3.16; Revelation 5.11b-12, Rev. 4.8, 11; Revelation 5.8-10, 12-13; 1 Timothy 4.13, 1 Corinthians 14.22-25

What should be the attitude of worship?

- position self lower, God above
- with humility
- a proper perspective of God, self, and others
- with joy and gladness
- with goodness
- with thanks
- without vanity or greed
- with reverence & awe
- in spirit and in truth
- with preparation and planning

Texts: Ex. 10.26; Psalm 100; Psalm 95, Psalm 150, Revelation 4; John 4:23-24, Isaiah 6.1-9

Who should worship?
- Those who are living obedient lives
- Those with right hearts
- Lord dwelling in sanctuary (permanent)
- Everyone
- Believers

Texts: Psalm 15, Isaiah 29, Acts 2:40-47, Psalm 150; Jn. 4.22; Phil. 3.3

What is Worship?
- the business of the heart, not rules from men
- should include message to repent
- Praise the Lord
- Celebration and praise
- Joyous praise with abandon, with lively expectation
- worship involves sacrifice, self-offering, personal involvement
- a response to God
- involves transformation
- a response to God based on life experiences, expressions of faith and recognition of who God is

Texts: Isaiah 6.1-9; Isaiah 29, Psalm 150; Acts 2.40-47, Mark 4.40-41, Luke 5.8, John 20.28

Underlying attitudes of worship:
- Unity found in Christ
- Loyalty lies not in people but in God
- Proper heart or else emptiness
- anger/disputes give foothold to the devil
- with mercy, humility, justice (not rituals)

Texts: I Corinthians 3, Isaiah 29:13, Ephesians 4, Micah 6, Isaiah 1.10-17; Amos 5.21-24

Quality of Worship:
- Strive for creative excellence
- We as sub-creators
- Setting high standards for expressing ultimate truths
- Play skillfully

Texts: I Kings 6, I Chronicles 22, 28:19; Ps. 33.1-3

Why do we worship?
- It is commanded
- It is part of our nature
- To show our commitment (offering/sacrifice)
- Goal – unity of faith, recognition of the Son of God
- For God’s acts of power and His greatness
- because of life experiences and encounters with God

Psalm 29.2, Mt. 4.10, Ephesians 4, Psalm 150; Ps. 92.4; Mk. 4.40-41, Luke 5.8, John 20.28; Isa. 19.21

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