Hopefully, we are at the end of the worship wars. My primary place of worship, Asbury Seminary, managed to traverse those times without to many casualties. We are able to have really different services and have folks who have communally learned to worship in a variety of settings.
Most churches response to the issue was to create different services, or branch out to new congregations. It is in these “new” services that I think the question is really relevant. What makes worship “contemporary” in these congregations. Most of the literature I have read mentions things such as “pop tunes”, highly syncopated rhythm, drums and guitars, etc....
But how do we just simple attach music styles to what is called “contemporary”? I have said before if you use the term contemporary you aren’t. We could use another buzzword “contextual”, but that would be falling into the same trap. To whom is your service contemporary to? At a lecture at Asbury Seminary, N.T.Wright said we shouldn’t sing more than 1 song from a century in worship. While I think that is taking it a little to far, he might be on to something.
In my twitter survey, a good friend responded with the idea that it might be a better idea to describe what isn’t contemporary?
So what would we say isn’t contemporary....and what is the regulations of the reality in which we use to define contemporary?
These are alot of questions, and they mean we take seriously that act of looking at our worshiping communities. These are important steps to take in design, because we have to think outside of the songs we want to lead,sing, or shore up our sermon. This is bigger than music. What is our primary responsibility when Christians come to gather?
No matter what-when designing worship we have to learn to ask questions and learn what questions others are asking. Remember-this is bigger than us.