Mandate Verses Style

January 28 2019

I told you last week, that I wanted to talk about style. This seems to have been an issue for years in our Southern Baptist Churches. We have sadly been the leaders of what has been called “worship wars.” I have to admit, when a person comes to me that is 70 or older, and recommends a contemporary song that they heard on the radio, it does my heart good. Several of the songs we do on a regular basis here are because, what we call a senior adult, recommended them. For example, a lady stopped me a couple of years ago in the office and asked me if I had heard the song “At the Cross.” I immediately assumed she was talking about the song that is in the hymnal written centuries ago. Wow! I was wrong! She quickly corrected me and told me of the song “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)” by Chris Tomlin. A man came up to me and asked me if we could sing another Chris Tomlin song titled “Jesus Loves Me.” We have used that song on many occasions, and I had the privilege and honor to sing that at his funeral. Several years ago, a woman emailed me and told me the songs that God wants us to sing, and I quote, “are our favorite songs.” I thought to myself, hmm….really? My favorite song, as far aa a song goes, are those that I have written myself. Although we have used some of those songs in worship, those are not the songs that I believe will lead our congregation to the throne on a regular basis. A favorite song of mine right now is a John Legend song titled “All of Me.” Although I could sing that song to the Lord, and many lines in it could even be biblically backed, I am not sure that is a song we need to be using as a congregation to approach the throne.

So why do we do the style of songs we do? Again, first they are biblical. Secondly, they are the current culture. If I were still to be alive in 2070, I would encounter those that say the worship songs written in 2065 are outdated and others would say, I think that we need to sing that Chris Tomlin song written in 2010. Lol! Our mandate is to sing fresh songs. That doesn’t necessarily mean ones written yesterday, but it does mean to make sure that what we are doing is not just because that is what we have always done. The challenge in worship is the same challenge we have in our walk with God. We are to continually experience newness. (Psalm 33:3, Lamentations 3:22-23, 1 Corinthians 5:17, Isaiah 43:18-19, Revelation 21:5) just to name a few.

I hope that these last few weeks of blogs will help you understand why we sing what we sing. It doesn’t mean we forsake our heritage and never look back, but it does mean we will always be adding and probably subtracting songs from the list.

I will not be here this week. We are blessed to have Erskin Anivitarte again leading along with our band this week. I will see you again soon.

Love you!

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