Across the North American Church landscape, you can see the remnants of a modern day conflict. A campaign that left few churches unscathed. A battle that played out within the four walls of the local church. Where pews were the front lines and hymnals and chord charts the arsenals.
Soo, that might be a little melodramatic. Okay ALOT melodramatic.
But the truth is many churches have and continue to struggle through what has been dubbed the “Worship Wars”.
Some want to sing hymns and others chorus’
Some want traditional and others contemporary
Some want liturgical and others spirit led
Some want only an organ, and others a whole band
Some want quiet and others loud
My very own church was not sheltered from this battle. When I was young there was a fight over whether or not to sing hymns or more contemporary music. There were people on both sides of the issue, and both fought to see their ideology on worship prevail. As a kid, I was mostly sheltered from the consequences, but people were hurt, people left the church, and some people stopped worshiping all together. Causalities of a civil war.
In the aftermath of all that, this is where I ended up landing. That for God, style hardly even factors into the equation. That when it comes to music, God is not exclusively an 80’s fan, a country fan, a techno fan, or even a worship music fan (though I’m pretty sure he is a U2 fan).
That God cares less about the music, and more about the heart (John 4:23)
That He just desires to be worshiped (Philippians 2:9-11)
And there’s the flaw with the worship wars. It’s about what we prefer, instead of being what God prefers. Because when it comes to God’s preference, it’s pretty clear that he looks past the show of our exterior and straight at the posture of our heart (1 Samuel 16:7). That whether you are singing a hymn acapella, or playing a face melting guitar solo, he loves that you are drawing close to him. (James 4:8)
I think Matt Redman said it best when he wrote this song in the midst of the conlfict.
“I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
All about You, Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You
It’s all about You Jesus”
When you look at it that way, these Worship Wars look kind of silly.