Paper on Music and Worship

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by tinytim, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. tinytim

    tinytim
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    The following is the contents of a paper I had to write for my class on Worship and Music through the WV Baptist Convention School of Christian Studies, in which I will graduate next month...

    Tell me what you think... (I Know.. I know... WHAT AM I ASKING? :laugh: )

    PART 1

    Does Worship Stop When the Music Does?

    I am a member of an online Christian community called Baptistboard. I have been a member of this community since October of 2003. We have discussed a lot of subjects, and worship and music are prominent in our discussions. Since this board is made up of all different stripes of Baptists (As well as other denominations), I have been challenged to redefine and/or provide support for my view of worship. The following is a post I made on 8/29/06 in the thread titled (Does Worship Stop when the music does):

    Music is just a tool to use to worship... so is prayer, meditation, Bible Study, Preaching, etc.. A Christian should never quit worshipping... Even if there were no music we would still Worship our God for WHO He is... not what He does....but Who He is... But thank God for music... it is a gift to us, from Him, that aids in our worship of Him. No, Worship doesn't end when the music does, unless you are worshipping music...It doesn't start when music starts either...
    For a Christian, worship is life.


    Having read New Ways in Christian Worship by Robert W. Bailey, and Beyond the Worship Wars by Thomas G. Long, I am persuaded that my post on Baptistboard.com back in 2006 is still the correct way to view worship.

    While talking to the woman at the well, Jesus said, “God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.” - John 4:24

    Jesus was clear that worship must be done in spirit and in truth…
    But what does this mean?
    The phrase, “in spirit” strips away the belief that worship is tied to material things.
    The woman had just mentioned two physical places that people went to worship. Jesus was pointing out Worship is not tied to Jerusalem or any other place. Worship can be done anywhere at any time, with or without physical elements to help us along.

    The phrase, “in truth” applies to the fact that Jesus is God. He was God in the flesh talking to that woman. The woman had been used to worshipping in the shadows of the coming Messiah. The Pentateuch, which was the Samaritan’s scriptures, was full of shadows of the coming Messiah. The offerings and ceremonial rituals that Moses handed to the people were pictures of the coming Christ. But that woman had the privilege of looking into the eyes of the actual Messiah. She was staring truth in the face. And she realized it.

    No longer would people be bound to a physical place to worship. No longer would people be limited to their preconceived ideas (based in the ceremonial rituals of the Pentateuch) of what the Messiah would be like. Now we can worship God any place at any time, knowing that Jesus is God. Jesus is the truth… For Jesus said himself, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

    So how does this truth translate into today’s culture? How can we take this truth and apply it to us and our churches?

    In today’s church when the word “Worship” is mentioned, it seems that people automatically think of music. Even job titles in churches point to this concept. We have Worship Leaders, Worship Pastors, Ministers of Worship, etc… but they all have one thing in common: music.

    But music is only one aspect of worship.
    Let’s define worship. The word worship comes from the old English term, “Worth ship” It means to apply worth to something. So when we “worship” God, we are applying worth to God. We are reflecting back to God the truths of who he is. He is Holy, Just, Righteous, and is worthy of our praise. Worship stems from who God is, not what he does for us.

    Other ways to worship God is Bible reading, Praying, meditating, proclamation of God’s Word, giving of tithes and offerings. All of these say to God, “You are worthy of my praise, time, and resources. We say to God, here I am, I am completely yours, use me how you want. Romans 12:1 I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.


    Worship means so much more than the 15 to 20 minutes we spend each Sunday morning right before the Pastor gives the sermon.

    But because of this misunderstanding, we now have churches splitting over the right way to “worship”. There are many different music styles in American churches today.

    • Ultra-traditional: Those like the Church of Christ, Primitive Baptist, or Old Regular Baptist teach that no instruments should be used with music.
    • Traditional: Those that sing traditional hymns, and an occasional Southern Gospel, or Bluegrass song
    • Contemporary: Those that use Contemporary or Praise and Worship music for their services. Opponents of praise and worship music often call the songs “7-11 songs” because they often use repetitive phrases that consist of only a few words. They sing the 7 word phrases 11 times.
    • Blended: Those that blend the above styles in a service.
    Again I believe that if God’s people would properly understand the meaning of worship, people would not be at odds with each other, but would appreciate the differences in the different styles.
     
  2. tinytim

    tinytim
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    PART 2



    Which is worse, an older person that has always been used to traditional worship refusing to allow the younger generation to use contemporary songs OR a younger person refusing to come to church because the church only sings hymns?

    To me, both are sinfully wrong.
    But I see it in both sets of people. When the older person refuses to allow the younger generation to worship using modern music, he is wrong, and it reflects that the older generation is worshipping a style of music, or culture instead of worshipping God.

    When the younger person refuses to come to church, or join a church because the church only uses hymns, that person is wrong, and it also reflects that the younger person is worshipping a style of music instead of worshipping God.

    Both sets of people are sinfully prideful in thinking that people should accommodate them by meeting their demands before they will worship God.

