As I’ve been job searching and sending my resume to dozens of churches, I’ve noticed a trend. It seems like more and more congregations are celebrating with a ‘Blended’ style. Not all of them are choosing the ‘blended worship’ in the dropdown menu, but most of them are making a point of describing their use of hymns and choruses in the job description.
I’ve heard blended worship described as the best way to offend everyone in the same service. This can be true but seems like an incredibly pessimistic view. Why not look at blended worship as an opportunity for the gathering to be all things to all people.
Truthfully hymns and worship choruses are two sides of the same coin. We should be celebrating with a style that’s inclusive, not exclusive. If the words are filled with spirit and truth what does the musical style matter?
I remember reading Sally Morganthaller’s book on the subject ‘Worship Evangelism’ where she argues that true worship will serve to win converts. While the atmosphere has changed drastically and almost no-one agrees anymore, she was headed in the right direction. Nothing in the service should serve to alienate anyone, Deacon or first timer should feel at least some level of comfort with the proceedings. This means everything from the music to the announcements to whatever video to the sermon to the coffee afterwards needs to inclusive. I don’t think the service itself is the only place to win converts (relationships work too) I do think we’re slamming the door on opportunities if we don’t give them something to be excited about and reasons to ask more questions.
So what’s right? I believe that the style of music played in any given congregation needs to represent a few groups of people; 1 it needs to represent the congregation. 2, it needs to represent the community surrounding the church. 3, it needs to represent the people playing the music. It needs to be true to whoever is hearing it and whoever is playing it.
So if there are members of the older generation present, we need to consider them, if there are kids and youth we need to consider them too.
Some may think of this as a challenge and a headache, but I see it as a joy. There’s no other place on earth where so many people from every walk of life come together to celebrate something bigger than themselves. What joy to be involved and responsible in it! I love finding a new way to play an old hymn or finding a new song to express a timeless truth, then to find a way to put all that together into a single cohesive gathering.
So…yes, I blend. I blend, but it's not what you think of. It's contemporary AND Gen-X AND Traditional. It's inclusive and I like it that way.