So we want to build a worship service geared for teens. Here comes the argument: “Worship isn’t about the kids – it’s about God!” Exactly my point. It works the other way too you know. Depending on where you go to church the worship might reflect more modern sounds than say, the 1950’s organ. The worship wars erupt and the argument starts: “Worship isn’t about the organ or the drums – it’s about God!” Again I agree.
So why the worship wars? (Note: we’re not enduring worship wars, I’m just contemplating) Usually they sprout because someone assumes that they way they like to worship is equivalent to hearing God command that it be done that way by everyone. Hey! Take a look around and you’ll see right quick that God isn’t boring and he has created a universe packed to the gills with things that are different. Sure Oxen and Holstein cattle might seem similar but under the horns they’re quite different beasts – and don’t bother comparing them to a duck billed-platypus.
That’s the way gatherings of Christians are (We call them churches). Many look similar even though they do function quite differently once you get inside. And of course you’ve got your country churches and your mega-behemoths (MBs). The MBs lead me inexorably to the next problem: it seems everyone wants to be one. That is so odd, since they statistically represent the smallest percentage of actual churches. But then again there aren’t that many duck billed-platypi as compared to holstein cattle and oxen either. But that doesn’t make them any less remarkable (perhaps more so?)
“The differences are the point!”
I don’t know if you’ve been to 1 Corinthians 12 lately but you should go there. God didn’t create every person to be identical to the next person. Neither does he demand that all churches act like every other church. I happen to believe that worship styles are an adequate application of the principle in this passage. It’s so important I have to quote it: 1 Corinthians 12:4-27.
There are a couple of key principles to be noted from this passage which apply to this application.
God has Gifted us UNIQUELY. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
We are so unique and so special in God’s eyes that he wants us to be us- not someone else. In the use of Spiritual gifts – which is the context of the passage – we are supposed to practice and use the Spiritual gifts we’ve been given and not to wish we had someone elses. I shouldn’t try to do what God has gifted you to do you don’t have to do my gifts. And I’m grateful because I can’t do what you do – because God hasn’t equipped me to do it.
God has Gifted us to SERVE one another. 1 Corinthians 12:7
Spiritual gifts – preaching, teaching, giving, faith, and all the rest are all given so that everyone else in the church can grow. I’m not given the gift of preaching so I can grow (Though exercising my gift is a growing experience). And you’re not given the gifts you’re given for your own self – but so that as we exercise them together with everyone else – we all grow up in the faith.
God has Gifted us to NEED one another. 1 Corinthians 12:14-17
The ear can’t do the eye’s job. And normally you don’t eat with your feet – (Though I do talk with my hands). The point is that the younger generation who desperately needs to be reached also desperately needs the older generation to help train them in righteousness. And that’s one of the important lessons we need to learn from. At the same time, the older generation desperately needs the younger generation in order to perpetuate the church from generation to generation as it should.
Therefore what I don’t want to do as a church is alienate either the young or the old; but to find a way that we can serve and worship together. I really like the graphic in the advertising for the “Celebration Hymnal” which we use: What’s it trying to communicate? “This hymnal keeps everyone happy!” It’s a lofty goal, but it does communicate in some ways the importance of the way we need to serve one another as we worship together.
God Has Gifted US to appreciate one another. 1 Corinthians 12:27 “
It’s the fact that God has created us that makes worship worth it. And it brings to focus the motivation that needs to be behind everything we do; from VBS – to supporting Missionaries, to Wednesday night prayer service and Sunday worship. Because Worship is about God – and his nature and his character and it’s about us enjoying his nature and character and reflecting his love for us – right back to Him.