The Worship Quote of the Week for (09/08/2009):

Musical Styles and Learning to Love One Anther
There is a brief health update at the end of this message.

Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE is another from a brand new book—CHRIST-CENTERED WORSHIP: LETTING THE GOSPEL SHAPE OUR PRACTICE. In the excerpt for today, seminary president Bryan Chapell (Covenant Theological Seminary) talks about musical style and the importance of moving toward a consensus--out of love for one another.

One strategy for easing tensions when preferences vary widely is offering worship services with different styles at different times or locations (or with different languages). Such measures typically are only stopgap, and eventually will create separate worship communities rather than a unified church body. Unless the intension is to spin off a separate body of believers into a separate church, it is usually best to work toward consensus and help people learn the gospel value of serving one another's worship needs.

Some standard strategies can help build the consensus most church leaders desire. Obviously, the first is to introduce less-familiar music sparingly. The music may be unfamiliar because it is contemporary, because it is traditional (many contemporary churches are rediscovering the beauty and depth of traditional hymns), or because it is foreign (changing multicultural neighborhoods may require new worship styles for effective outreach). Until the new music becomes familiar or widely accepted it might be used every few weeks, or during less-formal services, or in specific portions of the worship service (such as in the gathering time). The goal is not to sneak in the new music, but to give people time to adjust, give feedback, and learn how to love one another.

-- Bryan Chapell, CHRIST-CENTERED WORSHIP: LETTING THE GOSPEL SHAPE OUR PRACTICE. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009, p. 297. I can't wait to finish this important book.


Dear Friends,

Thanks for praying for my healing from cancer. There are longer journal entries and some photos at

I am in a holding pattern for right now. The PET scan and CT scan are scheduled for this Friday, September 11. These tests will allow the doctors to see if my body is really cancer free. I was hoping to be feeling stronger by this time in the process, but I am very willing to accept the Lord's timing. A daily nap is still part of my schedule.

Things at the seminary and at church are going well. It is exciting to see hundreds of new students beginning their preparations for gospel ministry in local churches and on mission fields around the world.

Your friendship and prayers are a great encouragement to us.

Blessings in Christ!

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Ministries
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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