Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Same Song, Second Verse!
It's been troubling me since our phone conversation last week. It was a conversation I've had scores of times with scores of different brethren. This good brother was "worried and anxious" about the struggle that seemed to be tearing his church family apart. My heart ached for him, because I've been there so many times and talked with others about the same problem so many times. I'm talking about worship wars. Members want life, relevance, and some excitement to build one another up and speak to the next generation that is coming along, but elders are petrified about changing any traditions because of the "good ole boys" who will get mad and leave. What do you do? What's best? Do you change non-essentials to speak to the culture of the day, or is the goal maintaining our heritage, our traditions, our comfort zones? So we clash about everything from song types to hand clapping to from where and how the communion should be served. Should we be contemporary or traditional? What kind of "style" does God want us to have in our assemly? Can we solve the "worship problem"? No - not until we start truly caring about what God wants! If anyone's assembly style is defined by anything other than love - it's in serious error! We are so focused on ourselves that we have forgotten what God's simple intent was with all this "assembly stuff!" It's never called "worship" or "church" or any of the other things we have developed through the centuries. Worship is a life given in obedience to God (Romans 12:1). Church is not an institution but simply a tool for building spiritual relationships, because that is how we learn to love God (read 1 Jn). The assembly of Christians - getting together for any reason - is a necessary requirement if we are going to do all the "one another" things listed repeatedly in the New Testament. THE ASSEMBLY IS FIRST, LAST, AND ALWAYS A GIVING EVENT! Encouragement and edification are always things we do for others! How in the world did we get it so turned around that we see it as a "receiving" event? Like I've said for years, we believe it's "more blessed to give than to receive" until we assemble together. It's my opinion that this transformation of God's original intend is one of Satan's greatest victories! It's universal among Christian religions. When we start returning the Christian assembly to a giving experience, the worship wars will stop and brethren will begin to realize that it's all about learning to "love one another" not "have it your way." That is true no matter what kind of style you think your assembly should have. If Satan is cheering, what must the Father be doing? I think He's hoping our togetherness will start looking more like a Thanksgiving dinner with family and less like a group of Olympic diving judges with score cards in their hands. Happy thanksgiving!