At the end of seminary and just after I was on staff with a church just outside Denver. The reason that matters presently is while I was there an ongoing discussion (tension?) was going on in regard to worship (in this particular post I am using worship to refer to what evangelicals usually mean when they use the word, which is the music/singing that goes on in a Sunday morning service). Our Senior Pastor, and my mentor, was trying to lead the church in adopting “blended worship” which meant the best from all different eras. He certainly had a preference for the hymns, but last I checked even pastors are allowed to have preference.
Now, at the time, I was in a camp that was pushing back against this endeavor. I was the pastor of the young adults and I had to “stand up for them” in this area. I reasoned we couldn’t continue to reach our culture if we didn’t primarily use music that sounded current to our time, and I was positive that singing songs with antiquated language like thee, thou, or shalt, would cause people under 40 to go into spontaneous convultions.
What I missed at the time, or at least dismissed, was the immense value in the process our Senior Pastor wanted to submit all music to. I don’t remember all the criteria for songs we used, but I know that being “singable” and theologically sound were two of them. Now that I have entered a position where I am playing a role in selecting the music I think so much more about these two things, and especially the second one. I grow weary of singing songs that talk about me and are as deep as something from the Wiggles. What I’ve learned is that depth of lyrics enables deep worship.
I still have a bit more of a pension to lean toward modern musical styles and lyrics, but I care so much more about the things my pastor and mentor did back then. I guess I’m learning…slowly.