Last week, I introduced this series of posts aimed at helping churches transition their worship without causing conflict and division. In the next several weeks, we will walk through steps to take to make this transition in a healthy manner.
I think it is important to realize that God desires UNITY in worship. Unfortunately, many churches seek uniformity or unanimity rather than unity. Let’s look closer at these terms.
Uniformity: The quality or state of being uniform. An attempt to impose administrative and cultural uniformity.
Unanimity: Everyone being of one mind.
Unity: The state of being united or joined as a whole. Harmony or agreement between people or groups.
Many leaders seek UNIFORMITY in worship–“An attempt to impose administrative and cultural uniformity.” In this model, leaders determine what a church’s worship should look like and merely impose the change on the church without the church being brought into the discussion at all. Change may be drastic and instituted without the body understanding why there is change. Perhaps the goal of the change is exactly what is right for the church, but the way it is achieved can fracture the church. Leadership imposes the change, and those that don’t like it are shown the door.
It is extremely difficult to achieve UNANIMITY in worship. Really, how often do you find everyone in your church being of the same mind when it comes to most anything, let alone worship styles, outward expressions of worship, kinds of music to include, etc. Unanimity isn’t going to happen except in very rare cases.
What God desires in the church’s worship is UNITY. There is “harmony or agreement between people.” Jesus prayed for unity in John 17:21:
…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they
also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
(For more on unity in worship, check out these posts.)
Some people today think the key to growth and revitalization of the church is worship change. “If we can just modernize our worship, then we should be able to turn this church around.” Just making changes to worship will probably not be successful in revitalizing your church. There must first be a spiritual change in the church. Graham Kendrick describes this so well:
It is impossible to draw rich worship from poverty-stricken hearts. Worship should develop alongside spiritual growth,…but if we merely impose new styles and methods on top of a dead situation, we will end up with nothing better than a beautifully decorated coffin.
Worship renewal (change) can never be successfully achieved in a congregation that lacks spiritual maturity. There becomes too much of a seeking one’s own agenda over the unity of the body.Just changing worship styles will probably not be successful in revitalizing your church. Click To Tweet
Christian love must prevail. Chuck Swindoll says, “Christians’ love for one another should be preeminent. Christian unity and genuine worship can only occur in a context of love.” He further states:
When self-centered desires reign supreme, there will never be unity in the body of Christ, much less in worship. But when self-sacrifice is the priority, unity falls into place.
Spiritual renewal, love, and self-sacrifice are all key elements in healthy worship change.
Next week, we will begin to look at each area that I feel needs great attention in successful transitions:
- Spiritual preparation
- Loving heart
- Vision casting