Our church has an organ and a choir and a worship band. We also have two services on Sunday morning, each one the same as we can make them. Why haven’t we chosen to have a traditional and a contemporary
We have a mostly white congregation of mixed ages, heavy on young couples with young kids, but also a large group of middle to older adults and a large youth group. We have made the decision to combine different musical styles in both of our services at a time when many churches have a traditional and a contemporary service.
Singing a mix of styles means that everyone will sing songs that they love and songs that are not their favorites. Having a body of hymns and songs that the whole congregation knows binds us together and gives us opportunities to practice the law of love. Each of us can choose to consider others before ourselves as we all sing songs in a variety of styles from a variety of time periods.
Singing the great old hymns of the church connects us to the historical church and to the saints that have gone before us. Singing contemporary songs reminds us that new songs are still being sung because God is still at work building His church and calling His saints to praise Him. Songs that are true, scripture-based and musically excellent are appropriate and relevant for our worship today.
As the Music Director, my job is to faithfully steward the musical gifts of our congregation, using the gifts of individual musicians and choirs to spur on the largest choir, the congregation. Our church has had an organ from our early years and the Lord has provided our organist, Susie Cook, with both musical skill and a heart for worship. She regularly introduces the organ to our young musicians, planting seeds for church musicians in the generations to come.
We have a number of folks who attended RUF in college and were greatly influenced by the retuned hymns being sung there. The RUF Hymnbook is a staple in our worship planning. Many musicians enjoy being a part of our worship band which includes acoustic guitar, mandolin, violin, djembe, piano, and vocalists. We have several members who play orchestral instruments and it is a privilege to incorporate their gifts in congregational and choral singing and in instrumental solos and ensembles. Who knows what musical gifts future members will bring! Allowing for multiple musical expressions in worship by multiple members takes away from the “Christian Rock Star” mentality that seeps into many evangelical churches. The aim is always to focus on our Savior rather than the ones leading us in worship. Our goal in corporate worship is to call the entire congregation to participate in the worship of our Great God, giving ourselves away to the One who gave all for us.