Ministry Musings: Worship and Culture
We live in a culture that has many misconceptions of who God is and what God does. Picturing God accurately is important because the way we view God informs our relationship with him. Most Christians are theologically formed by the truths and themes proclaimed through songs sung in worship services. Therefore, the words we sing in church gatherings should strive for an accurate portrayal of both who God is and what God does.
Worship should be biblically-centered and not reduced to people pleasing. Worship leaders should promote a counter-cultural theology of worship rather than always being swayed by cultural trends. If we sing songs that depict an accurate and real perception of God, we will enable people to dig deeper in faith. This means that we cannot simply stay in our comfort zone when planning worship. Worship will need to include songs that address the tough parts of life and how those hard things fit within our picture of God, songs that embrace and celebrate the triune nature of God, songs that portray a loving God and include all people despite age, nationality, or disabilities. Finally, our songs should express our longing for Christ’s return.
We live in a consumer culture that demands immediate pleasure and desires quantity over quality. As worship leaders, we should care deeply about the message of the words we are singing rather than singing songs that provide pleasure but lack theological depth. Factors such as sound, social image, and age should not be the primary factors in our selection of songs.
Although our culture may not worship the God of Jesus Christ, society still yearns for spirituality and religious awakening. More people are craving spirituality now than ever before. We as the church need to facilitate worship that shows a real, inspiring, and truthful picture of who God is and what God does. Because of worship’s vital role in our spiritual formation, worship leaders should seek to design worship with theological wisdom and cultural awareness.
(This is part of an ongoing series titled Ministry Musings, written by Samford University students enrolled in the Introduction to Music and Worship course.)