    So in an effort to reconcile the differences of opinion, some churches give in to the demands of one side and alienate the other side. Some churches decide to pro-actively split the congregation offering two services, one a traditional service, the other a contemporary service. Still another option is blending the styles of music into one service, using some traditional elements and some contemporary elements

    No matter what decision a church makes to reconcile these differences, the doctrine of worship must not be compromised. Jesus said we must worship him in spirit and truth.
    We must be teaching our people that worship comes from the heart, and that music is just a tool that we use to accomplish worship. Music is not the goal, but the means to get to the goal. We should be able to worship God no matter in what circumstance we find ourselves. We should be able to worship God no matter what physical things are connected to our worship. We should be teaching our people to worship God in spirit.

    I am also convinced that when people truly see the truth of Jesus, worship naturally flows. I believe that the person that is addicted to traditional worship will still be able to praise God even in contemporary settings. Also the person addicted to contemporary worship will not boycott the church if the church decides to stick with hymns.

    It all comes down to an issue of the heart. Do Christians in today’s world truly love Jesus or are we so self-centered that unless the demands of our musical styles are met, we will not come to church to worship?

    Maybe that is the problem; the modern American church believes it meets TO worship…
    We are still steeped in the idea that we need to be in a particular place before we are worshipping. We don’t understand what worshipping God in Spirit is about.

    Maybe if instead of people meeting TO worship on Sunday mornings, they would COME WORSHIPPING to the Sunday meeting. If we start teaching people to worship outside the church building we may cut down on worship wars. If we start teaching people to start Sunday worship the minute their eyes open on Sunday mornings, people will have the right attitude when they walk through the church doors. If people were worshipping on their way to the church building, then that worship would carry over into service, and the focus would be on God instead of what type of music is in the church, or what instruments are being used, or what sister Maggy So-n-so is wearing! Can you imagine a church filled with Christians that had been with Jesus that morning? What a Sunday that would be!

    Worship is not something we watch, it is something we do. But it seems that more and more people are coming to church to just watch worship. Maybe it is a symptom of a generation grown up on television, internet, etc., but it seems that many just want to watch others worship God. But somehow we have to get back to true worship. Somehow we have to teach people that worshipping God in spirit and in truth is more important than if we sing, “It is well with my soul” or “In the Light” by DC Talk.

    So to answer the title of this paper, Does Worship Stop When the Music Does?

    No, Worship doesn't end when the music does, unless you are worshipping music...It doesn't start when music starts either...

    For a Christian, worship is life.
     
  3. Aaron

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    Summed up in few words, you're simply saying that worship is whatever I choose it to be, which was an error of the ignorance on part of the Samaritans. Don't forget that Christ affirmed that until He appeared, the Jews had it right. God was to be worshipped in Jerusalem.

    It's an ontological premise meaning that as God is, so is true worship. And that's the crux of the disagreement. One side says a certain style isn't godly, and the other one says it is. To say that worship is merely immaterial is, well, not really saying anything at all. Hence, your next statement.

    If we eliminate the eisegesis, the statement would be, "Worship can be done anywhere," which is a true statement.
     
  4. tinytim

    tinytim
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    Thanks for your input Aaron.. I know you and I have went round and round over this.. and we will never agree. (this side of Heaven)

    But thanks for your POV... I do appreciate it...

    And if it means anything... when I set down to write the paper, I thought of our discussions.. (on Spirit and Truth) and that helped solidify my belief.

    I disagree with you, but am thankful I have someone to disagree with...

    Strange huh?
     
  5. Timsings

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    I would be interested in what you have to say about Long's book. My church is preparing to make some changes in our service order. One of the things we are doing as part of the preparation is to look at Long's book next Wednesday evening. I have started reading it, but I'm only in Chapter 3. I expect to finish it before then, but I would like to hear your reaction to it.

    Tim Reynolds
     
  6. FriendofSpurgeon

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    "Which is worse, an older person that has always been used to traditional worship refusing to allow the younger generation to use contemporary songs OR a younger person refusing to come to church because the church only sings hymns?

    To me, both are sinfully wrong.

    But I see it in both sets of people. When the older person refuses to allow the younger generation to worship using modern music, he is wrong, and it reflects that the older generation is worshipping a style of music, or culture instead of worshipping God.

    When the younger person refuses to come to church, or join a church because the church only uses hymns, that person is wrong, and it also reflects that the younger person is worshipping a style of music instead of worshipping God."


    I see a difference here Tim between the two. In your first example, the older person refuses to allow others to worship using more modern music. It's not that they prefer more traditional music, they mandate their musical preferences over others. Note -- this is probably due to fact that the older folks are the elders (or deacons in a Baptist church) or the ones that give the most money or both. And they have been there the longest. In your second example, the younger person does not refuse others to worship a certain way. Instead, he or she simply wishes to sing different types of songs. [Note -- it's not always older versus younger, but more often than not, it is.]

    OK -- that's my two cents. Best wishes in your paper.


     
  7. tinytim

    tinytim
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    Sorry Tim, I didn't see you post until today...

    Honestly, I wasn't impressed with the book... I felt it was a little outdated in someways... and he simply stated what we all know..

