Unity in Worship Services

Recently, my local church family decided to merge our evening “hard rock” service (which I lead for 7 years) with our 10:45am service.   There were many reasons to do so, such as strategic use of resources, increasing the culture of creativity and vision among our leaders and broadening our worship and arts in the morning service to incorporate more styles and forms of expression.   However, one of the primary reasons was unity within the Church.

Over the past years, I’ve wrestled with the idea of segregating a church family into style-based worship services that exists primarily to appeal to cultural differences (i.e. musical style, atmosphere, age).  I’m not convinced that segregating people by cultural distinctions for worship services is the best thing for a church family.

As I read through the biblical accounts of the early church, I am struck by just how different the people in various church families were.  For example, in Acts 16 we read about Paul planting a church in a town called Phillipi (The book of Philippians was written to this church).  We see that the three earliest members of this church were a wealthy female business owner, a blue collar tough-guy jailer and an impoverished and very troubled young slave girl who was abused by her owners.  Jesus drew all this diverse group of people to Himself and brought them into His body, the Church. God is glorified when diverse people are together united in Him.  Unity in the midst of diversity is so important in a church family.

One of the main reasons for having multiple styles of service is to broaden a local church’s appeal. I agree that offering multiple services based on musical and atmospheric styles can be appealing. However, I believe that a group of people who have “nothing in common” praising Jesus together magnifies the radical nature of the Gospel (“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” Col. 3:11).

That type of unity is extremely appealing (See Acts 2:47).

Of course, this type of structure could lead to problems. Complaining, anxiety, frustration etc… So how do we function as a unified group of people given the reality of our many differences?  I believe it’s in focusing on Jesus and striving to be a people faithful to the charge of I Peter 3:8-9   Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.  Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

 

( For a much better article by a much better author, check this out: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/2010/08/22/we-are-one/)

 

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