On Unity in Worship

I listened to a conversation with Derek Webb recently in which he spoke thoughtfully on the issue of our tendency to be…shall we say, a bit critical…regarding the songs that we sing in church on Sundays.  (I wouldn’t know anything about this)

I didn’t have a pencil to transcribe his words directly, so understand that this is my own paraphrase of Webb’s words:

Where did we get the idea that our preferences matter in church anyway?  Personal style and preference can (and do) rule and guide the other six days of the week, but this is the Lord’s Day, in His house…

The principle is: it’s more important to be worshiping together with other believers than to “like” every song that you sing.  In general, you should like about every third song that you sing in church.  Because if you’re in a church that reflects any diversity at all, of course you’re not all going to have the same musical preferences!  And so you sing the song that annoys you out of love for the brother down the pew who finds it meaningful.  Because guess what?  He probably didn’t like that one two songs back that “spoke” so plainly to you, and he sang it anyway.

You could stay home and listen to a podcast of your favorite preacher teaching your favorite text, and you could sing along to a playlist of all your favorite hymns and choruses.  But that’s not church.

The point is to be together with other believers, with whom you may have nothing in common but Jesus, and to realize that that bond is enough.  We worship in unity not for our own enjoyment and emotional response, but for the glory and praise of God.


7 responses to “On Unity in Worship

  1. Very well paraphrased…This is really good for older people who complain about the music, the band, etc. It will help me to have a response. You know me, I’m terrible explaining myself. Maybe, I should print it out and read it to them…it’s a thought…

    • I’m learning old people don’t have a monopoly on being crotchety about the music in church…I’ve been there, myself (too loud! too fast! too noisy!). But I agree, this was very well said.

  2. leslie.caroline

    good reminder. thanks, linds (and derek!)

  3. Appreciate your post – I am certainly guilty of this, and I think Derek made some great points (through you.:) Way to call us all out on this, and to include yourself shows your sincerity. But your list of songs you don’t like still makes me laugh…

  4. Amen sista!

  5. I like all the songs on your dislike page…..:) especially anything by David Crowder. I actually encouraged Chris and the gang to learn How He Loves Us. Sorry!
    On the other hand, I am guilty myself of this, but I just really have been enjoying it all! It is the worst when you bring someone who doesn’t normally go to church and you get half the praise team or something, and then you feel like you have to make excuses to why it wasn’t as good as normal, or that is normally better. God is present, and that is all that matters. Authentic Worship is our response to God’s goodness.
    I love you even though you don’t like David…..and his beard.

    • See? We illustrate this point exactly! I’m glad we can still go to the same church even though we have such different opinions! And I’ll sing How He Loves Us for you if you’ll sing all the songs you hate for me. 🙂

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