Worship Wars and Peace Times


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 loves quiet (Psalm 46:10), and loud (Psalm 95:1)

That He loves new (Psalm 96:1), and old (Revelations 4:8)

That He loves when we just sing (Psalm 9:11), or sing with a band (Psalm 150: 3-6)

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.


5 thoughts on “Worship Wars and Peace Times

  1. Good Thoughts. What do you find is most effective style in your context?

    • welshlucas says:

      That’s a good question, and one we are constantly asking ourselves at the Fort McMurray Alliance Church. Our church is made up of mostly young families, and our community is made up of mostly young men and young families. We tailor our style to be contemporary, rocky, and ya pretty loud.

      When it comes down it, I just sing loud and hard, and that seems to work.. haha

  2. Becky says:

    Well put! Of course I have a style of music/worship that I prefer but in the end it really is about your heart and drawing closer to God, however it is you choose to do so.
    And I think people forget that worship isn’t just about the singing, it’s the whole church service, from the music, to the message, from tithing to communion.

  3. Brian Casey says:

    Yes, well put. Thanks for finding my blog, too. I think you might be interested in some style comments in a couple of my prior posts, too.

    http://blcasey.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/keepin-it-real-4-covering-style-and-content/ and http://blcasey.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/style-vs-content/.

    For the record, I think it’s more likely that God is a Michael Card or Fernando Ortega fan than U2. Matt Redman? Probably also more likely. But it’s all guesswork. 🙂

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