    Another book that i want to read that a local church that just went to two services read (pastor, deacons, and others) is "Who stole my church" and FriendofSpurgeon touches on this in his post above...

    When we pour so much into something we have a vested interest, and when someone wants to change it.. it hurts...
     
  8. Timsings

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    We have a new pastor (since May). I serve on our Worship Committee (about half-way through a 3-year term). Our new pastor is reshaping our worship service to a more liturgical service order. We are getting an overview of Long's book tonight in anticipation of our announcing major changes to our service order next week. Our worship service has been pretty formal (that's one reason we joined), so I am not opposed to the changes. But, we are making a lot of changes at one time.

    We've made incremental changes before under our previous pastor (retired after 31+ years). We used to have a traditional Baptist service order: Announcements; Welcome to Visitors; Call to Worship; 2 hymns; Scripture Readings; Prayers; Offering; Doxology; Choir Anthem; Sermon; Invitation; New Members; Benediction. Now we are moving to a Proclamation and Response service order: Call to Worship; Hymns; Scripture Readings; Prayers; Choir Anthem; Sermon; (from here I don't remember the exact order) Invitation; New Members; Announcements; Welcome; Offering; Doxology; Benediction.

    My church always talks a lot about what we are doing when change is involved. We spent several weeks doing surveys and talking about what we wanted in a new pastor. We believe that God guided our Search Committee (my daughter was a member) to the right person. But, I'm concerned that we may be moving too fast for some of our members.

    Also, there is another issue that occurred to me while I have been reading Long's book. Does your church do any direct education about worship? I don't remember ever getting any education about what it means to worship in this church or in the one I grew up in. I'm planning to raise this question tonight. We'll see what happens.

    Finally, don't worry about not seeing the post. We're all too busy these days.

    Tim Reynolds
     
  9. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I am one that likes to move slow when it comes to change.
    Because I realize that change is hard. And the older I get the more I am disliking change. But I will say this, if God led him there, then God is behind him. (I guess that is from a pastor's perspective)... Nothing feels worse than having the church say, "We know God wants you to lead us... but if you go there, we will not follow." No matter how slow a person moves there will always be those that claim the pastor is moving too fast or too slow

    Your pastor may be on to something I have been seeing for a couple yrs now within youth groups... And one reason I felt that Long's book was a little outdated...

    What we call "contemporary services" today are not all that contemporary anymore... The songs we use are often 10 yrs old... and usually the same ones.... The style is based in an 80s - 90s era style. And for this reason (I feel) a few of our state convention churches have removed the 2nd service.

    What i am seeing in the youth and young families is the need for a more contemplative service... in which a more liturgical service would fit the bill. And it makes sense.... With all the busy-ness in our lives today, we rush, rush, rush.... it is refreshing to walk into a quiet, reflective service...

    Thank about it... even in a contemporary service, the quiet periods are the most meaningful to the youth. How many times have you seen quiet music playing with candles lit, and little slips of paper passed out where they can write down a personal sin, and bring it to a cross at the altar? Those times like that are the ones my sons remember the most... and they CRave services like that...

    Our Maundy Thursday Tennebrae service is heavily attended by youth and young families... They seem to thrive on quiet reflection.
    And if I were a betting man, I would bet that your pastor is seeing the same thing I do.

    If our economy keeps the downfall.. our churches will see an upswing in attendance.. .people looking for real answers... And the quiet reflective services will minister to them better than the party atmosphere of upbeat contemporary service...
     
  10. FriendofSpurgeon

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    Tim ---

    I agree. Often some (not all) contemporary services are simply a good show, don't you think? We have a new pastor (one year so far -- is that still new??) and he has made some changes in our blended/contemporary service. While the music has remained roughly the same, he has incorporated a little more liturgy into this service - more Scripture readings (often responsive), personal prayers & reflections, corporate prayers, etc. It is an interesting mix to say the least.

    One more thing... you don't get into the normative versus regulative issue, but I'm not sure if you even wanted to get into that.
     
  11. tinytim

    tinytim
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    It wasn't on my list of things to cover... so I didn't include it. As a personal preference I fall between the extremes of normative and regulative... I believe most Baptist do... for we do things and have things that are not found in scripture... i.e Sunday School, Altar Calls, Organs, guitars, drums, Church Steeples, Crosses and pictures on our walls, etc... but we also don't call sinful activities worship... like prostitution. (i.e. Corinth)
     
  12. Aaron

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  13. Timsings

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    It is interesting that our youth have never wanted our services to change, particularly the music. During Youth Week services, they do the planning, and they pick the music, so the adults get to sing some new stuff. But the rest of the year, they show up and sit right down front. Here is a link to our web site: Immanuel Baptist, Nashville.

    Tim Reynolds
     
  14. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    These kinds of things have nothing to do with the RP. If you are going to say you are between two things, you should at least understand the two things you say you are between.
     
  15. tinytim

    tinytim
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    Please explain to me what the RP is...

    Because I thought RP was doing ONLY whatever was in scripture... nothing more.... Therefore since SS is not mentioned in Scripture it would not be allowed... same thing with altar calls...



    and NP was allowing other things into worship that may not be in scripture....

    Give me examples please.
     

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