Wow!! For the first time in over 15 years that I have been here and we have been doing a Trunk or Treat Fall Festival, it rained. I thought, “What a terrible thing to happen when we're partnering with the Birmingham Baptist Association in a bigger way than ever before and partnering with Rebirth Christian Fellowship at their location. But thanks be to God who always knows how to give the victory. Everything fell into place and a worship center became a “maze of trunks” and a game room. Thanks to all who prayed, gave, and participated. God blessed and many new friendships were established.
As the holiday season approaches and many different kinds of worship experiences will take place at HBC, I wanted to share with you a perspective on worship and music written by fellow pastor, Rocky Ramsey, to his church. Although in a different situation than HBC, what the Pastor of Corryton Baptist in Tennessee wrote very much applies to Hilldale Baptist Church and all churches.
“Leading worship at Corryton is far more complicated than at some other churches. Some churches play one kind of music (new or old) and "aim" at only one generation (young or old). I personally don't think a church is what God wants it to be if it doesn't have ‘tinys’ through nineties, babies through shut-ins. We will continue to introduce new music but we have no intention of abandoning the rich history of music that we have enjoyed here at Corryton.
Our goal is not so much new or old music, but great music. I deliberately use the word "music" because the music frankly has nothing to do with the worship. If you think that the only appropriate worship is the music of hymns, then that means that the church didn't worship for the first 1700 to 1800 years it existed. If you think that the only genuine worship is Passion or Hillsong music, then you're assuming that the church didn't worship in its first 2000 years (how could they without guitars, drums...modern sounds). In both cases, you're assuming that the Apostles never worshiped - how could they without a hymnbook or modern instrumentation? And if you think that only old music is worship, then you're wrongly assuming that a creative God has stopped creating.
People think that churches fight over worship. What they fuss and fight over is music preferences, because worship is not about style. Stephen Miller, a contemporary worship leader, recently wrote a great article entitled "The Modern Worship Music Wars." He summed up the problem perfectly when he said that churches "fight over the very thing that was supposed to unite us: the worship of Jesus."
Worship is primarily about dying to self before God; its essence is great thoughts about God that cause us to love and surrender to Him. Genuine worship is completely about the Lord and completely not about us. To demand a certain kind of music is the worship of self and our own preferences. This means that some people who think they are worshiping God (because it's their favorite music) are doing just the opposite - they're worshiping self. The absurdity of the assumption that our music (new or old) or our style (clapping or not; raising hands or not; etc.) is the "only" or even the "best" kind of worship should be obvious. If you can't worship because the music is not your style, then you probably were never actually worshiping God anyway; you were worshiping "worship" (or at least your style of it).
The worship leader at Corryton can't just have charisma and a good voice, they have to read and know music; they have to be able to lead a band, lead a choir, and to do productions. They have to balance new and older music. They have to lead us in worship regardless of the style of the song we are singing.” In addition, at Hilldale they have to do it all while serving as a part-time bi-vocational minister. We are fortunate to have such a worship leader in Jan Freeman. This holiday season let’s invite many people to experience worship and music as we give thanks to God and celebrate our Savior.
Join in and invite others to join you as we experience the great worship experiences of November and December so that the Gospel Story will be told to all the world.
Telling the Story with you,