The Worship Quote of the Week for (05/19/2009):

How Important Is Musical Style?
How would you describe your church's view of Christian worship? Would you start by talking about musical styles and instrumentation? You probably have noticed that a huge number of fellowships label their worship as "blended"; but what is getting blended in blended worship? Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is from pastors Michael Lawrence and Mark Dever—a chapter on "blended worship" in a new book titled PERSPECTIVES ON CHRISTIAN WORSHIP: FIVE VIEWS. Highly recommended.

The style of music you use on Sunday mornings is incredibly unimportant.

That may seem like an odd way to begin a chapter on "blended worship," but it may be the most important thing we say on the topic of worship. You may be, or your church may employ, a "worship leader," someone who plans, facilitates, and leads the corporate gatherings of your church. You may be accustomed to calling that time each week a "worship service." You may even think of particular parts of your weekly service (such as the singing) as being "worship," as opposed to other things that happen during that time (such as preaching or taking up an offering). Yet while none of those uses of the word are, strictly speaking, incorrect, neither do they even come close to the heart of what the Bible means by worship. According to the Bible, worship is not fundamentally what we do on Sunday mornings when we gather with other Christians. It certainly includes that, but it is much more. Worship is our service to God. It is acting and thinking and speaking as if He really is who He says He is and we are really who He says we are. Worship is the creature (you and me) serving the Creator (God).

This book is specifically concerned with one of the ways we most frequently talk about worship--our times together in church, and specifically the style that characterizes that gathering. This is a great thing to talk about, and obviously important, given the amount of conflict this topic generates in many local churches. However, we want to be clear at the outset that this is not the heart of what the Bible means by worship. Furthermore, if worship does not refer merely to our corporate times together, it MOST certainly does not mean merely our music.

-- Michael Lawrence and Mark Dever. From "Blended Worship," chapter seven in PERSPECTIVES ON CHRISTIAN WORSHIP: FIVE VIEWS. Edited by J. Matthew Pinson; other contributors are Timothy C. J. Quill, Dan Wilt, Ligon Duncan, and Dan Kimball. Nashville: B&W; Academic, 2009, p. 218-19. ISBN: 978-0-8054-4099-2. [Highly recommended. There is no way that you will agree with everything in this book, simply because the contributors do not agree with each other.]

The other chapters are

Liturgical Worship -- Timothy C. J. Quill
Traditional Evangelical Worship -- Ligon Duncan
Contemporary Worship -- Dan Wilt
Emerging Worship -- Dan Kimball

Parts One through Eight of a Worship Conversation with
Harold Best, Carl Stam, and Mike Cosper

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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