I grew up in a small Baptist church in a time where music was simple and uniform across denominational lines. My “home church” worshipped faithfully, led by volunteers who gave their time and talent to lead the people of God in the enthusiastic singing of hymns. No one thought anything about it because that was a common, across the board experience. Bigger communities may have had bigger choirs or newer organs, but other than that, we all sang the same songs from the same hymnal, using the same order of service printed on the same bulletin paper.
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, contemporary music crept onto the scene. Christian artists wrote songs and sang them in churches and eventually broke into the recording studio. With recordings came radio, then the emergence of contemporary styles of worship. For the longest time the divide has been between traditional worship and contemporary worship. But today we see the development of many other nuances to worship make their way to the forefront, including the “hip-hop church,” the “biker church,” and the “cowboy church” to name a few.
Can we do that? Is that right? Is it possible to be wrong? How can we discern what constitutes appropriate worship? I think we can find the answers to those questions from Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well in John 4. That’s the subject of this week’s posts from my series on worship.