Imagine, if you will, that when you arrive to church on Sunday you discover that the worship style that you’re used to has suddenly been replaced with a different one. Not only that, but an announcement is made that the change is a permanent one. Turns out all of the churches in the entire county agreed to make the change. “But you’re still free to sing the songs that you like as much as you want at home!” The pastor suggests.
So the first week you do just that – you play some songs that you find on YouTube and sing along the best you can. But something’s missing.
Going back to church, you have to put up with the new style again and it might grate on your nerves as you realize – that song that was your absolute favorite, that made you feel like God himself was right there with you while you were singing – you’re never going to get to sing it in church with the rest of the congregation ever again.
But you go home and sing your favorite song, by yourself. You sing it half a dozen times throughout the week, but something’s missing.
Yet another Sunday with the new style and it seems to add five minutes to the service. But one member opts to do a ‘special’ and performs one of the old songs that lifts up your spirit. It’s then that you realize that you’ve been drained a little bit of joy at a time each Sunday. But you don’t have to imagine that – if you’re in my neck of the woods then hymns are the fourth person of the trinity and they are not in any danger of being demoted from their lofty position. But hymns don’t work for me.
On Sunday, the choir sang a song from my past – Above All. I missed the song so much, I sang along as quietly as possible. I surprised myself that I got it’s lyrics quite correct as I have a tendency to mix them up and get them out of order. It had been years since I sang that song at church. It was different though – the last time everyone was singing that song together. I know, I could technically join the choir and sing one contemporary song during a performance for the church each month – but the thought of that is intimidating. Would you be particularly thrilled with the idea that the only way for the songs you like to be welcome in church was for you to sing them for the church while everyone else listens silently?
For us, something has been missing every Sunday that we go to church – Contemporary music. Sure, we get to sing it as much as we want at home but it’s not the same. It’s almost as strange as it would be to sing hymn songs at home all alone and never again at church. The obvious solution would be to go to another church. Problem is that the vast majority of the ones here do not do contemporary music either; and worse – their theology is the polar opposite of our own, so there’s no way we’re setting foot in that type of church again.
I fail to understand why a county that is 80% Southern Baptist is also 80% hymn-singing traditional Southern Baptist churches. (Then again, I refuse to attend a Southern Baptist church again, but it’s more of a question of style than denomination.) Why must every church be exactly like the one down the street? What’s terribly wrong with being the one church that does a blended or contemporary service and allows for egalitarian teachings? It’s not as if somebody who doesn’t like it can’t go to any one of the hundreds of other hymn-only churches. That same argument only works when there are other churches to go to that do contemporary or blended services. When there aren’t – you’re stuck … like we are and there will always be something missing.