Is my church changing its tune?

08/13/2013 4:00 PM

08/13/2013 7:45 PM

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Have you heard the expression “worship wars”? Recently we moved to a different city and joined a new church, but the congregation seems at war between those who like contemporary Christian music and those (like us) who prefer traditional worship. Should we look for another church? — E.M.

DEAR E. M.:

I know many churches have experienced similar debates in recent years because of new styles of worship and music. I’m not a musician, of course, but I’m grateful that God has raised up a new generation of composers and musicians who point us to Christ.

That doesn’t mean we should throw out what previous generations have done, however — not at all. If I were a pastor today, I’d probably try to avoid making sudden, radical changes that might cause some to feel they were being ignored or put down. The Bible says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

I actually hear less today about these “worship wars” than I did a few years ago; many churches seem to have found ways to bridge the gap between older and newer styles of worship. Some, for example, try to blend the old with the new in their services. Larger churches often have two services — one traditional and one contemporary. Encourage your church’s leadership to explore all options — not just for your sake, but for the sake of the whole congregation, including your youth.

Before you consider changing churches, look beyond this issue to a more important question: Can you grow spiritually through this church’s activities? Is Jesus Christ and his word, the Bible, at its center? Does it offer opportunities for service? The Bible says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).

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