The classic problem for worship leaders (especially relatively green ones, like me) is how to make everyone happy. But, to my surprise, it's never as simple - or as complicated - as that.
I was raised in church, and have had the great privilege to attend church with four generations of family members, and because of that upbringing, I have a long list of favorite traditional hymnal songs. The musical heritage of my church and my family has given me the benefit of connecting with the older generation. There is so much history in those old pages, such depth of meaning in the lyrics, and such quality of music - it's really impossible to ignore it.
On the other hand, I'm also under the age of 25. I travel a lot, and I usually have at least 3 channels on my car radio set to various new Christian stations. Sometimes I just need the grit, the power, and the energy that comes from an upbeat rock song with sacred lyrics, proclaiming the power and the joy of knowing God. I have known many friends and classmates who would balk at the mere idea of a service consisting only of hymnal songs - or even anything resembling country-Western music.
Even these two perspectives are not the limit of those that might enter our church on a given Sunday morning for a worship service. I have a number of Christian friends who would rather rock out to some metal music, and others who dig some Tobymac-style rap, and still others who would jump out of thier seats for some gospel choir arrangements.
So how is a worship director supposed to make all of these people happy?
The answer, for me, is actually fun and easy: Keep mixing things up!
You see, the purpose of congregational music is to lift everyone up through the act of corporate worship. Some people might enjoy one style of music, and others another. But since any of them might be in the pews at any given time, I make sure to include a little bit of everything I can in each service. That way, everyone gets a little bit of what they like, and they can use that time to gather their focus and devote themselves to worshipping God.
Plus, when we participate in blended music services, we get the opportunity to experience music that might be outside of our typical playlists, and share songs across generations and genres. As someone who enjoys just about any type of music, especially anything that magnifies the name of the Lord and speaks to the Christian journey, I always approve of blended services.
I challenge you to think about this the next time you hear something new and different on the radio. God can use music of any genre to speak to the hearts of His people. Maybe you'll find that your new favorite worship song is outside of your typical musical comfort zone!
Musically and faithfully yours,
Worship & Media Director
Riviera Baptist Church