The Practical Implications of Differing Musical Styles

The Practical Implications of Differing Musical Styles

“Some people call it blended worship.  It brings together worship forms that have been tested and tried in Christian churches for centuries and joins them to contemporary musical styles.  Blended worship is one way Lutheran churches can retain public worship’s historic emphasis on gospel proclamation and at the same time accompany that proclamation with music many people understand and enjoy.”

“Blending the gospel-proclaiming forms of the church’s past with musical styles that are part of the church’s present may enable us to offer the people of today the timeless message that Jesus saves.”
– From “Blended worship that works” by Professor James Tiefel

If you find yourself at the crossroads of musical style, here are several paths to consider:

  1. Do nothing, stick to the one style you know best.
    1. This is the easiest route and often the most effective.
  2. Keep your current musical library but accompany some of the songs with different instruments.
    1. This is most commonly done by accompanying hymns with piano, guitar, flute, violin, tambourine, etc.  It can be very effective if done well but sometimes this requires the hymn to be rearranged or even rewritten a bit.
  3. Rather than do nothing, consider at least an annual alternate styled worship event.  It doesn’t have to be on a Sunday so that your regular worship service is not affected and it can also be combined with a neighboring sister church .
  4. Create an altogether different weekly service, offering two per week for example if you currently hold one service; one traditional and one contemporary.
    1. This can work, but isn’t it better to be worshiping together?
    2. Consider inviting the usual traditional people to attend a contemporary service and vice versa to encourage an attitude of love and servant hood toward each other and to help build up the body of Christ.
  5. Include a mix of musical styles in any given worship service; perhaps a few organ-backed hymns, a few chants, and a few contemporary pieces.
    1. This is one form of “blended worship” and literally applies Paul’s words to have musical variety (sing Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs) in one worship service.  This can be a very nice solution.
    2. This elevates musical lyrics and content above “style”, which is a worthy goal.
  6. Alternate styles between traditional weeks and contemporary weeks.
    1. This can also work but could be confusing to some people.
    2. Can be alternated on an every other week basis or something different, such as one monthly contemporary service and the rest being traditional, for example.
  7. Start up a “sister church” with a different musical style.
    1. Nice!

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