Today’s posts are from my wife, Jennifer! This is her second post of the day.
She’s not a musician. She’s not on staff at a church. She’s just an average person in the congregation (well, I guess the average person that is married to one of the pastors). And she loves the music at our church. Her perspective isn’t as someone who plans worship services, but as someone who comes to experience them.
If you missed previous entries, you can check them out at the link below.
Why Can’t We Get Along? – Why is Worship So Divisive by Sean Chandler
Where’s the Piper Organ, and Why is There an Electric Guitar?!? – What is the Proper Style for Worship by Sean Chandler
Why is It So Loud and Why Do We Keep Repeating Ourselves?!? – What is the Proper Volume for Worship by Sean Chandler
– Sean Chandler
By Jennifer Chandler
I don’t know how opinionated I am about worship. Although, if I’m being honest, my opinion becomes more prominent once someone does something I don’t like. I have a heavy bias toward both the preaching and the worship at our church. Every time I visit elsewhere, I have to remind myself to keep an open mind to the way that other people do things…I just really happen to like Bobby (my lead pastor), Sean (my husband), and Spencer (our worship director). A lot. And that’s good…but, that’s not what church is about. That is to say, church doesn’t exist to make me comfortable or happy.
In my last post, I answered the question, “How Should a Worship Director Select & Arrange their Set Lists?” In answering that question, I think I inadvertently answered “What is the Role of Worship in Church Gatherings,” which is to be brought through song, prayer, and fellowship in a purposeful manner; in a way that clearly communicates that it’s part of the worship experience, and is intended to bring the participants closer in heart attitude and thought with their Creator.
I suppose I’ll now answer “What is the Proper Style for Worship Services?” To this, I have to say that my answer is, generically, I’m not sure. Obviously, a worship director should take into account their congregation, and where their inclinations or tastes lie. However, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t believe that church exists to make people comfortable or happy, so I don’t want to place too much emphasis on doing what suits the congregants. I think it’s healthy to change things up every now and again, to incorporate new songs or new styles of worship…I think it’s wonderful to be reminded (and, sadly, we need to be) that we are not the focus of the church service.
My sister-in-law told us of this time that her church did an “underground church service.” Basically, they conducted a church service like people who live in countries where Christianity is forbidden have church. They staggered their arrival times, I don’t think they used electricity, and they focused on the privilege it was to be able to fellowship with one another, for the glory of God — and that was it. No giant sound systems, light trusses, projectors, animated backgrounds, choir, interpretive dancers…no production of any kind. I really loved that idea. I felt like it was a really great way to be reminded of the magnitude of the body of Christ, as well as the fundamental components of worship, rather than the flashy thing we have come to expect. I know I’m making some pretty sweeping generalities there, and I’m not intending to bash all western worship, or the use of production to improve a worship experience…I just think, too often, we’re focused on our comfort zone…our preference for music selection, our preference for how prayer is handled, our preference for this, that, and the other. Our time at church should be a recalibration of our hearts and minds, to make sure that we are living lives that honor the God we claim to follow, and to adjust and be held accountable, if need be.
I don’t think there is a “proper style” for worship services. I believe there is a correct focus, and the rest can sort of fall into place.