worship wars

Tips On Transitioning Worship Style

Nic Cook on yesteryear’s worship wars:

So you’ve taken that new job and you’re trying to figure out how to make some much needed transitions without causing yourself or your church unnecessary “bloodshed”.

I’ve been talking to some worship minister friends of mine who are either in this phase of ministry or about to experience it. During these conversations I’ve found myself telling the story of my very first worship mentor and decided to share it with the hopes that it can be helpful even to those of us in established ministries.

I was at a church in Oklahoma City during high school through college and during that time I had sung in the high school worship band and the adult choir and gotten to know the worship minister for “big service”. His name was Josh and he was in the Air Force and was working for the church part time. Once I was in college I began leading the high school worship team and had done so for a couple of years when the worship minister asked if I would be willing to do an internship that paid a little bit weekly. As part of my internship I continued to lead worship for the high school band as well as play keyboards and sing in the adult services.

Now at this time the worship wars of the 90′s were in full swing and raging across many churches. This unfortunate problem came from a tension to either embrace fully more traditional worship that included mainly hymnody and used piano and organ as instrumentation or choose contemporary worship that consisted of choruses and recently written songs and performed with a full rock band instrumentation. Mainly there was an either/or approach where both sides tended to demonize each other and build arguments as to why their style and preferences were biblical and the only right way.

It was into this mix that I watched my mentor successfully transition the church into what many people called “blended worship” without any casualties or causing a church split.

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