Corporate Worship Matters: Trends Part 2: “Test the Trends”

“..everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” 1 Corinthians 14.40 (NIV11)

Last time we talked about surfacing the worship music trends around us. Have you done your congregational survey yet? If not, why not make your own version of the survey I posted previously and see what you get back. It might be very illuminating!
Fidget spinners are the latest trendy toy for children (and a few adults!) where I live. Manufacturers and marketers will find a new way to part parents with their money when this trend has run its course.
Many worship trends are neutral. They are neither good nor bad in themselves, only more or less helpful. If we know our local trends, how do we assess if they are good or bad? Whether they should be opposed or embraced? Are they already influencing your congregation? To examine any trend apply these three filters and ask three questions:
  1. Doctrine filter. “Does it offend any Biblical principle or command?”
  2. Distraction filter. “Does it distract people from God?”
  3. Direction filter. “Does it direct people to God?”
In my own part of the world, I have observed a number of trends in churches around me. Some have been introduced to our congregations in whole or part. These include:
  1. Having no ‘main’ song leader, but a group of singers and a band
  2. ‘shushing’ a congregation before starting singing
  3. Emphasising one style over against others – i.e. all hymns / all gospel songs / all chorus songs
Are these practices good or bad? It’s going to depend. It will depend on whether they pass the three filters above, and whether they help people connect with God’s presenceWhat do we do when “it depends”? Three steps should clarify whether to adopt a trend or not.
  1. Pray for insight and that you would not be swayed by your own preferences. We are servants of God and our congregation, not our own preferences.
  2. Discuss the trend with the worship team.
  3. Discuss the trend with the church leadership team.
After this, it’s my guess you will come to a consensus. It’s unlikely any particular trend will lead people astray spiritually. But we shouldn’t adopt something just because it is ‘trendy’. Everything needs to be examined carefully first in case it distracts worshippers from their focus on God.
 
I’m not offering a definitive position on any particular trend but proposing that worship trends must be assessed in our local context.
What are your thoughts on this process? Please leave a comment below. 
Malcolm Cox
 
November 2017

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