Values for Corporate Worship, pt. 7

Values for Corporate Worship, pt. 7 November 17, 2014

This is theseventh column in a series I’m writing to describe our goals and values forcorporate worship. If you’ve not noticed by now, let me point out how theseexplanations are structured. Each value discussion begins with a series of “webelieve” statements, followed by several practical implications. Beliefs first,behaviors second. Makes sense, right? What we believe always gives rise to whatwe do. Today’s value discussion centers on musical variety and breadth.

We believethe diversity and variety in God and His world should be reflected in ourworship music, a belief the Scriptures clearly support. Compare, for example,the simplicity of Psalm 100 with the complexity of Psalm 119. Likewise the“psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” of Colossians 3:16 convey nothing if not avaried selection of music for use in the church.

Furthermore,the doctrinal content of the Bible covers a broad range of themes, calling fora similarly broad range of musical styles appropriate to those subjects.Exhilarating truth in the lyrics fits best with an exhilarating style of music.Likewise, sober truth is most effective when set to sobering music.

Inaddition, we believe an encounter with God may provoke a wide range ofemotions: joy, sorrow, hope, regret, expectancy, fear, wonder, etc. Additionally,the Christian life involves vastly different emotions from time to time. Thus,we must use a wide diversity of musical styles to stimulate the manyappropriate emotions called out by God’s worth and to reflect the variety ofexperiences encountered in the Christian life.

Finally, webelieve God’s passion for the fame of His Son guarantees that every culturewill someday posses a witness to the glory of Jesus Christ, including thevast array of contemporary musical cultures. Contrary to what many believe(or would prefer!), God simply has not designated one particular style of musicthat we must use or must avoid in corporate worship.

Practically,our value of musical variety and breadth means:

  • We use a varietyof musical styles, reflecting the diversity we see in God Himself.
  • We strive toselect songs with lyrics which cover the broad range of singable doctrine.
  • We portray arealistic view of the Christian life in our music, reflecting the emotions thataccompany hardship, blessing, and every experience in between.
  • We utilize thebest songs from the past and the present, endeavoring to be as chronologicallydiverse as possible.