The essence of worship focuses on the heart of worship. You look at the object of your worship (God), you examine your motives of worship (heart), and the foundation of your worship (God’s truth). The essence of worship has to do with our internalization of our adoration toward God. The essence of worship is about what’s going on inside of you not outside of you.
That’s the essence of worship, but there is also the expressions of worship. This moves us into the outward forms of worship – the ways we express our praise to God. Expressions of worship change from person to person, culture to culture, and generation to generation. The essence of worship remains the same, but the expressions of worship can vary. These expressions of worship are also described as a style of worship. Let me give some thoughts regarding style of worship.
Style does not determine authentic worship. There are some wonderful Christians, regardless of their style of worship, who believe their style is the more authentic style of worship. People on all sides of the worship issue have convictions that are actually personal preferences. What determines authentic worship is your spirit and God’s truth coming together in adoration of Him (John 4:23). You can find authentic worship at a traditional, contemporary, blended, country, southern gospel, classical, or jazz style of worship service. Style does not determine authentic worship.
Style can change based on context. Music is the tool but will always change based on context. God never gave notes or melodies in the Bible. This is why worship in Africa looks and sounds different than in America. Context. This is why a children’s worship service looks and sounds different than a youth worship service. Context.
Style does not indicate spiritual maturity. Preferring a traditional style does not make you more holy, nor does preferring a more modern style make you more liked by God. The challenge is to learn to be mature enough to worship in different ways with different styles.
Style does not change the message of Christ. Someone can sing a hymn about the resurrection of Christ and God is glorified. Someone else can sing a modern chorus about the resurrection of Christ and God is glorified. The song can be organ driven, piano driven, guitar driven, or drum driven and still glorify the Lord. Style does not change the message of Christ.
God does not prefer a particular music style. He prefers your wholehearted worship. He calls people to worship Him in spirit and truth. So whether you like a church with traditional hymns, contemporary choruses, or a blended style is not the issue. God does not prefer one over the other. God is not seeking hymn singers, chorus singers, or blended singers. He is seeking worshippers. If you find a church that fits your preferences of worship style that’s a great thing, get connected with them and worship the Lord with all your might.
Style should be decided by the church leadership. Someone has to make the decision about what songs to sing, what instruments to use, whether the church holds a hymn book or projects it on a screen, etc. These decisions should be made by the church leadership as they seek God’s direction for the church.